Tag Archive: demons


Coffee With My Nurse

Every Thursday one of my nurses and I go out for coffee, it’s part of the social inclusion programme.  He’s a nice man, his name is Pete.  He helped me out practically when I first moved in here.  We talk about a lot of things, including religion.  This week religion came up because I said I hadn’t heard anything about Raif Badawi this week.  Raif is the writer and activist in Saudi Arabia who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for his blog on free speech and liberalism in which he criticised some of the clerics, which was taken as an insult to Islam.  (For a petition by Amnesty International seeking to get this stopped please see here).

Pete said it was terrible what was being done in the name of religion, and said the Church used to do the same thing with its witch trials, for example.  The subject of demon possession came up, and I told him about my experiences of being told either that I was demon possessed or that I was ‘heavily demonised’.

The time I was told I was demon possessed was when I was a 12 year old girl in 1973.  I had lost my frightening father to suicide the year before.  Two of the elders of the church I was going to told me that I was demon possessed because I stared too much.  I suppose I did stare.  I stared particularly at one of them, because he was my father’s age and musical like my father, and I wanted to be a part of their family, informally.  He was a father figure.  The other elder – no, deacon – his wife told me that the man I saw as a father figure just saw me as a silly little girl.  They must have thought I fancied him or something (he was 38, I was 12, he was married with 3 children).  When they first tried to pray for me they decided I didn’t want help and told me I wasn’t to go back until I wanted help.  I think they also told me I couldn’t have communion.  The second time they prayed for me the deacon was bothered that I had practised a prayer instead of just praying on the spot, but the man I saw as a father figure said he felt good about it.  Apparently they saw a mouse which I didn’t see, and they told me the demons had gone into the mouse.  All I knew was that I wasn’t allowed to get close to the people I wanted, and I was hurt and upset, and frightened.  That fear left me briefly about 20 years ago, but it quickly came back when I was disrespected at the church I was going to in London.

At the church I went to in London, St Barnabas, Woodside Park in North Finchley, soon after my first experience in a mental hospital, I was so traumatised I was shouting when I was afraid.  I asked the vicar, who at that time was John Coles, what he would tell God when He asked him why he called the police on me, and John said he would say that he was dealing with someone who was ‘heavily demonised’.

I told Pete about both of these experiences and he said about the first one that I was obviously traumatised and they should have been dealing with trauma, not performing an exorcism.  He said it was child abuse, which I agree with.  David Shearman once told me he had been angry when he found out about it.  Unfortunately his anger did not relieve my pain and fear.  I lived for years worrying about demons, and looking into the mirror and seeing something evil in my eyes.  I can’t remember what Pete said about the second time, in London, that I had this forced on me.  But he said it all sounded medieval.  He also said that he thought people were like a piano, with all the notes available, and you just decide what you are going to play.

My worry is, have I misrepresented the Church?  They meant well, didn’t they?  Although I find that hard to believe, given how much anger was expressed.

I looked up the two people involved when I was 12.  One of them died in 2012 (the man whose family I wanted to be part of), and the other is an elder in a Christian Fellowship somewhere.  I didn’t recognise him but I recognised his wife, easily.

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Bad Experiences

I was 11 when my father died at his own hands.  I don’t really know if it was suicide, it might have been a call for help and attention that backfired.  I know it left me without a strong hand at home.  The family fell to pieces.  I stopped going to school because I thought, ‘I don’t want to go so I’m not going’, and no one challenged that strongly enough.  My mother didn’t have enough authority to get me to go, and I was being bullied at school, so I lay in bed reading mainly Christian paperbacks.

My first experience of a Pentecostal church came when I was about 12 or 13.  A van with a megaphone came round my street advertising a crusade, and I decided to go.  It was an odd experience, with people saying loud ‘hallelujahs’ and ‘praise the Lords’ while a person on the platform was speaking.  I thought it was rude.

Eventually a man came to my attention who was the same age as my father and was also musical, as my father had been, and I used to watch him as he played a Hawaiian guitar.  I used to want to be a part of his family.  I let it be known that I liked him, and eventually one of the leaders or the leader’s wife told me that he thought I was just a silly little girl, as if I was sexually motivated (bearing in mind he was 38 and I was 12 or 13).

Very soon after this they decided I was demon possessed because I stared too much.  One week they told me I wasn’t welcome unless I wanted help, and that I was to go away and only come back when I wanted help.  I went back the next week, and they prayed for me to cast demons out,  It wasn’t pleasant, they found fault with me for praying a prayer that I had practised.  The man I liked was one of the people praying for me, another male leader was another,  They told me the demons had gone into a mouse they had seen but I hadn’t.  They left me afraid and traumatised.  I used to look into my own eyes in the mirror and think that I could see something evil in them.  I kept praying that God wouldn’t let me become demon possessed again, because I believed the things they had said to me.  I just needed a father figure, and I was completely misunderstood.

