You lying sack of…

I can’t remember now what chain of idle Facebook clicking led me to this video, but I’m glad I found it. This is Gerri Di Somma, pastor of Carmel:City Church, as well as Carmel:Christian School, Carmel:Bookshop, and other subdivisions of Carmel:Centre. For some reason, his organisation is obsessed with colons, possibly because he is full of shit.

(Jargon translator: “praying in the Holy Ghost” means praying in tongues)

I want you to know that knowledge never helped me. Counsellors never helped me. The banks never helped me. Medical science never helped me. When I was confronted with a major crisis in my life, it was praying in the Holy Ghost that helped me.

This is fascinating, because my family was on holiday with the Di Sommas in 1999 when Gerri was faced with a cancer scare. Unless by “I prayed in the Holy Ghost”, Mr. Di Somma actually means “I underwent surgery”, then I’m afraid my recollection of events is rather different.

Our families were holidaying together in South Africa, partly to attend a conference at Rhema South Africa, where Gerri had previously been a lecturer at the Bible school. While we were in Johannesburg, Gerri went for a medical and discovered that a mole on his face was cancerous.

My mum told me in hushed tones that this was happening, but that we wouldn’t be telling the congregation back home about it because we didn’t want them to worry. Then Gerri went into hospital and had the mole removed. By a doctor. A doctor who, presumably, used her knowledge of the same “medical science” the pastor now claims never helped him.

What’s most interesting is that Gerri Di Somma is as big an advocate of the Word of Faith doctrine of positive confession as anyone I’ve ever known. In fact, I’ve never known anyone else apply it so rigidly and with so little concession to common sense.

Positive confession is almost entirely based on a peculiar interpretation of Mark 11:24.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

According to the Word of Faith, whenever you pray for anything in accordance with God’s Word, your prayer is answered immediately. Of course, God exists in the spiritual dimension and we in the physical, so receiving the manifestation of this answer to prayer can take time. It is the believer’s responsibility to see this manifestation take place. “Don’t blame God for your failure to receive” was an expression I heard more than once.

This meant that, as soon as you prayed for something, you had to talk (and act) as though it had already happened. Anything else would be a) saying that God didn’t keep his word, and b) displaying a lack of faith which would prevent the manifestation from occurring.

Following from this, Di Somma never allowed any member of his family to say they were sick. I once missed a Sunday because of flu, and I received a card from his daughter saying that she’d experienced some symptoms too, but “I will not let the devil lie to me”. I dutifully returned to the church band the following Sunday, and spent the entire service crouching on the stage because I was too ill to stand up.

So on this holiday in Johannesburg – the same one where Gerri had an operation for cancer – his wife went down with a virus, and Gerri wouldn’t allow her to take any painkillers. Only sick people take painkillers, and she was the healed of the Lord. My mum ended up sneaking her an aspirin before bed.

But you know what, I am confident that Gerri would pass a polygraph test about this. I spent enough time with him and his family (including his youngest daughter, who frequently went off-message) to be certain that he believes his own drivel.

That doesn’t stop this being a dangerous and irresponsible sermon. If you’ve got a problem, don’t do anything about it! Just hole yourself up in your room and pray in tongues! In fact, he only uttered one phrase that I agree with:

You need to understand that I stand before you not as a man of knowledge.

Amen, pastor.

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About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on April 29, 2013, in Atheism, Christianity, Fundamentalism, Word of Faith and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Something that often fascinates, and disturbs, me is the kind of healing promoted in Christiian heealing services and ministries which doesn’t actually involve getting better. Rather, some sort of warm spiritual glow. Sounds like Di Somma’s experience was the other side of this coin – being cured through the skills and knowledge of the doctors was maybe not the healing he really valued. Getting better was of no consequence. the important thing was the ineffectual but oh-so-nice experience of praying. 🙂

  2. He is an inspiring man up there, with his testimony and his believability. He seems humble. And, of course, that is how he makes his money, right? If doctors were the answer, then nobody would need to pay HIM for their answers.

  3. As a linguistics student…that is a fascinating accent, even if what he’s saying has no sense at all.

  4. “Best sleep is the holy ghost sleep”…. Hmmm… no sir, that’s called a nightmare.

  5. TheDouchebagBible

    I too was on holiday with this man and his wife…and all I can say is WOW! This guy is so full of shit his eyes turn brown every time he speaks. We had to listen to his self-righteous Jesus crap continually…and he became something of a joke in our group. He’s a smelly holier-than-thou TWAT who didn’t give a toss about anyone else but himself and his wife. He spent most of his time harassing everyone in the group and attempting to “convert” them to his backward way of thinking. At first we all thought it was funny, but that soon wore thin…and he became a rather ugly annoyance to everyone. Even our tour guide, who has to be the most patient and tolerant person on the planet, looked like he was either going to have a major stroke, spastic fit or beat the living hell out of him by the end of the tour. Personally I think he probably did horrific, extremely nasty and unforgivable acts in his previous career as a policeman in South Africa, and is now trying to silence his inner guilt with religion. He probably quit before being found out and left S. Africa to avoid being caught. He’s very self-centered and obsessed with his appearance, and completely lacking in any kind of compassion, all traits of a Schizophrenic madman. His self-described hearing god talk to him regularly, auditory hallucinations, belief in being directly controlled by god, and his delusions of persecution were a daily thing we all noticed about him, and scared all of us! He’s a nutter! As a mate of mine says “mad as a box of frogs”. Stay away from this twat if you value your own sanity.

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