Victim’s of Johnson’s Sozo Ministry Speak Out

Sozo 2

Opening Client Visualization

Many people believe that they do not have a visual compliment to engaging God. They have been taught, or the enemy has led them to believe, that their primary, if not only, interaction with God is through His written word, the Bible. This is typical of most folks with mainline evangelical denominational roots. In order to make the ministry time fruitful for a client, we often have to help them to “open their spirit eyes”.

Many people believe that God is accessible only through their minds and hence, all experience that is not absolutely logical (from their perspective) is not only not probable, but more to the point, not possible. Consequently, they have never tried any other method of interacting with Him. That doesn’t mean that is not another method, only that they have never entertained the idea that there is another one.

What the Sozo session leader must do is to help open their minds, hearts and spirits to another method of connecting with God. We can do this by a number of methods, principally by leading the Sozoee through a series of simple exercises to expand their repertoire of sensing, hearing, feeling and connecting with God.

Jim Banks, House of Healing Ministries

Notice the subtle steering from the written Word to experiencing God through ones senses, hearing and feeling? Not to mention the misrepresentation of the Word itself! This is now common place in most charismatic churches/ministries today. A removal of the written Word of God and a seeking through sensual venue is exactly what the Sozo ministry has become. So, what are the results? Are people being helped, healed, and made whole?

Had a few people give testimony on my blog concerning this very issue. One was over the loss of his daughter (after she allegedly recovered a memory during a Sozo Session) of her Father molesting her.  Another was a women who lost her brother to suicide as a result of the Sozoer’s drumming up his abusive past. Sozo, is nothing but a Theophostic form of therapy dealing with ones past, Regressive therapy (false recovered memory) is one part of the Sozo session, a practice that died out in the 90’s after therapist were sued.  Below is a three part series of the testimonies given, I will post all three parts separately as I will interject some after each.

(Part 1)

My daughter attended a Sozo session at Bethel eight years ago. While in that session she experienced a so called “Recovered Memory” that I had molested her from the age of three to thirteen. That was the end of our relationship and almost the end of my life. Her mother and siblings know and have testified that it is completely false, but the damage is done. None of us in our family will ever be the same.

When I found out about this I tried to contact Bill Johnson for help. Apparently, being falsely accused of a crime that can carry a life sentence (and that resulting from one of Bethels’ ministries) is not quite enough to get his attention. I could not get past the “counseling center”. When I related what had happened to them they expressed how sorry they were at my experience and actually tried to get me to set up a counseling session. Yes, a counseling session. I declined that invitation.

I contacted two attorneys with “false recovered memory” experience. Both were shocked that regressive therapy was being practiced at all. Both attorneys told me that the whole recovered memory issue died out in the 1990s when it was exposed for the hoax that it is. After a few therapists were sued for big dollars the practice stopped—until Theophostic and Sozo started it up again. Both Theophostic and Sozo therapy includes regressive therapy techniques.

I have had several conversations about this with Tom Rutherford (look up Tom Rutherford and false recovered memories). He now has a ministry to victims of false recovered memories. I asked him if he knew of others that had been accused based on Theophostic counseling. He said that he was currently dealing with 80 families across the US and Canada that had lost children due to this therapy. He went on to say that one young lady that had accused her parents of sexual abuse had just taken her own life. Without Reverend Rutherfords’ support and encouragement to me that same day my fate would have been the same as that young ladies’.

There is real danger with this therapy. My family and I are living proof.

Memory Victim

Furor over false memories puts hypnotherapist in the spotlight Sunday, June 28, 1998. Hypnotherapy has been proven to be ineffective and many cases have shown that Therapist have planted false memories into people during hypnotherapy sessions.  Below is an actual case which landed several therapist in prison in the 90’s.

“All she wanted was a few counseling sessions to help her cope with depression and get on with graduate school. Instead, she spent four years and tens of thousands of dollars in the bizarre world of a hypnotherapist who talked to ancient deities and convinced her she was the victim of satanic abuse. She came to believe she’d been raped as a child by her father, the leader of a satanic cult that also included her mother, brother, grandfather and a neighbor.  She thought she had served as a high priestess – sacrificing babies in secret caves throughout Southern Illinois and killing who knows how many innocent people.”  Her therapist, Geraldine A. Lamb of Kirkwood, thought so too. It was that horrific abuse that was the root of her depression, she said Lamb told her.  So the young woman cut off all ties with her family for more than a year. Lamb told her that was the only way she could hope to recover.  On Friday, St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge John Kintz sentenced Lamb to 30 months in state prison, the dramatic end of a criminal case with national significance.

