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ECHO goes undercover at gay ‘cure’ church offering ‘dangerous’ starvation therapy

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.

Exterior of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries in Breck Road, Anfield.
Exterior of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries in Breck Road, Anfield.
(Image: Liverpool Echo)

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.

The website also carried a long list of people who MFM Liverpool say need deliverance
The website also carried a long list of people who MFM Liverpool say need deliverance
The website also carried a long list of people who MFM Liverpool say need deliverance
The website also carried a long list of people who MFM Liverpool say need deliverance

He said: “I will say one thing as well, you say all these things about I’m feeling I’m confused about my sexuality. Thank God you say that you are looking for deliverance because you have got your deliverance.

“You need to realise this is a deceit of Satan. 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.

“With the help of God, with prayer, with praying, with the help of God you will have children. You will marry and have your children.”

The MFM Liverpool website carries a picture of Dr Desmond Sanusi
The MFM Liverpool website carries a picture of Dr Desmond Sanusi

He then went on to suggest the three-day residential session would be more effective if our reporter also attended weekly prayer meetings with a required fasting period of 24 hours – boasting that he himself could manage three days of fasting, and even suggesting it made him look more youthful.

He added: “We have a special programme called deliverance that’s going to take place in September. For three days you will not eat. Can you do that?

When asked why, he said: “Our soul needs to be humbled. And you should start the fasting now.”


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“I am telling you we are a church that does not discriminate against people.”

After being offered a recording of Brother Michael referring to being gay as a “deceit of Satan,” – which Dr Sanusi refused – he continued to claim the church did not discriminate against anyone based on their sexuality.

He added: “We don’t discriminate against anybody. We’re a church of God. We follow what is in the bible. Jesus did not at any point discriminate against people.

“People come to the church to pray and to know God better and that’s why people come to the church.

“I am speaking as the authority of the church, as the pastor of the church, and I am telling you we are a church that does not discriminate against people.

“As the pastor of the church, any other thing you hear from any other person, either an assistant or members of the church, that does not carry the representation of the church.”

He also claimed our reporter’s initial enquiry was because “his manhood wasn’t working” rather than concerns over his sexuality.

The fasting element of the therapy poses “huge” risks to physical health

Mental health professionals and LGBT campaigners today slammed the church’s methods as “dangerous” and damaging.

Dr Louise Theodosiou, consultant psychiatrist from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told the ECHO the fasting element of the therapy poses “huge” risks to physical health, and could impact on the brain function of those undergoing the treatment.

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.”

Watch: Youtube clip shows what life is like inside the church.

*There is no suggestion any of the congregation know that the ‘deliverance’ therapy is being carried out


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As well as the private counselling, our reporter also took part in a prayer session called ‘My Glory Must Manifest’ – which the assistant pastor said would help make his deliverance more effective.

As part of the prayer group, ‘Brother Michael’ repeatedly shouted phrases such as “kill it with fire, die in the fire” while members of the congregation were seen crying, shaking and sweating as they appeared to be speaking in tongues. He told our journalist he should fast for 24 hours before attending each of these prayer sessions.

Children as young as six months were in attendance as well as around 20 adults. However at weekends, assistant pastor Michael told our reporter that anything up to 100 people would attend – sometimes including as many as 60 children.


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Although there’s no suggestion that members of the congregation are aware that the conversion therapy is performed at the church, its website publicly displays the details of its ‘deliverance’ programme – claiming it can “destroy the chains of darkness and kill every satanic embargo.”

While being gay isn’t listed on the website, it does carry a list of reasons people may need to undergo the deliverance sessions, including being victims of rape and child abuse, as well as those who have had abortions.

Other ‘ailments’ it claims it can cure include chronic illnesses, fear of being alone, or being ‘intensely jealous of others’.

Listings on the website show there have been several sessions held over the last year in March and June, as well as a further two planned for September and December.

There is “no evidence” that conversion therapy works – here is evidence it has “the potential to cause harm”

In 2015, over 15 governing bodies including the NHS, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ regarding the therapy.

The document – signed by all the major psychological professional bodies – states that there is “no evidence” that conversion therapy works, while there is evidence it has “the potential to cause harm”.

Earlier this year, Theresa May’s government was petitioned to make conversion therapies illegal – however the petition fell short of the 100,000 signatures needed to force a debate in parliament.

In response to the petition, signed by 33,000 people, the Department of Health claimed they had “already taken the necessary steps to prevent the practice of gay conversion therapy in the UK,”

They added: ”The Government fully recognise the importance of this issue and the adverse impact this treatment could have on lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

“There is no evidence that this sort of treatment is beneficial, and indeed it may well cause significant harm to some patients.

“It is incumbent on professionals working in the National Health Service to ensure that treatment and care, including therapy, is provided to every patient without any form of discrimination.”

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