Blog Post by RobbieLeeYah
Spiritual Abuse is trying to control, manipulate, exploit, and dominate another person using spirituality, faith, and the misinterpretation of scripture. However, the scripture application could be correct, but the group or individual’s motives are to manipulate and control another person or group of people. Spiritual abuse can also be unintentional, without any evil intent by a family member or friend. We can even practice spiritual self-abuse. But the results are the same. For example, sharing our faith convictions that are based on YouTube commentary that demonizes the name “Yahweh” can be spiritually abusive to the group or the individual who believes Yahweh is the Divine Name of our Heavenly Father. Although we know that the ancient Israelites mixed pagan worship with true worship, what came first, the chicken or the egg?
In the Torah community, especially for those who believe they are descendants of the two southern tribes, the name Yahuah is very popular. When people from one group undermine their brother’s pronunciation use of the name “Yahweh ” “Yahawah” vs. the name “Yahuah” isn’t that a form of group conformity to control the words expressed by another individual or group by insisting that the name “Yahweh” represents a demonized entity? People who do not have scholarship in Semitic language and etymology are manipulating others like they are an entitled authority figure to accept or reject people to be a part of their social construct. Many people who have left Christianity find themselves seeking support and acceptance from the Hebraic Torah community that practices spiritual abuse at times without even being aware of what they are doing because they are focused on conformity to avoid disunity. In those efforts it can foster a “Divine Name group clicking” culture based on separation by pronunciation. One letter difference between the tetragrammaton consonants of our Father’s name has resulted in the following divided groups: Yahweh group, Yahuah group, Yahawah group, Yehovah group, and the list goes on. I gave just one example based on the Divine Name.
There are Sabbath, calendar, and doctrinal issues that cause members to feel vulnerable to controlling leaders that will solidify the perceived correct information addressing their concerns. On a personal note, I was in a religion for more than forty years that was very controlling. As a member of this religious group, it was made very clear that since we speak English, we are required to only use the name “Jehovah” although in some of their Bible publications, the name “Yahweh” was mentioned more than a few times. If you did not comply with this religious and social culture, you would be marked as bad association or, worse being, labeled an apostate. After all, you took on the label of being called a “Jehovah’s Witness.” If you broke this name pronunciation rule applied to the religious group, you could be disassociated and shunned from the congregation, your family, and friends if they are a part of that religion. I have dealt with being in this shunning situation since 2018. I have a loving Torah assembly that I fellowship with that’s helping me to heal from spiritual abuse.
There are many aspects of abuse regarding this issue. I just discussed the pronunciation of our Heavenly Father’s name as one example. Another aspect of spiritual abuse is the emotional baggage it creates.
Although I anticipated the consequences of pursuing an opposing spiritual path, I was unprepared for the many emotions that surfaced. Some of those emotions are fear, insecurity, loneliness, betrayal, anger, guilt, embarrassment, regret, remorse, and bewilderment. In addition, I experienced a loss of identity. My personality, self-image, and goals were centered around being a “Jehovah’s Witness.” If I include my childhood years, I was involved in this religion for 50 years of my life. I was spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and financially dedicated to this organization.
The above emotions I listed come in waves when I think about my old friends and relatives who are in the religion. Especially when I hear of the passing of an old friend and I’m not welcome to attend the funeral. That makes me sad and heartbroken. I sometimes wonder if I was practicing spiritual self-abuse because I did not have to write a public letter of dissociation. I could have quietly waited to see if I would have been eventually disfellowshipped. Other times, I feel like I handled the situation the way I did to be empowered and free from religious control and manipulation.
The healing process also comes in waves. Most of the time, I’m joyful as I grow in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Being utilized by the assembly to participate in various ways has been a form of therapy. At times, I take a step back to be in solitude with my Abba. To keep from feeling restricted, I visit other groups. But I have a home assembly that I have been fellowshipping with since 2018. Thanks to Yahawah –Yahusha, I am going through a good healing process. I pray that my personal story will help and bless someone.
I hope this was helpful to shed light on this topic about Spiritual Abuse that will bring attention, help, and prevention to assist others to have a healthy spiritual journey.