To those who may be considering Mercy Ministries

This piece by Chelsea was originally published on her personal blog.  Chelsea is a pillar of support to other girls who are emerging from their Mercy Ministries experience.

I cannot tell you what to do. I cannot persuade you away from Mercy Ministries.  You see in the end your going or not going doesn’t really effect my cause.  In the end it’s your decision.  What I can do is educate you.  I am not writing this to scare you.  I am writing this because you deserve to know how to defend yourselves.

I’ve had some other Mercy Survivors help me out with this list.

  1. Your entire future does not lay in the hands of what plays out at Mercy Ministries. If Mercy doesn’t work out, they are not the end. There is HOPE after Mercy. Mercy is never the end. Their success rate is extremely questionable.
  2. You are allowed to leave there at any time. NO really you are. If they tell you to go “pray long and hard about it” or to “find ungodly beliefs that may be causing you to want to leave”. This is a brainwashing technique. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO LEAVE. If you have to physically get up and go find a phone yourself at a nearby neighbors, go. Even if they won’t let you use theirs. You have this right. They cannot hold you hostage. They do not have this right. You will not shut the place down if you leave. You are there voluntarily and you can leave at anytime you please.
  3. If you don’t believe your parents abused you now, they didn’t. Mercy uses repressed memory therapy. Repressed memory therapy is a coercive technique that may cause you to start thinking that your parents abused you when they did not. This will cause you to start hating them and not return home. This is especially true of the California home.
  4. If you are having self harm issues/ eating disorder issues and the staff make you feel guilty for this, it’s not right. You are not ungodly, you are not a failure, you are not attention seeking. You are struggling and you need help. Finding godly beliefs will not help you.
  5. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, anything at all. You need to speak up. From some recreational activity, to something in the church. If they berate you for speaking up, you need to leave. You have the right to boundaries.
  6. What you’re allowed to share with other girls is very limited. And girls will tell on you if you share too much. You are not allowed to speak at all about what brought you into Mercy. This helps Mercy to gain better control and not give a sense of bonding to the girls. Sometimes this may make you feel like you don’t know what you’re ALLOWED to say, because you don’t want to get in trouble. It’s okay you’re not alone. Other girls have felt like this too.
  7. Your level of godliness does not depend on how high you can jump during praise and worship. You do not have to speak in tongues. If they attempt to perform exorcisms on you and this makes you feel uncomfortable, tell them immediately. They may respond with “that’s just a demon speaking”. This is not a demon speaking. This is your ability to judge well and use logic. In this case don’t fight. It will only make it worse. But try to leave as soon as possible. Remember there is REAL treatment out there that will help you. Please remember if you are saved that it’s actually not possible to be possessed by a demon. So feel safe knowing that.
  8. They may speak about a “spirit of rebellion”. Being critical of Mercy’s program and being rebellious are two very separate things okay?
  9. At Mercy you’re not really allowed to feel negative emotions. You have thirty days to feel homesick and then it’s expected to disappear immediately. Feeling sad, or angry is extremely discouraged. But can I just tell you that it’s okay to feel those things. And even okay to feel those things AT mercy or pertaining to your time there. If you’re homesick, you’re allowed to feel homesick. Even if you can’t talk about it. If the program makes you angry. That’s okay too. If cleaning the toilets makes you mad. That’s fine too. It’s all okay. It’s okay to feel those things. Your anger may (or may not) actually be in response to your boundaries being crossed. Our emotions are often responses to external stimuli, where as Mercy may play off as “Spirits of bitterness or stubbornness”.
  10. They depend on you to get them sponsors and money. They want you smiling a lot.
  11. Mercy will keep you very busy and not give you much time to think. You will jump from one thing to the next thing. Try not to get to caught up in it all.
  12. You will not be allowed to use the internet, or watch TV, your phone use will be extremely limited. This is called information control in cults.
  13. You are allowed to stay on your psychiatric drugs. Mercy Ministries cannot coerce you or force you to get off of them. This includes forcing you to listen to materials about how psychiatric drugs don’t actually help psychiatric illnesses. They do help psychiatric illnesses. And plenty of real scientists and people in the psychiatric community will back me up on this.
  14. If you have done something to make them upset Mercy will abandon you. They are not about unconditional love. They will give you three hours notice and send you home on a flight. Or abandon you at some psych ward or a Bus stop. I have heard story after story after story after story. So don’t feel like a failure. You are NOT the only one. Okay?
  15. They may speak about an “unwillingness to change”. But just because Mercy didn’t work out for you does not in anyway mean that you are “unwilling to change”. In fact it might mean quite the opposite. Try not to beat yourself up.
  16. Don’t walk in and expect to see girls chanting in the hallways, voodoo dolls hanging from the ceilings and batches of cyanide laced kool aid in the back room.  Mercy manipulates people. They take away their core being. They are not the typical thought of “cult”. They are very underhanded. You will see the opposite. Girls with smiles plastered on their faces. And staff who are overly nice.

Take a quote from Jeanine Mills From the People’s Temple

“When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you’ve ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you’ve ever met, and then you learn the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true-it probably is too good to be true! Don’t give up your education, your hopes and ambitions to follow a rainbow.”

This is a good piece to read before you go:

This is a good pieceMercy Ministries and How it Fits the BITE Model For Mind Control

If when you get back you need us. Please go to the Mercy Survivors Website. Mercysurvivors.com.

Written By Chelsea

20 Comments on “To those who may be considering Mercy Ministries

  1. kaydee

    March 11, 2013 at 10:04

    I am so grateful for this site! Just a few months ago I was being pushed towards entering a Mercy Ministries program and with not being 18 just yet I would be sent to the Nashville home, 2000+ miles away. I would often tell myself ‘maybe I can hold of until I am 18 and enter the home in Lincoln, CA that is less than 25 miles from where I live. However, I felt many people in my church wanted to help me get there asap and as I thought it was okay in the beginning I started to find hesitation in my spirit. I knew something was holding me back and so I did some research and found many, many blogs accounting for their experience at Mercy and I knew right away something was off and my hesitation had to be from the Lord. He knew Mercy was not right for me. I want to thank you everyone who put their story out there and who continue to share. I can’t imagine what would happen if I went to Mercy and left unsuccessful.

  2. former resident

    April 20, 2013 at 3:17

    Just because a woman has experienced healing, or freedom, or hope through her experience at Mercy doesn’t meant that Mercy is above theological or psychological reproach. During my time at Mercy I heard many times “Our fruits show that we’re doing God’s work” or “If you think we’re wrong, just look at our success rate!”

    Guess what? God is bigger than mercy. And God cares about His Word and how He is represented. Perhaps God is using Mercy despite its theology and leadership, not because of it. Because He is bigger. Not because Mercy is right.

  3. Mercy Survivors

    April 24, 2013 at 10:53

    The following comment was made by a former Mercy resident by the name of “Nadine”, however due to a technical glitch, it was unable to be published. We welcome all respectful dialogue, and as such, we paste the comment below in full and welcome further dialogue from Nadine and the Mercy community.

    __________________________________________________________

    “It breaks my heart to read you slander the name and the intentions of Mercy Ministries. I graduated from the California Home 2 years ago.
    And it was the hardest and most worthwhile experience of my life. I was depression, suicidal and struggling with many addictions. I would’ve ended my life if it wasn’t for Mercy. In all the turmoil of my situation, I set my sights on Mercy and told God that was my last shot. You’ve obviously already made up your mind about mercy, and your post is well written. But it is flawed. It is not factual. I didn’t come here to be a bitch. I came here to share my own experience and opinion and to encourage girls to seek help at Mercy. It will change your life!

    Allow me?

    1. Yes, of course, so true! But their success rate sounds pretty good to me! Of the 60-70 girls I would’ve met during my time at Mercy, I can vouch for their success rate.. and we keep in touch! I can think of 3 girls who have openly struggled alot since their grad. 2 girls who were kicked out for non-compliance, who are still extremely broken people. 1 girl who never came back after Christmas and is still struggling like crazy. 1 girl who got kicked out, and went home and applied what she learnt and is doing AMAZING, like so so proud of her.

    And one dear friend who left of her own accord is is struggling, but fighting.

