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A Botched Circumcision and Its Aftermath

by Gary Shteyngart

This article, posted to the website of The New Yorker magazine on October 4, 2021, is a "Personal History" essay that details the author's excruciating pain that started in 2020. The cause was his circumcision, which did not occur until he was 7 years old. At the time of publication he had seen several doctors, spent thousands of dollars in medical costs (even though he had excellent health insurance coverage), and his prognosis was to be in some amount of varying chronic pain for the rest of his life. 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


Yaffed is a nonprofit organization founded by individuals raised within Hasidic and Haredi communities, and is committed to improving secular education in Hasidic and Haredi schools. Since 2012, Yaffed has been the sole organization advocating for the educational rights of ultra-Orthodox children in New York. Without an education, yeshiva graduates are severely limited in work options and often are forced to rely on government aid to support themselves and their large families. Because they believe that all children deserve an education that provides them with opportunity and choice, Yaffed has been leading grassroots efforts towards educational reform in both the legislative front and the community. Read more


ZA’AKAH is dedicated to advocating for survivors of child sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community. They do this by raising awareness in the community, organizing and participating in educational events for parents and teachers on how to identify and correctly handle suspicions and disclosures of child sexual abuse, and by advocating for legislative reforms designed to prevent sexual abuse in the future and secure justice for survivors. 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

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