As the name implies, Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD)
-- since 1994 called Dissociative Identity Disorder -- is a mental condition in
which two or more personalities appear to inhabit a single body.
There have been five main conflicting views about MPD. This essay will
describe MPD as caused by the individual having been possessed by an evil,
indwelling demonic spirit.
This belief is mainly confined to evangelical Protestants and
conservative Roman Catholics. It was never accepted by most mental health
professionals, most of whom now view MPD/DID as an
iatrogenic (physician induced) disorder that does not appear in
Most conservative Protestants and many Roman Catholics believe in the inerrancy of the Bible: that the authors of the Bible
were inspired by God to write material that was free of error
and are all useful for personal guidance. They often refer to the Bible as "the
Word of God."
Although the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) is almost silent on
the concept of Satan as an evil supernatural being, that belief
is well developed within the Gospels and Epistles of the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). Jesus is
frequently described as curing many mental disorders by performing exorcisms.
He is recorded as driving indwelling demons or "unclean
spirits" out of the person. Among the gospels:
Mark has 9 references to demons or unclean spirits;
Matthew has 4;
Luke 10, and
Many conservative Christians believe that demons sometimes:
Act as spirit guides during Shamans rituals and New Age channeling,
When a person is possessed, they are believed to exhibit a unique personality - that of the
indwelling evil spirit. The demon will sometimes speak through that individual's vocal chords, often in a
language unknown to the person and in a strange inflection. They can sometimes cause schizophrenia, depression, mental
instabilities, suicidal thoughts, or MPD/DID. The standard treatment for a demonically
possessed person is to drive out the demon(s) by an exorcism
Often, the person is believed to be possessed by a single demon.
However, in the
Christian Scriptures (New Testament), Mark
5:9 relates how a person was controlled by many demons:
"Then He [Jesus} asked him, 'What is your name?' And he answered, saying, 'My
name is Legion; for we are many.'" (NKJ)
A legion in the army of ancient Rome was composed of 6,000 men!
Multiple possession is seen by
many conservative Protestants as a cause of MPD/DID; to some it is the main or only cause.
They often believe that if a person engages in occult experiences,
then "points of contact or entanglement with demonic entities" will
occur, and "malevolent spiritual entities" (demons) can infiltrate
their mind and body. Engaging in occultic activity, or even allowing a
non-Christian religious symbol into their home is often referred to as
"opening a doorway in their life" through which Satan or one of
his demons can enter. Under these conditions, Satan is often referred to
as "having a legal right" to possess the individual or a
member of their family.
Demonically - Mediated Dissociation (DMD):
Rex W. Rosenberg, a conservative Christian clinical psychologist who
has specialized in MPD, believes that such infiltration can lead to what he calls "demonically
- mediated dissociation" (DMD). He asserts that therapists will detect in their
clients both the presence of alters, (some of whom will have demonic attachments) and of
demons (some of whom will be disguised as alters.) Much harm can be done to the patient if
the exact nature of the entities is not precisely determined and matching treatment
He has created an experimental "Occult
Activities and Manifestations Survey" 2 that an
individual can use to detect their degree of involvement with the occult. He lists 96
experiences or manifestations of occult activity e.g. seeing monsters, seeing fairies,
being unable to read or understand the Bible, having demonic sexual intercourse with a
woman. He also lists 79 occultic activities and organizations e.g. tarot cards, Ouija
board, I Ching, palm or tea-leaf reading, biorhythm charts, casting runes, numerology; Christian Science, Eckankar, Hare Krishna, Santeria, Scientology, Unification Church, Witchcraft/Wicca.
Comments by Bob Larson:
Bob Larson of Bob Larson Ministries, a fundamentalist
counter-cult and anti-Occult
group, stresses the importance of accurately diagnosing whether the victim
has a group of alter personalities; or is possessed by evil, demonic
spirits; or is suffering from a combination of the two. He explains that:
An alter personality is "an internalized identity that facilitates
the person's survival." It must be integrated with the host
personality to produce healing.
Demons are evil spirits. Each is an "externalized evil
entity-seeking entry to promote the person's spiritual destruction."
They must be expelled through exorcism. 3
Accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment are very important, to
prevent the victim's condition from degenerating.
Other Christian beliefs and practices:
Many conservative Christian faith groups believe that a "born-again" believer
cannot be possessed by a demon. The rationale most often given is that when a person is
"saved", they are filled with Holy Spirit. Thus Satan or a demon cannot also
enter their body. However, those who are born again represent a small percentage of
the total human population. Demons are thus seen as free to posses many billions of
The Roman Catholic church has similar beliefs and also uses exorcism
rituals. However, the practice is strictly controlled. Church law requires a direct order
"of the bishop, after two careful investigations, based on positive indications
that possession is in fact present." 3
conservative Protestantism, there are a number of ministries which specialize in
exorcisms. Other rituals are done informally by clergy and laity. 4
There are at least two serious concerns about the use of exorcisms:
Exorcisms can be extremely dangerous to the survivor's physical health. The procedure
sometimes involves severe physical, emotional and mental abuse. On the order
of one person
per year dies accidentally from the physical trauma inflicted during an exorcism in North
Fr. J. Mahoney refers to an unidentified study performed by a Dr. Fraser at the
Ottawa Hospital in Ottawa, ON, Canada. 3 The
seven patients that
he reviewed had all undergone a previous exorcism. The patients' religion, the
religion of the
exorcists, and the exorcism rituals varied from case to case. He concluded:
Some alters can be temporarily "banished" by an exorcism ritual.
New alters may be created by that same procedure.
Each exorcism was severely destructive to the individual.
Where MPD is suspected, exorcism is contraindicated.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Rex W. Rosenberg; web site dealing with Demonically-Mediated
Dissociation" (DMD), essay at: