Recalling When Beni Johnson Highlighted a Character From Frozen When She Believed That God Would Raise Olive From the Dead

In late 2019 Bethel in Redding California was all anticipation. The church believed that a two year old would raise from the dead. At one of the prayer/worship services balloons from the Disney movie Frozen were arranged on the stage. It appeared that Bethel planned to give these balloons to a young child after she rose form the dead in the Shasta County morgue. This blog sees a lot of similarities between Bethel and an infamous Chicago UFO cult in 1955 that originated the principle of cognitive dissonance. 

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Richard Feybnman

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 ESV

Beni Johnson is on the left.

The other day I was reading and doing some research into Bethel. Bethel is the cult in Redding, California that is led by Bill and Beni Johnson. Last year the church was worshiping God and believing that that a two year old child who died would be risen from the dead. You can read about this in more detail in, “Charismatic Evangelicalism and Trying to Raise People From the Dead. From Olive Heiligenthal of Bethel in California to Wooded Hills in Wisconsin.And it was during this time that Beni shared a post that I wanted to highlight. It was of a character from the Disney movie Frozen. 

Apparently what had happened is that when Bethel was having worship and prayer events in their efforts to raise Olive from the dead the church or someone got a series of balloons for the deceased girl. The balloons were of Olaf the snowman from the Disney movie Frozen. Apparently Bethel expected Olive to rise from the dead and they would give these balloons to welcome her back. 

This blog would like to ask Beni Johnson how did that balloon gift work out? Was Bethel able to give those balloons to Olive? Today in Bethel do you have a young child running around the sanctuary singing “Do you want to build a snowman?” 

Of course not. Olive is very much dead and buried. And yet Bethel still believes that God worked in this horrific ordeal. 

The Similarities Between Bethel in Redding and a UFO Cult in Chicago 

In 1955 within Chicago there existed the story of Dorothy Martin. Martin lead a UFO cult which believed that the world would come to an end and that UFO’s would take her and her followers to a new planet to avoid the destruction. On the night that the UFOs were supposed to come the cult assembled and waited in eager anticipation for the flying saucers to zoom down and start to collect them. They waited….and waited….and waited and nothing happened. Finally shortly before 5:00 a.m. Dorothy Martin had another “revelation” that declared that they were saved and the world would not end. From this incident came the belief of cognitive dissonance which is accepted in modern psychology. If you would like to read more about this incident this blog wrote about it in detail in, “What Is Cognitive Dissonance? The Story of Dorothy Martin and a Chicago Based UFO Cult in 1955.” 

There are a lot of similarities between that UFO cult in Chicago in 1955 and Bethel Church in Redding, California in 2019. Both claims were outrageous….one involved a belief that UFOs would jettison a group off the planet. Another believed that a two year old would raise from the dead in a morgue in Shasta County and pop out of a freezer and walk away. Both situations failed. And yet both groups still claim that they were vindicated in the end. Beni Johnson is just like Dorothy Martin in the end. Beni is a cult leader just like Dorothy Martin. Beni can’t admit that Bethel failed and that they were wrong. They still believed that God worked through this public relations disaster. If I lived in Redding and I was reading about Bethel, I would be nervous about another Jonestown happening in my backyard one day. This behavior is truly troubling. This blog hopes that one day psychology does a study of the mindset that believed a two year old would rise from the dead and what occurred when that did not happen.

2 thoughts on “Recalling When Beni Johnson Highlighted a Character From Frozen When She Believed That God Would Raise Olive From the Dead

  1. In 1955 within Chicago there existed the story of Dorothy Martin. Martin lead a UFO cult which believed that the world would come to an end and that UFO’s would take her and her followers to a new planet to avoid the destruction.

    A predecessor to “Join Bo and Peep behind Hale-Bopp”?

    The Nifty Fifties was the heyday of the first-generation Saucer Cults. My introduction to UFOlogy in the mid-Sixties was through the Adamskyites, the first of the Space Brothers Saucer Cults. (Back when the “Contactees” like Adamsky and Van Tassel were feuding with the “nuts and bolts” UFOlogists like NICAP, when the only attached Conpsiracy Theories had to do with the Air Force and nobody had heard of Alien Abduction Anal Probes, Alien Reptoid Illuminati Deep State, or Ancient Astronauts under every bed.)

    However, in the history of Saucer Cults, one stood out as the absolute WEIRDEST from its beginning. Originally called “The Two”, commonly called “Bo & Peep” or “The Bo-Peepers”. Better known today by their final name of “Heaven’s Gate” — you know, that mass suicide in San Diego years ago?

    As someone who was also mixed up with a Rapture Ready EotW Cult in the Seventies, I found this commentary on the Bo-Peepers to be a very striking (and cautionary) parallel:

    “The teachings of Heaven’s Gate did not differ all that much from the teaching of other contactee organizations nor, for that matter, of the Adamski-era contactees themselves. However, in place of the openness to others that is a common theme of those claiming contact with extraterrestrials. Heaven’s Gate was a closed society, suspicious of the external world. In place of the kooky fun of most contactees, Heaven’s Gate was dead serious. Unlike Ruth Norman’s* transformation into a galactic queen upon the death of her beloved Ernest, Herth Applewhite** never recovered from the death of Bonnie Lou Nettles***. Bo lost his Peep and did not know where to find her. Shaved heads led to castration, which led to suicide.

    “Unlike most other contactee groups (and practially all the individual contactees) Heaven’s Gate found little that was good in human nature, little that could give them hope. What hope they had was thought to be coming from above, a starship in a comet’s tail. They had given up on transforming the world; the best they could do was to escape it.”
    — Gregory L Reece, UFO Religion: Inside Flying Saucer Cults and Culture, p.155

    * = “Spaceship Ruthie”, founder of the Unarians near San Diego, one of the last surviving saucer cults.
    ** = Bo.
    *** = Peep.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Wanted: Stories and Information About Bethel Church in Redding, California | Wondering Eagle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.