Media Sphere Promotes Another False Jesus

One of Proclaim 16’s “premiere supporters” has plans to release a new movie in the springtime. The story line depicts a “young messiah named Jesus” coming into his own, so to speak, performing miracles.

The Young Messiah (link)

“Discover the Savior when He was a child.”

When the mystery of Jesus’s divinity begins to unfold in His early years, He turns to His parents for answers. But Mary and Joseph, in an effort to protect their child, are afraid to reveal all they know. How do you explain the ways of the world to its Creator? How do you teach the Teacher? How do you help the Savior who came to save you?

The trailer begins with “Mary” speaking, “Listen well, for I am only going to tell the story once.” We see her sitting under a tree with a young boy, as she continues. “One morning my room filled with light and it spoke to me. It said from my womb would come a son, you, named ‘Jesus'”.

But is that the true context of the conversation according to the bible? Was Mary hearing only from a light that filled her room?

Luke 1:26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Mary was talking to an angel, not to “it”, a light. So from the beginning the movie is playing down the important details of scripture. Jesus is the Son of God, born of a virgin, Mary who would conceive by the “overshadowing” of the Holy Spirit. A miracle in itself!

For with God nothing shall be impossible!

The truth is we don’t know much regarding the childhood of Jesus. The first time He comes on the scene after His birth and the mention of his circumcision, is told in Luke 2 when His parents, Joseph and Mary, lost track of him.

41Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 43And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 44But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? 50And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

In verse 50 it said they didn’t understand. Jesus knew things they did not, could not because it had not yet been revealed! Referring back to the quote questioning how they would explain…I don’t believe for a moment that they had to explain anything to Jesus. After all, He came to earth as a man, but He was still God. While I understand the concept is hard to grasp from a human mindset, we are called to believe. God will give us understanding. And on that note, it is apparent the writer does not know about the God he is supposedly revealing to the world. From the onset of the movie he denies the a great miracle, the one of the virgin birth of Christ and how it came to be!

We are living in a time where false signs and miracles are being sought after more and more. And we know the time is coming with the Antichrist will operate through them in ways we have not yet seen. They will be so astonishing that many will be blinded to the truth. I am added this blurb because we need to understand the difference between a wow factor and a real miracle. Jesus came moving in signs and wonders, performing miracles because He is God. For this movie to downplay the importance of the timing of His miracles and His ministry, and to imply they were happening during a time they were not is to deny who Christ truly is and why He came. We all know that God does things in His time and for His reasons. Jesus did not operate in miracles until His time. And it was during His first miracle, the wedding at Cana in John 2 when He reminded His mother of that very thing – the importance of timing!

Since at this point we only have a movie trailer and not a full movie to review, I found a link here  which details the movie story line.  The author does a very good job… contradicting himself. I have to say it is a very well written and emotional description of what is nothing more than a very dangerous practice – filling in where the bible is silent. I believe that our Lord in all of His wisdom had a reason for His silence. To speak in an area that He did not is another step into Gnosticism, or the need to understand things that we have no real way of knowing.

I’ll pull quotes. 🙂

Biopic of Jesus as a child becoming aware of his identity as the Son of God.

I saw an early screening of The Young Messiah that is set to release in March.
Written by Betsy and Cyrus Nowrasteh, and directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh.

I’m the guy who wrote the critique of the Noah script by Aronofsky that went viral and exposed its anti-Biblical agenda. I’m not a fundamentalist, but I represent and understand a significant huge proportion of the contemporary Christian viewing public who are totally okay with creative license when it comes to Bible movies, AS LONG AS YOU DON’T SUBVERT THE ORIGINAL MESSAGE. That’s what Noah did, and that’s what Exodus did. They subverted the Biblical narrative with their own paganism and atheism. And that is why they failed in terms of audience potential (along with just being plainly bad movies). Biblical fidelity is not about petty details, but about the meaning.

Remember his words – AS LONG AS YOU DON’T SUBVERT THE ORIGINAL MESSAGE

I looked up the word subvert just for kicks. It means to undermine power and authority of an established system. Oh.

