The fear of the Lord as key pastoral guidance, for a healing ministry to survivors of generational ritual abuse
Generational ritual abuse within satanic or fertility (abusive witchcraft) cults is a controversial subject. This study shows that, while not all reported memories may be true, False Memory Syndrome is not an intrinsic scientific reality of generational ritual abuse. Recent publications under the editorial pens of Noblitt and Perskin Noblitt (2008), as well as Sachs and Galton (2008), describe the types of abuse and torture perpetrated in various forms of ritual abuse (including the results of a worldwide survey), together with the psychological, interpersonal and spiritual damage it caused survivors. It also speaks of the legal difficulties of survivors, the motives of perpetrators and the difficulties experienced with disappearing evidence (sometimes deliberately, otherwise because it does not fit the known legal paradigm). Survivors of generational ritual abuse suffer from what can be described under DESNOS (Disorders of Extreme Stress - Not Otherwise Specified), which is supported by research whilst not yet a formal DSM diagnostic category. Prolonged interpersonal trauma, involving multiple events lead to alterations of affect and impulses: in attention or consciousness; in self-perception; in relationships with other; in systems of meaning; as well as somatisation. Most often it results in dissociative disorders of which the most common is DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) in which a person exhibits two or more distinct identities or personality states which recurrently take control of his or her behaviour. Various other diagnostic-related factors are discussed in this study, together with major paradigms for considering DID. These paradigms include the ego-state theory (referred to briefly), structural dissociation and attachment theory. These models' intervention strategies are also discussed. Models from three Christian psychologists are discussed - those of Joubert, Friesen and Wilder (a community model) - and Hawkins and Hawkins' pastoral model is reviewed as well. "The fear of the Lord" is found to be the reverential awe with which a believer approaches God; linked closely to the love of God; a fear that is advocated over the fear of human enemies or circumstances and which then dispels the latter; an emotion of fear that is experienced when confronted, as sinful human being, with God's presence and attributes such as his holiness; advocated by Jesus and Paul as based upon God's judgment, after which he may cast one into hell - and thus, one is not to fear what man could do unto one, or should not depart from God and continue in wilful sin. Ps. 86 contains a prayer for a united heart that the psalmist may fear God, linked to walking in his truth and praising God for deliverance from the grave. While "the fear of the Lord" is not a healing model in and of itself (various models of intervention can be used in the healing journey as found in the literature study), it guides the stance of the community, the pastoral counsellor (or other helper) as well as the survivors of generational ritual abuse who turn to God. It was found to form a doorway into the covenant relationship (or intimate relationship) with God in Scripture, and it is argued that, as such, it will help to lead survivors away from negative or destructive fear-bonded relationships (in Wilder's terms) into love-bonded relationships with God and others, thus leading to fulfilment of the command 'to love God with all one's heart, soul and strength and others as oneself' (Dt. 6; Mrk. 12:29-31). To this end, it aids the pastoral healing goal of a growing relationship with God and increasing maturity. Using the models of Heitink, Osmer and Hurding, the insights gained in this study are applied to the guidelines and proposed model for pastoral intervention.
- Theology