ALLEGED FRAUDS IN RELIGIOUS BOOKS
which deal with Satanism, Wicca, etc.
Religion is a deeply personal and subjective topic. Any author who is deeply
committed to one religion finds it profoundly difficult to write accurately
about another religion. Even writing about another denomination or movement
within her/his own religion is fraught with problems.
The vast bulk of popular inter-religious books are exposes written by
Fundamentalist or other Evangelical Christian authors about what
they consider dangerous religions, sects, and cults: Christian Science,
New Age, Pagans,
Satanists, Wiccans (Witches) etc. The quantity of
such books is massive. Their authors frequently quote each other's writings as sources, rather than search out original
material. As a result, the contents of many of these books becomes
increasingly divorced from reality over time.
Many readers assume that because the authors are devout Christians, that
they will have a very high standard of personal ethics, and will take
great pains to be accurate in their writing. This is not necessarily
Most followers of all religions are reasonably decent folk.
Hindus love their spouses and children, just as do Christians. If you find
a book that demonizes all believers in a particular religion, by
stating that they abuse children, engage in criminal acts, are unethical,
etc, then you can safely assume that the book is filled with misinformation
and should be ignored. You might consider writing a letter of complaint to the
author, care of the publisher's Author Relations Department, with a copy to the
publisher themselves. We have done this dozens of times. We have never
received a response, or even an acknowledgment that the author or
publisher received our letter. But at least they may have become aware of our
Some Evangelicals have become concerned about the amount of fraud, misuse of
money and misinformation within their movement, and are conducting
investigations of authors and ministries. Bob and Gretchen Passantino wrote in
"Crying Wind, Alberto Rivera, John Todd, Michael Esses, Joey LaVey,
Lauren Stratford, Troy Lawrence, Mike Warnke, Bob Larson, and dozens of
others have come under temporary Church scrutiny for their ministry and
moral lapses. Many were completely defensive when challenged, and many
responded much like our fictional King David. No true confession, no real
repentance, certainly no biblically mandated restitution and restoration.
Tragically, most of them continue in active ministry." 5
Other investigative groups, including Neo-Pagan agencies who are
often victimized, are also searching for frauds. Chief among these groups are:
Cornerstone Magazine+, 939 W. Wilson, Chicago IL 60640, USA
CultWatch Response Inc*., PO Box 1842, Colorado Springs, CO 80901-1842
Personal Freedom Outreach+, PO Box 26062, St. Louis, Missouri 63136, USA
Wiccan Information Network*, PO Box 2422, Main PO, Vancouver BC V6B 3W7,
+ Christian group. * Neo-Pagan group
Michelle Smith & Dr. Lawrence Pazder Michelle Remembers
This is the first and probably the most important of the Satanic Ritual
Abuse (SRA) books. It allegedly documents horrendous abuse suffered by
Michelle at the hands of a Satanic cult during her childhood. Although there were a few isolated,
false stories of SRA prior to Michelle being published, this book
gave the "Satanic panic" a major boost. It was largely
responsible for the formation of the widespread SRA movement in the early 1980's. The
Network and other groups found that much of the book content was
ultimately derived from Dr. Pazder's (1936 - 2004) personal studies of African native rituals,
rather than from Michelle's memories. When the accuracy of his book
was questioned during a seminar, Dr. Pazder allegedly stated that he and Michelle had
never claimed that the events in the book actually happened! He has more
recently promoted "Sadistic Ritual Abuse" as the new definition of SRA. He
that no massive Satanic conspiracy exists. He has been reported as
believing that recovered
memories of SRA during childhood are often based on real memories of
incest to which a false overlay of Satanic ritual has been added. 1
Lauren Stratford (aka Willson) Satan's Underground (1988). This
book also allegedly describes Lauren's experiences as a victim of a Satanic group. She was
repeatedly raped, and gave birth to babies which were ritually sacrificed.
Investigators were able to locate Lauren's mother (who had allegedly died),
her allegedly non-existent sister, her ex-husband, cousins and teachers.
Their stories conflicted with many events in the book. Cornerstone Magazine
published an expose in their Dec/Jan 1989/90 issue. Harvest House, who
published Lauren's book withdrew the book. They later released the rights
to the book to another publisher. Unfortunately, Willson died on 2002-APR-8 without
acknowledging that her book was a work of fiction.
Mike Warnke The Satan Seller (1987). This book describes how Mike allegedly joined a Satanic
group during college, rose quickly to a position of great power, and later became converted to
conservative Christianity. Mike Hertenstein and Jon Trott of Cornerstone Magazine (an Evangelical
Christian publication) conducted a detailed investigation of Warnke, and published their findings
in their June/July 1992 issue. They claimed that Warnke's only contact with Satanism was a library
literature search. His entire ministry was allegedly based on a hoax. Their book "Selling Satan: The
Tragic History of Mike Warnke" outlines their investigation in detail. 2
Writer Peter Huston
published a book review called "Washed Up, Sold Out, and Spreading Hysteria" in the
Skeptical Inquirer magazine. A copy of the review is available. 3
"Selling Satan" is now out of print. Mike Warnke
published a new book "Schemes of Satan." 4
Dr. Rebecca Brown He Came to Set the Captives Free
(1986). This book
relates the rise to power of Elaine, a friend of the author, within an international Satanic
organization. The book contains many strange references:
She uses terms like covens, Warlocks, and Witches", to describe
Satanists and their groups. These are not Satanic terms.
She talks about countless local Satanic groups of up to 1000 members
each. This conflicts with the general consensus that there are only a few
thousand Satanists in North America (teenage dabblers excluded).
She describes the most important Satanic days as Christmas,
Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving. In fact, they are Walpurgis Nacht,
Halloween and the Satanist's own birthday.
She describes a ritual killing in which a crown was placed on the
victim's head and its long thorns were driven through his skull. One wonders
how thorns could penetrate bone - particularly long thorns which would tend
to bend quite easily.
Richard Fisher, Paul Blizard and Kurt Goedelman of Personal Freedom
Outreach exposed Dr. Brown in their Quarterly Journal and have
since published their fascinating articles in booklet form: "Drugs,
Demons and Delusions."
WIN INTELLIGENCE REPORT, SAMHAIN 1993 published by the
Wiccan Information Network.