I am here to say that the new film coming out in March, The Young Messiah, is NOT one of those films. The Young Messiah is a great movie, well told, and very faithful to the spirit of the Gospel of what it may have been like for the young seven-year old Jesus to come of age as the Son of God.

What it may have been like…may have been like…

It is adapted from Anne Rice’s Catholic novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt

If you aren’t aware Anne Rice was once famous for her vampire novels, then supposedly came to Christ and wrote a book on his younger years. So, where did she get her ideas from?

Remember, we aren’t subverting…

And while there are obviously some fictional miracle scenes, they are entirely within the parameters of possibility and don’t contradict Scripture. This is doctrinally safe imagination.

Fictional miracle scenes, fictional, meaning untrue..

Exactly what is doctrinally safe imagination?

Its’ subverting.

You see why I am shaking my head. I will let you read the rest of the article on your own.

Revelation 22:18 For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book: 19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

I know many people believe that scripture applies to the book of Revelation only. But consider that Jesus Christ is referred to as the Word in John 1, how can we agree it doctrinally safe to proclaim events not written about Him?

No. I am not ok with this movie. It is not an avenue to gain biblical understanding even though there is some truth to it. But, without that mixture the lie wouldn’t be palatable.

Pray for the wisdom of others.

 

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A New Pope and a Pop For Ecumenism

I guess news reporting is not what it used to be. We get only a glimpse of the happening, hardly a mention of serious matters, with lots of time spent on things that do not matter, and lots of opinions. The fact that everyone has got one has gone a bit too real. But oh, well, it brings in ratings, pays the bills and someone up there gets rich. So, who cares if its the truth, right? Opinions also build blogs, don’t they?

If I wouldn’t have watched it with my own eyes I probably wouldn’t have believed it. You may not believe it either because I am not going to put up a bunch of links to prove what I am saying is true. I’m not going to go into long explanations of why this is all so strange, scary and wonderful at the same time. I am going to simply say what I witnessed along with much of the world via tv land, assuming anyone else out there was paying attention. I am saying it because it needs to be said and so far, no one else has.

It seems the world has gone and got itself a new pope, a new Holy Father, a pontiff, a vicar, one they can follow, or who can lead them into the next phase of their religion, whatever that may be. A man who has chosen the name of another who lived long ago, famed for his strange supernatural experiences, one who heard the voice of God thru a cross. One whose long ago pilgrimage is very popular among not only the Catholics, but also the well-evolved Christians who have sought after another way.

Did you ever think you would hear a call for ecumenism during a prime time news broadcast? I didn’t. But on such a stellar occasion, amidst the joy and excitement, the sign of hope through white smoke, the new pope, and  – pop – there it was on CNN. The crier, Erin Burnett.

I think Erin does a good job most of the time, but I don’t watch her all that often. So, it is nothing personal against her ability to do her job. It is however, largely personal that she publicly denied Christ and urged others to follow along with her. But somehow I doubt she understands the gravity of her words. And that is most unfortunate.

So on the evening of March 13, 2013, the filming of Out Front, Erin, standing in front of St. Peters’ had a short conversation with Roma Downey. They discuss the new pope and are both very excited and pleased that a decision has been made. Roma is a practicing Catholic, and Executive Producer of the doctrinally failed, yet very popular mini-series, The Bible. Roma who later referred to herself as Christian stated she was very excited that her series, bible stories as she related to it, had brought in more ratings than “the zombies“. I’m not so sure that is an accomplishment to brag about. There is more truth to be had from AMC’s The Walking Dead than there is her version of the bible. And I can have an opinion here, I’ve watched both.

Suddenly, Erin commented that she wished she had read the Qur’an. It was a disjointed comment, and it took me back, because it was so out of place. But for Erin, her personal beliefs and religious needs, her comment had a place, and you will see that. She then asked Roma how she felt about the Qur’an. Roma stated it was ok that others read the Qur’an, that “as Christians, we are called to love and to be tolerant”. Roma, like the faith she follows is only partly right. To love is something we can all agree on, even superficially.

