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IS IT WORTH DYING…? Part 3
FOR CAROL BALIZET AND HER BIZARRE BELIEFS?
Mrs JR writes of the death of her daughter, Mrs CW:
A HEARTBROKEN MOTHER’S STORY - This is the story of my 31-year-old daughter, a devoted wife and mother, who had a Zion Birth on 6 April 2001 which resulted in her death on 1 May 2001, leaving five motherless children.
About three years ago, my daughter and her husband were influenced by the teachings in a book which came into their hands called Born in Zion. This book was written by a woman from America named Carol Balizet. Through believing the teachings in this book and attending meetings about Zion Births, my daughter and her husband became convinced that an unassisted home birth was a wonderful experience and that they would be richly blessed by God if they forsook all medicines and avoided doctors and midwives during pregnancy and home childbirth. This is all well and good if everything goes according to plan.
Back in 1997, the couple planned an ordinary homebirth for their third baby with a midwife in attendance. However, the baby was born before the midwife arrived. Because there were no complications with this birth, the couple believed that there was no reason why they should not have a Zion Birth next time. All went well for the Zion Birth of their fourth baby and he sailed into the world in July 1999 weighing 11 pounds.
Subsequently my daughter gave birth to her fifth baby, also a Zion Birth, on 6 April 2001. The baby, who weighed 10lb 2oz, was born very quickly but my daughter bled for three hours whilst delivering the placenta, the blood loss leaving her very weak and bedridden. She could barely speak beyond a whisper. I expressed grave concern at her condition but she said God was healing her. Although she must have been in a great deal of pain, she made no complaint.
I visited the house every day following the birth and pleaded with the couple to get medical attention. One day it seemed as though my daughter had had a stroke. Her speech was slurred and she was incoherent.
On day five, I was alarmed to see that my daughter’s legs and ankles were swollen to at least twice their normal size. She was still unable to walk and I was concerned at the possibility of deep vein thrombosis.
A few days before she died, when I raised further questions about her condition, my daughter told me to leave the house.
My daughter died before my eyes over three and a half weeks. An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be septicaemia and a pulmonary thrombo-embolism which travelled from her legs (confirmed at autopsy to have had several deep vein thrombosis), to her lungs.
The autopsy has revealed that Caroline had: septicaemia, pneumonia, a pulmonary thrombo-embolism, complicating uterine infection and venous thrombosis of the legs, infection of the womb, uterus was enlarged, lungs congested, areas of death of lung tissue, enlarged spleen caused through septicaemia, strep in lungs consistent with pneumonia, endometrium was infected and profusely eroded.
The suffering and death of this young mother had been preventable. Basic medical care during the pregnancy and at the time of the birth would have prevented the complications that led to her pain and death. The reason why this medical attention was not sought was the faith the couple had put in American former nurse, Carol Balizet, and her bizarre beliefs.
Bizarre Balizet Beliefs
Carol Balizet, a resident of Tampa, Florida, USA, heads the ’HOME IN ZION MINISTRIES’. She claims that: ’The purpose of Home in Zion Ministries is to unite and edify those within the Body of Christ who are hungry for God, committed to His goals, zealous for His glory, and yielded to His will. We want to support those who (like Peter) are getting out of the boat; and encourage those who (like Elijah) are discouraged and lonely.’
It becomes very clear from her writings that there is an exclusivism and a judgemental attitude that places those who follow her teachings as closer to God than other Christians. In an official newsletter she even lists the names used by some of the individuals and groups that she targets with her bizarre teachings, calling: ’Attention - Gideons’s Army, The Benjamin Company, The Overcomers, The Barley Field, The Manchild, The 100-fold Harvest, The Remnant.’
Balizet teaches against many things: banking (worldly economy); the medical system (no medicines, hospitals, doctors or nurses); secular education (with a preference for home schooling); worldly government; the religious system (including a preference for ’home churching’); science; the arts.
