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Author Topic: McCotter Poison  (Read 56984 times)
Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #120 on: January 17, 2022, 06:35:38 pm »


McCotter Poison

Preying Upon Sheep



Linda (and perhaps others) found this biblically wise psychologist some time ago, who confronts abuse and obviously carries a calling especially for those wounded inside the church. Her latest book is “Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church.”

In addition to serving on boards for several Christian Ministries which address trauma, and writing a number of books, Dr. Langberg also has her own practice near Philadelphia, PA with 16 clinicians. I would guess in the event of COVID at least some of the therapists see patients online or over the phone, so distance may not be an issue. Here is here website: https://www.dianelangberg.com/

On the website I found an article she wrote that speaks very clearly and directly to spiritual abuse in the church. I believe she is also prayerfully addressing leaders covering up such abuse. I have included excerpts below:



When the Sheep are Preyed Upon

Acknowledging the Tragic Reality of the Church's Spiritual Abuse Problem

Diane Langberg



A church that follows her Head, the Good and Great Shepherd, is a refuge for the flock, a place of green pastures and clear waters, a place of restoration for wounded sheep and most certainly, a place that fights off the wolves. The secular and religious news media have globally exposed the fact that not only are there wolves in the fold, we have, in the name of our God, protected their place among God’s sheep by complicity, cover-up, and deceit. We have protected the institution of shepherding rather than the sheep. This results in untold damage being done to the body of Christ by those who name his name. ...

Leaders engaged in spiritual abuse use their position and words to coerce another by manipulating, deceiving, or humiliating them. They say, “God says . . .” followed by words that do not reflect the character of our God. ...

I believe as Christ-followers we are called to wrestle with the issue of abuse in Christian circles, fearlessly facing what is happening and the harm being done to vulnerable and precious people dearly loved by God.

...an ability to articulate theological truths does not mean the speaker is an obedient servant of God. ...

Sometimes that “servant of God” turns out to be a bully, working the system and its people to feed himself, taking what he thinks he needs or deserves. When this happens, it’s often confusing, and others may excuse the behavior. ...

But over time a pattern is revealed as decisions are made and actions taken to benefit or preserve the leader rather than care for the followers. The leader—and others with power—believe that if he fails, the whole system everyone has worked so hard to build will go down. The system is protected rather than the sheep. The “mission” controls leadership rather than the Master.

Leaders and followers in such a system become focused on serving the system rather than serving God. But the system is not the Savior. It’s an easy deception to fall into, but it leads to hiding, ignoring, or denying malignant toxins that then go untreated. Sexual abuse, domestic violence, the abuse of power, arrogance, and many other things take root. The system has the equivalent of untreated cancer. ...

The position and authority of leaders are coupled with scriptures that are twisted to protect the system, rather than keeping the sheep of God’s pasture safe. The damage is devastating, often with lifelong repercussions.

... The unstated, but governing purpose becomes attracting more people, raising more money, or achieving greater renown. We end up building systems on a foundation of deception rather than on Jesus. As a result, we practice oppression, silencing, dehumanizing violence, arrogance, and corruption. We deceive ourselves, protecting within our systems the very toxins that will kill it if left untended. ...

No so-called Christian system is truly God’s work unless it fleshes out his character. Toleration of sin, pretense, and crookedness do not reveal the character of God, even if they bear his name. Arrogance is never godly. Covering up sin is never godly. Abuse of power is never godly. Shepherds who feed on sheep are abusive. Leadership that preserves and protects the system, rather than the people, turns the house of God into a safe place for predators. Those who come to feed on God himself find themselves being the main course instead.


From the full article:

https://erlc.com/resource-library/spotlight-articles/when-the-sheep-are-preyed-upon/



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« Reply #121 on: January 18, 2022, 01:52:15 pm »

If you Google “Complex Trauma Diane Langberg” there is a helpful “time-mark” breakdown (on the initial search page) of her talk to educate Christian Leaders helping people with complex trauma in their ministries. “Complex” differing from “PTSD” in that the Trauma was repetitive for years (quite possibly from more than one source) rather than an event. This seems to fit very well with the kind of trauma suffered by children of abusive discipline by some GCx parents; and the very twisted representation of God in the home and GCx Church resulting in perceived worthlessness, rejection and punishment of themselves.