Going forward, Erin brings on via satellite an ex-Catholic turned atheist, lesbian woman. How fitting considering the sexual sin by the Catholic church and the current battle over same sex marriage, huh? But remember, everyone has an opinion. This woman, whose name I do not know feels that if the Catholic church would just change it’s beliefs to accommodate what the people want, what is relevant for today, then more people would probably return to the church. So, a woman who claims she no longer believes in God is going to give spiritual and doctrinal advice? And this woman’s presence on camera is not political? And let me say, with all the horrendous things done in the name of God, I can see why this woman made the choices she did. I don’t say they are right, but I do understand the reasoning behind them.

After the final commercial break, Erin, standing alone, facing the camera ends her show with a personal call for ecumenism. By her own words that is what she believes in. She too is an ex-Catholic, and although she doesn’t practice any more, she is excited that the church has a new pope. She states that the church does a lot of good for a lot of people.  But for her, all we need is ecumenism. She’s beautiful. She’s smiling. She is convincing. In the excitement and emotion of such a momentous occasion, in a place where so many have gathered together, who wouldn’t want to be included in the next great thing?

Ecumenism. A fancy word that basically means unity. Ahh-ha. Now the seemingly odd and out of place Qur’an question from earlier makes a bit more sense. As do the ideas and suggestions of the displaced atheist. Unity in what, Erin?  A god who condones homosexuality? Or reading of the Qur’an alongside the Bible, or reading any book for that matter, or maybe no book at all? Or maybe we will just chuck the bible and watch Roma’s newly produced bible stories, entertaining as they are. Unity, meaning we all believe in something, some god with whatever name we are to give him, or give her for that matter,  a higher power, a force, with doctrine based on whatever whim feels right at the moment, one that we can change when we become too bored?  Isn’t that what we call agnostic? Universalism? Don’t we call that emergent?

We do not by orthodoxy call that “Christian”. And Erin, you have not been the first to think of it.

This, my friends is the beginning of a one world religious system. This is wonderful bible prophecy unfolding before our very eyes. And it all happened right there, after the election of the new pope, on CNN.

I am still shaking my head.

Caryl Matrisciana on Hinduism

Caryl Matrisciana, author and filmmaker, tells an interesting story here of her Hindu-influenced Roman Catholic upbringing while living in India, her delve into “new age” and the night she recognized her need for salvation through Christ. In this interview by Christ in Prophecy, she makes the striking connection between Hindu thought and current thinking that has invaded our churches.

Resources from Roger Oakland

Some free resources to help you – highly recommend! 🙂

Understanding the Times – Roger Oakland

Jude 3-4

3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

rivers that flow farther away from the Throne of God

Herescope

The Other Side of Emergent:

The New Apostolic Reformation

“Religious leadership must end its intellectual and imaginative failure to think through what it is doing in the light of the new emerging cosmology, which is hospitable to spirit-matter theories and mindbody experiences.”
– Leonard Sweet[1]

Today is the launching of a new book, co-authored by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. This marks the open marriage of the Emergent movement with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

Sweet and Viola’s book, Jesus Manifesto, is subtitled “Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ,” and it pushes the envelope on redefining Jesus, including “You can be a Jesus Manifest.”[2] A quick glance at the lineup of key endorsers for this book includes a list of who’s who in Emergent, the Latter Rain cult, neoevangelicalism and the New Apostolic Reformation.