(To see the entire transcript: Click here)

By now you might be asking, so what does hypnotherapy have to do with Sozo?  Allot!, if you study and understand the steps of a Sozo session you discover that hypnotherapy is a big part of the process.  For sake of time I won’t get into it here but you can read several other of my articles which goes into the Sozo session.

Now for part two.

(Part 2)

In the Bible God does say to His people to not worship Him the way the pagans worship their gods. As someone who has been through much abuse; from being beaten bloody as a child to beaten unconscious as a teen, given away by my mother and raped three times and then married to a man who abused me for many years, I understand the desire for freedom. When I first got saved I couldn’t speak of the things I had suffered. My own husband didn’t even know! But after following Jesus I have received so much healing, but it was all in His way and His timing. And it came about by doing “whatever He tells you to do.” john 2:5 I believe that is the only way to see real HOLY SPIRIT miracles. Other spirits are doing counterfeit things. There are many false spirits at work in the church and it is heartbreaking to see people so desperate for an experience they will follow anyone and anything. I had an older brother who got saved only a few months before me. He was so happy. All the time! He is the one who talked me into going to church. It was only two weeks later that my brother called to tell me that he had gone to a class at his church that led him back through his past. Everything came out. He had been sexually used by 5 males when he was a little boy. He had suffered horrific beatings on a regular basis. The only problem was that once it all came out, they weren’t able to deal with his level of hurt. So apparently they told him that he was cursed because of what his ancestors had done and had him repenting for the sins of his ancestors. He went from being happy to being weighed down by the guilt and shame of what had been done to him, and carrying the weight of the sins of those who preceded him. Before he hung up he asked me if I believed God cursed people. I was so new in Christ I didn’t know what to say about the Old Testament so I told him just to focus on how much Jesus loves him so he could go back to being happy again. Not long after I received the call that he had walked into his den and bent down over his rifle and pulled the trigger.
There are three things about Jesus that I know for sure. 1. He loves us so much that He stepped down into this sin sick world and was nailed to a cross, breaking the curse of sin off of ALL of us, including my ancestors and yours! 2. He don’t do mixture.(example-a little bit of jesus and a little bit of numerology) 3. Error is destructive to faith and that leads to death; error kills. (It killed my brother.) I pray that people read the Word and seek only to do the will of Jesus as He leads them to do it because that is where freedom is. He is our ladder between heaven and earth and everything we need has already been planned and laid out on a rung up ahead of us so we just have to continue on in the way and climb higher. Jesus is enough.


These two testimonies clearly show the damaging effects that Sozo Sessions have on individuals and the damaging effects are definitely real, or should I say fatal. Any help that may occur is temporary at best, but then, you just need to keep going back until you reach your full healing! right? At $50.00 a pop that’s guaranteed healing! right? I want to now drew attention to part 3 of our testimonies as “Memory Victim” not only describes his experience as a living hell, he illustrates his experience with Bill Johnson’s “Transformation Center” in his attempts to contact Bill John and then shows the real hope there is in the Written Word of God.

(Part 3)

It has really been a living hell. I am actually doing much better than a few years ago but the overall loss to our family has been catastrophic. In order to cope, I have just had to adopt a position that I have permanently lost my daughter and I have to deal with it. It sounds harsh I know, and I suppose it is, but at least I can function in day to day life now instead of fretting and wondering when it will all end.

Quite coincidently yesterday after posting on here I was listening to some older saved voice mails. I still have the one from the Bethel “Transformation Center.” It was a call from them trying to set up a counseling appointment to discuss my problem with my daughter. This was in response to my many calls to them pleading to speak with Bill Johnson. They determined that I needed a counseling appointment instead.

The following is a quote of a young man and a Sozo proponent found at the beginning of this blog:

….“you see most Christians get saved, but they don’t go through deliverance, or really go back and deal with inner healing issues, thus, after about 3 weeks, or 3 months, they are back to the way they used to be. Because they never cleaned out the house fully.”

