What the sessions looked like

The reasons for their cultish behavior when I asked in 2016 include the full spectrum:

As a man, you were expected to ‘open your life’ up to the local elder and his apprentices about once every 3 or 4 weeks.

While some elders were sensible and had a fireside chat, many other elders, including mine, gave you the third degree. You arrived shaking and drove home crying.

It was always multiple ‘nos’ and accusations.

Never edification or being called forward.

Almost never.

  1. ‘We just followed David’ (i.e. the local leader, when accusing me of everything from idolatry and trophy hunting for wanting to start a business) to
  2. ‘We thought you were trying to become some sort of superstar’ (when I wanted to do an essential postdoctoral internship in the US or UK) to
  3. ‘You weren’t sufficiently chastened as a child’ to
  4. ‘You wanted your goals too much’ to
  5. ‘You needed to learn how to impute (ie make something you want impossible so that God can make it possible again)’

And of course, at the time of the abuse, David Bonham told me:

No man can start a business
an elder asks him to

David Bonham, 1997

They stood over you while you were crying and made an example of you:

That’s a man with blocked goals.

David Bonham to Steve Anderson & Steve Holland (about me)

This type of abuse was referred to later by Gary Worth as ‘it was only advice‘!


What about when Laurie Holland comes up to me later that week, from the pre-church meeting:

There is a way that seems right to a man,
and that way leads to death

Laurie Holland, 1997

That’s ‘only advice’ is it?

To someone who is embedded in that community?

Or isn’t that exactly what psychological abuse is?

I cried every week.

And blamed myself. Or the Lord.

Every week. For more than 20 years.

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