Her main Biblical distortions targets the medical system - often with vitriol. According to her, hospitals are full of demons; doctors are ’high priests’ of pagan religion, and surgeons cut into people as a sacrifice to their foreign gods; demons enter people following surgery and occupy the gap caused by the removal of an organ or tissue; children born through Caesarean birth are, as a result, handed over to Satan; taking medication opens a person to the spirit (or demon) of sorcery. Getting a medical diagnosis from a GP or specialist is tantamount to rejecting God’s authority and word, and trusting in the ’arm of flesh’ - it will lead to being cursed.
(See Parts 1 & 2 of this series in our magazine, TAKE A CLOSER LOOK, May/July and August/September 2001 issues - or on our website: www.lookout.org.au - for more specific details about Balizet’s beliefs and the part played by ABOVE RUBIES in promoting her in Australia.)
Balizet is not the only person who believes in home births, or even unassisted home births.
Also in Florida are some licensed Christian midwives operating under the very similar name of: Zion Childbirth Ministries - see their website at:
On each page of their website they give a very clear disclaimer, disassociating themselves from Carol Balizet and her beliefs or group: ’Zion Birthing Ministries is in no way associated or affiliated with Carol Balizet, author of Born in Zion, or the philosophies put forth by said person.’
Charity Gregson operates a website (http://www.birthjunkie.com/homebirth/) focussing on planned and unplanned unassisted homebirths, and is happy to use her website to share stories of unassisted home births (as well as hospital births and midwife assisted homebirths) provided such stories meet with her criteria:
’If you would like to have your unassisted birth story here, please email me the story. If it meets my criteria, I will put it up.
1) I will not use a birth story that has any mention of Zion births. I do not agree with the birth philosophy of Carol Balizet or "Home in Zion Ministries." Here is an article [THE ZION BIRTH HERESY by Jill Barrett]that describes some of the problems I have with the book "Born in Zion."
2) I will not use a birth story that contains new-age practices and/or philosophies. The interpretation of what is considered "new-age" will be solely my discretion.’
Accompanying the THE ZION BIRTH HERESY article by Jill Barrett on the ’BirthJunkie.Com’ website
are four appended ’Tragic testimonials’ - giving accounts of death and tragedy resulting from following the claims and teachings of Carol Balizet. The fourth of these testimonial accounts deals with the death of the young Mrs Caroline W mentioned in our articles.
In the four or five years since Jill Barrett’s article appeared on Charity Gregson’s website, Jill has had numerous emails from people sharing their story. Many of these were not intended for ’public consumption’ - their grief was too personal. By June 2001 Jill Barrett had counted the deaths of 7 babies and 3 mothers as a result of Zion Home births - according to personal information she received.
Jill’s article is well worth a thoughtful reading. She has strong views about Balizet, her book and views - and those, like ABOVE RUBIES, who promote (or have promoted) Balizet:
’How anyone with even a modicum of theological knowledge could view this book as "faith-building," even at first glance, is beyond me. It greatly calls into question the qualifications of many of these women to teach other women, that they were incapable of seeing the cultism of this book immediately. I received the public statement of Nancy Campbell, the founder/editor of "Above Rubies," in which she stated that she assumed her subscribers would be able to "eat the meat and spit out the bones." There is no meat in "Born in Zion"; it is sheer cultic lunacy paragraph for paragraph.’
The preceding comments make it clear that the issue with Carol Balizet and her followers is not one of home births, or even unassisted home births. There are the real problems of biblical distortion, heretical teaching, and destructive thinking and behaviour.
The Attleboro Group
In about 1998 a small group of people drove their motor vehicles from Massachusetts to Maine, in the USA. But their cars ran out of fuel while still on Route 1 in Maine before they arrived at their intended destination. Instead of walking to the nearest service station for some more petrol, they surrounded their cars, laid hands on the cars and prayed for God to ’fill ’em up’. For three days they stayed near their cars, eating berries from trees off the side of the road for their survival. Eventually, following the intervention of a concerned relative and a small contribution of money for petrol from local police, the group was able to return home.
The leader of the group was Roland Robidouox. He and his wife, Georgette, had been members in the Worldwide Church of God, then a fully-fledged cult, which they left in about 1976. The following year they formed the Church of God of Mansfield, in Massachusetts, and had about 75 people attending. Some time later the group moved and became the Church of God of Norton.
