Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Purgatory — A Place of Torment for Dying Catholics to Anticipate

Purgatory: a cruel invention of the Roman Catholic Church – A false dogma that lays a heavy burden on every Catholic.  They hold men captive to a system that claims the keys to heaven. They create a mythical place where all forgiven people go that has the same fiery torments as hell except souls can be sprung after they are purified for an indeterminate period of time. It could be days, weeks, years, centuries, or millennia. The soul’s only hope is that their surviving loved ones offer enough rosaries and masses in their name to shorten their stay.
Jesus condemned the Pharisees for just such things – “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders” — Matt 23:4a
The late television pastor, Bishop Fulton Sheen, who is now being considered for canonization, put it this way:
“There was a provision made for making up for our failings if we die in the state of grace…, the necessity of purgatory is ground upon the absolute purity of God. As the holy book puts it, ‘there shall not enter into it anything defiled.’ So justice demands that nothing unclean, but only the pure of heart shall stand before the face of the pure God. Who of us would dare assert that at the moment of death that we were pure enough and spotless enough to stand before the immaculate Lamb of God? Do you think you could stand? I know that I could not.”
I’ll answer that question. Who is pure enough? Those whom the Lamb has washed clean, that’s who!
“Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” – Hebrews 10:29
Purgatory is an invention of diabolical men that hijacked Christianity soon after the death of the apostles, just as the Apostle Paul warned would happen after his “departure.”
“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” – Acts 20:29-30
As Bible-believing Christians we have the assurance from God’s Word that to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. That promise from God’s Word gives us such peace at the time of our impending death. Catholics are taught to believe that our faith is mere assumption and that we’ll be shocked when we land in a place of torment after we die.
But the contrary is a bigger risk. Catholics who die putting their faith in the Roman Church have no peace on their death beds. They believe they are facing a much worse and longer period of suffering than they are already in the throes of. They can expect to be carried away from the pains of death into the pains of fire. What a cruel hoax – especially if their misplaced faith lands them in hell instead of heaven if they did not put their faith in the blood atonement of the Lamb. I wonder if they will think they are in purgatory if they wake up in hell separated from God and imagine there will be an end to their judgment.
What spiritual malpractice it is to tell professing Christians that their faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world,” is inadequate to bring us to Heaven! He came to set the captives free and Catholics are in desperate need to be released from this cruel master in Rome.
“Who gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14
** Go to   to listen to Jackie’s Scattered Sheep Report on this subject

Monday, June 5, 2017


CARRA WON!!!!!!!

The jury came back this afternoon with the decision that Jan Crouch had a 45% liability for a $2,000,000 judgment amount. My source tells me that TBN already said they would appeal. No doubt they will spend more than the $900,000 on attorney costs to do so -- but I'm sure that's fine and dandy with the legal sharks.

At least this is a psychological win for Carra - but it might not cover her student loans after her own legal fees come out of the amount, if and when it's paid. The big, giant disappointment is how all of this has been pretty much ignored by the Christian media. The institutional church doesn't give a rip. They will continue to wage their own public relations campaign by ignoring anything that gets in the way of their use of the airwaves. They've struck a deal with the devil -- they lose in the long run.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Carra Crouch: “Blamed, Branded and Broken”

Carra Crouch: “Blamed, Branded and Broken”

Imagine if you will a 13-year-old girl having just been raped by a 30-year-old man, still in the state of shock – almost catatonic – sobbing uncontrollably, telling her grandmother, an ordained minister, about the trauma she had just experienced. Waiting for a hug and a prayer – maybe a little ministry – what she got instead was an accusatory scream in her face and some unsavory name-calling.

That was back in April, 2006 when innocence was lost at the Trinity Broadcasting Network. For the past five years, Carra Crouch, now 24, has had to relive that horrible night over and over again in legal depositions and in a fresh frenzy of blame and humiliation in court for the past thirty days at the hands of TBN’s gun-for-hire lawyers.