The quote of this young man is a new pervasive teaching that does not match up with what Jesus taught. This is the underlying false premise behind this whole deliverance fad. I have heard it many times.

Jesus did address the issue of new believers falling away and it had nothing to do with “inner healing”

The Parable of the Sower

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. WHOEVER HAS EARS, LET THEM HEAR.”

Later in the chapter Jesus explains this parable: (I have added capitalization for emphases)

“LISTEN then to what the parable of the sower MEANS: When anyone HEARS the message about the kingdom and DOES NOT UNDERSTAND IT, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the WORD and at once receives it with joy. But since they have NO ROOT, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the WORD, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the WORD, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the WORD, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the WORD and UNDERSTANDS IT. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

When Jesus addresses the issue of new believers following away He teaches that the problem is lack of:

  • Root in the Word
  • Adherence to the Word
  • Understanding of the Word

So here we have the Light of The World teaching us how not to fall away and does so by emphasizing the Word—not deliverance. Jesus NEVER addresses falling away in connection with deliverance. But apparently teaching the Word in its entirety does not quite tickle the ears of the Soza listeners as much as,…….Oh your problem is that you just need to get delivered! Just make an appointment and we will get you fixed right up!

Hmmmm. I think I am going to side with Jesus on this one. He didn’t say that good soil is “delivered” soil, He said good soil is someone that has HEARD and UNDERSTANDS. And it is good soil that produces fruit. This is not my idea, nor the Pharisees’ idea; it is the idea of the Lamb of God! It is profound truth poured out to mankind. Jesus could have talked about falling away and living for God in terms of deliverance but He didn’t. Instead, He discussed it in terms of hearing, obeying, and understanding the Word.

I guess it just comes down to who you are going to listen to and believe: Soza or Jesus.

Memory Victim

The thing that hit me right between the eyes was the parable of the sower and the thought taught by Bill Johnson that most Christians get saved, but they don’t go through deliverance, or really go back and deal with inner healing issues.  The parable of the sower really does clear this issue up as “Memory Victim” clearly showed.  But that got me thinking, Colossians 2:10 says; “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”  “Ye are” is the second person plural of “to be.”  It is the present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb meaning “I exist.”  Ever hear someone say, “I think therefore I am?”  So, if you are in Christ, at this present moment “you are” complete.  This then brings us to the word “complete.”  In the Greek the world literally means “to cram full!”  Figuratively it means to fill, to supply abundantly with something.  We are so crammed full with Jesus Christ as a result of Salvation, there is no room for anything else, He abundantly supplies us with all we need.  There is no past, only the here and now and beyond.

So when Jesus addresses the issue of new believers falling away He teaches that the problem is a lack of:

  1. Being rooted in the Word
  2. An adherence to the Word
  3. Having an understanding of the Word

So here we have the Light of The World teaching us how not to fall away and does so by emphasizing the Word—not deliverance.  When someone looks back into the past and are then troubled and feel the need for deliverance, they are allowing the cares of the this world to choke out the Word in their life.  Scripture never teaches us to look back, only UP and FORWARD.  In fact, Jesus taught in Luke 9:62 that “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  So as “Memory Victim” puts it, who you going to believe, Jesus or Bill Johnson and his Sozo Ministry?!

165 thoughts on “Victim’s of Johnson’s Sozo Ministry Speak Out

  1. Carrie so sorry to hear of your troubles with Bethel, there has been a train of people whos lives have been destroyed by this ministry, and there is no accountability from Bethel. Everything I have heard and learned about Bethel Redding CA, has all the hallmarks of cultism. In my opinion it is a Pseudo-Christian movement with ties to the New Apostolic Reformation and should be avoided at all cost. A Christian ministry would never place wedges between families and marriages. It builds them, as the family is foundational in the church community. I am sorry for your loss and we will keep you and your husband in our prayers. The Lord sees all! Just keep following His word for He is faithful.

