COVERING UP SYN
Ex-Satanist Brings Confusion to Mormons and Their Critics
Syn in the Camp - Our Investigation - Roman Catholic Claims - The Faust Story - Eli A Mormon? - A Serious Situation - An Eternal Cover-Up
In the late 1960s William Schnoebelen, a young man who had always wanted to be a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, decided to enter into the occult. On September 22, 1968 he became a "1st Degree (Gardnerian Tradition) Witch." He later became very deeply involved in witchcraft, Satanism and voodoo. According to one of his friends, his whole life seemed to revolve around sorcery. In 1973 he changed his name to Christopher Pendragon Syn. According to his own statement, the name "Syn" really stands for sin. At the same time his wife took the name Alexandria y Apprope Pendragon. In the late 1970s Christopher Pendragon Syn legally changed his name back to William Schnoebelen. Unfortunately, however, this did not end his involvement in the occult.
SYN IN THE CAMP
In July of 1980 William Schnoebelen and his wife were visited by two Mormon missionaries. While Mr. Schnoebelen said he told the missionaries that he was raised a Catholic, his wife frankly stated that she was a witch. Within two weeks the couple were baptized into the Mormon Church. At some point, Mr. Schnoebelen began exaggerating the truth concerning his involvement in Catholicism, and he eventually had the Mormons convinced that he had served as a "parish priest" in the Roman Catholic Church a claim which was completely false. The Mormons undoubtedly considered him to be a prize catch who would help bring many others into Mormonism. Little did they realize the embarrassment he would later bring upon the church. One woman seems to have perceived that Schnoebelen and his wife were involved to some extent in the occult, but she hoped that things would change as they became more familiar with the teachings of the Mormon Church. On January 20, 1984, Mr. Schnoebelen received a certificate from the School of Wicca for completing a course in "Witchcraft." He used the alias "Christopher P. Syn" when taking this course (see Mormonism's Temple of Doom, pageá74, for a photograph of this certificate). According to Mr. Schnoebelen's own statement, one of the reasons for doing this was that he did not want the Mormons to find out about his involvement in witchcraft.
Those of us who are involved in ministry to the Mormons are always happy to learn when prominent Mormons dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ and separate themselves from the LDS Church. Mormons, likewise, are anxious to learn of those who leave important positions in other churches to become members of their church. Joseph Smith himself claimed that when he asked Jesus which church he should join, he was told that he "must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and... that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt;..." (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:19) Since the Mormons believe that they are the only ones who hold the priesthood and have authority to baptize, they are always looking for stories about ministers from other churches who "see the light" and come into the "only true church." Stephen W. Gibson, a Mormon writer who was searching for stories about church leaders who had left other groups to become Mormons, learned about William Schnoebelen's claim that he was an ex-Catholic priest who was converted to Mormonism. Mr. Gibson decided to have Mr. Schnoebelen write a chapter for his book, From Clergy to Convert, which was published by Bookcraft in 1983. The dust jacket on this book claims that Mr. Gibson found fourteen "ministers, priests, nuns, and monks" who were once "confused and dissatisfied" but who now "are confident and fulfilled." William Schnoebelen's story is found on pages 67 to 73 of Gibson's book. In this article Mr. Schnoebelen wrote:
It's pretty remarkable when a former Catholic priest marries a former nun, but it's even more remarkable when they end up joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints together....
My ordination to the [Catholic] priesthood, although ritually impressive, left me feeling somehow empty. After the bishop laid his hands on my head, I felt little difference in myself...
In my active ministry I felt inadequate to help my parishioners with their problems.... I had to ask for a leave of absence....
Alexandria had left her order for the same reasons for which I had left the priesthood.... We had both soured so much on the Catholic Church that we could not bear a church wedding...
My wife and I had reached the end of our rope. We prayed on our knees every night for guidance, for some sign of which church to join much as Joseph Smith had done.... two days later, just as we were about to go shopping, the doorbell rang. My wife opened the door to two young men... Her face lit up like fireworks: "You're Mormons, right?"... We explained our long spiritual sojourn and told them of their providential timing. We went through the discussions like bullets through tissue paper, and were both baptized within two weeks....
...Not long after, my wife looked on warmly as Bishop George Warner laid his hands on my head and ordained me to the Aaronic Priesthood. At last I found what I had been seeking the power of the ordination was so evident that I could hardly stand up from the chair.... Determined to make it to the Salt Lake Temple to be sealed for time and eternity, we succeeded with help from the members. I will not attempt to describe how wonderful this was suffice it to say that I had never realized how empty our life was until it had been filled....
We know that the latter-day gospel is true. That sure knowledge is something only the Holy Spirit can give. No matter how long it takes, it is indeed worth the wait we testify to that. (From Clergy to Convert, pages 67-73)
William Schnoebelen's "sure knowledge" of the truth of Mormonism did not last very long. He states that on June 22, 1984, he became converted to orthodox Christianity. After his conversion, Mr. Schnoebelen began to consider Mormonism as a great evil which had to be dealt with. While Schnoebelen had kept his ties with witchcraft throughout the period he was a Mormon, at the time of his conversion he seems to have taken a step in the right direction when he burned his occult books and rituals.
We probably would never have known anything about William Schnoebelen if it had not been for Ed Decker of Saints Alive. A number of years ago Mr. Decker felt he had found hard evidence that the God of the Mormon temple is in reality Lucifer in the testimony of a 25-year-old man by the name of Kellie. In a tape recording made with Ed Decker, Mr. Kellie claimed that the Mormon leaders were so impressed with him that they took him through an extremely secret and important temple ceremony that even N. Eldon Tanner, a member of the First Presidency, had never been allowed to participate in. He was, in fact, ordained to be a God. While in the Holy of Holies Kellie observed a rack containing 14 or 15 human skulls. He claimed that in the ritual the blood of "diamond back rattlers" was used and that participants in the ceremony "slit their own wrists." He also claimed that all those who were ordained to be Gods had the satanic number "666" written on their foreheads in Roman numerals." While Kellie was at first accepted as an expert on the inside workings of Mormonism, Ed Decker eventually concluded that he "was either a deceiver or not working with a full deck." (The Lucifer-God Doctrine: Shadow or Reality? by Ed Decker and Bill Schnoebelen, 1987, page 11)
After the fall of Mr. Kellie, Ed Decker was looking for evidence to help shore up his belief concerning the temple ceremony and was apparently very happy to learn about William Schnoebelen. Schnoebelen, with his background in witchcraft and Satanism, seemed to be the missing link that Mr. Decker was hoping to find. Mr. Schnoebelen was invited to speak at the Capstone Conference and Decker published a long article by him which was entitled, "Joseph Smith and the Temple of Doom," in Saints Alive Journal, Winter 1986. At some point Pastor Jim Spencer became interested in Mr. Schnoebelen's work and the two collaborated to produce a pamphlet entitled, Mormonism's Temple of Doom.
With the publication of William Schnoebelen's material attacking the Mormon Church, he found himself facing a very peculiar situation. On the one hand, he had a work in print which praised Mormonism and was being used to convert people into the church. On the other hand, he had written material which condemned the church and was being used to bring people out of Mormonism. Moreover, in the book From Clergy to Convert he portrayed himself as a very sincere and sensitive parish priest in the Roman Catholic Church, but in Mormonism's Temple of Doom, page 63, he represented himself as a man deeply involved in witchcraft during the same period of time.
Although we were completely unaware of the article in which William Schnoebelen claimed he had been a Roman Catholic priest, we were concerned about certain aspects of his story when we first saw a video of his 1986 Capstone Conference lecture. In the March 1987 issue of the Salt Lake City Messenger we warned that some critics of the Mormon Church had become far too obsessed with finding Luciferian influence in the temple ceremony. While we did not specifically mention Mr. Schnoebelen in this issue, it was obviously a warning against the type of thing he was doing. In the September 1987 issue of the Messenger we expressed our deep concern over the claims by William Schnoebelen and Ed Decker concerning the spires on Mormon temples. Ed Decker maintained that they were really "Satan's spires" and represented "an up-side-down nail pointing defiantly toward heaven, as if to impale the Lord Jesus Christ anew when he comes in the clouds." William Schnoebelen claimed that because of "the trapezoidal shape" of the spires they "draw demons like fly paper." In the same issue of the Messenger we noted that "Mr. Schnoebelen seems to have been deeply involved in the occult and claims that he has portions of ceremonies used in witchcraft which bear some remarkable parallels to the Mormon temple ceremony. His most startling examples, however, are only preserved by photocopies of typewritten documents which could not possibly be very old. Our preliminary study of the material leads us to conclude that it is far more likely that portions of the Mormon temple ritual were plagiarized and incorporated into witchcraft ceremonies rather than the other way around."
In the November 1987 issue of the Messenger, we presented evidence against the authenticity of Mr. Schnoebelen's most important claims. In January 1988, Wesley P. Walters informed us that he had received a call from a woman who had seen the article William Schnoebelen had written while he was a Mormon. She noted that his wife was named Alexandria in From Clergy to Convert, whereas it appeared as Sharon in Mormonism's Temple of Doom. We were not disturbed over this matter because we knew that Alexandria was actually Sharon's witchcraft name. Wesley Walters, however, noted that when the two books were compared there appeared to be discrepancies in Schnoebelen's chronology of events. After purchasing a copy of the book, we examined the article and concluded that it was impossible for him to have become a Roman Catholic priest in the period between his graduation from Loras College and the date he gave for his marriage.
On February 19, 1988, we met with William Schnoebelen for a tape-recorded interview which lasted about three and a half hours. During this interview, Mr. Schnoebelen admitted to us that he had never been a Roman Catholic priest and that a certain amount of deception had been used when he wrote the article. Unfortunately, however, we did not feel Mr. Schnoebelen sufficiently answered the problems. Just before we met with Schnoebelen, he had written a letter in which he claimed that he was not actually "lying" in the article published in From Clergy to Convert. In our tape-recorded interview with Mr. Schnoebelen he made this statement about the LDS article: "...there are misdirections in there that were necessary, but I'm not sure there was an outright lie in it."
After our interview with William Schnoebelen, he was invited on Walter Martin's satellite radio program which is broadcast in many parts of the United States. In this program Martin made these comments about Mr. Schnoebelen: "Your credentials I don't think can be fairly challenged. We checked you out ourselves to be honest and we find that what you are talking about is essentially consistent with Satanism and Mormonism." Mr. Martin also stated: "I'm not choosing up sides in the controversy of whether or not everything can be proved about you or where you came from or whether or not you're a charlatan and a fraud, which has been suggested by some in the Christian community, with whom I don't agree, I might add, in this area."
Later in the program, Walter Martin brought up the issue of Mr. Schnoebelen's article in From Clergy to Convert. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a careful attempt to avoid naming who Schnoebelen's critics were, what the actual problem was or even giving the name of the book which was under discussion. In any case, while Mr. Schnoebelen seemed to be willing to admit that there was some wrong doing, he refused to really face the problem:
Well, you have critics, who for the moment shall remain nameless... who say, "You're a charlatan, you're a fraud. You have made mistakes. You have published something when you were a Mormon... and this particular document contained inaccuracies and, in fact, lies." Now, how do you respond to that?
SCHNOEBELEN. Well, I respond to that by frankly saying that I was a sinner then... at the time I was deeply involved in Mormonism and also still doodling around with the fringe areas of occultism and I had right then not a very good moral sense and what I had in mind when... my story appeared in the anthology was that I thought if I could communicate something truthful at that time I thought it was truthful about the Mormon Church vis-a-vis my religious background it would help lead people to Mormonism.... I wasn't thinking in terms of deceiving people as much as presenting the truth about my background in the most simple way possible so that those who were seeking truth in Mormonism would be able to find it.
MARTIN. So you didn't begin with the thesis, "Let us do evil that good may come?"
MARTIN. Or the end justifies the mean?
Some of William Schnoebelen's supporters feel that it is wrong to even bring up the issue concerning the deceit used in From Convert to Clergy because this was done before he professed to be a Christian. While we feel that it is wrong to dwell on people's sins after they have come to Christ for forgiveness, there is another issue here i.e., Mr. Schnoebelen seems to be trying to sweep the whole matter under the rug and deny the serious implications of what he has done. He has said that he "wasn't thinking in terms of deceiving people as much as presenting the truth about my background..." Since William Schnoebelen would not come right out and admit that he was lying about the matter, it raises grave questions concerning his ability to distinguish truth from falsehood and will cause many people to also take a very hard look at what he has written after he came out of Mormonism in 1984.
In order to really understand the depth of the deception William Schnoebelen used in his article in From Clergy to Convert, a person must know something about his background. A court record concerning the "Matter of the Change of Name of WILLIAM RICHARD SCHNOEBELEN," filed in the District Court in Dubuque County, Iowa, dated October 8 , 1973, gives his date of birth as "August 24, 1949." He was, as the article indicates, raised as a Roman Catholic and attended Loras College a Catholic school in Dubuque, Iowa. The president of Loras College has sent us a letter which claims Mr. Schnoebelen graduated from that school on "May 16, 1971.... with a major in music and a minor in education." (Letter dated February 9, 1988) In a letter dated February 2, 1988, Robert L. Ferring, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, said that after Schnoebelen graduated he "did indeed teach for two years in a Catholic High School in this Archdiocese."
The "Chronology of William Schnoebelen," published on pageá63, of Mormonism's Temple of Doom, indicates that during this period he was going deeper and deeper into witchcraft. According to Mr. Schnoebelen's chronology, on "07/29/73" he was sealed in a "Druidic [witchcraft] marriage ceremony" to the woman he later married legally on "05/31/74." By 1975 William Schnoebelen had descended even deeper into the world of the occult, and on "04/30/75" he entered the "1st Degree" of the "Church of Satan."
Many people who tell false stories base part of their tales on something that is at least partially true. This seems to be the case in William Schnoebelen's story. He did, in fact, become involved in some small splinter groups which had broken off from the Roman Catholic Church. On pageá70 of Mormonism's Temple of Doom, a document is produced which shows that on "September 6, 1975" Mr. Schnoebelen was serving in the position of "a Sub-Deacon" in "The Old Roman Catholic Church English Rite." On "12/14/75" Mr. Schnoebelen was "Ordained to Catholic Diaconate, American National Catholic Church (Old Catholic Rite)." (Ibid., page 63) One month later "01/15/76" Mr. Schnoebelen claims that he was "Ordained to Catholic Priesthood, American National Catholic Church." (Ibid.) While a person who does not read Latin might feel that this is supported by the certificate which appears on page 68, that certificate is actually relating to his becoming a deacon. In the tape-recorded interview, we asked Mr. Schnoebelen why the certificate stating that he was made a priest was not included:
Jerald Tanner: ...the priest certificate is missing and
William Schnoebelen: Yes, it is. That's 'cause I cannot find it. It may have been among the things that I burned because I was just shoving stuff [i.e., his witchcraft material] by the handfuls into [the fire]....
Mr. Schnoebelen claims, however, that he can "produce at least two people that were actually present at my ordination" and that he has pictures of the ceremony. Even though Schnoebelen cannot produce a certificate showing he was ordained a priest, we feel that it is possible that this event did occur. We feel, however, that such an ordination would amount to almost nothing because of the unstable situation that existed in the organization in which Schnoebelen claims he was made a priest. According to William Schnoebelen's own chronology, only a month expired between the time he was made a deacon and the ceremony consecrating him a priest. Furthermore, according to the tape-recorded interview, Mr. Schnoebelen acknowledged that he changed churches within that month! He said that he joined a church headed by Edward M. Stehlik just before he was made a priest: "...if you want to turn to page 68 [Mormonism's Temple of Doom], ... you will notice that Ed Stehlik's signature is way down at the bottom here. He was only a priest at this point when I was a deacon. He had not yet received the episcopacy [the office of a bishop].... This was a different corporation. I was ordained a sub-deacon and a deacon under the Old Roman Catholic Church English Rite which was head[ed] up by Francis Facione, which is the name there of the bishop."
Mr. Schnoebelen went on to state that Edward M. Stehlik was only a priest at the time he became a deacon, but that "when he was made a bishop, he started his own corporation as the American National Catholic Church. You've got to realize there are literally dozens of Old Catholic denominations running around. Some of them are just paper churches and some of them are viable congregations.... It's kind of a strange situation because there is no control of it."
We went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to investigate the group Schnoebelen was involved with (Stehlik's group) but could not find any evidence that it still existed. Some of the officials at the Orthodox Catholic Church in America were very helpful to us. They also had their roots in the Old Catholic Church, but had changed the name of their church because of the stigma brought about by other groups that also claimed to be "Old Catholic" churches. They indicated that people had been ordained priests in some of these groups just because they would agree to follow a new leader. They seemed to feel that Stehlik's church was an extremely weird and unstable group and did not want to be identified with it in any way. They were, in fact, unable to furnish us with the name of anyone who still lived in the area who had been in this group with William Schnoebelen or Edward Stehlik. They felt they had scattered to the four winds.
In his definitive work on the various religions in America, Dr. J. Gordon Melton gave this information concerning the unstable situation in many of the Old Catholic churches:
The story of the Old Catholic churches in America is the story of multiple consecrations, some of them of questionable validity... The numerous bishops consecrated since World War II have complicated the picture by seeking, receiving and giving multiple ordinations and seemingly being just as free with excommunications. It is not unusual to find a bishop who had been consecrated in one lineage, being excommunicated and/or renouncing the bishop who consecrated him, and setting up his own church with a second (better?) consecration and/or seeking multiple consecrations from a number of bishops.
Straightening out the lines of succession of Old Catholic bishops in the U.S. can be like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle. Many of the new bishops refuse to show their consecration documents. In some cases they claim a consecration that never occurred, and at other times they wish to suggest a consecration by a more prominent church than the church in which they were consecrated." (The Encyclopedia of American Religions, by J. Gordon Melton, 1978, vol. 1, pp. 32-33)
The Institute for the Study of American Religion, which is directed by Dr. J. Gordon Melton, has provided us with some very important photocopies of newspaper articles and other material which throws a great deal of light on the instability of the Old Catholic group William Schnoebelen was involved in. We will be using these photocopies in the material that follows.
A Roman Catholic priest is required to have four years of seminary training after college. Mr. Schnoebelen, however, had none of this type of training at the time he was ordained under bishop Stehlik. As we have already shown, his earlier college training was in music and education, and although he probably had some classes in religion at Loras College, this would hardly qualify him to be a priest at least the type of priest we usually associate with Catholicism.
Some of William Schnoebelen's defenders argue that he had important spiritual qualifications which made him competent to hold that position. The record, however, shows that he was deeply immersed in witchcraft and Satanism at the very time he was supposed to have been made a priest. How could he possibly have any spiritual qualifications to be a priest? Everything about his record, in fact, shows that he was completely unqualified to preside in such a religious position at that time.
