But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light. I Peter 2:9
We all have a testimony. But sometimes God causes someone to cross our path that blesses us with their testimony in a special way.
This man’s faith is refreshing and his first-hand experiences with the wiles of the devil are a caution for us. He has shared face to face with us numerous times in our home about his experiences and concern that the Christian church is no longer searching for the truth above all else. He believes that emotions, experiences and voices of the evil one are masquerading as God’s Truth and replacing the Bible and the Holy Spirit. He has come to faith in Jesus Christ as the only Savior through much trial and error because of an undeterred desire for truth. He (and we) believe God will not forsake those who truly seek Him!! — the editors
This testimony is in-depth and so we will publish it in several different posts over the course of a few weeks. Our friend asks to remain anonymous.
Out of the Darkness – Part One
I write it in the hope it may be of value to those who have not experienced what I have and also to chronicle another puzzle-piece of the falling away of the church.
I am a man in my mid-thirties. People who work with me would likely describe me as driven, type-A personality, and a techie. I could easily pass for your neighbor or someone you might meet in a business setting. I can be friendly and personable with a witty humor. I have seen and experienced much of the world. I enjoy adventure, travel, outdoor activities, and am an avid National Park hopper. I am not an attention-seeker. On the contrary, aside from situations where I am doing sales for my business, I would rather that you forget me. I post from time to time on the internet, but am content to lead a private life and remain anonymous. In many ways, my life has turned out to be anything but what I had expected. Truth is much stranger than fiction, and I have collected a lot of it, the good, bad and ugly. Most of it in the world is ugly. But, that should not be an adequate deterrent. If the story seems fast-packed, hectic and fragmented, that’s because it was. I have changed the names of people in my life to protect their privacy.
Despite having a circle of regular contacts, most of the people I know have a highly compartmentalized viewpoint of who I am. Most people seem to enjoy talking about themselves and knowing only superficialities. Throughout the years, I have developed a number of social techniques to avoid talking about myself. I do however enjoy discussing a number of different topics in depth as well as learning new things, but speaking about myself is not something that comes easily.
As a born-again believer of Jesus Christ, my testimony is the same as everyone else. I was saved by grace through faith and I can’t name a single reason why me in terms of my personal attributes or what I have done. The way I have been redeemed from demonic strongholds seems to be a topic discussed in the Bible, but foreign to the present-day church.
God has worked miracles in my life to unbind me from these strongholds and communicated with me in dreams and visions. I have experienced an incredible amount of pain and suffering, terrorizing memories and an inability to remember. Despite being surrounded by people from the institutional church, I have watched them fall into the same traps I came out of, the snare of the fowler, re-branded as Contemporary and Christian, but in reality just Eastern mysticism. I am aware my story may have entertainment value, but I write it in the hope it may be of value to those who have not experienced what I have and also to chronicle another puzzle-piece of the falling away of the church.
The following is my first-person witness to what has happened in my life. Please stay away from the occult, even meditation and yoga. These activities are dangerous and can affect you in many unseen ways. Many people will lose their sanity in occult activities and some people will lose their lives. It is not entirely possible to see what you are agreeing to, and for every perceived plus, there will be a hook or a price to pay and it is usually much more than you can afford. For people deep into occult activities and Satanism, I believe the only way to get out is by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.
I grew up as an only child. My mother never loved me. It may sound adolescent to say that, but I have always known it, and I will enumerate that in this writing. In my early years, dad was physically present, but also notably absent. Our house was an ungodly one and a house divided cannot stand. The experience of both my parents yelling and screaming at each other was a regular occurrence. There were always messes, chaos, confusion and no shortage of blame. My dad worked long hours, disappeared in the morning for his long commute, and didn’t resurface until just before my bedtime. On weekends, dad would hide out in his study in a butterfly chair in the middle surrounded by walls of books stacked upon each other. The layers of books were so high, it was impossible to tell when he was in the room without navigating through the various obstructions. When he was home, he usually didn’t want to be bothered.