Carra filed a civil suit for damages against TBN in 2012 after a series of lawsuits were filed by TBN against her older sister, Brittany, whose attempts to bring the biggest ‘Christian’ television network into compliance with proper accounting standards as their financial director were met with outrage and eventual termination by her dear old grandparents. (Both girls are daughters of Paul Crouch Jr., the elder brother and disinherited son of TBN’s founders.)

Brittany recalls in her own words the events of Carra’s calamity in her unpublished autobiography which is what she testified to on the stand:

“My beautiful little sister, nearly 8 years younger than me and the quintessential All-American girl - she has blue eyes and blonde hair and was the most naïve and innocent person you could ever imagine. She was everything my mother had wanted in a little girl – she was girly, enjoyed playing with dolls, and wouldn’t come home covered in mud and grass stains like I would. I remember I was helping my dad coach her soccer team when she was six years old – clearly the worst player on the team – she told me she didn’t like playing soccer because she would get “too sweaty.” I was at a complete loss, she was clearly nothing like me which makes me laugh.
            “Given her innocence and naiveté, I think I had this understanding or desire in my heart to protect her. She wasn’t strong and hard like me; she would need someone to help get her through the twists and turns life had to throw at her. She had always mentioned to me that I had felt more like a mother to her than a sister and I agree. We have a very close bond – even closer now given what we have been through together the last three years. I mentioned earlier that one of the things I feel most guilty and sad about in my life was leaving my sister alone in my parents’ house after I left for college. If I had known then what I know now about what was about to happen to Carra, I definitely would have stayed home, simply to be her protector. She was left alone in a world ruled by evil – a world where TBN and its corruption were so close that it was too easy for them to get their hands on her.
            “In April of 2006, my sister was thirteen years old and had decided to attend one of TBN’s telethon fundraisers that was being held in Atlanta, Georgia. My grandmother’s sister and her family live in Atlanta and my sister was looking forward to spending some time with my grandmother and cousins. Telethons usually lasted 5 days but my grandmother would fly out a few days early to be sure things were ready for the live broadcast. Being TBN’s largest fundraiser of the year, all hands were on deck. There would always be a frenzy of energy, guests, audience members, and pulling at the heartstrings of viewers around the world to convince them god would bless them if they gave money to TBN. It was a display of “prosperity gospel” at its finest.
            “My sister was going to be flying there with my grandmother on the corporate jet and would be in her care the entire week she was there since neither of my parents would be attending. I would assume the first part of the week went fine. My sister was running around with our two cousins, Nick and Nathan. Both Nick and Nathan worked part time for TBN so they were very friendly with TBN’s employees in Georgia. At one point, they introduced my sister to a man name Stephen Smith. Stephen was older, I think in his early thirties at the time. From what I have been told, there was one night right before Carra and my grandmother were due to fly home that Stephen and Nathan accompanied my sister back to her hotel room. Stephen ordered wine from room service and the three of them began drinking.
            “At a certain point, Nathan passed out on the floor leaving my sister easily within reach of this man and his dark desires. Carra mentioned that she didn’t feel well so Stephen went to the bathroom to get her a cup of water. While in there Carra said she heard him rummaging through a bag to find something but never knew what it was. She drank the water he brought her, which she admitted tasted funny, and then she doesn’t remember anything after that.
            “She awoke the next morning, feeling fuzzy and sore in personal places; Stephen was lying next to her. At that point she went into shock – not knowing where to go or who to tell. She didn’t say anything to anyone until she was home. She had a meeting with my mother and my grandmother, which took place in my grandmother’s living room. She told them what had happened, which was a very hard thing for her to do. She was embarrassed and scared. I’m sure the reaction she received from my grandmother didn’t do much to help the trauma of what had just happened to her either.
            “My grandmother became furious with my sister; telling her how stupid she had been to drink and have people in her room. She told my sister what had happened to her was her fault and it would be best if she never spoke of it again. My grandma then put my mother and sister in contact with my Uncle John so he could handle the situation and ‘make it go away.’
            “…After what occurred in April of 2006, Carra literally became an entirely different person. Instead of being young, happy, and carefree she became anxious, introverted, and lost.”
Decision Time

Carra’s endless nightmare is now in the hands of the eight women and four men that make up the jury in the civil trial. After receiving the judge’s instructions as to answering several pages of questions they must decide upon, the attorneys on both sides summed up their arguments last Wednesday, May 31st  in the Superior Court of Orange County.