  2. My 5 step children were raised under Bethel in Redding with their mother and are now adults with children being raised under Bethel…They have such extreme spiritual pride that I can’t relate to them, it’s pride unlike anything I have ever experienced and so very awkward and creepy , they only came into our lives 5 years ago and my marriage has been slowly deteriorating ever since. I was raised by my grandparents and my grandfather was an evangelical Baptist preacher. I am a Christian in a Christian Holy Bible based church. His children somehow have finally succeeded in putting a major wedge between my husband and I which I haven’t had any control over and he snapped and hit me in the face for the first time in our 18 year marriage leaving me very injured and now he is part of Sozo going to Bethel with his kids when he’s in Redding and is not the same. He was part of the assembly’s of God before but does not attend anymore. He keeps trying to pull me into Sozo so we can work on our marriage. We are separated but sadly if he continues to go to Sozo I will need to divorce him. He isn’t going to go to anger management because of Sozo or any of the necessary steps taken after hurting me. I’m at a loss, Bethels/his children and have ruined my marriage. Sozo is the final straw….. I will continue to pray for all of them.

  3. Thank you Mr. Luck, I’ve been listening to you on the Roy’s Report and read your book on wolves. A very needed message for the church today and I can’t stress it enough. God bless you!

  4. First know that we are praying for you and will continue to pray. If you have come to the realization that you need to escape from Bethel and the false teachings, then you have taken the first step to escaping. There are numerous articles, books and testimonies from others who have came out of this false teaching. But most of all we encourage you to hold to Scripture in identifying the true from the false. Much of what is taught at Bethel is a twisted version of Scriptures taken out of context and twisted, it is important to see how they twist and cherry pick verses to make them say what they want. One reason for learning to test and try with the Scriptures is that so many will come out of a false teaching but have not deprogrammed from the false teaching and inadvertently take the error it with them. If you would like to stay in contact with us please email us at

  5. Reblogged this on Anne Raverty and commented:
    “My daughter attended a Sozo session at Bethel eight years ago. While in that session she experienced a so called “Recovered Memory” that I had molested her from the age of three to thirteen. That was the end of our relationship and almost the end of my life. Her mother and siblings know and have testified that it is completely false, but the damage is done. None of us in our family will ever be the same.

    When I found out about this I tried to contact Bill Johnson for help. Apparently, being falsely accused of a crime that can carry a life sentence (and that resulting from one of Bethels’ ministries) is not quite enough to get his attention…There is real danger with this therapy. My family and I are living proof.”

    Memory Victim

  6. Pingback: SOZO Ministry Messed Me Up – Grace and Holiness Ministries

  7. Since Theophostic is mentioned, it may be valuable to comment about it. Theophostic has a person look back to a traumatic memory, and look for jesus there. then listen to what he says. Whenever I tried to do that, I always added something! Something they sadly neglect. I would test the jesus that appeared according to I John 4:1-3. When I did that, consistently, EVERY TIME, those jesuses were demons. no exceptions. So for years now, I want nothing to do with Theophostic or similar ministries.

  8. Harry, apparently not enough, since there was no money to be had. Although we don’t know who Regina is referencing at the beginning of her comment as “Mr. Blake”. This article is several years old and doing just a quick read there is no one mentioned by the name of Blake.

  9. Just wondering how much the life of a 14-year-old is worth to these hucksters?

  10. Regina, have you found someone to help you? A Christian adult you can confide in who can help you navigate this?

  11. Thank you for your comment. We agree that not only is there a lack of love for God’s people, what they are teaching is also NOT biblical and yes they are lovers of money. We hope and pray that you are continuing to seek help with your addiction and please know that we will continue to hold you in our prayers. Please talk with others that you can trust to help you. Continued prayers for you and we encourage you to seek God through his Word. Would like to hear how your doing. God bless you

  12. Hello Mr. Blake, I’m not sure how to reply to comments on here but I hope you see this. I’m 14 and dealing with an addiction and I was desperate for help so I reached out to the same place you did (RTF Ministries) and I was very disappointed to see that you had to pay.
    I emailed one of the ministers here and this is what they said: “Thanks for inquiring about Restoring the Foundations Ministry. Restoring the Foundations has helped many people that deal with your problem area. I attempted to call the phone number you sent, but got a message that the Voice Mailbox has not been set up. I have included an attachment sharing our ministry options with you. Wayne and I would be willing to do the 3 hour Issue Focus Ministry with you by Zoom for pay, but since you think you cannot pay, I might have some other ideas for you.
    I think it’s funny that she had to emphasize that she would be willing to help me “for pay” It’s kinda sad because I don’t feel like they have a heart for God’s people at all, they’re just covering it up like the Pharisees, or lovers of money. What do you think on this?

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