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.

Wanda

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?!

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

  1. Daniel Garcia

    Yes, it is true the medical community learned, and is still learning from their mistakes. For instance, they stopped using leeches to perform bloodletting on the sick. Likewise, the mental health community learned from their mistakes: They stopped practicing regressive memory therapy when they realized it was producing false recovered memories—but reluctantly. It took losing lawsuits before they woke up and smelled the coffee.

    Why can’t sozo learn from their mistakes? But the “greater concern”, to borrow a phrase from you, is why do those who practice sozo need to learn from their own mistakes when the worldwide mental health community has already learned these lessons? Why can’t sozo proponents study this history for themselves? Why do they have to repeat the same mistakes as the world?

    Daniel, have you even bothered to do a simple internet search regarding regressive memory therapy? Are you aware that sozo uses these same methods? You said the following:

    “It is important for us to understand that there are many factors that could have played in the role of a Sozo malpractice/mistake.”

    That is a completely absurd comment within the context of this entire conversation. If sozo proponents—including you—really thought that it was important to understand, they would have done their homework about the regressive memory therapy movement, and would not making the same mistakes. You see the, ‘learn from mistakes’ concept is a good one when you in fact actually learn from your mistakes. But when the Church puts her head in the sand regarding sozo, she is not learning from her mistakes, or the world’s mistakes. This is the text book definition of stoooooooopid!

    I recently had a conversation with a psychiatrist who used to practice regressive memory therapy. He finally realized that it was a very harmful practice and stopped. That’s what you call ‘learning from your mistakes.’ He told me what I already knew, and that is the lawsuits against the therapists finally woke the mental health community up. However, he saw many churches adopting these same methods and wrote a book—unheeded by sozo—warning of the dangers.

    Sozo has not learned from the mistakes of others, and so far, is protect by the separation of church and state. I can envision a very strong legal case being lodged against sozo practitioners—it is only a matter of time; if the Church does not wake up. We may find years down the road that our very precious freedom of religion has been eroded due to malpractice suits against sozo. It would be grand if the Church would wake up before this happens. If a surgeon makes a bad cut with a scalpel on a patient, a malpractice lawsuit can be expected. If a pastor makes a bad cut with a scalpel on a member of his congregation, he doesn’t get to avoid trouble simply because he renamed surgery to ministry—He’s not supposed to be practicing surgery in the first place. Sozo is practicing regressive memory therapy and calling it ministry. This is only going to wash for so long. It’s only a matter of time until the right attorney gets his or her bulldog on and goes after them.

    God will use Caesar to discipline the Church if the Church won’t discipline herself. The problem is, once Caesar gets in the Church we won’t get him out.

    Daniel, you said the following:

    “We live and we learn. I understand the concern but I believe it is a greater concern that our attitude is to completely demonize a technique/practice/belief that has resulted in far greater good than bad especially in more recent years.”

    I am so very glad that you, “understand the concern.” This winter last, marks 12 years that I have not had a relationship with my daughter because of sozo. If another year passes with no change, I will be sure to remember that you, “understand the concern.” I have never held my grandchild. As more years pass by, I will be comforted remembering that you, “understand the concern.”

    I am working with a group of over twenty parents that have lost their children to sozo due to false recovered memories acquired from the regressive memory therapy techniques. One of those couples lost their child to these non-Biblical and mental health rejected techniques; and it was their only child. They can’t have any more children. When I learned of this I sobbed so hard and so long for their loss, because I know and UNDERSTAND their pain.

    You my friend, do not understand anything. If you had done your homework, you would know that when a parent is accused of sexually abusing their own children, that it is a nightmare spawned from the deepest pits of hell. But you, “understand the concern.”

    When you are accused of this crime, you are considered guilty merely because you have been accused. Us parents who have been accused of these things must be very careful about going public with our stories. When I first learned of my daughter’s accusation, I wanted to go public immediately to expose those lies and sozo, but was warned not to do so by a world prominent attorney. But many of us parents are becoming weary of hiding in the shadows—it’s coming to an end.

    There are parents all over this country who can’t talk openly about losing their children to sozo. You see Daniel, or to borrow your phrase again, ‘it is important for us to understand,’ if a parent were to be accused of abuse stemming from regressive memory therapy in a secular therapy session; the therapist could be sued by the parents immediately. That is not possible with sozo, because they are hiding under the cloak of separation of church and state.

    I’ll tell you what Daniel, I will pass on to the group of parents I mentioned, that you “understand the concern.” I will also pass on to them this comment from you:

    “and it takes time, even trial and error to live and learn.”

    I will write up an email to send out to all of them to encourage them to buck up during sozo’s “trial and error” period. Let me know if you think the following will comfort them:

    ‘Heh friends. I want to let you all know that although many of us are accused child molesters, others accused rapists, some of you mothers have been accused of holding your daughters down while some of you fathers performed coat hanger abortions on them; and even though these are all allegations based on false recovered memories from the regressive memory therapy techniques practiced in sozo; Daniel says it just, “takes time.”

