Mar. 20 at 4:22am
I don't recall how it is that I started reading Elizabeth Esther's blog, but I know it was in connection with the problem of spiritual abuse, which we could define as systematic violation of the central features of personhood, i.e. suppression of a person's freedom, autonomy, and conscience.
It's what happens in cults and cult-like groups and families.
Elizabeth Esther grew up in one of those. Her grandfather founded a fundamentalist Christian cult, called the Assemby, in which her father and uncle were fulltime leaders. She left with her husband and small children when she was 25 and has been recovering in the ten or so years since. Blogging about her experience is part of her healing. Her tagline is "I use my words."
Last year, she wrote it all down in a book, Girl at the End of the World. I pre-ordered it months ago, got it Monday morning, and finished reading it within hours.
Her honest telling of her story throws a lot of light on my own experience in a dysfunctional family and at the covenant-community-saturated FUS of the mid-eighties.
I recommend it for everyone who was ever involved with those Covenant Communities, with the Legion of Christ, or with the kind of families in which parental authority is stressed to the neglect of freedom and individuality—families where even adult children are expected to defer to their parents' judgment, where criticism is treated as "dishonoring", and emotions as "irrational."
All of us who were in any part formed by a group or family like that have some unlearning to do (unless we conscientiously unlearn those bad dynamics, we're all-too-likely to pass them on). Reading the story of someone who's been through and found a way out is a good place to start. Deep study of Christian personalism is a great way to continue.