Just before Election Day, Bluestem noted the Catholic Church's silence on the voter restriction amendment in Voter restriction, the Catholic Church and the Land Stewardship Project's rural witness.
Not all faith-based organizations remained silent; the list of Our Vote Our Future campaign partners and allies included a board spectrum of groups rooted in the faith community, and other organizations like the Minnesota Council of Churches worked to defeat the measure.
Praying for voter restriction nationwide
In the course of our examination of claims of same-day registration fraud committed by voters using an address of a closed laundromat in Harris, MN in 2006, Bluestem inadvertently discovered that voter restriction was the the government focus for Minnesota's designated week in the United States Reformation Prayer Network 2012 FastForward Campaign.
Part of the New Apostolic Reformation, described by NPR as:
An emerging Christian movement that seeks to take dominion over politics, business and culture in preparation for the end times and the return of Jesus . . .For the past several years, she says, the NAR has run a campaign to reclaim what it calls the "seven mountains of culture" from demonic influence. The "mountains" are arts and entertainment; business; family; government; media; religion; and education.
"They teach quite literally that these 'mountains' have fallen under the control of demonic influences in society," says [Rachel] Tabachnick. "And therefore, they must reclaim them for God in order to bring about the kingdom of God on Earth. ... The apostles teach what's called 'strategic level spiritual warfare' [because they believe that the] reason why there is sin and corruption and poverty on the Earth is because the Earth is controlled by a hierarchy of demons under the authority of Satan. So they teach not just evangelizing souls one by one, as we're accustomed to hearing about. They teach that they will go into a geographic region or a people group and conduct spiritual-warfare activities in order to remove the demons from the entire population. This is what they're doing that's quite fundamentally different than other evangelical groups."
Minnesota's week of praying for the "Seven Mountains" took placed between June 25-July 1 and remains outlined online in the Minnesota FastForward Prayer Guide.
During that week, the prayer day for the "Government Mountain," Wednesday June 27, focused on voting, which isn't a right of citizens, but "a covenant act before God that declares their allegiance to the standards of the candidate, whether they be for God or against Him."
The Prayer Guide for that day outlines the agenda:
Wednesday, June 27th - Government Mountain
Isaiah 9:7 - “Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from the [latter] time forth, even forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
1. Decree the mountain of the Lord will be exalted over the government mountain of Minnesota.
2. Decree God’s righteous government will flow into all cities and counties of Minnesota. (Isaiah 2:2)
3. Decree that law and justice will prevail at every polling place in Minnesota. (Deut. 32:4)
4. Decree that all corruption and illegal voting will be exposed.
5. Decree that believers will rise up, vote and choose God-fearing men and women of truth who hate unjust gain. (Ex. 18:21)
6. Decree to loose the bonds of tradition and generational politics so voters can choose freely.
7. Pray that believers in Minnesota understand their vote is a covenant act before God that declares their allegiance to the standards of the candidate, whether they be for God or against Him.
8. Pray at your polling places. Dismiss the spirits of corruption and confusion that have influenced the hearts and minds of the voters. Ask God to station angels there to protect the integrity of voting.
9. Pray for protection over the Voter ID Constitutional Amendment and that the people of Minnesota will have their voice heard. NOTE: The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the voter ID constitutional amendment. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie opposes the law, so there is a question of whether he will defend it or not. There is also discussion that the legislature will not defend the case, alleging it will be too expensive.
Those angels must have been hanging with the dirty hippies at OVOF before God dispatched them over to polling places, because the people of Minnesota had our voice heard, and it said NO! fairly distinctly.
Perhaps we can blame the long lines on those spirits of corruption and confusion.
Rick Smisson's prayer group and church: the NAR connections
For ourselves, we stumbled upon the "Call to the Wall," the website for mobilizing "kingdom prayer," when we were checking out the composition of former Harris mayor Richard Smisson's "prayer team," mentioned in a 2007 City Pages article.
The team members were witnesses to a speaker phone call involving another man's supposed confession of bribery in a complaint that as dismissed by an administrative law judge.
Smisson gained statewide attention this March when he testified to the Minnesota House Government Operations Committee about a separate incident in Harris in which he tried to stop people from using a laundromat’s address to register and vote in 2008. Days later, he joined a lawsuit to end same day voting in which the incident was alleged to have taken place in 2006. The court dismissed the lawsuit; it is being appealed.
Smisson attends a church where several leaders in the NAR-associated Minnesota Apostolic Prayer Network(MAPN) are active--and was a member of a "prayer team" in 2006 with the Chisago County contact person for the MAPN.
According to a 2012 candidate profile published by the Isanti-Chisago County Star for Smisson's unsuccessful bid for Chicago County commissioner, Smisson is "active at Lakeside Christian Church in Cambridge."
Notarized copies of Smisson's letter are signed by Wallace L. Bartel ("Wally") and Vera Fordahl (pdf of the letter here). Wally Bartel, as it turns out, is listed as the Chisago County contact person in the East Central Region of the Minnesota Apostolic Prayer Network, hosted on Call To The Wall.
The Bartels have The contact information gives Bartel and his wife Nancy a Harris address, but Mrs. Bartel hosted events at the Lakeside Christian Church in 2011; Mr. Bartel is a contact at the congregation.
