The scourge of church-run recovery programs


The Des Moines Register reports…

“The pastor of a Spencer church has resigned amid questions about a faith-based addiction treatment program he helped run.

Kevin Grimes, 51, was pastor of DaySpring Assembly of God and helped found the Spencer Dream Center, which opened last year. Tom Morse, who is on the boards of the church and the center, said Thursday that Grimes resigned from both organizations Wednesday evening.

“At this moment, that is all I can say,” Morse said, declining comment about Grimes’ reasons for quitting.

Earlier this month, a Des Moines Register story recounted how Dream Center participant Alex Jacobsen tried to commit suicide in January by slashing his throat 10 days after counselors told him to quit taking psychiatric medications prescribed by medical professionals. The story noted the center is unregulated because it is a faith-based program.

Grimes could not be reached for comment Thursday. He told the Register a few weeks ago that Jacobsen’s suicide attempt showed the small program wasn’t equipped to treat mental illness.

He said at the time the program has since changed its rules, so a doctor would have to assure counselors any potential participant had been off mood-altering medications for at least a year. He said he was saddened by Jacobsen’s suicide attempt and grateful that another pastor was able to save the 26-year-old’s life.

Some Iowa psychiatrists and mental health advocates told the Register that programs marketing themselves as drug treatment should at least be prohibited from requiring cessation of psychiatric medications. But Gov. Terry Branstad expressed skepticism about adding regulations on faith-based programs, noting that people have a choice about which programs to attend.

Jacobsen was not immediately available for comment about the pastor’s resignation. The young man’s family recently told the Register he went through treatment at a Sioux City program and has returned home.

Dream Center lawyer Don Hemphill confirmed Grimes had quit the church and the center, but he declined other comment.”



23 thoughts on “The scourge of church-run recovery programs

  1. Wazza. An old professor I had (not Christian at all) gave us teams of reading about the ineffectiveness of psychotherapy.

    Though, if have it if I could afford it. Lol


  2. Christianity has had a bad record with the mentally ill.
    But then again, so has psychiatry…

    Neither has an evidence base (with the exception of CBT) See:

    So whichever one you choose depends on how much faith you have in the respective systems.

    In this essay, I argue that psychiatry, and its handmaiden, clinical psychology, now constitutes an amorphous system of beliefs, behaviors and attitudes whose functions and doctrines are unsettlingly similar to those held by conventional religions. Are psychiatrists the new priests? Are clinics the new confessionals? Are pills the new prayer?

    If Psychiatry is indeed a religion, then it is a little worrying because this religion is not sufficiently separated from the state – it is mixed up with the medical system and it has powers of detention and restraint. A priest of this religion can deem anyone insane (similar to excommunication or damnation) and that person will thereafter have a low status in society. There is no appeal process or legal avenue available to challenge this label, and no one can make a complaint about a Priest except by asking the Priesthood to investigate.


  3. David – good comment re the long journey ahead.
    The problem is though it isn’t a hard science.
    Though I’m super interested in what we can learn from brain imaging.

    Wazza2 – you handled the attack well.


  4. Bones, I know very few people who go to a Pastor before a doctor when they’re sick.

    I also think you’ll find evangelicals have less problems with psychiatry than you think.

    Brian Houston was on medication. Rick Warren’s son had the best psychiatric help money could buy.

    I think the pendulum has swung to blind faith in psychiatry – even though consensus changes re what is actually a mental disorder.


  5. Yeah like people are sick they go see their pastor over a doctor….

    Christianity has a sordid history with the mentally ill…..and a massive distrust of psychiatry since Freud…..

    But then homosexuality has only recently been taken off the mental disorders register….


  6. Left & right as a divisional paradigm in politics may make interesting talking points for the chattering classes. Politics should be measured on an scale of co-operation at one end to absolute power at the other end. That’s how it really works. We only believe in love and justice because we don’t want to take the risk of pursing absolute power.


