This is an article written by an ex-IHOP member. It depicts the stronghold IHOP has on their young followers and the manipulation techniques Mike Bickle uses to create and maintain that stronghold.
The Power of “Spiritual Addiction”
Posted: January 18, 2010
Those of you who have experienced or know someone who has dealt with any form of addiction can certainly attest to its potent strength and the strangle hold it possesses over the life it claims. It demands what it wants. Addictions must be fed and the cravings will scream so loudly that no amount of willpower will be able to squelch its pleading.
If one is able to hook people by use of spiritual addiction, they can maintain a tighter grasp than even a physical substance can…because we are spiritual beings–made in the image of the God who created us. I believe that spiritual addictions are often more difficult to recognize and break free from than physical ones. An illustration I use is that spiritual addictions take hold at the root compared to physical addictions that simply cling to the branches. Because God knows how He made us (spiritual beings created in His image and likeness), He knows what will keep us free as well as what will tie us down in bondage and spiritual trappings. So He set up a means of protection by giving us instructions in His Word regarding what to believe, what to follow and what to stay away from. Thinking that we are better at knowing what’s right and good for us than God is dangerous. Humanity has very often taken the self-directed approach and as a result those who do will veer off into dangerous waters that they will eventually sink in.
Because I know the powerful effect of hypnosis on the human mind, I have not listened to music produced by IHOP in years. Shortly after I left, I put on one of the CDs I still had from when I was there. The repetitive chanting which IHOP calls “choruses” put me almost instantly into a familiar trance-like state. I felt almost nauseated even just to listen to it. I remember telling my Mom that there was something in the music that I didn’t hear when I was at IHOP but now it was so overwhelming, I couldn’t handle it. I threw out all of the music I owned which had been produced through IHOP. Why am I telling you this? Because unless you understand the power of hypnosis and the way IHOP is using it to fuel spiritual addiction, you will think that their “Harp & Bowl Model” using repetitive chorus lines is completely innocent…which is far from true.
Hypnosis puts you into an altered state of consciousness—making you susceptible and receptive to any message you hear while in that altered mental state. Don’t just take my word for it–do a little research into how hypnosis works and it’s pretty clearly spelled out. The worlds of psychiatry and psychology use it as a form of “therapy” to help people overcome addictions such as smoking. But hypnosis can also be used to ‘program’ as well as ‘de-program’ the ones it is used on. (many hypno-therapists use it to de-program those who have been in satanic rituals or undergone military mind control)
I refer to spiritual addiction as “the perfect crime” because of the way hypnosis is used to ‘cover up the evidence’ of any mis-deed–making the victims of the abuse look like the ones who missed it and are in the wrong. I’ve noticed many times when I was assigned to be in the prayer room a glassy-eyed, glazed over look on many people’s faces. It was like they were locked in some kind of stupor. I remember thinking after I left IHOP: “Why didn’t I see the deceptions sooner? When did this hook me? How did I get so attached that it controlled me and I defended it so vehemently?” The hypnosis used of that environment is like covering up the finger prints of a crime scene. You don’t remember when things went awry. You can’t recall how or when you went from being the casual observer who was just attending conferences to the full-fledged IHOPer that would eat (or not eat), breath and sleep their mantras and try to convert everyone you know to sell their homes and move to Kansas City to join this “new” movement. Suddenly I became part of their word-of-mouth marketing department…and instead of getting paid for publicity, I was in fact paying them.
Spiritual hypnosis, as used in IHOP, utilizes repetitive, chanting, mantra-like phrases to bypass the mind (often via music) to touch people on a soulish level because it alters the brain’s waves and affects mood and emotions. IHOP’s theology is largely imparted through music. Because it is sung hypnotically over people…over…and over…and over again, it bypasses the mind and all rational/logical thought processes and is embraced on an emotional level. People feel an emotional connection to IHOP largely because of the many hours spent in the prayer room listening to repetitive music.
Add this to the fact that, for an intern, there was practically never time to be alone or rationally process anything being taught so you would be on sensory overload and find your moods and decisions being altered so rapidly yet it felt like something controlling you…not something you were controlling. Suddenly, life became all about IHOP. No outside friends. No hobbies, activities, etc. outside of IHOP. Time in the prayer room or at IHOP meetings and services became the center of my existence. Whenever I would have ‘negative feelings’ the solution everyone gave was ‘go spend more time in the prayer room’. Life became very small and confined. It happened so subtly I was slowly suffocating and couldn’t even put my finger on why until right before I left IHOP.
Back to spiritual addiction…why is it so dangerous? Because if an organization, ministry, church, House of Prayer, etc. can manipulate the soul (mind, will and emotions) then they can steer your decisions and actions. The soul has no discernment. Discernment is born of the spirit and is a gift from God. If you bypass the spirit and connect to someone only on a soulish/emotional realm, false doctrines can easily slip in because they “feel” good and appeal to the emotion. Once we emotionally latch onto something, it’s often very difficult to let go of it.