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ALLEGED FRAUDS IN RELIGIOUS BOOKS
which deal with Satanism, Wicca, etc.

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Sponsored link.


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Overview:

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, Islam, Mormons, 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 true.

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 opinions.

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 1994:

"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:  5
bulletCornerstone Magazine+, 939 W. Wilson, Chicago IL 60640, USA
bulletCultWatch Response Inc*., PO Box 1842, Colorado Springs, CO 80901-1842
bulletPersonal Freedom Outreach+, PO Box 26062, St. Louis, Missouri 63136, USA
bulletWiccan Information Network*, PO Box 2422, Main PO, Vancouver BC V6B 3W7, Canada
+ Christian group. * Neo-Pagan group

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Specific cases:

bulletMichelle Smith & Dr. Lawrence Pazder Michelle Remembers (1980). 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 Wiccan Information 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 aallegedly believes 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
bulletLauren 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.
bulletMike 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 since has published a new book "Schemes of Satan." 4
bulletDr. 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:
bulletShe uses terms like covens, Warlocks, and Witches", to describe Satanists and their groups. These are not Satanic terms.
bulletShe 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).
bulletShe 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.
bulletShe 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."

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References:

  1. WIN INTELLIGENCE REPORT, SAMHAIN 1993 published by the Wiccan Information Network.
  2. Mike Hertenstein, et al., "Selling Satan: The tragic history of Mike Warnke," Cornerstone Press, (1993) Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  3. Peter Huston, "Washed Up, Sold Out, and Spreading Hysteria," Book review, Skeptical Inquirer magazine. See: http://www.csicop.org/si/9501/satan.html 
  4. Mike Warnke, "Schemes of Satan," Victory House, (1991). Read reviews or order this book The book is very highly rated by reviewers.
  5. Bob and Gretchen Passantino, "Truth and Consequences: Exposing Sin in the Church," Answers in Action, (1994) at: http://www.answers.org/

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Copyright 1995 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2006-SEP-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

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