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?!

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

  1. Hello, My name is Blake. I was a Saved Believing Christian trusting in Jesus Christ to save me, as a young kid.(Around age 8).. I grew up in the (Presbyterian Church), pretty good doctrine; However Calvinism sucks! I trust in Jesus Christ to save me, Not John Calvin!…but that’s beside the point. After college I started getting drawn to Pentecostalism and Charismatic churches, but never knew that was what they were, until I started feeling overburdened and going crazy, due to the teachings and horrible doctrine.
    To make matters worse, after many health issues I sought healing from(RTF Ministries), which made me feel horrible and down-trodden with rules and insane repetitions. They try to convince you that you desperately need their ministry. God’s will is that you “STAY AWAY” from (RTF Ministries, or any other such deliverance ministries), they are from Satan himself, sent to confuse True believers and Upcoming Christians. They will put your mind in a whirlwind from hell! I hope and pray anyone who continues in unrepentant teaching of this garbage, and Bethel Church garbage is judged harshly by Jesus Christ!

    Jesus Christ is the Savior and the Redeemer of All! Seek only True Biblical Teaching! Trust in the Saving work of Christ Jesus Himself, He can help us navigate this harsh life! Stay away from Pentecostalism and Charismatic garbage, it will screw you over! Sorry for my harsh language, but I hate (RTF Ministries) with the passion of my heart! I hope these fake Ministries burn in Hell, forever!

    If you are interested in Excellent Biblical teaching, Please start listening and learning through Dr. Andrew Woods, out of Sugarland Bible Church. He literally is the best and most helpful Pastor I have ever listened to. I thank Jesus Christ for such a true pastor as such.

    Thank You for reading this message. Jesus Bless You and Yours,

    Blake Liebendorfer

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  5. Kristen,
    God bless you for sharing this with us and others. Our heart breaks for you and the many others that have contacted us over the years and have been devastated by SOZO. Our pray is always for peace and healing from the devastation that you’ve gone through. It’s as you say, truly spiritual rape and SOZO continues to be a perverted tool used falsely in the name of Christ to put the body under oppression and control of another spirit, another Jesus and another gospel. If there is anything that we can do to be of help or encouragement to you to continue to heal and rebuild your faith please lets us know and also know that we will keep you in much prayer. God bless you

  6. Below is a letter I composed today as a step to finally move past my horrific experience with sozo which has been going on for an entire year now, almost two!
    If you are even entertaining ideas about getting a sozo, do NOT do it! I call it SoNO
    I had a very painful past, childhood abuse, rape, drug addiction, my boyfriends murder, etc.
    Picture going through all of those experiences all at once, in an hour, even without thinking about them, the emotions still resurfaced
    At one point in my session when they asked me if I saw a wall that needed breaking down, I said, “I see a fortress,”. It was huge, like a castle with 20 foot wide walls surrounding it.
    They said “ask Holy Spirit if it’s ok to knock the wall down”. I said no. Then they pushed me and asked again.
    At that point, felt an entity jump on my back/neck area and discerned something like claws trying to pry open the top of my head (I know that sounds nuts, but let’s just say what I was discerning was totally on point).
    When I panicked and told the women conducting my sozo what I was experiencing they
    said, “oh Kristen, what would ever make you think such a thing was possible?”
    Because I was in a vulnerable state, and being ganged up on by more than one person, I consented to the wall coming down and agreed that my discernment was errant.
    Here is the letter I sent today, and in its content you will see the result of letting the wall come down.
    I have omitted names etc. for obvious reasons
    Dear—— pastor’s wife,
    I am writing you to let you know that ever since I went to that sozo training and the subsequent sozo session, I have been an absolute mess. I’ve had suicidal thoughts, I cannot stop crying. It has torn my marriage and family apart. The stress has made me physically ill. At one point I could not even get out of bed, or climb my staircase because I was so weak and in so much pain. I nearly died!
    I sit and stare at my wall in a trance on a good day.
    I’ve nearly lost all hope of ever recovering and most days just want to end my life. I have this awful sound in my ears that just doesn’t stop. I don’t even want to be around people. Including my own children and husband.
    Considering where I was, before all of this psycho/demonic oppression entered my life, when I walked in peace and divine health, and had fellowship with others. This is nothing short of absolutely devastating in every possible way imaginable.
    I take complete ownership for my choice. I knew better, but I went through with the sozo session even though I had a mind to cancel it after we went to the training session where I felt so vexed in my spirit.
    My motives were all wrong, I guess I wanted to please you somehow, and thought we would have this in common.
    That being said I do not blame you.
    I also fell victim to the criticism of everyone around me because I wasn’t agreeing with their theology. Everyone thought I needed deliverance or something, so I started to believe it myself.
    At the time I felt I wasn’t being open minded enough, and was judging myself for feeling vexed about the sozo training.
    I see now that I should have trusted myself and what the Holy Spirit was saying in my spirit to me.
    This has been a valuable lesson that’s for sure and one I will not soon forget.
    I see now that sozo (well actually I saw it then) is straight up divination which is basically witchcraft. Take the time and look into it for yourself. It is freemasonry at its roots just like the twelve steps are. You will only find something similar to it in the Old Testament, and lets just say things didn’t go well for Saul.
    Anyway, we are sozo in Christ without needing to drudge up our past, add special diets, yoga, reflexology, psychology or any other unbiblical garbage into the mix. As I told ——, I will reiterate to you, Sozo ministry is unbiblical and very harmful. Just look at what you went through, what ———-went through, what I’ve gone through!
    At this point, my only hope is that this letter will help me somehow close the door on this and somehow Jesus will heal me. I feel like Humpty Dumpty 😩
    I wish you only the best and pray that you will someday understand the simplicity of the gospel message and trust only in Jesus and stop worshipping Bethel Church and Bill Johnson etc.
    I am writing this to you mainly to inform you, hopefully to help you with hindsight, and perhaps even prevent others from going through spiritual rape and abuse in the name of Christ.
    Just a thought, where in the Bible does God ever ask someone to sign a waiver?
    The answer, He doesn’t! Why?
    Because He can be trusted!
    I forgive you and ———- and ——-vineyard church and the women who conducted my sozo and Bill Johnson for profiting off the pain of others and Dawn De Silva and whoever else had a hand in this.
    I do not blame people. This was the enemy through and through.
    I hope you pray and consider what I’ve said. I hope it rings true in your spirit.