    2. Of course you are allowed to leave. But they care about you and your mental/physical/emotional/spiritual health. What would you expect them to say to a broken young girl who’s finding things too hard and wants to quit? Oh sure off you go? No, they want you to stay, because they know if you stay you will experience change. They want you to want to be there and to commit to healing and recovery! All the things you have written about “brainwashing”.. Have you read the Bible? Do you have an understanding of what it means to renew your mind. Those “brainwashing techniques” that you speak of still to this today transform my life. No one ever explained to me prior to this what it means to renew your mind.. I mean cool yeah, You will be transformed by the renewing of your mind is a promise in the Bible found in Romans 12:2. But how the heck do you do that right? By speaking truth over yourself. “Brainwashing”???? It’s biblical renewing of the mind.

    Focusing on the promises of God, speaking truth over yourself when your head is full of defeat and lies. Tell me how do you conquer thoughts of depression, anxiety, suicide? Do you medicate them away?

    I’ll tell you what Mercy did for me.. In counselling they focused on dealing with the root issues of those thoughts, emotions etc. And gave me my biggest tool for breaking free of depression.. By speaking truth and life over myself. To this day, (yeah I still have hard days and rough seasons), when what begins to circulate in my head is “Whats the point” “She’s so much prettier than you” “I’m tired of fighting” etc etc I speak truth over myself. “God has a purpose and plan for me, even if i can’t see it right now.” “I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and my value is found in Christ, not in looks. I am beautiful.” “I can do this, I am not alone, Jesus is walking today with me”

    3. Well I’m from the Cali home and this never happened to me. But duh it’s not uncommon to have memories emerge at a time you’re ready to deal with them. Can’t recall even one story about parental abuse at a grad testimony, soooo where are your facts?

    4. I was never made to feel guilty at mercy. But ummm? its not like guilt is a foreign feeling to any girl entering the house. I think the guilt is a response to healing. Finally seeing your ed as bad, not as a friend. You said “finding godly beliefs will not help you”????? SO finding a godly belief like “I am created in the image of God, fearfully and wonderfully made, my body is a temple of God and I will nurish it and take care of it”? that thought wont help anyone? I beg to differ

    5. Always speak up. 🙂 Nothing wrong with that.

    6. Well, these rules actually changed about 3 weeks before i graduated (because they knew we talked to our close friends about our issues anyways).. but before this they explained their heart behind this decision, that it was intended to

    a) keep us focused on our own issues and why we were there, not get caught up in other peoples stuff. Also, prevents ED girls and SH girls from “exchanging tips” which is common in alot of recovery programs and

    b) to give you something else to talk about. You cant go around talking about your issues.. which helps you develop who you are outside of them. So many girls find their identity in their issues and this prevents that from happening. Mercy wants girls to see they are worthy of love and attention outside of this and that issue.

    7. Never had any experience with this kind of thing.

    8. Ohhh nicely written. But theres still such a thing as a spirit of rebellion.

    9. Haha, are you serious? They let you feel every emotion and boy do they put up with a lot!! This is so far from true!!! They’ll let you have your tantrum, your outburst, your breakdown, and then they’ll be like.. lets talk about what happened just now.

    10. They depend on God to get them sponsors and support.

    11. Busy was the best thing for me. The best thing. It wasn’t crazy busy and weekends were so relaxed! It was the perfect balance (i
    believe) for girls in recovery.

    12. “You will not be allowed to use the internet, or watch TV, your phone use will be extremely limited. This is called information control in cults.”

    Wow. Did you miss your mobile phone and facebook?

    You’ve gone there to heal, HELLO, not post status updates and check the weather and worry about the depressing news on tv at night. Being away from “keeping up the facade” as so many do on social media, was insanely refreshing. Dear friends and family sent parcels and snail mail, encouragement that got me through. Phone calls on the weekend were the perfect cure for homesickness. You’re dealing with huge issues and in this massive state of emotional vunerability, dealing with everything, believe me, you dont want more social calls than that! We watched movies on the weekend, and were informed of any massive world news.

    13. I was never encouraged to get off my medication. And only the visiting psychiatrist can make those decisions, not mercy staff. It was barely discussed. Theres always a mealtime med line and it’s like a few minutes in with the QUALIFIED NURSE, who gives you your meds, not cohearses you off them.

    14. They are ALL about unconditional love. And second chances. More than patient with girls who were putting no effort into their recovery. Unconditional love is the essence of who they are. Why do they kick girls out then? (I’m assuming you’d ask). Because there are so many girls in desperate situations and serious about change who are on the waiting list. Literally dying on the waiting list.

    15. I don’t quite know what to say about this one other than that if this was said to you, i guess it’s something to reflect upon.

