"I had lost my marriage, my job, my house, and my car. I was fifteen-thousand dollars in debt because of all the medical bills, and I even lost what little peace of mind I once had, because of the man who died after the accident. It was as if the whole world had ended. There was nothing but darkness. ...so I decided to become more deeply involved in the occult."
Before I came to know Jesus Christ, my life was really a search for happiness, though I was striving after things that didn't have happiness in them: money, sex, jobs, possessions, psychic power, and other things.
Eventually, it all started to fall apart. My marriage collapsed after just two years. My job was shaky, and my whole life threatened to come apart. I wasn't happy, and I was really feeling desperate.
One night, on the way home from an astrology class, everything collapsed. I was driving my new Jaguar, with my boss' secretary in the seat beside me, when I ran into another car head-on. She was cut up very badly and the couple in the other car, who were in their seventies. were seriously injured. I totaled my car, but since I had no insurance. I couldn't replace it. I lost my job due to the bad feelings the accident caused. After that I had to give up my house, because I couldn't make the payments. Worst of all, a few weeks later, the man injured in the other car died. Though his death couldn't legally be blamed on the accident, in my heart I've always wondered.
So all my struggling to make myself happy had led me to that point. I had lost my marriage, my job, my house, and my car. I was fifteen-thousand dollars in debt because of all the medical bills, and I even lost what little peace of mind I once had, because of the man who died after the accident. It was as if the whole world had ended. There was nothing but darkness. It culminated on Thanksgiving Day. I was totally alone, in a little one-room apartment -- no job, no transportation, no friends. I went to a restaurant, bought a carry-out Thanksgiving dinner, and took it back to my apartment. In the silence, without anything or anyone to give thanks for, I ate my dinner. It was so terrible. I was so alone.
After that experience I was determined to find meaning in something, so I decided to become more deeply involved in the occult. If material power couldn't make me happy, then maybe spiritual power would. I began taking yoga classes and attended various occult workshops. In fact, I was very quickly accepted into the state's major occult society, a broad-based metaphysical society that forms an umbrella over all the occult activities in the state. It includes various branches of astrology, psychic healing, fortune-telling, séances, witchcraft, even Satanism. I was accepted, not just by a branch, but by the society's leaders. As strange as it may sound, they told me I was a special being that had been sent to earth, someone sent from another world, another dimension. I had been sent to earth, they said, to tell everybody the truth. And the more I became involved in occult practices, the more spiritual power I actually began to experience.
I experienced mind-control over other people, as well as control and direction within myself. For example, one time I was supposed to go to a meeting in Toledo, the society's headquarters for the Midwest. I had only passed through Toledo twice before, so I didn't know the city and didn't know how to get to the meeting. But I decided I didn't need a map. Instead, I would let my psychic power guide me. So I drove to Toledo, and when I arrived, I literally followed my spirit guide: "Turn left here, turn right there," and so on. I was turning right and left until I pulled up and stopped in front of a house. I walked up and rang the bell, and that was it. The meeting I was looking for was in that house.
I can only tell you two things about the inner voice that directed me. First, it was real. It was telling me exactly when and where to turn and when to stop. Second, it wasn't anything holy speaking to me. It was harsh, somehow; it wasn't God, but it was real. Psychic and spirit power in the occult are real. There is power, but it doesn't come from God.
By this time I was deeply involved, a "special being" who experienced extraordinary psychic realities. At the same time, my sister in Milwaukee, who was a Christian, grew very concerned about me. She sent me a book about the spiritual warfare going on today between Christ and Satan. Well, I wasn't interested in Christianity at that time, so I threw the book in the corner as soon as I received it. But God had other ways to reach me.
One night I attended a vegetarian dinner where I happened to meet a Christian pastor. The next week, he sent me a Bible. I was preparing to attend an occult convention that same weekend, so it occurred to me to take that Bible along. Many people in the occult admit there's wisdom in the Bible; you just have to interpret it their way. So I took it, and began to read it over the weekend. The more I read, the less peaceful I felt about my life. In fact, I spent the whole weekend feeling very unpeaceful.
Finally, after a week of this, I decided to read the book that my sister had sent about spiritual warfare. I couldn't put it down. It described everything I had seen and experienced in the occult -- all the powers and some of the miracles -- only it showed that they didn't really come from God, but were from Satan. Their purpose was not to heal and make happy, but to draw people farther away from God, from the healing and happiness that would last forever. I knew without the slightest doubt that what the book was describing had happened to me. I realized that I didn't know God ln the least and was very far from possessing his peace. When I realized that I had been listening to Satan, I was horrified.
I wanted to pray, but didn't know how. The only thing I had to help me was a family heirloom, a rosary that belonged to my grandmother. I hadn't wanted to throw away something she treasured. So I rushed through my things and found the rosary. Then I got down on my knees and prayed. I prayed with such a deep need, asking Mary to pray for me, asking God to help me, somehow.
As I prayed I experienced physical manifestations of being freed from the power that Satan had used in my life. I was in my dark basement apartment. It was late at night, but as I called out to God in prayer there were very bright flashes of light in that room, and as I prayed I felt freer and more peaceful and happy.
At the end of that rosary, I wanted to go to Confession, so I drove to a church and sat in front of it until six-thirty in the morning, when it opened. Then I asked for the priest. I poured out everything, all the selfishness, the things I had done, the hurt I had caused, all the things I had tried to take for myself. When he finished praying with me, I felt totally free. It was beautiful! I went to Mass and Communion, and I felt so great. I drove home singing and thanking God all the way. I had such a sense that he loved me, and that he had rescued me.
My whole life has changed since then. I moved back in with my folks, where the Lord accomplished a lot of healing. He really showed me how to love them. I found jobs and began to pay off the debts I had. Scripture came alive for me, and I spent a lot of time in prayer. And God even led me to a new family, a prayer community.
I was amazed at the first prayer meeting I went to -- at all the people who were praising God, and who were excited about him. Once I found them, I kept coming back. I even found that there was cause for having my first marriage annulled, and now the Lord has given me a new wife and family.
So I can't thank God enough, for saving me, loving me, giving me the happiness I was trying so hard to find. I'm not looking desperately for love anymore. I've got it. I don't have to fight for anything now. I know I can trust him. Times can still be hard, but Jesus really is a loving person. Even when I'm stubborn, he just allows me to see how that always turns against me, and I remember that I can't be happy that way.
Now Jesus is my Lord. Sometimes it's as though he's not just talking to me; he's singing. There's so much joy in him. He's the Lord of everything, but he's also childlike in a way; he's so joyful.
He knows what it means to be a child, and now he invites me to live as a child of God.
Lake Orion, Michigan
Written as a young man in 1971
How WTNESS.ORG discovered Greg's story: In 1980, Deacon Bob Ovies of Royal Oak, Michigan wrote a book titled 'New Lives' (Servant Publications, Ann Arbor), and in it was Greg's story. Bob and Greg both attended the same Royal Oak-based prayer community in the late 1970's and 80's, and they still stay in touch. Bob was the Deacon of St. Columban Church for many years, and WTNESS.ORG Managing Editor Bill Griffin attended St. Columban during those years, and read the book in 1997. Greg was in Royal Oak in August 2014 to attend a prayer vigil for a dying Mike Stack (see the three articles Mike contributed to WTNESS.ORG). Greg met Bill at that prayer vigil, and Bill remembered his name and his story. Greg gave Bill permission to reprint this story in WTNESS.ORG. So did Bob Ovies, who still lives in Royal Oak.