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Mercy Ministries Faces Challenge from Former Clients

FMSF News Alert - March 25, 2014

Dear Friends,

A Christian-based residential treatment program by the name of Mercy Ministries is being challenged by a group of previous clients who call themselves "Mercy Survivors". These previous clients are using online resources such as Facebook, Tumbr, YouTube, and Twitter to spread their message and connect with other affected families.

The Mercy Ministries official website says, "Mercy Ministries does not practice repressed memory therapy" [1] but at least one past client disagrees, "At this Nashville, TN based facility called Mercy Ministries, the retired school-teacher who was "called by God" to cure me of mental angst, eating disorder behaviors, and substance abuse, implanted a memory that I had been sexually abused as a child." [2]

Mercy Ministries is a faith-based multi-state Christian residential treatment program for girls ages 13-28 which operates at no charge to clients. They treat anything from eating disorders, addictions, and depression to unplanned pregnancies and brag of an overall 93 percent success rate in turning these women’s lives around. The funding for the program comes from donations by sponsors. Churches and individuals can sponsor the program as a whole or may sponsor a single patient. [3]

Up until 2008, Mercy Ministries used a therapeutic model known as "Restoring the Foundations". But when the Australian branches of the ministry were exposed for using exorcisms as part of their curriculum and usurping clients' social welfare checks as payment, the American ministry developed its own seven-point counseling model entitled "Choices That Bring Change" (CTBC). The Mercy Survivors group argues that CTBC still utilizes the same key parts of "Restoring the Foundations" which caused problems. Specifically, they say that part 5 "Healing from Life Hurts" is a search for memories of abuse which may create false memories and that part 6 "Freedom from Oppression" is sometimes treated by exorcisms. While the official website for Mercy Ministries specifically states that "Mercy Ministries does not perform or endorse exorcisms as part of its treatment curriculum" [4], Mercy Survivors offer this audio of Mercy Ministry’s president, Nancy Alcorn, to demonstrate otherwise: Mercy Survivors - Audio. [5]

Treatment through Mercy Ministries culminates in a graduation ceremony. One father explains how he first discovered he’d been accused of sexual abuse by finding his daughter’s graduation speech: "She came back [home] and everything seemed OK." "It seemed like we had a good relationship... ." Three days after she got home, she said she was here for a visit and she said we had misunderstood. Either that day or the next day, Smith said, his wife discovered their daughter’s graduation testimony. "In her testimony, she said I had molested her from [ages] 4 to 17". [6]

For further information, please visit the Mercy Survivor’s blog(s) and Youtube channel:

J. Bean and Pam

[1] (accessed 3/24/14)

[2] (accessed 3/24/14)

[3] - Who We Are (accessed 3/24/14)

[4] 3/24/14)

[5] (accessed 3/24/14)

[6] (accessed 3/24/14)