At a young age, I showed some academic aptitude. Mom enjoyed shuttling me around to various places and people to show me off. Around four or five years old, I was interviewed on a television show for child prodigies and asked detailed questions about books I had read and my opinions on world affairs. I had a lead role in a community play and had some involvement in acting. My mother also dressed me according to the latest fashions. I always had a tremendous amount of energy and did well in sports teams, including baseball, basketball and soccer. I also did well in school and had friends. I was always a few years ahead of my age in school and attended private school since kindergarten. On the surface, it would appear I had a great childhood at this point. I grew up with a middle class lifestyle including all of the latest and greatest toys. Although we were not rich, I would say we were never lacking in anything. I only became aware our situation was “different” after visiting other friends’ houses.
Extended family was distant both physically and emotionally. My family on both sides was on the East coast and I have vague recollections of meeting them a few times after long plane rides. One time as a young child, the plane made an emergency stop in Las Vegas and I had some cash remaining from the visit. Without adult supervision, I headed straight to the slot machines and won a bunch of times before airport staff informed me I was way too young to be gambling.
Growing up, I received greeting cards and money from several family members on my birthday and the holidays, but was always confused about who they were and how I was related to them. I never met my paternal grandparents. When I asked my dad about them, he countered with a stock answer that his father was an abusive man and his mother an uneducated woman. He always emphasized a certain distasteful tone when saying that, as if being uneducated was some type of capital offense. Upon further questioning, he would tell me it was none of my business.
Dad was a professed atheist and mom was culturally Jewish. I heard a family story about how my maternal grandfather came from Russia as an toddler in a cargo box in order to escape the pogrom at the turn of the century. My grandmother operated a jewelry store in Ohio. My Jewish upbringing consisted of a vague ideation that we were better than others since we were God’s chosen people and that we celebrated Chanukah and Russ Hashanah while the notion of God was sneered at. I also learned it was dishonorable to work with my hands and that I should become a doctor or lawyer. I had zero interest in having a bar mitzvah.
I had Christian professing friends while growing up and I visited their church a few times, but don’t remember hearing any sort of coherent message. They later told me their parents warned them they should keep their distance from me because I was going to hell. Two of the private schools I attended were Christian-based and in one we regularly read the bible. I do believe that experience instilled in me a fear of God, but did little to explain who He was and what business He had with man. A few times, I asked questions of intellectual curiosity and the responses I received were along the lines of how dare you question God’s word. The school believed in strict discipline.
After my experiences with Christians, I concluded God was on the same level as Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny — a figment of man’s imagination and a sophisticated tool employed by authority figures to control their subjects and people of lesser intellect. I did hear the name Jesus Christ, but it was mocked at home by my parents and I never heard the Gospel or had any understanding of original sin.
At the same time, Eastern mysticism was readily available to me. My parents were hippies and told me on numerous occasions how they lived in the Haight-Ashbury and personally knew Janis Joplin. Mom was a proud feminist. Both of my parents had experience with transcendental meditation. My dad stopped meditating when he was in college, but my mother regularly continued the practice. Mom was also involved in astrology. By age 10, I had devoured my mother’s extensive book collection on these topics. One book that sticks in my head is “Seth Speaks” and the Seth series, about a woman who began to communicate with an ascended master while using an ouija board with her husband. I learned about past lives and reincarnation, Buddhism, Hinduism and Daoist philosophy. Each one of these systems promised a method of overcoming the suffering of the human condition through bettering oneself with various esoteric practices and increasing occult knowledge.
They all said there were multiple paths to God and that we were all working to improve ourselves. My mother would regularly say that everyone is just doing the best that they can. The message was that we were all working to improve ourselves at different rates in different ways and throughout time we would all become whole and healed. It seemed a lot more credible than “thus sayeth the Lord” and why couldn’t Christianity be an additional path for healing?
To be continued . . .