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I am currently working with a person who is a very functional SRA survivor. Last weekend we worked with her through a memory where her grandfather (a pastor, seems this is several generations ongoing) had done some very horrible things to her and she was required to do some bad things as well. As some other survivors I have worked with, her poetry reveals much of the abuse she has suffered and also the names of some of her alters. This one had been mentioned as "No one." All along I have been receiving occasional emails from one of her alters which seemed to be a protecting part in that she is threatening me and the person herself and one email stated that when she (the person herself) finds out that she did these terrible things reported in the memory, that she will kill herself. As I walked with her through the memory it was my opinion that everything she said she did was a setup by the perpetrator and I do not believe she was guilty of anything. However, she has since asked if she should not report what she has remembered to the authorities. She grieved and did some deep sobbing, on our floor, but hours later was able to read the email, from a month ago, that I mentioned and handled it like a healed memory. I am just asking for your words of wisdom to reassure her that since there is no proof, and she is not guilty, that you would write your take on this to affirm what I have told her. Thank you so much. Ed Smith's response: This is not advise but merely opinion and my limited perspective. First, read the guidelines that I wrote this past year concerning working with people who report SRA memory. This is in the new revised (2005) edition of the Basic Seminar Manual in the chapter on bringing TPM into the church. Especially note the section on networking with your local authorities, educating yourself on what you need to make known etc. and the section that addresses you the facilitator living in your own reality and not that of the person. Second, It is important that this woman know that what she remembers is not necessarily based upon what really happened but rather on what she was allowed to remember. There is a big difference in the two but the trauma will be the same. If what she is reporting has even a measure of reality to it then logic itself would tell you that these sort of perpetrators would never allow her to know the truth and that there would be much fabrication put in her mind as well. The truth is, she really does not know what is true and what is not but only that she has memory and real pain resulting in the terrible place that she finds herself. There is a good chance that she may not even know for certain that the identities of her perpetrators are accurate. Why would the real person want her to know or even let her know who he or she was. However, these people would be interested in her falsely accusing others by leading her to believe it was someone like her grandfather when in fact it was someone else. Help her to hold loosely the identities that she surfaces. You be very careful that you are not making accusation or assuming someone is bad when in fact you do not know. The bottom line is, she probably has little to no court proof evidence to back up any confession or claim about what happened. Nevertheless, memory is what we remember not necessarily what really happened. And it is in what we "remember" that we are held captive to our pain. Whatever she has remembered is her memory and thus reality no matter how such remembrance was accomplished. Trauma is still trauma even if it was based upon a fabrication or a misunderstanding. What is most important is her freedom from the lie-based pain that is controlling her life. I encourage people to move toward the Lord and His truth and find peace and not obsess themselves with knowing what did or did not happen. If she has a way to find out what happened then this might be helpful but it has been my experience that this is usually not possible. As far as her confessing what she thinks she did as a child to the authorities, she will need to be able to produce real evidence before they will have interest. Her memory without concrete evidence is not evidence. If she cannot produce tangible material evidence then they will probably view her as "troubled" and you as an implanter of false memory. She may never know what really has happened to her and those who hurt her may never be found out in this life, but she can know His freedom and peace. You might have her to focus on the emotion that is driving her to confess. Have the Lord minister to her in this area. However, do check with your local authorities about what is required of you as far as reporting child abuse and abuse with the elderly etc. I have several suggestions in the guidelines that you may want to consider in this area. If you have not read the guidelines that I wrote last year about working with SRA I would encourage you to do so. read especially the part about you the facilitator living in his or her own reality and not the reality of the person with the reported memory. The way you described this person's experience above seemed to be from the perspective of fact when you probably do not know such to be so. This does not mean that you do not believe that something terrible has happened to this person, it simply means that you do not know what happened. Her reported memory is not "fact" it is only what she remembers. You really do not know what is indeed the truth. Unless you have court proof evidence it is imperative that you live in what you KNOW to be the truth. The moment that you embrace what they report as though it was fact it will