    16. You won’t see girls with smiles plastered on their face every day.. far from. ANd yes, the staff are kinder than kind. Beyond the loveliest people you’ll ever meet. With the purest of intentions.
    Willing to walk the road with you to healing. Willing to cry with you, pray with you at any time of the day or night.

    Whatever experience you’ve had with Mercy. Why not reflect on your faults and not theirs.. yeah, duh theres gonna be some, its an amazing orgnaisation with the best intentions, but its run by HUMANS. People with lives of their own, who can come into work tired and grumpy like anyone else. Who can say the wrong thing. Who can make mistakes. Who have personality clashes. Who don’t know what to do sometimes, and have to get down on their knees, seeking Gods guidance in counselling us. What went wrong for you at mercy? Did speaking truth out loud over yourself put you out of your comfort zone?

    To call them a cult, baffles me. What exactly are there hidden agendas? To send home girls that came to them broken and empty, whole healed and renewed.. to do what? Send these “brainwashed” girls home to. ????? Yeah, what a cult.

    Two years on I’m living a normal life. Good days and bad days. I still have struggles. There are still areas of my life that God is working on and healing. But I am far from the place I was in before arriving on the doorsteps of Mercy. Forever thankful for that home, and every moment they invested in me. Thankful that they saw good things in me when I couldn’t. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but worth it. So worth it.”

  4. Chelsea

    April 26, 2013 at 11:18

    Nadine, I am glad that you had a positive experience at Mercy. That makes me happy. Unfortunately that’s not always the case at Mercy. If you read around blogs, this one included and others you will find stories of other women who went to Mercy who didn’t find their experience quite as enjoyable.

    While I understand you directed your comments towards me, Chelsea, because I wrote the piece. I actually wrote this piece to a wide audience and not everything in it happened to me. (i.e I never dealt with false memory recall, etc). I wrote the piece towards ANYTHING that may happen there that may hurt girls. While I understand your need to “take me out at the knees” and try to make my writing seem arbitrary and over dramatic, I assure you I do in fact have my mind made up about Mercy and have heard many sides of the story. I still have very close friends that support Mercy. We just don’t discuss it. I can promise you that I have devoted and done more unbiased research on Mercy Ministries then you have ever done. Remember there was a time when I loved Mercy too, after I left Mercy I was still very devoted to them.

    I wish that they were a good program. A free of charge program for girls with eating disorders, and self harm and all of that, that actually did more helping then harming would be amazing.

    As far as the unwillingness to change. I don’t remember if this was said to me, it probably was. It’s said to a lot of girls when they leave, but if you read one of my more new blogs you will see that I don’t have issues with a willingness to change. http://imatumblin.tumblr.com/post/48158189103/hi-my-friend-was-considering-mercy-ministries-until

    But I can understand your need to blame me. It’s often that Mercy girls want to blame those of us who don’t approve of Mercy, because it would mean that Mercy made a mistake and that… that’s just not possible.

    As far as qualified nurses, you and I both know that unqualified staff gave us medications at some point or another. Let’s not lie. Who gave you your medications on the weekends? If you lied about this, what else are you lying about? Maybe you didn’t mean to lie, maybe you just really want to stick up for Mercy, but be serious, some of this stuff you’re telling me is just very far fetched.

    “They are ALL about unconditional love. And second chances. ANd yes, the staff are kinder than kind. Beyond the loveliest people you’ll ever meet. With the purest of intentions.”

    Nobody is that pure. People have bad days, people get tired, it happens.

  5. Mercy Survivors

    April 30, 2013 at 10:32

    Hi Nadine.

    I’ve been thinking about your recent comment, and again, I thank you for coming by and engaging us in dialogue.

    I have a response which is a bit long, and unfinished at the moment, but I will post them point by point in the next day or so.

    Peace

    MS Team

  6. Mercy Survivors

    April 30, 2013 at 10:33

    1. Mercy’s success rates are questionable. In Australia, they claimed 95% success, yet when pressed by a government agency on this, they were unable to produce evidence. It was after they were found guilty of false and misleading advertising that the US branches conducted an “independent survey” of former residents (or rather, hand picked graduates) yet failed to reveal the company who apparently carried out the survey.

    I can guarantee you that many of the smiling graduates you are acquainted with are confused, are struggling like hell, and are hurting like crazy inside. Others may be convinced they are fixed, yet within days or weeks of leaving, they have begun to spiral again, often worse than before they went into Mercy.

