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FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT
The occult, ESP, the paranormal: popular subjects in America in the
last two decades. The New Age movement is a part of that. Yet many people
have not experienced the supernatural, so they assume it is all a product
of overactive imaginations. That is what I would have believed, too, if
it had not happened in my own life.
My early childhood was mostly happy. My parents and my younger brother
and I lived in a small town in Florida, in a nice country home with
a yard and a home-made swimming pool built by my father. Mom didn't work,
but when I was six and my brother was five, she started taking us to the
babysitter every day. We both began to have horrible nightmares. I was
afraid to go to sleep and would sneak into my room to get away from
the terrifying man he saw in his room. Mom blamed my brother's nightmares on
his asthma medication. Young as I was, I sensed Mom was seeing another
man. "Something bad is going to happen between Mom and Dad," I whispered
to him one day. But he had already guessed the same thing.
Sure enough, just before Christmas, Mom coolly packed up all our things
and drove away with us kids. I will never forget the look of shock and
betrayal on my father's face. We drove straight to the house of the man
Mom had been seeing, and the three of us moved in. Not long after that
he and Mom were married.
When we first moved in, my stepfather Bruce was a kind and generous
man. But the longer we lived with him, the more we experienced his fits
of rage. He was a very big man and I was terrified of him. His was a Jekyll
and Hyde personality; he could be extremely nice one moment, and the next
moment extremely cruel. For a few months, he and my Mom drank and fought.
Then, through sheer determination, they both stopped cold turkey. I watched
Bruce go through 'the shakes'. Afterwards, he never again raised his hand
My mother was never an affectionate person--I don't remember her ever
hugging or kissing me--but after her divorce and remarriage she became
downright cruel. Mother told us almost every day that our real
father did not love us. After a few years of that, she forced us to
tell him we
did not want to see him again. That was very painful for me, because I
did not want to do it, but my mother was filled with hate toward him,
and seemed obsessed with finding ways to hurt him. I understood even at
my young age, that she made us do this in order to hurt my father. She was filled
with hatred toward him, in words and actions. She seemed obsessed with
tearing him down.
My mother also
demanded total perfection of us children, and we were never able to live
up to her standards. If we made the slightest mistake, we were accused of doing it
on purpose; and if we protested, we were accused of lying and locked in
our room. One time, my brother was locked in his room for three days without food
or drink until he decided to "tell the truth." The "truth" of course, was
only what my mother or stepfather wanted to hear, and we were kept guessing
as to which version of the "truth" they wanted.
stepfather wholeheartedly agreed with my mother's accusations.
Consequently, we were screamed at so much we were afraid to talk above
something my mother's relatives wondered about when we visited them in
Pennsylvania. My brother bore the brunt of most of the attacks because
he could not stop his asthmatic wheezing and coughing on command. I
a few days of peace for him once after he told Mom he was thinking of
Almost daily my mother and stepfather threatened to send him to Shiloh
Youth Camp for delinquent boys and me to an insane asylum because I
crazy." Once, I privately asked our school bus driver if the boys' camp
would accept girls; I wanted to be sure my brother and I would be able
together. We were so young, we believed every wild story or threat they
Even before we moved in with my stepfather, he and my mother consulted
mediums (known in the New Age movement as "channellers"). After we moved
in, they took me with them sometimes, although never to a seance. They
loved to talk about the thrills of their astral projections (out of body
experiences) and the power of the mind. My brother and I were fascinated by
all they told us. Looking back, however, I could see that the more they
became involved in their quest to become 'higher beings', the more my parents
became abusive, paranoid and delusional. The most dramatic personality
change was evident in my mother, something I did not want to admit to myself
because I clung to memories of an earlier Mom.
The mediums often spoke of the spirits that surrounded and accompanied
my mother and stepfather, who was proclaimed by the spirits as a 'psychic
healer'. My stepfather was a chiropractor and incorporated his psychic
approach into his practice as much as his patients would allow it. He was
very interested in helping people, and according to him, many thanked him
for his help.
Apparently, these 'spirit guides' attached themselves to us when we
were with the medium, and followed us home to stay with us. You could actually
feel their presence, and strange things kept happening. Doorknobs would
move when no one was near them, and our cats would follow something around
and meow at it. Although my brother and I were both scared, my mother and stepfather
always laughed, insisting that they were friendly spirits, or at worst
mischievous. They themselves also experienced the presence of their various
'friends', and were not alarmed.
I knew nothing of Jesus or God, except what the spiritualists taught.
However, when I was eleven a friend from school invited my brother and I to
a Baptist revival where we heard the gospel for the first time. What the
preacher said scared me enough that I went to the altar and sincerely prayed
the sinner's prayer. As I knelt there, I felt the sweet touch of a different
spirit, but I didn't know then that it was my first encounter with God's
Holy Spirit. Both my brother and I were baptized in water during that revival, but
I hid our baptismal certificates from Mom because I knew she would be furious.