In recent posts on this blog we have noticed that emerging church leader Leonard Sweet has links to the NAR.[3] The co-author of his book, Frank Viola, also has roots in the NAR. He has been connected with the House2House group, a movement that is ostensibly about “house” churches, but in reality is concerned with building the networking apostolic cellular model of church for the purpose of building the kingdom of God on earth. This is the same Dominionist goal that is characteristic of the NAR: “This amazing network of churches is rapidly transitioning as a network to embrace the simple church models that the Lord is blessing all around the world,” leading to the “transforming work of God in bringing people to Christ. . . leading to dramatic advances of the Kingdom of God.”[4] John Arnott of the Toronto “Laughing Revival” has been a notable contributor to the House2House magazine.[5]

A key name associated with Frank Viola is Heidi Baker, whose frequently appears with her husband Rolland. They flourish in the New Apostolic Reformation and can often be found on the Elijah List (chief organ for the NAR)[6] and OpenHeaven.com (a radical Dominionist group).[7] The Bakers spoke at the Global Awakening “Voice of the Apostles” conference, October 28-31, 2009 along with other NAR apostles Randy Clark, Che Ann, Bill Johnson and John Arnott.[8] Heidi was featured along with Latter Rain cult leader Rick Joyner at his MorningStar Ministries “Harvest Fest” held September 24-30, 2009.[9] The list of interconnections and associations with the NAR could go on and on…

Neil Cole is another well-known name associated with Frank Viola and the House2House movement. He is also connected with Leadership Network.[10] Furthermore, Frank Viola’s book Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens is endorsed by such notables as Bob Buford (head of Leadership Network) and John Maxwell.[11]

Leonard Sweet endorsed one of Frank Viola’s earlier books, Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity, by connecting it to the idea of “God’s Dream,” an increasingly common metaphor.[12] Viola has also authored From Eternity to Here: Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God, (This was one of the worst books I’ve ever read and almost threw it in the garbage!) described as “a whole new way of looking at the Scriptures, at Jesus, at the church, and at me,”[13] and endorsed by such Emergent leaders as Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Shane Claiborne and many others.

Continued…..

Apprising Ministries has done quite a bit of writing on this topic found here.

Here’s my input –

http://frankviola.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/interview-with-todd-hunter/

I’ve been reading some of the articles on this but I wasn’t all that familiar with Leonard Sweet or Frank Viola. But this morning when Truthspeaker sent me an e-mail regarding the article on her blog, I took a little closer look and realized there was a small but notable connection in own life.

Todd Hunter was part of a Vineyard Pastor’s Conference at the Vineyard Church I attended a couple of years ago. I only caught a little bit of his “missiology” speech, but remember his house church movement. Much of what I heard sounded good in the beginning. But when we take a closer look the apostasy is amazing. Consider Todd’s past and influence from the interview – Greg Laurie, who was one of the original 10 Calvary Chapel pastors organized by Chuck Smith and whose church I also attended quite a few years ago. This Jesus movement was influential in the lives years before of the youth at the Baptist Church I attended and grew up in during the 60’s and 70’s. So Todd goes – Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, Alpha Course, “Missio”, THEN claims a call to Anglican Bishop.  Not to mention the influence in his life from Richard Foster and Dallas Willard! Do they ever stop and take  a look at this change in the path objectively? There is a definitive falling away going on here.

Again, I am  amazed at the pats on the back they give each other, endorsement of their beliefs based on their own thoughts and ideas, just like crazy charismania, and those of their own books, yet NOTHING – NOTHING is said of the bible unless it is to twist the scriptures to say what they believe it should say in a tag line “there is more to Jesus than Savior”. Yes, for them because He has become something else out of their own creation! How far they have drifted from the truth.

Yes, we do see more and more a coming together of these “rivers” as they flow away farther and farther from the throne of our God.

Roger Oakland – Another Jesus

2 Corinthians 11:3-4   But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-you may well put up with it!

We know there is “another Jesus” embraced throughout Charismania. Here we find still another Jesus in Catholicism. Both deceptive movements are experience-based, both having false signs and wonders to deceive, both designed to take its followers far from the truth in Christ. I’ve learned quite a bit tonight watching this teaching. I hope and pray you do as well.

ANOTHER JESUS: The Eucharistic Christ, A New Evangelization

A seven part video teaching by Roger Oakland~~

IDH77 — March 12, 2010 — Roger Oakland Of Understandthetimes(dot)com talks about the false Jesus of Roman Catholicism, sometimes referred to as the “wafer god”.