Division within the group led to a decline and the church went out of existence, but Robidoux continued to hold Bible studies in his home. Ultimately he established the group in Attleboro, south of Boston.
During the 1980s Roger and Vivian Daneau, and their children, joined the Robidouxs. A few years later they all began home schooling their children. Women in the group stopped using make-up or jewellery; birthdays and holidays were no longer celebrated; the medical system was increasingly rejected as evil.
By the mid to late 1990s several others had joined, or married into, the group - including Dennis Mingo and David Corneau. The group basically called itself ’The Body’ and Roland Robidoux (born in August 1940) became the group’s ’ordained’ pastor. Two of the Robidoux children married two of the Daneau children, including Jacques Robidoux and Karen Corneau. Carol Balizet’s book, Born in Zion, had become a significant guide for interpreting the Bible in the group. A little later her other book, Egypt or Zion, further influences the group.
Roland Robidoux elevated his son, Jacques, to the position of ’Elder’ of the group around this time. Before long the junior Robidoux was challenging his father, especially his father’s claimed direct revelations. Soon he became the stronger leader. He was even more ardent in pushing and insisting on Carol Balizet’s bizarre claims and beliefs in the group.
The group became more isolationist and extreme in its beliefs and practices. This led to two significant things: 1) Tragic deaths; 2) Several defections
Robidoux’s son-in-law, Dennis Mingo, became disturbed by the extreme developments, the death of one of the children, and the extreme control of his father-in-law, Roland Robidoux, over his family, especially his wife, Michelle. Mingo left the group. Then one of Robidoux’s daughters was excommunicated from the group for buying corrective glasses (spectacles) to help improve her eyesight. Another married couple left shortly after.
These departures reduced the group’s numbers, but made remaining members more entrenched in their extremes.
In April 1999 Samuel Robidoux, son of Jacques and Karen Ribodoux, died, apparently of starvation. In August 1999, Jeremiah Corneau, son of David and Rebecca Corneau, was apparently stillborn. Both were buried by the group without authorities being notified of the births or deaths.
Members of the group refused to let anyone know where the babies had been buried and when the authorities found out about the deaths the group refused to cooperate in the inquiries.
Rebecca Corneau caused a controversial precedent setting court ruling in September 2000. Fearing for the life of the then-pregnant Rebecca Corneau’s unborn child, Attleboro Juvenile Court Judge Kenneth P. Nasif issued a Court Order confining Rebecca Corneau to a security health facility until her baby was born.
Investigations into the group, and members’ refusal to talk to a grand jury, led to 14 children being placed into welfare care, including the four other children of David and Rebecca Corneau. Several leading members of the group were jailed for refusing to cooperate with the authorities.
Throughout 2001 the group remained in the attention and focus of authorities and US media, as eventually David Corneau, in a deal with the authorities, revealed where the two babies had been born. Subsequently forensic evidence led medical authorities and prosecutors to claim that both children would have lived if medical care had been provided at the right time.
Jacques and Karen Robidoux will go to trial in March 2002 on murder charges, while Michelle Mingo faces charges of accessory to murder.
At the time of going to print (January 2002) local county authorities are again concerned about the group - specifically that Rebecca Corneau has had another baby, in a secret unassisted home birth last December. Efforts to locate the baby have proved difficult, and authorities are hunting for another couple from the group, Mark and Trinette Daneau, whose whereabouts has been unknown since last August. It is suspected that they have taken the latest Corneau baby into hiding with them.
Underlining this long sad saga, is the influence of Carol Balizet and the books and materials promoting her disturbing and bizarre beliefs.
In Part 2 of this 3-part series we looked at what had happened to Mrs Caroline W. in Perth, and how she was influences into accepting Balizet’s bizarre beliefs to the personal destruction of her life, and the unnecessary end of her marriage and motherhood. We revealed the role and influence of Above Rubies as a major contributor to the spread of Balizet’s distortions in Australia and New Zealand.