I cannot emphasize enough how clear and extremely helpful Dr. Langberg is in putting together the puzzle pieces of this newly recognized type of trauma. While listening I found myself taking deep sighs of relief when understanding why I respond the way I do. It moves me to be more merciful and patient with myself and others. I believe many children and adults suffered under such abuse for years from the teaching and practices of GCx and still may live with the fallout from the resulting Complex Trauma.

Toward the end, Dr. Langberg says the way to recovery is to reverse the abuse. In my own words, if there was silence, there lies a deep need to voice the abuse. Where there was shame and hiding there needs to be a safe place to be heard, seen and treated honorably. Where there was rejection and demanded perfection, there needs to be an environment of unconditional love and grace.  

There are so many healing truths and tools in this talk. I feel any could take away just one to give them a new outlook of hope and healing.



Here is the initial search page with the talk timeline.

https://www.google.com/search?q=complex+trauma+diane+langberg&rlz=1C9BKJA_enUS741US741&oq=complex+trauma+diane&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0i22i30.14025j0j7&hl=en-US&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8https://www.google.com/search?q=complex+trauma+diane+langberg&rlz=1C9BKJA_enUS741US741&oq=complex+trauma+diane&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0i22i30.14025j0j7&hl=en-US&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8



Actual Talk -
Complex Trauma: Understanding and Treatment, Diane Langberg

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=otxAuHG9hKo



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« Reply #122 on: February 22, 2022, 07:57:18 pm »

Previously, we discussed traumatic child rearing that McCotter practiced and taught; including through the real stories of some children growing up in the church group he founded. Sadly, some similarities may have been common to the Duggar family, as are now being exposed.

When the Duggar’s began their “Reality” Show Back in 2008, I could hardly stand to watch it. It definitely triggered me. It was too much like some of the families in GCx. Honestly, those families depressed me. Something was flat about them. They were too perfect. There was a lot of pretension in public, and apparently a lot of pressure in private. Reading the stories of children who suffered under unhealthy and even abusive control makes me so sad for them. It actually seemed sad back then just observing them in public.

Recently, I have come across some video clips about the Duggar Family. One clip was of Michelle Duggar receiving a “Mother of the Year” or some such award from Vision Forum. In the front row was old GCx member, Geoffrey Botkin, and his wife. Others were of Josh Duggar. But, the video “podcast” I saw today about Jim Bob’s unhealthy and insensitive control of his family gave confirmation to my earlier triggers. The way he seems to be abusively isolating the rest of his family from his daughter Jill by labeling her “dangerous” seemed eerily familiar. Jim Bob has blocked her from not only the family in his house, but even talking to her own mother. According to the Jill, this is because she has done her own investigating and is finding out things that were hidden and even deceptively disguised. According to the podcast people who know Jim Bob say he is all about his success and image even at, it seems, the cost of his own family.

I realize this appears like a bunch of gossip. Some may wonder why I should care about some “reality celebrities?” My answer is I was curious if something that really bothered me years ago had what I suspected behind it. Sometimes our gut knows more than our eyes or ears.



Link to: Jill Duggar Labeled “Dangerous,” Cut off by Jim Bob
https://youtu.be/LmY8gMp6Y8w



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« Reply #123 on: February 23, 2022, 01:01:30 pm »

Unlike you, Janet, I didn't initially pick up on the dysfunction back when I first watched the show. I thought they seemed like a wholesome, if unusual, family. The thing that opened my eyes was an episode where everyone was up on the platform at some kind of church, when one of the little boys fell through some kind of trap door in the flooring. Instead of rushing to help him, the whole family whipped out their phones to record him lying down there, scared and in pain. Presumably they did it to get footage for the show. I could no longer watch the show after that.

In my opinion the Duggar parents made an enormous mistake when they acted as if Josh's abuse of his sisters were "just" an act of illicit sex. Even putting aside the ages of the girls (just for the sake of argument), abusing a victim who is asleep and unaware of the abuse--and therefore unable to either object or consent--is a whole different category of evil. Biblically speaking, all sex outside of marriage is a sin, but sexually predatory behavior is not the same dynamic as consensual nonmarital sex. It's a profoundly serious issue that a few weeks of work camp (the Duggars' solution) can't fix. What a genuine tragedy it was for Josh, that his parents didn't seek expert professional help for him when he first told them about the problem.