The whole situation in some of the Old Catholic churches at that time reminds us very much of what has happened in some of the groups that have broken off from Mormonism. Men can be ordained to high positions in these groups, but it amounts to almost nothing. The main requirement seems to be a willingness to obey those in charge and work hard for the group. As we have already noted, a number of the Old Catholic churches, like some of the break off groups in Mormonism, had a very poor record when it came to choosing priests or even bishops for that matter. When we asked Mr. Schnoebelen about the slovenly methods of ordination in these groups, he maintained that his ordination was legitimate but conceded that there was a major problem in this area: "In fact, there are many cases of what is called simony, which is when someone simply goes to an Old Catholic bishop and say[s], 'Here is fifty bucks and I'll make you a priest'... they'll just buy the ordination ...."
As we have shown, the name of Edward M. Stehlik appears on both of the certificates reproduced in Mormonism's Temple of Doom, and Schnoebelen also maintained in the taped interview that he was made a priest by "Stehlik and Bishop Julius Massey." In a letter dated February 9, 1988, he claimed that he served "briefly" under "Bishop Julius Massey; then was up in Milwaukee primarily at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Friary from about '77-79 under Father David Javore." Mr. Schnoebelen also acknowledged that a man named Glen Goergen was part of the same group. While William Schnoebelen's supporters would like us to believe that he was involved with a legitimate Catholic group, the evidence seems to show that Stehlik, Javore and Goergen were very unreliable. The Capital Times, published in Madison, Wisconsin, reported the following on February 5, 1980:
NECEDAH - Members of Necedah's Van Hoof shrine call them "Archbishop Stehlick, Father Javore and Brother Glen." But these three latest leaders of the shrine cult have followed a twisted trail of deceit, hypocrisy and outright fraud to this tiny Central Wisconsin village.
When self-proclaimed mystic Mary Ann Van Hoof announced last May that "The archbishop is coming," she intentionally raised the hopes of her followers...
Most expected a visit from Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland and the announcement that, after years of calling Van Hoof shrine a hoax, the Roman Catholic Church was finally recognizing the claims of Van Hoof, the Necedah farm woman who claims to have frequent visits from the Virgin Mary.
But the man who arrived... was Edward Michael Stehlik, a man who has followed a twisted path to religion.... in a story in The Capital Times on May 30, Stehlik calls himself the "Archbishop and Metropolitan of North America, American National Catholic Church,"... But the story also pointed out that, despite the fancy title, he is not a Roman Catholic priest.
In fact, according to a report aired last month by Milwaukee television station WISN... Stehlik's claims of a Catholic background that he spent two years studying at St. Nazianz Seminary... and four years in a Discalced Carmelite monastery are pure fiction.
A Channel 12 special news team.... spent more than six months investigating Stehlik and the Van Hoof shrine. They found overwhelming evidence that the man who now claims to be an archbishop boasts a long history of deceit, hypocrisy and misrepresentation, including the following:
Court records show that during the time... Stehlik claims to have been in a monastery (1962-68), he was married for the first time. His first wife assured investigators that the couple had been living in the Milwaukee area between 1966 and 1968.
...Stehlik claimed to hold a chemistry degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The university last lists him as a student with sophomore standing...
In a hand-written resume Stehlik gave officials of a Milwaukee Presbyterian church, he states, "My leaning toward homosexuality began during the last years of my married life. I experienced several... affairs during that time... there are still some men who attract my attention."
Yet the official line of his new church blatantly discriminates against homosexuals and takes a harsh stand against their admission to the priesthood:...
Stehlik claims to have been ordained by Milwaukee Bishop Walter Brown of the Old Catholic Church, a splinter group... Yet Brown claims he excommunicated Stehlik for "un-Christ-like behavior" at a Mass.
Stehlik also claims ordination in another Catholic splinter group the Old Catholic Church of Illinois. But he was excommunicated by that group for, among other things, his two marriages and "devil worship"....
But Stehlik is not the only self-proclaimed clergyman playing church in Necedah.
Father David Javore,... whom Stehlik appointed pastor of the shrine's St Joseph the Worker Hall... claims he left one seminary because "that order didn't work with kids like I wanted to." However, that seminary's records claim Javore was actually dismissed.
Javore also claims to have been a Pallotine brother. The Pallotines, however, claim that he had taken only temporary vows. Although Javore resigned the order, his superiors wrote back saying his vows would not have been renewed anyway. The reason for their decision was "donations missing and unaccounted for."
Later, in 1978, while operating a home for retarded adults in Milwaukee, Javore was accused by an associate of receiving more than $6,000 in Social Security payments intended for a retarded adult male, of spending those funds, and being unable to account for them.
Three witnesses first told Channel 12, and later confirmed for the Capital Times, that Javore had mistreated the retarded adult in question, beating him on a number of occasions...
Javore also claims ordination in the Church of Gospel Ministry and organization which will ordain anyone for a contribution of $15. For another $25, it will "consecrate" you a bishop.
Like Stehlik, Javore was ordained a priest in the Old Catholic church, and like Stehlik, too he was later excommunicated.
Perhaps the most controversial of all the Van Hoof shrine's clergy, however, is Glen Goergen, 36, known... as Brother Glen...
Goergen's past, too, contains a long record of deceit, misrepresentation and hypocrisy.... most of Goergen's religious hoaxes have been for mercenary ends.
He claims to have been a religious brother since 1967, but investigators uncovered the following, decidedly unreligious behavior:
During the period Glen claims to have been a brother, he was married and divorced twice. He... served time in jail for nonsupport.
Court records show that in 1970 Goergen lost a paternity suit and was later arrested for disorderly conduct...
And the list goes on: cashing bad checks; losing a civil judgment for beating up and permanently scarring a 16-year-old boy; operating phony dance contests; and setting up a telephone sales campaign and then announcing that he had, without ceremony, made everyone in the phone room a religious brother.
Brother Glen even admitted,... that he had taken nude photographs of three Milwaukee area teenage girls "maybe two years ago." He defended that action by saying, "I was involved in a lot of drugs at that time." (Capital Times, Feb. 5,1980)
When we questioned William Schnoebelen concerning "Bishop" Stehlik's involvement in witchcraft, he replied: "Well, he, in fact, he did seek ordination to the witchcraft priesthood. Yes.... he was ordained, initiated actually would be a more correct term, a witch..." The Milwaukee Journal, Dec. 1, 1979, claimed that the television series revealed that "Stehlik was excommunicated from the Old Catholic Church.... after he reportedly went to a service dressed in what was described as witchlike garb and babbled unintelligibly. The excommunication also cited his two marriages and devil worship, the programs say." A priest in the Orthodox Catholic Church in Milwaukee informed us the Stehlik may have been murdered. In our interview with Mr. Schnoebelen, he remarked: "I understand the man has been murdered."
William Schnoebelen maintained that "Pastor" David Javore, the man he served "under" at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Friary, was "a Franciscan priest." This claim, of course, now appears to be dubious. In any case, in the interview we had with Schnoebelen, he said that Javore came to them as "a friar, if you will, in search of a bishop,..." In his excommunication papers from the Roman Catholic Church of the Ultrajectine Tradition, dated Nov. 27, 1978, Javore was "forbidden to use the title 'Father' or to delude the public into thinking he is a Catholic Priest in the active ministry." He was charged "with impersonating a Franciscan Friar.... seeking ordination to the Priesthood under false pretenses" and with "associating with those persons involved in devil worship of the occult rites." In a letter dated Dec. 7, 1978, Bishop Robert William Lane wrote: "David Lawrence Javore has associated himself with one Edward M. Stehlik who claims to be a bishop.... and also one Christopher Syn, who recently changed his name.... Javore has saw fit to associate himself with one Edward M. Stehlik who claims to be a Bishop. Enclosed you will find... his formal excommunication from the Church by his lawful superiors, which has never been lifted.... the Vicariate of Saint Mary Magdalen - Roman Catholic Church of the Untrajectine [sic] Tradition is no longer responsible for the actions of anyone residing at Perpetual Help Friary... At no time has Edward M. Stehlik, Michael Point, or Christopher Syn been under our Jurisdiction." David Javore's excommunication papers noted his claim to be "an ordained minister in the Church of the Gospel Ministry." The Journal, Dec. 1, 1979, noted that even a television reporter was able to be ordained by the Church of Gospel Ministry for a fee: "Reporter McLauchlan noted that he, too, was ordained by the church after sending in $15. He was also informed that for another $25 he could become a bishop."
When we questioned William Schnoebelen about the scandal which took place in 1979, he said he resigned from the "friary" in Milwaukee when he realized what was taking place:
Jerald Tanner: Did some kind of a scandal there develop concerning finances and homosexuality?
William Schnoebelen: That's why I resigned.... I resigned just before any of this was made public as soon as I learned of it.
In the resume referred to by Capital Times, which is signed by Edward Stehlik, he stated that he would not let his "homosexuality become a dominant factor in my life" for fear it might "bring scandal to the Church." He did admit that he did find himself "being attracted to Bro ____, but nothing has happened as of yet." When we questioned William Schnoebelen concerning the validity of Bishop Stehlik's ordinations, he did admit that in one case "because of a homosexual thing, he may have ordained somebody he was very fond of, if you get my meaning."
In the taped interview, Mr. Schnoebelen admitted that there were some real problems in the group: "People appeal to a bishop for authority, okay, and because of the screwy way some things went we at times had congregations in Eddystone, Pennsylvania. Another time we had a congregation in Atlanta, Georgia.... and they would kind of come and go, okay, that would appeal to Ed Stehlik to have his episcopal mantle, if you will, over them. And then something would happen. They'd either get him mad, or they'd do something weird... like the guy in Eddystone, Pennsylvania ended up proclaiming himself pope, and so we naturally had to, kind of, get rid of him. So it got a little strange."
