This piece by Mercy Survivor Lily was originally published on her personal blog, La Petite Maman, and can be viewed here.
Recently, someone I know who graduated from the Lincoln Mercy Ministries home posted this:
This year is the 30th year Mercy Ministries has been around, so tonight the home in Lincoln is having a birthday party to celebrate. I’m really excited to see all the staff and celebrate not only 30 years of Mercy Ministries, but 3 years of the home in Lincoln and 2 years since I’ve been in the home. It’s exciting!
I can’t seem to reblog her post to respond, so I thought I would write it here…
All the staff I was with there (from October 2009 to March 2010) are gone – super high turnover rate (and I know a couple staff members that were shocked at Mercy Ministries’ practises so they left). When I went to visit a couple times last year, it was pretty awkward, and I just feel so sorry for the girls. Just going back there made me feel trapped and suddenly, I got scared that someone was going to make me do chores or punish me for something I hadn’t even done.
I understand why people support Mercy Ministries – I used to too. It was because subconsciously, I wanted those staff members to say “good job Lily!” and I wanted to believe that six months of praying and reading the Bible and “supposed” counselling by a “licensed” (yeah right) professional would heal me. But seriously, after 15-16 years with an eating disorder? Give me a break! Often, women who go to Mercy Ministries are people-pleasers and want to be part of a greater good, so of course they will speak highly of the programme in an attempt to “speak positivity over their lives” (typical Mercy Ministries catch phrase). Basically: You fake it until you make it (and if you don’t, you don’t graduate from the programme)!
But oh, why would Mercy Ministries offer such a beautiful home and great food for free?
Well, let me assure you that it really isn’t for free. They will convince you, if you have a dramatic enough turn-around, to sell your story. You end up sharing your whole private story with the world just so you can say “Oh look at me! Look at how much God has healed me because I made the choice to let God heal me! I’m normal now, see?!” And Mercy Ministries uses that story, if it’s extreme enough or shocking, to get people to donate lots and lots of money to them…because trust me, Nancy Alcorn lives very, very well.
(Oh, and just for fun, let me mention this little story: When she came to visit the Lincoln home, since I was part of the original 20 girls to enter the home, she was extremely cold and distant. Definitely not the sweet benevolent founder they make her out to be in emails and the website. She even jokingly said “Ooo, we had better get rid of these huge dinner plates – the anorexics will freak out and wanna leave!” And don’t forget the fact that whenever she came to visit the home, we’d have to clean the house top to bottom…and although I was the only emaciated girl in the original 20, ALL of us were freezing because Nancy requires the thermostats be set to in the 60s. The staff seemed terrified of her.)
Anyway, sorry to vent/rant, but I hope you prepare yourself… and good luck.