More stories are trickling out of Mars Hill—the Seattle-based church that started as a kind of rocker/pop-friendly Christianity and has grown darker and more autocratic under the leadership of Pastor Mark Driscoll.

When I was working on this story about Mars Hill a few months ago, a persistent question was why people would submit to Driscoll, who resembles nothing more than a schoolyard bully. But he has no actual authority over anybody. Even the most devout Christians know that the world is swarming with false prophets and two-bit hucksters who call themselves pastors. Why would any sane, self-respecting adult put up with Driscoll's chest-pounding, self-serving bullshit?

This story is a good window into how a person—in this case, a woman—gets sucked down that rabbit hole, and what that rabbit hole looks like.

It was only the three of them: Amy, her husband, and Mark. Amy was sitting beside her husband on a leather couch. They were facing Mark.

“Mark started the meeting by telling us he was convinced that I had demons,” says Amy, “and then he went on to add that my demons were ‘sexual demons’.”

Amy describes Mark’s demeanor toward her as a “fiery tirade”. During this encounter, Mark told Amy he believed that every one of her sins were “sex based.” He said that the demons inside her were out to destroy every one of the marriages in their circle of friends.

“At one point,” says Amy, “he asked me which one of my husband’s friends I had imagined sleeping with.”
Amy was dumbfounded by Mark’s questions and accusations. But she also admits, because she no longer trusted Mark, she was also slightly terrified of what was about to happen.

The storyteller's identity is never disclosed, but the details are convincingly specific—the pecking order, the slow slide from church friends into cultishness, Driscoll's obsessions with other people's sex lives, the shunning...