Preface: if I lose friends over this post, so be it. Too many people out there don’t have the guts to have an informed opinion of their own, and be vocal about it, but yet they’ll willingly attack anyone else who has one. That kind of cowardice may be comfortable for a lot of internet users, but it’s not comfortable for me. So I’m going to make my case here, and if you choose to read it, you can do with it what you like.
And also let me say that if you disagree with this post, that is OKAY. I’m not asking you to blindly agree with me. I’m asking you to be civil and respectful in your disagreement, if disagreement is the case. Agreement is not required here on this blog, or among my readers and people who are friends with me. I LOVE diversity. I love learning from people and hearing other perspectives. I do! Talk to me. Ask me. As a person I am already very circumspective; I tend to be able to see things from a lot of differing points of view. Every perspective is valuable. But I have very little patience for flaming, ad hominem attacks, straw man arguments, and nastiness. There are plenty of places on the internet where people can do that – and are doing that – but it won’t be happening on this blog.
This e-book referenced in the title of the post has been floating around among Christian circles for awhile and I was eager to read it at first. It sounded like something that would be right up my alley. The first time I heard about it, I downloaded it right away and dove straight in.
On the first reading, out of fifteen chapters, I made it to about chapter four.
I was horrified. I don’t even know where to start.
For the purposes of writing this blog post, I forced myself to go back and read the rest of the thing – only to make sure I’m not making some horrible misjudgment based on an inaccurate picture I got from the first few disastrous chapters. What can I say? Hope springs eternal. (I guess.) Maybe the guy learns better as he goes? Maybe he wises up? Maybe the book is supposed to indicate his progression of learning? So many hopes.
Guys, this book does not describe “ministry.” This is not ministry. This is exploitation. This borders on spiritual abuse, since the person had to go and slap Jesus’ name on it. If they’d left Jesus out of it, we could at least just call it coercive and manipulative, but because of the Christian angle, it delves into being spiritually abusive.
I won’t even point out all of the inaccurate, outdated (2004) “factual” information about multiples, even though the book was full of it. I’m sure they were going on whatever “facts” they had at the time. Fine. Whatever. But circulating this book even now, 11 years later, certainly isn’t helping the multiple community. I’m also not going to spend any undue time on the self-congratulatory tone in which the whole thing was written. (But on that topic: give me a break.) Let’s get to what really matters.
I’m not going to address things in any particular order or priority. This whole document, claiming to be some kind of Christian instruction manual for healing multiples, is a mess in a lot of ways. All of those ways are about equally as messy as all of the other ones.
First of all the way this person talks to alters, especially those who first present themselves in a less-than-agreeable manner, is – quite often – horribly dishonoring and disrespectful. It hurt me to read it. I was dismayed on behalf of the people he was supposedly “helping,” to see the ones who weren’t immediately 100% compliant being treated so flippantly and having their thoughts and feelings invalidated and argued with, with the writer not being above outright mocking them at times.
If you need examples, there are so many that I – once again – don’t even know where to start. A benign example would be how the writer recounts being told by a little that they were afraid to open a certain door on the inside. Rather than respecting this fear and having the wisdom to heed it until it could be explored further, the writer responds back to that little: “Well, I don’t think opening a door can hurt you.” Excuse me, but this is a very ignorant thing to say to a multiple, considering that 1) you’re pressuring someone to do something for which they obviously don’t feel ready, even if the actual thing isn’t really a big deal; the alter needs the freedom to choose what they want to do and when they want to do it, and 2) anyone who would propose that opening a door on the inside can’t hurt anyone obviously has zero idea of the complexity and dangers intrinsic with working with programmed multiples. What if that multiple had been a Monarch? What if that door had contained suicide alters behind it? What if it was an unrecovered memory they weren’t ready for? He often insults protectors (which he calls defenders) right out of the gate, but somehow expects them to want to be friends with him, and it’s nothing short of a miracle that eventually they do start to cooperate. I would call this coercion, not befriending.
This book is so full of examples like this of his absolutely insensitive approach. The writer tells alters over and over and over to do things they don’t want to do. They often initially try to protest, but he often ignores the protest and pushes them to disobey their gut instincts (or their fears, which are based on wounds that came from others doing this very same thing to them on a much grander scale). The book is also contradictory on a lot of fronts, and I’m not even sure if the writer realizes it. He will urge an alter to do something they don’t want to do, but then turn around and say “If a defender gives you a warning you should listen to it.” This method of disregarding littles’ and weaker alters’ feelings and responses, but prioritizing defenders’ (aka protectors; guardians) only reinforces the message that some system members are more important than others, and that some people don’t count. How is that supposed to facilitate healing?
