Interview - Leanne Payne Part 1 PDF


Written by Dr. David Kyle Foster   
Monday, 01 September 2008 10:38


DAVID: If you could pinpoint it, what exactly would be the area that you minister in?

LEANNE: I think that it would be the area of "spiritual formation", and when I am teaching in the University and undergraduate school and seminary, that's what my teaching fits in - spiritual formation. When you are dealing with spiritual formation then, all the needs we have come to the fore. You probably thought I'd say something else didn't you.

DAVID: Yes, I certainly did, but it sounds so right on now that you've said it.

LEANNE: You probably thought I'd say "sexual neurosis".

DAVID: How did God call you into this?

LEANNE: Well, He healed me, and I knew that if God could do what He did for me . . . I was a young single mother, in the south, no education, terrified after a divorce, all alone, wondering if I could make a living . . . . all of these kinds of things . . . . so many desires in my heart and not much hope of any of them being realized . . . . and then the Lord gave me every desire of my heart, everything I've asked Him. It's just amazing. The deepest desires of my heart He has certainly given to me. So, He has been a wonderful spouse - this divine spouse. I've really been married to the Lord. You notice I wear that ring (she shows me the ring), and the Lord directed me to get that.

DAVID: How interesting. Guess what He directed me to get?


DAVID: It's a cross with wedding rings, that you give to people who are getting married. And I had an experience once. I was asking God if I should get married - if I should look forward to this or not, because I didn't want to put a lot of emotional hope into marriage because it was a deep hope of my heart. I didn't want to put all of this hope into it and then not have it happen. So I wanted God to tell me. And I had a vision, and I was married to the Father and the Son.

LEANNE: Praise God.

DAVID: It was a marriage ceremony, and that was His way of telling me. It was really profound and very moving.

LEANNE: You know we're all called into this spiritual marriage and it's only then that we are safe for marriage. I really do know that I was given the gift of celibacy. Not everybody has that. But this spiritual marriage we should all know whether or not there is the gift of celibacy. In other words, I'm not open to remarrying. The Lord has taken that completely from me, but perhaps you are. What I'm trying to say is that doesn't necessarily preclude marriage.

DAVID: That's how I've taken it. I think it's Him telling me, "Yes, I've called you to celibacy", although I am willing to be shown I'm wrong at the same time, because I've misjudged what God meant before.

LEANNE: Well, you see, that spiritual marriage is what He's calling you to, but that's what enables you really to have a good marriage later on if the right one should ever come along.

DAVID: Well, another thing that convinced me was that He took away ninety percent of my sexual drive, which used to be addictive and out of control. He took it away. Of course I asked Him to. For years I asked Him to. But He finally did that, and then with the marriage ceremony, I'm fairly certain I'm called to be single, although I am still willing to be shown that I'm wrong. And I'm very comfortable with that.

LEANNE: You are seeing Mario for prayer tomorrow night? Do you know where all of this anxiety came from that underlies your neurosis?

DAVID: Which neurosis? I've had so many!

LEANNE: (Laugh) I'm not supposed to be interviewing you.

DAVID: That's all right, we won't print it! (Laugh) Which neurosis are you talking about?

LEANNE: The compulsive drive toward the same sex - that doesn't just happen as you know. There's a deep psychological need there. That does not just occur.

DAVID: Yeah, it was definitely a non-bonding with my father. He was totally cold and distant and not there. I grew up hating him as a result, and hating God because he was a minister. I'm certain that was the main . . . .

LEANNE: Have you been able to reconcile with your father?

DAVID: Oh yeah. Before he died in '82, my third year of seminary, and the year before, we had a reconciliation. He turned out to be . . . . He was the man I most despised. He turned out to be the man I most admired. God changed him so much. He made him gentler and born again. He became born again after thirty years of ministry - my mother and him both at a Presbyterian charismatic conference, and I just loved him. So that was . . . I was so happy that happened before he died.

Many people minister in areas where they've been healed. Where did God heal you exactly? What did He do?