    If you have already gone through this and are visiting this blog looking for understanding, confirmation, hope, or looking for what to do next
    The answer is forgiveness
    It’s the only way to break ties with the spiritual influence behind all of this
    The Bible is all we need
    The New Covenant we have is in Christ
    If anyone be in Christ he or she is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold all things are made new and ALL things are of God
    So if you cannot remember your past, good, it’s under the blood.
    Trust Him, He knows
    He forgives and forgets
    So why do we need to remember
    We don’t!

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  8. Check out One Whole Heart Ministry which is doing the visualizations, supposvely repressed memories, prophecy, and such via 3 different places and Skype if the person In need of healing isn’t near those places that conduct these meetings. In fact, OWHM has a testimony calling them Sozo. There’s a connection here although Sozo is in California and OWHM is in Iowa and Nebraska. Chuck DeVetter, President of OWHM is also Pastor Chuck DeVetter, but his real name is Charles DeVetter Jr or ‘ll who used to work for NAINP Dodge and NAILachicotte. His brotherPaul DeVetter may have affiliation with Sozo Ministry. You can email me. I attended sessions with Chuck DeVetter through OWHM via Skype through a friend who does all of these weird supernatural healing ministries including Sozo Ministry and SonBurn Ministry.

  9. I am so glad I read this and understand what’s going on out there in California again or wherever is happening it’s no doubt that the word of God is lacking in people’s lives even in Christians lives it’s more important today than ever to depend on the word of God and I believe in Jesus Christ and all the things he taught us.

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  11. I went for a sozo was saved in a bible believing church The solo was not unblical it pointed me in a direction of not just seeing Jesus as Lord but God as Father.It was helpful and not detrimental.The reason we went to Bethel is I was supernaturally healed of very painful sciatica.A missionary from Bethel who was an Australian prayed for me along with a women I was healed he use a simlple prayer it just takes a mustard seed of faith be healed in Jesus name.I was healed quickly and never had it come back.God Bless you it is just that most Churches do not believe in miracles and God is a God of Miracles.I have fellowshiped at Bethel for. Five years now After I was healed my husband lets go to that church.I also like that as a women I feel valued there,as you see have my thoughts to share.And I am not descriminated there.

  12. Does sozo practice demonic exorcism on Christians?


    A year ago I purchased the book, “SOZO, Saved – Healed – Delivered” by Dawna De Silva and Teresa Liebscher, but didn’t begin reading it until these recent posts regarding demonic deliverance and sozo. I don’t like reading this material.

    It is gut wrenching for me to read this book knowing that I lost my daughter 13 years ago to this very teaching and program espoused by these two authors—and I would literally rather take a severe beating than to read any of it and I cannot express how oppressive it is for me to do so. It is near maddening to see this book unchallenged and riddled with the same classic repressed memory therapy that stole my daughter from me. To refer to it as ‘classic’ is inaccurate—it is much worse. Sozo proponents adamantly claim this program is given by the Holy Spirit by revelation. Anyone seeking help from sozo is not going to want to challenge this. The secular repressed memory therapists lacked God’s apparent endorsement—any subsequent future appointments with their clients were dependent on their marketing abilities.

    When anyone does challenge sozo, they are said to have a ‘religious spirit.’ Sozo leaders ensure their followers are often and well inoculated with the ‘religious spirit’ anti-bodies—intelligent, informed dissent to this program is not welcome.

    This book does intermingle memories and demonic oppression in its approach, although not as explicitly as Freedom Tools by Andy Reese, however I suspect the advanced sozo training manual by the same authors does so, but I have not yet had a chance to read it.

    Please consider what Paul said about false teaching:

    “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.””

    Galatians 5:7-9

    There is no such thing as a static error—all error is dynamic and grows. The error in sozo is like the yeast that Paul was talking about—it grows and morphs into more error. False demonology is a major tenant of sozo, and this teaching is ubiquitous among other inner-healing prayer ministries such as ‘Restoring the Foundations.’

    In the book, “Freedom Tools” Andy Reese teaches that demonic deliverance for Christians is part and parcel with sozo. He and his sozo version arose from Bethel, and in the acknowledgments, he thanks Bethel Church and their sozo team, “especially Dawna and Teresa for their guidance…”

    “SOZO, Saved – Healed – Delivered” is endorsed by Chester and Betsy Kylstra who authored Restoring the Foundations and developed the program. They have been on my radar for almost as long as sozo and they are equally as dangerous. I include them in this post because all of these types of prayer / deliverance ministries are joined at the hip and profusely endorse each other’s programs. In fact, the Kylstras rightly describe this as a “movement” in their endorsement:

    “The deep insights illustrated in this book will accelerate your abilities, enabling you to be fruitful as you join in His healing movement. Thank you, Dawna and Teresa, for adding to the revelation of how to receive God’s healing.”

    (Liebscher, Teresa. SOZO Saved Healed Delivered: A Journey into Freedom with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit . Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.)

    Adding to the revelation??? This is the problem with this “movement.” It all comes from someone’s idea of revelation: extra-Biblical revelation. This movement is not derived from the Scripture.

    Andy Reese also considers this to be a “movement.” From Page 25 of Freedom Tools:

    “SOZO is a changing and growing “lay” approach to working with God in setting each other free. There is no single training manual, proponent church or ministry or certification process.”

