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.
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.
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)
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.
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.