Only Mercy can help you
This is lie #1, and it begins even before you step into the doors of the Mercy home.
This has to be by far the most common lie found consistently in the stories of former residents I communicate with.
Yes, Mercy incorporates a certain flavour of the Christian faith into their program. But this does not mean they are the only program out there “with God”, or that they are the only avenue through which God can work in your life.
There is another lie that ties into this, and it is heard across Nancy Alcorn’s teachings and the narrow kinds of testimonies they shape for their own promotional material…
Secular psychiatrists just want to medicate/don’t want to get to root issues/will tell you “you will be like this for the rest of your life”
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), (which is actually evidence-based and a therapy that I personally have benefited from), but it helps us to identify when we are engaging in distorted or faulty thinking patterns.
One pattern is known as “polarised thinking”, or “black and white thinking”. We engage in this pattern when we make generalisations, such as “always” or “never”.
Now, there is some truth in this lie. I have encountered two psychiatrists who just want to push pills and don’t want to do more than the minimum requirement to help me. And one of them was rather ghastly, who fit Mercy’s description of “secular psychiatrist” quite accurately. But in my experience as a whole, the majority of psychiatrists I have encountered have been really down to earth, positive people who I have never felt pigeon-holed by. Most psychiatrists have ensured I am seeing a psychologist and attending to other issues that may be contributing to my mental state, such as getting enough sleep and exercise and spending time with positive people.
Nancy’s description of psychiatrists not wanting to get to root issues is also a lie. For example, the front line of treatment for depression in the DVSM IV (the psychiatrist’s diagnostic manual) is both medication and psychology treatment.
Another lie that perpetuates the first-mentioned is…
It is God’s will for you to be at Mercy for the duration of the program and graduate
Although Mercy has since become a generally six-month program, the amount of time spent in the program is ultimately determined by staff. Thus, God’s will is linear and subject to what staff determine the length of your stay should be.
The main flip side to this is that if you choose to leave or are dismissed from the program, you are deemed to have blown your last and only chance at healing and recovery, and are now outside the will, grace and protection of God. It is for this reason that numerous girls attempt suicide upon being brutally discarded from Mercy, for say, being “unwilling to change” or “rebellious” or whatever other term they use to project their own defectiveness onto the residents.
Even though I ended up graduating, there was a time during my stay when I desperately wanted to leave and was faced with this dilemma. I loved God and took my relationship with Him very seriously, and I was convinced that if I left Mercy (and I desperately wanted to flee in terror in the most extreme of ways), it would signify spiritual death. I would lose my salvation for deflecting from the “authority” I was told were placed over me by Him. To disobey staff was to disobey God, and to flee from Mercy was to abandon my faith and relationship with God. And to be dismissed was to be abandoned by God.
This is the most common lie I come across from other girls, and I really really REALLY want them to know that this is such a lie. God’s will is not this linear thing that you cannot fuck up pardon the French. If you fuck up, there is ALWAYS grace, and if you do leave or get kicked out of Mercy, it is not because you are a fuck up. And even if you did fuck up, God’s grace is ALWAYS there for you, and His hope is not confined to the four walls of Mercy Ministries or limited by what staff say and do to you. If you have felt this way, please know you are not alone. Please reach out and get help and support. Contact Mercy Survivors, or talk to your counsellor, or a friend that you trust. You are not alone.
These are the lies of Mercy that are coming to my mind most prominently. There are many more, and should they press on my heart in the future, I will also blog about those in a future piece.