Mercy Ministries Glossy Reputation–As Fake as Joyce Meyer’s Face

It’s clear from Mercy Ministries own website, that they aren’t treating women with licensed counselors or with accepted medical protocol despite what their lip service claims on their webpage. Just take a look at their newest post, Five More Graduates Celebrate Freedom!  This contradicts any of their PR. First of all, if a group was really concerned with healing debilitating disorders, would they make women ‘graduate’? What the fuck does that even mean? Speaking to dozens of survivors of Mercy Ministries, I can tell you that graduating is nothing but a “notch on the bedpost” for Nancy Alcorn. Another fuck, another dollar.  She just prostitutes young women out for her own paycheck. Six million dollars in donations isn’t too shabby. And would they use words like ‘freedom’? The answer is emphatically no.

Women go to Mercy Ministries simply because it’s free and because they have a glossy exterior of love and concern. They sell perfection, and in many cases, young, vulnerable women become so brainwashed that they truly believe Jesus (by proxy of Mercy) saved them from their issues or disorders permanently and they will never need help again. What’s sad about this is it sets up vulnerable women for defeat. When their mental illnesses or their eating disorders remain, they feel guilty because they were taught that their illnesses are a result of THEIR OWN SIN.

Like this “graduate” Suzanne, who thinks her bipolar disorder was a result of her sin. Don’t worry, folks…Jesus washed it away:

A woman who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

What Suzanne doesn’t know (yet) is that bipolar disorder isn’t cured by the Lord or by Mercy Ministries staff. Bipolar disorder can be treated with medical help, but it’s not gone because someone prayed it away or exorcised the demons of bipolar disorder away (yes, MM has a habit of exorcising demons and “generational curses” away). It’s easy to remain in denial when you are in a euphoric state of mind brought on by large crowds worshiping the work Nancy does, but when Suzanne leaves, will she remain “free”? The odds are that she won’t.

Suzanne’s story in her own words is below:

Before coming to Mercy, I lived a fake life. I tried to please everyone and became the type of person I thought they wanted. I had no relationship with Christ, so I struggled with addictions, self-destruction, depression and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was desperate to cleanse my life of its confusion, but my disorder and past pain were overwhelming.
While I was searching for help, my mentors suggested Mercy Ministries. I then heard the testimony of a Mercy graduate at a local church. As I listened to the Mercy graduate, I knew I wanted her healing. Mercy seemed to be the key to success, so I applied and entered the program.

While at Mercy, God gave me the highest honor and adopted me into His family. He did the impossible and washed away all the sin and shame of my past. I learned to take on the mind of Christ, and through that renewal he brought me freedom, light, and hope. Today, I can laugh with no fear of the future.

Of course, the phrase “take on the mind of Christ” reminds me of Mercy Ministries financial supporter, Joyce Meyer, who penned the book Battlefield of the MindI remember my first year in Master’s Commission, I was introduced to Joyce Meyer through her speaking engagements that brought her to Phoenix First Assembly of God. Oddly enough, it was that year (1998, I think) that she spoke on stage of her face lift. I was so in awe of Joyce. Being an insider in Phoenix First Assembly of God, I saw her leave the stage and walk outside to where her private white Lincoln Towncar and driver were waiting to rush her off away from all the “little people.”

I was still so inspired by her ability to overcome her horrible past. I think most who are brought up in the evangelical world look to her as a hero because she came from such a troubled past and is so goddamned wealthy (televangelists parade their wealth as a sign of God’s blessing). But as much as I bought into her book Battlefield of the Mind and memorized scripture every single day, I was never able to conquer my own “negative thoughts” or thought patterns. Why? Simple. I suffer from depression and major depressive disorder at that. I share this because a) there is a stigma on mental illness and b) I don’t want a single young woman to think they’ve failed Jesus if they can’t “overcome” something biological with their Jesus-devotion. For me, there is a genetic component. It runs in the family and I feel with the right doctors and LICENSED therapists, it’s manageable, but like my good friend B says, “Getting well isn’t easy. It takes a lot of really hard work.” There are no miracles when it comes to disorders of the mind.

From the Amazon description of Battlefield of the Mind (emphasis my own)

Worry, doubt, confusion, depression, anger and feelings of condemnation: all these are attacks on the mind. If readers suffer from negative thoughts, they can take heart! Joyce Meyer has helped millions win these all-important battles. In her most popular bestseller ever, the beloved author and minister shows readers how to change their lives by changing their minds.
She teaches how to deal with thousands of thoughts that people think every day and how to focus the mind the way God thinks. And she shares the trials, tragedies, and ultimate victories from her own marriage, family, and ministry that led her to wondrous, life-transforming truth–and reveals her thoughts and feelings every step of the way.