But then, even on this forum, there have been posts that express the same underlying attitude. There have been posts here from people who judge sexual sin solely by how much physical contact was made, without regard for things like coercion, consent, or manipulation.
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« Reply #124 on: February 23, 2022, 10:01:25 pm »

How weird that they all went for their phone camera instead of rushing to help him. Talk about twisted priorities. That’s a wee bit like Jesus’ story of the animal falling into the pit on the Sabbath and the Pharisees leaving him there to suffer because it was a Sabbath day when they were not to work. It becomes of prime importance that one is presenting a “godly” image to “keep the law,” rather than the actual care of what God has entrusted you.

Kind of like the wife of someone with child-molesting tendencies & preoccupation with child pornography staying with him along with her young children because of appearances and “keeping the law” (not to separate or divorce) are more important than the actual children. They have lost connection to Jesus if they ever had it.


I pray some of these GCx parents realize their “image-building” and legalism came at the cost of their children’s hurt and suffering. I pray that they ask their adult children’s forgiveness and begin the process of healing.



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« Reply #125 on: March 20, 2022, 08:38:13 pm »

There were more than a few verses that McCotter exploited to paint himself (or the church he founded) as the hero in the midst of great trouble. He threatened often the danger of a life distracted, wasted or regretted. Frequently, this was portrayed as those outside the church. Even the most dedicated Christians outside his GCx Churches were “missing the mark”, according to his teaching. He and other leaders regularly manipulated and frightened their people by threatening, “Good is the enemy of the best.” He continually defended at length his claim that only in his churches would we find the true and best biblical model for “New Testament Christianity.

Just a couple of the many verses he used to persuasively appear “biblical” in his methods were Psalm 81:16 and Proverbs 13:20.


But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Psalm 81:16


He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Proverbs 13:20


With each verse he implied or outrightly taught that his church was the finest of the wheat, and that he was the wise man. Teaching or Implying all other churches or Christian pursuits or leadings of the Holy Spirit were enemies of THE BEST, and even folly. This was “so” because McCotter and his leaders said it was so. And the severe discipline of God was upon anyone attempting to actually investigate those claims outside their walls, according to McCotter and GCx Leaders.

Looking back now upon these arrogant and farcical claims, with emotional and physical distance between us, it is much plainer to recognize that they were bogus. Quoting the authority of scripture in reference to a false claim does not make that claim true. Sadly, it appears to hide the lie. McCotter and his cohorts hid their continual wrongdoings behind scripture to defend their actions. But searching the scripture, observing their character, and getting biblical counsel outside their sources reveal the truth that in fact, the false claimers are often the true culprits.

In fact, they were the fools we suffered harm from, as we were constantly isolated in their company. They were far from the finest of wheat to our soul, actually more like straw.




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« Reply #126 on: May 24, 2022, 09:16:19 pm »



Jim was an interesting study. Intense, dynamic, and yet there seemed to be something disconnected there. By the time this conference came up, I was already having doubts about the group, and when he came out with this statement [ "I don't know why Jesus hasn't come back yet. I've taught you all I know."], it just confirmed what I'd suspected-- that there was something really off about this whole thing.
-RD


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« Reply #127 on: July 21, 2022, 08:24:50 pm »


Spiritual Bullying



The Gospel Coalition addresses Church Leaders who practice bullying. McCotter was one of the prominent bullies among GCx leaders. As the founder, he modeled this guilt-inducing manipulative behavior to press others by fear into service. He scathingly abused many a person all the while labeling it “godly” shepherding.



So, why do some churches and Christian ministries tolerate this behavior? No doubt there are many answers to that question. But let me suggest a primary one: we have forgotten how often Scripture speaks to bullying behavior as disqualifying for ministry.  . . .

In summary, qualified leaders should be characterized as follows:

Not a bully, but gentle
Not domineering, but setting an example.
Not lording it over, but being a servant.
Not quarrelsome, but kind …



Standing up to Spiritual Bullying -TGC

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/standing-up-to-bully-pastors/



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« Reply #128 on: July 22, 2022, 07:00:45 pm »


Coercive and Calculated Control


There have been more people over the years than we realize that have researched the GCx Leadership and Organization and submitted their findings to various sources. My own cousin submitted a paper to the University of Maryland on the cultic personality of GCx (perhaps prompted partly by the severe change of a robotic nature in my behavior). Members of this Forum have also written papers discussing it’s cultic control on this site. At least one member posted on how cathartic it was for other victims of spiritual abuse when they discussed their paper in a college class. Their class instructor gave kudos for the set up and help of this site.