LEANNE: Well, you know I never had any kind of gender confusion at all. I was raised by this precious mother -precious Christian mother. I didn't even know how to be angry. I had to practice to be angry. I remember thinking how cute it was. I'm telling you the truth here! You know, there was no anger in my home. So, my main need was that there was no father. And I think probably I would have been considered a gifted child - a precocious child. I very much needed. . . . you know it's the father who gives direction to the greater world. And rather than getting direction and harnessing and knowing how to contain what God gives me . . . I had a precious mother but a very very tired one who was totally . . . I mean she and I were so different. She was a very even, quiet person, a person of few words, not artistically inclined at all, but a wonderful teacher. And here she has this child like me, you know, that most of the time didn't quite know what to do with. Then my grandmother would actually repress me and the giftedness and there was an anti-intellectual . . . She was an old country Scots-woman, you know. And so, my main need was . . . I was an optimist, you know. I thought I had the world by the tail and I expected everybody to be good like my mother. And of course that was . . . I grew up in a very restricted environment . . . just my grandmother, mother, my sister and I, so I sort of exploded out there finally , you know, because . . . Does that make sense to you?

DAVID: Oh yes.

LEANNE: And so, my main healing was needed really in . . . . I needed to be affirmed of course because there had been no father. And I did find that through the Lord. And I needed direction . . . I needed the true self affirmed and called forward, so I really messed up. I married the same man twice - a very abusive, sick situation. I tended to .. . I didn't know what kind of man to look for to marry. I had no model at all, and so the missionary zeal in me was very strong. I think I was trying to help him and, I'd say, I was trying to mother him. He was looking for a mother, I think. And so, that was very very difficult. So I really found out what sickness is - lack of responsibility, alcoholism - all of those kinds of things that were in him. And then I finally had no choice then to eventually get a divorce. And so, it was after all that wounding, finding myself divorced, so sorry that I had hurt my mother by marrying the wrong person and being divorced, all of that, and not really having much of a future. You can imagine . . . you know what it is like, a single parent, uneducated in the south in those days. So, it was in those circumstances that God . . . that I came back to God as an adult and learned to walk in the Spirit.

I don't think that you have to suffer what the people have suffered that you minister to - that's not so. If you have the gifts of understanding and healing and empathy and you have good common sense and you walk with the Lord for a long time, you've got wisdom to pass on . . . . and I have . . . you know, I've walked with the Lord for a long time, and so I quickly learned. I knew that when the Lord really started bringing me forth into fullness of life . . . . and trusting Him . . . . and to walk in the Spirit . . . . if I could learn to do that, then anyone could. I knew that they'd be healed in the doing of it. You see what I'm doing? I call forth, for the people, the true self and I say "Rise and walk" and let's just shake those shackles.

Do you notice in this week that we are dealing with a lot of misogyny? Because there's a lot of hatred of woman in the class. Those are the main shackles - those that are oppressed, those that are fearful. Every time it's different. To call the true self forward in freedom, in listening prayer and obedience, you're going to come into who God created you to be.

DAVID: Where did you learn all of this?

LEANNE: Well, I just learned it from the Lord. Now, first of all, my mother was a thinker. She had only a High School education but she was a teacher of the Word and she had good commentaries in the house and she was an extraordinary woman. So, if I had had the wise kind of direction that a father . . . . There was a lot of poverty in my home, too. My mother was a widow. There was no thought that it would be possible at all there in a state like Arkansas, that was a poor state at that time . . . . still probably is . . . . but, I had no hope of going to college or these things, but I had a lot . . . . there was a lot of giftedness there in terms of studying. I'm a natural . . . . in some ways, I'm a natural theologian in terms of putting things together.

DAVID: So your giftedness then is in perceiving the bottom line reality of how things work and how things get fixed with God.

LEANNE: Right. It's theology. It's knowing God. It's not being fooled. You know I almost wish some of this weren't on that tape because I don't think we should talk in terms of giftedness. Let me just take that back and say I never had the rift between head and heart. That's the way to say it. I didn't have the rift between head and heart and so I never had experience separated from knowledge. I think that's all in the world it is. I never had that rift. So, I was never confused, and there wasn't codependency to deal with. I never tried to substitute knowledge about God for the real thing. It just went together. So, there was the balance of the masculine and the feminine.

I needed an awful lot of input from good, holy men because I was like a big blob of meaning . . . . I really was. I'd taken in so much, I knew God, I loved Him, I knew what all He wanted to do with people, but I needed that masculine input to be able to shape, to edit, to define, to break through, and so as I walked with the Lord He made it possible for me to get a good education and really begin to make friends with good, great men of God. I really needed that.