The author states repeatedly in the book “Generally doing this particular thing with a multiple (e.g. asking for a certain alter by name) is considered rude/not recommended,” but then he does the rude or not recommended thing, over and over and over. So basically in a nutshell he tells the reader a bunch of things they shouldn’t do, but then does all of them repeatedly throughout the book, and somehow people are supposed to glean a sort of “how-to” from this contradiction.
And then there were the Scriptures inserted into these sessions. The writer states repeatedly that he does not use guided imagery, but then turns around and quotes Scriptures in attempt to force things to happen in the multiples’ internal world. Quoting a Scripture about turning the lights on, with the end goal of turning the lights on (internally) is guided imagery. I really don’t care if you use a Bible verse or a pop song or just a random phrase you came up with. I’m sorry but guided imagery is defined as a method by which a specific mental image is evoked by a person using the power of suggestion. The writer also admits at the beginning of the book that he “occasionally” asks leading questions and tells the alter/multiple what will happen next.
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
(And as a side note, this doesn’t help the case against DID being thought to be iatrogenic [or therapist-induced].)
This is the problem: this guy is relying on himself – not Jesus. He’s using his own mind, his own understanding, his own agenda, his own assumptions, his own ideas of what should be happening within a person’s soul and spirit, his own personal mental and emotional filters, to try to help people he knows virtually nothing about.
And what is equally sad to me is that this kind of insensitive, controlling and dishonoring treatment would have been so normal for the people he was talking to, they wouldn’t have noticed. It would have felt comfortable and familiar to them. Indeed, the extent of the trauma and abuse that a lot of them came from would have made his approach feel a lot better than what they were used to. But that still doesn’t make it right or okay. Multiples tend to have a lot of black-and-white thought patterns; they can sometimes see things as all or nothing. So as long as they are not still being ritualistically tormented in the ways they experienced historically, they sometimes judge all other treatment as acceptable. But there’s a whole other spectrum of unacceptable treatment that’s less extreme than ritual abuse that they don’t deserve, and should not have to be subjected to, that they sometimes cannot see.
Then there’s the interaction with demons. Someone please tell me why on earth a person in ministry would want or need to know the specific names of demons attached to a person’s spirit. Who cares what their names are? When the person is ready for them to go (which takes some thoughtful interaction and time to find out), just send them away. It’s not complicated. If the person (which can refer to a specific alter, not the presenting person) wants them there, they have permission to be there and they are allowed to be there regardless of what you or the person talking might say. If the person doesn’t want them there, they aren’t allowed to be there and can be sent away. Bam. Done. No drama, no dialogue needed.
You guys, I’m getting really tired of writing this blog post. I’m depressed at how much there is to write, concerning this e-book. But I have to keep going, lest you think I’m making much ado about nothing.
So, next, there’s all the defining that the writer does of the elements of the person’s internal world. He either takes assumptive guesses about what exists there, and/or decides based on what the alters tell him what the object or place or person is, why it’s there, and what should be done with it. This precedes both the writer personally interacting with, and directing the alters to interact with, those elements in certain ways (doing both without permission, and with the assumption by the writer that they know what’s what and how it should be utilized). For instance, if an alter tells him they see a river, he automatically decides what the river is, why it’s there and what it’s there for, what they should do with it, and how they should interact with it. Same for houses, rooms, objects, other beings, etc, in the multiples’ internal worlds.
No. Just, no.
No. No. No.
More guided imagery, more arrogant assumptions, more coercion. More agenda being forced onto the system.
The writer has the creative boldness to attempt to “send” things “into” the internal world of multiples’ system (“by faith”), based on a very obscure and loose translation of a certain Scripture verse he thinks is somehow related. I give him a half-point for creativity, but then I also retract that half-point and deduct about five million and three points because he is still relying on his own self…not Jesus. He’s using his own imagination, his own ideas, his own interpretation of God, Scriptures, and faith, to formulate his own opinion of what to do with the person’s insides. When he even mentions Jesus at all, the writer is asking Jesus to do specific tasks the writer has in mind, within the multiple system – not asking Jesus what Jesus wants to do.
