It may seem to some as if I "have it in" for certain people,
as I keep
referring negatively to the same people and groups: Bob and Gretchen Passantino,
Cornerstone, CRI, Ralph Underwager, and Gordon Melton. If I do, it is
for three reasons: 1) They all claim to be Christian. 2) As Christians,
they should be accountable for what they do and say, and they haven't
been. 3) The damage they have inflicted on suffering victims of ritual
abuse and MPD has been incalculable. Instead of prayer, support and healing,
these victims have been ridiculed and humiliated with a degree of arrogance,
unconcern and flippancy I have never encountered in the secular world.
If Christian survivors are turning to the secular world for counseling,
it is largely because we have rejected them, and the above-mentioned people
and groups stand guilty before God for treating as unimportant this command:
"Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
and make straight paths for your feet, so the lame may not be disabled,
but rather healed."(Heb. 12:12-13) And, "accept him whose faith
is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters." (Romans
14:1) Ritual abuse and MPD may be a disputable matter; the command to
accept hurting people is not.
How deep is the damage? As the Christian hymn says, "deep and
wide." One example: a family, whose small boy had been severely
abused. He was so young, and it was so bad, that details only came out
in violent outpourings, or in fragments. He's now 13 and has spent years
in a treatment center. The parents counted on, and were deeply grateful
for, the prayers and loving support of their church. Then, one day, the
pastor called to inquire about the boy. "Have the doctors changed
his diagnosis?", he asked. "No, why should they?", the
mother asked back. "Haven't you read Christianity Today's article
on ritual abuse? It's all false memories." Suddenly the parents'
world of support and prayers collapsed. They counted on them. They needed
them! I don't fault the pastor as much as Christianity Today, who succeeded
in painting a broad brush stroke of "false memories" on ritual
abuse without the slightest regard to who it would hurt, or the facts.
The damage doesn't appear on the editorial page of slick corporate Christian
magazines. It appears through the tears on Bible pages of those who are
afraid God has abandoned them, because we did.
That ritual abuse is real, and that MPD is real, is not an issue for
me. I don't have the luxury of high-minded "investigative journalists"
who can treat survivors with ridicule and contempt without ever getting
their hands dirty, or looking at the facts. I survived brutal ritual abuse.
I viewed the indescribably horrible murder slides of young 18 year old
Carmen Krohn, butchered by a Satanist. I went to the funeral of Shane,
16, and Sally, 15, murdered by a satanic coven. I sat at the trial of
the El Paso daycare case and watched as a precious, devastated young boy
told graphic details of his abuse. More, I have helped nurture MPD victims
and other survivors into God's healing love. I find it ironic, almost
criminal that there is no interest on the part of others
journalists in the knowable facts. It's almost as if they're saying, "It's
made up. Now go away. Don't confuse us with the facts."
In Acts, the Bereans didn't just accept Paul's words. They were
"fair-minded", and they "searched the scriptures daily
to see if it was true." (Acts 17:11) They loved truth. And finding
truth means testing all known facts. Issues such as MPD and ritual abuse
are so traumatic that they demand a complete hearing in the name of truth
and compassion. We have failed to do so.
The issue to these folks is whether ritual abuse is provable, or MPD
real. Well, that's missing the point for Christians. Most ritual abuse
victims won't be able to prove what happened. And there will always be
people who claim MPD victims are making it up to get attention. The point
is: What does God demand we do? On this, the scriptures couldn't be plainer:
"We who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and
not please ourselves."(Romans 15:1) Of all the people I've ever known,
ritual abuse victims and MPD strugglers are in more need of healing and
hope than almost anyone. Their- our- nightmare is beyond comprehension.
Imagine a heart so wounded, a life so tormented, that every relationship
is unsafe, every sight, smell and sound can trigger terror and panic,
and every moment seems like death. Maybe we won't be able to accept everything
victims remember as true, but you know what? We're not required to. We're
required to pray for them, love them, accept them and believe God for
their healing. You may not be able to believe it all. But you can, at
the least, suspend judgment on the awful memories that this child of God
is reliving. Can't you? But, you say, what if they're deceived? Where
is your faith? Can't you stand by them and help them know the truth of
God's word, which is able, in time, to break any possible error? Your
place is not to sort out what happened; that is God's, and the person's
task. Yours is to pour on the oil and wine of God's unconditional love.
You can do that, can't you?
We can never forget that besides telling the good news of Jesus, one
of our most important responsibilities is to "bind the broken heart."(Is
61:1-4) If the man who was robbed, beaten and left for dead in the Jericho
road were MPD and ritually abused, and it was today, we would more often
than not be either the priest that "passed on by to the other side"
("I don't want to get involved...") or a new Levite who didn't
only pass by, but before he did, bent down and said, "How can you
prove you were robbed. There's no robbers in Jericho! Why don't you just
trust God and forget about what you say happened?" And then, having
done our duty to "truth", trot off, leaving the victim bleeding
Before we criticize those who pursue secular therapy, you better get
the point of this story, sir. The priest and the Levite were God's chosen
people. They had the ability to do something. They did nothing! The Samaritan,
on the other hand, was a "secular" guy, despised by the "righteous."
Yet he did what they should have - he took care of the wounded, helpless
man! "Which of these men was the real neighbor to the robbed man?",
Jesus asked. Their reply: "The one who had mercy on him." "Then
do the same", Jesus said.
Anyone can debate ritual abuse. Show me someone who cares and
prays and goes the distance with the victims, and I'll show you someone
who is doing the will of God and not just making a name off people's grief
in the guise of "investigative Christian journalism" or "defending
It is costly, heartbreaking and difficult to care for those suffering
from MPD and ritual abuse. Maybe that's why it's easier to deny it.
Out of sight, out of mind. We'd rather not get coffee spilled on our rug.
In so doing, we deny the hurting their place of dignity and healing in
God's Home and we deny his Kingdom the miracle of watching a crushed flower
bloom into a glory of radiant and multifaceted grace and purpose beyond
description. Folks, if the good news of Jesus bypasses them, because we'd
rather debate than do, be a critic rather than a caring Christian, our
faith, as James said, is dead. (James 2:20,26)
Obviously not everyone will meet someone from this displaced
community of spiritual orphans, and I believe many would care, if they
did, or if they knew how. But until some Christian publication, media
ministry or bookseller has the guts to take a stand and say, "let's
find out about this. Let's find a way to extend our care to the victims",
then the majority of Christians will continue to think there is no problem,
there are no ritual abuse or MPD victims, because unchallenged experts
have buried the voices that cry out for healing under half-truths, blanket
statements, and misplaced priorities.
If my experience with victims is indicative of the big picture, then
victims of ritual abuse and MPD are in the multi-thousands, and they
have been in our midst. Many have left, knowing they would not be
accepted, much less believed. Many stay, in silence- terrified of being
rejected. They ask for little. Time. Love. Listening. Belonging.
Acceptance. That we must bring Jesus' healing to them is
unquestionable. The question is, will we? "Inasmuch as you have done
it unto the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto Me."
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you are going to work with ritual abuse survivors, you must also get educated
if you want to be effective. And you must learn to be humble. Trauma survivors
do not need to be around ignorant, modern-day Pharisees. Survivors in
pain need people who will connect with them on an emotional level, get
right down in there where they are, and listen. --Kathleen Sullivan