Rev. Upton, a retired pastor and exorcist, wrote:
The Reverend Ernest Rockstad was one of the leading pioneers in the USA in the twentieth century among conservative evangelicals in spiritual warfare ministry and teaching. Ernie, as many of us called him, like others of us active in this ministry today, was introduced into the terrible realities of the demonization of believers and their need for deliverance through demonic problems within his own family. In Ernie’s case it was through demonic attachment in his own life.
For over 40 years Ernie worked with hundreds of severely demonized Christians, even bringing some of them into his home. He shared his life, his family, and all his earthly resources with bruised and battered men, women, and young people. Ernie was an Independent Baptist. You can’t be more conservative than that; yet he never allowed his theological presuppositions to blind him to the reality of human anguish. He adjusted his theology to fit the realities he was facing. As such, he was constantly in trouble, like the rest of us, with many of the brethren.
When Rockstad discovered what he called “shattered personalities” and “segmented personalities,” now commonly called MPDs, “multiples,” or “alter personalities,” he broke open to the Christian world the whole controversial and complex reality of segmented personalities with a series of papers, audio cassettes, and lectures. In this chapter I want to quote part of a lecture by Rockstad telling how he stumbled into his amazing discovery of shattered personalities in the early 1970s. The following story taken from his audio cassette entitled “Healing the Shattered Personality” is only lightly edited:
The Lord has seen fit for us to discover that it is possible for a person to have his personality shattered so that parts of him . . . actually fight against [other parts of] him. . . . We have lived with this tragedy for years in the person of Carmen Cherry, the daughter of a Southern Baptist evangelist, a man dedicated to soul winning. He had eleven children; Carmen is the fifth. Demons from her have declared, “We keep a book of balances. Her father talked [about Christ] too much. She’s got to pay the price. We are exacting the price in her life.”
The girl has suffered greatly. She became a hopeless drunkard and tried to commit suicide many times. I worked with her for over a year and couldn’t contact any demons. As I counseled with her, I began to realize there was life from God there, although others had said it couldn’t be possible that anybody in that condition could be a Christian.
I began to encourage her. In time she was able to read War On the Saints. She began to carry on the warfare. She was able to break a demon-imposed diet that she had been on for thirteen years.
At twelve years of age she quit eating and would have starved to death if she were not hospitalized and force-fed. From the time she was twelve years old she was on a very strict diet. She was told from inside what she could eat and not eat. If she transgressed in any way, she was punished terribly. The Lord helped her break this. But somehow that did not take care of the problems — the running away and the drunkenness.
Last fall we turned up in her a control being who says he owns her. I don’t understand it. We have had experience with hundreds of people. We have dealt with thousands of demons. We have turned up something in Carmen that is not like anything with which we have ever dealt before. It is not like a regular demon. We have not been able to remove it. It says it owns her. “She is mine.” When I declare Jesus Christ is Lord, it replies back, “No. I am her lord. I own her. She belongs to me.”
For a while it seemed she had lost her mind, completely. She begged to be recommitted to a mental hospital, but I refused to give in. We have now seen a healing take place and her mind come back to her again. What we discovered in Carmen is a shattered, split personality. I worked with her for over a year trying to contact demons without success. One day I made my calls a little bit wider. I said, “I command you, whoever it is that is causing Carmen this trouble, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you come to attention. I want to talk to you.” I repeated the command a few times. All of a sudden her head came up, a big grin on the face, shoulders back. She got up and began to strut back and forth across my counseling room floor, a completely different person, cocky, sure, confident. I looked at her in amazement and said, “Well, who are you?” “I am Carmen. I am the real Carmen. I’m not that little mouse that you know. I’m the real one. I’m stronger than she is. I’m completely lost. She is only partly saved. Look at me. See how strong I am.”
I didn’t understand it. I said, “You’re a demon.” “No, I’m not a demon,” it said. You know I tried to cast out that thing, to make it know it was a demon. We would have times when our people would come in to help pray and work. We worked through the months of May, June, July, August, September — and we still had it there. It was a terrible thing. We could call it up. It was a killer. We went through some awful things.