Another major influence in Australia, in spreading the Balizet distortions, has been Kingdom Living and the man behind it, David Devenish.
It began when David Devenish’ wife, Helen, went to an Above Rubies camp for women in about the mid-1990s. There she was introduced to Balizet’s book, Born in Zion. It seems she became ’sold out’ on Balizet and persuaded her husband. The result of their interest in Balizet led David Devenish, a PhD lecturer in engineering, and a friend, Ron Camp (who also contributes to Devenish’ magazine), to pay for Carol Balizet to visit Perth. Whatever David Devenish’ views prior to Balizet’s visit to Perth, Western Australia, her visit converted him into a follower and seemingly Western Australia’s main proponent of Balizet’s views. At the time, Balizet conducted a number of lecture meetings - at least 3 on one Sunday - and the late Mrs Caroline W. was invited to these meetings and was personally introduced to Balizet.
David and Helen Devenish live in a semi-rural outer metropolitan area of Perth with their 7 children. They conduct their own ’home-church’ services, with others of like belief joining them from time to time. They emphasise and seem to experience a happy family life. The children are home schooled and contribute to their father’s magazine: Kingdom Living. The magazine promotes a withdrawal isolationist view of society:Encouraging those who are walking in the Kingdom of God - "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
The magazine promotes Balizet’s views, books and writings, and similar ideas of rejecting and withdrawing from her claimed ’seven systems of Satan’ - medicine, education, government, banking, religion, science and entertainment.
The 3rd issue of Kingdom Living, December 2000, revealed something of his personal connection with the late Mrs CW - and under the heading: ’Andrew and Caroline - Our Testimony’ he published a brief 7-paragraph article by the couple, revealing how far they had gone in following Balizet and others espousing her views. The article showed that, after reading Balizet’s material and using her twisted interpretation of the Bible, Mrs CW and her husband came’to the final conclusion that doctors are indeed just a counterfeit for the healing that Jesus had already paid for at Calvary. We made the decision to throw away our medications, which were numerous. We read that John G Lake said to flush them down the toilet and then apologise to the toilet so we did.’
In the very next (2 page) article David Devenish writes about his/Balizet’s view on the medical system. In this article he acknowledged,’many of us can give credit to the ’Above Rubies’ movement as starting that process of opening our eyes to the way we had been sucked into the world’s way of thinking...the two main tenets of this movement are firstly; that God opens and closes the womb - we can trust God for the size of our family and secondly; that of home-schooling.’
Devenish went on to say that: ’In today’s medical system, we find the counterfeit of the healing that is in Christ. It does not involve faith in Jesus, but faith in man. It does not involve the priesthood of the believer by which we may go directly to God, rather it involves the intermediary of a human priest which we go to in order to obtain healing. They have priestly garments which are their surgical robes. They have their own altar, the operating table upon which they offer the living sacrifice of our bodies, (and not always a living sacrifice). They perform their own signs and wonders by which they deceive many…In the medical system, the bread and wine take on the form of pills and serums of all kinds, but especially we may think of the blood transfusion as the clearest substitute for the blood of Jesus.’
These words are a very clear echo (almost identical) of the statements made by Carol Balizet.
Helen Devenish reveals the Balizet way of spiritualising physical things - especially seeing a spiritual cause behind physical ailments. She writes: ’Two and a half years ago, I had a miraculous delivery from thrush and other allergies related to a yeast intolerance I had developed 10 years earlier. After cleaning out our home of leaven (things offensive to God, even things that were fine in themselves, but were a source of pride), I was totally healed…Occasionally in the last 2 Â½ years the symptoms of thrush would start to manifest again, so we would seek the Lord as to the reason. Often it was because we had not been discerning and allowed something into our lives not acceptable to the Lord. The Lord has used the thrush symptoms to keep us on our toes. One day we hope to be at the place where we don’t need thrush symptoms to wake us up to an invasion of something in our home that is offensive to God. Recently I developed a lot of thrush related symptoms again. Over the span of a couple of weeks they became progressively worse. I knew the leaven must be something big, for the symptoms of thrush to manifest themselves so badly. We sought the Lord and he showed David that it was our involvement with Christmas.’(!!)