Sure enough, when she did find out I believed in God, she overwhelmed me
with questions far beyond my ability to answer. Mostly out of self-defense,
I abandoned my new faith. For some odd reason, my mother also demanded
that I say I did not believe in the Holy Spirit, either. I did not even
know what that was!
A year later, when my brother was eleven, Mom threw him out of
and told him to go live with his #%$@!! father, since they both looked
so much alike. I was devastated. My brother and I had fought like
sisters do, but we were very close; I felt he was the only family I
Suddenly, I comprehended the magnitude of the hatred in that house.
Losing my brother forced me to make a decision: I had to survive or let
destroy me. I decided I would become a survivor. However, I was to pay
a price: having gotten rid of my brother, my mother and stepfather
full force of their rages and demeaning verbal abuse on me.
In spite of my best efforts, the rejection I suffered turned me into
an angry child who hated her parents (meaning, my mother and stepfather). I was convinced the world was ugly
and that everyone hated me. I did not like the person I was becoming and
I longed to be free of the hatred. I began my long search for the Truth
I had not found. I studied many of the major religions for awhile. "All
roads lead to the same end," Mom said.
When I was twelve, I began to see what the mediums saw in the spiritual
realm, even at home! My stepfather was very excited, since all the mediums
he took me to had very positive things to say about my 'old' soul and spirit
guides, telling me that if I chose to, I could become a very powerful medium
and help many people. Thrilled that I seemed to be a gifted psychic, my
stepfather made sure that I was well-supplied with all the literature I
needed about spiritualism. With his encouragement, I explored hypnotism,
ESP, numerology, palm-reading, and auras. Eventually, I decided to concentrate
my studies on astrology and white witchcraft, which is the practice of
removing a hex or curse or invoking good fortune on someone. Like him,
I was very interested in helping people.
Of all of my 'supernatural' experiences, there was one that puzzled
me the most. One morning I woke up filled with an overwhelming appreciation
for God's creation---even though I no longer believed in God. This was
not my usual angry state of mind, and I wondered at the joy and peace I
felt. As I tried to get out of bed, an invisible hand pushed me back. Suddenly
I saw the incredibly beautiful underside of a white dove, made completely
of light, flying by at great speed. A quiet voice in my mind whispered,
"Father, Son, Holy Spirit." I knew the vision was from heaven, but I honestly
had no idea what the words meant. Later that summer when I attended a Catholic
Church with my maternal grandmother and heard the same phrase, I at least
understood that it had something to do with the Bible. My Mom bought me
a 'Living Bible' at my request, although I still had trouble comprehending
it, which disturbed me. Bruce could not object to my reading it because
he quoted scriptures at times. However, he was an atheist and he could
become hostile at the mention of God, so I did not tell him everything
about the vision. I myself almost completely dismissed the incident.
My stepfather's mother was a 'black witch', and he firmly believed she
was determined to destroy him. Thoroughly frightened, he rallied his family
behind him to "return her hexes" (a white witch tactic), explaining to
us that he was weary of her curses. She soon became ill, and sent me a
letter telling me that I was "her favorite." The night she died, I was
awakened from a dream with a very loud knock on my bedroom door. In the
dream I had seen a picture of Jesus at a door, knocking, and had been told,
"The devil knocks, too. Don't let him in." The knock was so loud that my
parents heard it too, but acted unconcerned.
That same night, I felt a cold chill enter my room and witnessed objects
move around. This 'poltergeist' remained in my room for the next few years.
It was easy for me to deduce that it was related to my stepgrandmother,
since my stepfather told me later how she had tormented him with her spirits
late at night: "I used to be terrified at the knocks in my room, and she
would laugh down the hall. But that's just how the spirits announce themselves.
We hear it in seances." Because of their earlier reactions to such things,
I didn't report the 'poltergeist'.
My stepfather began to include me a little in helping those who asked
him for help, and I was given a cross necklace in gratitude from someone
whom I had 'protected' from a black witch. I liked the power and recognition,
and truly felt I had found my destiny, but the more I meditated to increase
my powers, the more I was tormented by an irrational sense of dread.
I compulsively charted my astrological signs every day.
You would think that my success in my 'powers' would improve my relationship
with my parents. But it most definitely did not. I still spent the next
few years trying to survive the psychological abuse from my mother and
stepfather. Mother was becoming even better at twisting everything I said,
did, or didn't do, into some evil motive. Unable to escape their constant
assault, I began to break under the stress. My brother visited once or
twice and said he felt sorry for me, but my father seemed to think that
I was well-off because Mom had gotten me a horse. I knew I needed help
but I had nowhere to turn. If I ran away, who would believe me? Bruce and
Mom kept up appearances well. Things got worse. Once when I was about fourteen,
as we were coming home from the movies, my parents started screaming at
me about the chores I was to do when I got home. I knew perfectly well
what I was supposed to do, and as they listed them for me again and again
as if I were a retarded child, I felt the anger rise in me like a volcano,
then something split inside.