What Joyce Meyer and Nancy Alcorn teach are lies, but further, they are destructive teachings which prey on the weak and disabled. Why? Money, my dears. Have you heard of Joyce Meyers six year investigation by the Senate? From CBS News,

CBS News has learned Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is investigating six prominent televangelist ministries for possible financial misconduct.

Letters were sent Monday to the ministries demanding that financial statements and records be turned over to the committee by December 6th.

According to Grassley’s office, the Iowa Republican is trying to determine whether or not these ministries are improperly using their tax-exempt status as churches to shield lavish lifestyles.

The six ministries identified as being under investigation by the committee are led by: Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. Three of the six – Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar – also sit on the Board of Regents for the Oral Roberts University.

A spokesperson for Joyce Meyer Ministries provided CBS News with an IRS letter to the ministry dated October 10, 2007, that stated: “We determined that you continue to qualify as an organization exempt from Federal income tax.” The letter could not be independently verified in time for this story. The ministry also pointed to audited financial statements for the last three years that are posted on the organization’s Web site.

OH SHIT, shake that ass ma, move it like a gypsy
Stop, woah, back it up, now let me see your hips SWING

Sorry, that was me doing a little dance of happiness over the amount of BULLSHIT Joyce Meyer had to give to her loyal zombies to brush that shit under the rug. Here’s their press release which really doesn’t say much except, We didn’t get caught, fools!

How women like Joyce Meyer and Nancy Alcorn can live with this amount of manipulation on their hands on a daily basis is beyond me. The money must be pretty sweet. Oh wait, it sure as hell IS sweet if the IRS is after you.

Nancy Alcorn on “Persecution”

Nancy Alcorn of Mercy Ministries talking about “people writing bad articles” about her and being persecuted and badly spoken of…and what do you know? The “work for Jesus” is to blame. Not the fact that Mercy Ministries is actually doing something wrong…

Watch the video here

The Making of an Activist

Sometimes you get involved in something sort of by accident. My involvement in feminist activism and advocacy for spiritual abuse victims has been quite organic, evolving with time after seeing things happen all around me that I couldn’t sit by and watch.

I recently started researching Mercy Ministries after being prompted by a reader here. Subsequently, I’ve posted a page with information on Mercy Ministries and links to survivors websites. Groups like Mercy are incredibly destructive and harmful, but it’s often difficult for any abuse victims to speak against their abuser. Many abusers are well-liked and charasmatic and Mercy’s founder, Nancy Alcorn is very popular with the Evangelical crowd.

Feminist activism is a tough pill for some to swallow. Being a feminist is equivelant to being an ugly, raging man-hater. Most women have feminist tendencies, as I’ve noticed lately with the birth control battle and war on women that’s raging. Or as I like to call it, The Republican Witch Hunt.

If you are a feminist, or a feminist in the making, I’d like to leave you with a little Robin Morgan. Morgan and others founded WITCH: Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell. If you have time, watch “Sustaining the Activism.”

 

They sought help, but got exorcism and the Bible

Naomi Johnson was a resident in Mercy Ministries Sydney house for nine months. Photo by Erin Jonasson

Originally printed in The Sydney Morning Herald.  If you have any new information regarding this program, please email Lisa Kerr at mycultlife@gmail.com.

Ruth Pollard
March 17, 2008

A SECRETIVE ministry with direct links to Gloria Jean’s Coffees and the Hillsong Church has been deceiving troubled young women into signing over months of their lives to a program that offers scant medical or psychiatric care, instead using Bible studies and exorcisms to treat mental illness.

Do you know more? Message 0424 SMS SMH ( +61 424 767 764 ) or email us with information or images.

Government agencies such as Centrelink have also been drawn into the controversy, as residents are required to transfer their benefits to Mercy Ministries. There are also allegations that the group receives a carers payment to look after the young women.

Mercy Ministries says 96 young women have “graduated” from its program since its inception in 2001. But many have been expelled without warning and with no follow up or support.

Three former residents who have felt the full force of Mercy’s questionable programs are blowing the whistle on its emotionally cruel and medically unproven techniques, detailing abuse including exorcisms, “separation contracts” between girls who became friends, and harsh discipline for those who broke the rules.

