My thoughts on Sozo ministry.

This is a bit of a controversial topic. I won’t get into details as to why this is prevalent, or what prompted me to start research on it but the topic of Sozo Ministry recently entered my life. I was compelled to do extensive research and it somewhat consumed my life for the following two weeks. (and who knows, maybe one day I will share the details.)

In short, this is what has halted my baptism for the time being, which I am upset about but trust that God has led me to this and I’m glad that He did. I am working on a post about that too.

A quick Google search on the topic will bring up a wide variety of differing opinions. Many who are involved in the churches that are practicing Sozo, see no concern whatsoever, but from someone who has been saved from the new age and found Christ, It’s really rather alarming. The different stages of a sozo session are new age practices, with different names, and I don’t feel that this is a biblical practice.

When this was brought up I really feel like Jesus was compelling me to look into it. I began research and was really shook up about the whole thing. Now, because of my high-strung anxiety, I know that I sometimes tend to overreact to things so I wanted to be sure that this wasn’t the case and I turned to as many believers as I could. This included friends writing their pastors, and me chatting with a few pastors as well. I even turned to my two favourite groups on Facebook, Reasons for Jesus and From New Age to Christianity Recovery Group for their opinions.

Out of the many people I spoke to, I think I had 2 positive opinions about the matter. The rest were worried, or confused, or both. I had people pleading with me to stay away, I had pastors telling me to flee. Some responses were frantic, telling me the horror that they endured during or after a Sozo session. There’s an entire page online for the victims of Sozo Ministry. I started to become very afraid for the church families that are subject to this practice.

Much of what I read online had stated that there was more damage being done than help. That people were unlocking these “memories” where a traumatic event they had suppressed as a child had surfaced. I read that the method used is actually “time editing” and implanting a false memory because of the trance-like state they put you under. Now, of course they don’t call it that, they call it the 4 doors, but it’s very much the same as what the new age would call a past life regression or other hypnotherapy. Stories included people committing suicide because they couldn’t handle these new “truths”. Father’s fearing prison for things they would never in a million years commit. And all the while, the Sozo team is telling you that this is GOD directing you to these things. (Jesus knows the truth.) From one of the victim accounts: ” I contacted two attorneys with ‘false recovered memory’ experience. Both were shocked that regressive therapy was being practiced at all. Both attorneys told me that the whole recovered memory issue died out in the 1990s when it was exposed for the hoax that it is. After a few therapists were sued for big dollars the practice stopped—until Theophostic and Sozo started it up again. Both Theophostic and Sozo therapy includes regressive therapy techniques.”

I’ve seen videos online after Sozo sessions where they are falling on their faces and acting drunk. And the churches are viewing this as biblical? I cannot understand the logic behind this one.

I always try to give the benefit of the doubt in every situation. Maybe these churches don’t realize how closely this is tied to new age mysticism? Maybe they’re just doing it because another church says it’s great and they really haven’t taken the time to look into it… I don’t know.

On the other hand, all of the churches that practice Sozo present it in very vague ways, even if they have extensive videos about it, it’s always just a bunch of people telling you how great it is. I requested precise information about exactly what happens during a session and was evaded with the response that I can find all the info on the website. Luckily google has access to nearly everything in existence (Thank you Jesus) and I was able to find the script and outline of what happens during a session. Of course, this is why my concern and research ran so deep during all of this.

I won’t call anyone out, but if you do some googling yourself you can find the founding information, the controversy and how more than one of the therapists that launched a version of one of the tools  used during Sozo was sued for fraud.

Apparently the purpose is supposed to be to go in and alleviate anything that may be hindering your connection to God. Here’s what they say it’s all about: “Sozo ministry is a unique inner healing and deliverance ministry aimed to get to the root of things hindering your personal connection with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With a healed connection, you can walk in the destiny to which you have been called.”

There are 6 tools which the Sozo team uses:

  1. Father Ladder
  2. Four Doors
  3. Presenting Jesus
  4. The Wall
  5. Trigger Mechanisms
  6. Diving Editing

Bible Healing goes into detail of each of these steps in a great post called What Are The Sozo’ Tools And What Do They Mean?

Why I feel like Sozo isn’t lining up with scripture;

The bible tells us that the work is already done when we find Jesus, repent our sins, ask for forgiveness and start a new life through Him.  Sozo seems to be creating alternatives to Biblical Christianity. It focuses on a healing journey through the subconscious rather than through prayer and reading God’s word.

Jesus can do all of this work on his own, pray about it, these extra practices aren’t required.

A typical Sozo session starts at $50+ IF it is of God and the work is being done by God, than why should man receive monetary gain from God’s work?

“If our deliverance was bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, why then do Churches require payment for that which Christ has already provided?” – source

Mark 16:16 says; “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” That’s it. There’s no special requirements for following Jesus.

Jesus is capable of anything. He is the power above all else. I will share my testimony soon, and you will see, if I can be saved and my life changed completely around, simply from asking Jesus into my life, then He can help anyone.

