Monday, July 8, 2013

Pigs In The Pulpit: One Family's Escape From Years of Cult-like Mind Control and Spiritual Abuse

I ran this story many, many months ago.  In light of the recent mental melt down of Dave Pack and Bob Thiel it is even more appropriate today, particularly with Dave Pack.  These men are about to cause serious damage to their members.

While we all find it intriguing to watch the mental breakdown of Pack, Flurry and Thiel over the last several months, this trend is not unique to these guys or with Armstrongism itself.  When legalism is the method of operation in a church it opens wide door for abuse to occur.

We notice it so much in Armstrongism because we have all lived through it.  However, it goes on in other churches as well.

Black and white thinking, law vs. grace, pastors who have all the answers, hidden secret knowledge only for the few, setting dates, prophesying end-time events that never come to pass, and on and on the list of things these abusers do can go..

Buy the book here: Pigs in the Pulpit

From the web site:

There is a dirty little secret in the church world today...

What is truly perplexing, while literally millions of well-meaning and trusting believers and church members have been devastated by its aftermath, no one really wants to talk about it.

 A compelling and powerful new book entitled Pigs in the Pulpit does talk about it, and exposes pastors and other church leaders who spiritually violate the trust placed in them by their vulnerable followers.

What these “leaders” are guilty of is spiritual abuse of authority…and it is rampant in epidemic proportions among Bible-believing Christians. It is often concealed and subtly sold to honorable people under other, more palatable terms such as, “shepherding,” “standing under authority,” “submission to leadership” and many other catchphrases.

 For almost seventeen years, J. Michael Wittman, author of Pigs in the Pulpit, his wife and children were part of a fundamentalist Christian church. Slowly over time, they were shocked to realize that what they were supporting was controlling and spiritually abusive.

 "It's an oxymoron," says Wittman, "The terms 'spiritual' and 'abuse' certainly seem at odds with one another. But in the religious system and Christian church world today, there are countless trusting, hurting members of the Body of Christ who have been deceived and victimized by systematically abusive church leaders and organizations."

In their own lives, including a time when they were appointed and served as assistant pastors of a small church in Pennsylvania, the Wittmans were told who to befriend, where to live and work, what cars to drive and clothing to wear, when to donate money, how much money to give and who to give it to…the list went on and on. Any questioning of “the leadership” or deviation from the "rules of membership," were dealt with brutally and without appeal.

When they finally stood up and objected to the harsh treatment and rigid, controlling environment they and others were experiencing, their lives became a terrifying ordeal and living hell. The Wittmans’ opposition to the manipulative system, and attempt to escape the church leader's influence and control, ultimately turned into a confrontation that included threats against their health and safety.

"I, for one, have been sickened by church scandals and horrific stories of child abuse, sexual immorality and even murder in the headlines, all ‘in the name of God.’ Before I started writing Pigs in the Pulpit, I asked myself, ‘How could intelligent seekers of spiritual truth allow such things to happen to them?’ I strongly feel, through my story, that some long-awaited answers will be brought to light.

“We’ve all seen the extreme examples of Jim Jones and the People’s Temple in Guyana; David Koresh and the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas; Tony Alamo and more, and said to ourselves, ‘That could never happen to us.’

“Then along comes another Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker or Ted Haggard, who publicly fall from grace, and we realize that the lies, manipulation and deceit are more subtle and run far deeper than we’ve imagined.

 “It is my heart's desire to see the 'spiritual Bernie Madoff' type of church leaders, who damage, deceive and rip-off believers, exposed and replaced by loving, nurturing servants who truly want to be Christ-like examples to God's people.

 "Through this book, I attempt to provide some clarity to the abused, suffering and confused Christian convert, who asks, 'How could this happen to me?' and ‘Does Jesus still love me?’ I want them to know that what they’ve endured wasn’t their fault, and they can have a fulfilling and vibrant life with God, outside the small and narrow confines of the religious system.”


Sweetblood777 said...

One of my concerns is the question. Is Dave Pack capable of murder?

I say this, as he by all appearances is in a meltdown.

I know he thinks that 3 of the big cog ministers will die soon, and I wonder if he is going to ensure that happens.

mruscan said...

That is what I was wondering the other day. Why are the other COGs so silent on Dave's rantings? If I were a leader of a COG and some nut job was ragging on me, I'd write a member letter letting everyone know what a jerk he was and all the details of his past problems. Its one thing to throw insults around, but when you get into talking about people dying, its on the verge of weird. I recommend anyone still attending a cog, stay home the weekend of 8/30.

Byker Bob said...

Sweetblood, I may be mistaken, but I don't believe Dave would murder anyone. Although he appears insatiable in terms of who and what he might gobble up, I think he's going to indemnify himself against losing what he has built. Even Mafia members will do that up to a point.

That said, there are certainly some new levels to which he could sink, while still managing to hold on to everything. Certainly the Weinland debacle has to have served as a cautionary tale. Pack is probably like a Lance Armstrong type, who believes in playing to win, not necessarily playing fair.

I would highly recommend to his loyalists that they keep their options open. Kind of a hang loose type of thing.
Stuff could come at them hard, changing everything instantly.


Anonymous said...

Look up an early sermon of Packs. He said that a waitress was killed who he knew. Some time around that time he said that people die to who cross him. Not sure if that were coincidence or not. But scary none the less.

Anonymous said...

Dave would probably have better luck if he got into Dianetics and opened the first Church of Scientology, Seventh Day. Can't you just visualize him sitting at his desk with his E-meter hooked up to one of his deacons, freeing the man of all his engrams, and getting him "clear". He would probably actually draw more converts from amongst the Scientologists than from the ACOGs, but is that a bad thing? Those folks are typically very affluent and accustomed to paying huge sums to their church.

On second thought, forget the above. The Scientologists whom I have known generally live happy, non-fearful, productive lives, and Dave's belief system and complexes would totally wreck their lives.

Guess Who

Anonymous said...

In my religion, Mr. Armpit is called, "The Source", and he can show you the way to "clear" your wallet and bank account of all your superfluous dough.

It's great being a Sabbathtologist. I have secret knowledge, and super blessings and super powers to help those in need.

You see, over 1900 years ago, the evil 'Overlord Worldzu' stole the TRUTH and hid it under layers of women's makeup.
Then, in these end times, Mr. Armpit began scraping away the layers of makeup from Miss Kitty and others, releasing The TRUTH underneath, for the benefit of all (especially himself).

Now, me and my bad-ass gun-toting wife live a life of bliss on our ranch, content with our superior spiritual knowledge/blessings/protection, sitting on stockpiles of food, guns and ammo, waiting to show the "world" our brand of love, by shooting anyone who comes after our food.

It's nice being a hero in part of the most grandiose cosmic plan ever!