Part one:

Part two:

Part three:

Part four:

Part five:

Part six

Part seven:

A Word on Elitism

Anyone who has done reading on my blog knows that I warn against spiritual elitism. I have put up several articles regarding Mother Teresa following this post. I did not do it to trash an old woman. I did it because I believe that NONE of us are above reproach in any sense of the phrase. MT has been held in very high regard for a long period of time. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She has an impeccable reputation except by those who knew her best. The point I am making in presenting the articles that follow is to remind us again not to esteem any one person so highly. Many things she believed in and taught are not truly biblical. So we need to be careful of the pedestal we put people on.

Christianity is trashed because of our inability to remain focused on who’s who. No one died for us but Jesus Christ. He is the only one who is high and lifted up. He is the only way to God, not through works, but salvation alone. I truly hope this woman repented and is now with Jesus.

Mother Teresa’s Letters

(CBS) link here

In life, Mother Teresa was an icon — for believers — of God’s work on Earth. Her ministry to the poor of Calcutta was a world-renowned symbol of religious compassion. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In a rare interview in 1986, Mother Teresa told CBS News she had a calling, based on unquestioned faith.

“They are all children of God, loved and created by the same heart of God,” she said.

But now, it has emerged that Mother Teresa was so doubtful of her own faith that she feared being a hypocrite, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips.

In a new book that compiles letters she wrote to friends, superiors and confessors, her doubts are obvious.

Shortly after beginning work in Calcutta’s slums, the spirit left Mother Teresa.

“Where is my faith?” she wrote. “Even deep down… there is nothing but emptiness and darkness… If there be God — please forgive me.”

Eight years later, she was still looking to reclaim her lost faith.

“Such deep longing for God… Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal,” she said.

As her fame increased, her faith refused to return. Her smile, she said, was a mask.

“What do I labor for?” she asked in one letter. “If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true.”

“These are letters that were kept in the archbishop’s house,” the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk told Phillips.

The letters were gathered by Rev. Kolodiejchuk, the priest who’s making the case to the Vatican for Mother Teresa’s proposed sainthood. He said her obvious spiritual torment actually helps her case.

“Now we have this new understanding, this new window into her interior life, and for me this seems to be the most heroic,” said Rev. Kolodiejchuk.

According to her letters, Mother Teresa died with her doubts. She had even stopped praying, she once said.

The church decided to keep her letters, even though one of her dying wishes was that they be destroyed. Perhaps now we know why.

India has no reason to be grateful to Mother Teresa

Posted May 13, 2010

Sanal Edamaruku
13 May , 2010
Mukto Mona
Source Link

“India, especially Calcutta, is seen as the main beneficiary of Mother Teresa’s legendary ‘good work’ for the poor that made her the most famous Catholic of our times, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner and a living saint. Evaluating what she has actually done here, I think, India has no reason to be grateful to her”, said Sanal Edamaruku, Secretary General of the Indian Rationalist Association and President of Rationalist International in a statement on the occasion of her beatification today. The statement continues:

Mother Teresa has given a bad name to Calcutta, painting the beautiful, interesting, lively and culturally rich Indian metropolis in the colors of dirt, misery, hopelessness and death. Styled into the big gutter, it became the famous backdrop for her very special charitable work. Her order is only one among more than 200 charitable organizations, which try to help the slum-dwellers of Calcutta to build a better future. It is locally not very visible or active. But tall claims like the absolutely baseless story of her slum school for 5000 children have brought enormous international publicity to her institutions. And enormous donations!

Mother Teresa has collected many, many millions (some say: billions) of Dollars in the name of India’s paupers (and many, many more in the name of paupers in the other “gutters” of the world). Where did all this money go? It is surely not used to improve the lot of those, for whom it was meant. The nuns would hand out some bowls of soup to them and offer shelter and care to some of the sick and suffering. The richest order in the world is not very generous, as it wants to teach them the charm of poverty. “The suffering of the poor is something very beautiful and the world is being very much helped by the nobility of this example of misery and suffering,” said Mother Teresa. Do we have to be grateful for this lecture of an eccentric billionaire?

