On 2 May 2012, Mercy Ministries announced the launch of a joint project, partnering with a Christian children’s program Veggie Tales, to reach hurting young girls with positive messages.
Following the announcement on the Mercy Ministries website, a number of former residents and others in our network took to emailing Big Idea Entertainment, voicing very serious concerns about Veggie Tales partnering with an organisation that has caused so much hurt and damage to young women which the joint project is aimed to help. To date, we are aware of no responses received from Veggie Tales, and we take this opportunity to write an open letter to them reitterating the concerns highlighted and asking them to prayerfully consider their relationship with an organisation that has been responsible for countless, well-documented abuses of young troubled women.
The following letter was emailed to Big Idea Entertainment today. Any response received by Mercy Survivors will be published on our website, and any private response received by those in our network will be acknowledged.
If you wish to contact the producers of Veggie Tales, please email them at customerservice [at] bigidea [dot] com.
Dear Big Idea Entertainment,
VEGGIE TALES AND MERCY MINISTRIES PARTNERSHIP TO REACH YOUNG GIRLS
“The Penniless Princess—God’s Little Girl”
Firstly, we wish to applaud your desire to reach hurting young women. Those in our network know more than most that there is a need for young people, including children, to be reached with messages of hope and truth.
Recently, we became aware that you have chosen to partner with Mercy Ministries in this project, an organisation which has received considerable media attention for the abusive and unethical practices that occur in their facilities. Whilst Mercy Ministries’ stated aim is to assist young women to overcome life-controlling issues, they have unfortunately added to their trauma in many cases. This claim is supported by the considerable media coverage over a number of years as well as by the existence of Mercy Survivors, an international support network consisting of dozens of former residents from around the world (most in the US) not to mention the distraught family and friends of survivors and even former staff members who also form part of our network.
We are aware that those in our network who wrote to you voiced a range of issues, such as the exact nature of the treatment Mercy provides, the various abuses (spiritual, psychological, emotional, intellectual, and physical by way of medical negligence) that continue to occur in the program. You may also wish to consider the “cult status” assigned to them by a number of cult experts and counselors who come from various faith backgrounds themselves.
We also draw to your attention the vast array of information available on the subject of Mercy Ministries. We invite you to explore the Mercy Survivors website, which contains: –
- A range of blogs on the sidebar to the right. Four of them belong to former residents, one contains several first-hand stories, one discusses abuses at Mercy Ministries, four have explored the issue of Mercy extensively over the years (two atheist, two Christian), and two belong to an investigative journalist who has taken an interest in the subject of Mercy.
- Dozens of media stories from around the world, ranging from print and internet to radio and television
- Some pieces exploring questions such as “is Mercy Ministries a cult” and another discussing what to ask a potential counsellor.
- Further first-hand stories in multimedia
We believe it would be counterproductive for your organisation and for those you intend to reach by partnering with an organisation that is notorious for abuses against young vulnerable women, as demonstrated herein. Should you choose to continue in this project with Mercy Ministries having availed yourself of all necessary information, we believe this will not only damage the reputation of your organisation but will mean you are effectively partnering with abuse of young, vulnerable women.
The following organisations and individuals, a mixture of Christian and secular, both in Australia and abroad, have already withdrawn their support of Mercy Ministries over the years due to the revelations of abuse and misconduct. Some were highly publicised, and all mentioned below were documented in media stories.
- TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms)
- Hillsong Church
- Gloria Jeans Coffees
- Bunnings Warehouse
- Rebel Sports
- Tanya Gordon (a worship singer/songwriter)
- A number of other corporate sponsors documented in various media articles
- A number of individuals who sponsored Mercy Ministries
We ask that you respond privately to those in our network who have voiced their concerns, and we also invite you to respond to our open letter which has been published on our website.
We wish you discernment and wisdom in your prayerful consideration of all information presented herein.