I want to write about something that I don’t like to talk about. Something that I went through with the church that bugs me to this day. I feel that it is one of the things that I look back on and see that there wasn’t anything ever “wrong” with me and that the evangelical church (and religion in general )is nothing less than predatory.
A little after I was first saved, I went through something called “Deliverance Counseling or Deliverance Therapy” due to my dealings with the occult. A man named Charles Carrin was a guest speaker at our church and had told us that demons could inhabit, influence and keep us in bondage. Mind you this was NOT POSSESSION, that was apparently a Catholic thing. This was demonic oppression,you were suffering demonic influence and bondage, and you had to be delivered from it by the Holy Spirit. Charles told us about a “demonic spirit” that was associated with the occult that was a serpent that wound it’s way around the spine and rested its head in your brain. He advised that’s where the idea of Chakras and the Third Eye came from. He was referring to the Kundalini :
Kundalini – From a Sanskrit term meaning “coil” or “spiral,” spiritual and psychical energy that may be aroused systematically by techniques of yoga and which can be channelled throughout the chakras from the base of the spine to the crown of the head.
Needless to say, since I had been involved with witchcraft and I was ready and willing to be indoctrinated, I thought I had a demonic snake wrapped around my spine and in my brain (Yeah, go ahead and laugh; I would, too). So, my friends, newly found church family and this guy named Charles gather around me as I layed on the floor. While people prayed, they also laid hands on me, and some held down my legs and arms, Charles went to work. He anointed me with oil, he started praying in Jesus name and…
I got nothing.
I held my eyes closed, I waited and then nothing was happening. I thought that maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough, maybe I wasn’t worthy of delivering. Then I opened my eyes and I was surrounded by people with their hands on me. I then had something! A strong desire to get the hell off the floor and leave; however I was being held down. Not by the holy spirit, or anything supernatural, but by actual people. Charles kept praying and I was staying put. I eventually started to get frustrated, and finally my anxiety kicked in and I contemplated fighting my way out. About that time everything was over and done with and I was asked how I felt and what I was feeling during the session. I told everyone that I was anxious and was about to start fighting my way out of being held down on the floor.
Of course this was interpreted as demons fighting back and that satan had a tight grip on me and I needed more Jesus instead of someone having a panic attack due to being surrounded and held down on the ground. Of course I can’t really say anything because I agreed that I was infested with demons. Demons were just crawling out of my ass and only more dogma and indoctrination (aka: Jesus) could help me.
I still have those demons. Except know I call them by their real names of Bipolar Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and OCD and I exercise them with medication and actual therapy.
The funny thing is, this didn’t just happen once. Nope.
About a year or so later I went to a different preacher, on referral of my pastor at the time, and sought further deliverance therapy. I went into this man’s home and sat in a chair in his living room. My friend Tim ( the pastor’s son) went with me for support. This new deliverer prayed and prayed. Again, I waited for something to happen. Finally, something did happen! My throat went dry from sitting in a chair and praying for half an hour and I started to clear my throat and cough. Delivery Guy took this as a sign from above that I was “coughing up evil spirits”. So, he began to pray louder and more vigorously IN THE NAME OF JESUS! I kept coughing because: A) It was helping my throat & B) It was hurrying up this “deliverance”. Once I had coughed up enough “evil”, I was given a clear bill of spiritual health and Tim and I hit the road. I chalked up the experience to the pastor not having enough faith or ability to get the job done.
It would be a few years before I finally called bullshit on all of this and “took the scales off my eyes”.
The reason that I hate talking about this part of my time in the church is because I feel that these points is where I really got taken advantage of. This is where I was made to feel like I was broken and unworthy and I needed a deity, a g-d, a higher power to “fix me”. This is where I feel that the indoctrination of the church really broke in and took hold and stole my mind. This is the point of time in the church where I feel fucking violated. Because I KNEW that NOTHING WAS HAPPENING TO ME and I still bought into the bullshit and even blamed myself for no magical or supernatural occurrence happening to me. It was my fault that g-d didn’t show up and do something. I wasn’t faithful enough, I wasn’t good enough. When the fact was and is that there is no god to show up. I am worthy & good enough for anything and everything.
I found out later, as an atheist, that deliverance therapy actually has a name and is/was a commonly used practice in christian churches.
Theophostic ministry: Theophostic from two Greek words, theos for God and phos for light.
This article was written in 2001 (approximately the time that I received my “therapy”) and here are some excerpts:
…Ed Smith, founder of Theophostic Ministries (http://www.theophostic.com), based in Campbellsville, Kentucky. More than 15,000 people have taken his basic Theophostic training, and he estimates that more than 300,000 Christians have received some type of ministry using Theophostic. The approach is being used in 40 countries, and manuals are being translated into four languages.
So, this was kind of a big thing back in and around the time that this occurred to me. Whether or not either pastor that “delivered” me used this technique is unknown; however it appears not everyone was on board with this.
Some critics fault Theophostic for its approach to the demonic. Smith teaches that demons, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, may inhabit and influence even a Christian’s mind. These demons often work to keep people enslaved to what Smith calls the “lie-based thinking” causing their pain. He teaches that these demons have to be expelled for a client to see full relief.
While some evangelical theologians believe that Christians can fall under the strong influence of demons, few would agree with Smith that hundreds of demons can inhabit a believer.
The problem with this is that some people believe that this type of “therapy” can help cure everything from tennis elbow to homosexuality (which doesn’t need a cure, because it isn’t a disease!). Some sites like this one even promote “deliverance ministry” over having you kids take medication for their issues or ailments and they will even do it via webcam!
Do you see behaviors in your children that concern or frighten you? Have they been victimized by abuse ? Do you see patterns that are present in the family tree? Do they doctors want to prescribe medications and you are uncomfortable with that option? Deep down, as a parent, you may sense that the problems are spiritual and not medical in nature. As unfair as it sounds, children can be tormented and oppressed by demonic spirits just like adults.
So… What are the requisites for needing deliverance?
…we believe every believer should go through deliverance ministry to get set free from demonic strongholds!…
What are some indicators or evidences of potential strongholds being present?
- Have you had repeated prayer, ministry and/or counsel for one or more issues in your life and have had limited and short-term freedom at best?
- Have you been crying out to God for change in a certain area of your life?
- Are there behaviors that you cannot control?
- Have you tried medications/alternative therapies without success?
People can have strongholds of pride, fear/anxiety, depression, anger, lust, pornography and more.
OK, first ALL CHRISTIANS ask for repeated prayer for at least one thing. Every churchgoer has that one thing that they wish that they didn’t do and it’s usually an addiction like cigarettes or porn. Also , ALL CHRISTIANS cry out to g-d for something. More money, not to be single, to lose weight, or so on. You never are going to see a churchgoer tell their dear and fluffy lord “No Thanks, I am all good here!”. They always will be asking for or wanting something. If you have issues with the bottom two you need to keep working at them with an actual therapist/psychiatrist. This shit is not going to get you help, especially for $120 per hour.
Yeah, Jesus ain’t cheap.
I have wanted to share this for awhile now and it feels good to get this out of my head. It’s a shame of mine that I have carried around for far too long. It makes me angry when I think about it and I think now that I feel a little restored by putting this out there. I know now that I am the one that chooses my own path and I am my own responsibility. I only have this life to live and that I have to make it a good one.
Be wise and be kind, always.
NOTE: IF you are a Christian, and you just read this for a hoot, please stay away from this stuff and find an actual doctor. Pray about which actual doctor that g-d would want you to find, but beware of these types of folks. Chalk them up as false prophets in it for profits.