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.”
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.