Yesterday, I focused on a review of dominionism as a spiritually abusive movement using many of the checklists available for testing "abusiveness" of groups
Today, we're going to look at dominionism and spiritual abuse from a slightly different perspective--namely, we're going to compare tactics of the "spiritual warfare" and "deliverance ministry" movements--and in particular a dominionist alternative to conventional psychiatry--with the tactics used by the Church of Scientology.
The parallels, as you'll see, are frightening indeed.
This post is slightly different in focus and focuses on a specific subset of the dominionist "parallel economy"--"Christian Counselors" aka "Theophostic Counseling" which is promoted as an alternative to "secular, anti-Christian" counseling by dominionist churches and groups such as the American Family Association.
By necessity, this essay will also focus on the practice of "deliverance ministry" within dominionist churches, especially dominionist churches in the pente and neopente movements (including the Assemblies of God, Vineyard, and many "independent charismatic" megachurches such as Ted Haggard's New Life Church) as backgrounder. (Understanding "deliverance ministry" is in several ways essential to understand these groups at all; even the basis of dominionism itself in these groups is frequently related to "deliverance ministry", as is much of the unethical behaviour of dominionist groups in the neopente movement in particular.)
The reason I expect this essay to be controversial is because this is a comparison of tactics used in "spiritual warfare" groups (including "Christian Counselors" and a group infamous for spiritual abuse--the "Church" of Scientology.
I'm posting this info in part in hopes to show why debating dominionists is occasionally reminiscent of beating one's head against a brick wall--many people don't realise the "home churches" of dominionists specifically teach that people outside the dominionist movement are "full of Satan" and hold up people as Marguerite Perrin as examples of "steadfast Christian soldiers".
I'm also posting in the hopes that--knowing the tactics and the similarities to known spiritually abusive practices--we can find some way to either reach dialogue or at least prevent further damage to civil liberties.
First, a wee bit of a primer. "Deliverance Ministry" in the neopentecostal movement has to do with claims that pretty much everything outside the church is demonised and will cause people to be infested or "oppressed" by demons--and, if people aren't "really saved" (which usually involves speaking in tongues or waving about invisible "swords of the lord")--possibly even damning them to hell. It is a major part of neopentecosal dominionism, and in fact is both a theological basis for and a consequence of dominion theology (which we'll get into much more detail on tomorrow)--pretty much everything up to and including the bad economy, the fact they aren't multi-billionaires, etc. is blamed on "demonic oppression" and not only the country but even family members are targeted in an effort to try to "exorcise" all the demons out and "claim authority".
Recently (in reference to this recent post on Dark Christianity in reference to a case of "death by exorcism") I stumbled upon the following series of articles on "Christian Counseling" aka "Theophostic Counseling", which is promoted heavily in the dominionist community as an alternative to "secular" psychiatry:
(all articles from Religious Tolerance)
Theophostic Counseling (index)
Information about memories
TPM counseling: the process and reaction
Internet resources & books
In these articles I found characteristics in addition to those aspects of "deliverance ministry" in dominionist churches that I am personally familiar with (being a walkaway from a coercive Assemblies church into "Third Wave" theology, which incorporates "deliverance ministry" as part of its integral theology (a pattern that is common in Assemblies churches, as you'll see soon), and having also done some research on churches in the dominionist movement with similar theology such as Ted Haggard's New Life Church in Colorado Springs) that are especially troubling, as they show that the basic coercive tactics used in these churches are substantially identical to those used in a group much better known for being coercive--specifically, Scientology.
For comparisons between the practices of "Christian Counseling" targeted towards dominionists and Scientology, I will rely on information from the sites listed above (and other sites where necessary) regarding "deliverance ministry" theology and will rely on various online sources regarding the latter (which will be documented).
The site lists "theophostic counseling" as being similar to "recovered memory therapy" with the following twists:
Associated with each of these traumatic memories is a false belief--a lie--implanted by Satan. It is the lie, more than the abuse memories themselves, that causes distress in adulthood.
Now, this is a rather new twist, but this is almost identical
to the entire idea of "engrams" in Scientology:
(from Never defend, Always attack)
Scientologists are convinced that every human is under the influence of Xenu, who 60 billion years ago released Thetans on earth.
These Thetans are in each of us, and cause 'engrams'.
Scientology can erase those, so that someone becomes 'clear'
Now, what the hell are "thetans" and "engrams"? According to Scientology, all of your problems are the result of "body thetans"--little alien ghosts resulting from Xenu having blown them up in Kilahuea and Las Palmas millions of years ago. They can in turn implant false mental images--"engrams"--that are the cause of all your problems. The alt.religion.scientology FAQ
(ARS is in fact a Usenet forum for ex-Scientologists
that the CoS has tried to destroy for the past twelve or more years) explains it a bit better:
Engram, a posited memory trace that remains after a moment of pain and unconsciousness. Hubbard didn't coin this word; it can be found in Webster's, and is part of the ISV, the International Scientific Vocabulary.
BT, Body Thetan. Usually plural. Evil spirits which need to be exorcized. "OT 5 consists entirely of running out BTs; what a bore."
Remember these terms--many of the same concepts used in "theophostic therapy" to deal with "demon possession" and "lies implanted by Satan" are identical (save for the Bible-flavouring versus bad-space-opera flavouring) to those used in Scientology.
