What is Spiritual Abuse?

Written on:March 18, 2014
Comments
Add One

EnglishFrenchGermanItalianPortugueseRussianSpanish

Just as emotional abuse affects one emotionally, while physical abuse inflicts pain and bodily injury on its victim, spiritual abuse affects one spiritually. It is the result of a spiritual leader or system that tries to control, manipulate, or dominate a person. This control is often in the form of fear. This is considered a major factor in mind control or thought reform. There are those who feel the latter comes into play in cases such as these, while others feel the thinking is in error. No matter where one stands, it does not lessen the affects of spiritual abuse.

David Johnson & Jeff Van Vonderen in The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse describe the action: “It’s possible to become so determined to defend a spiritual place of authority, a doctrine or a way of doing things that you wound and abuse anyone who questions, or disagrees, or doesn’t ‘behave’ spiritually the way you want them to. When your words and actions tear down another, or attack or weaken a person’s standing as a Christian- to gratify you, your position or your beliefs while at the same time weakening or harming another- that is spiritual abuse.”

Does leadership in your church demand you consult with them (or your discipler) before making major decisions or any decisions at all? Has leadership forbidden you to go on vacation or spend time with someone (particularly one who has left the church group)?

Do you find yourself periodically questioning your spirituality or standing with God? Have you been preoccupied with checking out others in the congregation to see who is living up to the rules and who isn’t?

Are extra-biblical rules and standards equated as coming from God, with your salvation or spirituality linked to following them? Do you find that cutting or not cutting your hair has now become an indicator of your spirituality?

Has the initial joy you felt when first coming to know the Lord been replaced with worry? Do you feel you’re not doing enough or are not good enough and can’t live up to what is expected?

Do services uplift and give strength or do you feel sad, beaten down, or depressed afterward? Has your view of God changed to where he is seen as a harsh taskmaster, eagerly waiting for you to mess up so he can chastise you or leave you behind?

If you have experienced any of these, or similar, you may be a victim of spiritual abuse.

Abusive churches are often performance oriented, with an “us verses them” or elitist mentality. Questioning is often discouraged, forbidden, or branded as a sign of rebellion or lack of spirituality, though this may not be said directly. Those who do not follow the rules may be labeled, shunned, shamed, or removed from church positions or even disfellowshipped.

You may not be allowed to confront or question those in leadership as they are “God’s anointed”. Members are taught that only God is to handle situations in which leadership may have done wrong.

Please keep in mind that it is not the church you are attending that saves or delivers from things which are wrong in your life. It is God and God alone. Do not give any organization, church, fellowship, or person the praise and glory that belongs only to God.

Some may proclaim good things that are being done in their church group, but this good does not dismiss or excuse anything bad. It is wrong- and dangerous- to ignore abuses simply because good may also be found.

Certainly there are countless groups which can speak of good they have accomplished or which has happened during their meetings, even groups whose main purpose is to push the agenda of its leader(s) despite who they hurt or use in the process. Does this in turn validate that everything they do is proper and of God? Does this diminish the damage inflicted to others? Certainly not!

If we turn our heads and allow abuse to continue, pretend it never happens, or excuse it because it also occurs outside of our group, we may later find ourselves the victim of such abuse. How many must be hurt before it is addressed and seen for what it is?

Seventh-day Adventist Church Sued for Sexual Harassment

Written on:August 28, 2013

The New York Post reported on August 19, 2013 that “a bible-thumping Seventh-day Adventist pastor shamelessly begged a Queens church secretary for sex despite the fact that both are married – and the organization’s all-powerful leader tried to cover up the scandal, the secretary’s blockbuster lawsuit claims.”

Read more...

Elder Marlving Charlet and Linkedin

Written on:January 6, 2013
Comments
are closed
Elder Marlving Charlet

Elder Marlving Charlet is one of the more than 175 million members of the professional social network Linkedin. The network is used mainly professionally to connect with individuals which they deem necessary to advance their career. Most of the millions of members of this social network supply true and verifiable information to the network. This the summary for Elder Charlet that he posted on Linkedin. “Marlving Charlet is a dynamic…

Read more...

Elder Marlving Charlet and Church Discipline, Part 3

Written on:June 7, 2012
Comments
are closed
Elder Marlving Charlet

It has been established in two previous posts to this blog (Elder Marlving Charlet and Church Discipline, Part 1 posted February 2012), and (Elder Marlving Charlet and Church Discipline, Part 2 posted May 2012) that Elder Marlving Charlet plays it plays loose with the Seventh-day Adventist church disciplinary process. Elder Charlet censured Brother A for reasons which many members of Brooklyn Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church are not aware of or…

Read more...

Elder Marlving Charlet and Church Discipline, Part 2

Written on:May 31, 2012
Comments
are closed
Elder Marlving Charlet

Discipline within the Seventh-day Adventist Church is designed to either bring to repentance members who have committed grievous sins thereby leading them back into full fellowship or separate from the church those who refuse to yield to God’s commandments. Elder Marlving Charlet in August 2011 orchestrated one of the most bizarre disciplinary actions ever in the history of Brooklyn Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church. This story begins more than about sixteen…

Read more...

Elder Marlving Charlet and the Church Clerk

Written on:May 24, 2012
Comments
are closed
Elder Marlving Charlet

If there is anything Seventh-day Adventists hold sacred it is the Seventh-day Sabbath which is Saturday. Each and every Sabbath Adventist church congregants gather to worship at the church of their choice. Preparation for the main worship service should be preceded by gathering in the church and quietly and prayerfully waiting for the service to begin. On one Sabbath in late 2011 while the worship participants were preparing for morning…

Read more...

Elder Marlving Charlet and Church Discipline, Part 1

Written on:February 2, 2012
Elder Marlving Charlet

The disciplinary process for Seventh-day Adventist (Adventist) is clearly based on the words of Christ as recorded in Matthew 18:15-17. The Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 2010 edition (church manual or manual), states what has been the policy for decades. The discipline of any member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church must follow the Biblical command. The manual gives specific reasons for which a church may discipline a member. Discipline is restricted…

Read more...

Who Is Elder Marlving P. Charlet?

Written on:January 30, 2012
Comments
are closed
Elder Marlving Charlet

Elder Marlving P. Charlet, a Haitian immigrant, is currently the pastor of the Brooklyn Temple of Seventh-day Adventists (Brooklyn Temple) where he has ministered since May 2009. Brooklyn Temple is a member of the sisterhood of churches under the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Northeastern) where Elder Trevor H. C. Baker is serving as the current president. Elder Charlet serves as the pastor of Brooklyn Temple as an employee of…

Read more...

Introduction

Written on:January 4, 2012
Comments
are closed

This article is a result of the confluence of an arrogant, abusive, and autocratic Seventh-day Adventist pastor, the ignorant church he pastors, and an indifferent local conference administration. The rights of members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have been trampled upon, scripture treated as if it doesn’t exist, and church policy has been ignored, with members being abused as a consequence. The pastor is Elder Marlving P. Charlet, a Haitian…

Read more...