In the introduction to Mormonism's Temple of Doom it is stated that William Schnoebelen had been a "Catholic priest." In the preface, pageá7, however, it is stated that he was "ordained a priest in the Old Catholic Church - English Rite." Although most people probably believe that this is referring to the Roman Catholic Church, it is good that there was some attempt to clarify the matter. A person who goes to the back of the booklet, pageá63, will even find the actual name of the church: "American National Catholic Church." Nevertheless, William Schnoebelen's statement (pageá7) gives the impression that his ordination was partially because of his education in Roman Catholic schools that he was ordained a "priest": "I was educated in Catholic schools and received a masters degree in Theological Studies from St. Francis Catholic Seminary in Milwaukee. I was, in fact, ordained a priest in the Old Catholic Church - English Rite." While it is true that he completed two years training at St. Francis Seminary (a Roman Catholic school), this was almost five years after he was supposed to have been ordained a priest in the American National Catholic Church.
One claim that seems to be missing in Mormonism's Temple of Doom, which appeared in the Saints Alive Journal, Winter 1986, is that Mr. Schnoebelen claimed to have been a Catholic Bishop in the late 1970s. The article noted that "Bill Schnoebelen has a powerful background," and went on to say that he was a "Gnostic Catholic Bishop" in "1978." In Mormonism's Temple of Doom, pageá64, the word "Catholic" is omitted and the year is given as 1977: "07/23/77 7th Degree Gnostic Bishop (Grand Master of the Temple Oto)." In the tape-recorded interview, Mr. Schnoebelen admitted that he had ordained some priests in the American National Catholic Church. Since only bishops can ordain priests, we wondered how he could legitimately do this. Schnoebelen tried to clarify this by stating: "After '78 I was a bishop." He explained that "the fellow who ordained me a bishop was [of the] Vallatte succession the Gnostic Bishop that you see in the chronology." The more Schnoebelen tried to clarify the matter, the more outlandish the whole thing began to sound. He stated: "Vallatte, when he traveled through Europe ordained several rather bizarre people... who were into the occult, and some of them, in turn, ordained people who, for instance, ordained Aleister Crowley, who was, believe it or not, ordained an Old Catholic bishop.... and this whole lineage then made it to America by way of Haiti, and... the official title of the church is the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis, but I just keep the Latin out of it; I just said Gnostic Bishop."
The fact that William Schnoebelen mentioned Aleister Crowley as having been "ordained an Old Catholic bishop" through the Vallatte succession seems to provide a very important key to this whole puzzle. A tract published by CARIS entitled, An Open Letter to the Witchcraft and Magical Community (revised 1986), charged that Crowley claimed to be "the Devil's chief emissary on earth." In his book, Biographical Dictionary of American Cult and Sect Leaders, 1986, pages 59-61, Dr. J. Gordon Melton gave this information: "Aleister Crowley the most renowned magical practitioner and theoretician of the twentieth century.... rebelled against his strict upbringing and earned the label 'The Beast 666' (from Revelation 13-18) given by his mother.... Crowley met Theodore Ruess, head of a German magical order, the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O). Crowley was accepted into the highest levels of the O.T.O. and organized a British branch called the Mysteria Mystica Maxima. The O.T.O. taught a form of sex magic... The O.T.O. had previously created ten degrees, including ones for the practice of autoerotic (VIII░) and heterosexual (IX░) sex magic. Crowley's new rituals added an experimental degree for homosexual... magic (XI░) which he initiated in 1913.... he resided first in Tunis and then France, before returning to England for the last fifteen years of his life. By this time he had become a heroin addict, a condition he unsuccessfully fought for many years.... the O.T.O.... all but died during the 1960s. However, during the 1970s the O.T.O. experienced a remarkable revival..."
A number of things led us to suspect that William Schnoebelen was ordained a bishop through Crowley's organization, O.T.O. To begin with, Mormonism's Temple of Doom, pageá64, mentions Schnoebelen receiving the title, "Grand Master of the Temple Oto" when he became a "7th Degree Gnostic Bishop." On the tape-recording, Schnoebelen pointed out to James Spencer that he should have used capital letters i.e., OTO in the booklet. We have also seen a document which lists a member of Crowley's OTO as a "Priestess of [the] Gnostic Catholic Church." The reader will remember that in Ed Decker's publication Mr. Schnoebelen himself was referred to as a "Gnostic Catholic Bishop." In Schnoebelen's statement which we quoted above, he claimed that the official title of the church was Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis. This is extremely interesting because in a booklet entitled, Documentation "Joseph Smith and the Temple of Doom," Mr. Schnoebelen has reproduced a photograph of a text he claims he used in satanic worship (see Document D). The top line reads: "Liturgia De Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis..." Mr. Schnoebelen claims that this text has parallels to the Mormon temple ceremony. In any case, the ritual speaks of the "ineffable King of Hell... I proclaim that Lucifer rules the earth;... and give myself wholly, body and soul, to the iniquities and evil which alone are pleasing to him.... I acknowledge him to be the One, True God;..." Although only two of seven pages of this ritual are shown in the pamphlet, the first pageásays that the "Priestess of the Order should be upon the altar nude," and it seems logical to assume that this has something to do with the "sex magic" which Crowley established.
It is interesting to note, also, that Mr. Schnoebelen states that "this whole lineage then made it to America by way of Haiti." This may very well explain the "Voodoo" rites he participated in (see Mormonism's Temple of Doom, page 64). That William Schnoebelen could receive an ordination in such a bizarre group and feel that it prepared him to serve in an Old Catholic church as a bishop is certainly strange. When we asked Mr. Schnoebelen whether his ordination was really related to witchcraft, he responded: "Well, you could call it witchcraft. It would be more appropriately be called ceremonial magic."
In the tape-recorded interview we had with Mr. Schnoebelen, he acknowledged that he had ordained some women to be priests a practice that was not permitted in the Old Catholic church: "Towards the last few years I did ordain some women to the Catholic priesthood when I was a bishop, which was, of course, not supposed to have been done, but I did it anyway. And she [a woman whom we had mentioned] ... may very well have been one of the ladies that I did lay hands on and ordain a Catholic priest, but her primary function would have been as a witch high priestess."
Mr. Schnoebelen admitted that the requirements for the ordination of these women to be priests did not relate to academic requirements: "The criteria were there, but they were not academic criteria as much as they were do they understand the occult disciplines, can they do the rituals, etc., etc." It would appear, then, that the requirement to become a priest in Schnoebelen's church would relate to a person's knowledge of witchcraft rather than to spirituality or educational requirements. Mr. Schnoebelen even admitted that one woman whom he may have ordained was not even regular in her attendance at church: "She'd show up from time to time... she was more into witchcraft. She'd just mainly show up just to be nice to me." Blaine Hunsaker asked Mr. Schnoebelen an interesting question with regard to the women whom he ordained to be priests in the Old Catholic church:
Blaine Hunsaker: "One question, these same women, were they involved in those sexual rites in witchcraft that you described?
William Schnoebelen: Yes, Yes. In order to be a third degree witch you have to go through that. Yes, so obviously they would have been."
The evidence we have given shows that William Schnoebelen was associated with a strange group of people in the American National Catholic Church. This was certainly a very twisted form of Catholicism. Those whom he served under had falsified the truth concerning their credentials. The leaders of this cult were plagued with charges of crime, simony, homosexuality and witchcraft. Mr. Schnoebelen added to this confusion by bringing in his background of witchcraft and Satanism. The women whom he himself ordained "priests" had, in fact, participated in weird sexual rites. Under these circumstances, it seems safe to conclude that his claims to have been a Catholic priest and bishop amount to nothing at all.
ROMAN CATHOLIC CLAIMS
Now that we have given some background concerning William Schnoebelen, the reader will be able to better understand the the truth concerning the claims he presented in From Clergy to Convert. Mr. Schnoebelen's attempt to maintain that there are not outright lies in the article is refuted twice in his very first sentence: "It's pretty remarkable when a former Catholic priest marries a former nun but it's even more remarkable when they end up joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints together." Since William Schnoebelen's chronology presented in Mormonism's Temple of Doom, pageá63, shows that he was married on "05/31/74," it is evident that he was not "a former Catholic priest" at that time. Furthermore, the woman he married was not "a former nun." In the tape-recorded interview, William Schnoebelen tries to get around the problem by saying that he was really referring to his ordination into the American National Catholic Church: "...I never said I was a Roman Catholic priest anywhere in this thing. I said I was a Catholic priest, and I know that it was deceptive but what can I say? I was a sinner... There was not really anything per se deceitful said. It was just the way it was said."
Later in the taped interview, the following exchange occurred:
James Spencer: Is the point here that he says he's a Catholic priest. Is your point that he is trying to somehow imply that he was a Roman Catholic priest...
Sandra Tanner: Yes. I think it is very obvious that the whole article is intended to convey the message that he was Roman Catholic.
Schnoebelen: ...There are misdirections in there that were necessary, but yeah, I'm not sure there is an outright lie in it. I mean, if you
Spencer: What's the misdirection?
Schnoebelen: Well, the misdirection
Spencer: There isn't any misdirection here....
Schnoebelen: Just mainly... and this is what I think you're fishing for, because of the fact that the Old Catholic Church allows a married clergy and the Roman Catholic Church does not, there was a studious lack of dates being given.... because to both the average Mormon and, of course, to the average Catholic the thought is... that if you're a Catholic priest you cannot be married, and, of course I was married at the time I received my ordination.
S. Tanner: But doesn't the story, in fact, portray you as a Catholic priest before you got married and your wife a nun before you got married?
