Archive for January, 2010

There are some very informational links and resources out there that very accurately address the issue of control (particularly mind control) and how it works (whether it be in a relationship, a workplace, a church or other organization). In this post, I am going to feature a couple of article links that address topics which I find very prevalent in the body of believers today.

One of my blog readers sent me a great link this week which I’m going to pass along to all of you. This article addresses some very common trends seen within cults and “churches” that operate like cults. It highlights topics such as:

The “Super Apostles” and church government
Abusive authority by leaders
The often mis-quoted mantra of “Don’t Touch the L-rd’s Anointed”
“Umbrellas of Divine Protection”
“Thus Saying the L-rd” words, warnings and instructions
Exclusivity
Favoritism
…and much more

I think this article (link above) is very to the point and doesn’t tangent off and hits the heart of some big issues so I will just let you read it in its entirety and omit my commentary on this one. Prayerfully consider the info in the article and let the Spirit (Ruach) of G-d show you any areas where you may be witnessing or experiencing these abuses of power in your own life. As with all sources I refer to or link to, I do not necessarily uphold or endorse that site or organization in its entirety but do want to call to your attention a particular aspect or article of interest. Don’t throw your discernment out the window. Always read everything prayerfully and line it up with the plum-line of scripture.

I also came across an article that contains some helpful information on How Cults Work which helps to distinguish the different types of cults which still clearly fall within that label because of their abusive and heretical practices. It’s an informative read…especially for those who are new to the understanding of exactly how a cult is defined and what the characteristics are to watch for and be aware of.

Those of you who have experienced or know someone who has dealt with any form of addiction can certainly attest to its potent strength and the strangle hold it possesses over the life it claims. It demands what it wants. Addictions must be fed and the cravings will scream so loudly that no amount of willpower will be able to squelch its pleading.

If one is able to hook people by use of spiritual addiction, they can maintain a tighter grasp than even a physical substance can…because we are spiritual beings–made in the image of the G-d who created us. I believe that spiritual addictions are often more difficult to recognize and break free from than physical ones. An illustration I use is that spiritual addictions take hold at the root compared to physical addictions that simply cling to the branches.  Because G-d knows how He made us (spiritual beings created in His image and likeness), He knows what will keep us free as well as what will tie us down in bondage and spiritual trappings.  So He set up a means of protection by giving us instructions in His Word regarding what to believe, what to follow and what to stay away from. Thinking that we are better at knowing what’s right and good for us than G-d is, humanity has very often taken the self-directed approach and as a result those who do will veer off into dangerous waters that they will eventually sink in.

Because I know the powerful effect of hypnosis on the human mind, I have not listened to music produced by IHOP in years. Shortly after I left, I put on one of the CDs I still had from when I was there. The repetitive chanting which IHOP calls “choruses” put me almost instantly into a familiar trance-like state. I felt almost nauseated even just to listen to it. I remember telling my Mom that there was something in the music that I didn’t hear when I was at IHOP but now it was so overwhelming, I couldn’t handle it. I threw out all of the music I owned which had been produced through IHOP. Why am I telling you this? Because unless you understand the power of hypnosis and the way IHOP is using it to fuel spiritual addiction, you will think that their “Harp & Bowl Model” using repetitive chorus lines is completely innocent…which is far from true.

Hypnosis puts you into an altered state of consciousness—making you susceptible and receptive to any message you hear while in that altered mental state.  Don’t just take my word for it–do a little research into how hypnosis works and it’s pretty clearly spelled out. The worlds of psychiatry and psychology use it as a form of “therapy” to help people overcome addictions such as smoking. But hypnosis can also be used to ‘program’ as well as ‘de-program’ the ones it is used on. (many hypno-therapists use it to de-program those who have been in satantic rituals or undergone military mind control)