    This is very revealing. There is no central approving or certifying agency, yet they all endorse each other. I believe part of the reason is that they can’t afford to publicly disagree with one another. If they were to do so, they would have to challenge one ‘revelation’ against another ‘revelation,’ and the only way to sort out which is correct is by comparing both with the written Word of God and that would upset the apple cart. If they start looking for examples of this kind of practice in Scripture to determine whose program is more in line with God’s Word, the whole movement could become unraveled. Moreover, they don’t dare compare each other’s therapy with secular methods because the secular mental health professionals have rejected regressive memory therapy, and this too could lead to a crumbling of the sozo dogma. No, they are stuck with fawning over each other’s programs.

    Bill Johnson heartily endorses Restoring the Foundations and the Kylstras, claiming their “ministry is one of the most important ones he has seen in the last twenty years.” He goes onto refer to it as a “brilliant ministry.” Bill Johnson brags about the Kylstras and that he has directed people their way, and “wants to encourage you to give consideration to RTF.” (Quoted from a video on the RTF website.)

    Bill Johnson wrote the forward for both Freedom Tools and SOZO, Saved – Healed – Delivered, and it appears he wholly endorses everything in both books. By doing so, he becomes part of their error. I someday hope to meet Bill Johnson. I want to look him in the eyes and ask him how he could have allowed this to happen under his watch. I want to hear him give an explanation as to why he has not investigated the repressed memory therapy movement and compared it to what is happening under his roof. I want him to tell me how he could have allowed something that steals a father and a daughter from one another. If I never get the chance to hear him give an accounting, there is Someone else who will.

    I felt the need to show these different prayer ministries all endorse and recommend each other’s teaching and practices in order to illustrate their organic interconnectedness. It is a web of unchecked dangerous therapy. Some reading this will logically doubt that I am telling the truth, but I cite my references, and I encourage everyone to check this out for themselves.

    Onto their demonology:

    Sozo’s method of RMT (Regressive Memory Therapy) asserts that any inner lie must be removed before the demons can be dislodged—one must follow the other. In other words, if you can’t find the repressed memories, you can’t find the demons, and if you can’t find the demons then how can you exorcise them? While it may seem hard to believe anyone would teach anything like this, it is a fundamental aspect of sozo. Please consider the following from Freedom Tools page 161:

    “demons will remain hidden until we get to their “food source” – the inner lies, entanglements, sin and wounding upon which they feed and hold; until something stirs them to react to; or until they feel they have enough power to be hard to dislodge. Then they will make efforts to fend us off, scare us, resist, show off and threaten.”

    Andy’s comments are very similar to those found in SOZO, Saved – Healed – Delivered:

    “In working through a demonic deliverance, we have found that the enemy will try to coerce ministers and clients into fear. In stirring up fear, the demonic realm feigns strength. The best way to reduce its feigned power is to ignore its attempts at intimidation. Dawna says that demons are like puffer fish. They expand with taunts and threats—even physical manifestations—but the name of Jesus is more than enough to puncture their expansion.”

    (Liebscher, Teresa. SOZO Saved Healed Delivered: A Journey into Freedom with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (p. 124). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.)

    Food source for demons? According to sozo, any inner issue from the past is food for demons and they will not dislodge until you uncover them. Andy Reese revels in sozo’s ability to ‘stir-up and make vivid’ memories (pages 225-226). This is a quantum step beyond classic repressed memory therapy. He wants to make the memories vivid, so the demons can no longer hide.

    When pressed on the subject, they try to avoid answering the question, “Can Christians be demon possessed?” by watering down the meaning of possession. They reframe demonic possession in terms of demonic ‘influence’ citing problems with Biblical translations from the Greek which has led to the church not understanding all of this until now. I watched one video of Andy Reese speaking and he completely avoided the issue by stating:

    “We are sometimes asked if Christians can be demon possessed. My question to them is why would a Christian want to be possessed? Yuk yuk, snicker snicker.”

    This was the extent of his exegesis on the subject in an hour presentation. He never offers a Scriptural proof of his claims in his book. He simply states such proofs exist but sidesteps the issue completely.

    The following is from the book, ‘Restoring the Foundations’ (RTF) by Chester and Betsy Kylstra, Pages 260-261:

    “Some Christians have concluded that the Holy Spirit will not co-habit with demons. They believe that, at the moment of salvation when we are born again, the Holy Spirit comes into us and all oppressing demons are forced to leave. Unfortunately, there is no scriptural basis for this teaching. In fact, the opposite is true. We can see in Ezekiel that the presence of God was in the temple with at least four groups of abominations. At some point, the cup of iniquity of the people became full. God withdrew from Israel, letting them go into exile.

    With Christians, the opposite process occurs. As the Holy Spirit comes in and sets up house, he begins his work of sanctification. In the process, he brings us to an understanding of demons, increased faith, and eventual displacement and eviction of the demonic.”

    Obviously, the weak arguments the Kylstras offer are fallacious. The statement, “Unfortunately, there is no scriptural basis for this teaching.” is ironic since they offer no example of demonic exorcism of Christians in the New Testament. To reach back and offer an erroneous interpretation of an inapplicable passage in Ezekiel is a smoke screen that pretends to be an argument. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever discuss Christians being delivered of demons. The Holy Spirit does not reside in the same house as demons—period. That’s why John said, “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” The Holy Spirit is greater so the demonic cannot live in us—we are the temple of the Lord.

    Like sozo, the Kylstras have their own form of regressive memory therapy. In their ‘Soul/Spirit Hurts’ sessions they encourage participants to ‘wait on the Lord’ until He shows them a memory that needs to be healed. Sound familiar? If anyone doubts they are regressing a person back to an earlier time in their lives read this as found on page 252 of RTF (2nd Edition):

    “We do find situations where people have apparently rebelled while they were still in the womb. You say, “Well, that seems very strange.” And we agree, it is strange. But the rebellion is there, the Demonic Oppression is there, and the Soul/Spirit hurts are there. Going through the forgiveness process and having the receiver pray for the hurt leads to healing and freedom.”

