Horrific case of church abuse
Laura M Schola commented on my John Piper post of August 3rd 2012 and we are reproducing her words here because we think it’s such a horrific case of church abuse we would love to give all our readers the opportunity to encourage her and add their own comments. Here is what Laura wrote:
I would like to thank you for the encouragement and validation that I have received recently from your work. I wish that I had found this forum three years ago! Even after over 20 years of living with a verbally and emotionally abusive man, the involvement of the church was the single most tramatic experience of my life. I trusted that they would help me but from the onset when they told me “You won’t love him but you will be taking him back,” all of their actions were designed to lay guilt on me to force that end result.
Concern for one of my sons, who was mimicking his father’s actions, led me to call the church.
At the pastor’s request, I documented five typewritten pages of incidents of my husband’s abuse . Included was his reckless driving with children in the car, assaulting a man at another church, screaming at and threatening me regularly, encouraging our son to call me profane names, etc. I thought that at least one of these events would cause them to question my husband’s right to membership in the PCA.
The pastor took my husband to lunch but other than that, did nothing. After 10 months, I discovered that my husband had a secret two-year relationship with a former co-worker.
When I informed the church that I now wanted to pursue divorce, I was told to take back the unfaithful spouse like Hosea. Also I needed to win my husband over… I might be triggering him. I was told that there are always two people to blame for marriage issues. I was questioned about idols in my heart by their counselor which cost me $1100 for her involvement while my husband was never directly confronted with his sin. He was not repentant and threatened me, saying that he wanted to see me dead and he wanted to find a way to kill me without getting caught. I spent almost two years trying to be submissive to the church as they did all that they could to penetrate the bondaries I set up to protect my family. I was so distraught and confused at that point — afraid for our safety but wanting to please the Lord and respect the church. I wondered why I viewed scripture so differently than they did — was I even a Christian? They offered no spiritual guidance — it was like a spiritual desert. Thankfully, the Lord himself held me up.
After one and a half years of dealing with the church’s lack of direction, my health began to break down due to stress. I went to the local abuse center and they listened to me advising me that I was in a dangerous situation. Finally, I notified the pastor that I was leaving his church. On the way out, his children chided my daughter with ‘God hates divorce’. The pastor told me that my conscience would bother me if I filed for divorce and I received a letter saying that God was not pleased with me. I saved all of the letters that I received from the church and now can’t believe how abusive they themselves were. They were a terrible witness for my extended family and friends, as some of them have told me this is why they don’t go to church. Sadly, at this point I would recommend that anyone in an abusive relationship not go to the church but to the abuse crisis center. Even Dr. Phil gives more useful advice. I am praying that your work will be the catalyst for reform in the church before the church becomes completely obsolete on this subject. Thank you, again. You are a blessing!
- Posted in: Unjust church responses
- Tagged: abuser's tactics, church discipline, church response to abuse, cult dynamics, dangerous views on abuse, divorce, emotional abuse, false Christians, false guilt, false teachers, getting free, leadership, mind control, murder/attempted murder, neutrality, pastors, Pharisees biblical/modern, survivors' stories