  7. That’s cool Lefty. Maybe you can come to our church – it’s Scum of the Earth church in Denver Colorado.

    After all.. We are all scum.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey don’t mention it, you autocratic, leftist progressive maggot – it is, after all, cleverly mocking your sick worldview!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Q, no it didn’t. The war between the flesh and the Spirit is always ongoing. The flesh is weak but the spirit is willing. There are many other scriptures that clearly identify this constant struggle. The Holy Spirit is poured out to those who believe for strength and guidance but that doesn’t automatically mean believers will overcome every trial or temptation. Please don’t think I’m making an excuse for Frank. I’m quite sure he had every opportunity to confess. Personally I think offering his victim 10k for ‘forgiveness’ is corrupt and spiritually blind. Going to the police would of been his only hope but unfortunately he chose not to.


  10. Wazza2,
    I was going to make a post very similar to yours. But without the particular experience you have.
    I know several people who are diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and the treatment they are getting just isn’t adequate. Not Australia though.

    But, yes, through my studies and experience with people, I’m dismayed at how psychiatrists etc are treated as almost infallible.


  11. Name calling, nice one David. Call someone a kook without even knowing anything about them. You do know He resists the proud?


  12. Sure, Psychiatry lacks an Evidence Based foundation but that is only because treatment outcomes in psychiatry are not defined by remission or cure. Instead, marginal reductions in the number and severity of symptoms are accepted as successful treatment, as measured by rating scale scores. – EBM can’t be used in psychiatry only because i just does;t suit the methodology – psychiatry can be trusted as far as treating mental health issues much better than Benny Hinns mumbo jumbo.

    Having said that I can personally vouch for the efficacy of prayer – I was just login for a car p[ark the other day when I found one – I remembered that way back in 1983 I’d prayed to have God find me a parking space as soon as he could – Hallelujah – answered prayer!

    Seriously though David – I can vouch for the efficacy of prayer – for both a stabling point for the soul and as a source of knowing God.

    God is practical God, and though I can’t explain how or why (I’d rather see an end to war that for me to get helped – prayer is efficacious.


  13. “The real Jesus does heal and set free…” . Not for the people who lost their lives, you faith based kook.


  14. The real Jesus does heal and set free as I can speak from experience, but it cannot be replicated through a program. If those people fear God and desire to be born again then the church can help. The problem is generally the ‘church’ is clueless to the real deliverance of Christ.


  15. Undoubtedly the practice of psychiatry has a long journey ahead on the way to being more reliable. But at least it has a good chance using the scientific method. Not so with superstitious mumbo jumbo like prayer, and other pointless faith-based nonsense.


  16. Yes but its only an ethical problem because the psychs have exalted status in society.Whatever they say and whatever drugs they give is supposed to be the best way of treating the problem. But as they admit (among themselves) their treatment is ineffective in many cases..

    They have inherited this status from physical medicine but psychiatry is very different to other types of medicine.

    In effect psychiatry is faith based also. Faith in the profession. Freuds theories are not scientific a nd most of psychiatry is not evidence based.


  17. The ethical problem here is that (presumably) medically unqualified staff advised an unwell person to cease taking medications.

    It is implicit that these faith based kooks believed Dr Jesus was more than sufficient.

    Faith based help centres become horror shows when they replace medical treatment with superstition such as prayer.


  18. My daughter had some serious problems growing up, and she was referred to a unit at the Children’s hospital. I found out that there is basically nothing they can do to help, they ask you to keep coming back but they have no idea how to help children who have anxiety/eating disorders etc. etc… I listened to a lecture the head Psych gave to other psychs, and he admitted to them that whatever they did, 25% of their patients would die – to suicide or other causes. Their strategy was basically to reduce costs by offloading some of their cases to social workers, doctors etc.

    So if a kid goes to a psych and then kills herself it’s not the psychs fault – there was nothing that could be done. If however she goes to a Pastor or a healer and then kills herself the Pastor/healer is held responsible.

    It’s a pretty complex issue and there are no easy answers, but more and more kids are getting these symptoms, the psychs are taking the $300 consultation fees every week and they know they can’t help the majority of them. Yet they are never held to account – you can’t complain to anyone about a psych, they are their own priesthood.


  19. I once told Andrew Beal not to send someone to Teen Challenge on the NSW Central Coast (at the time). I had been a resident AND a staff member at that particular program, and I knew it was not resourced to treat this girls problems – that she, and they, would be out of their depths. I was correct. Despite my aggressive protestations, Andrew still thought he knew better than me (he was ordained after all!), and he sent her there. 30 days later she was dead.

    Liked by 1 person

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