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.”

 

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.

Why Mercy Ministries?

I’ve written almost exclusively about Master’s Commission and Our Savior’s Church here at My Cult Life for almost two years. I rarely mention other groups, with the exception of Teen Mania Ministries, because the amount of abusive groups out there is vast.

Awhile ago, I came into contact with a Mercy Ministries insider. I’ll call her Anne. Anne and I became friends and she shared her Mercy Ministries experience with me. Little did I know, that I would find a kindred spirit in Anne and eventually feel compelled to help her get help with her story.

I’m a writer and I’m an experienced researcher. It didn’t take long to channel my experience as a whistleblower to help Anne on her story. Several weeks after she and I spoke, I found another Mercy Ministries insider who was from Australia (before Mercy’s big scandal, shut-down and legal action taken against them). Weeks after my first article came out about Mercy, a father of a Mercy Ministries girl sent me an email. This father ended up connecting me with a handful of other survivors who wanted to tell their stories.

Now the list of Mercy Ministries survivors is growing larger.

The girls’ personal stories are heart-breaking and awful.

I can’t disclose some of the stories yet, because I’m working on a larger project involving them but I’ve asked some of the girls to share their stories and experiences. They’ve also graciously allowed me to re-post some of their blog posts and personal stories that have been published on the web before.

I share their stories here and welcome the Mercy Ministries Survivors. Please make them feel at home and let’s help them get the justice they deserve.