I refer to spiritual addiction as “the perfect crime” because of the way hypnosis is used to ‘cover up the evidence’ of any mis-deed–making the victims of the abuse look like the ones who missed it and are in the wrong.  I’ve noticed many times when I was assigned to be in the prayer room a glassy-eyed, glazed over look on many people’s faces.  It was like they were locked in some kind of stupor.  I remember thinking after I left IHOP: “Why didn’t I see the deceptions sooner? When did this hook me? How did I get so attached that it controlled me and I defended it so vehemently?” The hypnosis used of that environment is like covering up the finger prints of a crime scene. You don’t remember when things went awry.  You can’t recall how or when you went from being the casual observer who was just attending conferences to the full-fledged IHOPer that would eat (or not eat), breath and sleep their mantras and try to convert everyone you know to sell their homes and move to Kansas City to join this “new” movement. Suddenly I became part of their word-of-mouth marketing department…and instead of getting paid for publicity, I was in fact paying them.

Spiritual hypnosis, as used in IHOP, utilizes repetitive, chanting, mantra-like phrases to bypass the mind (often via music) to touch people on a soulish level because it alters the brain’s waves and affects mood and emotions. IHOP’s theology is largely imparted through music. Because it is sung hypnotically over people…over…and over…and over again, it bypasses the mind and all rational/logical thought processes and is embraced on an emotional level. People feel an emotional connection to IHOP largely because of the many hours spent in the prayer room listening to repetitive music.

Add this to the fact that, for an intern, there was practically never time to be alone or rationally process anything being taught so you would be on sensory overload and find your moods and decisions being altered so rapidly yet it felt like something controlling you…not something you were controlling. Suddenly, life became all about IHOP. No outside friends. No hobbies, activities, etc. outside of IHOP. Time in the prayer room or at IHOP meetings and services became the center of my existence. Whenever I would have ‘negative feelings’ the solution everyone gave was ‘go spend more time in the prayer room’. Life became very small and confined. It happened so subtly I was slowly suffocating and couldn’t even put my finger on why until right before I left IHOP.

Back to spiritual addiction…why is it so dangerous? Because if an organization, ministry, church, House of Prayer, etc. can manipulate the soul (mind, will and emotions) then they can steer your decisions and actions. The soul has no discernment. Discernment is born of the spirit and is a gift from G-d. If you bypass the spirit and connect to someone only on a soulish/emotional realm, false doctrines can easily slip in because they “feel” good and appeal to the emotion. Once we emotionally latch onto something, it’s often very difficult to let go of it.

My prayer for you is that the Father would guard your hearts and minds from the deceptiveness of spiritual addiction and that the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us would be the antidote of freedom from all forms of addiction, abuse, etc.

Fanfare vs. Fruit

Posted: January 18, 2010 in IHOP

Many evaluate the success of a “ministry” using 2 forms of measurement:

1. How many people are a part of it?
2. How much money is it making?

However, this is not the criteria by which G-d measures. He is not one focuses on the outward appearance of things but rather looks inward…at the heart and motivation behind them. Since He is the only one who can look that deeply, He is the only one who sees all aspects perfectly. The primary way, scripture tells us, that we can discern whether something is righteous or pagan, authentic or pseudo, pure or corrupt is by the fruit that it produces.

What is fruit? It sounds simple enough but it seems that many believers have forgotten almost entirely what fruit is because it’s something that gets swept under the rug and excused more than its held in check and tested. Fruit, put simply, is the visible (external) evidence produced by internal decisions. It’s like the exhaust from the spiritual tailpipe, the reputation established. It’s the after-effect of action, the outcome, the outward manifestation of inner character. Fruit is the stuff that dangles on the end of the branch of your life and ministry. It’s the part people see and the part that will largely determine how you are perceived, by those who are witnesses of the fruit of your life.

Sadly, I believe that what seems to get more recognition today is fanfare…not fruit. The louder the volume, the bigger the TV screens, the bigger the bookstore, the more ear-tickling the sermons, the more mechanical the interactions are, the “wilder” the service is, the more it seems to get a check mark of approval. However, this is not fruit and not the means by which we are to assess whether true fruit exists. It is beneath all of this external fluff and fanfare that real fruit/evidence can be observed.

