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Child Marriage in the United States: Prevalence and Implications

by Journal of Adolescent Medicine vol. 69, issue 6, Supplement, S8-S10, Dec. 1, 2021

Child marriage is as damaging in the U.S. as it is across the globe. Minors—even highly mature 17-year-olds—have limited legal rights and therefore can easily be forced into marriage or forced to stay in an unwanted marriage. The data compiled in this study shows how child marriage it as much a human-rights abuse in the U.S. as anywhere else. Read more

United States' Child Marriage Problem

by Unchained At Last

Child marriage, or marriage before age 18, has devastating implications for underage girls. Yet between 2000 and 2018, nearly 300,000 minors were legally married in the U.S. This report, published in 2021, details the dangerous implications of child marriage, legislative failures at state and federal levels, and concludes with a simple solution: commonsense legislation to end any loophole that allows a minor to be married. Read more

A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time

by Rob Scheer

In this inspirational memoir, Rob Scheer, the founder of the nonprofit organization Comfort Cases, tells his story of entering foster care at age 12 and his harrowing journey of survival, resilience, and determination. In the book, he shares his life experiences that led him and his husband to adopt their four children and sparked a determination to rebuild a broken system. A portion of the proceeds of this book are donated to Comfort Cases, which inspires communities to bring dignity and hope to children in foster care. Read more

You Are Your Own: A Reckoning with the Religious Trauma of Evangelical Christianity

by Jamie Lee Finch

Rooted in her experiences growing up in an Evangelical Christian family, Jamie Lee Finch’s “You Are Your Own” offers an overview of Evangelicalism and the painful confusion and anxiety experienced under its demands. Finch explores the mechanisms of trauma and how fundamentalist denominations match the patterns connected with PTSD. She elaborates on the doubt, guilt, fear, and grief that haunt those leaving the Evangelical faith and offers an approach to help them recover healthy self-worth and resilience. A socio-historical autobiographical analysis of Evangelical Christianity's religious trauma, “You Are Your Own” emerges from Finch's reconnaissance on her own life—her journals, her stories, her trauma—and offers advocacy for everyone harmed by fundamentalist faith. Jamie Lee Finch is a sexuality and embodiment coach, intuitive healer, self-conversation facilitator, sex witch, and poet. You can learn about Jamie’s work at Read more

Toxic Theology as a Contributing Factor in Complicated Mourning

by Terri Daniel

As an educator and spiritual caregiver to the bereaved, Terri Daniel, DMin, offers supportive companionship and spiritual healing tools for the grief journey. In this capacity, she has encountered certain theological mindsets that can disrupt psychological well-being, and in some cases lead to complicated mourning, depression, and even illness. This paper explores these “toxic theologies” and their relationship to complicated mourning while offering alternative perspectives and cosmologies that may be helpful in supporting grievers who face spiritual challenges. Read more

Childhood Spiritual Trauma

by Terri Daniel

In this paper, Terri Daniel, DMin, references the book "Breaking Their Will" by CFFP founder, Janet Heimlich. The paper was part of Daniel's doctoral coursework at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Read more

Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free

by Linda Kay Klein

In the 1990s, a "purity industry" emerged out of the white evangelical Christian culture. Purity rings, purity pledges, and purity balls came with a dangerous message: girls are potential sexual "stumbling blocks" for boys and men, and any expression of a girl's sexuality could reflect the corruption of her character. This message traumatized many girls, resulting in anxiety, fear, and experiences that mimicked the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and trapped them in a cycle of shame. When the youth pastor of her church was convicted of sexual enticement of a 12-year-old girl, Klein began to question purity-based sexual ethics. She contacted young women she knew, asking if they were coping with the same shame-induced issues she was. These intimate conversations developed into a 12-year quest that took her across the country and into the lives of women raised in similar religious communities. It was a journey that facilitated her own healing and led her to churches that are seeking a new way to reconcile sexuality and spirituality. Read more

Dissertation: The BITE Model of Authoritarian Control: Undue Influence, Thought Reform, Brainwashing, Mind Control, Trafficking, and the Law

by Dr. Steven A. Hassan

This doctoral dissertation offers quantitative evidence about the BITE model (Behavior, Information, Thought, and Emotion) as a potential tool to help evaluate cases involving exploitive or undue influence. BITE offers a clearly defined model based on observable behaviors that expert witnesses can use to evaluate the presence of mind control or thought reform across a variety of settings and groups. Read more

Faith-Based Medical Neglect: for Providers and Policymakers

by Rita Swan

A substantial minority of Americans have religious beliefs against one or more medical treatments. Some groups promote exclusive reliance on prayer and ritual for healing nearly all diseases. Jehovah’s Witnesses oppose blood transfusions. Hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren have religious or conscientious exemptions from immunizations. Such exemptions have led to personal medical risk, decreases in herd immunity, and outbreaks of preventable disease. Though First Amendment protections for religious freedom do not include a right to neglect a child, many states have enacted laws allowing religious objectors to withhold preventive, screening, and, in some states, therapeutic medical care from children. Religious exemptions from child health and safety laws should be repealed so that children have equal rights to medical care. Read more

Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith

by Martha Beck

Leaving the Saints is an unforgettable memoir about one woman’s spiritual quest and journey toward faith. As “Mormon royalty” within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Martha Beck was raised in a home frequented by the Church’s high elders—known as the apostles—and her existence was framed by their strict code of conduct. Wearing her sacred garments, she married in a secret temple ceremony—but only after two Mormon leaders ascertained that her “past contained no flirtation with serious sins, such as committing murder or drinking coffee.” She went to church faithfully with the other brothers and sisters of her ward. When her son was born with Down syndrome, she and her husband left their graduate programs at Harvard to return to Provo, Utah, where they knew the supportive Mormon community would embrace them. Read more