    Apparently? Just what, pray tell, makes it apparent that someone has rebelled in the womb? It is difficult to conceive of anyone making such an utterly crackpot statement, but it is in their book in black and white.

    The more extreme elements in the RMT movement were regressing people back to past lives. RTF and sozo would never do anything so pagan. They only regress people back to conception.

    Page 257 of RTF lists the ‘Ministry Steps/Ingredients.’ These are the actual working guidelines for RTF and they are astounding:

    Step 4
    “Wait on the Lord: Ministry receiver “Waits on the Lord,” Listening to the Holy Spirit to bring the memory He wants to heal. (Throughout the ministry process, the minister listens as well, both for guidance and for the revelation about hindrances.)”

    Sounds innocent enough—if you do not have a proper understanding of the malleability of human memory. Clearly, they do not have this understanding, and that is why clients are experiencing false recovered memories. They think they can demand that clients submit and accept they may have regressed memories but assume they will not produce false recovered memories simply because they don’t make ‘suggestive’ comments. (I will prove this in a few paragraphs.) The level of ignorance they are displaying is appalling.

    Step 5
    “Clarify Memory: If needed, encourage the ministry receiver to work with the Holy Spirit for greater clarity of the memory/impression.”

    See it? An impression can become a memory; it just needs a little clarification. This is RTF’s version of making a memory ‘vivid’ as practiced by sozo.

    Step 6
    “Deal with the Hindrances: If needed, help the receiver work through any hindrances to receiving the memory such as unforgiveness, anger with God, or demonic interference.”

    Here we see that memories are not remembered, they are “received.” It is not difficult to see where the suggestibility of this practice comes into play. In other words, ‘You don’t seem to be dredging up enough junk; it must be sin or the devil keeping you from receiving memories.’ The baseline philosophy of this is impressions represent memories that must be received and then made vivid for someone to be healed. The client goes into these sessions with the understanding and EXPECTATION that memories will be—and in fact MUST be recovered. Oh, and by the way, participants are not allowed to disagree with this idea. Let me back up to Step 2 to clarify:

    Step 2
    “Pray: Have the ministry receiver pray the Submission Prayer on page 256.”

    The fourth paragraph of that prayer is:

    “I give you permission to dig deep for the roots of any hidden memories that are affecting my life. I ask you to take the keys to my heart now and unlock the doors. Bypass any denial or deception that may be blocking my memory. Bypass anything that has hindered me, or is hindering me, from receiving my healing.”

    Just as with sozo, Restoring the Foundations instills in the participants that repressed memories exist—and they must ‘submit’ to this idea. The opposite of submission is rebellion, and what Christian seeking help is going to want to maintain an attitude of rebellion when they think they are seeking The Lord? Rebelling to the idea of repressed memories could ‘hinder’ their healing. Imagine the pressure this puts on both the ministry receiver and giver. If memories are not recovered, then someone is not submitting or listening to the Holy Spirit or both.

    During the repressed memory therapy movement, therapists considered any denial by the client as proof of repressed memories. With sozo and RMT, denial of repressed memories is proof of sin and/or demonic interference—the client either “recovers” memories or is not submitting.

    Step 7
    “Enter the Memory: Help the ministry receiver enter the memory as he specifies the feelings and feel (sic) the feelings of the memory.”

    I cannot conceive of anything a ‘counselor’ could do that would strengthen a false recovered memory more that to encourage the client to ‘Enter the Memory.’ The counselor is in the position of authority and power, and the client has already submitted to the idea of ‘hidden memories.’ The client has no choice but to consider the counselor’s encouragement as an endorsement and therefore reinforcement of the recovered memory.

    From the preface of RTF, Page xv:

    “We feel it is time to make the break with past terminology. As a result, we have changed the wording in the second edition from counselor to minister; from counseling to ministry; from counselee to ministry receiver. While this last term still seems awkward, we know we are moving in the right direction.”

    It should be painfully obvious why sozo and RTF are breaking with past terminology. Not to do so would keep them in a position of legal and civil jeopardy.

    Step 11
    “Address Hindrances: If needed, help the ministry receiver remove any further blocks to the healing. (At this point in the healing process, Demonic Oppression is the most common difficulty.)”

    Here RTF seems to practice the reverse of sozo. With RTF, it is the demons that may prevent inner healing. With the Andy Reese sozo method, it is the lack of inner healing that prevents deliverance from demons. Regardless, the link between recovered memories and demonic oppression or possession is a common thread among so called deliverance ministries.

    Moving on:

    Step 13
    “Checking the Results: Check with the receiver to see if the negative emotion is truly gone/healed. If not, discern whether there is a further hindrance or whether the same negative emotion is stored in an additional memory or memories”

    In other words, if you don’t feel better, you must have more repressed memories. Notice the RMT ministers don’t suggest—they discern. Apparently, a suggestion is not suggestive as long as it is a result of ‘discernment.’

    Obviously, I have not discussed all the steps, but if anyone thinks I have taken anything out of context I have listed the page numbers. Check it out for yourselves. There is a 14th step called, “Clean Up/Follow Up” but I will only address the 5th bullet item:

    “removing demons associated with the memory and/or adding them to the deliverance list for the next session.”

    Just how does one categorize and match certain demons to particular memories? And this is…Scriptural? Notice, just like sozo, there is always the need for follow up sessions; and it appears that some demons just have to wait on the facilitator’s next availability.

    “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

    A normal rational person reading what I am writing here must believe that I am either making up these quotes or I am taking them far out of context. I don’t blame you and my feelings are not hurt. I would not believe this either if I were reading this blog. However, I challenge you to check it out for yourselves. I don’t want you to trust me. I don’t want you to believe me. I want doubters to investigate this for themselves. Anyone attending a church that has, or about to introduce any type of ‘prayer ministry’ better do their homework.