Rockstad told of physical attacks, both against himself and his wife, Ilene, and of the destruction of personal property. Finally, at Carmen’s request, they put her in restraints when they worked with “The Thing,” as Rockstad came to call it.
We were always calling it up — trying to get it out — with no success whatsoever. It protested being tied down. “I’m not crazy,” it said. “Don’t tie me down. She is the one who is crazy. She ought to be put in the mental hospital, not me!”
Then one day I was talking to it as if it were a human being. I noticed a listening ear. I made some mention about the Bible as the Word of God. The answer came back, “Oh! No! That is not the Word of God. Men wrote that book, you know.” It was an intelligent answer. I talked some more as if I were talking to a human being. I got intelligent answers back; unbelief — but still intelligent answers. Finally I strapped her into a chair about 9:30 one morning and called this thing up. I started out with God and the Book of Genesis with Creation, through the Fall, all the way through the Bible. I taught her all day long. She sat there, interested. “Why, I have never heard of that before. I never knew anything about that,” it said. I talked about Jesus Christ being Lord. Previously when we called this thing up, dealing with it as with a demon, it would cry out about Jesus Christ, “He’s a dead man. He’s a dead man. I curse His blood.” Oh, terrible things that would be said — terrible blasphemies.
And to my amazement, when we had gone through the day — I had put special emphasis on the lordship of Jesus Christ — this violent thing said, “I would like to pray to Him, if I could. Would you let me pray to Him?” She prayed. She submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord, and the violence was all gone. There was a complete change. She said, “Don’t send me back down. Let me stay up.” “I can’t do that,” I said. “Think of all the threats you have made. You threatened to kill her; you would leave her body bloody and mangled.” “That’s all changed now,” she replied. “I promise you I won’t do that. Besides, I would like to go to prayer meeting tonight. Would you let me go to prayer meeting?”
I didn’t know what in the world to do. Finally, I unstrapped her. She went along to prayer meeting —she was a little bit strange, scared. That girl was with us from Wednesday until Saturday. On Saturday she came to me and said, “I’m getting tired of being up. I wonder if you would let me go down again now?”
I said I did not know what to do. I said, “Let’s pray and lay this before the Lord!” We prayed and asked God for His will to be done, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. As I prayed, she changed again, and I had somebody else there, a completely different person, a lovely girl, just a lovely girl. I sat talking with her. I just mentioned something about Jesus Christ, and she said, “Who is He? I never heard of Him.”
I was amazed. I couldn’t believe it. We had spent the whole day instructing [the other Carmen] about Christ, and this one knew nothing about Jesus Christ, nothing about God. She was an entirely different person. As I began to tell her about Christ she said, “Oh! Tell me more. That sounds real good. I’ve never heard anything about that before.” I taught that girl. She drank in everything. Finally she said, “Can I pray to Him? I would like to know Him. I would like to have Him.”
I could hardly believe it. We have lost count of the number of Carmens that we have worked with. I quit counting at about one hundred seventy-five. I have prayed with retarded ones, with brilliant girls, with girls that are twelve years old, with grownups. I have prayed with segments of the personality that were utterly depraved. With each succeeding one, they had never heard about Jesus Christ. But as we talk to them, and give them the truth about the Lord Jesus, we find that we are able to pray with them and they submit to Jesus Christ as Lord. . . . I want to tell you that I don’t understand this. I can’t figure it out. Either we are being terrible deceived, or God is leading us into something which is tremendously momentous.
Rockstad then told of his concern that persons are now learning how willfully to damage another human being, primarily children, to the place where they can split their personality. This was a remarkable insight, occurring in the early 1970s before the horror of sexual child abuse and SRA were widely recognized among Christians. In SRA the abuse is carefully calculated to produce enough trauma, torture, and pain so the child will dissociate. The abuse is continued until the dissociation is well established. Demons are conjured up or down to attach themselves to these personality segments.
