"Thank you for making this information available. I can vouch for all that has been said of YWAM. My husband, [kids] and I were briefly with YWAM [years ago] at their School of Evangelism in Solvang, intending to work with Nick Savoka, whom we had met in Pennsylvania. Fortunately we had an extensive background in theology, which enabled us to see through their 'Moral Government' teachings of works salvation. When we stuck firmly to salvation by grace through faith in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus, we were dumped in the interior of Mexico with basically nothing but God, who is, indeed, enough. I am now a...granny."
"I was at the Bozeman, Montana SOE in 1975-76. I was recruited at the Billings State Fair and was 19 when I arrived at YWAM. It was the beginning of the end for me. Within a very short amount of time I gained around 40 pounds, as the result of being fed nothing but starches for a year and a half. At the time I was recruited I asked what it would cost to attend the school, and was told 'Go on faith.' Being very young and very vulnerable I accepted this answer, thinking to myself that it was just too good to be true. It was. At the SOE, I experienced sleep deprivation, continuous ego-annihilation and starvation. It all added up to a complete breakdown of my sense of self. When I finally told them, after a year and a half, that I was leaving, I was presented with a huge bill and informed that until I paid it in full, I could not leave. I was terrified, but packed my bags and left the next day. After my experience at YWAM I found myself unable to hold down a job. I experienced extreme paranoia in job situations and was finally diagnosed, at the age of 34, as suffering from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am now living on SSI benefits, in poverty. I hope someone stops them."
"My daughter was in YWAM at age 18. She went to a DTS for three months, then on to Hungary and Kenya to bring the locals to Christ. The required $5,000 was provided. My daughter returned pale, drawn, run down with her self-esteem collapsing. I have since found her YWAM notes. They make chilling reading. Her traumatized behavior was greeted by this group as demonstrating the powerful capacity for prayer she had acquired at YWAM. At the time I did not know details of what was going on. My daughter freaked out and ended up in a hospital. That's where she lives today."
"As a former 'disciple I saw the cult-like atmosphere YWAM encourages. The 'we are the leaders you are the sheep' attitude is very strong there."
"I attended a Discipleship Training School with YWAM in Australia and spent twelve years under their influence. So many strange things happened whilst I was there that I eventually became psychotic and suffered a complete mental breakdown. I was taken to the local psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with schizophreniform psychosis, which was apparently caused by an overdose of the drug Prednisone that I was taking to treat my asthma. I have never really believed this explanation. My concept of reality was shattered and my life, if not my mind was ruined. Not a day goes by where I don't think about the hellish nightmare that I went through during my time with YWAM. I have been so traumatised that I find it difficult to hold down a steady fulltime job and I find it next to impossible to initiate relationships with the opposite sex. For the past ten years I have been surviving on a government disability pension and I live in subsidised government housing. While I would be the first to concede that I suffer from a mental illness, the things that I experienced whilst with YWAM were real and it has left me profoundly confused and disturbed. The people at YWAM stole my life and mind."
"I was to have traveled to Hawaii a couple of years back to attend the University of the Nations. I found the people very difficult to deal with and to pin down when it came to answering my inquiries. Things felt wrong, so we never went. I then watched close friends, a very vibrant, bubbly, family go. One year later they returned to with no money, savings, disillusioned and unsupported. To this day they have not recovered from their 12 month stint with YWAM and subsequent mission."
"I am writing to tell you about my experience with YWAM as an American attending DTS at a YWAM base in Finland. When I arrived I was very excited, but it turned out to be a horrible experience for me. Even during the first weeks I had a nagging feeling that something was wrong. False teachings were being presented, but I ignored it thinking that next week the teacher would be better. Leadership wanted everyone at the same level even though we were from different denominational backgrounds. That meant everyone was expected to 'speak-in-tongues' because that was a sign that you were full of the Holy Spirit. Staff anticipated students being 'slain in the spirit' when 'prophesied' over. Students were manipulated into repenting sins from their pasts, yet leadership never did, even though they were guilty of things. I heard outlandish stories, like a woman being healed after being punched in the stomach. One YWAM disappeared and they could not find him, so they called in a helicopter with large search lights from Helsinki and finally found him after 7½ hours later with a faint pulse. He was transferred to the hospital and survived the incident. Leadership told us not to talk to anyone outside our class about how they handled this situation. What happened at YWAM will affect my family and I for a long time. I am really angry at the church for not speaking out against bad organizations and hold them responsible for not warning people about the dangers of YWAM. YWAM should not be recommended to anyone."
"I spent six months at a YWAM in India. People need to know that YWAM teaches 'replacement theology.' That is, that God has finished with Israel and replaced it with the church. According to this teaching Israel broke its covenant with God and He has rejected them forever. But this is a direct contradiction of Scripture, as God has said He will NEVER break His covenant with Israel. As a believer in Jesus [with a Jewish background] I experienced mistreatment from the staff and students at YWAM. I left before the 'outreach' phase. I believe YWAM is a dangerous and wish to warn others. There are other legitimate organizations."
"I have friends who just left YWAM two years ago and their lives are now in shambles. They are at the point of divorce."
"I am a former YWAMer. I was in for about four years. I ended up in Taiwan , learned Chinese and finally was placed in a small village to plant a church. I almost went over the edge. Close to a nervous break down I left the village and went to a larger base to get my thoughts together. It took seven months until I finally made the decision to return to the States. At that time I knew something was wrong but I couldn't put my finger on what. Reading your material I can see how the so-called 'shepherding' disallows the creativity of the individual and is more conducive to creating YWAM clones; it certainly does not prepare a person to minister/work outside YWAM. Thanks. It helps to see another person's difficulties with YWAM."
"You'll never believe how refreshing it was to read your web page on YWAM. I spent almost six years in that crap! It almost ruined my relationship with God. They told me, "God would turn his back on me" [and] I was panicked! I couldn't leave-- [because]I thought it was the only place I could serve God. I'm still getting over it...[and] I avoid them like the plague."
"Your Report is on target. I was a part of YWAM for 6 years. I led 'Intercession' groups. I lived on very little money with health problems for a long time. I heard a sermon, which was focused on those who complained about the poor food conditions. If you complained or left--you were 'selling out.' But one leader drove around in a Mercedes convertible, while we ate from a food bank.
I was at prayer meetings when the [YWAM] base in New Jersey was taken over by Revival Corps. We had prayer meetings around the clock. I was in a prayer meeting where they prayed for the Revival Corps leaders to die.
People in YWAM don't just read the Bible, they think they are in it and on the next page are instructions on what to to do tomorrow. People need to know that YWAM has a really destructive form of monarchy. Each leader has too much power over those lower than themselves. I grew up Presbyterian and we voted in church. I started to see that the dictatorship of [YWAM] was wrong. I never really felt represented. Yet I stayed, I believed and asked God to help me 'die to myself' and my desire to go to College. I was most afraid of 'falling away from God' (i.e. that was what happened when you left the group). My friends got married without 'God's blessings' and then helped me to get out of YWAM. I hope that others can get support and not be a serf making the leaders richer. I later went to College and excelled ."
Copyright © Rick Ross
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