The devil and Mercy Ministries: A conversation with Chelsea Darhower

4 May 3 wise monkeys

The piece below was originally published on “Dysgenics: Dispatches from a degenerating mental environment” and can be viewed here.  In this piece, Beth examines Mercy Ministries analytically with quotes from authoritative sources, Mercy Ministries’ own counselling manuals and an interview with Mercy Survivor Chelsea Darhower.  This piece looks at Mercy Ministries’ therapeutic practices that result in false memories, and the psychological control that Mercy Ministries exert.

…And this girl had been in the program for maybe a month, a few weeks, I don’t know, not very long. And we knew she had been diagnosed with multiple personalities. […] Well we knew, you know, a psychiatrist is not going to say somebody has multiple demons. But in her case that’s what we were dealing with, demonic powers.
— Nancy Alcorn, president and founder of Mercy Ministries

Recovered Memory Therapy, Conversion Therapy, and exorcisms: this mishmash of harmful pseudoscience and archaic religious practice is foisted on the vulnerable young women at Mercy Ministries by their under-educated, inexperienced mental health care-givers. During her stay, former resident Chelsea Darhower experienced first hand the oppression and cult-like atmosphere that has made Mercy Ministries infamous among many of its graduates.

Here is her story:

Beth: …No one at Mercy Ministries has the authority to diagnose – can you confirm that that’s the case? At other clinics the girls and women risk coming out with a diagnosis that haunts them the rest of their lives.

Chelsea: Nobody at Mercy Ministries has the authority to diagnose. The only time a girl would come in contact with a doctor at Mercy Ministries is for three reasons:

  1. She goes completely postal and is dropped off at a psychiatric ward.
  2. She comes in on psychiatric drugs and she is sent to a psychiatrist. Even then the psychiatrist they would send her to doesn’t diagnose, he just writes scripts.
  3. They have a outside family doctor that deals with medical incidences.

In general though, Mercy Ministries is very anti-psychiatry so you will not see them adding any type of diagnosis to anyone. They like to distance girls from the psychiatric world and any type of future help, not give them new diagnoses.

Nancy Alcorn may get jolly over the prospect of having someone who was diagnosed as “DID” in the psychiatry world, but that’s only because she thinks they are possessed by spirits that she has to take authority over. If you say the words “I was diagnosed with DID”, a staff member will get its wings at Mercy Ministries. She thinks your “parts” are evil spirits that infested your soul while you were being abused.

3 wise monkeys[A]ny potential for biblical counseling to be compared with the liberationist anti-psychiatry movement of R.D. Laing in Britain or Szasz’s less fruitful attempts in the United States falls flat. Biblical counseling, far from being against social control, is an agent of social control, by which evangelical churches seek to minimize dissent among those members deemed mentally ill or deviant.
— John Weaver, The Failure of Evangelical Mental Health Care: Treatments That Harm Women, LGBT Persons and the Mentally Ill

Continue reading 

Petition and appeal to government for Mercy Ministries’ accountability

2 May End the Silence

There is much to be said of Mercy Ministries, and much to appeal to the American government and public about.  Mercy Ministries denies it all of course.  They continue to distance their brand from the former Australian homes (which they have since re-labelled an “affiliate”) and attempted to lay the blame on the insidious issues that actually originated at the US homes and continue with the homes today.  I have said, and will say again, that the issues that come out of Mercy Ministries is not a matter of “one bad apple”, but rather, a “sick tree”.

Please join us in appealing to those in US government positions who have the power to act.  They have the power to increase accountability for Mercy Ministries and programs like it which continue to go unregulated, at a very dear cost of their clients and clients families.

Petition to the Attorney General

Please click here to sign the petition calling upon the Attorney General to regulate homes like Mercy Ministries where exorcism, recovered memory therapy and conversion therapy are par for the course (and well documented) behind closed doors.  Please also share with your friends.

Video appeal to Governer Haslam

Please view and share this video which further highlights the issue of how Mercy Ministries’ treatment of vulnerable young women flies under the radar due to Mercy’s not being recipients of government funding.  As noble as this sounds, it seems the clients and their families are left with the cost of the damage because of the nature of treatment Mercy Ministries is able to provide without any form of oversight, accountability or regulation.  This has to stop.

Mercy Ministries Peru, $309K and no cherry

6 Mar

Recently, I was reading about a couple of Mercy Ministries homes that were anticipated to open, but never eventuated.  In that process, I ended up uncovering quite a few.

The one that stood out to me the most was the anticipated Mercy Ministries Peru home, and you’re about to find out why.

Peru tipped to open in 2009 article

On 1 September 2009, Charisma magazine published an article called “An Angel of Mercy”[1] noting a number of Mercy Ministries’ anticipated future homes to be opened, both domestic (to the United States) and abroad. One of the homes noted in Mercy Ministries’ plans to expand was Peru.An Angel of Mercy - Charisma Mag article Mercy Ministries notes “Peru office” opened in 2006

The “History” page of Mercy Ministries Canada as at the date of this piece notes “Peru office opens” in year 2006[2], however the Mercy Ministries UK counterpart which echoes almost all other milestones is conspicuously silent on Peru[3].

Mercy Ministries Peru received a further mention in an article by The Examiner in October 2009[4], although it mistakenly notes Peru as having already opened.

Could the presumption that Mercy Ministries Peru being an existing affiliate have been a clumsy oversight on the part of the journalist?  Or could they have cleaned this idea from Mercy Ministries’ own material?

Mercy Ministries International

Before Mercy Ministries of America began disowning the international homes as “affiliates”, they promoted themselves as an international ministry and drew upon testimonies of graduates from these homes.

As early as March 2008, the Mercy Ministries International website  noted Peru as a Mercy Ministries location.

In one case, a “graduate from Peru” (who turned out to be a Peruvian woman who graduated from one of the Australian homes) featured on Mercy’s promotional videos.  (Just for trivia, the “graduate from New Zealand” was a New Zealander who graduated from the Sydney home in Australia).

The graduate from Peru

From what I understand on Mercy Ministries News blog and other websites, the parents of this graduate (Jenna) were pastors in Lima, Peru of a large church, and they were working with Mercy Ministries to start up the home in Peru.

 As it turns out, this Mercy Ministries Peru graduate’s parents happened to be the head pastors of “the largest church in Lima, Peru“.  In an article on the Mercy Ministries News website in late 2009[5], they are said to be founding the first Mercy Ministries Spanish-speaking home in Peru.

This same article also notes Jenna as a graduate of Mercy Ministries Australia.