Did you hear Mercy’s big news?
On 22 September 2015, Mercy Ministries officially announced their name change on social media…
The first thing you will notice is that Mercy Ministries (now Mercy Multiplied) has updated their logo, changing the colour scheme to a white-on-blue, and changed the font and style their trademark “M”…
Oops, that was an artistic interpretation of their actual new logo…
Much restore. So transform.
In addition, it seems they may have lawyered up since their last website overhaul.
Here’s a link to their policies page that outlines their position on fun things like copyright and privacy. We wanted to make mention of this to help avoid further (ahem) misunderstandings over use of their material and more false copyright infringements being lodged on social media. We therefore wish to state, for the record once again, that any links to Mercy Ministries or Mercy Multiplied domains, any quotes, material, or use of Mercy Ministries’/Mercy Multiplied’s images or logos on our website or other channels, fall within the category of “fair use”.
Why the name change?
The new Mercy Multiplied website states the reason for the name change as being:
“to better reflect our expanded outreach initiatives and our commitment to “multiplying” Mercy – helping those outside of our residential homes find freedom from life-controlling issues.”
Why would Mercy have ditched the brand, logo and identity it poured so much money, time and PR effort into sanitising over the past eight years?
This question led to the first of many speculations I had, which was that all this was still unable to untarnish their image from the abuse scandals that rocked them in 2008 and ever since.
Even in 2015, page 1 of a Mercy Ministries Google search yielded the Mercy Ministries website at the top (with a little help of their PR overdrive in 2012 after they slipped to 3rd place), followed by Wikipedia, a Sydney Morning Herald article on the closure of the Australian homes, the Mercy Survivors website (with the help of a very basic SEO package that comes with our hosting), an article on RH Reality, another Aussie article, and other not-so-favourable links.
Both Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied and ourselves would know that this has had a huge influence on the public’s perception on Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied. In the age of information, the public will google before taking a chance on a treatment program they may know little about. (Mercy Ministries’/Mercy Multiplied’s ever-evolving FAQ page would support this hypothesis, which I will expand on in a moment).
Over time, we have received many comments, messages and emails from those considering Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied as an option for themselves or a loved one. They have written to us after finding concerning information about Mercy on the internet and wanted to know more. I would also be so bold as to assert that Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied has, in kind, received much correspondence along the same lines, which we have noticed has flavoured some of their web content and particularly their FAQ section over time, gearing it to address some of the more common concerns raised about their program such as their denials of performing exorcisms, practicing recovered memory therapy, employing unqualified staff, or that pesky elephant in the room at the very bottom,”What about Australia?“
Going back to Mercy, they give another clue as to the reasons for their name change. You can find it in their social media announcement of 22 September 2015, posted here once again for convenience:
Being a survivor of Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied, the part that jumps out at me here is their reference to “a transformed mission“.
- It could be a reference to the shifting focus of Mercy Ministries’/Mercy Multiplied’s mission from in-house residential services to outreach. (More on this in a moment).
- It could also be taken as a hint that Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied have finally reviewed their mission and made improvements.
If the latter is true, is this then some form of passive admission on Mercy Ministries’/Mercy Multiplied’s part that there needed to be improvements?
As much as I would like that to be true, I am more convinced it is the former. Here’s why…
Without wishing to speak for individuals, the dealings that many in our network have had with Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied (and as evident in many blog pieces from former residents) have brought out a certain attitude – one that tells the resident that Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied does not need to change “because it works“. (Check out the comments of former Mercy Ministries Australia director Peter Irvine for example). When it doesn’t work, it’s the resident’s fault, and is not something that causes Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied to reflect on the limitations or flaws in their program, because (duh) their program works, right? When an applicant enters into the application process with Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied, they are required to be “willing to change“, yet this privilege is not reciprocated. So this is why I remain doubtful of any sincere reflection on the part of Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied.
The first time in Mercy Ministries’ 32 year history…
There was another announcement in the lead up to THE announcement that said…
On their new website, mercymultiplied.com, they also made reference to the name change:
But here’s the thing… it’s actually NOT the first time in Mercy Ministries’/Mercy Multiplied’s history. Mercy Multiplied was not called Mercy Ministries for 32 years. For a number of Mercy’s early years, Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied was known as Covenant Ministries, and later Covenant House Ministries. At the time, their program operated from a property in West Monroe. This was a different facility to the one currently known as Mercy Ministries’/Mercy Multiplied’s Monroe home, with the original home being an hour and a half from Shrevport. A little of this info is available online. More is publicly available if you know where to look. But we initially became aware via members of our own network who lived to tell the story of Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied in the 80s and early 90s.
We are not trying to be petty, but given Mercy Ministries’/Mercy Multiplied’s habit of rewriting their own history as if if never happened, this would be consistent with other attempts by Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied to distance themselves from their own past.
Mercy’s “transformed mission”
At a glance, it seems Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied will:
- Continue to operate their existing homes
- Shift their primary focus to outreach and out-patient programs
- Coaching individuals on how to start and manage residential programs
The final point above is extremely concerning to us – concerning in that an organisation that many of us have found detrimental and even dangerous, that has drawn media criticism internationally over several years of its existence, an organisation that has been the subject of many blogs, an organisation that has its own international survivors network – is training others on how to successfully operate residential programs for troubled young women. These individuals – qualified or not – armed with Mercy Ministries’/Mercy Multiplied’s one day crash course and a copy of their “Guidelines for Establishing a Residential Facility“, will then go out and open homes under various other names (unless they become one of Mercy Ministries/Mercy Multiplied’s so called “affiliates”) and will carry on Mercy’s disastrous legacy to desperate young women who need actual professional help in a safe healthy environment.