You can get a lot of things wrong working with multiples and things might still work out, but this is one thing you cannot get wrong. If you’re a Christian, if you want to use a Christian approach with multiples, you cannot boss Jesus around. You cannot rely on yourself. Jesus knows the other person, their alters, their system, the elements of their system, their internal landscape, the meaning behind every object and event: you do not. Making assumptions is foolish, arrogant, and quite frankly, dangerous.
In the same vein, the writer asserts that “symbolic acts performed in the spiritual world (like using hyssop to wash in a fountain filled with the Water of Life) do appear to cleanse alters of at least some of their guilt and shame.” This belief is said to be based on symbolic acts performed in the Old Testament which brought “life” to Israel. There are 2 big problems with this: 1) GOD told the Israelites to do those things; they weren’t the Israelites’ ideas made up on the spot. What God tells you to do is life, and learning to let HIM lead will lead to life, not relying on your own limited understanding; and 2) OLD. TESTAMENT. There is only one thing that “cleanses” alters and anyone else: Jesus. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the only thing that can completely cleanse anyone of anything. Now that we’re in the New Covenant, that has already happened and we only have to walk in it. What is it that we need to add to his death? What did Jesus’ death NOT cover, that we now need to try to cleanse with acts of our own because it somehow got missed? I do concede that letting Jesus lead a healing session will often result in Jesus telling the alter to do something, and that should be heeded if the alter is willing and okay with it. But Jesus is not going to instruct anyone to do something they can’t and don’t need to do in order to obtain something that’s already freely been given to them by the only means it could have been given. He may lead them to do something that allows them to experience what they already have, more fully. But his death finalized their absolute sanctification. They are already cleansed. Symbolic acts are no longer required.
And next we have one of the most sobering things in the entire book thus far: the writer telling a particular disagreeable alter that Jesus wanted the alter to do something, regardless of what that alter wanted, and asserting that Jesus would send angels to FORCE him to comply, if the alter didn’t obey.
Folks, this simultaneously makes my blood absolutely boil, AND makes me want to break down and weep. Jesus doesn’t force anyone to do anything. This is not my Jesus. The wrongness of this is almost beyond what I can articulate.
If Jesus is the type of guy to force his will on us, when we’re saying no, when we’re not comfortable, when we don’t want it, how does that make him any different – any better – than the abusers?
The most powerful thing in the world that any human possesses is the power to choose. And Jesus gave us that power. He’s not going to take it away from us, even if we don’t use it wisely, or don’t use it at all. He won’t take away our power to choose. He doesn’t want to. He respects our right to choose – ALWAYS. He doesn’t even get angry when we choose something harmful or destructive; he wants good things for us, but he’s not going to force us to do anything against our will. He is the utmost in respectful and honoring. He honors our choice, he honors our will, he honors our emotions and thoughts. Even when they don’t line up with what he knows as truth, FORCING us is not who he is or what he does.
And I hate to say it, but if anyone tries to assert that “Jesus” came into their internal world with “angels” and FORCED them or another alter to do something, kicking and screaming, that they didn’t want to do…that wasn’t Jesus. Those weren’t His angels. I’m sorry. And I feel ridiculous for even having to say this, but JESUS DOESN’T CHAIN PEOPLE. LORD, HAVE MERCY. It breaks my heart that anyone would claim otherwise. Truly, my heart breaks when I read these things in a book, and see that book circulated as an example to emulate. It mortifies and horrifies me to my very core.
While we’re on the topic, alters who are disagreeable are helping in the only ways that they know how to help. Getting irritated and forceful with them, as the author did, is misinterpreting the alters’ motives and reinforcing their isolation and unworthiness of being loved by once again misunderstanding them and their purpose, just like everyone else on the inside and outside has and does.
The writer instructs alters regularly throughout the book to look for Jesus in their internal world. Once again assuming they even want to see Jesus, which would have been a crucial thing to ask beforehand, and not taking into account how many multiples (esp the SRA crowd) have been abused by people claiming to BE Jesus, or represent Jesus, or somehow attribute their abuse to Jesus.
So many examples. So much guided imagery that claims not to be guided imagery. So much misuse of Scripture. So much, so wrong.
At one point in Chapter 4 the writer says “Unfortunately, some multiples were really beyond our help, at least beyond any help we could give them on the net. Some systems had really dangerous or unstable alters. We tried to get those multis to find help elsewhere, but many kept coming back anyway. Maybe they were beyond anyone’s help…” (italics mine)
What an incredibly arrogant and damning thing to say.