Schnoebelen: Well, that is the way it ended up. How do I want to put this, I mean, you know
Spencer. Yes or No?
Schnoebelen: Yeah, yeah, it does ... but
S. Tanner: And that's not true.
Schnoebelen: Well, not by direct statement.
S. Tanner: The implication of this whole thing is that you are a priest with a parish before you even meet your wife, before you got married.
Schnoebelen: I know that. That's because, as I said, no Mormon or most Catholics to whom, of course, this little propaganda piece would be directed would understand or be able to receive the idea of a married Catholic priest.
Jerald Tanner: ...You were not attempting to present yourself as a Roman Catholic priest in this article?
Schnoebelen: No, no.
The evidence clearly shows that William Schnoebelen was not telling the truth in this article when he maintained that he was "a former Catholic priest" and his wife "a former nun," at the time they got married. The attempt to dodge the issue by claiming that this was really referring to the period they were in the American National Catholic Church does not help at all because they were not even members of this church at the time they got married!
Mr. Schnoebelen's affirmation in the meeting we held with him on February 19, 1988, that he was not attempting to present himself in the article as a Roman Catholic priest does not fit with the contents of the publication. Anyone who carefully reads the story of William Schnoebelen's supposed ordination can see that it can only fit the framework of the Roman Catholic Church and that it had to occur before May 31, 1974, when he was legally married. On page 67 of the article in From Clergy to Convert, Mr. Schnoebelen claims that both he and his wife were raised "in strict Catholic families." In the tape-recorded interview, he acknowledged that this was indeed the Roman Catholic Church. At the bottom of the same page, he claimed that before he "entered kindergarten" he wanted to be a "priest." On page 68, he wrote: "After high school, my wife was attracted to the Franciscan contemplative life, so she entered the Order of the Poor Clares." This, of course, is completely false. She may have entered into some type of order in the American National Catholic Church, but this would have been a decade later after she was married to Schnoebelen. She was certainly never a nun in the sense that most of us understand the word.
On pageá68 of the article, Mr. Schnoebelen claims that "my wife and I were caught in the avalanche" of "theological change" which followed "the Second Vatican Council." This is clearly a reference to the Roman Catholic Church since the American National Catholic Church did not accept rulings which came from the "Vatican Council." On the same page, William Schnoebelen contends that "College brought me serious doubts about my vocation to the priesthood." This could only be Loras College, which is definitely a Roman Catholic School. Since we now know that Mr. Schnoebelen did not even graduate from Loras College until May 16, 1971, he would still be four years away from meeting the educational requirements to become a priest. Thus, his ordination could not take place until at least May 1975! This, of course, would have been prevented by the fact that he had married the year before (May 31, 1974). Mr. Schnoebelen, however, attempted to fit his ordination and his experience as a priest functioning in a parish into this time frame:
My ordination to the priesthood, although ritually impressive, left me feeling somehow empty. After the bishop laid his hands on my head, I felt little difference in myself. It seemed I had been ordained to a priesthood which no longer knew precisely what it was, to lead the people in directions that were no longer clear.
In my active ministry I felt inadequate to help my parishioners with their problems. The older people were wonderful, holding as they did to their simple faith and spirituality. But with the younger generation I felt as though I were walking on a paper-thick carpet of despair. More and more edicts came from the bishops, each more bewildering than the last. We could now eat meat on Friday. We no longer had to fast during Lent and Advent. Things previously regarded as grave sins were brushed away, and the supposedly unchangeable grandeur of the Latin Mass was so utterly trivialized as to render it comical. (page 68-69)
This whole section was clearly written to describe conditions in the Roman Catholic Church and could have nothing to do with Schnoebelen's claim that he later functioned as a priest in the American National Catholic Church. A hypothetical case might serve to illustrate the deception Mr. Schnoebelen has used here: suppose a bishop in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for some reason wanted people to think that he was really a bishop in the Mormon Church. One would have a difficult time condemning him if he merely wrote that he was a "Latter-day Saint" bishop because members of both churches are "Latter-day Saints" (A minor point might be that the RLDS Church usually capitalizes the word day and does not include a hyphen.) If, however, he were to tell of the great struggles he had with members of his ward when the president of the church gave a revelation allowing blacks to hold the priesthood, we would know that he was deliberately trying to deceive because the president of the RLDS Church gave such a revelation in 1865, whereas the Utah Mormon Church did not receive a revelation to that effect until 1978!
At any rate, we have already shown that the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Dubuque stated that William Schnoebelen "did indeed teach for two years in a [Roman] Catholic High School in this Archdiocese." Mr. Schnoebelen, however, would have the reader believe that this occurred after he had served as a parish priest:
The people suffered from too much change too fast. They felt lost, and so did I. "The church is evolving," I would say when they came to me for help. "We are letting the fresh air of ecumenism blow through the church we must trust the bishops to know what they're doing."
Finally, I had to ask for a leave of absence. My superiors were sympathetic and gave me a job teaching music in a Catholic high school. Even here the "new" church mocked me. The simple solemnity of the Gregorian chant which once accompanied the liturgy was being replaced by rehashed folk music and banal modern tunes on electric guitars and drums. (page 69)
William Schnoebelen goes on to say that because he could no longer endure teaching at the Roman Catholic high school, he went to work at a drug rehabilitation center. It was there that he met his future wife who had already "left her order":
I was forced to direct music that would have been unthinkable in Catholic sanctuaries only a few years earlier.
To keep my sanity, to feel as though I were doing good somewhere, I volunteered to work weekends at a drug rehabilitation center in Dubuque. Here I met my future bride and eternal companion.
Alexandria had left her order for the same reasons for which I had left the priesthood. The bishops were pressuring the contemplative orders to get out in the world and do something more "relevant" than gardening, praying, and making rosaries. Alexandria had left in disgust, and found herself working beside someone who had similar conflicts with the church.... we were married in a civil ceremony on May 31, 1974. (pages 69-70)
After telling all of this story in a Roman Catholic setting, William Schnoebelen then related how he came to learn about the Mormons. At this point Schnoebelen then referred for the first time to a "Catholic Splinter group" he became involved with. His statement concerning this matter makes crystal clear that he had previously been referring to the "mainstream Catholic Church" i.e., the Roman Catholic Church:
We waited six years! In the meantime, we looked into other churches... we even got involved in a Catholic splinter group which made me their priest. I stayed with them for three years, but their fanaticism finally drove us away.
I decided to give the mainstream Catholic Church one more chance, and enrolled in a master's program at St. Francis Seminary,.... (page 71)
At the top of the same page, Mr. Schnoebelen claimed that when he called "the number of the Milwaukee Ward [LDS] bishop... I identified myself as an ex-Catholic priest interested in joining the Church,...." We asked Mr. Schnoebelen about this matter in the tape-recorded interview:
Sandra Tanner: ...you called to this bishop's number... and say you're an ex-Catholic priest.
Schnoebelen: Um hum.
S. Tanner: What ex-Catholic priest are you at that point?
Schnoebelen: I was an ex-Catholic who was a priest of the Wicca.
Jerald Tanner: Oh,... a Wiccan priest
Schnoebelen: See, I was already a Wiccan high priest at this time.
J. Tanner: So, it appears you can substitute Wiccan for Catholic priest?
Schnoebelen: ...we believed it was the same thing.
J. Tanner: And a
James Spencer: Who did?
Schnoebelen: Witches generally.
J. Tanner: Yeah, witches generally, but people generally don't believe that way.
Schnoebelen: No, no...
Language would become almost meaningless if we all used this type of reasoning to defend our actions. While we are certainly not apologists for the Roman Catholic Church, we feel that Mr. Schnoebelen gave a very distorted view of his own relationship to that church. He seems to have concentrated on the evils of the Catholics while at the same time making himself appear as the sincere seeker after God. He claimed that a priest taught him that the "miracles of the Bible were actually normal, natural happenings." (page 68) On the same page, he went on to say that he had a professor at the Catholic college he attended "who advocated masturbation, sexual freedom, and Marxist philosophy as the keys to Christian behavior." This, of course, may or may not be true, but it is Schnoebelen's attempt to paint himself as a true believer against such a background that is disturbing.
While Mr. Schnoebelen does state that after he left the Catholic priesthood, he and his wife "looked into other churches it was quite an interesting smorgasbord! Evangelical Christians, Zen, yoga, spiritualism, the Episcopal Church" (pageá71), he never tells of joining any other group, and completely suppressed the fact that he was deeply involved in witchcraft while he was at Loras College. Moreover, he completely omitted the information which shows that at the very time he was supposed to be a Roman Catholic priest, he was actually functioning as a "Spiritualist Minister, ADL." Mormonism's Temple of Doom, pageá63 indicates that he assumed this role on "12/02/72." In From Clergy to Convert, he maintained that problems in the Catholic Church and the music he was "forced to direct" made it hard to "keep my sanity." (page 69) The truth of the matter, however, seems to be that he was entangled in Luciferian activity. In The Lucifer-God Doctrine: Shadow or Reality? page 29, William Schnoebelen now admits he was "demonized" at the very time the Roman Catholics allowed him "to teach high school."
On page 69 of From Clergy to Convert, Mr. Schnoebelen claims that he went into the drug rehabilitation center so he could "feel as though I were doing good somewhere,... In the tape-recorded interview, however, he acknowledged that he did this so that he could make converts to witchcraft! On page 70, Mr. Schnoebelen wrote the following concerning the courtship he had with his wife:
We were kindred souls, but the idea of interacting with a woman terrified and excited me at the same time. In spite of it all, we were made for each other.