    I could name churches right now that will not allow anyone in their congregation to participate in any form of leadership or ministry unless they go through sozo or Restoring the Foundations. How would it go over if a person submits to the church leadership and—humbly—goes through a session, but then claims the Lord did not reveal any memories to heal? Would that be permitted? The pressure to conform is tremendous. This is Stockholm Syndrome Lite.


    “Stockholm syndrome, psychological response wherein a captive begins to identify closely with his or her captors, as well as with their agenda and demands. The name of the syndrome is derived from a botched bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden.”

    Remember, Peter conformed to the Judaizers who were promoting circumcision to complete their salvation. (See Galatians.) Paul confronted Peter for his hypocrisy. If Peter was pressured into conformance, then it could happen to any of us.

    In the following, the Kylstras actually criticize other inner-healing practitioners for using ‘non-scriptural’ terms or methods. (As if associating demons with memories to put on a ‘next session deliverance list’ is Scriptural.) They even speak against suggestive techniques. I will comment on this after:

    On page 201 of RTF under the heading of Controversies Concerning Soul/Spirit Healing, we read the following under the subheading Non-Scriptural terms:

    “Some practitioners of inner healing use secular, psychological terms and concepts that are not clearly defined or explained in the Bible. In other words, they are “non-scriptural.” In addition, they incorporate visualization, imagination, and/or suggestions made by the counselor/minister to the councelee/ministry receiver. Of particular concern are suggestive, directive, or “leading in “tactics. For example, the counselor may say, “now, I want you to imagine that you were seeing Jesus and that He is coming into the situation with you, and He is there with you in this time of hurt,“ and so forth in this fashion.

    Our approach, however, relies completely on the Holy Spirit, who has given us a safe and effective “method“ that sets the stage for Him to bring His healing to the people of God. We are very excited about the “Waiting Upon the Lord“ Listening Prayer approach, which will be discussed later in this chapter.”

    Notice that they don’t say, ‘relies completely on the Word of God?’ Instead, “completely on the Holy Spirit.” They don’t claim that anything like these prayer ministries are outlined in Scripture. They claim they are getting all of this by revelation.

    They recognize the problems with ‘suggestive’ techniques and seem to think they are not engaging in the same thing. They think because an individual counselor is not suggesting anything during a session then they are not being suggestive. This is ridiculous. As in sozo, the entire approach is based on the understanding that you do have repressed memories that must be uncovered and made vivid. It is beyond suggestive—it absolutely demands that memories be recovered.

    What difference does it make whether or not a sozo or RTF counselor gives a specific leading suggestion? They don’t have to. People go into these sessions with the distinct understanding and expectation that they are to cough up a recovered memory. This suggestion—or demand—is pervasive to the entire approach. Andy Reese, however, is not in the least bit opposed to suggesting anything. On page 86 of Freedom Tools, in an attempt to show the harmlessness of a counselor’s fallibility while making suggestions, he states the following:

    “But we can miss it. We can misinterpret His voice. That’s OK that is where humility and compassion come in handy. That is why we, as ministers, offer only pictures or thoughts that come on to our screens as suggestions (“does van Gogh mean anything to you?“ (sic)) And only when we sense permission to do so.”

    In other words, projecting a suggestion upon the sozoie is not a problem nor is making the wrong suggestion—it is promoted—as long as it is done in compassion and humility. The ignorant recklessness of this is stunning.

    I now know more than ever why I lost my daughter.


  14. Patti,
    Our heart breaks for you and your family and we will keep you in much prayer. We don’t understand how these “ministries” can operate legally either but they do. Please keep us posted on any news or changes and know you are not alone in this battle. We have asked for others input into your request so if we receive any information we will certainly pass it along. God bless, protect and give you peace and strength.

  15. I’m not sure what kind of it formation I really I’m asking for I really would just like some help on how to get the law involved in this ridiculous cult that my daughter and son-in-law and 8 year old Grandson is caught up. They closed all Facebook and cut off all communication with family and friends back home that love them. I feel like my daughter has being prepped since she’s been age 20 and now she is age 36 and moved away from home to start a Ministry that I thought was going to be a good thing little did I know this ministry was called Zozo restoration Ministry and biblical counseling that my daughter and her business partner we’re starting and going out doing free evangelism based on donation on healing and other things when she cut the family off and her friends I started to dig into this Sozo Ministry and found the phone number of the sozo Ministry and spoke to her so-called friend and I was told her friend was now counseling her because she had demons that she needed to get rid of we have not had any contact going on 8 months’ I am very concerned for my daughter and her family I just wish that the law could do something about this here is the address of that Ministry if you would like to check it out it is called Zozo restoration Ministries and biblical counseling Inc. 2106 Celanese Rd. Rock Hill,SC.29732 thank you for your prayers and any help that you feel you could give me.

  16. Craig,
    Here’s a couple of other sites that may be of help. (this is a fb page)
    There are several others mentioned in some of the articles written here on Sozo so you can click on them and go to their blogs. We will certainly keep you in much prayer, we too along with many other bloggers and those who have commented here have family members still involved in Sozo and all the deception that runs through Bethel’s teachings. We know the pain and grief, we also know the truth is freeing and so necessary. Hold the Word of God close and stand. You are asking for more information which we will gladly help you with but we need to know exactly what information your looking for so we don’t over load you with information. Please keep us updated on how you’re doing. God bless