They are preprogrammed (for lack of a better word) to gain control of the host person later in life for Satan and evil. This is exactly what Rockstad had foreseen. Rockstad’s narrative continues:
I think this is something that is going to need to be known in our day. After we had found this out with Carmen, six weeks later Jan Smith came to us for help. They had tried to help her in casting out demons, and they had come up against a stone wall. It was the first session that Jan was there when I felt impressed to pray and then begin to command, “If there is a Jan here that does not know the Lord Jesus, I call you to attention. I call for a Jan or Janet who does not know the Lord Jesus.” All of a sudden she burst out crying, and wept and wept and wept. It was a rejected Janet. She said, “Nobody loves me. Nobody cares for me.” I replied, “The Lord Jesus cares for you.” “Who is He?” she asked. “I never heard of Him.”
Now that was the Janet who was the daughter of medical missionary parents. The Jan who a number of years before had received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. A part of her was still in the grips of darkness.
People have criticized us for this — criticized us terribly. I have had people leave my church. One man said, “This is absolutely ridiculous, that a part of me could be saved and going to heaven and a part of me lost and going to hell.” Of course, I don’t believe it either. That is not what this is. This is not an eternal thing. When a person is saved he is going to heaven and he is going to be there entirely. But this is a work that Satan is able to do as far as time is concerned. He is able to split off parts of a person and hold that part in abeyance that the person is not wholly and completely for the Lord Jesus Christ. The person is going to have serious problems.
At the time of the segmented personality discovery (the 1970s), Rockstad had already suffered over 25 years with attacks from the brethren for his views on the demonization of some Christians and his method of expelling demons. He had been able to bear with all this, but the avalanche of criticism now coming his way for this new discovery was just too much. He resolved to quit working with segmented personalities. He would just continue his pastoral work and even cut back on his ministry to demonically afflicted believers.
Again I must remark how much evil is done against godly Christian warriors who have the courage to break new ground in counseling. Why are we so prone to seek to destroy men whose ministry challenges our theological comfort zones? We are all prouder and crueler than we are willing to admit.
The afternoon he made his decision he received a totally unsolicited phone call. “Hello. This is Jan. I just wanted to call and encourage you and to tell you I am getting along just fine. I wanted to tell you, too, please keep on with what you are doing. If you don’t keep on with what you are doing, what would people like me do?” Rockstad reversed his decision:
I’ve been keeping on. I didn’t cancel my engagements, I kept right on. We have been finding this in other people since. Let me try and identify the problem — not that we understand it. In a traumatic experience in childhood or elsewhere along the way, a part of the person is split off and left behind. It is sealed off, somehow, by Satan. The personality that is split off remains at that place, at that age. Usually this segment is kept in darkness about Christ or is held in the grip of some problem.
One of the people with whom we have worked, all of her segments have been saved. They have the assurance of their salvation. They are all related to some problem in the person’s life. In one case I was instructing one of the segments, a 12-year-old girl in a 28-year-old body, about the truth of her union with Christ, when she saw it and laid hold of it. She took her stand as being dead to sin in Christ and alive in Christ. She merged right back, and the original person came forth, clear and strong.
These segments that are split off have an influence upon the life of the person. Sometimes you will run into a segment that absolutely hates the real person. So the person is lugging this struggle along. It is no wonder that with Carmen she discovered vodka.
In our counseling — we are dealing with Christians — we have the person declare, “I renounce Satan. I confess Jesus Christ as my Lord.” Then I make an affirmation and pray something like this:
“I declare that we refuse to have in this time anything but the work of God, the true and loving God through the Lord Jesus Christ. We choose to operate only by the Holy Spirit. We choose to operate only in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We refuse and repudiate all psychic and demonic workings. We want only that which comes by way of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Father in heaven, block us if we do anything that is not pleasing in your sight, if we are doing anything that You don’t want us to do.”
Then I go on and I begin to command, “In the name of the Lord Jesus I call for the “John Doe” here who has not renounced Satan and has not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord. Is there a “John Doe” here who does not know the Lord Jesus? Will you come to attention?”