After a gentle, nine-month courtship, we were married in a civil ceremony on May 31, 1974. We had both soured so much on the Catholic Church that we could not bear a church wedding.
The truth of the matter is that when William first met Sharon at the drug rehabilitation center she was not "a former nun" who "left her order." In the tape-recorded interview, Mr. Schnoebelen admitted that she was, in fact, a "married" woman whose "marriage was not doing well." Her name at that time was "Sharon Mullen" (her maiden name was "Dura"). In any case, the "Chronology of William Schnoebelen," presented on pageá63 of Mormonism's Temple of Doom, shows that the period Schnoebelen refers to as "a gentle, nine-month courtship" was actually a time when they were living together after a witchcraft "marriage ceremony or 'handfasting.' " This occurred on "07/29/73," and they were finally "Legally married" on "05/31/74." When Mr. Schnoebelen was asked about this, he replied: "We've had so many marriages [witchcraft marriages?], I have trouble keeping them all straight.... It would have been a courtship in the sense that we weren't legally married..." He later commented: "I was trying to get her to marry me legally.... if that isn't courtship, I don't know what is. My parents were on my case: 'You're living in sin with a woman who's not married to you,' and I was trying to get her to marry me,..."
William Schnoebelen's article, which appears in From Clergy to Convert, is filled with misrepresentation. It is interesting to note how closely Mr. Schnoebelen's fabricated story followed the pattern set by the man who was supposed to have ordained him a priest in the American National Catholic Church. In the handwritten resume, which we have mentioned before, Edward Stehlik wrote: "Right after high schoo[l] I went into a Carmelite Monestery... where I stayed for the next 6 years of my l[i]fe." We have already shown that at the very time "Stehlik claims to have been in a [Roman Catholic] monastery (1962-68), he was married for the first time,... (Captial Times, Feb. 5, 1980) Mr. Schnoebelen's story is remarkably similar to that given by his "bishop."
THE FAUST STORY
As we have already shown, in the article written for the Mormons, William Schnoebelen began by saying: "It's pretty remarkable when a former Catholic priest marries a former nun, but it's even more remarkable when they end up joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints together." After attacking the Catholics, Mr. Schnoebelen moved out of the Mormon camp and joined critics in condemning Mormonism. Again, he presented himself as a man with unique qualifications. In a video of his 1986 lecture at Capstone Conference, he remarked: "...because of this somewhat unique background I don't think there's too many people that have gone from being a witch and a Satanist to being a Mormon to being a born-again believer that I feel that there is something I might be able to add to the... dialogue concerning the state of the Mormon temple rituals."
In light of the facts which we now know about his claims concerning Catholicism and in view of the way he handled himself in the tape-recorded interview when he was confronted, we cannot help but wonder if he is still prone to making exaggerated claims. As we have already shown, in the book From Clergy to Convert, Mr. Schnoebelen gives us the false story of his "ordination to the priesthood" in the Roman Catholic Church. He tells how "impressive" the ritual was and how "the bishop laid his hands on my head." He noted, however, that the ritual "left me feeling somehow empty." One cannot help but wonder if another story he told after he left the Mormon Church concerning an interview with Apostle James E. Faust is also a fabrication. This story came to light in 1986 when Trinity Evangelical Divinity School was considering a suggestion that William Schnoebelen would be a good speaker to address the Tanner Annual Lectureship on Cults. According to Ruth Tucker, she talked to Mr. Schnoebelen over the telephone and he told her that a Mormon Apostle admitted to him that the Mormon leaders knowingly worship Lucifer in the temple ceremony. She became concerned about the matter, and Jerry Urban, who is on the committee which considers speakers, called Schnoebelen to question him further. Mr. Urban was given permission by William Schnoebelen to tape the interview so that the entire committee would be able to hear what he was claiming. In that interview, Mr. Schnoebelen claimed that the Mormon Apostle James E. Faust admitted in a private interview in 1981 that the Mormon temple ceremony was a witchcraft ritual and that Lucifer was, in fact, the God of the temple. In the tape-recorded interview, Jerry Urban mentioned hearing from Ruth Tucker the report concerning the "conversation with an apostle." Mr. Schnoebelen responded as follows:
Schnoebelen: ...we did have a personal interview with one of the twelve apostles... because we happened to know the right people...
Urban: ...Who did you talk to out there?...
Schnoebelen: Elder Faust.
Schnoebelen: This is something... I'm still debating about whether or not to have really circulated because of the kind of thing he could probably, you know, want to sue us for.
Urban: ...that's part of my concern here. In other words, some
Schnoebelen: I... don't discuss this in any of my public [talks?]
Urban: ...so, then, you talked... to this Apostle Faust and
Schnoebelen: We had an audience or interview... and my wife had addressed at that time some troubling questions she had about all these resemblances that she was seeing between the temple ceremony and some of the stuff we had gone through [in witchcraft and Satanism]... and I'm giving you an almost exact quote... He said that he bore us his solemn testimony that this whole temple ceremony was precisely what she was describing as a witchcraft ceremony... and he said that, you know, that the God of the temple is Lucifer.
Urban: Oh, is is that right?
Urban: ...He used that term?
Schnoebelen: Yes... in almost all occult and cult groups... you will find there is this teaching that there is the milk and the meat.... and he told us that there are certain people that are called like, he referred to my wife as an elect lady... he assumed that because of all the experiences she has had that she was specially chosen by Father, who, of course, to him is Lucifer... to receive this inner teaching... which was that Lucifer was the true God of the Mormon Church and God of the temple...
Schnoebelen: ...this is very common to all these kind of Luciferian cult groups. They believe that, you know, God is Lucifer Lucifer is good... And that he is, in fact, you know, the God of this world...
Urban: See, I'm surprised that he used the term Lucifer, you know.
Schnoebelen. You see, you've got to realize that their whole thing is turned on end... and so for him it wouldn't be all that blasphemous to say that Lucifer ... is the true God.... That's what these people sincerely believe.
When we heard the tape Mr. Schnoebelen had allowed Jerry Urban to make for the committee, we found it extremely disturbing and could not believe that Apostle Faust would have made the statements attributed to him, especially since he had just met William Schnoebelen and his wife and they had only been in the church for a year. We found this account by Schnoebelen to be as incredible as the statements which Mr. Kellie made to Ed Decker a number of years ago. Even if Apostle Faust worships Lucifer as the true God, it seems very difficult to believe that he would be so free in admitting it to two strangers who visited his office.
We were also suspicious of the fact that Mr. Schnoebelen was telling the story in private but not mentioning it in his printed works. When we talked to the Apostle LeGrand Richards in 1960, he became very upset and said "I'm warning you, don't start anything against this church!" We published this statement without fear of a lawsuit. (Apostle Richards did threaten to sue us because we printed extracts from his great grandfather's journal, but the suit was never filed.) If Apostle Richards had told us in the interview we had with him that he worshipped Lucifer and that he was the God of the Mormon temple ceremony, we would have immediately published it to the world. In fact, we would have felt that it was our duty before God to bring such an admission to light.
In any case, we had grave doubts about William Schnoebelen's charges against Apostle Faust and felt that if he really believed Faust had said the things he was disseminating secretly, he should put them into print. Mr. Schnoebelen told Jerry Urban that he was "debating" whether to go public about the matter but was concerned that Apostle Faust might "sue." If Schnoebelen had only been speaking about theories he had with regard to the Mormons worshipping Lucifer, we probably would not have published anything from the tape. As it was, however, Mr. Schnoebelen was definitely asserting that Apostle Faust himself said that "the God of the temple is Lucifer." We felt that if Mr. Schnoebelen was telling the truth, he could not be sued if he published Faust's statements. He might, however, face some risk if Faust had some witnesses who would testify otherwise or if Faust had secretly recorded the meeting and the tape did not support Schnoebelen's charges. Since Schnoebelen appeared to be hiding behind the excuse of a lawsuit, we published his statement about Faust in the first edition of The Lucifer-God Doctrine. We knew that there was no way Mr. Schnoebelen could be sued if we published the information. (In the booklet, we referred to the teaching that the Mormon leaders knowingly worshipped Lucifer as the Lucifer-God doctrine.)
In view of the fact that William Schnoebelen's statements were tape-recorded, we expected that he would either own up to them or just ignore our publication. Instead, however, William Schnoebelen and Ed Decker responded to us in a way that we would never have expected. In their booklet The Lucifer-God Doctrine: Shadow or Reality? pageá14, they accused us of being "unethical" in publishing statements from the tape, and to our surprise, on pages 3-4 they completely and emphatically denied that the Lucifer-God doctrine had been taught:
The very title of the booklet, "The Lucifer-God Doctrine," is misleading, as is the above positional statement. Neither Ed [Decker] nor Bill [Schnoebelen] nor any other person associated with this ministry has ever taught that Mormon Church leaders knowingly believe in the "Lucifer-God" doctrine. One can, indeed, speculate about the highest men in Mormonism and how much they know, and how much they are deceived by Satan.... It may well be that Mormonism's leaders are the most trapped of all, caught in an infernal web which they cannot understand. This we cannot know for certain. Because of this uncertainty, we again state at the outset that is not now, nor has it ever been the position of Saints Alive corporately, or Ed Decker and Bill Schnoebelen privately that the LDS leaders at any time operate within a "Lucifer-God" doctrine. Mr. Tanner has set up a straw man to tear down. His inference is that we claim and teach this doctrine and that is simply not true.