  17. Ok, this article is very enlightening, but VERY frightening at the same time. Because I have been going to Bethel Church in Redding for 2 months now I have had a check in my spirit this whole time. Many close friends are getting into this sozo at Bethel now. And even more frightening is now my family is starting to be drawn into this ministry. And now they are trying to force me into this ministry because they think it is good for me. But so far I have not done it because I have felt something is not right about it. In the last week I have done extensive research on this church Bethel moreso then the sozo because I didn’t know much about the sozo there. I have followed Jesus since I was 8 years old. I am in my 40s now. The Bethel “ways” , many of which have brought on this check in my spirit, have caused me to run to the Scriptures more then I ever have in my life lately. I go to The Word of God and bible believing followers of Christ for correct discernment in all of this, as this movement does not harmonize with the Holy Spirit the Lord put in me, and what He is teaching me in His Word. Now that I am reading all of these horrific testimonies on so many blog sites, and now this one. And now the check in my Spirit on this Bethel sozo is being confirmed. I cannot believe my friends, and now my family is falling for this stuff as all my life I have considered them more mature in Christ then I and many of them have been my mentors in this life. Some of my friends sucked into this deception use to be my pastors. What in the world is going on here?? Why are they falling into this deception? I am very troubled by this because I am going to have to confront my family about this, and I have no idea how I am going to approach them with this and what is going to happen. I just pray I don’t loose them. I love all of them and I will not give up loving them, but I cannot abide in this Bethel sozo practice, along with some other practices they are doing there, because the are NOT right!!. Please I ask for prayer on this matter. I also ask for more information as I am just finding this all out. Craig.

  18. Thank you for faithfully exposing Sozo. Check out this informative article at Bethel Sozo Research. This shows that Beni (Bill Johnson’s wife) posting a picture (on social media) of herself on a gravestone trying to get some sort of power. This is disturbing and is not true Christianity.
    Check out to find out more about sozo, Bill Johnson, Beni Johnson, Bethel Church, Kris Vallotton, Jesus Culture, gold dust and glory clouds, etc.!

  19. Thank you for faithfully exposing Sozo. Check out this informative article at Bethel Sozo Research. This shows Beni (Bill Johnson’s wife) posting a picture of herself (on social media) on a gravestone trying to get some sort of power. This is disturbing and is not true Christianity.
    Check out to find out more about sozo, Bill Johnson, Beni Johnson, Bethel Church, Kris Vallotton, Jesus Culture, gold dust and glory clouds, etc.!

  20. Glen what you’ve failed to realize is that we came out of this false teaching and so did many of those who have commented and shared here. To my knowledge SOZO wasn’t created as a forum for casting out demons, it was promoted as another way to get “closer” to GOD to help one arrive at a promised spiritual “destiny”….Notice “another way” and another Jesus, it’s always promoted as a better way than what the Bible says and God has always revealed it to them, hence they are spiritually “special/chosen”. So we must pay for the sessions and of course buy the books, DVD’s etc. Taken from their site:

    “Sozo ministry is a unique inner healing and deliverance ministry aimed to get to the root of things hindering your personal connection with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With a healed connection, you can walk in the destiny to which you have been called. A Sozo session is a time for the Sozo team to sit down with you and with the help of the Holy Spirit walk you through the process of freedom and wholeness. Sozo is not a counseling session but a time of interacting with Father, Son and Holy Spirit for wholeness and pursuing of your destiny.”

    I have never read anywhere where they deal with casting out demons in SOZO sessions, unless they have yet again morphed it into something other than what they originally marketed it for. Which may work to their advantage and be the next step in the deception. Once the hype and glory of the “experience” starts to wear off they have to amp up the product or come up with a new one, hence the phrases we are all use to hearing “God is doing a new thing”, the next “wave “or “move of God” etc.
    They have taken the Greek word for salvation and made it a literal selling point; a product and experience to be sought after because our simple salvation and what Christ did on the cross and what the Word of God says, is not enough, according to them. They have made merchandise of the body of Christ and continue to peddle “new” SOZO’s (see SOZO~Seven years later article). Bring the scripture where the SOZO that Bethel peddles is mentioned by Christ or anyone of the apostles. And I don’t mean one verse cherry picked but scripture in context. One would think that if this “ministry” were of such importance to one’s “spiritual destiny” that it would certainly not only be mentioned in scripture but clearly defined and by Christ Himself.

  21. Please, how many of you have cast demons out of anyone? It is commanded that we do this, however I find most of the people throwing stones live in glass houses. No, not one of you have ever cast any demon out of anyone. Sozo ministry does not use RMT to get demons out. Any one of you can make accusations about this ministry and cut it to pieces. Well, some day you will be standing at the feet of Jesus. Might He ask you why you were tearing the church apart instead of building it up? It really is so sad that you spend so much time and effort to tear apart other denominations and other beliefs. And then say they are heretics or worse. Jesus said it nicely, when the disciples wanted to stop others from ministering and using His Name. Don’t!

  22. I see hundreds, maybe thousands of people in these churches that love the Lord and desire His presence. They strive to live pure and Holy before Him. The enemy has a hard time trapping them in sin so he traps them in religion. Makes his job much easier.
    “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and my people love it so! But what will you do at the end?
    Jer. 5:30-31

  23. Thank you for sharing this and God bless and protect you, will keep you in prayer. This article was written several years ago and at that time a 24 week course wasn’t on the list. Of course it was “new” and just developing so the books hadn’t been written yet or the “study guides” etc. nor had the “shabar” (the shattered parts i.e. split personalities) part been invented yet. Would you be willing to give a list of things that took 24 weeks to complete? Would love to know the cost also as they continue to make merchandise of the body of Christ. Thanks again, blessings

  24. Thank you for your enlightenment. I have gone through a 24 week course, sozo based, for emotional healing. My spirit was vexed from beginning to end. I thought something was wrong with me because I hated going there, seemingly rebellious against the whole process. Others in small group were “making progress”. I felt dumb, like what’s wrong with me. Just give me training in Jesus’ Words. Still telling me “You shall know the truth & the truth will set you free.”

  25. I encourage you to do some more research into healing rooms, sozo and the doctrines being taught by the church you are attending, including the one that you are getting the training from. Please take the time to search the scriptures to test these teachings. They cannot teach their false doctrine without cherry picked verses used out of context, or using one verse or part of a verse to create a doctrine. Praying for you.

