Mercy Ministries: So Horrific They Have A Survivor Network


I am writing today concerning what seems to be a growing body of evidence showing that Mercy Ministry might actually be hurting more people than it helps. Before we get to far lets cover the basics.


What is Mercy Ministries (Now Mercy Multiplied)?


I want to specifically cover the residential part of this ministry. This is where all the complaints are coming from.

Residential Program

Mercy’s residential program is voluntary, biblically based, and completely free of charge to young women ages 13-28. It uses proven methods and counselors, lasts approximately six months, and features a multi-dimensional approach to heal body, mind, and spirit. We address the root causes of the issues women face, rather than merely medicating symptoms or modifying external behavior. Our goal is to help residents permanently stop destructive cycles, discover purpose for their lives, and become productive and thriving individuals. Learn more

Note On the Australian Residential Program

Mercy Ministries is a Nashville, Tennessee based group which was accused of misrepresenting their counseling and recovery services to young women in Australia in 2008. The misrepresentation in Australia was two-fold. First, they claimed their services were free but had the girls sign over their government checks. Second, the ministry claimed to be using licensed therapists and professional counseling methods.

In 2009, Mercy admitted their guilt in misrepresentation on both counts and paid back $120,000 of government aid it had wrongly taken from the girls who attended—in Australia. Although the media attention reached the United States, the founding group (based in Nashville, TN) was never investigated further. Instead Nancy Alcorn, the founder of Mercy Ministries, took the investigation as a sign from God that the group was under “spiritual attack” and took fundraising efforts into high-gear. (Source)

Testimonies In Video About Mercy Ministries


What Survivors Say About The Program


On Handling Medical Issues

“When I got to Mercy, I quickly found out how seriously Mercy took medical issues to be. If a girl, had a medical issue it wasn’t like she could just be taken to a hospital to get treatment right away. During my first week, at MM I had accidentally had some soy sauce. I remember having a terrible asthma attack, I couldn’t breathe or sleep. I remember telling one of the weekend staff I needed them to take me to see a doctor. I was treated like  hypochondriac and told that I was just trying to leave.

When I finally got settled in my bed which took hours. I had kept waking up choking. I had the hardest time to breathe. The next day, I wanted to lay down so many times but instead I got extra chores for keeping the weekend staff awake. It made me angry that they disregarded my health issues and thought I was faking my symptoms.”

Alicia Hopkins Source

On Spiritual Matters

“Every moment of our days were scheduled and nothing was done without immediate supervision. Twice a day we were gathered into the classroom area as a group where we “performed” a praise and worship service followed by two hours of video instruction by either Joyce Meyer or Joel Osteen. Praise and worship was a joke, the  more emotional and charismatic the better. Our leaders would dance and hop and shake, screaming and “talking in tongues” and more than encouraged us to do the same. If you were not jumping and muttering than you were taken aside and reprimanded for not participating. We never watched any other speakers with the exception of Nancy Alcorn, and our own house leaders.” (Source)

Another survivor tells of when they tried to treat her at a center via exorcism.

Meg Smith (not her real name) says she went to Mercy because of the group’s promise of free treatment for her anxiety disorder and panic attacks.

“The ‘counsellor’ I had was not qualified to treat mental illness… nobody there was. She was in the middle of a mercy ‘in-house program’ to teach her how to prayer counsel.”

“I spent months there and the only ‘therapy’ I had was prayer readings and an exorcism.”

“The whole time I was there, all I heard was that I’m demonic.

