Journal of Heresies

My search for truth in a world of deceit.

Location: United States

I have what is probably an insatiable desire to search out the answers to what may be impossible questions.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The New Testament: Fact or Fiction?

I recently chatted with someone who had come to the opinion that the New Testament and the character of Yahshua (Jesus) is a work of fiction contrived by the Rome to make people believe what Rome wanted people to believe. If his statement is true, then Rome has pulled off the greatest fraud of all times. Yet, even if his statement isn't true, the handprint of Rome in the Christian religion has had a tremendous influence on the forms of worship and beliefs today.

It is the very stark difference between the church as described in the Bible (including the New Testament)and the Romanized church (including protestant forms) that leads me to disagree. Many of todays practices and beliefs are not mentioned and sometimes even condemned in this collection of books and letters that he believes was only propoganda. This is likely the very reason why there was a period of time when lay people were not permitted to read the Bible at all. Why prevent these people from reading a work of propaganda that was to cause them to give their allegiance to the church? Reverse psychology? I think it was because if the laity would read the Bible themselves, they would have discovered the truth and rejected the lies they were being threatened into believing.

There has indeed been extensive propaganda, but the majority of it has come through swords and tortures, death and pain. Those who disagreed with the church were tortured into a confession or killed. Hundreds of years of coercion have been so effective that glowing hot irons and shackles are no longer necessary; most people are already blind and imprisoned although their eyes can see and their feet are free to move.

Can the New Testament be trusted? For the most part, I think so. There are always people who twist scripture, who take words out of context, so it is important to read the context, and compare related scriptures including their context to understand what is being said. Just because someone sounds convincing doesn't mean that they are teaching the truth. Test everything, and prove scripture with scripture.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


If this cartoon makes you think of any particular scriptures, feel free to post them in the comments. I drew this, so if you would like to use it, please link back to this blog.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Spiritual Abuse and Manipulation

I've been reading a book to learn more about what my brother might be going through in regards to his church and to learn how people might escape from such an environment. To me, the ways in which my brother's church manipulates and the results of those manipulations are pretty serious. I also have not been totally blind to the fact that there are plenty of manipulative people within most churches. I was well aware that I have personally encountered these behaviors. I was, however, surprised to realize just how much spiritual abuse I have been a victim of and how much I have been hurt. I also realized that while I was in leadership positions, I probably unknowingly hurt people as well.

I think that over much of the past three or four years I have been in a process of discovery and recovery. Some of the posts I have written in this blog are eerily similar to some of the examples given in the book. I see now that part of the purpose of my blog is to fight back, to cry out, to warn people. Yet, as I state under my journal title, my body is still stuck, trapped in an abusive system, even though my spirit has found freedom in truth. That is why, I am fencekicker; I want completely out; I want people to wake up; I want to set the captives free. I am tired of being beat up by the church, taken advantage of, treated like a slave, and told to keep quiet.

When my husband began working for the mainstream denomination in which he is currently still employed, we were naive. We thought we would be serving God. We have sacrificed so very much here, but for what? When my husband worked 80-90 hours a week for 10 weeks straight, I used to think it was for God; Now when he works those weeks, I seethe, knowing that he is being taken advantage of and that the organization's purpose for his work is to help bring people into this messed up system. My husband thinks that our presence here can help others to see what we see; I think that we can and will do that wherever we live and work, but at least out there we don't have to be hurt anymore; out there, I can shout and sing-out what I believe from my roof top without restraint. One of the barriers to leaving discussed in the book is the thought that you have already invested so much that you should give it a little more time to see if things will get better. Perhaps this is why my husband feels compelled to stay a little longer.

This book has given me a lot to think about. Maybe the more I understand how we became imprisoned by a church and how we began to see that this isn't the way YHVH intended it to be, the more I'll be able to help my brother and his wife to see what is happening to them. Maybe when we all get out of our abusive systems, we will grow close together as our wounds heal.

I'm planning to give a copy of this book to my brother. In fact, I think I'll just go out and buy about three dozen of them to give away because I think it is very important for people to know about spiritual abuse so they can recognize it, prevent it and escape it. In case you are interested, the book is The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Mindless Faith

My brother has been involved in a fast growing church for about five years. During those five years quite a lot has happened in his life including such major changes as getting married, having children, and building their own house. I wish that I could celebrate with my brother all these significant developments in his life, but one other drastic change has also occurred: he no longer spends time or talks with me or the rest of his blood relatives. For many years, I made excuses for him because it takes time to adjust to all these life changes, but it has become increasingly clear that they don't want to have anything to do with us. So, the question is why not?

Recently, my mom tearfully explained to him that she and all of us are hurt by this separation. He gave many petty reasons such as: we don't have all the food prepared when they arrive, so they always come late (the few times they come to anything) because they feel we aren't ready for them. The sum of his statements was basically that we aren't good enough for them.

When considering the source(s) of his (and his wife's) attitude toward us there are possibilities, one of which is that their church is pulling them away from us. This has been a consideration for sometime but as I have only been to their church a few times and that some four years ago, I didn't feel I could draw that conclusion with any certaintly. I have considered attending the church to observe their ways and learn more about their teachings, but I feel that it would be logistically difficult as well as very awkward for everyone.

Yesterday, I received new insight into the workings of my brother's church. Someone (a christian) we know has some friends who started going there. One of the friends he was very close to and he thought that perhaps he and she might marry. When she first started attending she would tell him about the church, how it is organized and her experiences there. He thought about attending the church with his friends but wanted to know more about it before attending regularly and he had some questions about some of the teachings. The church is set up with a mentor system where each mentor has about 10 members he/she mentors, and each member has a mentor, and the mentors have mentors. The members are accountable to their mentor and are to keep a journal which they give to their mentor to read once a week. They also submit various personal correspondance to their mentors. Our friend who had questions had been talking with his friends particularly his female friend about his questions. She was told that she should not think about faith because it raises doubts which will then take away her faith. They also told her she needs to put an end to their friendship, and to cut off communication with him.

His sad story has many parallels with that of my brother. I feel it is likely that my brother and his wife have been instructed to keep away from us. One of the last three conversations of substance that my brother and I had (about 4-5 years ago) was one in which I disagreed with something his church had just taught. Prior to his involvement with this church, he would talk about life, faith, hopes, relationships, struggles, and joys. Now he won't discuss much of anything beyond hello, good-bye and the weather.

I miss my brother. I wish we could share our lives with each other as we once did. I am also deeply concerned about him and his family. Any church that teaches its members to not think or ask questions is dangerous. If its teachings are true, then the church should not fear questions and discussion because the the result of a person impartially investigating the matter will only show that their teachings are true. It is only those who teach falsehood who need fear that their teachings be thought about, examined or challenged.

What can be done? A church has imprisoned my brother and he doesn't know that it has enslaved him.