ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network
UPDATE Sept 2021: I (Barbara Roberts) have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
[July 10, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
We do not enjoy making this announcement. We have recommended Lundy Bancroft’s materials and seminars for the entire time this blog has been in existence. We and probably most of our readers have greatly benefited from Lundy’s books and rather recently we even recommended one of his webinars to you. That has changed.
We have known from the beginning that Bancroft is not a Christian and that his worldview / philosophy / theology is certainly not something we would want anyone to embrace. We were criticized by one or two rather fanatic-type people for endorsing someone who held to a theology like Bancroft does, but we decided to continue to recommend him and his materials on Domestic Abuse because they were so helpful to us and many others. And we still believe that, for example, his book Why Does He Do That? provides very, very good wisdom about abusers and serves as a great help to their victims.
We do not believe there is anything dangerous in Lundy’s writings where he discusses the dynamics of domestic abuse. Our concerns are about the ‘healing retreats’ that he offers. And now he is starting what he calls his Peak Living Network. We do not recommend anyone attend those retreats or become involved in his new ventures into “Peak Living.”
We realize that this is a rather surprising announcement for you all to hear from us and we take no joy in having to make it. However, it is one thing for Bancroft to write about the mentality and tactics of abusers and the effects abuse has on victims, and it is quite another thing for him to start teaching and counseling victims regarding how to enjoy “Peak Living” in their lives. Bancroft will necessarily approach the latter in a Christ-less, worldly way that embraces philosophies and teachings that are contrary to the Word of God. His new book, for instance, The Joyous Path to Emotional Healing, would be just such an example.
Launching of his mutual support and healing network is described on his Facebook page. He says there:
I’m finally the launching the mutual support and healing network that I’ve been talking about for years.
It’s called the Peak Living Network.
The Peak Living Network is open to everyone who wants to offer and receive support for emotional healing. The glue that binds us together is people’s agreement to follow the PLN Statement of Principles. As long as you feel that you can commit to those principles, you’re part of the network.
PLN will offer a growing number of activities as time goes by, but we will begin by:
1) forming free local drop-in support groups
2) forming healing partnerships where we meet up in pairs to split
time, also known as “co-counseling” or “doing a support session.”
I AM OFFERING TWO FREE CONFERENCE CALLS
TO LAUNCH THE NETWORK.
The calls will last about an hour. In the calls I will explain how to start a local network, then answer people’s questions and offer support to get you started….
Here are the steps to participating:
1) Read the materials at the Peak Living Network website (except the piece under the “Readings” tab, which is optional)
2) Decide that you’re interested in working on building a local network
3) Send an email to
PeakLivingNetwork@protonmail.com, asking to register for the conference call and saying which call you’d like to join
After you do step three, you’ll receive an email response giving you the dial-in information for the call.
Please send any questions to
Warm wishes to all,
Can you see the inherent dangers here? How do you form “healing partnerships” who “meet up in pairs” to do co-counseling without exposing people to the ever present danger of abusers or abusers’ allies or just plain totally unqualified people hooking up with an abuse victim? In addition, the entire network will be based upon Bancroft’s own ideas of what life’s “Peak Living” should be.
Do not utilize Peak Living as a resource for yourself, and do not look to Bancroft to lead you to the Way, the Truth, and the Life that is only to be found in Jesus Christ. He won’t do it. He cannot do it.
UPDATE added 5 Feb 2018
Since we occasionally get flack for expressing our concerns about Lundy’s healing retreats and Peak Living Network, we have decided it is appropriate to give our readers a link to this old post (A New Spiritual Community) from Lundy’s website. So here it is —
That link goes to the Web Archive where in 2017 I saved this page from Lundy’s website. The archived page does not show the date Lundy first published this article at his own website, but as I recall it was 2010 or perhaps 2011. The page on Lundy’s website has been removed now, so it’s a good thing I saved it to the Web Archive where no one can ever scrub it.
For many years we have known that Lundy was a pagan who followed a belief system that he called ‘Nature Mysticism’. We did not see evidence of that belief system in his books on domestic abuse so we were and still are happy to recommend the following books by Lundy —
- Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
- Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?: Encouragement for Women Involved with Angry and Controlling Men
- The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics
- When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse
- Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A guide to knowing whether your relationship can — and should —be saved.