IHOP draws a lot of fanfare. It gets a LOT of attention…both positive and negative. They are on God TV, have financial supporters all over the world, a full (and continually growing) staff of interns, worship teams, speaking staff, media crew, etc. Yet as I look back on my experiences there, the fanfare worked hard to cover up the fruit that was missing. The high lasted for a long time and the spiritual hangover of that place took time to wear off. IHOP has carefully constructed an environment that manufactures spiritual highs and sells them at the price of an internship or conference registration. They come in book and CD form or you can get them virtually through their live web-streams. They seem “successful” because they know how to harness the power of addiction. They can draw a large following because they know how to appeal to people’s emotions and magnetically draw them into false views of the nature of G-d and the true gospel.

Why Truisms Aren’t Truth

Posted: January 18, 2010 in Deception, Truth

There is a subtle but important distinction between truisms and truth. Truisms sound true…but at their root, are based in falsehood. Truisms will often appeal to emotion and then are adopted as belief whereas truth is solely based upon the inspired words of scripture and is nourishment and life to our spirit–bringing freedom to our minds and hearts. Truisms have a thread of truth but with a non-truth mixed in.

A simple example:
Truism: G-d helps those who help themselves. (the true part of this truism is in bold)

Truth: G-d helps those who can’t help themselves.

If we had to help ourselves before G-d would help us, then there would be no basis for needing a Messiah to save us. If G-d only helps those who help themselves then the character and nature of the Father is a total lie–making him insensitive, selective with his love and support, and painting a picture of one who withholds what His children need. The truism that ‘G-d helps those who help themselves’ is not borne out in scripture. Rather, many times over, the Word states that the Father is the defender of the innocent, widows, orphans, poor, etc. and that those who call upon Him will find salvation. (Isa 19:20, Ps 68:5, etc.) Scripture tells us that He will not withhold anything good from those whose lives are pure and who walk uprightly (Ps. 84:11)

Why is believing a truism so dangerous? Because when we adopt a system of belief based on things that sound true and make decisions, etc based on them, we alter the course and direction of our lives based on that belief. So using this same example, if G-d only helps me when I help myself then I have to work to earn His help, support, etc. How radically would someone’s life be affected if they held to the belief that they had to work for G-d to do anything for them? They would be “paying for” the free gift of salvation with their own self-driven performance. They would feel the need to “clean up” themselves before they could approach the Father. A downward spiral unravels. One small mis-belief or truism can radically affect our walk with the L-rd because it takes a shift away from what is true and toward what seems right. (Prov 12:15, 14:12)

In this generation, few are taught to study the entire Word of G-d for their theology. Many form their own emotional or new age-based theologies based on what sounds spiritual and then twist scriptures to back them up. Sadly, it seems that congregations are spilling over with baby believers…and I don’t mean those who are new believers. I am referring to those who aren’t growing and maturing in their walk of trust with the Father. There is still a lot of spiritual bottle feeding going on where many are asking a pastor or leader to ‘hear from G-d and tell us what He’s saying’ and not rightly handling the word of truth for themselves (2 Tim 2:15). The book of Hebrews tells us that solid food is for the mature (Heb 5:12-14). Let us study to show ourselves approved and go back to the source…return to the elementary principles of trust in G-d and return to the simplicity of knowing and following Him. We must be on guard against the snares of the enemy that are carefully laid to entrap us.

We must be cautious to not be entranced by the seduction of emotionally-driven “feel good” doctrines that are sure to lure us away from truth and into an emotion-based reality. The Shepherd enters through the gate, he knocks at the door. He isn’t the thief who comes in from another way and entices us with a false, man-centered gospel.

(NEW to the blog: On the blog home page, I have added a new page which lists ALL of my blog posts and their links for easy access. So, if you want to ever look for a title or read an earlier blog post, you can now access them all from that page)

The below comment was posted on my most recent blog and I thought it to be quite insightful so I’m starting a new blog post with it.