have an emotional impact on you that will dictate how you live your own life. This is a hard line to draw but an important one. Be careful. In Christ Ed Smith General Overview of SRA Ministry If you are ministering to a person who has reported SRA memory; 1. Do not act on the belief that you must do something NOW. Actually time is on your side. Protecting the person is a misnomer and something that you need not do nor can you do. They are probably not in any danger apart from that which they permit and allow to happen. Any urgency, panic or anxiety you feel is probably not based upon truth. Slow down if you are able. 2. The "victim" is making all the decisions about their freedom. Your physical intervention (confronting the accused, protecting the victim, etc.) will probably not do much good and may come back on you rather than help. 3. Follow the SRA Ministry Session Guidelines that are included in this document. Practice the Basic principles of TPM when offering ministry with those who surface SRA memory and do not get caught up in the complexity of dissociation. 4. Refer all dissociated people to an independent mental health professional and work in concert with their professional expertise. It is not wise to take on doing ministry with a dissociated person as a lay minister without professional supervision. 5. Always operate within the tangible truth and not in what you think might be true or plausible. You only know what you really know. It is easy to be swept away by circumstantial evidence that lacks credible support. BE VERY CAUTIOUS. 6. Try hard NOT to act on impulsiveness, anxiety or any other lie-based feelings. Be very careful not to act on information that came solely from the reports of SRA people. Not all that is reported is accurate and may be intentionally tainted and unreliable. ONLY act on that which you KNOW to be factual and what would hold up in court. Everything else should be viewed as questionable. 7. Do not make accusations based upon a dissociated person's memory. It is very easy to draw conclusions based upon bits and pieces of inconclusive evidence and "memory" from a dissociated person. Only operate on what you KNOW to be fact. A person's memory is probably not substantial or credible evidence and in some cases may be intentionally filled with misinformation. 8. Slow things down. Any panic to something quickly is probably not the Lord's timing. Be very careful to only act on court proof evidence and not assumptions. Do not do anything that is NOT grounded in genuine peace. To do otherwise could have undesirable outcomes. 9. Receive your own personal ministry on a regular basis for any emotions being exposed from doing this ministry. IF YOU ARE NOT GETTING ON GOING PERSONAL MINISTRY DO NOT DO MINISTRY WITH SRA. You will be limited in your effectiveness, objectivity and clarity to the degree that you are operating from your own lie-based pain. SRA GUIDELINES There are several VERY IMPORTANT things to keep in mind as you enter into this area of ministry. Note: Not everything I say in this section applies to ALL people who report SRA memories. This is a general guide that is based upon my own personal experience. It is not my intent to categorize people into these generalities. The people with whom you minister may not fit within this discussion. Please keep this in mind and respond accordingly. However, read this section carefully and keep it for later reference. 1. Operate in the arena of tangible truth. This is by far the most important guideline that you MUST follow, lest you quickly find yourself in a very bad place. Live your life in the world of the tangible truth, not in the victim’s reported reality. This is not to discredit what a person may believe has happened to them. Nevertheless, you only know what you know. Live in the arena of what you DO know and only that. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, but do not place your trust the person you minister to. Regard what the victim says as a possible, but very likely a tainted reality. Never assume that you will not be betrayed somewhere along the way. As you are given information by the one reporting the SRA memory, ask yourself this question, “Do I know without a doubt (based on hard core physical evidence) that what has been told me is indeed fact, or is it only this person’s reality?” Then live your life based on what is tangible fact and do ministry in the person’s reality, whatever it may be. If you find yourself living in the person’s reported reality, you may find yourself feeling, acting, and governed by that which may or may not be entirely true. Avoid this at all costs. Never assume that the information surfacing in a victim’s memory is totally accurate or even accurate at all. Unless you have evidence of crimes committed that would hold up in court, do not take any action. It is easy to be caught up in the victim’s reality. Operate on tangible truth. Let your goal be to lead the wounded person to the presence of Jesus for His truth and peace. Whether what they have reported concerning the details in their memories are true or not, if you lead them to freedom from the lies they hold, a great victory has been won. If what they have reported is not totally accurate but is infested with lie-based thinking and they find freedom, this is still God’s purpose. If the victim identifies others as victims, DO NOT seek to expose, rescue, or inform such people with this information. People move toward freedom by choice. If you run ahead, you very may create major problems. It is not your job to convince anyone of anything. In doing so, you may very well be caught up in falsehood yourself. Let what is reported be what it is, the person’s reality. 