“Even after the exorcism, when I had the next anxiety attack, I was told that they had already cast the demons out, so therefore I was obviously either faking it, or I had chosen to let the demons come back, in which case I was not serious about getting better.
(Source)

An Atmosphere of Control

“Phone calls were only allowed on weekends, and you were only allowed two 10 minute outgoing phonecalls which had to be from a list of pre-approved contacts. This was strictly limited to family. You were timed and had to talk on a phone set up in the hallway next to the house leader’s office so you could be heard. It was terribly frustrating because if you had a significant other or bestie on the outside you couldn’t talk to them unless they managed to get a call through during the very busy weekend phone time, and still you were monitored. Mail was the same, outgoing mail was read and incoming letters were read and packages opened for you. The leaders decided what you could or couldn’t have, including screening all photographs and all of your items were recorded on a belongings list. If it wasn’t on the list, it didn’t leave the program with you. If you wanted to give an item to a fellow resident, it had to be approved by a leader and given as a “gift”.” (Source)

[At checkin with Lara in the Lincoln California Home] Lara gave me a binder full of rules and stuff that was not allowed that I was to read while Lara got ready to do my check in. There were rules such as: no touching of any kind (this included hand shakes, hugs, doing each others hair, or anything like that), you can’t socialize with any of the new residents if you were a new resident (for example if you had been there under one month you could not talk to someone who had been there under one month). (Source)

Speaking Out

Many people have spoken out about the horrors of Mercy Ministry. Most of them have been forced or threatened with being sued if they speak out about the events of the experience. Let me say this more clearly.

The person sitting right next to me as I type is a Mercy Survivor and she was threatened to be sued if she spoke of ANYTHING that happened while at the house. They tried to force her to sign paperwork saying that she would not say anything. Thank God she did not. When my friend tried to blog about her experience…… many of her stories were removed from the internet without reason.

Other friends of mine who have made youtube vlogs about the experience have had them removed along with any comments associated with Mercy.

I will be posting them myself on this site and I will not be having them removed for anyone. Keep up to date on here for those following this post. Below is a slew of links to survivor stories. Please please share.

Some Cannot Speak Out

I want to be very blunt here. Girls have committed suicide (allegedly) because of Mercy Ministry. I am still collecting information from the families but will post soon on it from first hand witness.

One piece on this issue can be found HERE.


 


Mercy Ministries

LINKS ABOUT MERCY SURVIVORS

Many people have already spoken out about Mercy, here are some of their links. You will find testimonies from people who actually attended a Mercy Ministries house.

Their is also a few private groups on Facebook that I welcome you to search and join.

 

 

Australian House

http://www.livenews.com.au/Articles/2008/07/18/How_to_cure_anorexia_with_exorcisms_101

http://mercyministriesabuses.blogspot.com.au

http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/21/dark-side-mercy-ministries/

Tennessee House

https://mercyministriesexposed.wordpress.com

General Testimonies

https://mercysurvivors.wordpress.com

http://sarahscollage.blogspot.com/p/mercy-ministries.html

http://mercy80s.blogspot.com

http://mercysurvivors.tumblr.com

http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2014/04/17/a-tale-of-mercy-ministries/

http://thepinkpropaganda.tumblr.com

 

18 thoughts on “Mercy Ministries: So Horrific They Have A Survivor Network”

  1. Pingback: #FreeBritney 101
  2. My parents are voluntelling me to go to Mercy…what do I need to be prepared for? Reading this article and clicking on the links, I am terrified for my emotional and physical well being.

    Reply
    • I’m not sure I can give you survival advice but if it were me, I’d lay low and pretend their cult fixed everything so you can get back home ASAP.

      Usually in cult-like religious groups they observe adherence and compliance to the group’s leadership as a sign of program effectiveness. And that’s really what ego maniacs like Nancy Alcorn want. If you’re a minor you don’t really have a say in the matter so you just gotta play the game best you can and remember that these institutions are a joke and your stay there is temporary.

      That being said, these group therapy homes have gone through great scrutiny over the last few years so it’s possible they’ve adjusted to not be so crazy. There is actually a small possibility that you’ll connect with other girls there or the staff and end up enjoying your time there. But that’s really true for everything in life. With the Lord and the right state of mind you can endure anything. I’ll be praying for you. If you go keep us updated.

      If you need advice from girls that have already been there I can connect you to some girls I know who went through it already.

