Update: The CBC has more information on the camp and none of it makes the Christians running it look good. The person who performed the exorcism was a self-described “apostle” Carlos Doerksen. One mother whose child witnessed the exorcism says “her 14-year-old son is now in counselling.” Another says the other Christian leaders defended the action by saying it was a “true spiritual experience.” Yikes.
Back in July, at Redberry Bible Camp outside Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a boy approximately 13 years old was found on the ground, bleeding from his nose and writhing in agony. Instead of rushing him to the nearest hospital, a Bible camp staffer decided to… perform an exorcism.
And then the staffer announced he had eradicated the demon possessing the boy.
And then the staffer handed out his business cards to all the kids watching all this horrifying spectacle unfold.
And then the staffer told all the kids they’d have to stay in touch with him forever because only he knew how to rid the demon that could possibly possess all of them.
And by the way, the staffer was hired to work with kids despite his past pornography and drug addictions, despite admitting to domestic violence, and despite getting fired from his “previous job as a camp counsellor.”
There’s no indication the boy received actual medical help.
We only know the details about this incident because an official with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who saw complaints filed against the church camp spoke with the CBC:
Some of the children were so terrified they called their parents, said the official. Even though the six-day camp was less than half over, the parents took their children home that night and the following morning. RCMP and other agencies were notified.
CBC News asked Redberry board chair Wayne Dick if any other staff were involved, how the man was hired, whether any medical care was provided to the child and whether exorcisms are accepted practice at Redberry, but he did not respond directly.
Dick said he has some of that information, “but I can’t give it to you now.”
The church camp in question is affiliated with the Saskatchewan Mennonite Brethren, a very conservative denomination that’s not necessarily known for believing in exorcisms. As for the suspect, his now-deactivated Facebook page detailed his journey to Jesus which included all those details about his troubling history. His YouTube page is allegedly still up and running.
There’s no indication of when any investigation by the RCMP might end or if charges will follow. All we know is that the staffer in question no longer works at Redberry.
It’s telling though that the adults running Redberry Bible Camp believed this man was trustworthy, but the kids who watched him conduct an exorcism knew right away he was full of shit and did their best to get the hell out of there. To be fair, they should’ve gotten their phones out of their pockets the moment a grown adult said he believes in demons.
Between COVID outbreaks and sexual abuse, Christian camps should just take a few years off to reassess their hiring policies, their safety protocols, and just fire everyone who presents a threat to children. Get rid of the Bible stuff too. Then, maybe, they’ll be able to run a camp worth attending.