Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Discernment Ministry"? Dwayna Litz Defends Warnke and Stratford

I should leave this silliness alone, but I.... just.... can't.... resist!

I suppose it had to end up here when all was said and done. Ms. Dwayna Litz of recent "secret spy" at Cornerstone Festival fame, who continues falsely accusing Christians for Biblical Equality of goddess worship and Jesus People USA of various nefarious theological crimes, is now defending Mike Warnke and Lauren Stratford. Warnke and Stratford are, of course, the individuals that JPUSA's Cornerstone exposed as frauds years ago. No one has ever seriously challenged our findings.

Yet she writes in support of virually the only website that still maintains belief in Warnke and Stratford:

Here is an article about the "Jesus People," including information about one of their teachers at Cornerstone, Gretchen Passantino (CRI apologist) and her reported false teachings in a paramount arena. Her disregard for some very important, weighty facts has had a traumatic effect consequentially on people and hurt them. Please take a look at this article from my friend, Greg. It is telling. He asked me to forward this especially to pastors and youth pastors.Emails are sent to me daily with documentation about how the "Jesus People" have hurt people... http://www.gregoryreid.com/id185.htm
And Dwayna quotes Reid directly regarding Stratford:
The Cornerstone Offensive

It began around 1990 with an extensive article written by Bob & Gretchen Passantino and Jon Trott in Cornerstone Magazine, the official publication of Jesus People USA, or JPUSA. It was a full scale, devastating attack on the testimony, character and ministry of Lauren Stratford, author of SATAN'S UNDERGROUND. The book was a detailed and deeply disturbing account of victimization by organized satanists and child abusers. It was followed up by a wonderfully healing book, "I KNOW YOU'RE HURTING". Then, Cornerstone dropped the bomb with their written attack on Lauren Stratford.
Here's the whole page or two of what Mr. Reid says about our Warnke, Stratford, and other SRA investigations, just to put a few more nails in the coffin:

http://www.gregoryreid.com/id32.htm

I'm trying not to smile bemusedly here. First, before looking at Mr. Reid's "information" regarding Gretchen and myself (who was co-author with Gretchen and Bob P. on the Stratford bit, and co-author with Mike Hertenstein on the Warnke bit), let's review what we offered in the nature of discernment regarding both Warnke and Stratford.

See the article on Mike Warnke's false satanism testimony here:
http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss098/warnke_index.htm

We expanded the Warnke article into a book, Selling Satan: The Evangelical Media and the Mikek Warnke Scandal:
http://cornerstonepress.com/titles/warnke/index.html

The article on Stratford's tale of Satanic Ritual Abuse:
http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss090/sideshow.htm

And when her career as an alleged victim of Satanists was exposed as a sham, she began a new career as an alleged survivor of the holocaust:
http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss117/lauren.htm

Now. What does Mr. Reid offer for his evidence against these articles?

Nada. Go look for yourself on his website, using the links above. Is one iota of information offered? Is any of the historical, photographic, and eyewitness information we offered in those articles refuted, or even dealt with in any way? Again, no. He ends up trying to involve us in his conspiracy theories, to my mind implying we ourselves are occultists, even Satanists. Pretty serious judgements going on there, judgements Ms. Litz also seems willing to make. I'm trying not to be testy here, but c'mon!

If Dwayna really believes Reid's "defense" of Warnke and Stratford (in Stratford's case, one has to choose between two completely contradictory, equally false, life stories) then I'm afraid the word "discernment" is not one she should be using. And I hope those who've been uncritically accepting Ms. Litz's word regarding Cornerstone Festival, Christians for Biblical Equality, and likely any other topics she "covers" on her various sites, will reconsider what they're consuming so avidly.

Okay. I'm really going to try and be done with this topic for a bit. But remember -- discernment starts with being able to discern what one's own misconceptions and biases are. We listen to the Litzes of the world because they tell us what we want to hear.

Isn't that sad?

[edited again July 25 to add Reid's quote used by Dwayna Litz on her blog.]


10 comments:

Craighton said...

Thanks for your good words about CBE. For dealing with a topic that produces so much anger and fear among some people, CBE is one of the most even-tempered organizations I have spent time with. They're amazing.

Anonymous said...

In their book, "Gift Wrapped by God" (published in 2002), Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus tell the story of a woman who came up to them at a conference and gave a very detailed story of having been ritually, satanically abused as a child. I found it interesting because as I researched your organization I found that you had claimed in the past that there was no such thing as satanic abuse. So, it either exists and the abusers have been very quiet about it so that you didn't find them, or the woman was lying. I think I'm more inclined to believe the former.

Jon Trott said...

1. *ALL* abuse is Satanic abuse, even (and perhaps especially) that abuse done by self-confessing Christians.

2. Despite liking much of what Ms. Dillow has written (incl. some nice riffs she does on the Song of Solomon), a narrative is just that--a story. The truth or falsity of the story is something we shouldn't invest in (or disinvest in) simply because the teller agrees (or not) with our ideas of reality. So, in short, simply because a Christian writer tells me a ritual abuse story does not require me to believe that story. It is far more complex than that.

3. If you did indeed research our organization (Jesus People? Cornerstone magazine? Cornerstone Festival?) I hope you read all the articles on SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse) available on our http://www.cornerstonemag.com website (the archives section) as well as perusing http://www.answers.org, Gretchen Passantino-Coburn's website and, for another take on how much damage to real familieis has been done by this SRA mythology: http://www.fmsfonline.org/

Lainie Petersen said...

