Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Mercy appropriate"

This piece is the first in a series called "The language of Mercy".  Please click on this link to read my disclaimer.

Some of the words and phrases used at Mercy Ministries were ambiguous in meaning.  Because of this, they could be used as blanket words to avoid reasonable explanation, or they could change meaning easily depending on the situation or to whom they were being applied.  They could be applied as heavily or lightly, as broadly or specifically as desired by a given staff member.

"Mercy appropriate" was one such example.

Mercy appropriate

The word "Mercy appropriate" set the word "appropriate" apart from the limited application it might have in the real world.  The idea of it was to make the environment as safe and untriggering as possible.  But because of it's ambiguous nature, the meaning changed depending on the subjective understanding of the staff member on duty, what mood they were in and whether or not they liked you.  Obviously, each staff member was different so not all of them would favour one girl over another or take their moods out on people, but it was certainly an option available that was exercised by those who did.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The language of Mercy

I have a few pieces in the pipeline about the words used at Mercy Ministries.

I was inspired by a recent blog post of a fellow Mercy survivor friend called "Loading the Language".  Loaded language can be found in cults and destructive groups.  As I read it this piece, I began to recall many words used at Mercy - their ambiguity, the unspoken messages they carried and the sometimes changing meanings.

For the disclaimer, I feel it pertinent to mention that these pieces are not intended as a critique of the beliefs or methods behind the Mercy Ministries program, as much as I may have to say about certain things.  Rather, my goal in these particular pieces is to explore how the loaded language used by Mercy Ministries contributes to and maintains the two contrasting images - that which is conveyed to the general public and hopeful applicants, and the wicca ("witchcraft", literally "to bend" or "to twist") that I and others experienced behind closed doors.