"EXORCISTS FROM MURMANSK" – NEW VIDEO ATTACK ON PROTESTANT DENOMINATION
New “anti-sectarian” video containing a "revelatory interview" was released recently by severpost.ru, Murmansk-based media center:
The video was accompanied by the following article:
“Expulsion of the demon of hypertension and poverty, expulsion of the spirit of depression, treatment of cancer and severe osteoarthrosis by way of laying-on of hands — all this, along with the onset of success and happiness, is promised by a new sect which initiated its activities in Murmansk Region. To begin with, let’s make a reservation: in this context “sect” is a theological term. A section of “Revival” Spiritual Center reached the polar region. Initially they “captured” the town of Kovdor and now they are settling down in Murmansk.
According to one of the visitors of this organization’s meetings interviewed by SeverPost, people come to such meetings to drink tea, pray in their own peculiar way, share their woes with each other and contribute their tithes.
“The pastor says: let’s pray for him, he will be passing an exam today. So everyone prays. They repeat the words “light” and “joy” in chorus... Many old people are present there, but quite a few youngsters as well. Everyone can drive the demons out of oneself – the demons of poverty, anger... various demons”, says the visitor.
The scheme is a simple one – pay your tithe in time and you may not fear any demon. Online meetings via Skype and mass field “college studies” where pastors exorcise demons and “perform miraculous services” on large scale are used by the organization.
“In relation to this organization I can make reference to Ostap Bender who used relatively legitimate methods of parting people and their money. Now this is the case of relatively illegitimate methods of the same. This movement exploits the people’s interest towards Christianity in a broad sense. They had formerly discredited themselves in the cases related to Pentecostals. Now they use another set of methods targeted at their flock, their adherents. New mind manipulation techniques are used by them: Ericsson hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming etc. It is a whole system of incorporating a human being into a certain behavioral scheme which is imposed on him externally, but these techniques create an impression that he has placed himself into such scheme out of his own will and intent”, notes Anton Tuchkov, Head of Religious Education and Catechesis of Murmansk and Monchegorsk Diocese.
Numerous videos published in the Web show the meeting and “college sessions” of “Revival Spiritual Center: jam-packed auditoriums with people crying, singing and rolling on the floor.
“Everything is simple. See how crowded the premises are: stale air, sultriness. They usually keep the windows closed in order to put people into subconscious state. The pastor rushes from one side of the stage to the other — the crowd tries to imitate his movements in a swinging motion. Singing, shouting, same words repeated time and again make up a certain breathing rhythm, so people push themselves into trance. Reaching the climax, they may swallow anything, be it Michael Jackson’s second coming or Elvis Presley being the only true god. Psychiatrists refer to the phenomenon when an individual’s physical condition improves for a short while with the mobilization of physical strength and moral courage taking place. I should stress the words “short while””, comments an expert in neuro-linguistic programming after viewing the video footage of Revival’ s meetings.
Revival’s website is full of videos about cases of miraculous cure. Well-staged eight-minute films tell all those stories of immediate medical treatment that may seem impossible from the viewpoint of common sense. They show a woman suffering from severe osteoporosis with the joint completely destroyed by the disease as seen on an X-ray shot. But when the pastor touches her she stands up on her feet. Now there’s a couple who lost their teenage son. The spirit of depression is being forced out of them.
There is a lady in the auditorium left by her husband, and it seems to be the end of their marriage. But God reverses the devil’s verdict and removes the curse that caused this situation. “At that time I shouted against my will. I fell on the floor in tears and the men from the group in charge of order made me stand up again and led me to the stage for prayers, and as soon as I got there something inconceivable started happening to me. Pastor Vladimir read his prayer and I felt free”, this is how one of the participants of a “college session” shares her impressions of it. This lady does not even bother to think that there should be at least one planted wife among thousands of people in the hall.
One of the videos shows the pastor loudly reading his “prayer”, passing by a row of people and touching each one of them — women start tumbling down and the pastor’s aides can hardly stop them from doing it. They cry and tremble. Men are more “steadfast”, the explanation lies in their psychology. In general, all this reminds one of the sessions of psychic healers Kashpirovsky and Chumak in their heyday, but on a larger scale: in Ukraine the sect fills up concert halls and stadiums and their field seminars last for weeks.
“When an individual is in such state, endorphins, the substances that bring euphoria, are intensively injected into blood. One experiences a feeling of joy, a surge of energy and enthusiasm. But all this is inevitably followed by a severe depression and a desire to bring the happy feeling back. An individual thinks that this is the only source of positive emotions and becomes an addict of some sort of psychological drug”, states Anton Tuchkov.
But so far, Pastor Vladimir heals everything that turns up by chance: he exorcises the demon of hypertension, the evil spirit of ovarian cancer and calls upon every tumor to wither in the name of Jesus.
“Every human being is an architect of his or her own fortunes and is free to decide what should be done. You either go and make use of an efficient methodology which has been specially worked out, tested and approved in accordance with various standards, or go and make use of the services of some obscure individuals, being governed by allegations of miracles. As a doctor, I take a negative attitude towards such organizations and such activities”, says Oleg Mitin, Director of Pirogov Medical and Surgical Center in Murmansk and Member of Murmansk Regional Parliament.
As for the spiritual and religious contents, don’t be misled by the name of God worshipped by the adherents of “Revival” Spiritual Center. Collective trance, dancing and energy charges – such practices are not used in the Orthodoxy, and all experts are unanimous in this opinion. However, you just have to see Pastor Muntyan murmuring “Hallelujah, Hallelujah” to become aware that this has little to do with the Orthodox faith.
“This is extremely dangerous, and the danger may even be a physiological one. For example, some two decades ago one of such charismatic sects active in Sweden decided to conduct an inquiry among its disciples. It turned out that the number of suicides in this sect considerably exceeded the number of suicides outside it. They exploit the desire of a human being to be healthy and happy. If it does not work – there is only one way out. And again, it comes to the healing from everything by way of laying-on of hands. So many people have died and so many have found themselves penniless and homeless, but only now the law enforcement agencies are starting to deal with this”, says Anton Tuchkov.
Experts note that all charismatic sects have very attractive names that bring about positive and invigorating emotions. But they all have only one goal, that is to make money. By no mere chance Mikhail Koval, Murmansk-based pastor, praises his “God” at such meetings:
“I have not been buying any clothes since my release from prison. I bought two t-shirts, but not for my money. God gives me everything: trunks, socks, trousers and jackets. I am shocked! I say to God: maybe, I should buy something on my own. But seasons change and God gives me clothes again and again.”
In order to ensure such generosity on the part of God some people have to pay their tithe for a chimerical miracle like recovery from cancer of paralysis.