Judge Peter Wilson told the jury that the plaintiff must prove that it was Jan Crouch’s outrageous reckless disregard that caused Carra to suffer emotional distress. Jan knew Carra’s vulnerability and acted with negligence in her position as ordained clergy at TBN that would require mandatory reporting. Jury must decide in percentages of responsibility between plaintiff’s side (bad parenting) and TBN’s side (bad minister-grandmother) for damages awarded for mental anguish – no punitive damages to consider.

David Keesling began his opening remarks by saying it is good to be at final arguments after five years of litigation and a 30-day trial for a crime that occurred eleven years ago. “They distract, they distort, they don’t talk about Jan Crouch,” he said, but TBN’s strategy has been to create a “side-show” to draw attention away from the facts.  “They pick apart – blame all on everything else and we should have been done in two weeks -- bogged down intending to distort --calculated to distract to take attention away from Jan Crouch.”

 “Carra was looking at an ecclesiastical leader of a global multinational network in need of Christian compassion and Jan sent her away blamed, branded, and broken. There was no ministry in what Jan Crouch did.”

As an observer, I was amazed at Keesling’s oratory skills – I had to restrain myself from applauding or shouting AMEN! His impassioned account of the hell Carra endured from the rape and Jan’s heartless, unconscionable response to berate her granddaughter for the ‘mess she put TBN in’ was quite moving. He reminded them of what came out in testimony – Jan’s impulse was to prevent a public relations fiasco for TBN. She instructed her nephew, TBN attorney John Casoria, to “do what’s best for TBN” in total disregard for what was best for Carra Crouch.

Michael King began TBN’s lack-luster closing argument by admitting that Carra Crouch was indeed raped and suffered “real trauma” from it.  “I’m not heartless,” he assured the jury.

He argued that Carra’s grandmother was not the problem, but her parents, Paul Crouch Jr. and his then estranged wife Tawny, were to blame for Carra’s eating disorder and other emotional problems. He recalled testimony from a psychiatrist that had one interview with Carra as proof her issues predated the April 2006 incident.

To establish his theory, he recounted testimony from the trial that revealed how dysfunctional her family life was and that Carra was damaged goods before 2006. Both Jr’s daughters had been hammered by TBN’s attorneys and they admitted that they did not recall their parents ever being happily married.

King recalled all the dirty details TBN raised in the case about lurid behavior of Tawny, who was painted to be a simpleton with no moral character. (I will not repeat all the sordid details brought up by TBN’s character assassination of Carra and her immediate family since it was no doubt intended to tarnish their reputation and are irrelevant to the case – even if it was used as a distraction by these legal sharks.)

He briefly touched upon the subject of the lawsuit: Jan Crouch. “Jan’s not here to defend herself.” He said there was no evidence that Jan blew up at Carra (other than the word of Carra and Tawny) and it was not in her character to do so. “You will have to decide that Jan’s behavior goes beyond the bounds of all decency.” And he told the jury to decide whether Jan was sought out as a grandma or as an ordained minister – the answer to that question could turn the case.

He argued that even though Jan did not take Carra to the police to report a crime, neither did her mom or her absentee father. The perpetrator was indeed fired, and the lawyer said he sure should have been. (Stephen Smith took the 5th amendment in a deposition so did not testify in the trial.)

