The Pink Propaganda: A Mercy Ministries Blog
I'm good at whistleblowing. I write a lot about my time at Mercy Ministries and how it affected my life. I like to empower people. Especially those affected by Mercy Ministries and it's pink propaganda. I am open to questions. Just be respectful. I know this isn't easy.
For those of you who are new to Mercy Ministries, Mercy Ministries is an international, fundamentalist Christian organization that offers a six-month program for young women between 13 and 28 who struggle with various “life controlling” issues, like eating disorders, depression, self-harm, and drug and alcohol addictions. They have four locations in the United States. One in the UK, one in Canada, one in New Zealand and the Australian branches were closed down in 2009 for abuse.
Mercy Ministries takes an anti-gay stance and considers lesbians and bisexual residents to be suffering from "demonic influence". Mercy Ministries is pro life and welcomes into their program unwed mothers.
Mercy Ministries has come under fire for mind control tactics, their anti-gay stances, reports of exorcisms and false memories syndrome, use of censorship on the internet, deceitfulness of their services offered, their use of political and celebrity endorsements and using inexperienced life coaches for serious mental and medical health issues
That’s a really good question. :)
a) Mercy is a very Christian program. The counseling was all biblically based, and there was a lot of prayer involved. We only had therapy once a week. At Monte Nido, it’s not like that. I don’t actually know what individual therapy is like, but I can guarantee it won’t be about praying through things. At Monte Nido, there is individual therapy 3 times a week.
b) At Mercy, there was one group. Friday mornings. It was book group. Throughout the week, we’d read one chapter of a book (it rotated between Safe People and Boundaries by Drs John Townsend and Henry Cloud) and then have to write a response that we’d bring to group. We’d discuss the chapter, and then we’d be done. At Monte Nido, there are lots of different kinds of groups.
c) At Mercy, the food part of the program wasn’t that structured, and there were 3 days that I hid in my room and I didn’t eat dinner, and they didn’t realize that I wasn’t there. At Monte Nido, there’s no way to get out of eating food since it’s like, the center of the program.
d) At Mercy, we had a nutritionist, but she only had a certificate in nutrition and hadn’t actually gone through school to be a dietitian. You would only meet with her occasionally. I went months without meeting with her on an individual basis. I would see her frequently, but wouldn’t really meet with her one-on-one. At Monte Nido, we have a wonderful, highly educated dietitian. I’ll continue to meet with her weekly.
e) Mercy wasn’t ED specific - people with all sorts of issues go there. For instance, drug addiction, depression, self injury, and unplanned pregnancy. Monte Nido is ED specific.
f) At Mercy, I never met with a psychiatrist once while at I was there. At Monte Nido, you meet with a psychiatrist weekly.
g) At Mercy, there were 40 girls. I felt like there wasn’t much room for additional support and because there were so many residents, I sometimes felt like I had to fight to be heard. At Monte Nido, there’s 10. There’s a lot more room for individualized care.
h) We had a fitness director (who hated me) and we had rec every day for 1.5 hours. The level of activity varied for each person depending on their stability, and some people were on exercise restriction, but for the most part, everyone participated unless you had counselling that afternoon. I, however, hid in my closet to avoid going to rec, and then I started spending afternoons in the classroom to work on school mainly because I hated the fitness director. Each person also had a specific amount of activity that we were supposed to do outside of rec, and we had to record it on our sheets outside her office. If you abused your exercise privileges, they’d be taken away. At Monte Nido, exercise is much more structured - with 15 or 30 minute walks, some gentle yoga, and if you get to the right level, a few founds of circuit training.
i) At Mercy, there wasn’t a doctor that we worked with at all. We had a nurse who worked there, but we didn’t really see a doctor unless it was a medical necessity. At Monte Nido, there’s some sort of doctor that gives medical clearance to go in…and there’s more medical monitoring there even if it’s not a medical facility.
EDIT: Forgot one major difference.
j) At Mercy, we weren’t allowed to talk about our issues with other residents, and we definitely weren’t allowed to touch each other…meaning no hugs either, except for on graduation days. At Monte Nido, we sit in groups and talk about our crap. It’s definitely much different. I also don’t think that hugs are outlawed, but I could be wrong.
There are many more differences, but those are some of the things that are clearly going to be very different.
I’m not knocking Mercy, because I did grow a lot while I was there. I haven’t cut or attempted suicide since I graduated the program, which is huge because that was a very big part of my life before entering the program. However, I don’t think that they did a very good job with treating my eating disorder. I also think that I wasn’t entirely ready to give it up at that point, so i didn’t really address it.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. I am at a place in my life where I feel comfortable doing my part. Where doing my part does not hurt me. I would never let Mercy Ministries take anything more from my life and I would never ever want them to do that to anyone else either.
On another note, writing about Mercy Ministries has been very cathartic for me. I am a writer though. If you’re not a writer, what’s your talents and hobbies? Maybe you can be creative and help in some other way? I am a writer, it’s my thing. It’s hard to do something when it’s not your thing or if you’re not ready to do that thing.
It’s difficult to explain the hold over us. I know that this day today, the hold isn’t over me anymore. But I do remember the hold. So remember that it is possible to not be held like that, it just takes time and reinforcement. Self reinforcement especially.
Thank you for the sweet message though. As far as exposition Job 4 says, As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble, reap the same.