Naomi Johnson, Rhiannon Canham-Wright and Megan Smith (Megan asked to use an assumed name) went into Mercy Ministries independent young women, and came out broken and suicidal, believing, as Mercy staff had told them repeatedly, that they were possessed by demons and that Satan controlled them.

Only careful psychological and psychiatric care over several years brought them back from the edge.

Taking in girls and women aged 16 to 28, Mercy Ministries claims to offer residents support from “psychologists, general practitioners, dietitians, social workers, [and] career counsellers”. These claims are made on its website, and the programs are promoted through Gloria Jean’s cafes throughout Australia.

But these former residents say no medical or psychological services were provided – just an occasional, monitored trip to a GP, where the consultation takes place in the presence of a Mercy Ministries staff member or volunteer.

Instead, the program is focused on prayer, Christian counselling and expelling demons from in and around the young women, who say they begged Mercy Ministries to let them get medical help for the conditions they were suffering, which included bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and anorexia.

When the Herald asked Mercy Ministries representatives whether they told young women that the symptoms of their mental illness or eating disorders were due to demonic activity and that residents were forced into exorcisms, they offered no denial.

“Mercy Ministries staff address the issues that the residents face from a holistic client-focused approach; physical, mental, emotional. The program is voluntary and all aspects are explained comprehensively to the residents and no force is used,” the executive manager of programs, Judy Watson, said in response.

Throughout its website, decorated in hot pink tones with images of happy young women who have been “saved”, Mercy claims to offer its residential programs free. Yet the services are not free – young women on unemployment benefits are “asked” to sign them over to Mercy, while others are asked to make a donation for expenses.

Mostly funded by Gloria Jean’s Coffee – which said last night it did not plan to change its sponsorship arrangements – and supported by the Hillsong Foundation, Mercy Ministries says it has a 90 per cent success rate, but when asked to provide evidence of the program’s outcomes, Ms Watson said that research was under way and not yet available.

Not only does Mercy Ministries appear unconcerned by the allegations, it is mounting an aggressive expansion campaign. Peter Irvine, its former managing director, now director of corporate sponsorship, confirmed it was opening houses in Adelaide, Perth, Townsville, Newcastle, Melbourne and another Sydney house, in the southern suburbs.

Ms Johnson spent nine months in the Mercy Ministries house in Glenhaven before she was expelled. Close to committing suicide and her eating disorder worse than ever, she was admitted to a psychiatric unit and has spent three years trying to recover from her ordeal.

Ms Canham-Wright and Ms Smith tell similar stories from their time in the Sunshine Coast house, and all continue to suffer from the effects of Mercy Ministries’ unconventional program.

They are concerned that as more houses are due to open, more women will be put at risk, partly because there is a desperate shortage of affordable services for people with mental illness.

“This could be really dangerous .. Mercy has the potential to be inundated with people … [who will] fall for the advertising and out of desperation reach for Mercy,” Ms Johnson said.

“Here in Perth people with eating disorders are very limited when it comes to treatment. When you reach 18 there are no government-funded inpatient treatment options for anorexia, except for a general public psychiatric ward where there is no expertise on these issues.”

The federal Minister for Human Services, Joe Ludwig, said the Government would investigate. “I am very concerned about these serious allegations, and I have asked Centrelink to investigate its payment arrangement,” he said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission and the Queensland Office of Fair Trading have also indicated they will investigate if they receive complaints from the women.

Allan Fels, dean of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government and former chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said if Mercy Ministries had made false claims about its services it would be in breach of the law and could face injunctions, damages and fines. “Both the federal Trade Practices Act and the relevant state fair trading acts would seem to apply to the situation since income is being received by Mercy Ministries. Both laws prohibit misleading and deceptive conduct.”

[This article has been reposted here for educational purposes only under Fair Use.]

Tennessee First Lady Visits Mercy Ministries for good PR after Mercy Caught in Scandal

This post from Nancy Alcorn, founder of Mercy Ministries blog. You can tell Nancy is pulling all the stops against the Mercy girls who are outing her for abuse and scandal. She’s invited the governor of Tennessee to visit! No doubt First Lady Crissy Haslam has no clue the expansive detailed abuse cases that Mercy Ministries has covered up in the past 30 years they’ve been around. Does Mrs. Haslam know the group is anti-gay? Does she know it’s anti-choice? Only time will tell. This whole blog post REEKS of an attempt to garner good PR while silencing the voices of victims. We’re watching Nancy Alcorn and Crissy Haslam. And we will call out anyone who’s involved, no matter the “role” you play in our government. 