Satan, or one of his demons, continually tries to exploit these lies by causing the individual adult to engage in sinful behaviors, causing feelings of guilt.
Here, too, Scientology has almost an exact parallel:
(from Never defend, Always attack)
Scientologists are convinced that every human is under the influence of Xenu, who 60 billion years ago released Thetans on earth.
These Thetans are in each of us, and cause 'engrams'.
Scientology can erase those, so that someone becomes 'clear'.
This takes some steps, and they cost money. Initially little, but the higher one gets (the purpose is to become Operating Thetan) the more one pays. The director of Scientology International states in the Washington Post that members can pay up to 20,000 dollar for this. Critics estimate the amount as 300,000 dollar. The clearing process can take long, because Scientologists are convinced that there are also thetans from past lifes in us. They also have to go. Which costs money.
In the case of Scientology, the "engrams" and "body thetans" are seen as the cause of all ills, just as "demons" are seen as the cause of literally all ills in dominionist groups into "deliverance ministry". And much as in Scientology (where anything can be the cause of further infection with "engrams" or "body thetans"), many "deliverance ministry" groups will claim literally anything
outside the group will cause one to be demonised.
Going back to the dominionist verison:
During a TPM counseling session, encourages the person to revisit the memory and then allows Jesus, or the Holy Spirit to enter the mind of a born-again Christian and cause the lies to be over-written and corrected -- much like a virus is removed from an computer disk.
This is almost identical to the concept of "clearing" in Scientology. This bears some explanation.
From What The Church Of Scientology Doesn't Want You To Know:
In the book, Hubbard claimed to have developed a new scientifically proven technique, discovered through "many years of exact search and careful testing," for the improvement of mental health through the eradication of "engrams"--stored memories that cause aberration in humans.
According to Hubbard, engrams begin accumulating "in the cells of the zygote, which is to say, conception," many of these engrams being caused by abortion attempts, and that between 20 and 30 such attempts are an average number for a typical mother.
Engrams are removed through a process called "auditing," which can produce "tears and wailings," "somatics enough to make the patient roll around on the floor," and a "patient...that bounces about, all unconscious of the action."
From another article excerpting the book A Piece Of Blue Sky
In Dianetics, the therapist asked the patient to repeat the phrases. Hubbard called this "repeater technique" and, in early Dianetics, it was the principal method for discovering traumatic incidents.
Hubbard renamed the "unconscious" the "Reactive Mind." He differentiated two principal types of trauma: "physical pain or unconsciousness," and "emotional loss." Before Dianetics was published, three words had been tried out to describe the first type of trauma: norn, impediment and comanome. Eventually, Dr. Winter suggested that a word already current would fit the bill. The word was "engram," defined in Dorland's 1936 Medical dictionary as "a lasting mark or trace .... In psychology it is the lasting trace left in the psyche by anything that has been experienced psychically; a latent memory picture." Hubbard limited the term to actual pain or unconsciousness, separating out emotional losses as "secondary engrams" or "secondaries," meaning they were only stored where an earlier, similar "engram" existed. Freud too had commented on trauma based on both physical pain and emotional loss.
So, according to Hubbard, the "Reactive Mind" is composed of recordings of incidents of physical pain or unconsciousness called "engrams." The earliest engram (or "basic") is the foundation of a "chain" of engrams, and through re-experiencing it, the "chain" will dissipate. To make an earlier engram available it is necessary to "destimulate" more recent engrams by re-experiencing them.
Hubbard claimed it was possible to relieve all such engrams, thus "erasing" the Reactive (unconscious) Mind. A person without a Reactive Mind would be "Clear."
Yes, you're reading this right--both Scientology and "theophostic psychiatry" are talking about "clearing the mind" of people, only using different terminology.
Again from Religious Tolerance:
It is possible that a demon has actually entered the client's mind, masquerading as Jesus or the Holy Spirit. The therapist must verify the identity of the indwelling spirit before proceeding.
And the Scientology parallel:
(from A Piece Of Blue Sky
To make a Clear, it would be necessary to erase the earliest engram by re-experiencing it. Hubbard asserted that the engram of birth was very important, and claimed it was possible, and necessary, to find the earliest engram, long before birth, perhaps as far back as conception, the "sperm dream."
(from What The Church Of Scientology Doesn't Want You To Know
According to Hubbard, further research showed that, behind the analytical and reactire minds, there lay entities known as "Thetans." These Thetans are non-physical and immortal, somewhat analogous to the human soul; they inhabit human bodies, moving them around like puppets. Because of their immortality, when their current human host dies, they are forced to vacate and must find another host.
Apparently, these Thetans come equipped with all of the engrams they have collected in all of their previous lifetimes. Hubbard taught it was possible, although extremely expensive, to clear even these ancient engrams
Yes, demonology exists in Scientology as much as it does in "deliverance ministry"--it's a matter of terminology. In fact, people reading about how thetans jump from generation to generation may be reminded of the concept of "generational curses" in dominionist thought!
Going back to the Religious Tolerance article:
Once the lies in the person's early memory have been corrected, the linkage to today's emotional problems and sinful practices is broken. Satan can not tempt a person to sin as easily as he could before the TPM sessions. The person is healed.