DAVID: What is the most central and prevalent deficit that you find in people who need emotional healing?

LEANNE: Well, they fail to accept themselves. They haven't negotiated that step during puberty - that's when they are to finalize and to get their identity separate from mother and then to receive the affirmation of a father. There are very few moderns . . . . I mean most of them are going crazy between forty and fifty trying to figure out what in the world is wrong. They've never negotiated that step. They're still looking for permission to be. They're still looking for affirmation. So they're emotionally dependent in some way. Now, of course, we live in a time when the family is so broken that we find people everywhere without this initial sense of being - there hasn't been nurturing in those first years of life or even while they are still within the womb.

DAVID: What is a sense of being?

LEANNE: Well that's what we come to in healthy mothering, when mother is cared for herself by a husband in the home, and there's love and security in the home . . . . and then when she is able to stay with the children, she's not having to think about going back to work when they are six weeks of age. So they come to a healthy sense of being . . . it's a sense of being. The pathology that I run into now everywhere . . . . it used to be rare but now it's common . . .. it's this intense fear of non-being, this chasm, this sense of "Do I even exist". It's common in mental illness. People are walking around with that big hole.

DAVID: So it's a sense of peace and happiness over the fact that you exist?

LEANNE: You see, if there is good mothering - if the bond between you and mother has not been broken and you get a good start in those first three years, you can take most anything later on and stand, but if you are broken, if there is separation anxiety, if you are cut off from mom and you've despaired and lost hope of her ever being there, and the bond is broken and you bond with something else other than mother within your environment, as so many do . . . .

DAVID: Like a doll or fantasy object?

LEANNE: Yeah. That fantasy object - that part of something we so often find in neurosis, you know, that may lead someone to come to a sense of well-being. Most of the people, I mean in the ministry you're in, so many of them are right there.

DAVID: How do you know if you don't have a sense of being - how do you know if that's your problem or not?

LEANNE: Well, you know that there is an incredible need. Just here one of the students in the class expressed this to me. They said, "You know, I've been begging God to either heal me or take me. I can't live with this pain." When Mario told about the separation anxiety this person said, "That's exactly where I am". Oh yeah, we've got people in the room like that. And so, they have no trouble knowing who they are. We have people come forward for this healing and don't really need it. You know, you can be in a perverted life-style and lose a sense of well-being, but it's abnormal for a child to not bond with the mother in love. It's abnormal, and our very birthing methods have militated against good bonding here - you know, when children would be taken from mothers. Most every child who has been in an incubator has serious problems with this. We have a person that is serious with this and her first month was spent in an incubator. You'll have to know that bonding with mother was broken there. It was broken.

DAVID: So, as an adult if you feel like you don't exist or shouldn't exist, is your problem then not having a sense of being? The first time you said that term I thought, "Okay, now do I have a sense of being or not". And I was trying to figure out what to look at in my life that would tell me.

LEANNE: Well, they describe this chasm, and this intense fear of falling into non-being, intense fear of losing the mind, like they're barely hanging on. It's like there's a hole or chasm in themself and they are just about to fall through it. In homosexuality, when there are two partners and one is so bent toward the other, they find their whole identity in them. They have no sense of identity whatsoever apart from that person.

DAVID: So, a sense of identity is part of it.

LEANNE: Yeah. And in the schizophrenic you'll see that. They'll go look in a mirror to see if they are really there. You know, this is this intense missing. The worse wounding that one can get is the despair of a child who doesn't know that it is separate from its mother, at all . . . . and then the mother is gone . . . . you know, from always hearing her heartbeat, from being one with her body. They're born today knowing that they're not wanted. They know if they're not wanted and they will not even nurse from their mother, they'll nurse from another woman. They know. It's amazing what babies know.

DAVID: How do you get a sense of being if you do not have it?

LEANNE: God is the source of all being - He speaks being. The Lord showed me how to do that. He led me in that way of prayer. And I guess that this is where we see the most incredible healing is right here - laying hands on people and asking God to set in a sense of being. We're going to pray this prayer in the class . . . . you know I've been teaching on that . . . . and also it's in the books . . . . we'll be doing that in the next couple of days. You'll be surprised at the number of people who will come forward.

DAVID: So, you essentially just ask God for it - that's how you get it?