In conclusion, King dismissed the entire case as a conspiracy against TBN concocted by Brittany who supposedly drew Carra into it. He pointed to the courtroom screen that contained an email with the name “Jackie Alnor” in bold print. (Brittany’s private emails were successfully subpoenaed by the court.) He made a big deal out of my suggestion that it would be a good idea for Brittany to seek out a pro-bono attorney such as Gloria Allred who could bring some public attention to the harassment lawsuits filed against her by TBN. He said that Jackie Alnor’s interview with Brittany was part of a media plot to harm the network.

In rebuttal, David Keesling said of TBN’s defense that they are, “sanctimonious under golden domes, but at the end of the day they are destroyers… If we just turn our heads like Jan Crouch, we tolerate it.”

My Observations

It is hypocritical for King to claim that Jan isn’t here to defend herself, when it was he and his legal team that stretched this case out for five years, very likely to wait out Jan’s demise. How convenient that when they finally stopped all the depositions and stalling it was after she was incommunicado. I would have loved to see Keesling have a go at her on the stand.

And I wish that Keesling would have produced character witnesses against Jan Crouch that could have reported what was common knowledge at TBN – Jan was a potty-mouthed, short-tempered tyrant that abused her employees. Her reputation for having an unofficial casting couch as program director followed her – especially her penchant for carrying on with men that looked like “Jesus.” Some might excuse her dalliances with men since her husband, Paul Crouch, was known for his preference for males – as it has been well-reported, paying out huge sums of hush money to silence his gay lovers. Their on-the-air marriage was a sham – Brittany says she never recalled Paul and Jan ever living in the same house in her lifetime.

The heir to TBN, Matthew Crouch, with a word could put an end to all this bad public relations mess by simply dropping the lawsuits against his niece, Brittany. Brittany is a professing Christian and the Bible has an injunction against Christians taking other believers to secular court. Matt should be held to account for defying Scripture. (See 1 Cor 6:1-8) Where are the Christian leaders who are collectively turning a blind eye to this? They’ll buy airtime on TBN, but as recent history has shown, none will put truth and justice above their own self-interests.

Matt seems to have a public relations campaign of his own, transforming TBN from a rhinestone hillbilly showcase into an emergent culturally acceptable lineup – replacing Benny Hinn with The Shack and ending Praise-a-Thons to raise money by liquidating TBN’s properties. I won’t complain if he gives Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar the axe now that’s he’s added Mike Huckabee and Max Lucado. All fitting for the rise of the Church of Laodicea.

So, is there a conspiracy against The Trinity Broadcasting Network? To cry “conspiracy” is a tactic used by those who are trying to shift blame away from their own evil doings. It is shooting the messenger. It is a distraction from admitting wrong doing, which goes against the instincts of narcissists that believe they are above scrutiny, even if they are keepers of public trusts such as the airwaves. They believe that the biblical injunction, “Touch not God’s anointed” applies to them – the height of arrogance.

Keesling told me that my name came up in 25 of the depositions and eight times during the trial, not to mention once in the closing arguments. To me that is really stretching it. In fact, it is ludicrous. That is digging pretty deep to invent a defense for Jan Crouch’s abhorrent behavior. It’s like the dumbest ad hominin attack by losers I’ve ever seen. It simply proves they have no argument at all.

TBN’s 990s shows they spent $6 million in attorney’s compensation in 2014, the latest ones we could find. Much of that was used to avoid accountability to the Body of Christ, even though Paul and Jan Crouch have always claimed that TBN belongs to all the partners who have donated over the years.

You won't read this kind of reporting in the "Christian" media. Where is WND or RNS? Where is Charisma Magazine? Where is Christianity Today? You’ll only read regurgitations of the secular news stories – and probably just small little blurbs at that. There’s never been a bigger need for uncompromising Christian reporting than today – investigative reporters instead of PR writers who stick to the narrative of the publications.

The takeaway from this trial is that the founders of TBN, the late Paul and Jan Crouch not only produced television programming that distorted the face of Christianity around the world, but they also produced a dysfunctional family that eats its young.

