A Liverpool church is offering to 'cure' homosexuality with an intensive prayer session that requires people to go three days without food or water.
The horrifying practices at The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry in Anfield were uncovered in an investigation by the Liverpool Echo
A reporter for the paper uncovered the 'gay cure' therapy after he posed as someone who was questioning their sexuality. Upon going to the church, he was taken to see a man who called himself Brother Michael, who told the man that being gay is wrong, arguing that notable people only come out for the fame. “You need to realise this is a deceit of Satan," Brother Michael said. "How many people are coming out except the singers, the boxers, the sportsmen? The actors that are coming out to say they are feeling this.
“Their reward is the celebrity. That is what you are following in. So many people now want to do it for publicity.
“I thank God that you have come to where you think you will get help and I know you are going to get the help."
The reporter was told to starve himself for 24 hours (without medical supervision) before beginning an intensive prayer session with the church.
He was invited to participate in a three-day residence programme, which included praying sessions that lasted up to three hours, with no eating or drinking permitted until the third day. The reporter was told that the therapy would ‘humble his soul’, and that the practice would ‘allow him to marry and have children.’
Experts told the paper that the recommended practice was “dangerous” and “extremely concerning”. So-called 'conversion therapy' is still a controversial issue. Earlier this year the Church of England bishops voted to back a ban on gay 'cure' therapy
Dr Desmond Sanusi, the pastor of The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry, disputed the Echo's findings and claimed that the church does not discriminate based on sexuality. He also said that Brother Michael was not under his instruction.
However, Sanusi seemed to confirm that the practice has been in place for many years. “If you come to the church to come and pray to come and know god better you are welcome. We don’t discriminate against people," he said.
“It’s been running for over 20 years and nobody has dropped dead.”
Dr Louise Theodosiou, consultant psychiatrist from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, warned of the hugely detrimental effects of this kind of practice.
She said: “If a person doesn’t eat for 24 hours, while that wouldn’t lead to a significant deterioration in your brain function, you certainly wouldn’t be functioning at your normal rate of mental agility or acuity. It would be dangerous, for example, for them to drive.
“I think it’s extremely concerning to be told to fast for three days. I don’t think it would be advisable for anybody to not have water for three days.
“You can imagine a person would be extremely thirsty after that length of time so there may be a situation where you exacerbate underlying health conditions and then overload your fluids in your desperation to relieve your thirst.
“Hypothetically, if someone was to become very dehydrated there’s a theoretical risk that it could trigger cardiac arrhythmia, it’s not a common thing by any means but it’s certainly a risk.”
Listen to audio from one of the sessions below: