A Liverpool church which offered a “cure” for homosexuality through a “dangerous” three-day starvation programme was uncovered by an ECHO investigation.
The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry, which has a branch on Breck Road, Anfield, was found offering gay people the chance to “cure” themselves of their homosexuality through a relentless prayer session involving three days without food or water.
An ECHO reporter posing as a member of the public questioning their sexuality was invited for a private counselling session with the church’s assistant pastor, where he was told that being gay is biologically wrong, and that by undergoing prayer therapy it could be corrected to ‘allow him to marry and have children.’
The assistant pastor – who called himself ‘Brother Michael’ – said that in order for the so-called therapy to be most effective, our reporter would have to ‘humble his soul’ by starving himself and not drinking water for 24 hours before taking part in a weekly prayer session. At no point were any physical or medical examinations offered by the church before issuing this advice.
After our reporter confronted the church’s pastor Dr Desmond Sanusi with our findings, he claimed that the church does not discriminate against anyone’s sexuality, and that Brother Michael was not acting under his guidance.
He also claimed that in 20 years of similar programmes running, “nobody has dropped dead”.
He said: “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.
“It’s been running for over 20 years and nobody has dropped dead.”
Experts told the ECHO the methods recommended to our reporter were “dangerous” and “extremely concerning”.
Conversion therapy recently hit the headlines after a petition to make it illegal was rejected by Theresa May’s Conservative government – despite all major psychological professional bodies stating it had “the potential to cause harm”.
On his first visit to the church, our reporter was invited to take part in a separate three-day residential programme, where those participating would be expected to pray for up to three hours at a time without eating or drinking until the third day – when they would be given ‘fruits from the church.’ Participants were encouraged not to leave the church during the therapy.
Brother Michael referred to being gay as a “deceit of Satan”
Despite the three-day therapy being advised by assistant pastor ‘Brother Michael,’ the pastor denied claims anyone would be expected to fast for three days.
He added: “What [Brother Michael] discussed with you. It is out of my guidance. I am the pastor of this church. It is not a three-day fasting.”
During the one-to-one session, Brother Michael referred to being gay as a “deceit of Satan” – and claimed people only identify as gay to get ‘celebrity’ status.