Sick of taking responsibility for the shitty things that have happened to you in your life? Help is on the way, in the virginal and strangely vacant form of three Bible-thumping teenage exorcists from Phoenix, Arizona. Eighteen-year-old Brynne Larson and her friends Tess and Savannah Sherkenback (18 and 21, respectively) claim to be able to confront the demons lurking inside traumatized people and draw them out using nothing more than a crucifix and a few choice words. But are these teenage exorcists really empowered by the Almighty, or merely by Brynne's father, a failed televangelist named Reverend Bob?

Reverend Bob? Please say it isn't so --

And the Emmy goes to --?

Or not --

Tags: (Larson), Bob, Rev., exorcists, teen

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I think I know why. It's because when you do believe exorcisms work, then you fall for guys like this one who shamelessly exploit it for money.

There are plenty of genuine, honest Christians out there who believe in demons. There are probably plenty of honest people who have prayed against demons, or even done exorcisms. But there's no way this guy is anything more than a charlatan. He looks fake, he talks fake, and he website is nothing but a list of ways you can pay him to pray for you.

People wind up wasting a lot of money on preachers like this. They should be spending that money on things that will really help them, or giving it to charities if they have nothing better to do. Even dumping tons of money into the offering at a local church, as much as atheists might dislike it, would be more useful than giving it to fakes and crooks.

During a time spent in Colorado, I knew a young couple who wanted to get married, but had no money. Every minister they had contacted, had told them they charged a fee, ranging anywhere from $35 - $50, neither of which the kids had. Should they have rethought marriage? Probably, but when was the last time a kid actually listened to anything?

Ultimately, I found a Black preacher who told me, "My god don't work for money."

What this bloke has to watch out for, is one of his daughters, breaking rank, and coming out it is a scam,like ex scientlologists, ex mormons ex catholics, ex Westboro.

Or worse - getting pregnant and claiming, "de debbil made me do it!"

And then there is the ever-present exorcist molester.

I lived next door to this guy for years. He was becoming some sort of priestly rock star before it all hit the fan, but it all adds up to me.

Looks like Opie Taylor, all grown up --

A lawsuit accuses Reverend Thomas Euteneuer of sexually abusing a troubled woman who came to him for spiritual guidance
The real question is how gullible could those women have been?

There is one thing I like about exorcism, and I only like it as a writer. In the exorcism service (the Catholic one, anyway) there is the exhortation "Save your servant."

I love that.l I'll watch any Catholic exorcism movie simply waiting to hear those words.

I'm not sure if it refers to the one being exorcised or the priest, but I just love those words.

If you look up the words to the sacrament of exorcism, there is some powerful language in there, so no wonder some people feel (wrongly, of course) that it is accomplishing something. 

It's the power of the pen, or laptop.

I'm so happy that Anderson Cooper clip is included.

You know, I've gone up and down on believing in demons and exorcisms when I was a Christian. For a time I really did believe demons were real, and could influence people, and that you sometimes needed to pray against them and protect yourself from them.

I probably would have believed video #2 there, that shows the actual exorcism. I would have thought it might not be true, but mostly just be amazed at the spiritual forces on display.

But "Rev. Bob's" appearance would give me pause. A protestant preacher wearing a crucifix and a catholic priest's white collar thingy? That strikes me as ...I don't know, style over substance, trying to appeal to the most basic pop-cultural idea of what a religious man should look like.

And then you visit his website,

Reverend Bob poses with a bible in one hand and a big silver cross in the other, making his very best serious face. He doesn't look like a preacher; he looks like a performer. You read his website that suggests you take the test, and then buy counseling services from him based on that. Okay, I'm thinking, I wonder what the questions will be like? Will they be slanted so that you almost always "need" the counseling?

I was expecting a web form when I clicked "take the test". Instead, I found another description of why I should take the test, and a PayPal button. All this time, he's implied he has a free online test that can detect a demon, and instead he's trying to sell me the test for $10.

Put yourself in a Christian's shoes for a few minutes. Assume demons are real, and can oppress people, and Christians who believe in Jesus have been granted the power to overcome those demons. What is the best way for a Christian to help the oppressed? Does he offer an online set of guidelines about what demonic possession/power is, so that people can be better informed? Does he link to helpful Bible verses, or tell the victims to pray? Does he encourage you to go to a local church, where a pastor might actually care about you as a person and develop a relationship so he can learn how to truly meet your needs, and bring you the healing you need? No, clearly the best way Jesus wanted him to use this free gift he's been given is to turn it into a money-making venture for himself, so that he can send all the profits to the "ministry."

I'm pretty certain no Christian at all should fall for this. So why do they? If Jesus ever needed to come out in a rage and overturn the tables of the moneychangers, it would be now.

Robert Tilton

Headquarters: Miami

Reach: He once ran his Farmers Branch Church in Dallas before scandal toppled it in the early 1990s. His show now airs on Black Entertainment Television and has a potential audience of 74 million homes.

Wealth: He is building a two-story home on a $1.39 million oceanfront lot on an island in Biscayne Bay off Miami Beach, and his ministry owns a 50-foot yacht. His ministry takes in about $24 million a year.

In the news: Tilton is rebounding after his ministry collapsed in scandal a decade ago amid news reports that prayer requests he said he personally prayed over were found in a trash bin after the money, food stamps and rings had been removed.

Benny Hinn

Headquarters: Grapevine, Texas

Reach: Hinn's "This is Your Day" program is seen throughout the United States and in nearly 200 foreign countries.

Wealth: The ministry took in $60 million in 2001. A news story earlier this year in the Colorado Springs Gazette said annual income now exceeds $90 million. Hinn told CNN in 1997 that he drew an annual salary of $500,000 to $1 million a year. He has a $3.5 million home in the Los Angeles area and drives an $80,000 Mercedes-Benz G500.

In the news: A "Dateline" segment on NBC examined five of Hinn's faith-healing "miracles," showing that none of the people was cured and that one woman with lung cancer died nine months later.

Peter Popoff               

People United for Christ is soliciting donations via direct mail, television and its Web site in exchange for prayer. At ministry conventions during the 1980s, the ministry's founder, Peter Popoff, routinely and accurately stated home addresses and illnesses of audience members — a feat he wanted people to believe was due to divine revelations, the BBB says.

However, aides actually had gathered the info during earlier conversations with the audience. Popoff would simply listen to these promptings with an in-ear receiver and repeat what he heard back to the crowd. He also featured wheelchair-bound audience members who were miraculously healed. It was later shown that these people only pretended they couldn't walk. Popoff is now resuming his faith healing sessions on late night TV, selling "Miracle Spring Water."

I could spend days, putting together pages of these frauds, but I think you get the idea.

They all hold up the cross, is that a threat to crucify someone or are they fighting vampires? Don't they know what the cross was used for? It was a thing of torture, why do they hold on to it so fervently?  Why would anyone hold that so dear to their ideals? It's like something from the land of fairytales and magic.


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