2. Be certain it is God’s purpose that you do this area of ministry. Not everyone is called to do ministry such as Theophostic Prayer Ministry, especially with people who report deep trauma. Over the years I have consistently noticed a significant number of people at our trainings who are very deeply wounded themselves, even though they seem to have little awareness of it. I encourage you to stop and seriously look inside to see what is driving your desire to minister to others in emotional pain. You may be operating out of pain rather than peace. If you have any unresolved traumatic memory (especially SRA memory). DO NOT take this training until you have arrived at perfect peace in your own painful memories. You are expected, and it is critically important, to continue from this baseline in receiving ministry on a regular basis. I rarely go through a day without stopping somewhere along the way to find mind renewal. The Lord exposes me nearly every day in some area of my thinking. If you are not aware of your ongoing need for mind renewal and ministry, then you may be deceiving yourself. Doing ministry with SRA people may expose you very quickly. This area of ministry may expose your own lie-based pain in ways you have not experienced before. The danger is that some people never recognize their own need for ministry and thus operate out of pain, frustration, fear, stress, and anxiety, all the while blaming it on others and the situation. Secure a person who can offer you ministry on a regular basis. Unfortunate (and unnecessary) things tend to occur in the context of emotionally wounded facilitators who get exposed and are not in a position to seek ministry and/or be accountable to others. If you enter into ministry with a person reporting SRA memories and have not found resolution for your own deep pain, you may be a disaster waiting to happen. 3. If you are certain that you have been called to minister with the deeply wounded, equip yourself well to do the ministry. Do not limit your ministry training to Theophostic Prayer Ministry alone. Become informed by seeking out other avenues of training that can make you more balanced and equipped. At the same time, be aware that there are some sources that are questionable. Avoid the extreme views going in any direction. Know that there are many opinions out there and some very strange things being taught. Use great discernment when deciding on what course you will take. It is my belief that you should avoid the “global conspiracy” positions, teachings that believe it is all about spiritual warfare and especially the mystical other-dimensional perspectives. People are not held captive by the spirit world, rather by their own thinking. There may be demons involved, but every demon is connected to the person’s on belief and choice. The bottom line to keep in mind when working with highly dissociative traumatized people is that everything that they are presenting is rooted in a real life situation stored in memory. Within these memories are beliefs that they are holding. These beliefs are what keep all dissociation, programming and behavior in place. Everything rests on the memory containing the belief. As people are able to embrace what is contained in their memory, identify the belief they are holding, release the pain connected to it and hold it all up to the Lord, they will find release. This is a long-term process that only the Lord can undo. 4. If you are a pastor, only allow people who are spiritually mature and emotionally strong to do this level of ministry. This area of ministry should not be done by the spiritually/emotionally immature or the new Christian. I encourage all pastors and church leaders to be slow in selecting who will do ministry and who will not. Often the ones who are most eager are the ones the least ready to do it. Set up the ministry so that you are provided with ways of releasing people from ministry if they do not work out. Develop clear guidelines that must be followed and high standards that must be met. If people cannot operate within these, have enough mind renewal of your own to deal with them in a loving but firm manner. It is better that you not have a ministry to wounded people than to have ill-equipped people doing ministry. 5. Take the time up-front before doing ministry with people reporting SRA to build a good infrastructure in your ministry to support the work you will be offering. Do not hurry starting this type of ministry. Only people who are spiritually mature and seasoned ministers need to enter into this area of ministry. Select your ministers carefully. Also, never hesitate to remove someone from a ministry role if they do not meet this requirement. Allow only those who are equipped with the knowledge of this area to do this ministry. Train, train, and retrain and then supervise those whom you train. Follow the Theophostic Prayer Ministry Guidelines to the letter. Hold every member accountable. Work under the umbrella of either a church or an established ministry structure where there is some measure of accountability. Network with the mental and medical health community to the degree that you are able. If you are a mental health professional, consider connecting with a church with a lay ministry that you can offer help and oversight. It is wise to have the one reporting SRA memory to be required to be relating to someone outside of your ministry team such as a local psychologist, counselor, etc. This is a level of protection for you and your church that may be helpful at some point. Connect with your local law enforcement agency and find out what they desire you do in relationship to them concerning this type