Cindy, at the Under Much Grace blog has so kindly allowed us to re-post this article, entitled:
As we have seen in many of the stories here ( Kip's , for example), this is very much a reality. Please stop over at Cindy's blog...but I must warn you...there is so much good information that you will need to have time on your hands! Very educational.
For those that have answered A Call for Reconciliation, please take notes!
Sometimes, members of a high demand group or a spiritually abusive church are called in to sessions of confrontation with their group leadership, pastors, and elders in order to intimidate them and to secure their compliance with group demands. And quite often, when people discover problems with manipulation, doctrine, or exploitation within their spiritually abusive church, they feel responsible to inform their leadership. Many people seek out their leaders to inform their leaders that they are leaving their group, just as a courtesy, to find personal closure, and sometimes, to hopefully make their spiritual abuser aware of the hurtful if not harmful nature of their actions – a personal courtesy to them.
Because of the authoritarian nature of spiritually abusive groups and the dynamics by which the leaders perpetuate control and coercion of the followers, group leaders generally react to this type of confrontation in very predictable ways. Such a system demands compliance with a certain set of dynamics, one of which demands complete perfection of the group, the way it does things, and the decisions made by the leaders. The group defines ultimate truth, so the group leadership speaks on God's behalf. The system demands complete devotion and compliance, requiring unquestioned obedience and complete submission to authority to any of their superiors on their chain of command. Because these dynamics demand that the follower assume fault at all costs, for the purposes of discussion, we have named the sessions of confrontation the “Star Chamber.”
Manipulative groups also make use of shame sessions that demand that the follower confess their faults to the group and the leadership. Deeply personal information elucidated in the “star chamber” can generally be extracted from group members because of the threatening nature of the confrontation sessions, what some high demand groups have formally called “the Hot Seat.”
If you're planning to confront a church leader that you suspect might be spiritually abusive, you will find this series of blog posts quite helpful. If you have advanced knowledge of the nature of a meeting to which you've been summoned, or if you are planning to confront manipulative church leaders, please take advantage of this information in advance. If you are recovering from this aspect of spiritual abuse which often proves to be quite difficult because of the moral questions that arise, you will likely find this information helpful to you as you work through the anger, grief, recovery, moving through your experience into triumph.
The many posts on the subject have been categorized to make them easier to navigate.
Thought Conversion During Confrontations
With a Manipulative Leader
(What is the Church Star Chamber and the Hot Seat?)
Considerations and Protective Measures to Take
When You Encounter a Hot Seat / Star Chamber Meeting