When we arrived home and I headed across the yard to feed the rabbits
and the horse, I realized I was standing outside my body and watching myself
do chores. Deliberately, I did exactly what my parents had told me not
to do: I left the rabbit cage open, and left the horse's gate wide open.
As I started walking back toward the house, I found myself once again inside
my body, no longer watching myself from a distance. Then I promptly forgot
what had happened.
The next day the horse had eaten all the sugar cane and my parents were
livid. They screamed at me for my stupidity and insisted I had done it
deliberately -- but I honestly could not remember leaving the cage and
gate open. It wasn't until the third day that I remembered what had actually
happened. Because of this episode, I was frightened that I really was losing
my mind, and that they would soon be able to make good their threats about
putting me in an asylum. Desperate, I found a quiet place and prayed for
help from a God I didn't really believe in. I knew I couldn't take the
pressure much longer.
I was a straight-A student and loved school; it was my only refuge,
even though I was a social outcast. In junior high I was in the "accelerated"
classes, and I will never forget my science teacher. Mr. Smith made learning
fun and interesting. He taught at college level and I was one of the few
who could keep up. Our last assignment was to explore the theory of evolution
ourselves and come to our own conclusions. I took the challenge to heart!
As I studied, I decided that there had to be a God. My conclusion was
based solely on logic. I realized nothing but an omniscient Creator could
devise the intricate perfection of natural phenomena, mysteries we humans
have not yet been able to decipher. Random chance could not explain these
things. I was learning the truth of the passage in scripture that says,
"For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes, his eternal
power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through
what has been made..."
Somehow Mr. Smith knew where my low self-esteem originated, and he was
kind enough to send a note to my mother complimenting me on my intelligence
and creativity. Of course, Mom tossed it aside wordlessly. Looking back,
due to this act of kindness and some of the things he said in class, I
strongly suspect Mr. Smith was a Christian.
When I was fifteen I thought it would be fun to use my powers on a boy
at school to make him become my boyfriend. Even as I did it, I felt ashamed
for trying to control someone. Wavering between spiritualism and Christianity,
I prayed for God's forgiveness, sincerely asking him to show himself to
me. Not more than fifteen minutes later, I met a Pentecostal girl who listened
to me mouth off on the powers of Jeanne Dixon. When she asked me if I had
ever heard of the Holy Spirit, I almost fell over!
Miraculously, Mom let me spend the night with this total stranger. When
I did tell her about Donna's church, she seemed happy I was exploring 'new
power'. Donna and her friends were sincere and loving Christians. I challenged
every statement they made about the Bible; I often shouted at them that
I didn't want to hear their nonsense, but they remained patient and did
not reject me. The nights I stayed with Donna and went to church with her,
I was tormented by migraine headaches and a loud, fast talking voice in
my mind, arguing against the existence of God, and repeating the teachings
of spiritualism. At first I thought it was just my own mind reacting to
the confusion inside, but as I began to argue with that voice, I realized
it could not be my own thoughts - because how could i disagree with myself?!
I remembered the vision from heaven and the other gentle voice whispering,
"Father, Son, Holy Spirit," and I thought hard about the possibility that
Jesus was more than just a great teacher.
The more I attended the meetings with Donna and her friends, the more
I became convinced that I was in the middle of a spiritual battle. I realized
I had to make a choice between the powers of darkness and the light of
God--and I wanted more of God. Just before one of the meetings I made my
decision, and as I sat there preparing myself for this step of faith, I
heard singing. It sounded like a choir of thousands praising God with the
most beautiful song I had ever heard. I looked around to see who was making
that music, but realized that no one else in the room could hear it. Then
I looked up on the walls for speakers since the sound came from above my
head, but there were none! It became clear to me that I was hearing angels
With joy in my heart, I went forward to the altar and asked to be prayed
for. I told them I wanted to be delivered from the demon that harassed
me, and that I wanted to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. As they prayed
over me, I was filled again with the God's Holy Spirit and completely released
from a spirit of witchcraft. That night, I could even read a King
James Bible, and understand it easily! My previous difficulty in
understanding the Bible was gone.
Of course my mother and stepfather were furious. They challenged and
attacked me as they never had before, pulling out all the stops to break
me down. I would not have believed their level of hostility could rise
any further, but their hatred and paranoia seemed to know no bounds. Convinced
my Christian friends and I were praying down hexes on them, they refused
to allow me to see them or talk with them for six months, during which
I was a virtual prisoner in their house.