Again, this is nearly identical to claims for "clearing" in Scientology:
(from What The Church Of Scientology Doesn't Want You To Know)
Once all the engrams are removed, the person becomes a "Clear" and never again has colds or accidents, has improved IQ, total call, a longer life, and is perhaps even cured of cancer. Or such are the claims.
(The full depth of explanation in this case--most groups into "deliverance ministry" also teach that diseases, etc. are the result of demonic possession. This is most evident in the case of "word-faith" "healing services" but is explicitly espoused by at least one group promoting deliverance ministry
and the concept has even been extended to "generational curses" in many churches into "third wave" theology.)
Religious Tolerance has grave concerns:
Of concern is that TheoPhostic counseling is performed in a religious setting, typically by conservative Christian counselors with no academic qualifications. Many believe that since prayer is involved in the sessions, that God will prevent any evil acts or false memories from emerging. It is our opinion that God is not responsible for any good effects of TPM nor is Satan responsible for any evil results. Rather, the impact of TPM -- whether good or evil -- is determined by the counselor, the client, and their interaction. During the 1980s and 1990s, RMT seriously harmed many tens of thousands of its victims, drove some to suicide, and disrupted tens of thousands of families of origin. Many of its victims were counseled in a conservative Christian religious setting. Since TPM and RMT are so closely related, we urge the reader avoid becoming involved in TPM or in any other similar experimental therapy. We suspect that TPM has the same potential for evil, if it becomes widely used.
Another area where they can be compared, sadly, is in involuntary attempts to "exorcise" people.
Deliverance ministry groups (including "Christian Counselors") and Scientology also believe it is permissible to involuntarily confine and attempt exorcisms on people. Scientology terms it "Introspection rundown".
Anyways, here's a look at the "Christian counseling" and deliverance ministry versions.
Per the ethical standards of one particular group certifying "Christian Counselors", they do accept involuntary restraints for persons being "exorcised" including involuntary exorcisms:
(from American Association of Christian Counselors ethics guidelines (PDF is online, but ethics guidelines still available in Word format here))
1-331 Special Consent for More Difficult Interventions
Close or special consent is obtained for more difficult and controversial practices.
These include, but are not limited to: deliverance and spiritual warfare activities; cult deprogramming work; recovering memories and treatment of past abuse or trauma; use of
hypnosis and any kind of induction of altered states; authorizing (by MDs) medications,
elecrtro-convulsive therapy, or patient restraints; use of aversive, involuntary, or
experimental therapies; engaging in reparative therapy with homosexual persons; and
counseling around abortion and end-of-life issues. These interventions require a more
detailed discussion with patient-clients or client representatives of the procedures, risks, and treatment alternatives, and we secure detailed written agreement for the procedure.
(At least two of these--"recovered memory therapy" and "reparative therapy" are in fact seen as potentially causing psychiatric injury by most psychiatric associations and the latter is actually grounds for decertification by the American Psychiatric Association.)
There are other accounts available regarding involuntary exorcisms at the hands of dominionists:
DID YOU EVER GET A WHIPPING WITH THE BIBLE BELT?)
Father Leo Booth, an Episcopal minister, writes that one characteristic of abusive religion is that it is authoritarian and seeks to have total control over its adherents. When people use their thinking or critical skills they are told that the devil is at work in their lives or that they are possessed by demons.
This was true of my experience at summer camp. Because I continually questioned my counselors teachings, he performed an involuntary exorcism on me to remove the demons that were at work in my life. This exorcism was needless to say a traumatic experience. Father Leo Booth says that the prohibition against questioning is the prelude to all other kinds of abuse. Because if you cannot challenge authority then you are in danger of being abused by authority.
Skipp Porteous, who is a walkaway from the AoG, documented an exorcism as performed by "deliverance ministers" in that denomination:
(from Walk Away archives (Walk Away was a magazine published by the now-defunct Institute for First Amendment Studies focusing on escapees from abusive dominionist groups))
Exorcisms are long, arduous, and often violent. The church elders and I usually went to private homes to perform exorcisms. On some occasions our wives went with us, for extra spiritual power. In one home, an average, middle-class housewife knelt on the wall-to-wall carpet. As a dozen hands were laid on her head, we first prayed in tongues.
"Shun-da-da-da-ma hun-da. On-di, ma-kai-on-do," someone babbled.
"Come out! Come out in the name of Jesus! I command you to come out of her!" one elder shouted into her ear.
"You evil spirit of lust," he continued with great power and authority, "and you spirit of witchcraft, leave, in the name of Jesus!"
By now the atmosphere was charged and everyone continued to speak in tongues. The pitch grew louder as we feverishly prayed for the woman's deliverance from evil spirits.
Someone started to sing, "In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus." Everyone joined in and lifted their hands toward heaven. The woman slumped to the carpet floor and sobbed.
Seizing the moment, an elder clutched the woman with his burly hands. He blurted loudly in tongues and vigorously shook the woman. The rest of the group stopped singing and shouted incomprehensible utterances. The woman sat up, her knees digging into the carpet as the elder continued to shake the demons out of her.