of ministry. Find out what they want you to do concerning reporting crimes, identities of potential perpetrators, etc. Know the laws of your area concerning ongoing abuse that may need to be reported, etc. Use consent forms and “hold harmless agreements.” Many of these are available in the book Keeping Your Ministry Out of Court (available at www.theophostic.com). Never keep a secret. The reported victim is held captive by his or her willingness to keep things hidden. You should not participate in this. Let the person know that you will not hide anything that needs to be revealed and report anything that needs to be exposed. This point is important! When developing your infrastructure, make sure that each member of the team is doing only what they need to be doing, avoiding one member doing it all. I would suggest that no single individual be doing both ministry (Theophostic, counseling, memory work, etc.) and also providing personal relationship/encouragement, etc. If one person is expected to be the person’s friend/ emotional support in relationship and also do the ministry, this minister may find him or herself in a difficult position. I fully acknowledge that in some cases this is not so, but I would strongly advise you to avoid mixing the two if at all possible. The minister needs to be able to be emotionally separate with the victim so that they are able to provide effective ministry and not be emotionally torn and distracted should the victim make poor choices (such as deceiving the minister, going back to the occult, betraying trust, etc.). The person doing the day-to-day encouragement, prayer times, and Bible studies may have a hard time not bonding emotionally with the person. While Christian bonding is a good and necessary thing (and what the body of Christ needs to be doing), this may cause difficulty when it is mixed with doing the ministry. Conversely, the one who is doing the relational role should avoid providing ministry and defer this to the designated party. In the psychology world this is called avoiding having a dual relationship. I realize that I have taught a somewhat different perspective in the past, but I have also learned the hard way that spreading the ministry around is the better option. When I first began ministering with SRA people, I felt I had no other option but to do it all. In the early days I could not find anyone willing to help. Today things are better. 6. Do not share information outside the circle of solution. (This principle is an absolute!) Every person has at least one trusted friend that would never tell anyone else…but that friend does too…and so on…. Never discuss what has been revealed in a session with ANYONE who is not a part of the ministry team working specifically with the victim, or who is not is a part of the circle of solution, and certainly not without the permission of the ministry recipient. Should you share confidential information with another, go to this person with whom you shared the information and seek their forgiveness for a wrong committed and ask his or her commitment to maintain the information at all costs. KEEP THE INFORMATION THAT SURFACES WELL CONTAINED. If you fail to do this, there is a good chance that you and your ministry may eventually be discredited. If a person on your ministry team cannot maintain confidentiality, then that person does not need to be a member. 7. Never make accusations of any person unless you have COURT-PROOF evidence. You may have to provide evidence to back up any accusation you may make. If your evidence is solely the report of the person, you may find yourself and the person being discredited. Adopt a wait-and-see attitude. The Lord can expose what He chooses as He chooses. Remember, horrific as it is, the victim’s suffering is temporal. The evil people will suffer for all eternity. Just because a victim says a person is bad does not make it so. It is possible that the evil people would like for you to take action, to come forward with seemingly bizarre and far-fetched accusations, in order to discredit you. However, if you have genuine evidence of crimes committed, do what is legally required of you. 8. Avoid getting caught up in the reported “global conspiracies” and supposed “high ranking” position the victim might believe she holds in the occult, or other non-tangible/verifiable beliefs reported by a victim. There is much reported in this area that has no tangible evidence to support it. Let it be what it is; the person’s reported reality. Do ministry within the reality of the person but live in your own. Just because the person believes that she is a high ranking member of the Illuminati, a member of a One World Order Secret Society, or the high priest over some particular region of the world, it is still only the person’s reported reality. I encourage the person to look for the trauma where this thinking was put in place and not concern myself with what cannot be verified. Even though this information cannot likely be substantiated, it probably has a traumatic root. It is my belief that this type of memory information is implanted to hide the deeper painful places that the person is unwilling to look at. I view this information as a shield or cover that stands in front of the place that needs to be exposed. I encourage the person to move toward the places of pain and allow him to make the discoveries that he needs to make as he is willing to do so. The person will find freedom when she chooses to look at what she has hidden. The grandiose beliefs may be part of the deception to keep the person from ever revealing what she knows. Truth and confession is the way out. Secrecy and denial maintains the bondage. I have found that people move forward when they come clean before God with what they have held hidden. 