I was careful never to preach to them. In fact, I avoided them as much
as possible, but they went out of their way to provoke a confrontation.
They would ask me a question, then blow up when I answered. Bruce's rages
lasted for up to five hours, as he cursed me and my friends with every
vile curse he could invent. When he tired, Mom took over. Once she was
angry because the spirits complained to her that they could no longer get
into my room. So she burned my Christian books and hid my Bible, forcing
me to read their books instead. She chose to ignore her own vision of the
'dove' only the week before this, which she told me about and then refused
to believe there was a Holy Spirit. But God enveloped me with a new strength
and love that was not my own. As he continued to sustain me, I was
reminded of the apostle Paul's encouraging words to Timothy: "God
has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind."
Unfortunately, expressions of love to my parents only made them even further
enraged and frightened.
Finally, Mom threw me out of the house and I went to live with my brother
and real father, after being separated from them for six years. I was worried
that my Dad would believe the lies she told him about me, but later he
said what convinced him was the cold, heartless manner in which my Mom
parted from me. "Frances used to be nice when you kids were young," he
said, "I don't know her now." Over the years, many others echoed those
same sentiments after encounters with her.
Bruce and Mom moved to California and became part of a group called
"Unarius." One of my cousins joined them there - and nearly died because
she refused medical treatment for a condition that she was certain aliens
from another planet would heal. Bruce lost large sums of money because
he placed bets on UFO landings which never came to pass, but to this day
Mom denies it was a cult. Afterwards, they switched their allegiance to
the then emerging New Age Movement and my stepfather became a respected
minister of a Universalist church. The Universalists believe that all faiths
lead to God and will get you to heaven.
Occasionally, my stepfather would send me letters full of threats and
ominous predictions that never came true. The poor guy never could accept
my forgiveness. I have to acknowledge he carried a kind of power. One of
those letters gave a burning sensation to the hand of the first person
who touched it. He and Mom proudly wrote books and sent flyers about their
'ministries' to her relatives. Eventually, they sent a video tape of his
televised push for the 'healing center' he was attempting to build. We
all saw the sad display of a once intelligent man, now a mass of contradictions
and twisted logic. I remembered his answer to me long ago to my question
of how his hero, Edgar Cayce, had died: "He went insane and wandered off
into the desert to die," he told me. When Bruce died of a heart attack,
he left my Mom penniless and in massive debt due to his failed 'healing
center' project. Because it was on the advice of my stepfather's 'spirit
guides' that he began the project, my cousin bitterly blamed the channeller
for his death. She had no answer for me when I challenged that presumption,
telling her what she did not know: the 'spirit guides' were making similar
promises through other channellers (back then they were called 'mediums')
years ago. My stepfather had been a true believer in New Age, even before
it was called that!
The New Age Movement is nothing new. It falsely teaches that we are
gods within ourselves and can control our own destinies - and this is what
attracts people to it. Many rely on spirits for advice on every facet of
life. Even those who adhere to the New Age but do not consult spirits are
dependent upon them, since New Age teachings are founded upon information
that was originally 'channeled'. I know from experience that these
are lying spirits who do not have our best interests at heart! Similarly,
Christians rely on God for advice - but the similarity ends there, because
I also know from experience that God does have our best interests at heart.
Throughout history, man has proven he cannot be trusted with unchecked
power. Lord Acton said, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely," and this
expresses it well. While it is true that we have a 'soulish' power, it
is also true that anything we don't surrender to God is by default
given over to the god of this world (Satan) whom Jesus calls "the father
of the lie" and "the evil one."
We are created in the image of God, and our greatest power is the God-ordained
power of choice. We have the power to choose between good and evil, allegiance
to God or to Satan, eternal life or death. He gave us the freedom to reject
Him, even though He never rejects us when we seek Him sincerely and with
It has been almost twenty years since I decided to turn to God's ways
instead of Satan's, a decision I have never regretted. I began a whole
new life of light when I accepted Jesus and dedicated my life to him. He
has healed my mind of the terrible damage done by my parents and the occult,
replaced hatred with love (for He is the God of Love), and turned my sorrows
into joy. God has given me a sound mind, just as he promised he would,
and so much more! It is because of God's love for you that I write this
account for you, exposing the pain of my past for the sake of your soul.
I have played with the fires of New Age and have been burned. But I am
thankful that I stumbled in the darkness and have known true evil so that
I could recognize the true light, who is Jesus. God himself says,
"They that diligently seek Me shall find Me." How about you? Will
you be a friend of God, or will you get lost in the twisted maze of the
New Age, and lose your soul in exchange for so little while you search
for that elusive 'new truth' just around the corner?
John 1:1-5 "In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him,
and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light
shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
(Suggested reading: The Gospel of John and the Book of Acts)