"Come out! In the name of Jesus, I command you!" he yelled into her ear. Overwhelmed, she screamed and fought back. Now everyone held her by the arms and shoulders as they yelled for the demons to come out.
"(expletive) you! (expletive) you all!" the woman screamed. "You're all going to hell!"
While some of the women were shocked by the vulgarity, this outburst only encouraged us. Because a Christian wouldn't talk like that, we were now certain it was the demon speaking through her. Discovered, he was obviously ready to come out, but not before a last ditch effort.
Then she screamed again, and started to cough and gag. Having been through this many times, we had the whoopee bag ready, but she missed and vomited on the carpet.
Ecstatic, we shouted in unison, "Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus!"
(The article also has accounts of other exorcism attempts.)
Another account of involuntary captivity of people subjected to "Christian Counseling", this time in South Africa:
(from Rick Ross Institute)
Johannesburg -- A church on the East Rand has apparently been keeping people in shackles on church grounds for the past couple of years "to drive their demons out".
Although the Gauteng Association for Mental Health has been investigating this alleged "inhuman" situation for the past three months, the seven people, who might be mentally ill, have still not been freed from their chains.
Police spokesperson superintendent Eugene Opperman said police were investigating these allegations. "We will decide what to do as soon as we have enough information."
Some of the people have allegedly been held for years at the St John's Apostolic Faith Mission in Etwatwa, a township outside Benoni.
"For their own safety"
Pastor Paul Mabothe, a representative of the church, said it was necessary to keep the people in shackles "for their own safety".
"These people do funny things. They could run around and damage themselves or church property," Mabothe said.
He claimed these people had been possessed by "demons". "There is no scientific way to exorcise a demon. We do it through prayer and holy water. It normally takes between six and 18 months to heal a person."
These people may not leave the church grounds and sleep in shacks on the premises. They are given food and water "but we are overcrowded and need money to care for them properly," Mabothe said.
It may surprise people, but Scientology does have its equivalent. Scientology's term for an involuntary exorcism is an "introspection rundown", and is performed for very similar reasons (usually on people at threat of walking away from Scientology):
(from ARS FAQ)
Introspection Rundown, a therapy for handling psychotic breaks in the cult. Involves locking the person up to prevent bad PR with the isolation step, also called baby watch. Sometimes instilling such wacky ideas as Xenu, Body Thetans and OT III can make people a bit unstable; the IRD is used to contain people when they flip out.
(from Why Are They Dead (info on "introspection rundown" on Lisa McPhereson, possibly the most famous case of "death by Scientology"))
L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, wrote several "bulletins" about his process that he declared "Its results are nothing short of miraculous." The three bulletins I'll be quoting from are:
1) HCO Bulletin 23 January 1974 "The Technical Breakthrough of 1973! The Introspection RD"
2) HCO Bulletin of 20 February 1974 "Introspection RD Additional Steps"
3) HCO Bulletin of 6 March 1974 "Introspection RD Second Addition; Information to C-Ses, Fixated Attention"
A "rundown" in Scientology is a series of prescribed steps designed to produce a certain end result. These steps involve "auditing", which is looking back through a person's past to find some memory that is causing the person present time problems. The Introspection Rundown is designed to handle a psychotic break or mental breakdown. The theory of the Introspection Rundown is that if you can find what caused the person to become introverted and psychotic then you can handle that cause and break the psychotic episode.
The first step of the rundown is "isolate the person wholly with all attendants completely muzzled (no speech)."  Auditing sessions are given infrequently to search for the cause of the psychotic break during this rundown, otherwise the person is isolated in complete silence.
"When it is obvious the person is out of his psychosis and up to the responsibility of living with others his isolation is ended."  The supervisor in charge of the person being isolated tests the person's condition by writing a note, such as "'Dear Joe. What can you guarantee me if you are let out of isolation?'"  If Joe does not answer in writing satisfactorily, the supervisor must write back "'Dear Joe. I'm sorry but no go on coming out of isolation yet.'"  Of course, "this will elicit a protest from the person"  but the rundown is not over until the supervisor concludes that Joe has recognized what caused his psychotic break. Once the rundown is over, if the person is a Sea Org member (the elite corps that signs a billion year contract with the church), he/she is put on the RPF - a sort of manual labor detail, and is "told to make good." 
Just like in dominionist groups, people are held involuntarily:
(from Lisa McPherson's memorial site (court testimony against Scientologists))
2) In June of 1996 I was held against my will in the Scientology, Clearwater, Florida facility and "ordered" to pay $7,400 before they would let me out of the room. I did not want to pay for what the two staff members insisted I must have, and what ensued was a verbal battle, emotional trauma and an attempt at financial extortion. After a time I managed to escape the physical detention, but two "Sea Org" members chased me right out into the streets of Clearwater to try to recapture me. I did not pay the money. This incident is on file with the Clearwater Police Department.
3) In June of 1991 I was forced to pay, despite vehement protestations, the sum of $7,400 to Scientology on the "Freewinds" ship. The ruse used on that Wednesday was that if I did not pay then they would withhold my passport from me until I did pay. They did so and I had to pay the money to get it back.
