TELLING YOUR STORY
Suggestions to help you write your story
SUGGESTIONS FOR TELLING YOUR STORY
It takes courage to share your experience, especially given how your trust may have been broken within The Network. Your story matters. You matter.
Rest assured, we will not publish anything unless you expressly give permission.
PREPARING TO TELL YOUR STORY:
Sharing your story can be an emotional process, and making it clear for others to read and follow takes time and patience. We’re ready to help you tell it. For most people it may take several revisions to tell your story so others can understand, relate, and learn from your experience.
We’ve provided examples below from other websites which shared the stories of those who have been wounded by the toxic culture of their churches. These can provide a good starting point for how you tell your own story (some of these stories are posted from the Internet Archive, so they may take a bit to load). They are written in such a way that allows you to feel what the author went through even though you may not know the church or the people involved:
HOW SHOULD I STRUCTURE MY STORY?
Imagine your story has a title and three primary headers:
Title: Name (or pseudonym)
- Church attended
- Role in church (staff, member, small group leader, pastor, etc)
- Years attended (ex. 2012-2018)
- How did you end up in The Network?
- What events led you into the Network?
- What was it like when you began your time there?
- Why did you decide to leave?
- Were there specific events leading up to you leaving?
- Did you experience any of the behaviors listed on our spiritual abuse page in the time leading up to your decision to leave?
- What did it feel like to make the decision to leave?
- What's life been like since leaving?
- What was it like when you first left? How have your circumstances changed over time?
- Consider including acknowledgement of how your actions within The Network affected others (especially if you were a leader), and what you think about your involvement in retrospect.
- Be as honest and transparent as you wish; not all stories have tidy endings
WHAT ELEMENTS SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY STORY?
Read our article on “8 Signs of a Dysfunctional Church.“ Do any of these “signs” sound familiar to you? Please don’t feel like you have to use language such as “information control” or “mystical manipulation,” but think about the examples and include them so others understand what it felt like to be in your shoes.
HOW MUCH CAN I SHARE?
The truth is public domain, so stick to the truth and you are fine.
In order to avoid any potential claims of defamation, please refrain from telling knowable falsehoods that might harm someone's reputation or include privileged information for others. Privileged information includes attorney-client communications, healthcare related information/communication (medical information, counseling communications, medical records, etc) for someone other than yourself. You may disclose your own information if you want.
SHOULD I NAME NAMES?
Public figures in the church who had positions of power and influence can be named so long as the stories are true. Please avoid naming innocent individuals. Tell your own story, not someone else's. Obviously your experiences may involve others as you interacted with them in the community. If including others, avoid the items noted above and stick to facts. Pseudonyms for others are ok.
You can post under your full name, partial name, or a pseudonym. If you write under a pseudonym we will display this clearly on the site without revealing your true identity.
We will publish these stories in batches once we have enough to go live. Please be patient as we work through all the submissions we have received.