  26. This is all a bit scary, I’m currently sat in my car eating lunch during a break from healing room training ! At church (not mine) and sozo is “part practiced” here and has been explained-ish during the morning training session. I have been troubled during the 2 previous sessions and up to this one but assumed it was just the enemy trying to stop me moving forward with the Lord, maybe not.

  27. SOZO – SHABAR , Repressed Memory Therapy by Any Other Name…

    For those of you who still question whether Bethel Sozo “Ministry” practices repressed memory therapy (RMT), look at what is plainly stated on their website:

    “The goal of Shabar ministry is to bring knowledge, hope, and wholeness to a “shattered” individual.

    There are 3 different approaches:

    Using Shabar techniques with individuals who need aid in other areas

    Using Shabar techniques with individuals who are unaware they are shattered

    Using Shabar techniques with individuals who know they are shattered

    This is a testimony of a person who experienced the Shabar ministry.

    “I have received ministry for two broken ‘places’ about 8 years ago. But, the incidents connected to those broken parts were still painful and scary for me. So, on the way home from your Shabar training, my ministry partner and best friend and I did Shabar ministry with those two parts. It was amazing – and I’ve seen LOTS of good, effective prayer ministry. This was beyond my expectations.

    It became apparent that these parts, deeply buried, carried the actual memories of the events where these deep wounds occurred. When I allowed myself (which wasn’t often) to remember the events, they were vivid and painful. I remembered in too much detail. The tone of voice. The actual words spoken. How my body felt. I avoided recollections of the events because I knew that a flashback-like experience would accompany those memories. I forgave, again and again, in an effort to find healing for those memories.

    The most significant thing that happened is that now, after Shabar ministry, the memories themselves have changed. I still remember the events, but now, the memories are ‘softer’ The jagged details seem far away. Not dangerous. I still know how I felt and what was said but I don’t re-experience those sensations and emotions anymore. When Father took those parts of me, He created a boundary of protection between me and the memories.””

    Notice first this cited approach:

    “Using Shabar techniques with individuals who are unaware they are shattered”

    See it? ‘unaware they are shattered?’

    Just as in the RMT movement, an individual does not seem to be able to become ‘aware’ of their problems unless they attend one of these special sessions. This is what led Elizabeth Loftus, cognitive psychologist, to become suspicious of RMT. In other words, why were people only experiencing so called recovered memories while in therapy? Why not at the gym or the grocery store? What was so effective about this therapy that it only occurred during a session?

    It didn’t take long to understand that false memories were being implanted during these sessions which ultimately led to the worldwide collapse of this practice. It became understood that memories are very malleable and unreliable. You will not see anything like the above quotes on any secular therapy website because if they posted anything similar their liability insurance carriers would drop them like a bad habit. However, sozo has no such restrictions since they changed their name from therapy to ‘ministry.’

    Let’s look at the cited shabar testimony:

    “It became apparent that these parts, deeply buried, carried the actual memories of the events where these deep wounds occurred. When I allowed myself (which wasn’t often) to remember the events, they were vivid and painful. I remembered in too much detail.”

    Did you get that? ‘When I allowed myself to remember the events?’ This is an absolute indictment of sozo. They are not even trying to hide that they are employing RMT—it is not in dispute.

    Again, this from the shabar testimony:

    “When I allowed myself (which wasn’t often) to remember the events, they were vivid and painful.”

    Please key in on the ‘vivid and painful’ phrase as you read the following quotations from the book, Smiling through the Tears by Pamala Freyd and Eleanor Goldstein which was a statement against recovered memory therapy:

    “Psychologist and hypnosis expert Michael Yapko, has remarked:

    “One need not to question whether someone is suggestible, but instead assess the degree of suggestibility at a given point in time or in a given context. One need not employ formal hypnotic or suggestive techniques for the purpose of recovering presumably repressed memories in order to impart the assumption that such memories exist and the expectation that such memories can and will be found.”

    The notion that patients become absorbed in their therapists belief systems is not a new one. It was known decade ago that patients who went to Freudian therapists had “Freudian dreams” and those who went to Jungian therapists had “Jungian dreams.” But can people be led to believe that they were abused when in fact they never were?

    Yapko notes:

    Case examples of virtually impossible forms of abuse that are vividly “remembered” make it clear that the answer is yes.”

    Did you notice what Yapko mentioned about ‘vividly remembered?” and again the shabar testimony:

    “When I allowed myself (which wasn’t often) to remember the events, they were vivid and painful.”

    Now the following is very very important. Please consider this very carefully. Again Yapko:

    “One need not employ formal hypnotic or suggestive techniques for the purpose of recovering presumably repressed memories in order to impart the assumption that such memories exist and the expectation that such memories can and will be found.”

    Please draw your attention to ‘IMPART THE ASSUMPTION that such memories exist and the expectation that such memories can and will be found.’ In other words, it is not necessary to hypnotize someone to experience false recovered memories or even use suggestive techniques to do so—all that is necessary is for there to be the understanding and expectation that they will be found.

    When a person submits to sozo, they become absorbed in the sozo belief system and the bedrock of that belief system is that repressed memories are keeping you from being healed.

    Forgive me but I am going the say that again:


    The problem is that Scripture does not suggest anything of this nature. Sozo has nothing to do the the teachings found in the Bible.

    What we see on the sozo/shabar website that they expect such memories to be found therefore all of sozo and shabar is suggestive at it’s very core. If you go to a sozo session it is with the understanding the you probably have repressed memories. How could it be anymore suggestive?

    When the secular mental health community began to understand that memories are very malleable and susceptible to suggestion, they then understood they were implanting false memories and they stopped—well that and losing lots of big law suits. It turns out that lost money talks louder that false recovered memories. What is amazing about this shabar testimony is that it absolutely proves the problems with memories. Look at the following:

    “The most significant thing that happened is that now, after Shabar ministry, the memories themselves have changed. I still remember the events, but now, the memories are ‘softer’ The jagged details seem far away.”