4)At the end of 1996 I was subjected to [a] horrible kind of "religious deprogramming" in the Scientology "Fort Harrison Hotel". This was done, using an "E-meter", by a top official of the "Religious technology Center" (RTC) namely Mr. Marty Rathbun. I was interrogated for several hours on the most intimate personal religious beliefs (Christian) and his actions were designed clearly to get me to give up my Christian religious beliefs in exchange for RTC's "eligibility authorization" to read a confidential publication about a defective "OT level" I had previously completed (OT 7). His utter contempt for my religious beliefs were all to apparent. He felt that all other religions apart from Scientology should be destroyed and probably would be in time by Scientology, using RTC's programs of "eligibility's" as the means of forcing people to give up other faiths.
I also had to undergo many hours of 'false data removal",,,to try to "get me to realize" that the ONLY valid religion was Scientology.
It did not work.
Much as is the case with Scientology, dominionist groups are now being sued for involuntary confinement:
(from Rick Ross Institute re a woman who won a $300,000 judgement for involuntary confinement by a "deliverance ministry" group associated with an AoG church)
But Bill Wuester, Schubert's attorney, said the teen- ager was a model high school student who held a job, paid for her car and looked forward to her senior prom. That changed in June 1996, he told the jury.
"This girl had no problems. ... She had a great life," Wuester said.
He reminded jurors that church officials and youth group members testified that they had pinned her to the sanctuary floor.
Schubert and other witnesses testified that she had kicked and yelled to try to break free.
"I don't know how many times a woman has to say `no' before she is believed," Wuester told the jury. "How many times does she have to say, `Get away. Don't hold me. Let me up. No!'?"
(from Charisma Magazine
Schubert's lawsuit described a bizarre night in which members anointed the sanctuary with holy oil, rapped on pews and propped a cross against the church doors to keep demons out.
(from Ex-Pentecostals archive
("Delivered" is an online magazine published by Ex-Pentecostals, an association of survivors of abusive pente and neopente groups, which has largely taken the place of "Walk Away" among this community))
AG CHURCH SUED OVER EXORCISM
In Tarrant County, Texas, a judge has awarded one Laura Schubert $300,000 in a civil case that charged the pastor and several members of Colleyvilles's Pleasant Glade Assembly of God with abuse and false imprisonment. Ms. Schubert successfully claimed in court that on two occasions, members of this church attempted to "exorcise" her after anointing the church with holy oil, and propping up a cross against the door to keep demonic forces out, according to a report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. These attempts were particularly abusive to Ms. Schubert, spurring this lawsuit; however the church claims in a statement that "We are a Bible-believing, Pentecostal church. For this we make no apologies."
(Interestingly, Schubert's case shows another
parallel with Scientologists--in that both "deliverance ministry" groups and Scientologists use almost the same tactics to keep from paying their victims in court. During the court case and since Schubert's legal victory, Pleasant Glade AoG has done pretty much everything short of filing a countersuit to keep from paying (including attempts to block all evidence relating to "deliverance ministry"
even though the lawsuit related to an exorcism, has tried to claim that PTSD in relation to religious abuse does not exist
in an attempt to remove a substantial part of Schubert's court award, and has even reportedly claimed that the court settlement period was part of a "liberal plot"
against them); lest one think this is an abberation, the national headquarters of the Assemblies of God has filed an amicus brief supporting the abusive church
. Anyone familiar with the court tactics used by the Church of Scientology should in fact be familiar with this--they used almost the exact same
tactics to keep from paying any damages related to Lisa McPherson's death--noted below.)
Sadly, too, in both cases people have died from exorcism.
With dominionists, probably one of the more infamous cases involves the "death by exorcism" of an eight-year-old autistic child:
Rick Ross Institute
With Scientologists, probably the most infamous case is of Lisa McPhereson:
Lisa McPherson's memorial page
The truly frightening thing is that--even with all the similarities with Scientology--both the promotion of "theophostic counseling" aka "Christian Counseling" in dominionist groups as an alternative to "anti-Christian psychiatrists" has radically increased. Not only this, but a number of major players in dominionism (including, notably, Ted Haggard's New Life Church) are major promoters of "Christian Counseling" and those same players (and the "Christian Counselors" in question) are major promoters of "deliverance ministry" in turn.
In the groups heavily into "deliverance ministry", mental health issues are actually seen as the result of "demonisation" (with exorcism, as opposed to medical treatment, being seen as the proper course of action).
Many groups into the "name it and claim it" aspects as well as "deliverance ministry" go so far as to claim that even the common cold, flu, et al are not the result of germs but demonic infestation:
(from Exposing Satanism (warning, very pro-dominionist) which is quoted in Exposing Satanism and Democrats , part of a continuing series on WitchVox called Witch Hunts largely focusing on "deliverance ministry" groups)
There are demon spirits for every sickness, unholy trait, and DOCTRINAL ERROR known among men. They must be cast out or resisted in order to experience relief from them. Disease germs, which are closely allied with unclean spirits, are really living forms of corruption which come into the bodies of men bringing them to death. Just as refuse breeds maggots, so man in his fallen state of corruption breeds germs through unclean living and contact with corruption in the fallen world. THEY ARE AGENTS OF SATAN, CORRUPTING THE BODIES OF HIS VICTIMS.