Comment:

“And the one who leaves the cult may experience negative consequences of the stress related to leaving…. marriage and family problems, or even sickness. The cult leaders then use this as ‘proof’ the one who left is out of the will of God or is suffering because he/she ‘touched God’s anointed’”

My response:

You bring out a very important and insightful point. Cult leaders have to find a way to explain away the effects of their abuse which requires making the victim always the one at fault. One I remember hearing a lot at IHOP was that this whole “bridal intimacy/wooing” message about how “feeling lovesick” was G-d’s way of wooing you closer to him…that He used this feeling to ignite/illicit hunger in His people. So when you felt the emotional “withdrawal” of coming down from the hypnotic high of being in the prayer room, that was decoded as “lovesickness” which was supposed to signal you to spend more time in the prayer room. It was supposed to be a trigger that initiated a certain responsive behavior on our part (as interns) and make us feel depressed, discouraged and disillusioned whenever we spent time away from IHOP.

It’s a form of internal programming (aka mind control) to keep people “connected” and to create feelings of guilt and withdrawal upon leaving. I will never forget the intense emotional reaction after I left IHOP and moved home. I have never felt anything before or since to which I can compare it. I felt like my emotions had been hi-jacked. It was like an internal magnetic pull that tugged at me. The best way I can describe it is to compare it to the way alcoholics and drug addicts describe coming down from a high. It’s an intense detox where you feel sensory overload and need another fix. That’s what it was like when I left. By the grace of G-d I was able to go against what I had been programmed to believe was “lovesickness” and I fought hard to not get pulled back into what I had just left. Within a matter of days or a couple of weeks, that immediate withdrawal broke and I started to feel like the cloud over my head was clearing. The dull heaviness lifted and slowly, things felt clear. Confusion was replaced with clarity and over time, the more I began to see, remember, process through what I had come out of, and the more free and light my heart became.

I added some new links to the “Research, Links & Sources” page. One of which was regarding mind control. IHOP most definitely uses mind control and they are very skilled at it. No one is dumb enough to stand up and say “Okay, we’re going to mess with your head now and manipulate you into following what we say by reprogramming the way you view G-d, the way you read scripture and the way you think about life.” It requires a slow buy-in from those who will believe their propaganda and those who embrace the idea that IHOP holds the golden ticket to “closeness with G-d”. Our L-rd and Messiah Yeshua (Jesus as the Greeks called Him) stated very clearly that He was the way to the Father. So anyone else who claims to be “the doorway” through which you come to the Father is leading you away from truth. Any “ministry” that adds additional hoops for you to jump through to achieve “enlightenment”, closeness to G-d, salvation, favor, blessing, etc. apart from trust in G-d and following the teachings He clearly lays out in His Word is serving up some major deception–think of it like spiritual poison with a spoonful of sugar on top.

Salvation is based upon trust. The word that was translated into English as faith actually means trust in the original language of the Hebrew scriptures. It is a trust that is tested by actions (James 2). That trusting brings about fruit in the life of the one whose trust is in the Son of G-d—the One who gave his life as the last atoning sacrifice for the sins of humanity. So someone please tell me how that simple message of trusting in G-d has been polluted and perverted into “calling down signs and wonders to make people feel good, having “drunk Holy Ghost parties”, turning worship services into rock concerts, fasting until you have a full-blown eating disorder and multi-million dollar organizations that “market” their dogmas through conferences and internships via the belief that attending will give you a ‘supernatural experience’ and thus make you ‘closer to G-d’?” Excuse me? Closeness to the L-rd is not based on emotionalism–but in studying His word and allowing it to transform us from the inside out. The best times I have in fellowship with Him are in my living room or sitting around a dinner table in community and fellowship with like-hearted believers.

Brothers and sisters in the L-rd, let us not stray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Him. The rest of this “higher spirituality” which deviates into mysticism, new age and other occult/pagan practices is nothing more than a re-packaging of the same deceptions that existed thousands of years ago which the believers then were warned by Yeshua, Peter, Paul, James and others not to participate in. Satan’s message doesn’t change…just the packaging through which He promotes it. It would be like taking Bounce fabric softener and pouring it into a Downy bottle and selling it as Downy. The analogy isn’t about laundry product brands–it’s to illustrate the fact that taking a substance (or doctrine, teaching, belief or idea) and re-packaging it with a different name or label in order to present it as something else is what deception is all about.