We spent the entire morning receiving a very special visitor, and I thought you would be interested in knowing about this wonderful time together. Our Governor’s wife, First Lady Crissy Haslam, came to Mercy at 9:00 AM this morning for an official visit and tour, followed by a very special time with our staff and residents in our main classroom. I thought you would enjoying hearing about this from my perspective as well as see some of the pictures from this morning’s interaction.


First Lady of Tennessee Crissy Haslam
addressing the staff and residents
First of all, it is an honor when someone from such a position takes the time out of their busy schedule to come and see the work that we do at Mercy Ministries. One thing about being in existence for almost 30 years is that we now have a track record of longevity and success that speaks to the credibility of the program. Two of our Mercy graduates who are now working as a part of our team had the opportunity to meet with Mrs. Haslam one-on-one and share their story. She was especially interested in hearing about the fact that they came to Mercy Ministries and then were able to complete their college education after graduating from the program.


First Lady of Tennessee Crissy Haslam,
Graduates Jen Grinder and Kim Brownie, and Me
For me personally, I was blown away by the fact that Mrs. Haslam took extra time with our residents and staff to actually allow them to ask her questions, while at the same time interacting with them and asking them questions about the program and their personal experience thus far. I thought it was extra special that Mrs. Haslam encouraged the girls about their faith in God by relating to them with her own journey. Today I found myself feeling very proud of being a Tennessean in light of who our current leaders are in the Governor’s office. Hope you love seeing these pictures. Would love to hear your comments!

 

 

P.S. For those of you who are wondering, I did ask our First Lady why she and Governor Haslam were unable to help land Peyton Manning back in the state where he belongs. 🙂

Mercy Ministries Anti-Gay Message; Archaic “Treatment”

Mercy Ministries runs a supposedly very successful “group home” or “treatment center” in various cities around the country and the world. They are an international success among some Christian believers which is why hundreds of women are on the waiting list (according to a Mercy insider).

However, just like many fundamentalist Christian groups Mercy has a very hateful message to lesbian young women who attend the program:

Being gay is a sin and could be a “root cause” of your mental disorder. 

As their website states:

The root cause, in a Christian program like Mercy is typically a manufactured sin that the program leaders and related ministers have concocted.

What exactly is a manufactured sin? Evangelical fringe leaders often teach ideologies that are damaging: like “purity” and “abstinence” programs, anti-gay messages which are similar to the 1950’s messages that being gay was a mental disorder.

 

I own a book that I picked up from a used bookstore in North Hollywood, CA called The Problem with Homosexuality by Charles Berg, M.D. and Clifford Allen, M.D. These were actual professionals in the late 50’s who literally believed homosexuality was a problem–much like Mercy Ministries does. Mercy doesn’t just believe being gay is a sin; but that it’s a “root cause” of something much deeper and much more problematic.

Mercy Ministries is part of the Evangelical movement that Joyce Meyer and Dave Ramsey are part of. If those ties don’t phase  you, we’ve got to look a bit closer. A few weeks ago, I noticed the Healing Place Church and Dino Rizzo on Nancy’s list of recommended ministries. There was also mention of (and a link to) Steve and Jennifer Robinson’s church and ministry. Interestingly enough, my own cult has ties to both of these pastors: Steve Robinson and Dino Rizzo. My former pastor, Daniel Jones, who I write about here is an abusive pastor. When I was beginning to find how to report the abuse, I reached out to Dino Rizzo hoping that he’d act as a liason and support the victims.

He did not.

After finding that correlation, I now know where Mercy stands in the Evangelical circle. I know the ideology, the teachings, the messages behind the sermons Nancy preaches. (Does anyone find it ODD that a “treatment center” would have  preacher for it’s founder, president and leader? No medical, organizational, or psychological qualifications here. She is not a social worker or even an activist for young women contrary to her “Christian” image.)

Mercy Ministries is just a sermon, it’s not help. Mercy brainwashes young women into “loving Jesus” and “bearing good fruit.” This is their coercive way of theologically “fighting” mental illness and eating disorders.

Anyone can tell you that eating disorders and mental illness do not get treated or solved by Jesus or a sermon. They require professional medical help. In fact, some professionals would argue that bringing young women into a center to claim treatment and denying them medical attention could be much more potent than just “wrong” or unethical.