9. Do not ever stand between the victim and their reported abusers. Your futile attempts in protecting the victim may only cause you to be discredited at some point. It is impossible for you to protect a person from his or her own choices. If the person continues to return to the people she has reported as being perpetrators, you cannot stop this. However, you may have to decide to what extent you are willing to continue ministry. In a normal counseling practice, the counselor does not discontinue counseling simply because a person continues to make poor choices. Know that as long as the behavior continues, this is an indication that the person is hiding something she is unwilling to expose. When enough mind renewal has occurred, the victim can make appropriate choices. It appears that the control the evil people hold over the victim is fear, intimidation, and blackmail. When the victim stands in truth and perfect peace, the evil people will retreat. There are people who get caught up in the panic of trying to keep the victim safe from the “evil people.” This is a futile cycle. If what the victim is reporting is true, it is very sad indeed, but there is really nothing that you can do to protect her from her own choosing. 10. Never assume that the person reporting the abuse is everything he is presenting himself to be. (Please note the disclaimer at the beginning of this section about generalizing all people.) I have worked with some people reporting SRA memories that I came to trust, who later turned out to be completely untrustworthy. I have been lied to, falsely accused, betrayed, and disappointed by some. This is sometimes the nature and reality of working with some people who report having been traumatized by evil people. If what is being reported is true about some of these victims, logic would say then that they may be highly invested in protecting themselves from being exposed. They may even be willing to betray you to keep things secret. What has been reported to me by some people reporting SRA memories is that the things that are the most hidden are not what was done traumatically to them, but rather what they themselves have done. I have come to the place where, even though I may not trust people who report these things, I can still choose to love them and minister to them. I do not believe that these people are themselves evil (even though they may report that they have been involved in evil), but if what they are reporting is true, then their minds have been greatly damaged and influenced. There is a passage of Scripture in the Gospel of John that has helped me live in an untrusting world in a more balanced fashion. After Jesus had done ministry and brought mind renewal into people’s lives, he still held a cautious distance. It says that “when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man” (John 2:23–25). Jesus did not entrust himself to all people. He was selective in whom He trusted. As I serve Him in this ministry, I have learned to do the same. I strongly advise you to be very careful not to extend your hand too far as you minister to people who are reporting the atrocities of SRA. NEVER put yourself in the position of being vulnerable to what the victim may say or do concerning what you are doing in ministry. Be VERY cautious in allowing the person to be too involved in your personal life outside of the ministry session. It is not wise to take them into your home or offer them a place in your inner circle. However, others who are not actually doing the ministry may choose to provide this level of ministry. Avoid the dual role. Always have a reliable witness in your sessions. NEVER minister with the person alone. If at all possible, keep good notes and records of what happens in each session. Keep everything “on the table” and above board. DO NOT keep secrets for the victim. Don’t be the only one who knows what is going on. Be accountable to others in ministry with whom you can report. I am not saying that you should violate confidentiality here. The people with whom you report should be a part of the “circle of solution.” Have them sign off on the “Evaluation of Ministry Received” sheet following EVERY session. Have then sign a “Hold Harmless Agreement” before the first session begins. These are found at the end of chapter eight. Never entertain the thought that you will just be okay or that God will protect you. Use what has been provided for you here. Remember the man who was surrounded by floodwater on all sides while sitting on the top of his house. The water is continually rising. A man comes by with a boat and says, “Get in.” The man replies, “No thanks, I am trusting God to protect me.” Later a man comes by in a helicopter and yells down, “Grab the rope and I will pull you to safety!” The man replies, “No thanks, I am trusting God to help me.” A little later the water engulfs him and he drowns. In heaven he is talking with God and asks, “Why didn’t you help me and save me from drowning?” God’s answer is simply, “I sent you a boat and a helicopter!” Do not put yourself in a position where it might come down to “your word against hers.” Always have a truthful alibi and third party witness to everything you do in relation to the person receiving ministry. As I said in the disclaimer above, I am not in any way seeking to categorize all people into the same box. I only have my own experience to go on. However, guard yourself carefully and know that you only know what you know, and that there may be more happening than you know. 11. Avoid becoming the person’s lifeline. You cannot rescue him from anything. He must rely on the Lord and continually seek Him just as you do. The victim’s captivity is completely held in place by his own belief and choice. If you find yourself believing that you are his hope, way out, or protection, you have been deceived and are in a perpetual double-bind. The victim may either knowingly or unknowingly use this to keep from being responsible and looking at what he does not want to see. He does not need to be rescued, he needs to come clean before God and bring out into the open what he is choosing to hide. All his dissociation, fears, and bondage are held in place by his unwillingness to reveal what has been hidden. This may sound hard to believe, but it is the truth. In the same way that each of us must expose the pain and false beliefs in our life to find freedom, so must the SRA victim. 