Yes, you're reading that right--they quite literally believe that viruses, bacteria et al are in fact physically manifesting demons
Dominionist groups are also increasingly against "secular" psychiatry, partly because psychiatrists are becoming more aware of and friendly towards issues regarding gay/les/bi/trans individuals and partly because the practices in churches into "deliverance ministry" are increasingly themselves being seen as coercive and psychologically harmful.
Generally they will at least claim "secular" psychiatrists/psychologists have an "anti-Christian agenda"; dominionist therapists and other professionals are now increasingly going through "parallel economy" certification mills and dominionist-run professional associations.
In part, this is because (in part due to use of techniques like exorcisms, promotion of "reparative therapy"--incidentially, Scientology also claims to be able to "de-gay" people--and similar techniques) generally in mainstream therapy associations "Christian Counselors" would be ineligible for certification; practically EVERY mainstream psychiatric, psychological, social-work, and even a few non-mental-health-related medical groups have ALL condemned "de-gaying" therapy as well as "recovered memory therapy", and the psychological/psychiatric associations in particular will revoke certification if they find a psych or social worker attempting to "de-gay" people. (This is part of what has "Love In Action" in licensing trouble with the state of Tennessee--the state is wanting to shut them down for running an unlicensed mental health center. It is in fact impossible for a "de-gaying" center to be licensed as a mental health center, as they rely on APA certification for licensure, and the APA will not give certification to groups practicing "de-gaying therapy" per their own ethics rules.)
Because of this, dominionist groups are now encouraging their members to not visit traditional psychiatrists but "Christian counselors" that are "certified" by dominionist-run groups (like NARTH or a dominionist alternative to the American Academy of Pediatrics)
A short list of dominionist groups condemning psychiatry or promoting "Christian counseling" as an alternative:
Traditional Values Coalition (and in fact the Traditional Values Coalition in general seems to hate psychiatry: this link details more)
Concerned Women for America (in a rare example of honestly, admits part of why they are steering away from psychiatrists is due to the increasing knowledge that many dominionist groups are coercive and psychologically harmful)
Culture and Family
Key Christian Issues (incorporates psychiatry into the general "martyr complex" of dominionism)
Jimmy Swaggart (archived on SkepticFiles) (Jimmy Swaggart condemns psychiatry)
James Moody (Moody Church--home of Moody Bible Institute--claiming psychiatrists are interfering with God)
Many dominionist groups in fact maintain mental illness does not in fact exist, but is either the result of sin or demonisation:
Page from "Christian Counseling" promoter Malcolm Bowden
Second page from same party
Third page from same party (apparently he also pushes the whole "name it and claim it" stuff here, too; as it is, schizophrenia is now known to have a strong genetic component and have measurable MRI changes, showing it is an organic brain disorder)
Also, of note, the major promoters of "Christian counseling" are in fact not only a who's who of dominionism but also very often the same ones condemning "secular" psychiatry:
Rapha Institute (from a major group promoting "Christian counseling"; most of the endorsers are major players within the dominionist movement or from churches strongly associated with dominionism)
Both Rapha and New Life Church are very interesting to note. Rapha is probably the most promoted alternative to "secular psychotherapy" among dominionist groups (Rapha also cross-promotes other "Christian Counseling" groups); New Life Church is also a major promoter of "Christian Counseling" to the point of having links on its website where one can find a "Christian Counselor".
Rapha in particular will allow involuntary committment of adults and has a section on their website which lists facilities that allow involuntary committment.
A list of facilities with links to dominionism or "Christian counseling" as practiced in the dominionist community:
MyAll4One (pro-dominionist, from person wanting to set up explicitly dominionist mental hospital)
California Specialty Hospital (noted on AllNurses.com) (thread also mentions Pine Rest, noted below)
Stumbling Towards Faith Forums
Mental Illness and Christian Response discussion on Internet Infidels forum (person asking in context of dominionists who may attempt involuntary commitments of adults to "Christian mental health facilities")
Notes from a committee to such a facility (person who admitted self to "Christian mental hospital"--warning, somewhat pro-dominionist)
Info on Pine Rest via DragonsWood (person who eventually murdered family after being committed to Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Facility, a facility frequently mentioned in reports on "Christian mental hospitals")
Christian Family Services (list of "Christian counselors" including those providing inpatient care)
Pine Rest Christian Mental Health (inpatient "Christian mental hospital" that has been promoted by dominionist groups; may itself promote dominionist ideas per its own statements; more evidence of dominionist links is primarily through funding statements showing a major contributo is the DeVos Foundation
(which funds almost entirely dominionist causes--see this link for a full list))
http://www.newlife.com/ (another promoter of "Christian mental hospitals"; not to be confused with Ted Haggard's New Life Church, this is a different neopentecostal church which also operates a large televangelism empire; groups promoted listed here)
Minirith Clinic (another dominionist operator of "Christian mental hospitals")
Meier Clinics (provider of outpatient and "day program" semi-outpatient "Christian mental health" services; explicitly dominionist (per their links page: links to Focus on the Family are included))
Rapha Christian Counseling (dominionist "Christian mental health" facility which also includes inpatient treatment; explicitly dominionist, promotes "reparative therapy" aka "degaying therapy" (which is actually a major ethics violation for licensed psychs and social workers in most states); also has links to other "Christian mental hospitals")
Ramah International (dominionist group not only promoting "Christian mental health" facilities but also promoting deceptive "pregnancy counseling centers" which often end in pregnant teens being involuntarily held there and custody of their children forfeited to dominionist adoption programs)
Remuda Ranch (dominionist facility for people with eating disorders, promoted by dominionist Meier Clinics)
Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch (Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, "Christian mental hospital" promoted by Meier Clinics; site appears to be down, archive here; )
Eckerd Youth Alternatives (Eckerd Youth Alternatives, "Christian mental healthcare" group promoted by Meier Clinics)
House of Isaiah (dominionist substance-abuse care facility)
New Crations Chapel (explicitly dominionist inpatient facility for "at-risk youth"; the statement of faith of the facility is pretty blatant.)