Does it line up with scripture? Can we find it in the bible? Maybe I like to ask too many questions, but God gave us the gift of discernment for a reason.

What scares me most is that Sozo is present in some children’s ministry, and there are classes being delivered around the world for churches that want to learn.

Resources and RECOMMENDed Reading: 

There’s so many more. I have googled many terms but the main one that I search is “what do Christians say about sozo”

Have you researched or experienced Sozo Ministry? I would love for you to share your thoughts on it with me in the comments below. 

I could be totally wrong in my research but these are simply my thoughts and concerns on the subject. I’m open to hear what you think.

Do you have a link that would be of benefit in this post? Please let me know.God Bless.


4 thoughts on “My thoughts on Sozo ministry.

  1. jstroud72 says:

    Hello Briar Rose, I appreciate so much your willingness to tackle this. I have never researched this but was encouraged a couple of years ago to go through with a sozo. I was struggling with some serious stuff and felt a little desperate at the time. So I went through with it and there is something that happened that was incredibly special for me. However, as I read your blog and looked back I realize how difficult it was for me to “by-in” to the process as whole. With every question I was rolling my eyes thinking that they are not asking anything that can’t be answered with scripture. I’m wondering now if that is how God protected me and I was given a vision but it was how God viewed me. The vision did not contradict the bible in fact it confirmed it for me. That vision along with His word, prayer and fasting has propelled/compelled me to love what he loves even more. What’s even more interesting is that I have never encouraged another to do it. It just seemed as if it was something that God would have shown me anyway either through His word, prayer or fasting. But…thank you for this. Don’t stop voicing truth. Hugs and many blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. katiejo42 says:

    Wow! Interesting blog post. I’ve just started working with a Sozo team at my church, and all I can say is that I have found it to be one of the gentlest, kindest ministries I’ve ever worked in.

    That’s not to say that it couldn’t be abused, unfortunately, like any other tool. It’s a sad fact that humans are pretty capable of hurting each other with anything. Even the bible. 😦

    Certainly, the team I work with aren’t ‘implanting memories’. In fact, throughout our training, it was stressed over and over again that we shouldn’t be asking leading questions etc… We do ask questions like ‘Is there anything you need to forgive your parents for? Or ‘is there anything you need to forgive your siblings for?’, ‘is there anything you need to forgive your children for?’ etc… but I don’t consider these to be unlocking traumatic memories, they’re just questions that invite you to talk about or pray for something that’s bothering you. If you say ‘no’ or ‘I can’t think of anything’ we move onto the next question.

    The four doors is just another tool to ask people about four areas that they might need to repent of in a generic way, where they don’t have to feel embarrassed or give us too many details.

    The whole process is totally led by the person who walked in. As a team, we pray for and with them, and offer words of encouragement (never judgement or advice) and send them home having hopefully experienced that God loves them unconditionally.

    I’ll admit that I don’t think I know what 5 and 6 are. Our ministry only covers the father ladder, four doors, presenting Jesus and the wall, and we don’t charge for it. It’s a free service for people in our church, or people referred by their church leadership.

    I’m no expert, I only joined the team last year, but I’ve only seen positive outcomes so far. That’s not to say there won’t be practising it in ungodly ways (praying for healing is absolutely evidenced in the bible, but I’ve heard of people being hurt by ‘prayers’ that included a lot of judgement about their sin or unbelief), but I’m not convinced the whole ministry is wrong.

    I think it can be a useful tool, but like anything else, it’s open to manipulation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. memoryvictim says:


    First, please don’t feel criticized as you read my response to your post. While I am critiquing your comments, I in no way intend to attack you or your church. You are obviously a loving and intelligent person, and I am positive your goal is to help hurting people. However, I hope to provoke you to think about this more deeply, and it would be great if I could encourage you in investigate this subject further.

    It is possible that the sozo at your church is the exception and not the rule. If so, that is a good thing. However, I found this statement to be troubling,

    “Certainly, the team I work with aren’t ‘implanting memories’. In fact, throughout our training, it was stressed over and over again that we shouldn’t be asking leading questions etc…”

    While this can seem to be a healthy sign—it may not be. Allow me to illustrate my point by using a little story:

    A wealthy woman was interviewing new drivers to serve as her chauffer. She had each take her on a drive in the hills. When the first driver reached the hill country, as a test she asked him to drive as close to the edge of the road as possible without falling off the sheer cliff. Anxious to show his skill, he drove quite close to the edge of the road. One mistake and the limousine would have fallen hundreds of feet killing both. The lady thanked him and asked to be driven back home. This was repeated with the next driver who drove even closer to the edge. Again, she thanked him and asked him to return. When she told the third candidate to do the same thing he refused stating that he would never endanger her by driving close to the edge. She informed him he had just won the job.