    If this were not so tragic, it would be laughable.

    “the memories themselves have changed”

    This individual is testifying that their memory is highly malleable and is changing. History is not malleable. History cannot change, but memories do change.

    I don’t know what it is going to take for the Church to wake up.

  28. Pingback: My thoughts on Sozo ministry. – Briar Rose Blog

  29. We are willing to talk with you and we know of others that are willing also who have come out of this type of deception and false teaching. Will send you some contact info.

  30. How can I contact someone who has been through this and got out my sister has been in this with her kids for 4 years I just want to get her out anyone willing to talk to me?

  31. Bethel is dangerous along with several other seeking lying signs and wonders churches. Ive had to minister deliverance to several people from these type of churches who were spiritually defiled.

  32. Pingback: Victims of Bill Johnson’s SOZO Ministry speak out | Aspreeman's Archives

  33. I see this article is from 2012. Do you have a follow up from the victims, specially the memory victims that they were speaking with Tom Rutherford ? I am sorry my English, I speak Spanish.
    I really like to see more documentation. I know people that practice this sozo thing. I do not believe in the sozo ministry, but I like to know if there is more documentation.

  34. This is more of a comment rather than a reply;

    I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in February 2014. I was transformed dramatically. I was lead to Christ by people I loved and trusted but didn’t know well enough. The past year and a half as I have both learned and experienced things that were initiated by those I loved and trusted – but were not of God. This has been a trial in which now I see it as a teaching. A good teaching actually.

    From onset, discipleship is key here. Are we leading people to Christ for a ‘soul’ count, or do we want people whom God has drawn, to get to know Jesus, His Word to the point that they know they don’t need anything but Jesus. To live a lifestyle as Jesus has called us to live. Fruit that will last is critical. If discipleship is weak, hypocritical or in anyway non-biblical it will produce frustration which will lead the believer astray.

    I am blessed to have been given tenacious grace by God – It is by God’s grace that I am what I am. The grace He has bestowed upon me will not be in vain. However, others have not been so fortunate.

    Second, I have learned that the enemy and/or witchcraft attacks the mind in order to attempt to gain the soul. Our minds can quickly lead us astray. IT MATTERS WHAT WE THINK, IT MATTERS WHAT WE FOCUS ON. It matters!! Whenever a thought comes to mind that might seem innocent, but I know leads me into the past, where I ponder the past, what has occurred, fear or whatever; I quickly renounce the thought in the name of Jesus. I have learned and trust me, it takes some time. But it works. After renouncing the thought, because it is NOT of God, I quickly begin to quote Scripture, any Scripture is fine because it’s Holy and of God. My mind then focuses on who we are called to focus on – namely Jesus.

    I no longer watch secular TV, nor listen to secular music, or read secular books. This might seem legalistic, but it’s not. I do it by choice. I don’t want any part of this world unless it is given to me by Jesus. I believe we really have to change our focus, our desire, and live for Jesus Christ. This doesn’t mean I stand on a corner holding a sign – no. However, I try to see past the flesh of others and I try to see them as Jesus see’s them and act accordingly.

    The Bible speaks of ‘renewing our minds’, thinking, meditating on things that are above, things of God, loving, kind, etc. Our soul is our mind, will and emotions. We have to protect them by remaining focused on Jesus Christ, Lord of all.

    I went to a SOZO in Redding at the Transformation Center. I also attend Bethel Redding. I don’t live there so I don’t go all that often. But I do go. I do believe Jesus is very much alive and active. He wants and does use us to heal. We all have received the same commission and we all have received the same Holy Spirit, not in part, but in full. That said, I do agree that SOZO can be risky and dangerous. There are too many variables and an hour is just enough to create a nightmare for some. There are others who are healed by this method. But the main factor has to be Jesus. Jesus forgave and forgot our sins, we must forgive, keep our eyes focused on the One who has all authority and power and who will lead us out of the mire. I won’t say it’s easy, but I promise it does get easier if we just take the first step and remain focused on Him.

    May Yeshua, Lord of all bless you!

  35. My dear daughter has recently become the victim of this sozo type ministry. She has a mental illness and has always obediently taken her meds and obeyed the doctors. Then these people who are on the outskirts of churches, as they are full of deception and rebellion and prey on the vulnerable…..went to my daughters flat and did the whole dreadful thing on her …for hours on end!!!! till she completely changed…..she rebelled against me, the mental health, her doctors etc and in a frenzy of hyped up energy, called me to say she was throwing away her meds. I was horrified and tried so hard to stop her!!!. Then I got calls in the middle of the night ” Mum , Youre cursed!! You have to get delivered!! The roots are in you!!! ” This went on for a few days.By the way, we are both born again beleivers. I knew what they were doing to my daughter was absolutely wrong, non biblical, and very dangerous. My daughter and I are very close and love each other dearly. These people did not try to stop my daughter from throwing away her meds!!! Within one week she had a psychotic episode but rebelled towards the doctors and left the hospital. A week later she called me and said” Mum ! Im in trouble! Im going to kill myself!!” I immediately got help and she was taken to hospital. she had been going to kill herself with a knife……….so wheres the deliverance??? wheres the healing??? What a load of
    dangerous garbage!! Now I have to convince my daughter that s=these people are sooo wrong and deceived!!! One good thing though….I spyed out their ministry and got the facts about what they do, and reported it to the pastor of the church which my daughter attends. To do this I let them prey on me thinking they had me…..They put people in a trance -like state!!! All that talking to the inner child and dragging up memories which are under the blood….so EVIL!!!! I am trying to keep those people away from my daughter. If you dont know and love The Holy Word of God…then you might get sucked in by a sozo follower. Praise God for his Unchangeable Word!!

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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!

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

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