However, if you operate on 1950’s medical and psychological ideas, which Mercy does, it’s understandable why girls would be taught that their disorders are their problem and they are to blame. This is unethical and even if Mercy claims they are not a medical facility, they are lying. According to survivors of this program, Mercy represented otherwise.

In the book The Problem of Homosexuality, the authors begin their argument by saying this:

homosexuality [is] an abomintion in the eyes of the Lord…

Now that statement isn’t what you would expect from a doctor is it? Nor is it what you’d expect from a “treatment center” like Mercy Ministries which promises young women that they will be cured.

Mercy’s residents weren’t all gay. In fact, many of the girls were straight and were reaching out to the program because they thought they would be getting legitimate care. However, those girls who were troubled with mental disorders or eating disorders and were gay, were accused of harboring “sin” which was the cause of their illness. Mercy was regurgitating the ideas about homosexuality from the 1950’s. Perhaps their “medical” treatment was just as outdated.

What I’m saying is that however archaic and hate-filled Mercy’s message is to young women, it’s completely abusive and psychologically destructive. This program needs to be shut down before a young woman dies from their maltreatment.

 

 

 

How to get your life story stolen by a production company

My life story is all over the internet now, thanks to my bright idea of blogging. It’s created a thriving community of readers and friends and paved the way for me to begin to work toward social changes that are near to my heart, but it’s clear to me now how easily ideas can be stolen from you and how predatory producers will come in and steal your life story without batting an eye.

This is a long story about why I think a New York production company, stole my life story and sent it to the a major TV network for a scripted TV show named eerily close to my own blog name.

In an attempt to condense it, I’m going to summarize a hell of a lot of conversations. And then I’ve written THIS post for those of you who want some advice on how to avoid getting your story/intellectual property/research stolen from a production company/TV network. You should also read this post by Toni at Fashion Cloud if you’re considering working with a big brand to hear her story.

Here’s the rundown between me and the company and why I think they stole my life story:

Early 2012 I was in touch with a production company who was recruiting for a documentary for TV about cults. Well, my blog is named My Cult Life and I have a pretty fantastic story, so of course I was interested. I actually had been working with some cult survivors who wanted to be on TV, so I wanted to suggest some of my reader’s stories to the company in an effort to get more visibility to the damage cults can do.

Fast forward a few weeks and the casting director perks up when I talk to him about the work I did exposing Mercy Ministries, which operates like a cult (although that term may not best describe them, they do some very scary stuff like exorcise demons out of anorexics and the mentally ill). This person got excited when they heard that I was a blogger turned investigative journalist and wanted to hear more.

For several more weeks, we discussed the details of how I investigate cults and high-demand groups, and bits of my own cult story but I insisted I wouldn’t follow through without a contract stating I would get credited for all the expert consulting work and research I was doing; not to mention writing and developing an entire show. I got a verbal promise from them and I had an entire paper trail stating my ideas were my property and not to be shared without my consent. I left a very hefty paper trail.

All of a sudden (*eye roll*) things start moving quickly. They already had a network committed but the network wanted to hear more about my story, not the other people they had interviewed. I started wondering what the hell was going on. Why would I be the star of a TV show? I’m not famous; although I would make a great “Dog the Bounty Hunter”. Ha! Why weren’t they asking to interview the several other people I had suggested, some of whom had very compelling stories. Those people didn’t even get a phone call back. It made no sense.

So the casting director interviews me extensively via Skype and that was sent to the ‘executives’ at the network. They loved it. Now they wanted to film what they called a presentation, which the network was supposed to use to decide whether they would purchase the show–at least that’s what production company told me. Had I listened to the couple of lawyers I spoke to early on in all of this, I would’ve backed off then. I was star struck, unfortunately. All the lawyers I talked to said you should never go on camera for a production company without a written agreement or at least a signed consent form, and they suggested this production company sounded very shady and dishonest.

Enter the Head of Casting & Talent for the production company who was supposed to send me the contracts and review legal with me. I still didn’t have a contract at this point and now I was getting switched to a new person in the company. I expressed that I wouldn’t move forward without a contract and payment for my work for the presentation/pilot. After all, up to this point, I’d worked for months giving them ideas, information and research. I started emailing lawyers (having never had the need for one, I jumped in headfirst to all this) and finally found one.

My lawyer and the Head of Casting discussed the situation and my lawyer started handling all communication between her and me. She kept calling me and emailing me, but I let my lawyer handle it.