I must mention in passing, this is not hypnotism at all, because you don’t have control over the person who comes up. Sometimes you have some terrible ones, even in Jan. We had one that came up who said, “I sure want to thank you for bringing me up. I want to have a good time. That Jan, she is so religious. She doesn’t want to have any fun. Now I’m going to paint the town red tonight.” We had a real bad time with her and another one. She was a psychiatrically oriented one. Jan had been under psychiatric care for ten years. This had all been stored up in one of the segments, and when we got that segment up, all she could talk about was that she was absolutely against the Bible and prayer. She told us, “The way you take care of your emotions is to let them fly. If you get angry, go ahead and get angry. Don’t hurt people, but if you have to kill an animal, just go right ahead and kill it. You’ve got to get these things out of you.”
That was the one who called the police. The people with whom she was staying didn’t know about it until they saw the lights flashing out in front. The police came to the door and said, “We’ve come to pick up the lady who called in to be taken to the hospital.” “There is no one here to be taken to the hospital,” the family responded. Just then Jan stepped up to the police and said, “I’m the one. Can you imagine? These people are trying to get demons out of me. Isn’t that ridiculous?”
It so happened that the wife in the home was a registered nurse. She said, “I’m a registered nurse. This lady is mentally ill. She is staying with us while she is counseling with our pastor.” “Oh,” the police responded, “that’s why she is talking about demons.” They had a time with her. She was something else. This psychiatrically oriented one was up for a number of days. She got hold of the aspirin bottle and took two dozen or more aspirin and got real, real sick. Her husband was there. Finally she got so sick she said to her husband, “Take me to Rockstad. He knows the answer to this.” They came. She wanted the plan of salvation. She wanted to hear about the Lord Jesus. Before she had absolutely rejected and refused it. But I was able to go over the Word of God with her and she prayed, and that one alter was gone and the real Jan was back again.
When you call for the segment to come, the change can be immediate or it may be gradual . . . a grin comes on the face — you can tell that somebody else is there. But sometimes it comes gradually, and I’ve been fooled on this. I keep checking [when I am not certain if the segment has switched]. “Do you confess Jesus Christ as Lord?” And when it is a character which has come up it will be very perplexed. “Well, I don’t know. I don’t know what you are talking about.”
The difference between a personality segment and a demon is that a demon will never renounce Satan. A demon will never, ever repudiate Satan. But when you explain to this segment about Satan, I have never yet had one but will immediately say, “Well, I sure don’t want anything to do with him.” And when you present the truth about Christ eventually there is a willingness to submit.
Is this true working with all such cases? I doubt it. But Rockstad says this was his experience repeatedly.
In dealing with a segment, it is very interesting that the segment will begin to talk about the real person in the third person—“She does so and so”—many times with dislike. It will be in darkness about Christ or have some problem. When we instruct it in the truth of the Word of God and bring this segment to renounce Satan and submit to Christ, there is a merging that takes place. On confession of Jesus Christ as Lord, this thing disappears and the real person comes back again. We have never had the same one come back. It is molded into the place where it is supposed to be.
In almost every case demons are associated with that particular segment. In fact, demons are able to hide in the segment of the person. That’s why you need to get the demons from that particular segment. Sometimes you have to get the demons from that segment before it will submit to the Lord Jesus Christ. The segments become strongholds for the powers of darkness. This is one of the reasons that some people are retarded in getting deliverance. It takes a long time or you don’t get anywhere because there are the segments that are the dwelling places of wicked spirits. They prevent the submission to Christ. The segments become hiding places to the demons.
We have known of demons counterfeiting the segments and demons that take the same name as the person. It takes some checking and discerning to recognize when this is being done. I believe that whenever there is something that turns up and claims to be the person it should be carefully checked out by demanding what it confesses concerning Jesus Christ come in the flesh, and Jesus Christ as Lord. We are still finding this phenomenon of the shattered personality, segments of the person not saved, or somehow split off, and held by the enemy. With some people they have not been able to get help in any other way.
I have quoted in detail the late Rev. Ernest Rockstad’s experiences in discovering segmented, or shattered personalities in adult survivors of child abuse or trauma for several reasons:
The condition was discovered by a nonprofessional counselor, not by a trained psychologist-counselor.