The Isanti County contact person for the Minnesota Apostolic Prayer Network is Kitty Shipshock. Shipshock is a member of the Lakeside Christian Church ( also known as Chadashchay), where she has organized a summer day camp program for area children, along with Ellen Fordahl. The relationship between Ellen and Vera Fordahl is unclear, although a local paper reported that the older Vera was moving to Cambridge to be near her son.
Kitty Shipshock and Ellen Fordahl have been active in NAR-style prayer organizing for sometime. In 2008, they coordinated a retreat related to a 21-day of prayer focused on state and national prayer:
. . .the Lord is calling us to 21 days of day and night fasting, prayer and worship beginning Thursday, August 14 at 7pm and continuing through Thursday, September 4th at 7pm. Corporate prayer will take place during this time at the Log Chapel at Chadashchay , Cambridge, Minnesota. (see directions below). This time period will extend through the Call, DC (a day of National Prayer and Repentance on August 16- we will participate via satellite); the Democratic National Convention in Denver (August 25-29); and the Republican National Convention to be held in St. Paul, MN, September 1-4 (only 50 miles south of our location). We will be praying during these 21 days for America, and for wisdom and the fear of the Lord for our leaders
The intercession for the 2008 Republican National Convention produced a vision for Ellen Fordahl, documented on the Call to The Wall website (visions and prophecies are an important element of the NAR). The vision involved spiritual warfare in Minneapolis' Cedar Riverside neighborhood:
Wed. morn, Aug 20th while interceding for the RNC at the Chadashchay Prayer Chapel in Cambridge, MN
As I was worshipping the Lord on my face I was reminded in my spirit of a word that Lou Engle had given many times: ”I will raise up my house of prayer to contend with every other house”
I then saw the Cedar Riverside apartment building in Minneapolis. Then the southern most building zoomed in . . . And it was shrouded in a black Burka with the face opening (of the burka) toward downtown MPLS
I was crying out to the Lord asking him to tear off the veil from the Muslims Asking the wind of the Spirit to blow it off . . . And though it rippled a little - it actually enshrouded the building completely with none of the building visible (through the face opening) – Only blackness!
(Initially I saw the whole building through the face opening of the Burka. But as I prayed – instead of the veil coming off it began to totally enfold the building – where the face opening of the burka was - I now saw only black.)
The burka then changed to an Arab headdress and the entire building became a Beduoin warrior on horseback waving a scimitar (The horse was dark brown )
The Beduoin warrior was ‘huge’ and riding in the sky toward downtown (Mpls) But immediately someone equally huge appeared facing him on a white horse - the rider was unclear – I had the sense he was an angel – not Jesus.
They were fighting sword to sword but the white rider was barely holding the Beduoin warrior back
Then it was like they were in the clouds – other riders were beginning to form in the clouds and coming to help the white rider.
And here the RNC Welcoming Committee sweated the small stuff with Sheriff Fletcher.
Lakeside Christian Church in the News
But folks like Smisson, Shipshock, the Bartels, or Fordahl--or their prayers for voter restriction--aren't the ones drawing attention to the Lakeside Christian Church of late.
Leave that to Ryan Jay Muehlhauser.
The Post Review of East Central Minnesota reports in Local pastor charged with criminal sexual conduct:
Ryan Jay Muehlhauser, 55, of Cambridge, was charged by complaint this week with felony, 4th degree criminal sexual conduct. He made his first appearance Tuesday, Nov. 6 before Judge P. Hunter Anderson in Isanti County District Court in Cambridge.
According to Raw Story's Minn. pastor arrested for sexual assault during ‘ex-gay’ therapy:
A Minnesota pastor has been arrested for sexually assaulting two gay men while counseling them about their “homosexual tendencies.”
Charging documents released this week indicated that 55-year-old Rev. Ryan J. Muehlhauser was accused of eight felony counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct on at least two men during sessions about how to “escape the gay lifestyle,” according to KARE.
Muehlhauser was a pastor at Lakeside Christian Church in Cambridge, but met the men through Outpost Ministries, which claims it was “formed over 30 years ago to meet the needs of men and women making the decision to break away from gay life.”
The first victim told authorities that Muehlhauser had “blessed” him by cupping his genitals. The pastor required the victim to arouse himself for “spiritual strength” and later instructed the man to get naked and masturbate in front of him, calling it “spiritual guidance.”
Muehlhauser told a second victim that he would “loose everything” if details of the abuse became public. . . .
The cleric's lawyer thinks that Muehlhauser will be able to repent and heal in his home community:
Attorney Sherwood McKinnis, who is representing Muehlhauser, suggested that criminal punishment would not be necessary.
“Mr. Muehlhauser has made significant contributions to the community, he’s married and has a good and solid clergial support,” McKinnis insisted. “We can certainly expect that group of people to hold Mr. Muehlhauser accountable for his actions.”
With folks like Smisson and his team keeping those hands folded in prayer, what could possibly go wrong?
Images: Jesus ID (via Firedog Lake) above; Spirits of corruption and confusion in the polling place (middle); Pray Away Your Gay (below).