Here is a feedback I received from Pillah Bee (from Kenya) on my recent Facebook post about Rebecca and Daniel Yoder:
Somebody recommended Unbroken Curses for me to read. I somehow found the writer to be biased against people of other continents, especially the blacks. How can she claim they have tribal gods in the current generation?
This is a good observation. Several reviewers of Unbroken Curses on Amazon have also pointed out that Rebecca and Daniel Yoder appeared to link other races to haunting ancestral curses, but didn’t apply the same to their own race.
I particularly noticed a prejudicial indent in Rebecca’s first book, He Came to Set the Captives Free, where she referred to an African American couple as “Mr and Mrs Black” and “a negro couple.” She intentionally wanted her readers to know that they weren’t Mr and Mrs “white skinned.”
Considering the history of racial tensions in the American society and the Christian nature of her book, I didn’t consider it appropriate for her to append a pseudonym as “Mr and Mrs black”, or the term “negro” to persons of colour. It was unjustified in the 80s and inexcusable today.
In the Unbroken Curses (Whitaker, 1995) book, Rebecca made Africans (and by extension, African Americans) out as a violence-infested race, dying like flies today because of the influences of their tribal gods. Here is the quote:
“The whole continent of Africa is characterized by tribal warfare. In 1995, there have been uprisings of intertribal warfare and massacres in Kenya as well. We have all seen the same thing in Somalia as it was filmed by the news media. The people of Africa have never broken away from the sins of their forefathers. Each tribe is consequently ruled by particular demon gods. Demons hate people and are determined to exterminate them!
“Thus, the whole history of Africa has been incessant warfare and massacres among tribes. Until the Christians unite as one body and cry out to God in repentance for the sins of demon worship and hatred and warfare among their tribes as well as their ancestors’ tribes, the curses from the sins of their forefathers will not be removed from their lives. Christians and non-Christians alike are being killed in those massacres. They are wasting away in the iniquities of their fathers (Leviticus 26:39).
“This same problem exists here in America. The biggest problem in any large city is gang warfare and violence. Most of this is black-on-black violence. Why? Because the intertribal warfare among blacks is being carried on right here in America. Each gang is the same as a tribe. It doesn’t matter that these precious people are no longer in Africa. They are still wasting away in the iniquities of their forefathers” (pp. 31-32).
A complete dissection of the unnerving rhetorical device employed here would require a separate post on its own, but few points are in order.
If the author(s) had a slight knowledge of the history of warfare and violence in Africa, she would have realized that Western powers are also implicated in it. Not to mention, her simplistic grasp of the causes of the massacres in Kenya and Somalia.
One only needs to read the paragraphs quoted above in light of violent occurrences in the U.S. in the past decade alone, to see how her racial prejudice negated her prescription for Africa.
I think it would be insensitive and condescending if an African writer cited the American Civil war, the Connecticut, Marysville, Roseburg and Parkland school shootings, the Orlando night club shootings and serial murders in the US and link it to European and Native American pagan gods to conclude that: “Americans are wasting away in the sins of their forefathers.”
The most irking part for me was when she wrote with dogmatic certainty that, “the people of Africa have never broken away from the sins of their forefathers.”
I can only hope that this pair have met enough real African Christians since the time they wrote that hogwash to correct their misconceptions. Racial profiling is bad. It destroys social relations and fosters divisions within the Body of Christ.
A man from the UK who had read my blog articles on the Yoders, told me during a chat few weeks ago that when he read Unbroken Curses at the age of 22, he became so obsessed with demons that he was casting off demons from virtually everything. I can relate to that.
You see, the stories narrated in the book induces in an unwary reader, a neurosis of tying almost anything from a non-American or non-caucasian context with the demonic.
Few examples are in order:
(1) They narrated about a Japanese hand painted fan with the picture of a geisha girl allegedly evoking lustful thoughts in an American couple (p. 54).
We are told that geisha girls “are high-class prostitutes” and since “the painting on the fan honored and glorified geisha girls…the demon of sexual immorality had the legal right to be on the fan, which made it an unclean object” (p. 55).
From my study, geisha girls are not prostitutes, they are rather a symbol of Japanese culture.
Using Rebecca’s logic, Christians will have to be casting Buddhist and Shinto demons out from Japanese cars imported into their countries or they will come under demonic attack.
(2) Rebecca said she “fell into the trap of honouring demon gods…while visiting Hawaii for a speaking engagement” (p. 60).
She explained that when she arrived at the church the first night, two little girls placed a lei of flowers around her neck and welcomed her. Then when she began to speak, she became confused, her mind blanked out, and she couldn’t put two sentences together to make any sense.
Later, she realized that the pagans on the islands regarded the leis flowers as sacred to their gods and a sign of good luck. Thus the quirky conclusion:
“I had unwittingly given honor to the demon gods of the Haiwaiin Islands when I accepted the leis around my neck! This brought me under a curse and gave the demonic spirits the legal right to attack me! (p. 61).
I must confess, that this is a twisted path. First of all, who created those plants? God. Even if some pagans sincerely believed that they were sacred to their deities, they can’t bring one under a curse or make one susceptible to demonic attack.