Rockstad revealed no prior knowledge of what is now called MPD. He discovered the condition in the context of ministering to extremely bruised people.
Rockstad came into his ministry with demonized segments against his own will and theology. At first he stubbornly dealt with these segments as though they were difficult demons who did not respond to proven deliverance procedures.
Rockstad made many errors in the early days of dealing with segmented personalities, just as he did in the early days of dealing with the demonized. This is true of all of us.
There is an unsophisticated simplicity, honesty, and refreshing humility in his report
His account reveals the personal, historical dimension of ministry to fractured personalities in the life of a godly pastor. To see a developing ministry from a historical perspective is extremely helpful.
Rockstad’s approach to multiplicity seems to be generally compatible with the broad, general approach of professional Christian counselors who specialize in counseling what are commonly called MPD’s. Admittedly, he did not understand the complex psychological dimensions of this human phenomenon as do professionally trained counselors. While professionals will question some of his conclusions, most will not question the basic reality he discovered.
Rockstad’s strong emphasis on the demonic dimension of personality segmentation is greatly needed. Every serious multiple I have dealt with has had demonic problems associated with his multiplicity. Since I am limited in on-going, hands-on experience with multiples, I am not in the position to affirm that multiplicity always involves demonization. Yet, knowing the nature of demons as I do, I would find it hard to believe that they do not try to be involved in all such cases.
In the case study on Betty given in chapter 58, the multiples would not even appear until the demons were cleared out. The demons effectively hid her segments until they were removed from her body. Either that or else the segments were afraid of the demons and would not appear — even in therapy — until the demons left.
In the case studies mentioned by Rockstad, the fragments — even the demonized ones — seem to have come up first. In the case of some of them, he said, the segments couldn’t come to Christ until the demons attached to them were removed. Whatever the case may be, the interrelationship between the segments and the demons attached to them is crucial. We must learn to recognize when demons hinder the segments from renouncing Satan and receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Rockstad strongly stresses the need to consider the segments as capable of accepting Christ one by one. This is essential and, according to Rockstad, always successful when it is done in a correct, loving, and persistent manner with persons who are already believers.
Fusion or integration through the rebuilding of the whole personality is the goal once the segments are led to Christ. This would raise serious questions about cases where the counselors settle with segment cooperation, but separateness. Fusion is neither sought nor accomplished. Thus the personality is never made whole again, a condition that is unacceptable both the Christian and non-Christian perspectives. It may be that only those counselors who acknowledge and depend on God’s creative power can help effect such integration.
Since most of my readers are not highly trained professional counselors, Rev. Rockstad’s story is one we can all identify with. This would not be the case if this introductory chapter on multiplicity rested primarily on the writings of trained professionals.
Finally, Rockstad’s report reveals errors in working with personality segmentation that trained Christian professionals would avoid. This is to be expected.
First, there is Ernie’s apparent failure to discover (or to report) the particular abuse or trauma which led to the split personalities of Carmen and Jan. The younger and earlier segments are the first to dissociate. If there was severe physical, sexual, psychological, or religious abuse suffered at an early age — and there always is — these segments would hold the memory of that abuse. If they are led to Christ and fused without the memories they hold brought to light and faced by the traumatized person, that person will face unnecessary future difficulties in life, perhaps never being fully healed.
Second, Rockstad did not mention SRA. Perhaps he was aware of it, but he does not refer to it unless he did so toward the end of his life when the extent of SRA began to be made known. Most child abuse which produces severe dissociation is associated with sexual child abuse. The sexual child abuse that most often leads to severe dissociation is SRA. Some practitioners estimate it is as high as 75 percent.
Third, he does not mention the amnesia that often exists among the segmented personalities themselves, and between the personality and the segments. The latter is probably implied in his studies, but the former is not. Nor does he mention the time gaps in the person’s life, lost time that cannot be accounted for in daily life and the years of early childhood about which the victim has little or no memory.
Ernest B. Rockstad
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