Chapter 7 discusses four categories of damaged souls that I saw in analyzing the situation at FCCF: the elders, the church, the whistleblowers and most of all the victims. I found an excellent description of the manipulative personality in Martha Stout’s book, The Sociopath Next Door. Are you doubting your sense of reality? Can you identify the manipulation? Are you a pawn in the manipulator’s game? I’m just asking.

“I venture to say the elders suffered. Though they perpetuated spiritual abuse, some of it may have been a learned response after dealing with Steve Wingfield’s abusive leadership for an extended period. I posit this not to excuse their behavior but to try to understand it. They brought about their downfall by blind obedience to the senior minister. From years in a conflicted marriage, I learned that placating a manipulative and abusive personality only perpetuates and exacerbates the problem.

‘Truth did not prevail, because those who do not think as a
sociopath do not understand the workings in the mind of the
sociopath in front of them. Sociopaths, people with no
intervening sense of obligation based in attachments to others,
typically devote their lives to interpersonal games, to
“winning,” to domination for the sake of domination. The rest
of us, who do possess conscience, may be able to understand
this motivational scheme conceptually, but when we see it in
real life, its contours are so alien that we often fail to “see” it at
all.. . .We will doubt our own sense of reality first.’

(Martha Stout. The Sociopath Next Door. (Portland, OR: Broadway Books, 2005), 96.)”

(Taylor, Joy S., A View from the Pews — The Inside Story of a Broken Church, 2022, Lily of the Valley Publishing, Santa Claus IN, p. 141.)

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