Healing the Soul after Religious Abuse
The Dark Heaven of Recovery
by Mikele Rauch
March 2009, 189pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-34670-5
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-34671-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Rauch offers a unique perspective of recovery and restoration of the soul after religious abuse.

Recent scandals of clergy sexual abuse have brought attention to the victims and their responses to and recovery from their abuse. But few have considered the effect of the abuse on a victim’s soul and religious outlook and beliefs. Healing the Soul after Religious Abuse, offers a unique perspective of recovery and restoration of the soul after religious abuse. The author argues that religious abuse often stops not only psychological growth, but also inward development. The effect is not simply emotional, because the devastation reaches to the core of the spirit. Often there is no place for a God of love or a love of what once was divine. Through a series of personal interviews with persons from the five major religions, Rauch considers various ways that religion can do harm.

The stories told in this book include the road to restoration in the wake of institutional abuse and how inner experience is sometimes confused with religious training; the sacred task of spiritual leadership and how to restore trust when there has been a violation; an exploration of sacrifice and a clarification of the notion of shame; a look at the impact of religious bigotry in the areas of race, sexuality, and tolerance; an overview of sexuality and the place it holds in both celibate and family life; the pernicious issue of clergy sexual abuse and the signs of spiritual trauma in response to such violation; a roadmap for restoration and a challenge to religious institutions; and, lastly, ways to reclaim the sacred and rewire the spirit. Through interviews, research, and personal stories, the author tells a story of recovery of the most delicate kind, offering pathways through the dark night of religious violation to a restoration of the soul and its immense possibilities.


2010 Mic Hunter Award for Research Advances—Male Survivor, November 25, 2009


"In Healing the Soul After Religious Abuse, Mikele Rauch has constructed a tremendous gift to the men, women, and children affected directly or indirectly by religious abuse. The full impact of this groundbreaking, immensely eloquent book has to do not just with the author's intimate and deeply nuanced understanding of religious abuse, but the radiant significance she attaches to religiousness itself. If she persuades her reader that religious abuse can cut into the very foundation of self, it is because she has already persuaded him in one powerful narrative after another, most poignantly her own, that the longing for light, life, truth, and connection we associate with religious impulses lies at the very core of human being--is definitive of who we are. There is a real bodhi-sattva spirit moving through this book."—Carol Lee Flinders, Author of Enduring Lives: Portraits of Women and Faith in Action

"This book is, by turns, clinical observation, memoir, essay, and epic. It is universal and deeply personal, general and specific, prose and poetry, Western and Eastern, Catholic and secular, traditional and new-age, clear and confusing, open, pained and relieved, comforting and challenging-and always loving and touching. Thus, it is much like its author, and could not have been written by anyone else. Read it. You may not like all of it, but you will not dismiss it easily or soon forget it."—Mike Lew, Author of Victims No Longer and Leaping upon the Mountains

"This is a dark book--suffering is not sunshine--but almost paradoxically, it is crisply written and a page turner."—Huston Smith, Author of The Religions of Man and Why Religion Matters
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