I got a contract in hand the day we filmed. It was shitty. It was 16 pages of shit. I got it partially reviewed by two high-profile lawyers in LA and they said that was one of the worst contracts they’d ever seen. I had no idea. I’m not an actress or a celebrity. I’m a writer and an English major. Negotiations were never my strong suit. At some point someone pointed out the shitiness of the contract by one of the paragraphs that said if I were to die while filming, they weren’t going to be held liable. Um, death? By reality TV show?

I rejected the first contract and they sent a second. It was also shitty. Again, I got it reviewed by two lawyers, plus my own. We decided to make it work and build on it from where they had it.

Weeks of negotiations started and then the production company’s lawyer stepped in. My lawyer, the Head of Casting, and their lawyer went back and forth for days. We ended up with a much better version of the shitty contract but still a piece of crap.

I was getting ready to sign. Although the pay was low, the network wanted to secure me for six years so I was sure I could renegotiate after the second year. My dad’s friends had recently wrapped the first season of Bering Sea Gold and I knew quite a bit about the money/negotiations and how they had been able to renegotiate.

The casting director and Head of Casting told me their production company had a huge role in creating Lauren Conrad’s career, as well as Snooki. They were both extremely famous and their brands were huge. Of course I was flattered that they thought (and told me) I would be the next big brand.

I was incredibly naïve. Looking back, I can remember certain moments when I caught the both in lies. I often confronted them on this, and I thought I was relatively safe because of the paper trail I’d left, the video footage I had at home, and the trail between my lawyer and theirs with the contract.

But what happened later threw me for a loop and I’m still not sure how this all happened to me.

After weeks of negotiations, I was happy enough with the contract and the opportunity to sign. The day I was going to accept their offer, my lawyer called and told me the deal was off. Apparently and all of a sudden, he was told that the network backed out because it was too dangerous. This didn’t make sense to me, since we’d planned this for months and they knew months prior that certain plans would be risky. Why back out now? Filming was supposed to start in mere days.

I knew I’d been taken for a ride and my story had been stolen right then and there. I was devastated, but I was in denial that people would be this shitty, especially after I’d shared my deepest, most painful life experiences with them. Talk about having your vulnerabilities exploited.

I had worked day and night for over two years building my brand and my platform because my childhood dream of being an author required you develop an online presence to be more appealing to publishers. After two years, my platform building was where I wanted it to be (Platform being audience, readership, and maintaining a social media presence). A TV show would only help to get publishers interested, and would help sell books. Most writers don’t have the luxury to sell books that way, and I felt fortunate to be able to do so.

I should’ve known it was all a scam. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

***

Earlier in the year, I had a Google alert pop up for a new TV show named eerily similar to my own blog name. I got sick to my stomach. There wasn’t much information out there on the show…just that it’d been greenlit. I knew nothing about scripted TV or how the industry worked but I confronted the person I’d dealt with the next day. He blew me off with an air of confidence: “No, that’s a scripted show. This is a docu-series. They’re entirely different.”

I got aggressive and demanded to know if he was sending my footage to them for research. Again, he assured me I had nothing to worry about.

Judging from the head writer’s Tweets and the timing of my work and filming, the “executives” who loved me and my ideas could very well have been the writers from show. When I recall certain conversations about the network—like really interrogating the casting staff about the network’s lack of reality TV shows on the air and the inconsistencies that popped up constantly—there’s just so much evidence that this happened. Or the day the writer Tweeted about some exciting new story lines falling into place with my own videos arriving at the network—it’s just all very suspicious.

Now, of course, I could be entirely wrong. Maybe I really was going to be the next Snooki or Lauren Conrad as they said said. But seriously? Probably not.

About a month after the network backed out, I read the synopsis of this TV show, Cult.

cult synopsis

 Skye, one of the main characters, is a researcher and blogger (ahem, that’s what I do, ironically enough) and the other lead, Jeff, is an investigative journalist (I spent twelve hours talking on film about my investigative journalism, oddly enough). Oh and the line, “cat-and-mouse game between charismatic cult leader[s]” was verbatim what I said on my video interview. Wow. Isn’t that coincidental?

You hear that this happens all the time. I know now that it does. I feel a lot of guilt for not seeing this coming; for getting caught up in the dream of having my own TV show. I feel duped and robbed.

Mostly I feel angry. I feel angry and naive.