In a letter to "Ed & Bill," dated January 29, 1988, Jerry Urban responded in a kind but vigorous manner to this denial. He had made his own transcription of some of the statements on the tape and had arrived at exactly the same conclusion we had i.e., that William Schnoebelen had said that Apostle Faust claimed the "God of the temple is Lucifer." He felt, therefore, that the denial was "not consistent with the discussion and taping." Although William Schnoebelen and Decker had previously emphasized that no one "associated with this ministry has ever taught that Mormon Church leaders knowingly believe in the 'Lucifer-God' doctrine.... it is not now nor has it ever been the position of Saints Alive corporately, or Ed Decker and Bill Schnoebelen privately that the LDS leaders at any time operate within a 'Lucifer-God' doctrine," Mr. Schnoebelen admitted in a letter to Jerry Urban that what he said in the tape-recorded interview "could fairly be construed to mean that my position 'privately' was that the LDS leaders operated within a LGD [Lucifer-God doctrine]." He went on to reveal something that he felt was on the tape but was not i.e., that his wife had had a dream about Mormons "worshipping Lucifer in the temple" and that Apostle Faust had acknowledged that this "was true." In the same letter Mr. Schnoebelen tried to justify his statements about the Lucifer-God doctrine by claiming that he was only "testifying" about the matter; he was not "teaching" it to an audience:
Re: #1; we think that to teach something is to intentionally promulgate it before a public forum, ie. a classroom, conference or audience. It is also to present material in a fashion which assumes the data to be empirically demonstrable. You can teach the binomial theorem. But a witness on a stand testifying about his or her experiences cannot be said to be teaching by any stretch of the imagination. This is all I was doing testifying.
Neither Ed nor I ever taught the LGD. We never presented it as an established fact. We never published it; and in fact the question would never have been known to the LDS people had not Jerald put it into print!
#2 the problem word here may be "privately." Perhaps this was an unfair characterization. I certainly admit that what I said (and please remember we do not have the tape) could fairly be construed to mean that my position "privately" was that LDS leaders operate within a LGD. However, this is not the only interpretation.... It is not clear to us from these quotes whether the second set of quotes is me quoting Faust or me making observations. However, we would agree that Lucifer IS the god of the LDS church! Hopefully, you do too.
There is, however, a large difference between saying that Lucifer is the god of the LDS church and saying that the LDS leaders KNOW that he is the god of their religion. That is the distinction we keep trying to make, and no one seems to want to let us make it. Even in the case of the Faust interview, all that established is that Faust said that he believed that what Sharon had told him about having a dream (of temple patrons worshipping Lucifer in the temple) was true; and led us to believe that indeed such worship went on in the temple. That's all. I'm sorry if the tape gave any other impression, but you must remember that I was talking "ad lib" five years after the fact.
Now at most, that only covers one Apostle who may have been expressing a "private opinion." It is even possible, as Jerald has suggested, that Sharon and I misinterpreted what he said, although she and I have discussed it at great length and honestly don't believe this to be the case.
In any event, we are only talking about one apostle. That's all it addresses. I do not publicly or privately believe that all the LDS leaders knowingly worship Satan, and I have never said that...
William Schnoebelen's attempt to claim that he was "only talking about one apostle" in the phone call with Jerry Urban does not match statements that are preserved on the tape. While he only refers to the confession of "one apostle" that "the God of the temple is Lucifer," a careful examination of his statements makes it clear that he claimed the leaders (plural) of the Mormon Church believed in the Lucifer-God doctrine. He told, for instance, of the "inner teaching" that "Lucifer was the true God of the Mormon Church and God of the temple..." He said that "They believe that, you know, God is Lucifer..." Schnoebelen also maintained that "these people sincerely believe" that "Lucifer.. is the true God."
William Schnoebelen's attempts to extricate himself from the contradictory statements he has made reminds us of the story of the man who borrowed a jug. After he returned it, the owner found that it was broken and accused him of being the one who broke it. The man responded that he had not taken it in the first place; that it was already broken when he borrowed it; and, furthermore, that there was nothing wrong with it when he returned it. Mr. Schnoebelen's excuses with regard to the false statements which appear in the response written by Ed Decker and himself brings to mind his attempt to explain away his false statement that he was an "ex-Catholic priest" by saying that he really was an ex-Catholic and a "Wiccan priest." In their response to us, pageá23, Schnoebelen and Decker say that "the serpent teaches doctrine in Genesis," and they refer to the "teachings Lucifer gives Eve." This was certainly not "before a public forum, ie. a classroom, conference or audience." Mr. Schnoebelen is splitting hairs over the meaning of a word to defend his statements in the response.
We have always been very critical of the way Joseph Smith and other early Mormon leaders publicly denied polygamy when the evidence shows they were, in fact, practicing it. In the History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 411, Joseph Smith is quoted as saying: "What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers." On February 1, 1844, Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, went so far as to publish a public announcement that Hiram Brown had been "cut off from the church" for "preaching polygamy, and other false and corrupt doctrines,.... (Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 423) On March 15, 1844, Hyrum Smith, who was a member of the First Presidency of the Mormon Church and a polygamist at that time, strongly denied that the church leaders were "privately or publicly" teaching plural marriage: "Whereas brother Richard Hewitt... states to me that some of your elders say, that a man having a certain priesthood, may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrine is taught here: I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrine, for there is no such doctrine taught here; neither is there any such thing practiced here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such doctrine, is culpable, and will stand a chance to... lose his license and membership also:..." (Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 474)
After the Mormons finally admitted that they were indeed practicing polygamy, their leaders tried to explain away the previous denials in a way that reminds one of William Schnoebelen's explanations of his statements made regarding the Lucifer-God doctrine. They claimed, for instance, that Joseph Smith and other early Mormon officials were only denying the wicked practice of polygamy, not the righteous system of Plural marriage which the Lord had introduced. Mr. Schnoebelen's denials of holding to the Lucifer-God doctrine, would certainly fall into the same category as the denials the Mormon apologists issued. In fact, the Mormons could say that Joseph Smith was not really "teaching" polygamy, he was merely "testifying" to the women concerning the principle and that they chose to enter into the practice.
It is interesting to note that Ed Decker himself severely condemned the Mormons for using this very type of double talk. In The God Makers, we find a chapter entitled, "Lying Prophets And Apostles." In this chapter we find the following:
The Brethren lied to deny it was practiced, then lied to establish it as the most sacred doctrine of the Church, then lied again to abandon it.... The consistent record of lies and deception leaves us with no choice but to conclude that leaders in the Mormon Church, then and now, have a contempt for truth and honesty when it comes to defending their "Prophet" and their religion.... right up to the time of his death.... Joseph Smith made repeated public and private denials that he was a polygamist... Joseph Smith was the perjurer. Only false prophets lie.... Mormon leaders... compounded their sin by public denials that were just plain lies.... Joseph Smith had at least four and probably seven times the seven wives he was accused of having! If he lied about this issue, what else would he lie about? How could anyone accept anything he said? Joseph F. Smith... tried to call these lies "seeming denials." His statement betrays the mentality that persists among Mormons even today which allows them to deny the obvious with an apparently good conscience:... The brazen hypocrisy and deceit of Mormon Presidents and Apostles can be seen... Joseph Smith's unconscionable contempt for truth is staggering... polygamy was being practiced secretly and being lied about publicly.... The persistent duplicity of early Mormon Prophets and Apostles involved in the polygamy caper is almost beyond belief. (The God Makers, 1984, pages 146, 149, 152-54, 157-58)
Ed Decker, of course, was correct in stating that the early Mormon leaders did not tell the truth about plural marriage. It seems remarkable to us, however, that Decker and Schnoebelen have done exactly the same thing with regard to the Lucifer-God doctrine. When Wesley P. Walters pressed Mr. Decker on his beliefs concerning the Lucifer-God doctrine, he finally admitted that Mr. Schnoebelen had sent him a manuscript which contained an account of the "Faust visit":
...I do not believe that Bill has stated, even in private, "that Faust admitted that such (LDS Leadership knowingly designing their religion to serve satan) was the case." He did say, in private, that One and Only One general authority gave recognition that He and only He understood this.
It was several years ago that I came across the Faust visit in a manuscript Bill sent me from Iowa. It was at that time that I contacted Bill and told him that conversation was undocumentable and therefore unusable and should be stricken from any manuscript. Bill did st[r]ike it from the book but, unfortunately mentioned it to Jerry Urban a year later. For that he now considers himself fool of the year...
Bill recalls to the best of his recollection... telling Jerry that Faust acknowledged that what Sharon (Bill's wife) said to him (Faust) about her having dreams in which she saw LDS temple patrons crying out in worship to Lucifer was true, according to "his solemn testimony"... acknowledging Faust's understanding (HIS ONLY) that Lucifer was the god of the LDS temple ritual.
Now please, Wes... you are supposed to be an intelligent man and researcher. What that says and what you said we have taught are two different things." (Letter from Ed Decker to Wesley P. Walters, dated Feb. 9, 1988)
The reader will note that Ed Decker acknowledged that he had read the account of the Faust interview in William Schnoebelen's manuscript "several years ago." It is troubling that a man who knew all this could have written the following in the response to us: "...it is not now, nor has it ever been the position of ... Bill Schnoebelen privately that the LDS leaders at any time operate within a 'Lucifer-God' doctrine." The evidence clearly shows that William Schnoebelen held to the idea that the Mormon leaders knowingly worshipped Lucifer and even wrote a manuscript for publication ("Having A Form Of Godliness") which contained that information. Although Ed Decker may have told Mr. Schnoebelen that the Faust interview should be "stricken" from the manuscript, he was apparently convinced that Apostle Faust did tell Schnoebelen that "the God of the temple is Lucifer." One of the authors of this newsletter (Sandra Tanner) remembers a meeting with Ed Decker at the Christian Embassy Bookstore in Salt Lake City months before Mr. Schnoebelen spoke at Capstone Conference in 1986. At that time Mr. Decker said that he now knew that the Mormon leaders knowingly worship Lucifer in the temple. When Sandra protested that this was going too far and warned him that he was skating on very thin ice, Ed Decker responded that a highly reliable informant had given him this information. It now appears that it was William Schnoebelen who had revealed this information to Mr. Decker. In a letter dated January 9, 1988, Ed Decker denied that he "EVER GAVE A TEACHING THAT THE LDS LEADERS BELIEVE AND CONSPIRE THAT LUCIFER IS THEIR GOD AND KNOWINGLY LEAD THEIR PEOPLE INTO HIS BONDAGE,..." In the same letter, however, Mr. Decker said: "I may have talked at leadership level about our studies in this area and Sandra may have warned me to be careful,...."