LEANNE: But, we need to be ministered to. For the person who's never come to a sense of being at all, there is so much pain and there is so much need. When you've got mental illness staring you in the face . . . . they've got separation anxiety beyond what they can bear.

DAVID: So, God mediates the sense of being not only directly but also through people laying hands.

LEANNE: I tell you, I've never known anyone to receive this on their own in prayer. They've gotten such a poor start in life, it's very difficult for them. I mean, they've dealt with depression all of their lives. They've dealt with all that Mario has been sharing about. There's too much evil. Clay - he bonded with a little black disk, darkness. You've read about that inRestoring the Christian Soul. I write a lot about these things in that book. It's just amazing, you know, when men like Mario and Clay - their mothers would bear so much evil, and their mothers were just trying to survive and their mother was the one island of hope and light. For them to finally be able to deal with, "well, there were so many problems surrounding my mother . . . . and then she was so nervous that if something disrupted . . . . " Both Clay and Mario had to finally relive and come to terms with the fact that they had not bonded with their mother. It was an incredible healing in both of them. They thought all of their entire problems had been with their dad.

DAVID: What is it to practice the presence of God? What is that? How do you do that?

LEANNE: Well, you know if we've been regenerated, born again, He lives within us, but as twentieth century persons, we don't believe in what we can't see. We don't believe in God in many ways. We will give lip service to it but we don't believe in the soul either. We can't see it. But this is just to call to mind always . . . . begin to practice the presence of God . . . . in other words discipline yourself to call to mind that there is another who loves me. There is another who walks along side of me. There is a sovereign, and you learn how to pray to God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In The Healing Presence, I try to make very strong points here in the teaching, that you don't lose any one of the three dimensions of the Godhead.

DAVID: So, is this something you do all 18 waking hours, once an hour, weekly?

LEANNE: You know, when you first start, in many ways you can almost make a game of it - a wonderful game. I remember just determining to do that. When I'd be driving, I would just say, "Thank you Lord for driving with me today." You've probably done things like this. But as often as you can think of it . . . . you know when our minds are working, we are so preoccupied, it doesn't mean that we think about it every moment, but it means that we call to mind as often as we can this truth until it's just . . . . now it's really first nature. You know, I never forget it. I may be praying in the Spirit under my breath. It just comes so naturally.

DAVID: How does practicing the presence of God benefit someone's healing?

LEANNE: It's absolutely key. You know, Saint Paul did it. He said, "Fix your mind on God, fix your mind on Christ." So, even he had to discipline himself to do that. But it's much much more of a discipline for us today. The benefits are incredible. The people who are healed of their serious neuroses in our ministry - it's absolutely key. Oh, we've seen so many incredible healings . . . . I mean, just miracles . . . . we see them all the time. We almost take them for granted now. But they have to learn to practice the presence of God.

DAVID: What's the dynamic? Whereas before I would pray for healing or for deliverance from something and I'd never see victory. Now that I'm practicing the presence of God, what is the dynamic that makes it work?

LEANNE: Well, you're living from the center. You're not walking along side yourself. You soon recognize when you're living out of the Lord's health. You're living out of a sense of inferiority and that's your center - the angry child or the complaining child. You're really living from the center, and any of us can begin to do that. It makes all of the difference in the world. I tell you, the ones who are trained in this ministry and who were healed in that way, they stress it! Sometimes I think they stress it even more than I do because it means so much to them. Mario says he would have lost his mind completely. I don't know where in the world Clay would have been. Clay'd be dead or he would have killed somebody. And John Fawcett, with his brilliant mind that could never be slowed down - oh, it's wonderful to hear them teach on practicing the presence.

DAVID: So, when Jesus said, "Without Me you can do nothing", that's literally true then!

LEANNE: Yes! He does complete us. This is the healing of The Fall. It's not complete in this life, but it will be.

DAVID: In your estimation, what are the primary causes for the dramatic rise in child abuse and other perversions?

LEANNE: Well, we've been given over to reprobate minds. We can't live without meaning and if there are enough generations in our family where there hasn't been transcendent meaning then there are going to be drugs and alcohol and there's going to be abuse. You know, I am a great-grandmother and I have watched a lot, you know? In my one lifetime I've seen an incredible thing happen. I first of all became very aware of the Hemingway man that was so popular in the movies - the man that could seduce the most women, shoot the most wild animals, drink the most whiskey . That was the kind of man that finally produced . . . . it took forever . . . . that produced the extreme feminist movement that we see today. It took about three generations of women to finally stand up and say, "No more!" Well, the Hemingway man - he's gone now, you know, that's over. From there he fell off into passivity. But I have seen incredible loss of faith of any attempt to abide by . . . . even in a church . . . . to teach the moral law and expect Christians to abide by it.