Apostle Paul directly addressed this: “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim. 4:4).
Rebecca quoted this same passage when addressing unclean foods on p. 116, but she probably forgot to apply the same in this situation.
Pagans also believe roses to be sacred to their gods, but to assert that giving someone a rose flower as a gift will bring down a curse on them, is a demonic delusion in itself.
(3) A statement she made on pg. 63 would be of interest to Christian archaeologists and historians:
“Thus, around the world, and on St. Croix specifically, ancient demon gods are being dug up, carefully restored, and placed in positions of honor. Money is being paid in honor as tourists go to see them. In essence, little difference exists between these tourist attractions and pagan temples.”
This is a display of fanaticism. A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance. It’s not a pagan temple.
The ethnic images placed in museums are not for religious veneration. The money paid by tourists are not paid “in honour of demon gods.”
Various scholarly works are done by digging up such past artefacts and many of them have been useful to biblical authenticity and understanding.
The Yoders laid a burden of guilt on their Christian audience at St. Croix (and by extension, their readers):
“We had to tell them that if the Christians of St. Croix do not join together to vigorously protest the [museum] project and do everything possible to stop it, then they would be guilty of sinning against God by being partakers in giving honor to demon gods...” (p. 67).
At this point, a reasonable reader should question if Rebecca and Daniel Yoder have ever vigorously protested the building of Masonic lodges, Wiccan covens, Hindu or Buddhist temples in their own state of Arkansas before asking Christians to fight against a museum project – which is a purely secular undertaking?
This is why I can’t recommend any material by this pair for new Christians. They simply capture the fevered imaginations of their own minds and syringe them into their readers.
There is a world of difference between a person enlightening you and someone filling you with hysteria.
There is a part of the book where they relayed a story about “a powerful American Indian demon god” called Tsagalalal and how she ruled over the whole region of Stevenson, Washington DC.
But when you read about this Tsagalalal from any reference work, you will realize that the Yoders exaggerated her power and influence in their book more than the Native Americans themselves.
I must also point out that the “vision” relayed by Daniel Yoder, of the rainbow bridge between heaven and earth where pets await their owners, is a variation of an American Indian myth. So much for their earlier fuss with their lei flowers.
Expectedly, on pg. 122, Rebecca exhibited her demonic paranoia towards African arts in a hotel in Abidjan:
“A large, woven tapestry was hanging on the wall at the head of our bed. It had African figures woven into it. We quickly recognized that the figures were representations of demon gods. A painting of the opposite wall was a watercolor of an African tribe holding a ritual ceremony. Both were legal grounds for demons.”
Take note of two things. Once they found out an African (or non-Western) painting in the room, they instantly branded it as demonic. The silent inference is: if it isn’t Western art, it must be satanic.
Second, the figure woven into the tapestry in that hotel were plural (“representations”). Later, things went downhill:
“During our stay, I developed a physical problem. I realized that I was under heavy demonic attack, but I was unable to gain victory.” (p. 123)
Now, this narrative of being defeated by demons in spite of prayer is a recurring trope in the Yoders’ books as I have pointed out. Eventually, the key to the puzzle was found when the hostess came to their room:
“As soon as she looked at it [the tapestry], she said, “Oh, that is the god Poro. He is a powerful god of the tribes in northern Ivory Coast.”
Earlier, we were told that there were figures woven into the tapestry, but now we are told it’s a singular figure – Poro. Rebecca further said:
Poro “hated women so much that any woman who dared to look at him or at a depiction of him immediately had a curse of death placed on her. There are no images of Poro among those northern tribes because the women who look at them die.”
If these were true, then the hotel management must have been part of a hidden conspiracy to afflict and murder foreign women by putting up a tapestry that could bring death curses on female visitors. Ah, such unbroken curses!
Let anyone reading this take a moment to do a brief Internet search about “Poro” and you will realize that it’s a male fraternal society, not a deity. Poro society is known for hunting and they are resident in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and the Ivory Coast.
The Encyclopedia of African Religion (Molefi Asante and Ama Mazama, 2008), says that “Sandogo is the women’s society, and Poro is the men’s society. Although Poro is the men’s society, young girls and post-menopausal women are permitted to join Poro, and men are permitted to join Sandogo.”
There are depictions made of Poro men and their masks, but there’s no such thing as a “powerful god of Ivory Coast” called Poro, whose hateful gaze makes women drop dead.
The argument that the hotel staff wouldn’t know her own culture as to misinform the Yoders doesn’t wash. The Yoders’ claims betray a premeditated and wilful intent to deceive their readers and sensationalize spiritual warfare.
From what I have documented so far, honesty seems to be the farthest thing from Rebecca and Daniel Yoder’s minds whenever they communicate with the public. Take their stories and visions with much caution and discretion.
I end this with the words of Pillah Bee:
That put me off. If she (or should I say they) wanted to put across their points, they need not to be biased, if their argument is valid. It is very wrong to misinform the readers especially because that’s a print media, we have people who are truly seeking to know more about biblical truths, and they need to be guided in the right direction.
Here is my exchange with a zealous fan of Rebecca Brown on this piece.