    Yup, that’s right folks. We can all be comforted because this is all just a trial and error period. We must give those conscientious people at sozo time to “live and learn.” Yes, Daniel “understands the concern,” so be comforted, and be of good cheer. I know, I know; for many of us it has been years now. We long for a single day where we don’t mourn for the loss of our children. I get it. I know what it is like to be in a conversation with a new acquaintance and to have them ask if you have any grandchildren. It’s always the same old mental juggling act in your mind:

    (Do I lie and say I don’t have any grandchildren? Or do I say yes? But then they may ask how many and how old they are. If they do should I tell them? What if they then ask if get to spend much time with them? If they do, should I lie and say I get to see them a lot or lie and say they live too far away? Or do I tell them the truth that I have never met my grandchild because my daughter attended a sozo session, experienced a false recovered memory, and then accused me of molesting her for 10 years when she was a child so now we don’t have a relationship? But if I tell them that, statistically, there is a strong likelihood that they will think I am guilty simply because I have been accused.)

    [Daniel, don’t tell anyone else this but I will confess to you: sometimes I lie and say I don’t have any grandchildren. It’s so much easier that way. You won’t judge me for that, will you? Please have mercy on me. You just can’t understand what it is like to be put in that position. Whoops! My mistake. How could I say such a thing. Of course, you “understand the concern.”]

    Finishing my email composition to the other parents…

    Folks, I understand how difficult all of this is but we should all find the deepest comfort in the fact that Daniel, “understands the concern.”’

    Whadda ya think Daniel? Will this help the parents? I mean you want to help, right? After all you said this:

    “I hope that this helps someone better understand a reality in the world and in the Body of Christ about things that concern mysteries, signs and wonders in the Word of God.”

    Clearly your goal is to increase our understanding. We’re so grateful.

    So, Daniel, us parents that are living through this living hell, are all ears to any further pearls of wisdom you are willing to share with us.

  2. What you are failing to realize is the total and complete disregard for the Word of God. There is a mixture being used and the scriptures are being abused, mishandled and turned into fables. So if the scriptures are being twisted and taken out of context to provide supposed truth to a spiritual practice then that’s not a mistake, that’s deception and lies; therefore it certainly falls into the category to be demonized. Sozo over the years has continued to develop into a murky mess of mystical hype and bad phycological practices the even the world acknowledges as harmful. So much for your theory of “it takes time and trial and error”….Oh and concerning the mysteries, signs and wonder in the Word of God,show me where there was ever a trial and error period or where true prophets of God had a trial period in getting prophesies right? Show me in context not a cherry picked scripture. Sozo is false doctrine.

  3. Look at the disasters caused by medical research and development decades ago and to where we are now with fine doctors and technological advances that wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for all that mistakes that were committed of which many ended in fatal accidents. We live and we learn. I understand the concern but I believe it is a greater concern that our attitude is to completely demonize a technique/practice/belief that has resulted in far greater good than bad especially in more recent years. It is important for us to understand that there are many factors that could have played in the role of a Sozo malpractice/mistake. Our Father’s voice becomes way more clear to me as years go by. In the same way, Sozo is from God although many have misunderstood it, misinterpreted it, and misused it etc..and it takes time, even trail and error to live and learn. I hope that this helps someone better understand a reality in the world and in the Body of Christ about things that concern mysteries, signs and wonders in the Word of God.

  4. I am the nephew of G.A. Lamb. What is in this article is true. I would visit my aunt and and uncle (Archie Lamb) in Kirkwood, MO. several times a year including the summers. Aunt took me to her large office with psychologists and proudly showed the space off to me. I had no real idea what she was doing. But in her house in Kirkwood she had a bedroom that she channeled to a picture of a spirit who she said she talked to and that gave her advice and talked back to her. She then told me about caves in the Ozark’s where people were sacrificed to Satan. But the worst part is I went to visit her and I only found when I arrived she had just gotten out of prison and was on probation and told me she could not do what she did before. Amazingly she had an office and counseling room in her basement where she still had clients from her old practice and she told she still did the same things as before but without her old office. I got the hell out of her house at that point. I notified the D.A. of St. Louis county and got no reply. Who knows how many others have been damaged after her conviction. She now lives at (314) 997-4040, 6593 W Piute Ave, Glendale, AZ if any victims which to follow up.

  5. Thank you for your comment, it’s encouraging even though I know what you are experiencing with your friend is heartbreaking. Will keep you and your friend in prayer.

  6. This was really good. Thank you. I have a dear friend who has married a preacher who teaches Sozo. She has been sucked in and it breaks my heart. Thank you for giving me some scripture to defend my stance. Gods Word is Truth!

  7. Pingback: The New Apostolic Reformation – Part Three: The Influence of Bethel Church in Redding, CA | Sara Boyd

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