SAN DIEGO — A Fallbrook couple’s promise to exorcise demons and spiritually heal their churchgoers is being met with skepticism.
Gregg and Karen Kirkpatrick run Choose Life Ministries, and on the ministry’s website, Gregg Kirkpatrick said, “I’m very excited about this ministry’s work that sets the captives free that heals the broken hearted.”
The website has since been taken down.
The Kirkpatricks’ mentor, Rev. Bob Larson of Phoenix, claims to have performed more than 10,000 exorcisms. However, his tactics have been under much scrutiny.
Critics say Larson and those who follow him prey on the most vulnerable and make them an example in church to drive up donations.
Many people have found the Kirkpatricks and their ministry through Larson, including Raquel Ford.
“I was desperate,” Ford told 10News.
Ford said she needed help. After years of abuse and violence in her life, she tried to take her life with a bottle of sleeping pills.
She said she sought spiritual guidance from Larson, who in turn suggested she see the Kirkpatricks.
“He said it was his No. 1 spiritual team,” Ford said. “They told me about this great spiritual retreat where you have horses you can pet and chickens, that it’s beautiful and it’s a place of healing.”
The Kirkpatricks’ Fallbrook property includes an overgrown yard and several chickens in coops. Ford said the Kirkpatricks’ rented space in their home to several people but failed to include basic necessities like heat, water or locks on the doors.
Ford said she spent $8,000 but got little in return.
“They use people,” she said. “They’re going to use whoever they can. Tell your sob story … whoever draws the crowd. I know now that’s what they did.”
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department says it has received six calls to come out to the Kirkpatricks’ street in the past six months.
Neighbors say since the Kirkpatricks moved to the neighborhood in November 2010, people have been out in the streets at all hours. Neighbors say some pick oranges off the trees and others chant.
The Kirkpatricks would not comment for this story.