My life story is all over the internet now, thanks to my bright idea of blogging. It’s created a thriving community of readers and friends and paved the way for me to begin to work toward social changes that are near to my heart, but it’s clear to me now how easily ideas can be stolen from you and how predatory producers will come in and steal your life story without batting an eye.

I’ve definitely learned some significant lessons about ideas and intellectual property and I’ve posted some detailed advice (and the contracts presented to me) here.

If you have any questions or are going through something similar, please feel free to email me at info [at] mycultlife [dot] com.

 

Mercy Ministries New Public Relations Thrust

I’ve also been following Nancy Alcorn and Mercy Ministries for months, but particularly in the last few weeks because my “Dr. Watson” has been following some censorship that Mercy is deliberately doing. That, coupled with the trends I’ve noticed on my Google alerts, leads me to believe they’ve launched a new public relations thrust.

Another Sunday morning has arrived. I find myself in the habit of reading about fundamentalism on Sunday’s. Perhaps it’s because in a former life I was a fundamentalist, and now I’m obsessed with the trends, history, and rise of Christian nationalism. I’ve also been following Nancy Alcorn and Mercy Ministries for months, but particularly in the last few weeks because my “Dr. Watson” has been following some censorship that Mercy is deliberately doing. That, coupled with the trends I’ve noticed on my Google alerts, leads me to believe they’ve launched a  new public relations thrust.

Here are the new PR developments from Mercy Ministries in recent weeks/months:

I always give a cursory glance to my Google alerts on related topics, so I thought I noticed that Mercy Ministries has been posting their press releases on multiple Mercy Ministries/Nancy Alcorn websites which didn’t exist as independent websites before. As it turns out, they have already owned the following domain names since 2008 but only in 2012 have they created distinct websites out of them and added new content. It looks like up until recently, all of Nancy Alcorn blog postings were based on the nancyalcorn.blogspot.com website and these individual domain names below were redirected to nancyalcorn.blogspot.com (Nancy’s blog), which means none of these domain names would show up prominently on Google’s front page listing for Nancy Alcorn. Now her blog has been permanently moved to nancyalcorn.com. But in 2010 and 2011, all the following sites went to the blogspot account above as indicated below:

Now click on any of them below. They look like separate websites and none of them redirect to a single site.

nancyalcorn.com

nancyalcorn.net

nancyalcorn.org

nancyalcorn.me

nancyalcorn.us

That’s all I’ve found for now, but I’m not going to scour the web past the 2nd page of Google because we all know that’s where the vampires hide (page 3 and beyond). But I did want to point out to you that Nancy Alcorn has four new websites. For those of you who aren’t web savvy, it’s just a way for Nancy’s version of her history (minus the scandal) to remain at the top of Google searches for Nancy Alcorn instead of finding Mercy Survivors stories or The Truth about Mercy or the dozens of articles from Australia, the Nashville Scene and Lincoln Messenger.

And then, there’s the new url: http://mmoa.convio.net/site/PageNavigator/MercyTalk_Homepage.html. How do I know it’s new? Well, here’s a good indicator plus the science of deduction (Sorry, I’m recently obsessed with BBC’s Sherlock.):

For any survivors reading, take a closer look at the “mmoa” part. Of course, we all know what this means and if not, here’s a bit of history: it’s code for Mercy Ministries (the entity which is legally liable for the Australia scandals and the Lincoln, CA home controversy) trying to distance themselves from the controversies in 2008 and early 2012–something we won’t let them live down and will relentlessly document. Sorry, MM. You can attempt to erase history, but the internet is forever. Not to mention, screen shots are GREAT backup. Are you that uninformed and out of touch? We may not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing, but we know our shit.

Apparently, Mercy Ministries wishes to call their homes “affiliates” now, which would possibly absolve Nancy Alcorn of any ties to the scandals that will inevitably come out of the homes although it cannot erase her contributions to the past since that’s been documented with the government in Australia.

Here is a link from the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) indicating that Mercy Ministries was involved:

Undertakings remedy Mercy Ministries misleading conduct (Excerpt: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has obtained court enforceable undertakings, which includes payment, from seven former directors of Mercy Ministries Incorporated and/or Mercy Ministries Limited in relation to misrepresentations by those entities. The undertakings include an apology and a voluntary payment of $1050 to those people affected by the conduct. These are made by former directors Mark Zschech, Peter Irvine, Mark Caldwell, Stephen Crouch, Young Pil (Phil) Sohn, Darlene Zschech and Clark Pearson.)

