Books - Spiritual Abuse


Contact ICSA about purchasing copies of books with an asterisk (*).  Others available from Amazon and other sources.  Links go to book reviews on this site.

* Damaged Disciples
 - Ron and Vicki Burks
This book is an account of the years the authors spent in the shepherding movement and their struggle to break free and rebuild their lives.

From Dean's List to Dumpsters: Why I Left Harvard to Join a Cult - Jim Guerra
Personal account of ten years in the nomadic Jim Roberts group. Discusses "forsaking all," being plagued by mites, denied marriage, isolation from family, dumpster diving.

* Boston Movement: Critical Perspectives on the International Churches of Christ - Carol Giambalvo & Herbert Rosedale (Eds.)
The International Churches of Christ, formerly known as the Boston Church of Christ and often referred to as the Boston Movement, has stimulated much controversy.  This book includes personal accounts, historical information, and helping perspectives.


Churches that Abuse - Ronald Enroth
In this book, case histories of individuals, couples, and families whose lives have been devastated by the abusive practices of power-driven leaders are presented in detail. 

Cult Proofing Your Kids - Paul R.Martin
Explains how dedicated Christians and others can fall into the trap of cults and fringe churches, with a focus on what families can do to prevent involvement and help those who have become involved.

* Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years as a Sacred Prostitute in the Children of God - Miriam Williams
"In this compelling, cautionary tale of a spiritual odyssey gone haywire, Miriam shaes her extraordinary existence as a holy whore and the daunting experience of rebuilding a normal life."

* I Can't Hear God Anymore - Wendy Duncan
A first-person account of the author's seven-year experience as a member of The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas, an outwardly reputable Christian organization set up to model Christian living at its best.

Recovering from Churches that Abuse - Ronald Enroth
This book uses personal accounts "to describe the processes of recovery, obstacles encountered" and "factors that inhibit or retard recovery."


Provides historical background, personal accounts, chapters by helping professionals, and chapters on special topics,e.g., children.

Soul Repair: Rebuilding Your Spiritual Life - Jeff vanVonderan and Dale & Juanita Ryan
Provides suggestions for those who have a "toxic combination of fear and shame" as a result of a spiritually abusive experience.

The Discipling Dilemma: A Study of the Discipling Movement Among Churches of Christ - Flavil R. Yeakley, Jr.
This book is a serious, documented study that analyzes the discipling movement objectively, pointing out both strengths and weaknesses for careful consideration by leaders and members of other churches of Christ. The book includes a chapter on the author's well-known research study that used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to investigate group pressures within the movement.

* The Heresy of Mind Control - Stephen Martin
Examines Lifton's view of mind control from a Biblical perspective.

* The Twelve Tribes: aka Messianic Communities - Journey from Orthodoxy to Heresy - Rev. Robert Pardon and Judy Pardon
Detailed description of the history, theology, structure, and psychological aspects of the Twelve Tribes, aka Messianic Communities.

The Psychic Mafia - M. Lamar Keene
Known as the "Prince of the Spiritualists," Keene, in this powerful and nakedly honest autobiographical account, says he isn't the only fraud prowling the world of the paranormal.

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse - David Johnson, Jeff Vanvonderen
Churches are meant to be safe places where spiritual leaders help and equip the members for the work of service. There are some churches, however, where leaders use their spiritual authority to control and dominate others, attempting to meet their own needs for importance, power, intimacy or spiritual gratification. Through the subtle use of the right "spiritual" words, church members are manipulated or shamed into certain behaviors or performance that ensnares in legalism, guilt and begrudging service. This is spiritual abuse, and the results can be shattering. Deeply ingrained spiritual codes of written and unwritten rules control and condemn, wounding believers' spirits and keeping them from the grace and joy of God's kingdom. Believers find themselves enslaved to a system, a leader, a standard of performance that saps true spiritual life.

Toxic Faith - Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton
Toxic Faith distinguishes between a healthy faith and a misguided religiosity that traps believers in an addictive practice of religion. It shows how unbalanced ministries, misguided churches, and unscrupulous leaders can lead their followers away from God and into a desolate experience of religion that drives many to despair. Toxic Faith shows readers how to find hope for a return to genuine, healthy faith that can add meaning to life. In the words of the author, ?I want to help you throw out that toxic faith and bring you back to the real thing.?

A sensitive and insightful analysis about why Evangelicals show up frequently among cults and why it is so easy for Evangelical groups to appropriate cult-like practices and, more by implication and application than direct labeling, why destructive cults appear under Christian/Evangelical banners.