Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: Pushing Back the Darkness

DECEPTION IS A TRICKY THING. Rarely do we realize we're being deceived. If a well-meaning friend points out a deception, we'll argue, make excuses, get defensive, lash out in anger or quietly withdraw in despair. This happens because we've restructured our reality to justify our beliefs and those beliefs are sacred. Our new reality might not make perfect sense but it beats the alternative which we believe is far worse. 

It usually takes something pretty dramatic to get us to see our folly. AA calls it hitting rock bottom. As painful as that landing is, it opens the door to our freedom. PUSHING BACK THE DARKNESS: ONE WOMAN'S AWAKENING FROM THE NIGHTMARE OF SPIRITUAL DECEPTION AND BONDAGE is both a painful and inspirational book. 
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For ten years, Jennifer and her mother, Marian are under the control of "Seth"--the quintessential wolf in sheep's clothing. He seems so genuine and understanding at first, taking them under his wing and offering the spiritual insight they're craving. Cult leaders are so dang crafty. Before long, the proverbial frog is cooking in boiling water. 

Seth's teachings become more and more bizarre, reminding me of the "demon under every doily" axiom. He spends hours supposedly helping Jennifer and Marian renounce and cast out the plethora of demons they've allowed into their lives because of their evilness. Day in and day out, he brutalizes them with his twisted deliverance counseling. Despite their efforts to comply, there is no pleasing a tyrant. He might say something nice one minute but he will change on a dime. Challenge him on an issue and you're libel to end up with a broken arm. And if he does break your arm it's because the demons made him do it. Nothing is ever Seth's fault.

As I read this book I couldn't help but wonder about "Seth" (not his real name). Who is he?  Does he really believe the things he's teaching or is he just hellbent on causing destruction in people's lives? Obviously he's a sociopath of the highest order. 

Fortunately there were a number of caring people eager to guide Jennifer and Marian as they escaped Seth's ten-year grip. With unconditional love and patience, they've been able to heal. 

This book is written for the Christian reader or one who is seeking Christianity. This will comfort some and cause others to bristle. Admittedly I am somewhere in the middle. My biggest concern is how often the ex-cult member is counseled to "study the scriptures for themselves."

While I have no qualms with understanding the Bible, a person who's been deeply wounded by spiritual abuse needs intensive psychological counseling to help regain trust and a personal identity.

I'm hoping there will be a sequel to PUSHING BACK THE DARKNESS covering the arrest, prosecution and conviction of "Seth." He is clearly a menace to society and while I'm thrilled that Jennifer and Marian are free, it's disconcerting to think that Seth is still out there forcing his venom on innocent people.


  1. These people who prey on others are criminals who care about no one but themselves. I don't think using more religion will help those abused by religion. At least it wouldn't for me. I also agree that we will do anything to deny we are being deceived. I was just deceived for the second time by my boss. I was able to recognize the deception because I learned after the first time. And I drew my line and will not tolerate the behavior.

    Another interesting book Grace.

  2. Interesting review, Grace. I have a hard time with those who prey on others in an effort to be the controller, no matter the realm they want to control in another's life. This sounds like a good read and I appreciate your bringing it to my attention.


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