[When the jury comes back with their decision, I’ll write an update.]
See also:
Walter Martin’s attempt in 1987 to bring accountability to TBN

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Go ahead and talk about him because he makes you doubt
Because he has denied himself the things you can't live without
Laugh at him behind his back just like the others do
Remind him of what he used to be when he comes walking through.
He's the property of Jesus
Resent him to the bone
You got something better
You got a heart of stone
 – Bob Dylan

The Pressure Cooker

The world hates us and we’re instructed to hate the world. Jesus even said:

"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” - Luke 14:26.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”. - 1John 2:15

"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” - John 15:19

Of course, Jesus didn’t mean to despise anyone, He was dramatically saying that our love for God trumps all other relationships.

However, the opposite is often the case. Relatives will indeed despise their family member who is sold out for Jesus. Once a person becomes a child of God, all earthly relationships immediately change --sometimes for the good, when their testimony touches the heart of their kin, but sadly it is more common for loved ones to turn against the new convert.

The Epistle of James says, “Friendship with the world is enmity to God.” It isn’t referring to planet earth, but to the world system that is under the power of the god of this age: the devil. Jesus said, “If you’re not for Me, you’re against Me.” You can’t use His name as a cuss word today and then expect Him to accept your praise come Sunday morning.

Starting Out

New believers in the LORD Jesus Christ have been captured by their newfound love for Him. They are so excited and optimistic; it can be seen in their faces and their smiles. They just can’t shut up about Him. This is especially true if they were not raised in the church and do not have much Bible knowledge. They’re on Cloud 9, so to speak, and are just starting out on their pilgrimage to the Celestial City. They feel invincible.

When the first fiery trial comes along, they do not see it coming – like a bolt out of the blue. This is played out in a poignant way in Pilgrim’s Progress when Pliable, from Christian’s hometown of the City of Destruction, decides to go along with him.  This is the famous scene when they both fall into the Slough of Despond. This trouble comes to a surprise to both of them, but they respond differently.

After struggling to extricate himself from the Slough, Pliable leaves the way in a huff saying, “Is this the happiness you have told me of all the while? If we have such ill speed at our first setting out, what may we expect betwixt this and our journey's end? May I get out again with my life; you shall possess the brave country alone!”

Christian was rescued by a man named “Help.” He got to the other side of the Slough, while Pliable turned tail for home. Along the way more trials and tribulations confront our protagonist. About half-way through the journey, as many others were running back to the comfort of their towns, Christian assured himself: “I must venture. To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life-everlasting beyond it. I will yet go forward. “

This is reminiscent of a Bible passage in the Gospel of John. As many men who had been following the Master walked away because they could not understand His hard sayings, He turned to Peter and asked him if he was going to go too. 

“But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” John 6:68

New converts to the faith are not always born-again believers. They may be quite sincere about their decision to become a Christian, but have not come into the Kingdom through the door of repentance. They might have simply responded to an emotional message to “try Jesus.” Or, they might have learned about the Bible growing up and see it as the “good book” and a valuable guide during troubled times. The church is just a building in the community where people are married and buried, some think.

Jesus’ parable of the Sower of the Seed gives the big picture. The seed represents the Word of God that is sown into hearts. The soil is the condition of the heart into which it is sown. The outcome of the crop depends on the fertility of the ground. In summary, Jesus said:

"The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred." – Mark 4:14-20

This installment focuses on just one of the reasons people backslide and do not go to the end of the journey. The thorny ground “Christians” are just temporary ones. This is probably the most common kind of pew sitter there is – we used to call them “carnal Christians.” And sadly, today’s most popular mega-churches cater to them. It is said of them, “they have just tacked Jesus onto their worldly pursuits.”

Jesus said, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt 24:13)  That does not mean that they can lose their salvation – it just means that they were not truly born-again in the first place. To those who miss the mark and say, “Lord, Lord, did we not do many good things in your name?” Jesus tells them, “I never knew you.”

