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Please note that the schedule for the 2022 Conference on Religious Trauma is subject to change.
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Navigating the Unequalling Yoked
In this talk we’ll cover basic principles for better communication, including how to build dialogue based on shared foundations. Relationships of any kind are how we project the meaning we’re creating for our lives and direct the expression of our Values. Like a roadmap and its connection to actual travel, Values need structure to be guided towards realized behavior. For those in a relationship where one or another is religious and the other is non-religious or formerly religious, those structures can lead to misunderstandings, hurt, and unhealthy relationship dynamics.
Sexuality and Sexual Identity After Religion
We are sexual creatures in every cell of our body but our developing minds are flexible and easily influenced by religious sexual indoctrination in childhood. Leaving religion does not mean it has left us. The process of reestablishing our identity after religion requires a new framework as well as new skills. Why is it so hard for many people to leave shame and guilt behind. How do we discover our sexual selves? How do we connect with others once the religious sexual straight jacket is removed? I will discuss this and other issues related to sexual identity with an eye to living a fulfilling sexual life after religion.
It's Not Just Personal: The Collective Trauma of Religion
The influence of authoritarian religious thinking in American culture is pervasive and deep, evidenced by the religious motivations for the January 6 insurrection and the seemingly benign religious elements of the Inauguration itself. Religious beliefs are considered personal and because we prize religious liberty, we assume they are benign. Yet the basic assumptions are truly toxic both to individuals and to society. Foundational ideas in fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity include the belief that people are degraded and ineffectual, and that we have much to fear both in an evil world and in the afterlife, that the world as we know it will inevitably end by God’s will in apocalypse, that we are not responsible for the fate of the earth, and that believers are bound to fight for tenets of perceived morality in the battle of good and evil in society. This core set of beliefs is true for 70 million self-described evangelicals in the U.S. but affects everyone in a collective trauma.
This kind of religion is deeply embedded in our culture in multiple, invisible ways. It can be compared to institutionalized racism and called institutionalized religionism. As a culture, we must stop assuming that the effects of religion are always good and go about the task of healing from the collective trauma, just as we need to heal from the collective trauma of the Covid pandemic or the Trump era. This can begin with truth-telling about authoritarian religion and compassion for all of us who have suffered from its impact.
Strange Bedfellows: How The Church and Politics Have Perpetuated Racism
Religion and Politics are supposed to remain separate. However, churches and politicians have upheld White Supremacy at the expense of the people. Mandisa Thomas will discuss how this impacts communities of color in particular, and what can be done to turn this around.
Traumatic Homeschooling: How Evangelicals Use Education to Totalize
Homeschooling is a tool. Like any tool, it can be used in healthy and unhealthy ways. White evangelicals, who make up the vast majority of homeschoolers in the United States, use homeschooling as a totalistic tool. This is made possible by the intentionally deregulated state of homeschool laws in the United States, which grants homeschool parents nearly absolute power over what they can do to and teach their children. Unsurprisingly, this has created environments where abuse and neglect run rampant. This talk will look at the ways deregulated homeschooling enables evangelicals and other totalistic homeschoolers to traumatize homeschooled children and alumni.
Sacred Science & Mormonism: A Post-Cult Perspective on Recovery
Luna Lindsey Corbden
For decades, cult researchers have been helping survivors of high-demand groups recover from trauma. This approach brings totalist conditioning into the fore of a survivor's awareness to help them consciously untangle their former belief system from their own personalities and values. It can also offer the survivor a sense of control and limited protection from future manipulation. This talk will look at a manipulation technique known as Sacred Science, examine how this technique is used within a specific Bible-based group (Mormonism), briefly explore its interplay with other manipulation techniques, and offer suggestions on how to overcome its effects.
Forward Facing Techniques for Religious Trauma
You don't have to go back to the past to find healing in the present. As a Forward Facing coach, Emily will offer techniques for working with our bodies to resolve religious trauma in everyday life. This presentation is based on research by Dr. J. Eric Gentry combined with Emily's experience working with Dr. Marlene Winell at Journey Free.
Religious Trauma in Church Dynamics
Jennifer French Tomasic
Coercive control is a principle that has typically been explored within the context of domestic or interpersonal relationships. However, the repetitive nature of the multiple forms of this type of manipulation are often found in high demand / high control church dynamics. We will explore this topic to provide insights that foster both prevention and healing from this type of abuse.
Evangelical Involvement in Politics & Religious Trauma
Today we see more and more, certainly in America but increasingly worldwide, evangelical Christian Involvement in the political sphere. Should we be concerned? What's their endgame--to establish some form of a "Handmaid's Tale" theocratic society? And finally, what does it all have to do with religious trauma?
Even after leaving religion behind, a number of people still find themselves struggling with the things they had been taught while in it. One example is that even though someone no longer actually believes in concepts like heaven and hell, the fear of hell or some type of eternal damnation may linger for years or decades. It can intrude upon your life when you least expect it, and many people feel guilty that they are scared or upset by something that they don't actually believe in. In this talk, Dr. Lack - a clinical psychologist and professor who specializes in anxiety and fear - will discuss why the fear of hell is so powerful for some people and strategies to reduce and eventually eliminate it.