Thrush is fungal based irritation that periodically afflicts many people, especially women. Its control can sometimes be difficult, but most of the causes are well documented - and are very physical in origin - from food related issues (e.g. yeast and sugar intake) to tight clothing, weather and other things.
To blame family celebration and involvement in Christmas activities as the cause of a severe lingering bout of thrush is something that cannot be supported medically or theologically.
Furthermore, what sort of God punishes the woman (wife, mother) with severe
discomfort and irritation because the rest of the family was involved (with her) in celebrating Christmas. Why didn’t she report that her husband and children all came down with severe thrush? Why only her?
Perhaps the Devenishes, and other Balizet believers, haven’t read the Scriptures where God clearly states:
EZE 18: 4 For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son—both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die. 5 "Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right... 9 He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign LORD. 10 "Suppose he has a violent son, who sheds blood or does any of these other things 11 (though the father has done none of them)…13…Will such a man[the violent son] live? He will not!… 14 "But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things…17… He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. 18 But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people…20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. 21 "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. 22 None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live.
It is sad to read Devenish’ Kingdom Living newsletters, especially to read through various issues and see the comments from children under the ’Kid’s of the Kingdom’ section. It is sad: to read a 12-year-old make statements such as, ’The Olympic games then, are held in honour of Satan…Blasphemy on lighting the Olympic Flame…Overall, the Olympic Games contain signs that we are fast approaching the End Times’; to read a 15-year-old make statements such as: ’Smash! Everyone in the family, no exceptions, stands around the Television…The floor is littered with smashed glass, Dad [David Devenish] is holding Sledgy, and the TV is hitherto, no longer in one piece. What drama! What courage! It is gone, finally the TV has gone, no more watching, no more wasting, just a big box with a hole in it. Ok, that didn’t quite happen, but we did chuck the antagonism of human creation into the dump bin at the local tip where it can rot, rust and decay in suitable style…we got rid of the TV…God told us to…I am now studying Accounting through Open Learning Australia. So am I going to go to University? No way! …There is a common saying from news reporters around the Christmas period (mind you, this statement was from a few years ago and is completely drawn from memory as I haven’t listened to the news, Channel 9 or otherwise for years)…’
It is extremely sad how distorted a perception of Christianity is followed and portrayed by good people, who basically want good things: to serve God in humility and obedience; to live in depth of faith rather than superficiality; to have happy, harmonious and loving families.
It is extremely sad that such good people allow others direct their thinking and lead them to: distort Scripture through misinterpretation; distort the image of God which he revealed through Jesus Christ; allow their children and spouses to die because of warped concepts and pride that their interpretation of Scripture, God’s will, and medical principles is more correct than that of other Christians, today and through the centuries; isolate themselves, their children and spouses from other family members, relatives, friends; deny their children and spouses a well-rounded education and social interactive opportunities with a diversity of people and experiences.
Can we reason together?
Do Balizet believers and followers really believe that all medical doctors, including Christian missionary doctors, (through the years and around the world) are servants and priests of Satan? Are such doctors actually sacrificing severely sick and injured people in remote and impoverished areas as they operate on them - on operating theatre ’altars’ in mission outposts? Are such Christian doctors really guilty of donning Satanic priestly robes when they change into more sterile clothing for the health and well-being of the patient? When young children are given a new physical and social start in life through plastic surgery to overcome cleft palates and severe burns scarring - is it all a Satanic ritual and witchcraft because drugs are used in the follow-up treatment after surgery?
What about medical missionary groups, such as the Leprosy Mission? Have its doctors, nurses and other staff and volunteers served God or Satan by bringing new life (physically, socially and spiritually), through their medical treatments with corrective/restorative surgery and the use of pills to keep the old scourge of leprosy under control?
We call on Balizet followers, as well as others, before God to very carefully seek truth in life and through the Scriptures (read in context) with balance and deep thought, carefully considering all the evidence that God makes available to us all, and to show compassion to all, especially children.
(From TACL Vol 23 #1 Jan 2002)