I’ve never really recovered from that time, the pain has never really gone away.  There was a woman at Talbot Street, where I ended up going shortly after David Shearman came to the church I’ve been talking about, who said I had caused problems in Andrew and David Shearman’s marriages.  When I told David that he said she wasn’t doing God’s work.  I don’t remember that he denied what she had said though.

In London the teaching I received about demons was that they attach when people are vulnerable, as in infancy or at a time of trauma, and that a simple prayer of deliverance was what was needed to remedy the situation, and also prayer for healing and filling with the Holy Spirit in place of the demons.  I believed this teaching.  Some people would say that what some people call demons is actually psychological or psychiatric.  People talk about coming to terms with their demons, not recognising a need or possibility of deliverance, and not talking about real demons in the first place.  The Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions believe and recognise that demonisation and deliverance are real, and these have been my background since I was 12 years old, the background I am now estranged from.  Over the last 20 years I have been accused of witchcraft by other Christians on many occasions.  That’s where I will leave this entry.  It’s all very painful and sore.

A Coward Dies A Thousand Deaths

I’ve been thinking that about myself in relation to going back to church.  I have had the same battle every Sunday for three weeks.  I wonder if anyone else can put their hands up to being a coward?  I hear the preaching style and its content and I don’t want to go back, in spite of its historical place in my life.  At the same time I do want to go back.  But if we approach each other the wrong way it could explode in our faces, again.

I;m writing this in a hotel restaurant at 22.27 09.12.2012 UK time.  In Bulgaria it has just tipped over to Monday 10.12.2012.  I was reading in the Times yesterday, which I bought with a coffee, that President Putin wants to rebuild the old Soviet Union under another name, but that the West wants to avoid that happening or slow it down.  I was wanting to go back to Bulgaria ad buy there, but I’m not sure now.  I have heard that Bulgaria, of all the old Soviet countries, is closer in sentiment and politics to Russia than any of the others.  A lot of Russians buy in the country.  When Bulgaria first entered the European Union a Russian official expressed the wish that Bulgaria would be Russia’s Trojan horse in Europe.  There is an anticipated change in Bulgaria’s relationship with the EU scheduled for 2014 which is supposed to bring property prices into line with the rest of Europe.  What we have at the moment, if that is true, is a window of opportunity.  Opportunity for what?  To exploit the average Bulgarian who is selling at the moment at around 10,000 euros?  I can’t see how someone with self respect and respect for the people of Bulgaria could do that to them.  It seems quite a ‘sharp’ thing to do, to me.  After 2014 they could sell for more.

So there, I’ve committed it to writing, that I think it is just sharp business practice.  I wonder how people will feel if this re-establishing of the Soviet Union becomes a reality, if those who have bought will quickly get out.  If I buy and that happens, I won’t be staying.  I suppose he would want to go towards being closed, like before.  What about all the murders under the old communist regime, would they come back, or have lessons been learned?

I’m just writing, for no particularly good reason.  I told myself on the way down here that if I was repentant I wouldn’t be heading for a hotel to drink wine and download stuff.  I imagine David Shearman being angry with me and believing that he shouldn’t talk to me until he sees evidence of repentance.  Do I really want to go back to seeing the rest of the world as Egypt and ruled by demons?  But that is what the Bible says, that Satan is the god of this world, the ruler of the powers of the air.  I have felt loved by some of these people, rightly or wrongly.  I can see myself sitting happily in a congregation and rejecting everything.  I can see myself doing it, happily, it isn’t even a hope or a fear.

Repentance makes amends and seeks reconciliation.  What about everything I’ve said about not being able to be in church because they validate the mental health system and sometimes use it as a weapon or offend by taking it for granted, apparently, that it is right and that the person judged as mentally ill is rightly so judged?

I feel both sombre and happy.  I’m very tired.  Because of where I am at as a woman, every time I feel I have made a breakthrough in understanding how best to handle myself ad my relationships it also hurts deeply that I didn’t know before and then I feel unable to maintain any feeling of having made progress in any solid way.

That will do for now.  A bit more self-display.  It would not be so bad if it didn’t get into the wrong hands as well as kind ones.  Where’s Tommy Boyd?  He’s disappeared off the planet, by the looks of it.  I can’t believe he’s finished broadcasting for good.  It’s only his 60th birthday this year.  I thought he was more professionally committed than that.  He’s just gone, and I feel bereft, as well as anything else.  That sounds stupid and pretentious.  I’m also a bit pleased he isn’t there so I am not constantly infuriated.  I wish he was around for me because I feel I need him.  He was there once, when I sat with him in his car.  I wasn’t, I said no.  He pointed to his chest and said ‘I’M in here’ and looking back I always remember that as very touching and tender.  He didn’t seem to be trying to pull any tricks.  Every time I phoned up he said something to remind me of that night and it was too late, perhaps, that I realised it was possibly an invitation to talk some more.  Although how I could have done I don’t know.  If it was an invitation I didn’t understand that at the time.

 

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