      Reply
      • It killed a few of my friends… but I am alive.
        I went into Mercy when all doctors had given up on me, I was just waiting to die, or get it right myself. I had a severe eating disorder and my parents had been told to prepare my funeral. Mercy saved my life!
        I never graduated as I was told I couldn’t do what I wanted, if I did, which was to become a nurse to help people like me in emergency.
        I chose to leave, leaving my sisters (some of which I had lived with for 2 years!) and cut myself off.
        Mercy saved my life. Mercy took me out of society and gave me a new start at life.
        I don’t agree with all that happened, at one point I thought I was dying (I had acute appendicitis and an oesophageal tare, requiring hospitalisation and a break from the program.
        I was also given 2 table spoons of epson salts twice a day to help my bowels… which was basically draino and an excuse for my ED.

        As I said I didn’t graduate, but the 2 years there saved my life.

        I am now 16 years After leaving, a clinical nurse , married to a doctor who is a GP and Emergency Specialist. We have a 9 yo son who we would both die for, and last week bought a $2m property on the water, 5 mins from the beach!

        Anything is possible if you believe in yourself! If you are desperate and dying Mercy can and will save you, like they did me! Just remember to believe in yourself also- god doesn’t give us all the answers but he can help us choose to live xx

        Reply
        • They problem with places like Mercy is that many people survive and thrive despite the abuse… Not because of it. I’ve nearly lost two friends to their “homeopathic” health care practices.

          I believe the real benefit of MM is not the “help” they provide but rather it’s the ability the provide for a person to retreat from society and regroup. I would never allow one of my kids to go to a place with such dangerous medical practices.

          Reply
      • It killed a few of my friends… but I am alive.
        I went into Mercy when all doctors had given up on me, I was just waiting to die, or get it right myself. I had a severe eating disorder and my parents had been told to prepare my funeral. Mercy saved my life!
        I never graduated as I was told I couldn’t do what I wanted, if I did, which was to become a nurse to help people like me in emergency.
        I chose to leave, leaving my sisters (some of which I had lived with for 2 years!) and cut myself off.
        Mercy saved my life. Mercy took me out of society and gave me a new start at life.
        I don’t agree with all that happened, at one point I thought I was dying (I had acute appendicitis and an oesophageal tare, requiring hospitalisation and a break from the program.
        I was also given 2 table spoons of epson salts twice a day to help my bowels… which was basically draino and an excuse for my ED.

        As I said I didn’t graduate, but the 2 years there saved my life.

        I am now 16 years After leaving, a clinical nurse , married to a doctor who is a GP and Emergency Specialist. We have a 9 yo son who we would both die for, and last week bought a $2m property on the water, 5 mins from the beach!

        Anything is possible if you believe in yourself! If you are desperate and dying Mercy can and will save you, like they did me! Just remember to believe in yourself also- god doesn’t give us all the answers but he can help us choose to live xx

        I did nearly die in Mercy, but I had my sisters there that got me to fight for me, when I didn’t think I was worth it.

        If you have tried all other options, give it a go- but choose what you take and don’t be brainwashed! Not everyone has to graduate to be worth life xx

        Reply
  3. I was in Mercy for close to 2 years in Sydney, I had to leave because I was so unwell I could no longer “participate in the program” but returned after I was “deemed fit” by a medical professional associated with Hillsong. I haven’t shared my story publicly due to fear – which is what Mercy and Hillsong thrived on.
    Mercy saved my life, but it also nearly killed me.
    I was in the Sydney home before the time of payouts from the ACCC, I was expected to give at least 10% of my $30 I was given per week from my disability allowance while Mercy took the rest, requiring my parents to pay for my medications (at least $30 per week) and Mercy took my pharmaceutical allowance also.
    Most of the girls I was in Mercy with can not, or will not have anything to do with the Hillsong Church. In fact recently I found out a new friend had joined Hillsong and I shut off from her completely due to the trauma associated.
    People say Mercy saved lives, and it did, it kept us alive, but it also stopped many from having a life because it made us believe ‘we weren’t good enough’, not good enough for friends, life and in some cases living at all.

    Looking at the comment that states “embalished”, I’m sorry to that mum but we all have our own stories and maybe her daughter fit the mould enough to be accepted and I hope she can continue, as I found the stories accurate and I couldn’t/wouldn’t live in a Hillsong bubble pretending I was ok, till I wasn’t and have everyone turn there backs on me, as I’ve seen with Mercy graduates.