These converts did not count the cost. They did not put self on the altar and put Jesus on the throne of their lives. They never turned the reins over to Him. They called their own shots. There was no major change in their lives after their supposed conversion. They merely gave lip-service to Jesus and found a church community center to attend where they could get an uplifting shot in the arm every Sunday.
These words from Romans, the epistle of grace, didn’t quite penetrate:

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” – Rom. 8:13-14

No Longer Cool

The first big surprise that awaits a new convert, regardless of their soil, is the reaction from family and friends when they tell them they’ve become a Christian. A typical response from these scallywags is “You’re not a Christian. I know you. You’re just going through a phase. You’ll get over it.” And an assortment of other colorful metaphors spouts from their lips.

The true saint will strive with them for a while, sharing their testimony and giving them an answer for the hope they now have in their heart. S/he might even get through to some, although some friends like Pliable will only go so far.

But the enemy of our souls will not delay in striking back, using those closest to them to inflict the most damage.  He will inspire the convert’s associates to remind him/her of who they used to be. If that doesn’t work, friends will invite them to events where they are sure to get the new believer doing the things they used to do – drinking, carousing, doing drugs – whatever the old habit happens to be.
The solid saint will resist these temptations. The Holy Spirit dwelling within them will make them uncomfortable in those old familiar haunts, and they will be forced to leave. If they slip up, they’ll repent, cry out to God for strength, and keep on going. Scripture reading will help them on a daily basis as they take in the manna of His Word. They know they can run to the pages of scripture for direction. They may stumble across this one that will really speak to them:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Cor 6:9-11

The Old Me

After entering the Kingdom at the ripe old age of 28, I was in for a rude awakening. My story is not unlike so many others whose born-again experience changed them instantly – overnight even.
I was raised in the Catholic Church, but rebelled from it as a teenager. I was a child of the 60s, ran off from my home in Los Angeles County to the Bay Area. I bought the whole package: free love, drugs, and rock n’roll. I dabbled in the occult; the Ouija board was my idea of a good time. I thought I was making contact with dead people from the other side.

I excelled in the art of lying. I could come up with a humdinger of a story to extricate myself from a previous lie. I learned this early in life from sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night as a teenager. When I got caught, I had to come up with a darn good story. When caught in a lie, I just lied a little better to get out of it.

My youth was cut short when I came home pregnant and my hippy boyfriend became scarce. I had only been away for a few months and was only 17. I had to go to a home for unwed mothers to give birth to my baby girl and gave her up for adoption as a newborn. 

I blocked that emotional upheaval, working all week to live it up on the weekends. I could out-cuss any sailor and was a bit of a clown – I collected dirty jokes and loved to one-up the next guy in my delivery of them. Cocaine became my recreational drug of choice in my 20s. I never did like the taste of alcohol, so I’d take a vial of coke to the nightclubs I frequented with my girlfriends. Dancing and partying was all I lived for, but deep down inside it was not a very satisfying lifestyle. I needed something to fill the spiritual void inside.

At that time, my friends would have thought me to be the least likely person to ever “turn to religion,” as they would put it. But it wasn’t religion that I was looking for. In fact, I wasn’t even thinking that deeply; I was on auto-pilot. 

Everything changed when I received a book in the mail from the Book of the Month Club. I was a voracious reader – but only of fiction. In fact, horror stories and murder mysteries were my favorite genre. Real life stuff just wasn’t my bag.  The book I received was called Michelle Remembers. It arrived right after reading a novel called The Entity that had left me feeling creeped out. It was a novel supposedly based on a true story about a woman living in L.A. who was being haunted nightly by a demon known as an Incubus. But Michelle Remembers was different because it was not a novel, but an eye-witness account of a young woman who was recalling, under hypnosis, her horrifying experience of being used by Satanists in their diabolical ceremonies when she was just a child.
What really got to me were the photos of her in the book. The shrink administering the hypnosis testified that whenever his client would recall those awful memories, big ugly red welts would appear upon her skin in the shape of a pitchfork or a devil’s tail – reminiscent of the character seen on the Red Devil Fireworks booths that would spring up everywhere before the Fourth of July.

