Monday, May 02, 2016

An Open Letter to Tom Hauser

Dear Tom,

I know there's no way you would remember me. I'm just some random lady at one of the churches in Virginia that held a deliverance ministry weekend that you and the members of your church taught at many years ago. I'm the one who our pastor's wife forced to make all those fancy half round flags for your church as a gift from our church. Yeah, and I'm still several hundred dollars out of pocket for the materials. Yeah, I'm still annoyed at that even if you had nothing to do with that, it's all the overbearing wife of the minister.

You and yours pushed the deliverance ministry that your church did, getting people to sign up to come to your church, Vineyard, in Wilmington, North Carolina with your tales of people set free from all sorts of weird demonic infestations.

During that weekend I had the chance to speak to you several times. I found I liked you, maybe it was the fact that you walked away from a high dollar career to preach, I don't know. You are personable.

But I know you don't have a clue about the damage you and your fellow church members do. I suspect seeing that the name of the church and the deliverance ministry has been changed more than once that you have some small inkling that others think it sucks. Did you guys get sued by those you victimized while pretending others are demon-addled and need an exorcism? Something obviously happened.

For us the damage was limited. We just lost some time, hotel money, money out laid for gas and our family Thanksgiving. I feel pretty certain that your deliverance ministry likely did lots of damaged, wreaked havoc and killed a few families. Let me explain why I think your deliverance ministry that you're now calling a 'prayer ministry' at your renamed church Global River Church is a bad thing.

You preyed on my husband, who was going through a long horrible depression. Now with real doctors, medical tests and therapy we know his entire problem was that he had cancerous tumors on his parathyroid glands. He wasn't under spiritual oppression, he didn't lack faith and he wasn't filled with demons and in need of deliverance ministry. He was sick. With cancer. That would have killed him if we hadn't tossed aside the compete and utter bullshit that the church was saying to seek actual legitimate medical treatment.

Jim told me a few days before Thanksgiving in November of 2005 that he'd scheduled a weekend deliverance that weekend, that you'd arranged for a team of deliverance-ministry trained staff to remove our evil spirits and cleanse us. It meant we had to abandon our children to others for the holiday and make that long drive down from Northern Virginia to Wilmington North Carolina, stay at a local hotel for several nights while the deliverance was going on.

I remember mostly how angry I was, because even while at that time I was still a hard core believer I didn't believe in what you guys did or your claims of demonic infestation. I was angry at the ruined holiday, angry I could not be with my kids, angry that you guys had insisted that I get deliverance ministry too because you don't treat one spouse without dedemonizing the other spouse. I wanted no part of it at all.

One of my clearest memories of that weekend was waking up at 3 am on the Saturday morning before the first sessions, feeling fearful and angry as well as suffering from extreme pain in my right arm due to an injury I was waiting to have surgery on. I sat in that ocean front hotel room, contemplating the Atlantic ocean in the moonlight while listening to praise music on my Ipod waiting for the opioid pain pill to kick in. I wondered what the day would bring.

What the day brought was being met at your church by the team, separated and  the sessions started. I wasn't in Jim's so I can only imagine what happened in his session. But for mine I was confronted quite starkly over things the two 'counselors' had gotten during their prayer time that week. The information that the ladies claimed to have heard from the Lord was so wrong on so many things. They told me I was having an affair with someone named 'Walt', which made me laugh because at the time the only Walt's I had heard of were Walt Whitman and Jim Walter Homes, a dead man and a corporation.

No, I was not and have never had an affair.

I was also told that my husband was having an affair, again not true. I don't know much, but I know that about him. He's not the type and he didn't have enough downtime with his commute into DC on public transportation.

Imagine how that might have affected a married couple having problems? We both were told this and neither of us believed it about the other person. If someone was in a shaky relationship being told an outrageous lie like that would have blown apart the marriage. Somehow I don't think any of this is something Jesus would approve of.

The personal details and quote-unquote problems listed on both of our prayer sheets were beyond wrong, from the smallest details i.e. Jim was told he loves 'Star Wars' and fishing, both of which he hates. I was also told Jim had a 'demon of rage' in him that would physically kill me if they didn't it exorcised from him.

The ladies with me gave me up after about two and a half hours, realizing I was highly skeptical, thought they and their words of knowledge were ridiculous and was not cooperating like they wanted. I was told by the staff to go back to the hotel and wait for a phone call to come back and pick up my husband. He was held and brainwashed a total of nine hours. He still hasn't told me what happened in that time, but when I picked him up he clung to me and would not let go for many days, either holding my hand or hugging me.

We went home, it was anti-climatic by that point. We spoke very little about what had happened and things continued on status quo up until the point where he got a diagnosis of parathyroid cancer and had the first of several surgeries.

I get it that you somehow think you're 'helping' people by doing this type of prayer. But you're not, you're confusing people at best, blowing up homes and families and/or causing people with serious medical conditions to die because they believe their condition is demonic at worst. You take advantage of desperate people


Bruce Gerencser said...

What a story! I see that this church is associated with Bill Johnson/Bethel Church in Redding, California. Lots of crazy. Bethel, IMO, is a cult. I am glad you and Jim were able to get away from this church.

Calulu said...

Bill Johnson, Bethel, Global Awakenings were all revered in my old church. Are you familiar with Lance Walnau? Lots of crazy cult connections at my old church. Thank FSM that Jim had the sense enough to drag us out.