The "Love In Action" facility "Refuge"--which has been ordered to shut down by the State of Tennessee for being unlicensed--also would fit in this category.
This is not the first time "Christian counselors" have been directly associated with harmful practices. In the main article, we mentioned "RMT" or "Recovered Memory Therapy"--what a lot of people don't know is that the main pushers of RMT were in fact dominionist churches wishing to push the myth of "Satanic Panic"--that there were secretly diabolist cabals throughout the US. Not coincidentially, these were the same "deliverance ministry" folks who were promoting not only the whole idea of "Satanic Panic" in the first place (and that everything was demonised outside of themselves) but now are the major promoters of "Christian Counseling" or "Theophostic Counseling" as an alternative to psychiatry in dominionist communities.
If any of you want to know just how extreme it can get with "deliverance ministry", here's some examples of "deliverance ministry" in action:
(all links from "Witch Hunts" series on WitchVox unless noted)
Exposing Satanism and Democrats 
Exposing Satanism and Democrats  (Yes, the same one that noted that the common cold is literally pure, condensed evil)
Exposing Satanism and Democrats 
Exposing Satanism and Democrats 
(These four are part of a series that is a review of a typical "deliverance ministry" tract that literally equates the entire Democratic party to a cabal of practicing diabolists.)
"Deliverance ministry" folks pushing "satanic panic" to cops:
Misdirected Cops 
Misdirected Cops 
Major pushers of "satanic panic" (showing how it originated with "deliverance ministry" preachers):
Myth Makers  (notes Calvary Chapel involvement--of note, Calvary Chapel also owns (both directly and through multiple front groups) a network of approximately 7000 radio stations (and this is a very conservative estimate)--mostly low-power translators--in "godcasting" networks--I will be doing upcoming research on the massive hijacking of low-power FM slots and even fullpower nonprofit FM slots by "Godcasters" and posting on here in the upcoming weeks)
Myth Makers 
Myth Makers  (notes involvement of Mike Warnke, who was exposed as fraud--he had claimed to be a member of a diabolist cult in his "Christian comedy" routine, but was outed as a fake by Cornerstone Magazine)
Myth Makers 
Myth Makers 
hMyth Makers 
Myth Makers 
Myth Makers 
Myth Makers 
Info on "deliverance ministry" practitioners pushing the use of "Christian counselors" over psychatrists certified through non-dominionist professional associations (interestingly, originally in reference to "satanic panic"):
Strange Therapy 
Strange Therapy 
Strange Therapy  (notes on how "Christian counselors" often practice exorcisms, speak of mass demonisation, and other features of "deliverance ministry" practiced by them--also major promoter of "Satanic Panic", and just about only promoter of it nowadays)
Strange Therapy 
Strange Therapy 
Strange Therapy  (use of narcotics--"truth serum", sodium pentothal--by counselors, which is potentially unlicensed practice of medicine--it's precisely this (the unlicensed dispensing of medication) that got Love in Action in serious trouble with Tennessee)
Strange Therapy 
Strange Therapy [notes]
(It should be noted that according to multiple sources--including exit counselors and experts on religion--not one confirmed case of actual "satanic ritual abuse" (of the type promoted by "Christian counselors" and the like) has been documented; in fact, one of the very few documented forms of "ritual abuse" or religiously motivated child abuse is specifically among practitioners of "deliverance ministry" itself.)
Religious Tolerance has further reference to "Christian Counseling" (also referred to as "theophostic" counseling).
As an example of how groups into "deliverance ministry" can literally consider anything and everything outside the group as not only Satanic but potentially demonising:
Demonbusters  (expose of Demonbusters.com; apparently, according to them, even Head-On (apply directly to the forehead!) is satanic because it's a homeopathic remedy)
Demonbusters  (notes a common canard--that the "peace sign" is somehow a diabolic symbol. Oh, and every Roman Catholic reading this is apparently a diabolist too. Same goes if you burn incense. Same goes if you use herbal cures. Oh, did we mention that the Smurfs are part of the Debbil's Conspiracy as well as anything made in Mexico?)
Demonbusters  (If you've ever listened to Motley Crue, or had crystals, or ever dressed up for Halloween, or are even a fan of Jackie Chan movies, you are at best infested with demons and more likely are actively working for the Enemy. Same goes for your collectible sword set, and all you Trekkies are going straight to hell.)