    Now why would this not be apparent to you?

    Do you know how hard it would be to reveal to the Mercy community that you are struggling, especially after you have stood up in front of a smiling crowd and said that you are healed? Do you know the pain of being shunned and labelled when the evidence in your life fails to support Mercy’s remarkable claims of success? Just because a girl is smiling and talking the Mercy talk does not mean she is as Mercy parades her to be. We have a number of graduates in our network from all homes in the US who can testify to this.

    All I can say to you is, if you begin to struggle, or if you suspect another girl is struggling, don’t shun her for “letting demons back into her life” or “being unwilling to change” or “making bad choices”. She is very sick and in need of help and needs the support of people around her.

    But on the subject of the writer’s point (ie, that Mercy is not one’s last and only hope), i doubt you could deny that the strongest message at Mercy is that Mercy really is one’s last and only hope, that it is God’s linear will for them to be there and that if they leave or get kicked out, they are outside the “alignment” of God.

  7. Mercy Survivors

    April 30, 2013 at 10:34

    2. There is a reason why every other (reputable) treatment program allows a girl to freely leave upon request, free of coercion, and without being told that Mercy are their “last and only hope” and “God’s will”. There is also a reason why girls who are dismissed from these other programs are done in a professional, non-emotive manner, rather than being scolded for being “unwilling to change” and kicked out on their ass with no follow up or referral or regard given for their “at risk” state.

    On the subject of “brainwashing” and “renewing your mind”… I think you have misunderstood what brain washing is. Renewing the mind, or word of faith theology, is a practice that some Christians seem to find helpful and beneficial to their spiritual life, and good luck to anyone who does. But brainwashing is not necessarily any particular belief or practice. Brainwashing occurs when there are dynamics of destructive mind control (behaviour, information, thought and emotion), and there is documented evidence that Mercy fulfils almost all criteria of the BITE model. Many girls also identify with Dr Lifton’s criteria for thought reform, another instrument that is used to guage “cultness”. These dynamics enforce compliance and attack thought processes (such as critical thinking) through a number of means. I encourage you to read widely on the subject of brainwashing (or mind control) to understand exactly what it is.

    Again on the subject of word of faith practice, you asked how one overcomes destructive thinking unless they “renew the mind”. I can’t speak for others, but I personally have found CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) much more effective in combating destructive thinking. Rather than reciting statements when you notice negative thinking, CBT helps you to recognise faulty thinking patterns which helps to categorise thoughts and teaches you skills on how to combat those according to their category. This is an evidence based therapy, and it teaches one to think critically rather than to use “thought stopping” as a strategy (another criteria found in cults). And yes, medication has also been of great help to me, and after taking my doctors advice as well as taking all the help available to me from many sources, I am now on the lowest dosage of meds I have been on in a really long time.

  8. Mercy Survivors

    April 30, 2013 at 10:34

    3. You can’t recall parental abuse stories at a graduation? How many graduations have you been to? One? And our facts are documented.

    Certain forms of theophosis prayer (not all, but some) can be strongly suggestive. When you are told that the root of your eating disorder is a single lie, and that lie is rooted in some traumatic event, and you cannot recall an event that may be connected with that lie, the counsellor will have you regress back and search for several minutes until BINGO you associate it with a memory. I have been helped by theophosic prayer, but I have also had prayer that has been suggestive and prayer counsellors who have worked within a rigid model (of which the Mercy model is), and unfortunately this is prone to producing false memories. Yes, a person can have memories they have locked away, but it is extremely rare (and questionable) that a person has absolutely no conscious recollection of the “memory” that comes up for them in this setting.

    I recommend you read the Lincoln News Messenger articles, or acquaint yourself with stories from parents and families whos trust has been deeply betrayed by Mercy in this way.

  9. Mercy Survivors

    April 30, 2013 at 10:34

    4. I think what the writer was saying is that if staff prescribe you with a “Godly belief” when you report to them with physical or psychological symptoms, or if they accuse you of attention seeking for requesting medical help (and I saw and heard this happen a number of times), then yes, that will not help her. If her need is to read out a faith affirmation, then great, but when unqualified staff pacify girls with accusation or a Christian activity because of their own incapacity to make a professional risk assessment of that girls need, then yes, it is not only unhelpful, but dangerously negligent.