DAVID: People don't believe it anymore.

LEANNE: They're so terrified of the legalism. That's right! They don't, and so they mix sexual looseness and all kinds of things while going to church, which I think is harmful - always have.

DAVID: How does God heal?

LEANNE: Well, I think you're almost saying, "How do we become?" As we obey Him, we become persons, and there is integration. Praise the Lord! It's exciting isn't it Dave? Glory be!

DAVID: So, that scripture immediately comes to my mind, "Christ formed in us".

LEANNE: Yes. That's how He heals. He can't heal us if we won't abide in Him. But if we abide in Him, He takes us. That doesn't mean we don't suffer. I've suffered, for the Gospel's sake, in terms of slander. I tell you, in many ways, I've been a ground-breaker here. You can imagine some of the slander I've endured, you know, from the church, being a woman minister. I didn't even know what misogyny was. I didn't know what all these things are, and I gradually was able to put names to these things, and in prayer, walk through them. So, it doesn't mean we don't suffer. But oh my goodness, what an exciting and wonderful life. How incredible!

DAVID: For those people who are worried about women ministers. If the scripture doesn't teach that women aren't to be ministers, what do those scriptures mean then - the ones that everybody always uses? What are they talking about?

LEANNE: Well, for one thing you've got to read those of course . . . . you've got to balance them with the other scriptures where there's a prophetess Deborah and where there are women who prophesy. God's not going to cut off one half of His working force. He didn't. It's not in the scriptures. He just didn't do it. So, what we're mainly dealing with here is a misinterpretation, a misuse of those scriptures. And you know, in the early . . . . in the good old Bible commentaries, you go back several hundred years and they give you the background of those things. For example, I know in the Adam Clarke commentary that was in my mother's home . . . . it's in my home . . . . I love that old commentary . . . . he was called the prince of commentators . . . . he clearly shows in there how . . . . you know, there were the Hebrew women standing at the back and the men were toward the front, and they would yell up and they'd say, "What was he saying?", and they were told to be quiet until they got home. And then in the context of the island and those people that Paul was speaking to, those women weren't trained. There were many reasons why they shouldn't be teaching. There are many reasons why certain men shouldn't be teaching and women shouldn't be teaching and we need to be able to say, "No, you're not to teach yet. You're not ready."

DAVID: I remember hearing Katherine Kuhlman say she thought God had called her to be in leadership because the man that God was trying to call wouldn't answer the call.

LEANNE: Well, you know, being a Baptist woman, what else would she say and think? But from my standpoint, I would see that a little differently even from Katherine. You see, Katherine would stand out there and just love God. She'd just worship God until He'd come. She'd say, "Come Holy Spirit and heal your people." That's what's missing in the church. And she was fool enough to do it. You know how she was viewed. You know how she was slandered. I mean, she would get out there . . . . and here's the Mary who loves God. Now, there were plenty of men who were willing to do it, who were willing to minister. But they were so out of touch with the feminine. God calls forth women out front when men cease to take the true feminine. Women like myself want to be hidden. I prayed for years to be hidden. I prayed for the hiddenness. You know, the true feminine wants to be hidden. They want the men to do it. You know, they want to respond to the man who's doing it. Walter Trobisch is so good here. His son Daniel, dear Daniel . . . . a fine psychologist who lives in Austria . . . . one of his sons is my godson. Have you read any of Walter Trobisch's works?

DAVID: No, but I am going to, after that quote that Mario read in class. It was such an insightful statement.

LEANNE: Yeah. Oh, you'll love him. Read I Married You and I Loved a Girl. Those are wonderful to use in sex education as well as on what it means to be a man. But it's when the men cease to take the true feminine out into the world that God has to call forth women to do it. Katherine Kuhlman would go out there and look up and just love God and tell Him, "Heal the people", because men weren't doing it. She was exactly right there. They couldn't do it. They were too cut off. The split between head and heart was so great, they could think about God but they couldn't love Him.