If I may butt in here:

I do not recall JPUSA/Cornerstone/the Passantinos ever saying that there was "no such thing" as satanic abuse. What they have questioned is the notion that "satanic" abuse (i.e. sexual abuse in a satanic-ritualistic context) is widespread, common, and is practiced as part of networked conspiracy. The fact is that people who assert the reality of satanic abuse seldom treat this kind of abuse as an isolated and relatively rare. Instead these promoters almost always insist that it is a significant problem, that there is an international network of satanic abusers, and there is a high level conspiracy (even in church and government circles) to conceal this network of satanic abusers.

The fact is, however, that nobody has ever been able to uncover evidence of such a network or such a conspiracy. This doesn't mean, of course, that some abusers of children might use satanic trappings as a way to scare and confuse children(and, as a result of the debunking of the SRA conspiracy myth, this may also serve as a protection against children's testimony. If law enforcement and state's attorney's hear about a "satanic" component to the abuse, they may be more likely to dismiss the charges of molestation). It also doesn't mean that some children have not been the victims of individual satanists or even small satanic groups. What it does mean is that those who have made a lot of money (and have aquired a lot of fame) promoting the idea of satanic ritual abuse have been making assertions unsupported by facts. In fact, several of these promoters of satanic abuse theories have been unmasked as utter frauds.

For me, the issue of SRA is a matter of truth-telling and opportunism. Sexual abuse of children IS a problem and a problem that has not really been addressed publicly until recently. Unfortunately, the promoters of SRA conspiracy theories capitalized on this rightfully growing public concern in order to convince a gulliable public of their sick fantasies. This has created a hostile atmosphere for both those who have experienced genuine abuse and who wish to talk about it. It has also called into question the testimony of Christians who have had to explain why they promoted and supported fraudlent ministries. Is this what careful Christians want? I don't think so.

Jon Trott said...

Lainie,

Thanks for your post. The only additions I'd make are these.

SRA, the mythical variety, is rooted in a very specific storyline. That story includes (a) a multi-generational satanic cult, (b) invested with almost unlimited power, (c) able to use ultra-advanced methods of mind control (aka, "brainwashing," another persistent myth without scientific basis), and (d) cult members in the highest positions of government, business, and the Churches. Victims of this massive and interlinked satanic cult are allegedly bred within the groups themselves, so that no records exist of their being born or sacrificed to Satan later on.

It is that myth we say forthrightly is bunk.

As for Satanists abusing people, the FBI's Ken Lanning years ago pointed out to us that he found no evidence of the classic SRA-type satanists. However, what he did find was a persistent though small number of crimes carried out by self-styled satanists, often teenagers or troubled loners.

I have always said that the SRA mythology tells us more about ourselves (the evangelical and/or American subcultures) than it does the reality of abuse.

Again, all abuse is Satanic. Abuse done by Christians is the most Satanic of all.

iggy said...

jon,

I sort of remember Mike actually admitting to have made up some things. It was not an apology, or a real, "I am a fraud", but more a white wash, "I tend to exaggerate and may have stretched the facts." sort of thing... (these are not direct quotes btw)

As far as Ms. Litz it is very apparent that facts mean much to her.

I know that JPUSA are a great group of people and even wanted to come to Chicago at one point to join, yet life took me a different direction... Yet, as i have watch you all over the years, I have found no one is perfect, yet i will attest to Glen Kaisers openness and honesty over his struggles and know God has been using all of you in a mighty way in my life.

Blessings,
iggy

iggy said...

Jon,

I found the "apology"...

http://www.mikewarnke.org/packet22.html

and guess what, he is back in the ministry... let's hope that he is now truly on track...

http://www.mikewarnke.org/

I was a bit crushed at the your story to tell the truth, though I appreciated the work you did. It was a bit hard to hear that just maybe Mike was lying about his past.

This note still rings a bit hollow as I remembered it, yet I hold out hope that God is one of restoration and the new "Mike" has truly grown from his experience... (in a way it is almost like he was glad he was exposed...)

Blessings,
iggy

iggy said...

BTW the first comment about Ms. Litz should have read:

"As far as Ms. Litz it is very apparent that facts do not mean much to her."

There is a huge difference there, unless I was practicing a bit of tongue in cheek there! LOL!

Blessings,
iggy

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dwayna Litz said...

After many years have passed since this blog post was written, I just wanted to apologize if I got any of the reported information wrong from second hand sources about the Lauren Stratford case. Back in 2006some people took me aside to try to get me to write about this Lauren Stratford ordeal. While I had and have no reason to doubt what they said to me, I also have no proof that what they stated was true. In hindsight, I also see that this topic was a deviation from the outreach based on evangelism that God gave me in my organization Lighting the Way Worldwide. I wanted to humbly state that I am positive that people on this blog know more about Lauren Stratford than I will ever know, and I am sincerely sorry if I wrote anything about anyone that was untrue; I was only trusting some Christians who knew Lauren and asked me to write about it at the time, as many of my articles were getting published back then. Since 2006 the ministry I do has gone worldwide, and I truly spend all of my time organizing our outreach locations to the lost. When I wrote about Stratford, back in 2006, I was trusting what some people were passionately conveyng to me with conviction, but I honestly should not have written anything about it. I never knew Lauren or Mike personally. I hope to get anything I wrote back then on this topic removed from any web site, because it was never my purpose in life to write about such things. I have read all of the comments after many years have passed since this post was first written. I felt the need to explain, because the facts do mean a lot to me, and that is why I am commenting now to explain. As for the personal insults about me on this blog, well, I rest in God's love for me and how there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1). God bless.