A love for truth and a foundation set on the teachings of the Word is the only anchor we can securely hold to if we want to be free from the deceptive trappings, doctrines and webs of control that bring about spiritual abuse.

In Hosea 4:6 G-d says “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.”

G-d does not desire His children to be ignorant and blindly following the winds of heretical doctrines. He created one law–one truth–for G-d is ONE and following the laws and teachings of any other besides Him is idolatry. Period.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 and 10 speaks of what will happen when the Anti-Messiah is fully unleashed in the earth. It says that through wicked ways people will be deceived because they would not receive the love of the truth which could have saved them.

We must TEST, TEST, TEST what we hear and see. We cannot afford to be blind, careless and naive. If we do not love the truth of G-d’s precepts and follow the standards and guidelines for living life that He sets up in His Word, we will live lives of lawlessness and complacency–creating “our own” doctrines and thus living under the ruler-ship of the world system and doing its bidding.

Just because someone teaches something that sounds “spiritual” and uses the name of G-d does NOT mean it is truth or that it is of the L-rd. In His word, the Father teaches us exactly what we should believe and what we should follow. Deviations from that or additions to that are schemes of the evil one.

This is why the L-rd said that the path that leads to life is a narrow one. To choose life so that we might live (Deut 30:19) is to choose the narrow path that requires G-d to be the guide. The wide road is easy to navigate and leaning on one’s own understanding or the secular worldview are a few of many ways that will get you there. To navigate a narrow road requires trust in the One who is leading.

May the Father guide you with His eye, cover you with His love and lead you into the truth which brings about freedom!

by: Patrick Ryan, Editor of AFF News

Excerpt taken from this online article titled “Post-Cult Problems: An Exit Counselor’s Perspective”

Some of the recovery issues that keep recurring in my work with ex-cult members are:

1. Sense of purposelessness, of being disconnected. They left a group that had a powerful purpose and intense drive; they miss the peak experiences produced from the intensity and the group dynamics.

2. Depression.

3. Grieving for other group members, for a sense of loss in their life.

4. Guilt. Former members will feel guilt for having gotten involved in the first place, for the people they recruited into the group, and for the things they did while in the group.

5. Anger. This will be felt toward the group and/or the leaders. At times this anger is misdirected toward themselves.

6. Alienation. They will feel alienation from the group, often from old friends (that is, those who were friends prior to their cult involvement), and sometimes from family.

7. Isolation. To ex-cult members, no one “out there” seems to understand what they’re going through, especially their families.

8. Distrust. This extends to group situations, and often to organized religion (if they were in a religious cult) or organizations in general (depending on the type of cult they were in). There is also a general distrust of their own ability to discern when or if they are being manipulated again. This dissipates after they learn more about mind control and begin to listen to their own inner voice again.

9. Fear of going crazy. This is especially common after “floating” experiences (see point 18 below for explanation of floating).

10. Fear that what the cult said would happen to them if they left actually might happen.

11. Tendency to think in terms of black and white, as conditioned by the cult. They need to practice looking for the gray areas.

12. Spiritualizing everything. This residual sometimes lasts for quite a while. Former members need to be encouraged to look for logical reasons why things happen and to deal with reality, to let go of their magical thinking.

13. Inability to make decisions. This characteristic reflects the dependency that was fostered by the cult.

14. Low self-esteem. This generally comes from those experiences common to most cults, where time and again members are told that they are worthless.

15. Embarrassment. This is an expression of the inability to talk about their experience, to explain how or why they got involved or what they had done during that time. It is often manifested by an intense feeling of being ill-at-ease in both social and work situations. Also, often there is a feeling of being out of synch with everyone else, of going through culture shock, from having lived in a closed environment and having been deprived of participating in everyday culture.

16. Employment and/or career problems. Former members face the dilemma of what to put on a resume to cover the blank years of cult membership.

17. Dissociation. This also has been fostered by the cult. Either active or passive, it is a period of not being in touch with reality or those around them, an inability to communicate.

