This is not about religious leaders. This is about your narcissistic ex who sat in the pew and quoted scripture, who spoke about God, and had people believing they were a godly person. It's all an illusion, and you know that by now, because narcissists are all about creating illusions.
The illusion goes something this....God is good. Scripture is good, and true. Therefore, the narcissist, who claims be Godly and quotes scripture, is also good and truthful....and also right, and if you disagree, well, then, you aren't opposing the narcissist, you are opposing God.
Now, I am a Christian, and I occasionally quote scripture, but rarely, and when I do, it's not about me but about some spiritual insight, and my involvement is an aside. However, the narcissist quotes scripture or religious teachings to create the illusion that THEY are spiritual, are holy, righteous, and better than other people, including you, who are not as special and lack the “spiritual gifts” the N has. The implication is that the N has a special relationship with God.
Sometimes the narcissistic religious pretensions happen in the context of a hoover. You're done with the narcissist, the abuse, the manipulations, the lying, and the cheating so...what could turn that around? Impossible, right? Oh, hold on. The narcissist has “found God”, is going to church, and reading scripture. The narcissist is a “new person”, and you think that if anything could do it, it would be God.
The narcissist assures you of the sincerity of it all. But, remember, the NARCISSIST WILL TELL YOU WHAT YOU WHATEVER YOU WANT TO HEAR, if it gets the N what they want. This is because you take religious and spiritual issues seriously, so the illusion is that the N is LIKE YOU. It's mirroring....reflecting your own views and values back to you. This is EXACTLY what my own NarcX did.
In my NarcX's case, it was when we met. It was a unique part of a love bombing campaign that was meant to make her seem like she'd be a perfect wife. You can see how religious piety could combine with love bombing to make a powerful combination. However, the narcissist “wears” the religious pretension like you wear clothes, and can just as easily shed them when they are inconvenient.
Now, how does the narcissist deal with their own cheating? They say that God has forgiven them and so should you. The N is “saved by grace”, not by works. How do you answer that?
First, the narcissist leaves out that forgiveness is dependent on SINCERE repentance, and a complete change of their ways so that it never reoccurs, and making sincere amends to those you've harmed by admitting your wrongness in detail and doing whatever will help heal those you've hurt. That is not the way the narcissist does things. The narcissist's insincerity is shown by his belief in “cheap grace”, that is, needing to do NOTHING but say they're sorry, and demanding that you get over it.
If you don't, you're unforgiving.
Besides, to the narcissist, religion is yet another way to deceive and to abuse, and get away with it. It provides a perfect cover. Even the religious leadership may support the narcissist. And, instead of providing you will a sense of peace, it contributes to your confusion....why should you be feeling insecure, have a sense that something is wrong, and why you don't feel close and trusting with the narcissist if he's so religious? That's “cognitive dissonance“, and it's very uncomfortable.
A relationship with “religious” narcissist will suck the life right out of your religious practice, because the N confuses you, abuses you, controls and dominates you using religion. It's a particularly evil and destructive practice that attacks the deepest and best part of you.
The narcissist may adopt a “holier than thou” attitude toward others and refuse to associate with those who don't agree with the N....in other words, the N can be rigid and rejecting, in the name of God. This narcissist will not permit any disagreement with their “correct doctrine”, which may include your being submissive to the N. Then, when the N discards you, they can claim that it's God's will, or necessary for their spiritual life since they are such a Godly person....and, BTW, the narcissist will claim that their relationship with the new supply is “from God”, and so, can't be wrong, even if it was the result of infidelity.
In short, the “religion” of the Narcissist is a near perfect catch all...it exempts them from fault, it give a punch to the narcissist's being right all the time, it eliminates any differing views because their views are God's views, it justifies abuse by saying they are saving your soul.....I mean, what problem doesn't it solve for the narcissist?
Religion empowers and justifies the narcissist....they are always good, and always right, and that's just perfect for a narcissist, but it's bad news for you. I can tell you that because of my NX, my son had a serious problem with any religious belief and practice. After 14 months with my wife and me, he has become at least accepting of our beliefs and practice, which is of a main stream Christian denomination. Unfortunately, the children are often totally turned off to anything religion, and can become actively hostile, since religion was used to abuse them.
There is also a self deprecating narcissist....they like to portray themselves as perfectly humble, if you see the contradiction. In fact, the narcissist's entire approach to religion is contradictory
Well, if God is love, then what is love?
“ Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.....”
Now, is that the narcissist? Obviously not.
The narcissist uses religion as the ultimate abuse...spiritual abuse, and does it by standing everything good on it's head, making evil seem good, and good seem evil. They do evil in the name of God. And NOTHING can justify that, and nothing can be worse.
I think that narcissists are not really believers, because, then, they'd know that they will have to face their maker and account for what they've done.
Either they don't think so, or they don't think God is just.
Either way, whatever they believe in, it's not God.