Mica at the Recovering Alumni blog (for spiritual abuse survivors from a cult known as Teen Mania’s Honor Academy) recently wrote a post on “Why Interns Don’t Speak Up” that really hit the mark and definitely applies to my personal story:
[T]he majority of interns are coming straight from high school. They have never lived outside of their parent’s house. They have no idea what “normal” is in real world relationships like boss/employee or discipler/disciplee. So when they are forced to work back-breaking amounts of overtime (either by their boss or their workload) they don’t have any frame of reference that says, “This isn’t normal or healthy.” When their Christian leadership shames them into behavioral changes or uses fear tactics to motivate them, they don’t have the life experience and critical thinking skills to say, “Hey, this isn’t discipleship – this is manipulation.” When they are told that pushing themselves physically equals spiritual growth and that “pain is just weakness leaving your body” they don’t have the life experience to say, “Pain is God’s way of telling me something is wrong and I need to stop and fix it, not ignore it.”
The brain isn’t even finished developing until the early 20’s. When parents send their children to the HA, they expect adults to watch out for their child’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Its a cop-out to abuse the interns and then say, “Hey, they never complained!” Most interns don’t even understand what they are going through. They don’t have the insight or perspective, especially in such a pressure cooker environment where they are afforded no private down time to think and reflect.
Furthermore, interns are told that whenever they go through something hard that its a trial or a test. So they are dis-incented from “complaining” (i.e. speaking out) because to complain about a trial from God is to be a bad Christian. Couple that with the humiliation doled out to anyone who would question authority and you have a recipe for obedient masses that condemn themselves for ever thinking anything is wrong with Teen Mania.
Read the full post at recoveringalumni.com.