    The point is: Why does there have to be such an effort made to make sure none of the sozo facilitators do not ask any leading questions? Why does this have to be, “stressed over and over again?” The answer is your trainers already know they are playing with fire—they are too close to the edge of dangerous therapy and out of their league.

    When my children were young we did not live near a lake or a pond. There was no need for me to run outside while they were playing and tell them not to go near the water.

    You see the initial problem with sozo is it has practiced and promoted regressive memory therapy from its inception. This isn’t the only problem with sozo—there are many. Please consider these excerpts from a book called ‘Smiling Through The Tears’ by Pamela Freyd and Eleanor Goldstein which they wrote to address the false recovered memory epidemic:

    “Memory researcher Martin Conway, states:

    “Indeed, experimentally inducing false memories in healthy young adults appears almost trivially easy, the implication being that in the context of therapy, with a patient who is psychologically dysfunctional and actively seeking help, the probability of memory distortion and fabrication is multiplied many times over.”

    Psychologist and hypnosis expert Michael Yapko, has remarked:

    “One need not to question whether someone is suggestible, but instead assess the degree of suggestibility at a given point in time or in a given context. One need not employ formal hypnotic or suggestive techniques for the purpose of recovering presumably repressed memories in order to impart the assumption that such memories exist and the expectation that such memories can and will be found.”

    The notion that patients become absorbed in their therapist’s belief systems is not a new one. It was known decade ago that patients who went to Freudian therapists had “Freudian dreams” and those who went to Jungian therapists had “Jungian dreams.” But can people be led to believe that they were abused when in fact they never were? Yapko notes:

    Case examples of virtually impossible forms of abuse that are vividly “remembered” make it clear that the answer is yes.

    Memory researchers have proven that certain factors may increase suggestibility. For example, asking someone to imagine that something happened can be a highly suggestive process because imagination and memory can be confused. In addition, imagining events can make a person feel more confident that the events actually occurred. Imagining events also increases the chance of producing a false recollection.”

    Please notice this particular comment by Yapko:

    “…One need not employ formal hypnotic or suggestive techniques for the purpose of recovering presumably repressed memories in order to impart the assumption that such memories exist and the expectation that such memories can and will be found.”

    You see it is not necessary to ask, “leading questions” in order to promote false recovered memories. All that is necessary is for there to be the expectation that repressed memories could be found; and again, all sozo since its beginning is built on the foundation of regressive memory therapy. If you take out that component it is no longer ‘sozo.’

    Katiejo42, please audit all of the books and materials your church is using to advance the sozo agenda. If any of it teaches that memories can be suppressed and then recovered then you are involved with and promoting regressive memory therapy (RMT). If any of your sozoees get their hands on this material that is sufficient to suggest to them that they could have repressed memories and that is all that is necessary for them to experience a false recovered memory while in a sozo session.

    Another statement you made is troubling,

    “The whole process is totally led by the person who walked in.”

    Sister, I am not trying to hurt your feelings, but I need to speak frankly. That idea could not be more naive. When anyone attends a sozo session it is not because everything is perfect in their lives. They attend with hurts and the understanding that attending such a session will be beneficial to them. There is also the understanding that the facilitators are trained and can be trusted and have help to offer them. A sozoee is obviously going to attend with a malleable mind and spirit, trusting that they are in good and INFORMED hands. It is ridiculous to suggest that the agenda is driven by the sozoee. If the sozo teams at your church think it is only necessary to NOT ask leading questions, then they are not INFORMED. They should become so.

    Finally, and again sister I am not trying to harm or hurt feelings, but the subject requires straight talk so a few more of your statements,

    “It’s a sad fact that humans are pretty capable of hurting each other with anything. Even the bible.”

    What you said is very true, but allow me to say:

    It’s a sad fact that humans are pretty capable of hurting each other with anything. Even ignorance.

    Do some research into the false recovered memory epidemic. The book I mentioned above is a good place to start. There are families all over the world that have lost loved ones due to false recovered memories implanted during a sozo session. I know, I am one of those that lost someone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julia says:

    Thank you for your blog. I have been researching this for about 2 years now after having a bad experience at my (now previous) church. It certainly felt new age to me. I felt as if I was in a trance and I was answering questions during the session based on my knowledge of God. Rather than it actually being Holy Spirit led. At one point I was split in two and was watching myself do stuff. Very weird! It was a bit like ‘Jesus as my spirit guide’! Having also practiced in occult stuff before I was saved, the whole thing rang alarm bells.

    I actually felt so icky for days after the session, as if I’d been demonically slimed! This feeling didn’t go away until I repented of having had the sozo! When I tried to raise concerns with my church leaders I was met with controlling remarks, scripture taken out of context and that it was all me. Relationships were eventually healed but I’ve had to move churches as my faith was so badly shaken. It gets exhausting when you constantly have to discern whether you can trust what is being preached.

    In conclusion, I would in no way recommend a sozo. Breakthrough must cone from diligent prayer, knowing God’s word and therefore knowing God’s heart in close relationship with Him.


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