  10. Mercy Survivors

    April 30, 2013 at 10:34

    5. I’m glad you agree on this.

  11. Mercy Survivors

    April 30, 2013 at 10:35

    6. Whilst I’m not opposed to these rules for the reasons you (and Mercy) state, I think you have to step back and look at the bigger picture. They may say this is why they are making these rules, but when you step back, it is yet another rule in a text book destructive thought control environment. I am sure they have a perfect sounding justification behind every rule they have in place, but when the overall dynamics achieve dependency and compliance rather than independence and empowerment, it is merely another control tactic. In cults, isolating members psychologically and controlling information is extremely common.

  12. Mercy Survivors

    April 30, 2013 at 10:35

    7. I’m very glad you did not experience this, but that does not mean that others haven’t. Again, I recommend that you read more widely, not just information that supports your current position.

  13. Mercy Survivors

    April 30, 2013 at 10:36

    8. So tell us please, what does this spirit of rebellion look like? Is it criticism, regardless of how it’s expressed or how true it is? Is it admitting that one’s experience was not all that Mercy portrays? Is it continuing to struggle with your issues? Please enlighten us.

    If Mercy are the ones who won’t receive honest feedback about their program when they demand the very opposite from their clients, and instead they blame their clients who do not appear healed or who think for themselves.

    I would think they are in rebellion.

  14. Mercy Survivors

    May 1, 2013 at 10:46

    9. Nadine, how did you see Mercy staff respond to a girl who expresses that she is feeling angry or unhappy with the program? Let me answer that for you… she will be given a big bowl of “bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness” sermons to listen to, and possibly a label of having an ungrateful attitude or a spirit of bitterness. Yes, a person can feel their emotions that they feel arising in counselling about the different aspects of their past that come up. But when it comes to emotions about the program itself or the staff, how did you see this being handled?

  15. Mercy Survivors

    May 1, 2013 at 10:46

    10. You say Mercy depends on God to get them sponsors and support. Here’s how it works…

    Mercy makes claims of 93% success to the public. This pressures Nancy to pressure her staff to pressure the girls to show signs of miraculous healing within weeks, and when they don’t, they are rapidly discarded as defective.

    To get sponsors and support, this claim together with parading graduates around at conferences helps secure funding which pays for their continued campaign that says they have a ridiculous success rate that far surpasses the claims of even the most reputable treatment programs. When those girls who are paraded around at conferences begin to crash, they are often disowned or blamed by the Mercy community, and scapegoated as the defective ones, rather than Mercy’s approach. This is why you never see Mercy saying “gee, there are girls who have not been helped and girls who felt harmed and traumatised by Mercy, how about we work on our program and our culture to improve and be the best we can be and actually place the same demands for perfection on ourselves as we do on our clients?”

  16. Tiffanie

    June 2, 2013 at 4:32

    I graduated from the Mercy Nashville home and it was great! I think all of these articles are a bunch of crap! It’s all because people don’t understand “the laying on of hands” speaking in tongues” being slain in the spirit.” Of course a girl who is not familiar at all with Christian religion is going to think these things weird, but it’s not. I am thankful for my experience and how dare people try and sabotage something that is helping so many girls that are struggling AND they are free of charge besides personal items and spending money! The nerve of people!

    • Mercy Survivors

      June 4, 2013 at 11:47

      Hi Tiffanie.

      Thanks for your comment.

      I really encourage you to read our personal accounts with an open mind and without prejudice.

      I for one don’t have an issue with the charismatic activities you just mentioned. I was and still am a Christian, and am not adverse to most charismatic activity. It is not these things that is wrong with Mercy Ministries. The issue with Mercy Ministries is that they are not upfront about the nature of their program which means that girls considering them as an option are not given the opportunity to make a fully informed choice – that is, if they go solely on the advice of Mercy. The other issue is that the way in which Mercy practices these things is by a rigid counselling model where failure of a girl to improve is burdened on the girl and never on the program or the organisation, which shows that Mercy are not “willing to change” let alone see where they are harming people.

      Time and time and time and time again have girls been victimised and even dismissed from the program for being “unwilling to change”, which is often applied to girls who fail to show improvement in a convenient amount of time. God’s timing for our healing is different in each case, and it’s not fair for Mercy to 1 make a promise they are not in a position to make, and 2 hold their clients accountable to meet their target success rates.