Demonbusters  (Apparently all the Methodists are going to hell what with the "open doors, open minds" stuff (yes, they literally list "open doors" as a Satanic symbol--probably a reference to "opening doorways for Satan"). Uppity women are seen as Satanic. Cats are seen as Satanic. Tae kwon do lessons are seen as Satanic. The Great Seal of the United States is apparently a Satanic symbol. In what is probably a case of their Freudian slip showing, "self control" is listed as Satanic. Illegitimate kids are InstaDamned. Birthstones and yin-yang symbols are seen as Satanic.)
Last Stop Hell (This particular site and its owners are the subject of an expose on Dark Christianity: among other things, the founder of the group who runs it claims to be a former mafioso. Apparently, if you like horror movies or goth music you're damned; amazingly, they also claim Jews are damned (it's rather rare that antisemitism is this blatant--usually it's just in the form that they want all the Jews to convert to kosher pentecostals).)
If it were mere spreading of "Satanic Panic", it'd be one thing--but unfortunately, it isn't. Increasingly, these same groups--in a manner almost, yet again, directly paralleling Scientology--are targeting children.
As it turns out, "deliverance ministry" groups have infiltrated US schools, including public schools. One particular person doing this is Bill Gothard, whose "Character Training Institute" is used in public schools; Gothard is a heavy promoter of "deliverance ministry" and has even promoted the concept that Cabbage Patch Dolls are possessed and must be disposed of lest they open "doorways to Satan". (Gothard also has numerous connections to spiritually abusive movements and--in direct relevance to this essay--is also a major promoter of "spiritual warfare" movements including the "Joel's Army" movement (more on that in a bit) and is a major promoter of "theophostic counseling".)
Another group explicitly targeting kids is a group called the Seven Project--in a pattern repeated all-too-many times, intensive research shows that the "Seven Project" is in fact a front-group (one of approximately 40 national front-groups) of the Assemblies of God--the same Assemblies of God that essentially birthed dominion theology (more on this tomorrow) and which filed an amicus brief supporting the people who tortured Laura Schubert. And, in a manner almost directly paralleling the German government's concern over Scientologist after-school programs, students and parents are now suing over the use of the "Seven Project" in mandatory assemblies (pun intended) in schools:
Responding to concerns from students, the Chicago Board of Education is investigating two assemblies held Wednesday at Lane Technical High School.
A senior at the high school contacted School Board lawyers concerning the 50-minute "character education" seminars presented by a group called the Seven Project, which The Chicago Sun-Times identified as a ministry of the Assemblies of God, an evangelical Christian denomination.
George Soto, 18, called School Board lawyers earlier this week after teachers announced that on Wednesday morning, two 50-minute, school-wide assemblies would be held featuring presentations by the Seven Project, a ministry of the Assemblies of God, an evangelical Christian denomination.
Soto and four other students sat out the assemblies in the prinicpal's office, the published report said.
"We had some concerns about separation between church and state, and we don't like these kinds of assemblies being pushed on us," Soto said. "I'm a Roman Catholic, and I believe in Christ, but I think it's something that should stay outside of school."
(The article further notes that the principal has a history of being a self-avowed "evangelical" and has a history of church-state violations including promoting explicitly religious content in school programs.)
"Seven Project" (and the fact that the Assemblies maintain fully forty-plus fronts--most of whom it is not obvious the groups are actually missionary groups of the Assemblies--is in and of itself a "danger sign") not only hides its affiliation to the Assemblies (the main link is buried in the privacy info page--and would not be obvious unless you knew "ag.org" is the Assemblies' domain name and that they were based in Springfield, MO--but also has a completely separate domain for adults (which notes promotion in multiple public schools and which also only reveals its Assemblies links in a similar manner to the privacy info page for the "kid's domain". One literally has to go to the page of a separate Assemblies frontgroup targeting kids to discover the full extent of Seven Project's links to its parent org
Scientology--and for that matter, most coercive religious groups--have a well documented history of maintaining multiple front groups for recruitment. (This is so they can lure people in without connections to an abusive group being obvious.)
Hence it should not be all that surprising that Scientology has almost an exact parallel for infiltrating schools. In the case of Scientologists, the German government (which has already removed the tax-exempt status of the Scientologists) has now warned about how Scientology targets kids via after-school clubs and tutoring:
Germans are being warned of the 'danger' of Scientology amid growing concerns over the numbers of after-school tutoring programmes springing up across the country.
The government has told internal security forces to step up their scrutiny of the movement, claiming that the Scientologists, which they label a cult, are seeking to take advantage of Germany's ailing education system as a means to recruit children. It has prompted US embassy officials to lobby the German government on the sect's behalf.
Police and intelligence agencies have been closely following the activities of the group. State security and educational officials have issued warnings to schools and parents that seemingly innocuous tutoring programmes may be fronts to recruit children and their families.
Scientology-affiliated tutoring programmes have more than tripled in the past 12 months, and there are now estimated to be at least 30 nationwide. 'We know that Scientology is trying to approach students to gain followers,' said Bavarian Interior Minister Gunther Beckstein, who said there were at least eight tutoring programmes connected to Scientology in Bavaria.
Tomorrow, the parallels continue--including the martial imagery (where we compare the "Sea Orgs" and "Joels' Army"), and how this relates to you in regards to dominionism.