Caveat on this book: it contains some language and concepts that are reminiscent of New Age teachings. The problems seem to be confined to chapter eight in which there are visualization exercises, Gestalt-type exercises involving referring to oneself in the third person or as two different people, references to ‘energy’, ‘your best possible self’, ‘living from your center’, ‘being grounded’, and ‘creating a Self-Nurturing Plan’. So while the book has lots of insight into the questions and situations women battle with in abusive / unhealthy relationships, we suggest readers be discerning while reading it and not take on board or employ the elements of the book that are akin to New Age practices.
However, I (Barb) have looked at the first chapter of Lundy’s latest book called The Joyous Recovery and I definitely do not recommend it. The book is not yet published but Lundy has put the first chapter online at his website.
Basically, I think Lundy can teach you some helpful things about how abusers think and how they operate. But he can’t teach you helpful things about how to heal from the abuse you have suffered.
UPDATE added 4 Feb 2018
I (Barb) am pasting here the text of two comments I made down in the comments thread.
Here is a really concerning statement from Lundy’s Peak Living Network website. I found it on the About PLN page of that site. [This link was broken and was replaced by a link from the Internet Archive. Editors.]
We believe that there’s nothing wrong with any of us. We just need opportunities to heal emotionally and to step free of lies we’ve been told.
If there’s nothing wrong with any of us, then the Bible is garbage, original sin is a fiction, no person is born in sin, and no one needs to ask forgiveness from God.
More to the point, if there is nothing wrong with any of us, that includes abusers. So, according to what Lundy says at Peak Living, abusers just need opportunities to heal emotionally and step free of the lies they’ve been told.
But according to what Lundy says in his book Why Does He Do That and in other places where he has taught about domestic abuse, men who abuse their female partners do not improve if you offer them emotional healing modalities and they are very resistant to changing their distorted beliefs. On Lundy’s recent webinar he said that abusive men need very firm and consistently confrontation and education — they do not need to focus on their own emotions, they need to be considerate of their partner’s emotions. And even when put in a group for abusive men where they are firmly confronted and educated, abusive men seldom change into non-abusive men.
So Lundy has blatantly contradicted himself. And we have to ask why. Why is he changing his tune? Something smells very fishy here.
Here is another very concerning statement from the Principles [This link was broken and was replaced by a link from the Internet Archive. Editors.] page on Lundy’s Peak Living website.
We assume that people are telling the truth about what has happened to them.
So if an abuser comes to a Peak Living Group meeting and spins a bunch of lies, everyone else in the group is supposed to assume that that individual is telling the truth? What a recipe for disaster!
And here’s another concerning statement:
Destructive behavior patterns are signs of things that have gone wrong in a person’s life, and signs of a lack of opportunities to heal. As far as we know, no one is inherently bad, lazy, unintelligent, or selfish.
So according to Peak Living guru Lundy Bancroft, if a person chooses to abuse others, it is sign that things that have gone wrong in that person’s life, and a sign that that person has lacked opportunities to heal. Ha. Won’t abusers love that! Abusers will flock to the Peak Living Network and predate on vulnerable people who are in the Network.
Another statement from the Principles of the Peak Living Network:
We gather for the purpose of supporting each other’s healing. It is not acceptable to attend PLN activities toward a goal of finding a dating or sexual partner, networking for your business, or any purpose other than the stated one.
But Lundy has laid down the Principle that participants in the Network ought to take the default position of assuming that people in the Network are telling the truth. So all a predator needs to do is to say to the group, “I’m not attending PLN activities to find a dating or sexual partner!” and everyone else is supposed to believe that.
I predict that in Lundy’s Peak Living Network, many many women will become victimised by abusive men. And I predict that there will also be abusive women in that Network, but the majority of the abusers in the Network will be men.
And I think we can see a sign of this germinating already. Here is a screen shot from the Principles page of the website. It shows “Likes” from other people who have WordPress accounts. The first “Like” shows a photo of a man’s face. If this man is actually real and this is his real photo, he is a middle aged man. And I suggest you avoid having anything to do with him.
When I clicked on his gravatar (i.e. the photo) it showed me that the gravatar is benazeman [Internet Archive link]
[July 10, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to July 10, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to July 10, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to July 10, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 10, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]