Those That Do Harm…

by Calulu

…in the name of Christ harm not only themselves but legions of others, driving some completely away from the church.

Please forgive me dear readers because I’m about to get all flip, sarcastic and ranty here. I feel like using lots of obscene words. I’ve been triggered. Trigger warning for this if you’ve ever been subjected to the whole ‘exorcism’ thing.  I witnessed one back at my old church.

After writing the other day about how fundamental evangelical patriarchal types are notorious for telling people with serious health issues and mental health issues in particular to just pray it away I stumbled across the blog of Bob Larson of the Spiritual Freedom Church.

You know Bob Larson. He’s the one that if the Burning Bush of the Bible had appeared to him old Bob would have seen a dozen demons under the flaming leaves. He’s a demon in every pot and a demon in every garage kind of a guy. He has no time for the failed flawed reality of the human condition. It’s all Demons, Demons, Demons and he’s all about casting them out.

I clicked through his pages, seeing his Demon Test that you have to pony up a credit card for and found many rants about how our country was going to hell in that proverbial decorated liberal hand-basket along with his thoughts on why everything is a demon and how the world needs exorcism immediately! He hates Harry Potter, Rob Bell, Tiger Love and anyone who thinks differently than him. But he especially hates rock n roll, even all Christian music with a syncopated beat!

Apparently Bob Larson was also supposed to have his own television show that was scheduled to run on Lifetime Network except it was cancelled at the last minute due to public outcry. It was called “The Real Exorcist” Bob blames a coordinated effort by demon-addled homosexuals got it canceled.

Frankly I’m glad it was cancelled because if you didn’t have demons before watching the show the violent rituals many exorcists use seem like they might give you a demon. (just kidding!)

What set me off about Bob Larson’s blog were his words about a tragic murder of a child by its mother. The very title set me off, DEMONIC MOM MURDERS it screamed in BOLD text, the internet equivalent of shrieking and yelling.

I’d been following in the online papers the sad story of Elzabieta Plackowska stabbing her 7 year old son and the young daughter of a friend to death. It has been reported that Elzabieta had been repeatedly reaching out for help to a local church yet no one knows yet how they handled her problems. She’s stated to the police that she believed she was locked in a life or death battle with Satan and she killed the children to rid them of demons. It’s tragic alright, because everything that  has been said in the papers about this woman indicates she was mentally ill. Only someone going over the edge of sanity into madness would think by killing their child they were ‘saving’ them.

So Bob, Mr. Answer Man, blames it on ‘Demons’ in his blog.

Makes me want to put his head in a paint shaker down at the local Sherwin Williams, turn it up to high to shake some sense into him and yell at him – MENTAL ILLNESS IS NOT DEMONIC AND TREATING IT AS A DEMON IS HARMFUL!!

Some media outlets are reporting she did it because she was angry at her husband, which sounds like a cop out to me. They are reporting that there was nothing to indicate she had ever suffered from mental illness or depression. Being angry at your husband and getting back at him is rearranging all his belongs so he cannot find a thing or kicking him out of the house, not killing a child.

With some mentally ill people they can manage to hold it together fairly well in public until they reach a breaking point. I suspect that the psych exam ordered yesterday for Elzabieta will show that there were warning signs everyone ignored. If nothing else her bizarre behavior in repeatedly reaching out to the church tells me that there were signs that she wasn’t in a right mental state.

Have a sad feeling that when all this shakes out the church she contacted will have told her to pray, simply to pray, instead of advising her to get the mental health she so desperately needed. How many more bodies must pile up before people realize that it is irresponsible to tell mentally ill people not to get treatment?

Tell me what you think..

Comments open below

Read everything by Calulu!

The Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 

About Suzanne Calulu
  • texcee

    Two words: Andrea Yates.

  • Karen

    The pile of bodies could be infinite, and they’d still say “pray, treatment for mental illness is harmful/unnecessary”. There’s little one can do in the face of overwhelming faith.

  • Rae

    OK, so that woman believed that she was in a battle with Satan, and believed that her children were possessed by/under control of demons. I’m just amazed at the irony that up until she murdered the child, that she’d be sounding exactly like this Bob Larsen guy. But as soon as she crosses the line from whatever else she’s doing to fight Satan and the demons into murder, then *she* is the one possessed by demons.

    I honestly wonder what Bob Larson’s reaction to her story would be if she instead subjected the children to an abusive “exorcism” and got into legal trouble for it? Unfortunately, we all probably know someone (or a lot of someones) in the fundy, demon-in-every-corner circles who’d probably be holding her up as a shining beacon of how the devil is using the American government to persecute Christians or something like that.

  • persephone

    There is something in the mental setup of these people, we know they’ve done several studies that indicate that people that believe like Larson are reactionary, easily frightened, and paranoid. I remember my mother actually telling me that epilepsy was a sign of demon possession. Her mother, my dear grandmother, took her aside and explained that stupidity of that statement to her. It’s not surprising that my mother decided that joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses, with their belief in demons and armageddon right around the corner, was a good choice.

  • shirley maloe

    I am not in agreement with this article. After what I understand of the Bible, I know that Jesus cast out demons from individuals who were opressed. I believe one of them was about a boy, whom the deciples were unable to cast out. The demon caused this boy to sometimes throw himself into a fit. Mark 9:26. Modern GP might have diagnosed it as epilepsy. Also Mark 5:1-20 about the man with a legion of demons. If you read that scripture a person can be persuaded that the person was mentally ill – but Jesus cast demons out. I would rather believe the Bible. Which is Holy Spirit inspired than any other arguments.

  • Rachel

    I do believe in demonic influence, but I also believe in the science of this world God created. He made this fascinating genetic code that blessed me with beautiful blue eyes. But sin is a part of our world and those same genetics handed me some brain chemistry that doesn’t quite sync. I credit Bob Larsen type ministries with exacerbating my mental illness for years, not helping me in the least. He is “just praying” and “casting out demons” from people who may need professional clinical treatment.

    I struggled for decades with mental illness. I spent hours and hours in the altar in prayer. I had people pray for me. I had people pray the demons away. I developed severe Post Pardum Depression when my second child was born. I actually had the thought to harm this innocent baby. (Hello, Andrea Yates.) With the support of my husband and family, I finally allowed myself to be treated medically. I was so ashamed. I was such a failure for not “trusting God” enough.

    6 weeks later a window of light opened for the first time since Jr High. The medication was working and I could understand what normal felt like. I understood what all the other people were talking about when they spoke of joy. I would still have bad days, but bad days didn’t lead me to thoughts of suicide.

    Many years later, as I continued to work and grow, I found a wonderful liscenced clinical psychologist. He prayerfully led me through my childhood traumas. He would help me identify the source of certain pains and find whatever lie I bought as a youngling. “I am a worthless person.” Then he would take me through what the Bible says about me as God’s creation.

    He would help me examine religious wounds and abuses when the Bible had been used as a weapon AGAINST me. (It even describes itself as a sword.) We would read the verse that was so damaging to my psyche in context. We would discuss the culture of the people of the time. The damaging rhetoric was never, ever, ever the point of the passage. Ever. We would pray I would be able to accept the Bible for what it really says and not some lie handed to me by the misinformed or the controller.

    This process is grossly oversimplified. I exercised demons. But it was NOT in the formula I see from Bob Larson types. It was quiet. It was immersed in Bible. It was over a year of hard, emotional, and snotty work. I owe my counselor a Costco pallet in Kleenex.

    I was able to pull off the medication with a physicians supervision and now I would classify myself “in remission.” I feel healthy. But I don’t want to let my pride get in the way, if I later end up needing treatment again.


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