I have no doubt there are many, many multiples beyond the help of THE WRITER’S IMAGINATION. That’s a given. When you’re relying totally on yourself and your own ideas, you will eventually run out. But no one is truly beyond help if they are seeking help from Jesus, and working with people who actually know how to let Jesus be in charge of their recovery. Why would a Christian say that anyone is beyond help?
Okay, so, I’ve already written a mini-booklet here and I’m only in Chapter 4 of the e-book with my review. I’m going to stop citing specifics now and get back to generalities and wrap this up for the sake of length. But I’m going to be reviewing the rest of the e-book over the course of the next few days to make sure I haven’t missed touching on anything absolutely vital. If the writer evolves as a helper, and makes a total turnaround, I’ll write a new post and recant. I’m not afraid to eat my words, folks. I’m human. I have been wrong before, and I might be wrong now. If I am, I’ll take it back. Also if there are no notable changes, and I missed anything else of concern that shouldn’t be left out, I’ll write a follow-up post. Here are the rest of my issues, in general.
I tend to get my back up very quickly when documents about multiples are full of absolute statements about multiples. Any book or speaker who asserts that “This is how every multiple becomes a multiple: [insert nice linear formula with black and white explanations that fit neatly into boxes]” kind of makes me want to puke.
I understand that as a species, we dearly love and cherish our boxes in which we like to put things. They make us feel safe. They make us feel in charge. They sometimes make us feel superior, and in control, and as if the world is not as random and unpredictable and unexplainable as it really is, which is comforting when the truth is far more disconcerting. Sometimes boxes are harmless.
But sometimes they are cages in disguise.
And sometimes they are hurtful to the ones who don’t fit in them.
In the same vein, “All multiples experience x y and z” is an impossible statement to make. You can’t do it (at least, not if you’re trying to be honest and accurate). Every multiple is different. Every system is different. Every alter is different. It’s pure arrogance to assume that because something is true for some people in a population, it’s true for all of them. You can make a reasonable and educated guess, but the minute you start assuming you know without asking, you have a problem.
Just in case this is newsworthy (one never knows, anymore):
- Not all multiples have a “door” or “archway” or “gateway” on the inside that they utilize when switching
- Not all multiples experience switching headaches
- Not all multiples have an impaired sense of touch
- Not all multiples have diminished peripheral vision
- Not all multiples need – or are on – medication, and for those that do and are, not all multiples have a problem with that
- Not all multiples have been “grossly abused as infants”
- Not all multiples believe they have been abused at all, according to their experience, although it is understood that the writer of the book in question was working exclusively with trauma-based multiples
- Not all multiples have a “host of chronic physical ailments”
- Not all multiples see integration into one whole person as an ultimate goal, nor should anyone else unless it’s what THEY want
A final note: I’m not questioning this writer’s motives. They say they love multiples, so I will try to take that at face value. People can be sincere, and they can also be sincerely wrong. It sounds like this writer never sought any formal inner healing training, which would have saved them and a lot of multiples a lot of missteps. I’m not saying they’re not a nice person or they don’t have sincere faith and a good heart, but I am saying some of their methods and beliefs are very, very, very concerning to me AND questionable at best. Their claims of outrageously positive results are, to me, suspicious. I’d like to know if those multiples who integrated under the tutelage of this writer were able to sustain any measure of purported “health” or “peace” for any length of time afterward.
My own experience with bad practitioners or those with harmful theology, as well as a lot of other multiples’ who have talked to me, is that a lot of my very deeply damaged alters will hide or simply go away for awhile, if that’s what they think is best or if they think that’s what I – or the “helpers” in my life – want or demand from them. This is not health. This is not peace. This is driving the compartmentalization in even deeper.
And lest anyone say that from this post, I myself am claiming to have all the answers, I don’t. I’m just warning against the dangers of assumption…particularly in the arena of faith-based healing. I don’t claim to know what goes on inside other multiples, or what they need or what their system should be doing at any given time in order to heal itself. That’s my point; Jesus is the only one who knows. And he’s the only one who should be leading that process.
If this book was just seen as outdated and didn’t keep popping up on my newsfeed and being applauded as a commendable resource, I probably would have just let it go. But it does keep popping up, so I couldn’t.
Bring on the hate mail. You can pray for my soul, if you want. Cheers. ~J8