In 2009, Mercy Ministries International, Inc. mentions the Australia homes in their IRS Form 990 here whereby they show that they assisted them with operating costs in 2008 and that Mercy Ministries, Ltd was set up as a holding company (which limits the liability of the Mercy Ministries “brand”) to support the dwindling down of the operations of the Australia home:

 

The entire Form 990 is here but a snapshot of the first page indicates that Nancy Alcorn is president.

 

So, while it may be true that Nancy did not live in Australia running this particular home, many former residents said Nancy played a large role in the Australia homes–as much as she does in the U.S. homes. What Nancy doesn’t realize is that when her leadership and teachings and books are the core of the home and the brand, she’s inherently tied to them no matter what sort of subsidiaries she sets up. She founded the homes. She visits the homes. Her books are the core…it’s a small level of legal protection which may work in her favor in the future. I’m sure she was advised to do this and continue to distance herself from the Hillsong debacle, even though we have documented evidence that Hillsong dropped Mercy/Nancy first.

Check out the new Wikipedia entry that mentions MMOA (Mercy Ministries of America), the affiliates and the brand, which is not entirely new language but language that has only been recently adopted for public use:

Mercy Ministries marketing department has been very busy from the above influx of new Nancy Alcorn websites, their newly established terminology of “affiliates” and Mercy Ministries of America and the press release op-ed written by executive director Christy Singleton that the Tennessean published. Oh and did I mention the above Wikipedia entry was edited BY someone Mercy Ministries hired called DownRightMighty? Mercy Survivors will be publishing a comprehensive breakdown soon but I’m terrible at keeping surprises quiet so I just had to share the above along with what the Wikipedia moderator said of DownRightMighty’s promotional edits (that included promoting MMOA, “affiliates”, and erased much of the mention of the scandal/controversy):

 

And the Mercy Ministries user was banned:

 

Let’s remember what the goal of public relations is: “The aim of public relations by a company often is to persuade the public, investors, partners, employees, and other stakeholders to maintain a certain point of view about it, its leadership, products, or of political decisions.” (Wiki) Mercy Ministries public relations is on overdrive right now trying to work hard on erasing the damage that was done earlier in the year. Sure, we’ve been quiet, but we haven’t forgotten.

 

UPDATE: Mercy Survivors has detailed the history of censorship from Mercy Ministries of anyone who is critical of the ministry. Read more here.

My Promise to You

Some emails I get are quite predictable:

“You’re bitter.”

you bitter hoes can't stop me

 

“Get over it.”

 

“Move on with your life.”

“When are you going to be satisfied?”

This last question is one I can finally answer. I’ll be satisfied when enrollment is so low in Summit School of Leadership and Master’s Commission and Mercy Ministries…and all the other groups I write about…that they are forced to shut down. That’s the simple answer.

You can question me all you want. You can think nasty things about me. But I can guarantee you one thing: I won’t stop until I’ve accomplished this, so you can sit back and watch the fireworks and enjoy the ride or you can get your panties in a bundle and hate me.

The Ever Elusive Cat and Mouse Game

Going after a cult is like playing cat and mouse. Sometimes you’re the cat and other times you’re the mouse.

There’s a game of chase going on online. Mercy Ministries appears to be in the lead, but they’re running head long into a trap. It’s a trap they’ve set up for themselves. They’ve manufactured what they think are “professional” sounding answers, but let’s be honest–they’re not professionals. They have a hell of a lot of money to hire professionals, though, and this is where they sometimes have the upper hand. But they don’t actually have the upper hand and this is why: the laws are against what they’re doing and no matter how many times they change their website to conform to their newest lies, or attempt to silence the victims who’s lives they’ve destroyed one thing remains true–many victims of abuse have emerged from Mercy Ministries to tell their truth. And truth will prevail.

Oh and I’m on the front page of Google for “Mercy Ministries” searches. Let’s watch this change as they attempt to squash my victory.

April 4, 2012 12:40 pm PST

In the past few weeks, the Lincoln Messenger has ran a series of articles on Mercy Ministry. These reports were done with great care, as you can tell from reading them. The reporter and editor went to great lengths to present both sides of the case. However, Mercy disputed the articles. Sadly, it takes a trained eye or a survivor of Mercy to recognize their “dispute” for what it is: lies.

Yes, you read that right. Mercy Ministries is lying. And they’re changing their web presence to match their lies. They’ve also modified their Wikipedia page to attempt to remove the Australia scandal, but don’t worry we’re bringing those stories back like 2010 brought back Ray Bans.