Friday, December 2, 2011

Teen Exorcist Squad!

I missed this story when it came out back in August, but it's just too good to pass up. Evangelist Bob Larson of Spiritual Freedom Churches International runs a school for exorcists, where students are taught to break curses and cast out demons. After discovering that his own 16-year-old daughter Brynne, pictured on the far right, was a gifted exorcist he went on to train four other teenage girls with similar talents, and claims them to be particularly effective at the art of overcoming demonic possession. So I suppose the teen exorcist squad is kind of like what Charlie's Angels would be if Charlie was a total douchebag.

The Vatican’s chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, has revealed that he alone has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession. So if the forces of darkness start getting the upper hand, who should you call? Evangelist Reverend Bob Larson of Spiritual Freedom Churches International - and his remarkable school for exorcists.

‘Think of it more of an exorcist franchise,’ Rev Larson tells MailOnline exclusively. ‘The Church just can’t keep up with demand. But I have 100 teams of trained exorcists working all over the world, and outbreaks of demonic possession are getting out of control. ‘Our phone lines are ringing constantly - we receive up to 1,000 individual requests monthly, and we travel to countries like Africa, Ukraine, England and even Australia.’

But while his teams include exorcists aged up to 70, one group of his protégées are causing waves in the religious community. They are teenage girls. Savannah Scherkenback, 19, and her sister Tess, 16, are Rev Larson’s latest graduates from his school for exorcists. ‘We have found that our female, teenage exorcists are particularly effective at curing the possessed,’ says Rev Larson, whose daughter Brynne is a supernaturally talented exorcist.

So why do I say douchebag, you ask? I've written on exorcism before and believe it to be a legitimate ritual practice, and there's no reason to think that these girls couldn't be genuinely good at it. The trouble is Larson himself.

Bob Larson's radio show used to run out here in Minnesota, and he's quite simply the worst kind of extreme Christian evangelist. During the 1980's he went out of his way to stoke the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic that ruined countless lives. He's a true believer in repeatedly-disproven nonsense like Illuminati-run covens of Satanists numbering in the millions. He rails against anything even marginally paranormal as demonic, fictional or not, and seems to believe that the only way Christians to be safe is to avoid any manifestation of popular culture. Any Christian who really tried to follow his teachings would wind up in a bunker, cowering with their Bibles and survival seeds.

It's not that Larson believes the world is going to hell. It's more like he believes it already has and he's the last line of defense against the encroaching forces of evil, a great big Luke Skywalker out there all alone on a heroic crusade against the dark side. Even if these girls are supremely talented one wonders how much of this poisonous worldview they have absorbed. Are they going around casting out demons of Dungeons & Dragons, like Larson used to do on his show, or evil forces evoked by the tales of Harry Potter, as mentioned in the article? Or are they taking precautions to make sure the forces they're exorcising are real demons? On the one hand, the article mentions that like the Vatican they require a psychological assessment before engaging in an exorcism to rule out mental illness. That's a very good thing. But then there's this:

In the last month Rev Larson and his team has rid a wife of an evil curse, after she was cursed by a Nigerian witchdoctor over the Internet that ‘dark demons would attack her in sleep’.

Umm, I think I've probably gotten five copies of similar spam e-mails over the last couple of years. So far, no demons, and believe me if I found myself in a battle with one my readers would be the first to know. I originally linked to an article about this new Nigerian 419 scam concept back in 2006. Here's a word of advice to Bob Larson - you might want to teach your exorcists that it's incredibly difficult to cast a curse or send demons when your magical link consists of "undisclosed recipients." Even if it could be done easily, in Africa magick is a profession and practitioners expect payment. With the millions of messages that spammers have to send out to get any significant response they would go broke long before they could pay anyone to cast all of those curses.

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M.C. said...

I was bored so I just took the "Do you have a Demon" test on their website. I selected yes to the questions "Have you ever asked Satan to take your life in exchange for something" and to "have you ever experimented with two or more types of the occult". Apparently that isnt enough to qualify me as possessed. This is my result:

"Your test score is 20
You are at low risk for demonic oppression/possession.

Congratulations and thank you for responding to this life-changing test. The following three resources are recommended to all test participants because they address every area of each individual’s emotional wounding, spiritual vulnerability, and potential demonization.

We have recommended specific resources for each question so that you may benefit from our years of experience. Evil is successful when we don’t have the proper information to spiritually defend ourselves. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” The books and DVDs we offer will better educate and equip you to wage spiritual war against the Enemy of your soul."

V.V.F. said...

Are we entirely certain that's not Karen Gillan on the far right?

Mr Black said...

@VVF: Sorry, I think that Amy Acker from the TV show "Angel".

Karen is still with the Doctor. :)