It is customary for authors to say that without the help of many people their books could not have been written. That is especially true with regard to this book because so much of it is comprised of case histories. My greatest debt of gratitude, therefore, is to the dozens of individuals who have shared freely with me their personal, often painful, odysseys in abusive churches. Only a few of their stories can be told in these pages. But each one has contributed to my understanding of the topic and, hopefully, all will feel they have had a part in this project. I have tried to convey as accurately as possible what they have told me, but I alone am responsible for any errors.

   My gratitude extends to the following people who each contributed in various ways to the success of this effort: Jamey Robertson, Kara Bettnecourt, Rebecca Coons, Hubert Merchant, Betty Fleming, John Rodkey, and Anne Anderson.

   I owe special thanks to Kevin Liu, whose assistance was invaluable, and for whom this book has unique meaning. I remain grateful to Herbert and Louise Moeller and to David and Dore Charbonneau for their years of encouragement. Warren and Barbara Landon demonstrated stability and caring when I felt alone. Thank you, friends.

   I continue to be grateful to J. Whitney Shea, who many years ago introduced me to sociology and modeled for me not only scholarship, but Christian compassion and a steadfast faith.

   Finally, I thank the staff at Zondervan Publishing House, especially my editor, Len Goss, and Zondervan's publisher, Stan Gundry. Thank you both for your supportive encouragement and your willingness to take on this topic.

Chapter 1  ||  Table of Contents