So, I was initially sure this was satire. I grew up believing in demons and believing that people could be possessed by demons and that Christians could cast out demons, but I certainly didn’t travel the world performing exorcisms. Guess what? It’s not satire.
A trio of Christian homeschoolers from Scottsdale, Arizona, have taken up an unusual extracurricular activity on top of their academic studies—they perform exorcisms! Brynne Larson, 17, Tess Scherkenback, 17, and SavannahScherkenback, 20, are all black belts in karate, fans of musical theater, and members of the Mars Hill Speech and Debate Club. These pretty, eloquent, and well-rounded young women enjoy hanging out with friends, riding horses, going to the mall, and styling their hair – that is, when they’re not busy chasing demons. “We’re just normal girls who do something extraordinary for God,” Brynne told an ABC reporter. “There is a war going on every day, being waged against us. Satan hates us. We know how the enemy is, we know what he’s attacking and we can fight back.”
“When a demon comes into someone,” explained Tess, “its desire is to steal, kill and destroy that person’s identity, that person’s life.” The Bible clearly affirms the reality of demon possession, and exorcism has been a legitimate practice throughout the history of the church. The Roman Catholic Church developed specific teachings for priests assigned to perform exorcisms. In Protestant practice the exorcist is often a member of the church, or an individual thought to be graced with special talents or skills. Although many people think the teens are too “unprepared” and “unqualified” to be performing exorcisms, there’s no real reason not to believe that these girls couldn’t be genuinely good at it. The three young women were mentored by Brynne’s father, Rev. Bob Larson of the Spiritual Freedom Church.
I think even my parents would have called what these girls do a show. As an evangelical, I believed that I could cast out demons in the name of Jesus, but I was under the impression that all one had to do was say “In the name of Jesus, I cast you out!” and it would have to go. That was the power of Jesus name, right? What these girls do looks more . . . complicated than that. It’s also, apparently, more financially costly. Color me surprised.
Anyway, here’s a full length documentary on the trio, “Teenage Exorcists.”