      I am truly glad that you had a positive experience, and I hope that is something that you treasure for the rest of your life. But you need to understand that there are MANY girls who do not share your experience – even ones you think are superstar graduates who are fixed and no longer struggling. Until Mercy Ministries is willing to examine, acknowledge and work on their own flaws, abuses will continue to happen, and we will continue to speak out and warn others.

      MS Team

  17. Kim

    May 27, 2014 at 3:57

    Hi. I am a graduate of the Nashville home. It break my heart that you had experiences like this! But I found some things confusing. When dear friends chose to leave he program or were sent home, yet were always allowed to say goodbye. There were tears by the staff and girls and we prayed for the girl. There was never a hateful spirit about it. And yes we weren’t allowed to talk about our issues but that was so beneficial to me! My identity was in my ED, PTSD, depression, and anxiety. When I talked about those things with the other girls, it got unproductive fast. It caused pain and a “bonding” that was based on hurt and our issues that do not reflect who we are. Because I that rule, I learned to find my worth in who God created me to be and I learned that I was more than my issues. As far as the jumping and speaking in tongues in worship, I never experienced that! There was only one counselor who spoke in tongues and she didn’t force it upon anyone. In fact, another counselor told us that speaking in tongues wasn’t a requirement but a gift. Some got that certain gift and others got different gifts! I never felt that I had to jump high and speak in tongues to be godly. We weren’t allowed to use our phones or the Internet, correct. But most other treatment places don’t allow this either. Once you are there for a couple of months, every Wednesday your are allowed to get on the Internet to find things to do after mercy and explore churches and what not. For me, who was obsessed with “recovery” sites and ED sites, not having a phone really set me free from the images and expectations of the ED community. Mercy never forced me or anyone to get off of our medications. In fact, they advised against getting off of them too soon after graduating or in any transition to protect us. They made t well aware that we don’t have to be perfect. They have a whole transitional care department committed to helping us succeed outside of mercy. And I even had a few friends from mercy whose counselors advised them to continue to seek counseling. Mercy changed my life. Truly, I was on the verge of death. But The Lord used mercy to save my life. I’m not saying mercy is perfect. There were a few times I disagreed with things but I was always respected when I voiced my opinions. The women who work there are amazing. I haven’t met more incredible and godly and encouraging and beautiful women. They never judged and always just let me cry or be angry when I needed it. Most of the people I know from mercy feel the same way. I have watched as mercy changed their lives! I have made forever friends with both the staff and residents. I can truly say that I’m set free from all the issues I went to mercy with. This isn’t to say I don’t have a bad day. Sometimes I hurt and think I want to go back to the addictions but I always choose life. And I’m so thankful. I’m so sorry bad things happened to you at mercy. But it hurts me that you place a generalization over the whole organization. Some of the things I have read don’t seem like mercy at all. But maybe mercy has changed A few things since you all have been. I’m a 2014 graduate. I hope you all the best and I am just trying to tell you that mercy worked for me. It absolutely changed my life.

  18. Mercy Grad

    January 10, 2015 at 10:57

    This makes me so sad. Mercy ministries has saved my life, I am a graduate from the Lincoln home in California. Mercy is not an easy program, but it is transformational and Nancy’s heart is nothing but good. Her intentions are not to harm the girls at all! The staff are human too… Which may mean they have bad days, or struggle to support the girls in certain areas where it is not always easy. But I know that over all are at Mercy because they love and support each girl, also I know every staff member is screen and goes through extensive training before even seeing a young lady. As I said this makes me very sad that a few people who had a bad experience have tainted the true story of the work that God is doing at Mercy. I pray that you will investigate this yourself before believing what is said about Mercy. Find out for yourself!

    • sherry

      November 30, 2015 at 2:19

      Dear California Mercy Grad :: I lost my daughter to the California Mercy Program. False memories of sexual abuse and trafficking by parents (untrue and never confirmed), severed ties, changed her name. I’m not the only one – there is a growing group of parents in the same situation with the same story. I suggest you not look at your precious program with rose colored glasses. There’s a group of us who have **righteous anger** at a program that has destroyed families. If not on earth then certainly in heaven with Nancy Alcorn and her Mercy ilk be taken to task about the destruction.

Comments are closed.