18. Floating. These are flashbacks into the cult mind-set. It can also take on the effect of an intense emotional reaction that is inappropriate to the particular stimuli.

19. Nightmares. Some people also experience hallucinations or hearing voices. A small percentage of former members need hospitalization due to this type of residual.

20. Family issues.

21. Dependency issues.

22. Sexuality issues.

23. Spiritual (or philosophical) issues. Former members often face difficult questions: Where can I go to have my spiritual (or belief) needs met? What do I believe in now? What is there to believe in, trust in?

24. Inability to concentrate, short-term memory loss.

25. Re-emergence of pre-cult emotional or psychological issues

26. Impatience with the recovery process.

—end of excerpt–

On a personal note, I can relate to experiencing some of these things after leaving IHOP and have heard many stories of others who have had involvement at IHOP and left (or were made to leave) who experienced much of this list as well.  Those who have left IHOP fit right into the same recovery process of those who leave cults.

There were many, many experiences that made me do a double take and say “what?” while I was at IHOP but that internal questioning was quickly explained away or rebuked by internship leaders. Once I began to deviate from IHOP’s teachings and study scripture on my own for answers to the internal conflicts I wrestled with, I began questioning the pseudo reality I had been conditioned to embrace. Suddenly I saw the isolated red flag incidences as a seamless pattern of error and the veil of deception fell. I stopped rationalizing and justifying. Enough was enough and I was done and wanted out.

There are much more personal experiences than I can put into one single blog post, but here are a few I still recall pretty strongly.

1. Mandatory fasts which made me very physically ill. They would never admit to having “mandatory” fasts but when you don’t have any food available, close down the kitchen, give your cook the day off and don’t allow interns to hold jobs (so that they have money to go buy food if they aren’t participating in the fast) then that is called mandatory.

2. Being practically held hostage in the prayer room and told that it was required that I be there and I was not allowed to leave even though I did not feel well and wanted to go back to my apartment. I was told I needed to stay in the prayer room to be part of the “corporate anointing” and that I shouldn’t leave. It was one of my “required” prayer room sets as an intern so I spent the remainder of that 2-hour set in one of the side prayer rooms in the back sobbing on the floor because I wanted to leave so badly and our internship leaders were standing by the door. You might ask “why didn’t you just force your way out and leave anyway?” When you are part of cult where free, independent thinking is not condoned when you don’t comply with what is expected of you, very often guilt, manipulation and penalties are instated for those who resist. Interns who didn’t follow “the rules” of the internship were penalized through loss of privileges (such as loss of your day off, having to do extra work/manual labor, etc.)

3. The grip of control and micro-management increasing: greater demands and restrictions on interns (such as increased pressure to fast more to attain a higher pinnacle of spirituality) being told where we had to sit when in the prayer room, taught a model for how to pray, how to dance, sing, etc. Any form of worship outside of this model was not considered to be acceptable. It had to fit IHOP’s style and method to be admissible.

4. Mandatory journaling assignments which we had to do weekly and then we had to turn in our journals to be read by internship leaders

5. Seeing how controlled the prayer room was. Rather than having freedom to express my heart to the Lord, I was put in a box and told how I had to do everything IHOP’s way. I had reading and writing assignments whenever I was in the prayer room.

6. There was no alone time ever to really think, reason, test, question or process anything. We were run ragged from sun up to late into the night which always left me exhausted, depleted and burnt out.

7. Once when I got sick, my mother came to pick me up and internship leaders resisted letting me leave with her (even though she lived in town). My internship ‘com leader’ (short for community leader) objected and still impressed upon me the importance of going to the prayer room even though I was too sick to get off the couch. My mother said “she is my daughter and I’m taking her home and taking care of her. Period.”

8. The more leadership responsibility I was given as an intern, the more I got peeks into the “inside”. I saw the outer fringes of the internal operations of how IHOP functioned. I was on an IHOP dance team and sang as a chorus leader on a few worship teams. To dance, I had to follow a specific model that IHOP required. To sing, I had to attend the briefing/de-briefing meetings before and after each worship set where I saw first-hand how carefully controlled that the seemingly “spontaneous” aspects of worship were carefully calculated and often planned ahead of time.

