Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On My Experience with Exorcism at Mercy Ministries of America

Mercy Ministries of America: Truth Will Out writes

"As readers know, Mercy supporters worldwide initially claimed that demons had nothing to do with the program and such things like "casting them out" had never happened. Mercy Australia board member Peter Irvine even claimed there was never any "laying on of hands" during the course of prayers. Well, it's now been well established that the RTF counseling model deals with demonic oppression and does talk quite a lot about demons, so I would like to share my experience with how MMoA treats its residents who they claim suffer at the hands of demonic forces. I have talked about this before, but want to set it down in a specific entry for those who have not been to other sites, etc.

To be honest, I admit that I was a willing participant and also held the belief that demons could enter and live in my body because of previous sins that I and my ancestors had committed. I am not trying to claim I was the voice of reason among the other 20 odd residents and entire staff. It is horribly humiliating to me that I participated in these sessions and didn't think they were insane. I understand the instinct to claim these things never happened because the embarrassment is nearly enough to keep me silent on the issue. But in order to stop what is happening there I feel it's necessary to tell the truth--without exaggeration or omission--about my experience.

Here is what happened:

A number of months into my stay at MMoA we had a visit from a special speaker called Paula Kilpatrick, who came in specifically to minister to the residents through prophesy and casting out of demons. During my residence we had special guests on a number of occasions who merely spoke to us, but Paula was coming to address the specific issue of demonic oppression. Kilpatrick was to speak for 2 days. The first day would be devoted to residents and broken into 2 parts. The morning session would be focused on casting out demons and after lunch we would each receive a prophesy given to her through "the holy spirit." There would be no exceptions; Paula would prophesy over each of us and cast out demons. Getting rid of these demons would allow us to truly recover from the issues we suffered. It was made clear that--because of the authority given to these demons by Satan--as long as they were allowed to remain we could never fully be free of our struggles or be able to make godly choices.

In the days before Paula's arrival, the house was filled with excitement and anticipation. A fellow resident spoke to me of a previous session where Australian resident Jenny Fairbairn struck Paula, a supposed indication that she was physically controlled by a demonic force determined to remain in her body. I was nervous that something similar might happen to me, but Nancy was reassuring, told us that Paula would prophesy to each of us and that she was eager for Paula to arrive because she would bring revival to the entire house. She was particularly excited for Paula to minister to the staff, who sat in for each of the sessions. In addition to ministering to the staff and residents, one of the girls who cared for Nancy's dogs told me Nancy had plans for Paula to pray over her favorite dog, Jude, who was commonly known to suffer from a seizure disorder. I was excited just like everybody else, but I was also nervous that for some reason--possibly a lack of faith or because there was something wrong with me--it wouldn't really work. If it did work, I was afraid it wouldn't last because I would "open a door" to allow the demons back in. They would come back even stronger, I was told, if they were cast out and I knowingly made sinful decisions that allowed them to return.

When casting out the demons, Paula went through a list of the various issues and called for each of us to stand when applicable. She cast demons out of me twice that I remember, for my eating disorder and chemical dependency. (Again I was treated for drug addiction although I had only used drugs recreationally in my youth.) She called for those who suffered eating disorders to stand up. We stood and she began to pray, saying things like "I cast you out in the name of Jesus!" She went around to each of us, touching us on the back or shoulder and commanding the demon to leave us. She stood by and continued to touch us until we told her the demon had left us. She said we would physically feel different when it had left. She stood there for a long time with me, longer than with the others. I remember feeling really angry with her and wanting to shove her away from me, which my friends and I attributed to the demon not wanting to leave my body. Finally I told her that the demon had left and she moved on to the next girl.

During the afternoon session she prophesied over each of us. She told me I would marry somebody in a band, which we all thought was really funny because I was the resident feminist and the last thing I wanted to hear about was who I was going to marry. I didn't marry anybody in a band and have never even dated anybody in a band. My husband is an engineer who sometimes plays Rock Band. (Though admittedly he is pretty good at it.) When I have argued to evangelicals that Paula's prophesy did not come to fruition, they have said that I just didn't follow god's plan for my life. I find evangelicals' support of religious prophesy interesting because they claim that fortune telling is demonic, but I can see how it is a useful tool to control the masses as it is hard to doubt somebody who you believe hears directly from the god you worship.

That night we all went to Nancy's nearby condo for dinner and celebrated the day's events. Nancy's condo isn't made to hold so many people, but we crowded into the small space on the floor, surrounding Nancy who sat on the couch. Some of us took turns speaking about that day's experience, each giving a glowing testimony of how she felt physically restored now that the demons plaguing her for so long had finally been forced to leave her body.

Just as I'd feared, the exorcism didn't work on me. The rest of the girls were abuzz with happiness, but I sat in the group wanting to cry because I just didn't feel any different. I felt physically nervous and uncomfortable. Hoping for some kind of reassurance that there wasn't something wrong with me, I spoke up and said I just didn't feel right, that I felt uneasy. Nancy's response was that it was my problem, and that I'd better go back to the house that night and pray about why it hadn't worked. On our way back to the house, some of the girls and I mulled over the possibility that my feelings were due to how particularly difficult it had been for Paula to remove my demons.

The following day, Paula ministered to the staff. Admittedly, I don't remember the details of the second day as well as the first, but there are a few points that stick out in my mind. Paula healed several staff members of physical illnesses to include a "throat ailment" (suffered by my individual counselor) and a rare condition called Raynaund's disease. The latter is characterized by severe dryness and peeling of skin from the hands and it was only when Paula described the symptoms that this staff member declared that she had it. She went on to testify in tears revealing that she hadn't even known she had it, but just thought she had really bad dry skin in the winter. So, without a medical diagnosis, Kilpatrick was credited with healing the disease.

As with other guest speakers, the sessions with Kilpatick were taped and each of us was given a cassette with the small excerpts from when Paula spoke directly to us. Unfortunately I no longer have my tapes, but we are still looking for somebody who might.

As I have stated many times, I have no reason to exaggerate what went on there because the truth of the story is shocking enough. I could easily have said Paula pulled out crosses and people foamed at the mouth, but they didn't. However, she did come to cast demons out of us--from our bodies--and any who say differently are lying. When I have spoken directly with people--regardless of whether they support Nancy and the MMoA program--all of them admit to what happened with Paula. The staff were very excited about Paula's visit. All of them--including Nancy--had full knowledge of its intent. In my opinion, it seems like a waste of time to try and deny what occurred in such a public setting and I hope that Nancy is asked directly about it at some point because it will give me further proof that she is lying."

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