In hindsight, it was not a very credible testimony – especially since the memories only came out of hypnotic induction. But that didn’t matter to me at the time. Both books convinced me of the existence of the devil – and I reasoned that there had to be a God because if there wasn’t then we’re all in deep you-know-what.

I fell back on my religious upbringing and ran out to the local Catholic bookstore and bought myself a St. Joseph’s Bible. I began reading the Psalms – they really spoke to me. I steered away from the gospels and epistles because I thought I knew what was in them from my years of growing up and them being read at the Catholic mass.

I had a practice of attending midnight mass every Christmas-Eve – a tradition I kept up with even in my unbelief. Baby Jesus in the manger had always appealed to me that time of year. But that Christmas of 1980, I did something different. I visited Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa instead. I had been somewhat familiar with It since a couple of my friends had attended at one time years before when they met in a tent. I was totally blown away by Pastor Chuck Smith’s message about Christmas. He talked about the pagan origin of December 25th and the pagan feast of Saturnalia. His candor about that was refreshing. I had never heard a sermon that admitted to any possible flaw in the system. No Catholic priest would dream of being that forthright!

I left without responding to the altar call. I held onto the bulletin though and put it in my Catholic Bible in my nightstand next to my bed. I didn’t know it then, but it would sure come in handy some seven months later at 3 am on the Fourth of July, 1981.

From Death to Life 

That New Year’s Eve was rather depressing. I spent it alone due to an absent boyfriend with whom I was having an affair who kept promising he would leave his wife for me. He just couldn’t seem to get up the nerve. So he would string me along, living with me during the week and going home to her on the weekend. Looking back it must have been a fine arrangement for…let’s call him ‘Frank.’
Frank was one of my supervisors at work. At some point in time during this tainted relationship, I got pregnant. He insisted that I have an abortion but I didn’t want to. He prevailed and talked me into it – he even dropped me off at a Planned Parenthood clinic. 

I was mad at him, but totally oblivious to what I had just done to my unborn baby. The personnel at the death center convinced me that I was merely wiping away a little tissue and there was as yet no form to speak of. They called it a “potential baby.”

I saw myself as the victim, and would look to the book of Psalms for comfort as I lay in bed at night feeling sorry for myself. I would run to “the book” every time some horrible self-inflicted disaster would befall me. I believed in God and thought He was on my side.

On the night before the Independence Day holiday, I was again resentful for being left alone. So I accepted a date with one of Frank’s fellow supervisors and went out drinking, dancing, and snorting coke with him. I only accepted the date, hoping to get Frank jealous. The whole thing backfired – the guy got weird on me after he got high and violently forced himself on me. I felt lucky to get home alive that night.

So at 2 a.m., after soaking in a hot tub, I reached for the Bible for comfort. As I read it, I didn’t feel comfort, I felt dirty, unclean. I blamed myself for the events of the night, knowing I brought that upon myself for trying to get back at Frank. As that thought came to me, another thought hit me between the eyes – my relationship with Frank was a sin. That hadn’t occurred to me before. Where’d that come from? 

From that realization, my entire life of sin began streaming across my mind – the lies, the partying, the drugs, the hurts I caused others, the adultery, the fornication, and on and on. I sat there alone crying and sobbing over all the awful things I had done. During all those years of debauchery I had never once stopped to think about the guilt or fault that was upon me. But now, the guilt was overwhelming me.

I desperately wanted to tell God I was sorry and beg for His forgiveness. I wanted to pray, but I just didn’t know how to. I had memorized prayers as a Catholic – the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be – but none of those prayers of rote could help me now.