12. Inform the person receiving ministry of what you are required to report to authorities should they surface information that is self-incriminating (e.g., abused children, crimes, etc). Unless you are an ordained minister and have verified that your state gives you “clergy-penitent” privileges, help the person to confess his or her sin without giving you specific information that would require you to file a report. You do not need to know the details of the person’s memories or sins committed. Help them to look at what she needs to know and see without giving you incriminating information. Should the person start to reveal this sort of information during a session simply asked her to not do this. Have the victim preface her statements with phrases such as “This person said this, did this…” “This man…this woman…” “He did… She did…” Provide a disclaimer on your ministry intake forms and if necessary remind the person of this often. An example disclaimer might be: “Should you reveal information that leads me to believe that children or the elderly have been hurt or other crimes have been committed, I am required by law to report this to the proper authorities.” As stated above, each state has different laws and requirements. For example, some do not require a licensed and/or ordained minister to report, while others do. Know what your state requires. Remind the person from session to session the importance of avoiding statements of self-incrimination and your obligation to report such. You do not need to know the details: ages, identities, etc. However, should the person threaten suicide, show evidence of physical abuse or self-mutilation, or signs of current trauma inflicted upon them, report it to those to whom you are accountable or to the proper authorities. Inform the people with whom you minister that you will report such things should they occur. Do not take on the role of covering or hiding information for the sake of the person. It is secrecy that has gotten her where she is. What is hidden must be brought into the light. 13. Lovingly but firmly keep the person seeking ministry from demanding an exorbitant amount of the time of those offering ministry in your church. Keep the ministry in balance and avoid deeply wounded people from demanding more time than others. This may be hard to do, but it is necessary and best for all. Everyone needs ministry and mind renewal. 14. Watch out for those who may try to plant seeds of dissention in the soil of your church. Not that this is true for all people who report SRA memory (for it is not), but I have found it is true for some. If you discover a trail of upset people or people in conflict around the person receiving ministry, follow the dissention to its source. Never hesitate to expose and air what is happening. Confront where necessary and hold people accountable. Follow the principles of Matthew 18 when doing this. 15. Never place the victim or the ministry before your marriage or family. If the ministry or the victim ever hinders the health and vitality of your marriage/family relationships, you are probably being deceived! Know that God may use the victim to expose, test, and help your marriage grow, but that Satan will also seek to use the victim to destroy it. If you have given your ministry to the SRA priority over your marriage, you have already been deceived and may be close to being “taken out.” If you find yourself being drawn into a relationship with the victim that is less than righteous or one that creates any level of discord or tension in your marriage then you are being deceived. 16. Limit the number of people you minister to with SRA concerns to two at most. Unless you have very strong boundaries and can keep from developing relationships with these people, do not take on more than two at a time. If you can honestly schedule each one to be seen only on a set time and date and your personal schedule is not infringed upon, you will do well. However, even if you can maintain strong boundaries I would not advise ministering to more than two. You need to minister to other issues than SRA lest your world be impacted in a negative way. You do not want SRA to become the way you view the world and people around you. Spending untold hours in the SRA world WILL have a negative effect on your thinking, disposition in life and your view of the rest of the world. Keep it balanced. Not everyone is a victim of SRA, and you do not have to become paranoid always wondering who is a perpetrator and who is not. However, you can easily lose sight of this with too much time invested in the SRA worldview. Trust your friends and associates who may bring this to your attention. Be involved in “normal” activities with “normal” people who have never heard of SRA (and then be careful not to tell them otherwise.)
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