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Spiritual Safeguards

"With any Spiritual Authority and Power Also Comes the Proven Potentials for Severely Damaging Spiritual, Psychological and Physical Abuse." Lawrence Wollersheim

Introduction:

A small, but yet significant number of people who visit Factnet have come from religious organizations or spiritual cults where they were seriously manipulated, abused and betrayed. Spiritual betrayal is one of the hardest of all betrayals to overcome. Even if you did not come from a religious or spiritual group where you were not abused or betrayed, it is still just as important to understand the classic spiritual safeguards and community validly tests for both healthy ministers/teachers practices as well as healthy spiritual practices and spiritual organizations...

Factnet also teaches about safe spiritual movements. This is especially important for individuals who have been previously abused or betrayed spiritually. More than any other organization that we know of we proactively teach our visitors and students how to recognize and report any spiritual abuse, unethical and coercive manipulation, mental imbalance and religious fanaticism in spiritual settings.

Unfortunately, there really are inauthentic, abusive and dangerous "spiritual" practices as well as immature, abusive or psychologically or morally deficient spiritual "ministers" and "spiritual" organizations. There are also individuals teaching in and running spiritual organizations who have never studied psychology or the psychological and spiritual guidelines for what is ethical and unethical spiritual influence/education.

The latter ones are in a sense just innocently uneducated or under-educated. Individuals who are not well educated on the psychological and spiritual guidelines for ethical and unethical influence can unwittingly become completely sincere, well-intentioned manipulated manipulators! They can unintentionally severely harm others because "that is what they have been taught to do by someone else, their Guru or someone in teaching authority" who also did not fully understand the psychological and spiritual dangers of the techniques that they were using to influence, teach and change their students.

In addition to intentional abusive influence being used in some destructive cults today, there also are psychologically abusive and psychologically dangerous influence tactics being inadvertently used in many growing and mature religious organizations today. For the unaware spiritual seeker individuals or organizations found within in any of the above potentially abusive influence categories can become the source of profound spiritual, psychological and physical betrayal and damage. Consequently, Factnet and EVERY authentic spiritual organization has a proactive ethical obligation to inform its members concerning this darker side of spiritual teachers, spiritual organizations and the spiritual growth process.

In your sincere pursuit of authentic direct spiritual experience of Ultimate Reality it is vital to be able to recognize the signs that you may be dealing with a psychologically unskilled, under-educated, inauthentic or abusive spiritual practices, ministers or organizations. Within these documents you will also see by either contrast or extrapolation many of the healthy qualities of authentic spiritual practices, spiritual ministers and spiritual organizations. You will even find ethical guidelines for spiritual teachers and warning signs of when a spiritual group is becoming, psychologically coercive, abusive or a destructive cult.

In any spiritual community everyone should be held equally accountable to the same transparency and behavioral and ethical standards and healthy spirituality community validity tests. 

If you feel that you have been involved in religious or spiritual organizations that has abused you and betrayed your trust, we welcome you to read the following helpful materials. You will discover that we are very different than any other spiritual organization in the world today when it comes to proactively creating and maintaining a safe spiritual environment and that always honors you and your personal free will in spiritual matters.

If you have not had a bad experience in a religious or spiritual organization, we still ask that you to read the following materials for two reasons. One, so that you will be better able to recognize spiritual abuse and imbalance. And two, so that if you become involved with us, you too can become an informed co-diligent community member and thus proactively help us to prevent such abuses and imbalances from ever appearing within our communities.

If you have been a manipulated manipulator or an under-educated influence abuser in some other religious organization do not worry! We live in a learning universe and we are ALL making mistakes from which to learn, evolve and grow. To take your next healing and transition steps:

  1. take the time to learn the materials on this page and ask questions if needed.
  2. Own the unintentional damage your ignorance and actions have created.
  3. Do the best you can to repair any damage that you have unintentionally caused due to your ignorance.
  4. Move forward stronger and wiser without shame or guilt.
  5. Teach others in a proactive way what you have learned from your learning experience.  

Spiritual Safeguard Articles

  1. Qualities of Healthy Spiritual Practices
  2. Code of Ethics for Spiritual Guides
  3. How to know you are becoming attuned to an internal authentic guiding "voice" or the guidance of Ultimate Reality, from your spiritual experiences
  4. Warning Signs for Unhealthy or Dangerous Spiritual Practices
  5. Warning signs of a destructive cult
  6. Excerpts from "Cults In Our Midst" By Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer
  7. Coercive Mind Control Tactics
  8. Mind Control: Definition and Information
  9. How does Coercive mind control work?
  10. Common Questions and Answers on Mind Control
  11. Mind Control and Religion
  12. The principles of Open Source Spirituality also contain powerful principles for how to keep a spiritual group healthy. Click here to investigate these additional spiritual safeguards.

What do you Think About Our Spiritual Safeguards?

These pages will no doubt need additions, refining and clarification. If you have comments, additions or criticisms to help us refine and expand the healthy boundaries of authentic, non-abusive and choice-respecting spiritual practices, please email us at manage@factnet.org and put Spiritual Safeguards in the subject line.

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