The legend of her Homes for the Dying has moved the world to tears. Reality, however, is scandalous: In the overcrowded and primitive little homes, many patients have to share a bed with others. Though there are many suffering from tuberculosis, AIDS and other highly infectious illnesses, hygiene is no concern. The patients are treated with good words and insufficient (sometimes outdated) medicines, applied with old needles, washed in lukewarm water. One can hear the screams of people having maggots tweezered from their open wounds without pain relief. On principle, strong painkillers are even in hard cases not given. According to Mother Teresa’s bizarre philosophy, it is “the most beautiful gift for a person that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ”. Once she tried to comfort a screaming sufferer: “You are suffering, that means Jesus is kissing you!” The man got furious and screamed back: “Then tell your Jesus to stop kissing.”

When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Price, she used the opportunity of her worldwide telecast speech in Oslo to declare abortion the greatest evil in the world and to launch a fiery call against population control. Her charitable work, she admitted, was only part of her big fight against abortion and population control. This fundamentalist position is a slap in the face of India and other Third World Countries, where population control is one of the main keys for development and progress and social transformation. Do we have to be grateful to Mother Teresa for leading this worldwide propagandist fight against us with the money she collected in our name?

Mother Teresa did not serve the poor in Calcutta, she served the rich in the West. She helped them to overcome their bad conscience by taking billions of Dollars from them. Some of her donors were dictators and criminals, who tried to white wash their dirty vests. Mother Teresa revered them for a price. Most of her supporters, however, were honest people with good intentions and a warm heart, who fall for the illusion that the “Saint of the Gutter” was there to wipe away all tears and end all misery and undo all injustice in the world. Those in love with an illusion often refuse to see reality.

Mother Teresa’s House of Illusions

Article taken from Moriel – here.

How She Harmed Her Helpers As Well As Those They ‘Helped’

by Susan Shields
The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine,  Volume 18, Number 1

Some years after I became a Catholic, I joined Mother Teresa’s congregation, the Missionaries of Charity. I was one of her sisters for nine and a half years, living in the Bronx, Rome, and San Francisco, until I became disillusioned and left in May 1989. As I reentered the world, I slowly began to unravel the tangle of lies in which I had lived. I wondered how I could have believed them for so long.

Three of Mother Teresa’s teachings that are fundamental to her religious congregation are all the more dangerous because they are believed so sincerely by her sisters. Most basic is the belief that as long as a sister obeys she is doing God’s will. Another is the belief that the sisters have leverage over God by choosing to suffer. Their suffering makes God very happy. He then dispenses more graces to humanity. The third is the belief that any attachment to human beings, even the poor being served, supposedly interferes with love of God and must be vigilantly avoided or immediately uprooted. The efforts to prevent any attachments cause continual chaos and confusion, movement and change in the congregation. Mother Teresa did not invent these beliefs – they were prevalent in religious congregations before Vatican II – but she did everything in her power (which was great) to enforce them.

Once a sister has accepted these fallacies she will do almost anything. She can allow her health to be destroyed, neglect those she vowed to serve, and switch off her feelings and independent thought. She can turn a blind eye to suffering, inform on her fellow sisters, tell lies with ease, and ignore public laws and regulations.

Women from many nations joined Mother Teresa in the expectation that they would help the poor and come closer to God themselves. When I left, there were more than 3,000 sisters in approximately 400 houses scattered throughout the world. Many of these sisters who trusted Mother Teresa to guide them have become broken people. In the face of overwhelming evidence, some of them have finally admitted that their trust has been betrayed, that God could not possibly be giving the orders they hear. It is difficult for them to decide to leave – their self-confidence has been destroyed, and they have no education beyond what they brought with them when they joined. I was one of the lucky ones who mustered enough courage to walk away.