    I didn’t graduate, after 10 weeks of having to live at home with my mum (who had the right to be my mum taken off her by the government when I was 16), I went back and was put in the same box I was in when I had been sent away for being too sick.

    I did their tape series, saw medical professionals they approved of, but that wasn’t enough!
    I told them I didn’t want to live in a Hillsong bubble, I wanted to become a nurse and help people… but that wasn’t enough, I was told if I couldn’t do all a graduate was asked I needed to leave.. I wasn’t even allowed to say goodbye, and the women who were my family were no longer allowed to contact me… it was devestating, but I realised those who cared would contact me when they could.

    I was a failure, I’d failed Mercy and therefor God.. but I’m stubborn so went on to achieve all my goals and more!

    I’m in touch with MM graduates and non graduates but know what I have achieved is inspite of Mercy!

    I write this now, as have not looked up Hillsong or Mercy in years, but as a friend joined Hillsong I had to tell her part of my experience to try prevent her being sucked into this cult!!

    I’ve now said my bit, what I can without fear (still) of Hillsong and Mercy.. now it can be her choice and I can be her friend, her knowing why this subject is not for discussion!

    I’m happy now and glad to be alive and I probably wouldn’t be without Mercy, but the price I had to pay is real to me, even today.

    Reply
  4. I would like to know how many people this author has helped for the gospel? What are you doing to help others in their walk with Christ? You don’t have to agree with every doctrine or method of ministry. We are called to share the love of Christ and watch the most amazing transformation from darkness to light as His Holy Spirit leads. Not everyone is going to be helped in any organization.

    Reply
    • Mercy is not a ministry with a goal to spread the gospel. Their goal is to help troubled teenagers using “biblical” principles. I got news for you. If you biblical principles are hurting people so bad that you leave a trail of teenagers that consider themselves “survivors” of the program because it was so bad…. you need to re-read your bible.

      Girls I know personally have been hurt badly by this ministry and I am not talking about emotionally or mentally. I am talking about hospitalization. Next time you visit your home church, ask yourself: when was the last time your pastor was so reckless that he dangered someone’s health? I assume he or she has never done such a thing.

      Reply
  5. My daughters life was saved at Mercy! That was 6 years ago. The stories these girls tell are quite embellished. These girls bashing Mercy forget it was VOLUNTARY. Why not leave if “enduring” was so difficult? Don’t tell me they weren’t allowed, because I know for a fact that would be a flat out lie. My daughter also stated that Mercy works for those willing to allow God to change them. Mercy teaches young women that there is a God that loves them in spite of their “messes”. Why don’t you speak to the thousands of lives changed for the good? You will never please 100% of the people 100% of the time. It’s impossible. I feel sorry for these girls because Mercy works, but only by the grace of God!

    Reply
  6. My daughter attended Mercy Ministries from March of 2012 to September of 2012. this place is a blessing if the girls allow God to work in their lives. My daughter was suicidal and a mess. She is now a 4th grade teacher, married to a wonderful man and has her life in the right order. I praise the work that is done at Mercy Multiplied and I feel sad for these comments. When I asked my daughter about all of this negativity. she said the girls that were unwilling to do the work to get better are the ones complaining. I pray Satan doesn’t win this battle and I hope as you blog this you also contact people who had their lives changed by this program. Mercy even helped me change my life to be a better mom and wife. Please be careful that you don’ t ruin a good program. God Bless, DW

    Reply
    • Dana, thanks for commenting. I am sure that some of the homes have helped people. But I still hold that a good ministry doesn’t have a survivor network. Plus, I know what they teach and it’s all name-it-claim-it stuff which is terrible theology in my opinion.

      The question I have is: if a ministry hurts 5 people for every 10 that it helps….. Is it a good ministry? This ministry nearly killed one of my friends. They were so poorly rated that they had to change the name of the organization. I’m not sure the ends justify the means for this group.

      Reply

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