9. Another intern got deathly ill and it wasn’t until she ended up being hospitalized that internship leaders took seriously the fact she was sick. They accused her of faking an illness to get out of attending IHOP classes and time in the prayer room. This was told to me directly by that intern.

10. If I wanted to go anywhere off IHOP property (even to go see my family who lived in town) I had to notify internship leaders of my whereabouts at all times. I had no autonomy or freedom as an individual. Some leaders who were 19 (but were former interns which gave them elite status) were telling me where to be, what to do and when I was expected to be home. I had to answer to them for everything. I was in my early 20’s and had lived on my own before so the feeling of suffocation and having no personal rights to space, privacy, independent thought, etc. was overwhelming.

There is much more but I think that’s a sufficient start to at least give you an idea of some of what was happening when I was at IHOP. It wasn’t until after I left that I began to see far more than I had been able to see when I was still involved. The casual observer on the periphery won’t necessarily see the reality of all that is happening there because they are seeing the veil that IHOP has built to carefully cloak the truth of a lot of what really happens.

After I left, I realized how worn out and exhausted I was in every way imaginable. I spent days and weeks sleeping and physically healing from the trauma of the experiences I had just come out of and to let my body heal from the fasting and sleep deprivation. It took a long time for me to really start healing emotionally and spiritually and to begin putting pieces together. Recovering from mental and spiritual abuse like that is a hard road and a difficult place to come out from. I did months of research after I left IHOP and the immediate dust had settled. I wanted to see the roots of the giant beanstalk that had sprouted up and choked the life out of everything in me. I started going back as far into the history of IHOP as I could. As interns we were required to listen to 18 hours of audio CDs recapping all of the history of IHOP and the “prophesies” that led to it’s starting. I started researching on the internet about the names of the so called prophets of this movement and what they had come out of. That led me to picking apart a very carefully woven web of key players that all were connected to this massive organization.

I shared with one parent who e-mailed me about her own child at IHOP the importance of praying that the L-rd will open their eyes not only to see, but to recognize and identify the red flags of IHOP. The thing is, they are probably already seeing them, but rationalizing and excusing them away as isolated events rather than viewing them as a destructive pattern. I pray that the Father will show those there who are truly seeking him the pattern of red flags…making them so obvious they can no longer ignore them.

My hope is that the young people there who are much like I was will begin to question what they see and compare it with what the scripture actually says…not how Mike Bickle twists and teaches it…and that they have the courage to identify it and reject it. Those who oppose IHOP and speak out typically experience some kind of consequences or backlash. People are a commodity there. They are traded. When wounded ones leave, IHOP leadership doesn’t sweat over it…new and unsuspecting people who are ignorant of their dangerous devices but are hungry for emotionally-driven experiences and spiritual highs will come back in the same door the others left. It’s a revolving door of deception.

The deceptions of IHOP are treacherous and very real. Did G-d use that place in my life and work together for my good the devastation I experienced? Absolutely. But that is a testimony to the goodness of our G-d…not a stamp of approval on a place. Remember he spoke through a donkey and a burning bush. That doesn’t mean we should glorify donkeys and start worshiping bushes.

I’ve been asked many times how my eyes were opened to see what was happening at IHOP and how I got out, etc. I’ve thought about that many times and the simplest answer I can give is that I knew who my source was. G-d was my source of instruction, teaching, counsel, truth, etc. It was His voice I was seeking to hear and His approval I desired. IHOP wasn’t my source. So when the things I heard from the L-rd through prayer and studying His word were in conflict with the things I was being taught in IHOP it made the decision to leave an easier one. It was traumatic and painful and I’m not going to minimize that. But it was the price of protecting truth and I knew that staying would have compromised what I knew was right and since my desire is to delight the heart of my Father, once He removed the scales, I was out.

My desire is to see people set free to live lives of healing and wholeness…walking in genuine love and pursuing truth. My prayer is that the things you read on this blog inspire you to that end.

Grace and peace to you.