It is in the hope that others may see the fallacy of this purported way to holiness that I tell a little of what I know. Although there are relatively few tempted to join Mother Teresa’s congregation of sisters, there are many who generously have supported her work because they do not realize how her twisted premises strangle efforts to alleviate misery. Unaware that most of the donations sit unused in her bank accounts, they too are deceived into thinking they are helping the poor.

As a Missionary of Charity, I was assigned to record donations and write the thank-you letters. The money arrived at a frantic rate. The mail carrier often delivered the letters in sacks. We wrote receipts for checks of $50,000 and more on a regular basis. Sometimes a donor would call up and ask if we had received his check, expecting us to remember it readily because it was so large. How could we say that we could not recall it because we had received so many that were even larger?

When Mother spoke publicly, she never asked for money, but she did encourage people to make sacrifices for the poor, to “give until it hurts.” Many people did – and they gave it to her. We received touching letters from people, sometimes apparently poor themselves, who were making sacrifices to send us a little money for the starving people in Africa, the flood victims in Bangladesh, or the poor children in India. Most of the money sat in our bank accounts.

The flood of donations was considered to be a sign of God’s approval of Mother Teresa’s congregation. We were told by our superiors that we received more gifts than other religious congregations because God was pleased with Mother, and because the Missionaries of Charity were the sisters who were faithful to the true spirit of religious life.

Most of the sisters had no idea how much money the congregation was amassing. After all, we were taught not to collect anything. One summer the sisters living on the outskirts of Rome were given more crates of tomatoes than they could distribute. None of their neighbors wanted them because the crop had been so prolific that year. The sisters decided to can the tomatoes rather than let them spoil, but when Mother found out what they had done she was very displeased. Storing things showed lack of trust in Divine Providence.

The donations rolled in and were deposited in the bank, but they had no effect on our ascetic lives and very little effect on the lives of the poor we were trying to help. We lived a simple life, bare of all superfluities. We had three sets of clothes, which we mended until the material was too rotten to patch anymore. We washed our own clothes by hand. The never-ending piles of sheets and towels from our night shelter for the homeless we washed by hand, too. Our bathing was accomplished with only one bucket of water. Dental and medical checkups were seen as an unnecessary luxury.

Mother was very concerned that we preserve our spirit of poverty. Spending money would destroy that poverty. She seemed obsessed with using only the simplest of means for our work. Was this in the best interests of the people we were trying to help, or were we in fact using them as a tool to advance our own “sanctity?” In Haiti, to keep the spirit of poverty, the sisters reused needles until they became blunt. Seeing the pain caused by the blunt needles, some of the volunteers offered to procure more needles, but the sisters refused.

We begged for food and supplies from local merchants as though we had no resources. On one of the rare occasions when we ran out of donated bread, we went begging at the local store. When our request was turned down, our superior decreed that the soup kitchen could do without bread for the day.

It was not only merchants who were offered a chance to be generous. Airlines were requested to fly sisters and air cargo free of charge. Hospitals and doctors were expected to absorb the costs of medical treatment for the sisters or to draw on funds designated for the religious. Workmen were encouraged to labor without payment or at reduced rates. We relied heavily on volunteers who worked long hours in our soup kitchens, shelters, and day camps.

A hard-working farmer devoted many of his waking hours to collecting and delivering food for our soup kitchens and shelters. “If I didn’t come, what would you eat?” he asked.

Our Constitution forbade us to beg for more than we needed, but, when it came to begging, the millions of dollars accumulating in the bank were treated as if they did not exist.

For years I had to write thousands of letters to donors, telling them that their entire gift would be used to bring God’s loving compassion to the poorest of the poor. I was able to keep my complaining conscience in check because we had been taught that the Holy Spirit was guiding Mother. To doubt her was a sign that we were lacking in trust and, even worse, guilty of the sin of pride. I shelved my objections and hoped that one day I would understand why Mother wanted to gather so much money, when she herself had taught us that even storing tomato sauce showed lack of trust in Divine Providence.


For nearly a decade, Susan Shields was a Missionaries of Charity sister. She played a key role in Mother Teresa’s organization until she resigned.