October 22, 2016 by missionsandmysticism
“I read your blog about AIM and The World Race. I went on TWR [The World Race] back around 2010 and I couldn’t agree with you more.
I was raised in a fundamentally nondenominational Christian home and numerous times when interacting with AIM leadership I would feel uncomfortable, the hairs on my neck would stand up, and I’d get a desire to flee because of some of your aforementioned concerns.
Emphasis was placed on works, miracles, and “having the same power as Christ because he resides inside us.” The Holy Spirit was treated as an entity that gave us the “feel goods,” and “free-thinking” prayer was utilized – think: autowriting, signs and wonders, coincidences being God’s signals that only we can decipher, etc.
The other thing that bothered me is that we are exposed to a lot in the World and they didn’t offer any post-trip counseling. I had issues from TWR that I had to decompress from and seek counseling in years later.
Leadership never discouraged wilder approaches to Racers’ beliefs and it quickly turned into a “blind leading the blind” scenario.
I had people in my group that only wanted to go to a funeral [because] they believed they could raise them from the dead. Another group claimed they DID raise a boy from the dead after he was hit by a car (reality: the boy passed out due to shock and reawakened quickly due to his body naturally rebooting). Another guy would get drunk on the Holy Spirit and look for gold dust and feathers because those were signs of God’s Presence. Another girl claimed she was raped by her boyfriend because he wanted to have sex and she felt pressured to do so and eventually gave in. That’s NOT rape! She wanted justification for giving in to Sin and wanted to take the blame off herself.
Leadership encouraged this false mindset and it was actually one of the first times when I really noticed something was off theologically about this group. After all my expenses were paid for by donors, AIM tried to retroactively charge me more because of a new credit card and auto-withdrawal policy, ie a vendor charge for each card transaction that [went] into place after I had signed the paperwork. I refused to pay out of principle.
The only “possessed people” we encountered were from within our own group and I was always raised to believe that I was protected from possession by the grace of the Holy Spirit and the acceptance of Christ and atonement for Sin. Two different girls, who admittedly were the most dramatic and attention seeking in our group, got “possessed” on more than one occasion.
There were times I would ask leadership where I could find some of what they were teaching in the Bible and they scoffed at me. I never could find Biblical support.
We did visualization exercises.
I got chills when you mentioned the difference between bringing Christ’s Kingdom to Earth and the return of Christ. Because they want the former.
Seth Barnes was not an approachable person and once ridiculed me in front of a large group because he asked me what my “kingdom dream” was and I told him it’s between two different ones, but he cut me short and said I can only have one. He did this mostly because he didn’t care what my dreams were, he was trying to make a point and move on to the next point he wanted to make.
So, context… I currently do shift work at nights and was thinking about AIM and TWR recently … While I made the choice, I definitely believe this group had a huge impact on me walking away from Christianity. I found that interesting, but what better way for Evil to triumph than to pose as something good and do more long-lasting, subtle damage, with attacks that come in unforeseen forms? Maybe AIM leadership and Barnes have good intentions, but they are definitely paving the path to Hell.
I was taught that in warfare a corrupt opponent will fight dirty. They won’t come at you directly, but they will attack at the chink in your armor. I think that Barnes’ chink is his desire to leave a lasting impact on Earth for the greater good. He believes he is destined for great things and he found a way to market an antithesis to traditional Church upbringings, youth’s desire to be different and change the world, and a fun trip you can sucker other people into paying for.
I was on the trip when leadership had a meeting with us, livid that rumors were spreading that they were a cult and we were advised that it comes from controlling parents that were upset because we were put on a mandatory “technology fast.” We were then told we need to tell our parents we are adults and that this was the best thing for us. Reality? There were a few people 5 months in that were still spending hours every day Skyping or communicating with family/friends back home. It became an issue but we got lumped into a “let’s punish them all so as to not single anyone out and we’ll tell them it will make them spiritually stronger.”
However, as much as I don’t like AIM, what they stand for, or what they are doing, I experienced it firsthand and I didn’t drink the Kool-aid.”
We are sure there are many more testimonies to be heard that confirm our concerns. We would be grateful to hear from you, these stories need to be shared (anonymously if you prefer), the enemy loves the darkness. For the Glory of Christ our Savior and in gratefulness to His sacrifice on our behalf.