I found that old Calvary Chapel bulletin, almost by miracle, there was a 24-hour prayer line phone number in it. I grabbed the phone and called. A man answered and the first words out of my mouth were, “I don’t know how to pray. I want to pray, but I don’t know how. Can you help me?”

There was silence on the other end for what seemed like an eternal minute. I think the guy was stunned and was gathering his thoughts – or else I had woken him up – it was 3 in the morning. He led me to the 6th chapter of John’s gospel and told me that the so-called Lord’s prayer was not given to recite, but given to instruct us how to petition God in our own words. He ministered to me, explaining to me the free gift of salvation and led me in a sinner’s prayer. I thanked him, and as I hung up the phone, I felt the weight of all the guilt lift right off me. It was tangible! And I immediately just knew how to pray. I had a heart-to-heart talk with Jesus and my words flowed with praise and thanksgiving and I promised Him I would always follow Him and learn to please Him. My entire life had just made a 180 degree turn. The Bible I had been reading on and off for seven months, now came alive. One revelation after another jumped off the pages as I read it with new understanding. It changed from an interesting book to the living words of Almighty God, my Savior!

Commencement of Hostilities

The first person I called the next day was my mom. At first she was delighted to hear that I had found Jesus. She thought that meant I would return to the Catholic Church. When she realized that was not the case, she expressed her disappointment. My dad, who was a convert to Catholicism, wanted to discuss our differences, but those discussions usually turned into heated arguments. Others in the family began to resent me because I was disturbing the peace when we would all come together for family gatherings. 

Things weren’t much better in my circle of friends. We used to get together at Gilbert’s house every weekend to play board games and laugh and act stupid together. My best friend Liz was a psychology major and she was the Risk champion. The next time we all got together after my born-again experience, I was shocked at Gilbert’s hostility to me. The first words out of his mouth were, “so you’ve taken sides with the enemy.” I said, “What are you talking about?” He said, “Christianity is against me; the Bible teaches that I’m going to hell for being a homosexual.” I told him I didn’t know that. He kept shouting one threatening question after another in my face, but I didn’t know the Bible well enough to answer them. Then he stormed out of the living room and walked back in and tossed me a book. “Read this,” he said. “You can take it home.” The book was called, “Contradictions in the Bible.” I put it down and said, “Gilbert, I’m not going to read this. I just started to read the Bible and I know that it is true. This book will only confuse me.” At that, I was asked to leave and not come back.

Liz tried to be more open to me and we continued to visit each other. We loved getting together just to play Scrabble and feast on munchies over at her house. She did not want me talking about it – just acted as if she was not offended, but just not interested. Liz loved dancing and nightclubbing. She was quite the lush. I would no longer go with her to clubs, so our friendship sorta soured. The last time I saw her, I got her to go with me to hear the late Walter Martin speak at Melodyland in Anaheim. He spoke against secular humanism and she was most offended. She told me that she was a humanist and he was wrong in criticizing it. I told her that maybe he meant something different by the term – to which she rolled her eyes and almost screamed at me, “No he did not.” That ended our friendship – and it had been a close one.

Of course, one of my first calls to action after committing my life to Christ was to tell Frank to stop calling me. I told him how Jesus had saved me and I was going to follow Him and I was shocked at his harsh reaction. I so much wanted him to receive the Gospel, and I gave it to him in the best way I knew how. His response? “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” The tragedy in Jonestown was still fresh in the public eye. Frank wasn’t the only person to make that wisecrack to me.

What followed at work was similar. I won’t go into the long story here. But it didn’t take long for me to wind up at the Unemployment office. Coming to Jesus had cost me my family relations, my friends, my job, and then my condo – out of work, I could no longer make the mortgage payments. I was forced to sell my house. I was literally stripped of every area of my life and had to start over from scratch. I did not know a single Christian nearby that I could run to for solace.

The struggle to hold onto my newfound faith was only just beginning. I had lost it all – but I hung on to Jesus for dear life!