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Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) &
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID):

MPD/DID viewed as a byproduct
of demon possession. #3 of 5 views

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Please read the overview to MPD / DID before tackling this essay.

Background:

As the name implies, Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) -- since 1994 called Dissociative Identity Disorder -- is a mental condition in which two or more personalities appear to inhabit a single body. 

There have been five main conflicting views about MPD. This essay will describe MPD as caused by the individual having been possessed by an evil, indwelling demonic spirit.

This belief is mainly confined to evangelical Protestants and conservative Roman Catholics. It was never accepted by most mental health professionals, most of whom now view MPD/DID as an iatrogenic (physician induced) disorder that does not appear in nature.

MPD/DID seen as caused by demon possession:

Most conservative Protestants and many Roman Catholics  believe in the inerrancy of the Bible: that the authors of the Bible were inspired by God to write material that was free of error and are all useful for personal guidance. They often refer to the Bible as "the Word of God."

Although the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) is almost silent on the concept of Satan as an evil supernatural being, that belief is well developed within the Gospels and Epistles of the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). Jesus is frequently described as curing many mental disorders by performing exorcisms. He is recorded as driving indwelling demons or "unclean spirits" out of the person. Among the gospels:

bulletMark has 9 references to demons or unclean spirits;
bulletMatthew has 4;
bulletLuke 10, and
bulletJohn 7.

Many conservative Christians believe that demons sometimes:

bulletAct as spirit guides during Shamans rituals and New Age channeling,
 
bulletAre the driving energy behind Ouiji boards, Tarot cards, Runes, crystal gazing, etc., and 
 
bulletAct as communicating spirits at séances which attempt to contact the dead. 

Some conservative Christians believe that the gods and goddesses worshiped by followers of non-Christian religions are actually Satan himself or his demons. Most conservative Christians also believe that persons can be possessed by demons.

When a person is possessed, they are believed to exhibit a unique personality - that of the indwelling evil spirit. The demon will sometimes speak through that individual's vocal chords, often in a language unknown to the person and in a strange inflection. They can sometimes cause schizophrenia, depression, mental instabilities, suicidal thoughts, or MPD/DID. The standard treatment for a demonically possessed person is to drive out the demon(s) by an exorcism ritual.

Often, the person is believed to be possessed by a single demon. However, in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament), Mark 5:9 relates how a person was controlled by many demons:

"Then He [Jesus} asked him, 'What is your name?' And he answered, saying, 'My name is Legion; for we are many.'" (NKJ)

A legion in the army of ancient Rome was composed of 6,000 men!

Multiple possession is seen by many conservative Protestants as a cause of MPD/DID; to some it is the main or only cause. They often believe that if a person engages in occult experiences, then "points of contact or entanglement with demonic entities" will occur, and "malevolent spiritual entities" (demons) can infiltrate their mind and body. Engaging in occultic activity, or even allowing a non-Christian religious symbol into their home is often referred to as "opening a doorway in their life" through which Satan or one of his demons can enter. Under these conditions, Satan is often referred to as "having a legal right" to possess the individual or a member of their family.

Demonically - Mediated Dissociation (DMD):

Rex W. Rosenberg, a conservative Christian clinical psychologist who has specialized in MPD, believes that such infiltration can lead to what he calls "demonically - mediated dissociation" (DMD). He asserts that therapists will detect in their clients both the presence of alters, (some of whom will have demonic attachments) and of demons (some of whom will be disguised as alters.) Much harm can be done to the patient if the exact nature of the entities is not precisely determined and matching treatment applied. 1

He has created an experimental  "Occult Activities and Manifestations Survey" 2 that an individual can use to detect their degree of involvement with the occult. He lists 96 experiences or manifestations of occult activity e.g. seeing monsters, seeing fairies, being unable to read or understand the Bible, having demonic sexual intercourse with a woman.  He also lists 79 occultic activities and organizations e.g. tarot cards, Ouija board, I Ching, palm or tea-leaf reading, biorhythm charts, casting runes, numerology; Christian Science, Eckankar, Hare Krishna, Santeria, Scientology, Unification Church, Witchcraft/Wicca.

Comments by Bob Larson:

Bob Larson of Bob Larson Ministries, a fundamentalist counter-cult and anti-Occult group, stresses the importance of accurately diagnosing whether the victim has a group of alter personalities; or is possessed by evil, demonic spirits; or is suffering from a combination of the two. He explains that:

bulletAn alter personality is "an internalized identity that facilitates the person's survival." It must be integrated with the host personality to produce healing.
bulletDemons are evil spirits. Each is an "externalized evil entity-seeking entry to promote the person's spiritual destruction." They must be expelled through exorcism. 3

Accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment are very important, to prevent the victim's condition from degenerating.

Other Christian beliefs and practices:

Many conservative Christian faith groups believe that a "born-again" believer cannot be possessed by a demon. The rationale most often given is that when a person is "saved", they are filled with Holy Spirit. Thus Satan or a demon cannot also enter their body. However, those who are born again represent a small percentage of the total human population. Demons are thus seen as free to posses many billions of individuals.

The Roman Catholic church has similar beliefs and also uses exorcism rituals. However, the practice is strictly controlled. Church law requires a direct order "of the bishop, after two careful investigations, based on positive indications that possession is in fact present." 3

Among conservative Protestantism, there are a number of ministries which specialize in exorcisms. Other rituals are done informally by clergy and laity. 4

Safety Concerns:

There are at least two serious concerns about the use of exorcisms:

  1. Exorcisms can be extremely dangerous to the survivor's physical health. The procedure sometimes involves severe physical, emotional and mental abuse. On the order of one person per year dies accidentally from the physical trauma inflicted during an exorcism in North America.
     
  2. Fr. J. Mahoney refers to an unidentified study performed by a Dr. Fraser at the Royal Ottawa Hospital in Ottawa, ON, Canada. 3 The seven patients that he reviewed had all undergone a previous exorcism. The patients' religion, the religion of the exorcists, and the exorcism rituals varied from case to case. He concluded:
bulletSome alters can be temporarily "banished" by an exorcism ritual.
bulletNew alters may be created by that same procedure.
bulletEach exorcism was severely destructive to the individual.
bulletWhere MPD is suspected, exorcism is contraindicated.

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Rex W. Rosenberg; web site dealing with Demonically-Mediated Dissociation" (DMD), essay at: http://www.awav.net/
  2. Rex W. Rosenberg, "Occult Activities and Manifestations Survey," essay at: http://www.awav.net/
  3. "How is MPD treated," Bob Larson Ministries, at: http://www.boblarson.org/
  4. "Freedom For Mary!"  at : http://members.tripod.com/~J17912/MPDemonPossession3.html
  5. Fr. J. Mahoney, "Cast Out What?", essay at: http://www.jmahoney.com/

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