One brilliant work is that of Jerry MacDonald who did a lengthy paper on the inner control of GCx: “Reject the Wicked Man" Coercive Persuasion and Deviance Production: A Study of Conflict Management found on the GCx Web Library.

MacDonald submits his work at the University of Virginia using a organizational pseudonym “Oasis.” A Note appears at the top of his paper (on this site only) that this research is actually based on GCx. His research was accomplished through thorough interviewing of former and (then) current GCx members; documenting, studying, and analyzing to uncover unbiblical and abusively controlling strategies (even neofascist and communist) for cultish loyalty of its people.

In order to highlight some pause-worthy statements from his work, I am beginning an outline of snippets from these eye-opening findings using the author’s words. Each one is worth some pondering and many reveal intention to implement thought reform or “brain-washing” in order to create a following. Reading the entire paper through is the best way to examine it. These excerpts are meant only as a teaser.



Since the movement always was characterized by extremely strict rules on communication,
many pieces of the puzzle only surfaced when ex-members,
freed from communicational bondage,
finally expressed what they had heard, seen, and experienced. ...

• • • • • • •

Some ex-members found part-time jobs as quasi-deprogrammers and lecturers to several
anti-cult organizations around the country. Others actively sought to help others out of the
group through contacting parents, legal officials, the media, and other religious organizations. ...

• • • • • • •

With ex-members fighting back, the sect imposed even more rigorous standards
of communicational control.

• • • • • • •

Members who had left "in good standing" were excommunicated ex post facto
to preclude any contact with friends still in the group. ...as well as anyone
who listened to an evil report about the church or its leadership.

• • • • • • •

Excommunication latae sententiae helped initiate the procedure inquisiiio
(since latae sententiae implied excommunication without trial), and the entire membership
became self-appointed watchdogs on other members.
Inquisitio was activated by public rumor (fama).

• • • • • • •

There seems to be no doubt that internal and external circumstances have aided in the
development of a modem-day inquisition within the sect under scrutiny. Several parallels
to the elaborate development of the "Holy Inquisition" of the Middle Ages on continental
Europe have been observed. ...

• • • • • • •

It has been stated that leaving OASIS is likened to leaving God. Disobeying sect leaders
is like disobeying God, and there is no doubt that excommunication procedures are
employed, not for crimes against God, but for crimes against the church.
In the sect's thinking, there apparently is no difference between them.




From:

Reject the Wicked Man" Coercive Persuasion and Deviance Production: A
 Study of Conflict Management
by Jerry Paul MacDonald

http://gcxweb.org/Academic/RejectTheWickedMan.aspx



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« Reply #129 on: July 25, 2022, 07:38:46 pm »


Coercive and Calculated Control

Part Two


The progressive “revelation” of McCotter to build a “superior church” that would not fail to “conquer the world for Christ” obviously did not come from Heaven. It was not God’s message, nor did he send this false prophet/teacher. It didn’t honor Christ because it falsely tore down centuries of devoted believers who served and loved their Savior. The “vision” also intentionally undermined what current faithful Christian leaders around the world were doing. This is the same bait that the false teachers who were trying to undermine the Apostle Paul used, to draw disciples away from him to themselves.

McCotter’s “Vision” attempted to exult himself and his “superior strategy” on par with great fathers of the faith all the while blasting them with slanderous accusations of missing the mark in their own “failed strategies.”

Furthermore, the “revelational” requirements did NOT align with God’s Character or Word. The fearful isolation, the idolatrous loyalty, the ungodly zeal, the utilitarian value of people, the undeserved rebuking —all to create a separate “superior” culture.

Jerry MacDonald does a thorough job in comparing such a culture to a Utopia. Here are more snippets from his very good work, “”Reject the Wicked Man" Coercive Persuasion and Deviance Production: A
 Study of Conflict Management.” MacDonald uses the pseudonym “OASIS” in his paper, which is actually GCx. All emphasis below is mine.



They must present themselves as radically different from past religious utopias.
Within OASIS, this problem is dealt with through a theory of progressive revelation...  

* * * * *

...OASIS refers to the strategy of world conquest as the "Heavenly Vision."
OASIS envisions the implementation of new utopian strategies that are cloaked
within the pages of the Bible and which have just now been clearly revealed.

* * * * *

This revelation makes the rest of Christianity apostate. . . .

* * * * *

Utopias can carry the segmentation of normative life to extremes
of such magnitude that totalist control systems arise.

* * * * *

Such a system requires of its adherents extremes
of devotion, participation, and relationships.






Link to Entire Paper:
Reject the Wicked Man" Coercive Persuasion and Deviance Production:
A
 Study of Conflict Management
by Jerry Paul MacDonald

http://gcxweb.org/Academic/RejectTheWickedMan.aspx



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« Reply #130 on: July 29, 2022, 07:29:02 pm »


Coercive and Calculated Control

Part Three



Your lips have spoken lies...
No one calls for justice;
No one pleads his case with integrity.

They rely on empty arguments and speak lies;
they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.

They... spin a spider’s web...

The way of peace they do not know;
There is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;
no one who walks with them will know peace.

Isaiah 59:3, 4, 5, 8   (emphasis mine)




...extremes can become so well-defined and specific that an individual's
entire life may be reduced to a checklist
 
of conforming behaviors, attitudes, and activities.

***

...there is an extremely strong emphasis on boundary maintenance
and a tendency to develop a segmented ethic
and a utilitarian purpose cloaked in utopian ideals.

***

...with the surface norms subservient to the deeper, hidden designs and purposes...  
Surface norms stress the idealism and the righteousness of the cause.
Below the surface...  ...boundary maintenance is the crucial interface
between successful recruitment outside legitimation,* and the suppression or cloaking
of underlying structural norms and strategies
.**





*Legitimation in the social sciences refers to the process whereby an act, process, or ideology
becomes legitimate by its attachment to norms and values within a given society. (Wikipedia)


**In other words perhaps, the success of bringing more people into GCx groups/churches
depends upon the success of hiding their inside mode of operation.



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« Reply #131 on: July 31, 2022, 12:05:05 pm »


Coercive and Calculated Control

Part Four  (Brainwashing)


The American Psychological Association defines brainwashing as:

a broad class of intense and often coercive tactics intended to produce profound changes in attitudes, beliefs, and emotions. Targets of such tactics have typically been prisoners of war and members of religious cults (emphasis theirs).

MacDonald maps out in “Reject The Wicked Man: Coercive Persuasion and Deviance Production” the deeper coercive operation of control of member’s knowledge or “information collection” about the group  in the guise of accomplishing a church “Utopia.” Former GCx members post here of its frequent inside “rebuking by disciplers/leaders” regarding unsanctioned communication between members. These include discouraging access to outside friends and family by limiting outside communication through guilt and fear tactics. These may include fear of being labeled “rebellious,” shunning and excommunication.

These oppressive measures are rationalized with erroneous twisting of the Word of God, and persuasive implication that they were necessary to purify and  preserve the groups’ “mission to conquer the world with the gospel.” The danger and error of that excuse is that they demonstrate and teach unhealthy and oppressive practices of the same “God’s Good News of abounding grace”;tragically causing many to abandon the fellowship of “the church” and ultimately “the faith.”

What most reject is not real relationship with Jesus and the pure gospel itself, but the cultish control they have been brainwashed to accept as “the superior way to follow and please God.” GCx’s mode of operation involved many ungodly methods that were in rebellion and deviation to the Word of God, actually making it quite inferior to healthy traditional churches.

Here are more of MacDonald’s marvelously researched gems. He breaks down the strange phenomenon that happens inside its walls.




An elaborate dual system of information is thus in operation,
one for potential members, public relations,
and legitimization purposes and another for the actual members of the sect ...

* * * *

Within OASIS, the most crucial boundary, and the one with the most rigid controls,
centers around out-going and in-coming information.
...specifically on conversations to and from individuals - from outsiders to members,
from members to outside individuals, and even from one member to another.
...an atmosphere of suspicion and watchfulness comes to permeate the movement...

* * * *

When individual members question the leadership about extremes of sect teaching
or behavior, they are most often met with childlike guidelines for dealing with their confusion.
The sect emphasizes simple submission, unquestioning obedience and childlike trust,
as well as member acceptance of the belief that their "untrained" ability for spiritual
discernment renders their opinions and concerns unwarranted or"worldly."

They are taught to distrust their own perceptions and observations. ...

* * * *

A stress on loyalty by sect leadership indicates the prevalence of a wide variety
of disconfirming* information that is perceived to be damaging to the sect.
Continual collective efforts to rationalize disconfirming information of behaviors
through public teaching and publishing most often result.




*Disconfirmation: denying or refuting the validity of. Contradict; negate
    (Merriam-Webster)




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