Whether it was "a teaching" or only a "testimony," Sandra definitely remembers Ed Decker making the claim that the Mormon leaders knowingly worship Lucifer in the temple and cannot understand how he could say that he never even "privately" held to "the position" that "the LDS leaders at any time operate within a 'Lucifer-God' doctrine." While Jerald was not at this meeting, he distinctly recalls discussing Mr. Decker's assertion concerning the Mormon leaders knowingly worshipping Lucifer with Sandra immediately after she left Christian Embassy Bookstore. It is even possible that Sandra's stiff opposition to Ed Decker's statement about the matter might have had some influence in his decision to tell William Schnoebelen that the interview with Apostle Faust "should be stricken" from his manuscript.
In the tape-recorded interview we had with William Schnoebelen, he admitted that he had circulated his manuscript to a number of people besides Ed Decker an admission which seems to further undermine his earlier statement that he did not even "privately" promote the Lucifer-God doctrine. When Schnoebelen was asked whether the Faust interview was in the copy of the manuscript which he gave to James Spencer and his wife, he admitted that "it probably is." James Spencer said that he is planning to print Mr. Schnoebelen's manuscript but that "there's no way I would publish that with that statement in there."
In the presence of Mr. Schnoebelen, Pastor Spencer said that he also remembered him telling the Faust story. He recalled that Schnoebelen told him that he and his wife Sharon, "went into his [Apostle Faust's] office and she went into the dream that she'd had, and I remembered you saying that she had seen a naked lady in the temple kind of on an altar, and I remember you saying to me that Apostle Faust said to you. 'I see that you are an elect lady.' "
In a letter to Jerald Tanner, dated Feb. 4, 1988, Ed Decker said that he could not be at the interview with William Schnoebelen, however, he had "asked Blaine Hunsaker to sit in for me." Mr. Hunsaker was very honest about the whole matter and made some admissions which really hurt the position that both Decker and Schnoebelen had taken in their response to us. Mr. Hunsaker said that William Schnoebelen had told him and his wife "the whole story" of the interview with Apostle Faust "about a year and a half ago." Mr. Hunsaker, who is with Saints Alive in Brigham City, Utah, went on to say that he publicly disseminated the story of the Faust interview: "...I used it. I used it in tape messages advertized in the newspapers. I didn't use Bill Schnoebelen's name in connection with it; I said... some of our people have been in conference with Apostle Faust and Apostle Faust had admitted and repeated " At this point Mr. Hunsaker was interrupted, but he later went on to say that he had wanted William Schnoebelen to make the Faust interview public: "In fact, personally, I was hoping that he would take the boldness and bring it out into the public ... but he chose not to."
It was certainly refreshing to hear the straightforward response of Mr. Hunsaker Ed Decker's own representative at the meeting. His account completely undermined the denials Decker and Schnoebelen had written in response to us. The reader will remember that on pages 3-4 of the response, they stated: "Neither Ed nor Bill nor any other person associated with this ministry has ever taught that Mormon Church leaders knowingly believe in the 'Lucifer-God' doctrine.... it is not now, nor has it ever been the position of Saints Alive corporately, or Ed Decker and Bill Schnoebelen privately that the LDS leaders at any time operate within a 'Lucifer-God' doctrine."
On the tape recording which Jerry Urban made, William Schnoebelen was very definite about what Apostle Faust had told him: "...he said that, you know, that the God of the temple is Lucifer." Jerry Urban responded: "Oh, is is that right?" Mr. Schnoebelen replied: "Yes." Urban then asked Schnoebelen if Faust "used that term?" Schnoebelen's response was, "Yes." In the interview we had with William Schnoebelen on Feb. 19, 1988, he did not seem to be as certain about the matter:
Schnoebelen: ... Faust said, after hearing this account [Sharon's account of the dream that the Mormon's were worshipping Lucifer], he said, I bear you my solemn testimony that these things are true.... We, of course, thought he meant that [i.e., the dream], and I admit that there are other options open. He never said quote, unquote, Lucifer is the God
Spencer: He may have been saying to you I bear you my testimony that the Mormon Church is true?
(At this point everyone began talking at once and nothing can be transcribed.)
Schnoebelen: No, he never said that in so many words to the best of my recollection or Sharon's.
Jerald Tanner: ...He never said that Lucifer is the God of the temple?
Schnoebelen: No, no.
Spencer: Is that what he [Mr. Schnoebelen] told Jerry Urban? Did he say that Faust said Lucifer is the God of the temple?
J. Tanner: That's what he told Jerry Urban.
Schnoebelen: Yeah, well, see... I was talking off the top of my head and my wife wasn't even around...
Spencer: You may have believed that's what he said.
Schnoebelen: Yeah.... he implied, he didn't say.
Hunsaker: Did you come away from that meeting believing that that's what he told you?
Schnoebelen: Yes, emphatically. We felt that we'd finally hit pay dirt.
William Schnoebelen's wife, Sharon, could probably throw some light on this matter and also on all her husband's other claims, but, unfortunately, neither William Schnoebelen nor James Spencer wanted us to contact her:
Jerald Tanner: How could we reach her? Would she be available... on the telephone?
Schnoebelen: At this point I wouldn't press it...
J. Tanner: Are you keeping her from us, or is that her decision?
James Spencer: I would suggest... at this point ... that we keep her from you.
In their response to us, William Schnoebelen and Ed Decker seem to be criticizing us for not printing the hard truth about Mormonism: "Mr. Tanner is advising caution about using research that seems to him to be 'wild speculation and stories.'... He seems to insist that our research be iron-clad enough to convict a man of first-degree murder before publishing anything, yet he has made mistakes in just his research on us.... A large part of the reason Bill left Mormonism was because of Ed Decker. He might still be LDS if Ed had been waiting for the kind of non-offending evidence Mr. Tanner requires from him." (The Lucifer-God Doctrine: Shadow or Reality? pages 29-30)
While Decker and Schnoebelen have publicly made some incredible and unsupported claims concerning Mormonism and have said that "The Mormons deserve to know the truth, and if it hardens some hearts, so be it." (Ibid., p. 28), they seem to have lost their courage when it came to actually printing the Faust interview. According to his own statement, Ed Decker claimed he told William Schnoebelen to strike out this portion of his manuscript. Nevertheless, both Decker and Schnoebelen used it privately to help support their extreme Luciferian views concerning the Mormon temple ceremony. It would appear that even now there are "mysteries" which can only be found in the inner circle of those who are promoting the Luciferian theory. That there are "many" esoteric matters concerning the temple and witchcraft which only those close to Schnoebelen can learn is made plain on pages 14-15 of the rebuttal: "In counsel with their pastor and in prayer before God, they [William Schnoebelen and his wife] have chosen not to mention many things about the temple and its association with witchcraft things far more troubling than what has been published because they would be too sensational and too disturbing for the average Mormon to hear about."
While we have no reason to doubt that William Schnoebelen and his wife met with Apostle Faust, we cannot accept his story concerning the conversation which ensued. It seems as mythical as his earlier claim that a Roman Catholic bishop "laid his hands" on his head and ordained him to the priesthood.
ELI A MORMON?
In an article published in Saints Alive Journal, Winter 1986, William Schnoebelen wrote:
As a former Mason/Occultist, I joined the LDS Church... My teacher, the highest ranking Witch in the USA... told us that the LDS church was a place prepared for witches and occultists to hide should the country's mood change to a conservative one. He told us that Mormonism had been founded by Lucifer to provide a hospitable cover where witches could hide themselves... Our witch "Master" told us that the Mormon temple was an especially powerful place to go.... Indeed, he told us that there was an occult power to be had in the temple that could be achieved nowhere else...
In the Decker-Schnoebelen response to us, page 14, the witch Master's craft name is given as "Eli" (his real name was Barney C. Taylor), and the organization he headed was known as the Mental Science Institute. Mr. Schnoebelen's claim that "Eli" was "the highest ranking Witch in the USA," seems to be a real exaggeration. In the first edition of The Lucifer-God Doctrine, page 5, we pointed out that when "Mr. Schnoebelen speaks of his 'Witch Master' as being 'the highest ranking Witch in the USA,' this could give the impression to some people that he had power over all other witches in the United States. This, of course, could not possibly be correct because witchcraft is divided up into a number of groups. It is comparable, in fact, to the situation we find in Mormonism. Those who have made a serious study know that there are quite a number of churches that base their teachings on Joseph Smith. Although the President of the Reorganized LDS Church has a certain amount of power in his own church, he has no control over the Utah Mormons. The 'Witch' whom Mr. Schnoebelen refers to may have had a great deal of influence in his own group, but there seems to be no reason to believe he had power over the other groups."
In the Decker-Schnoebelen response, pageá14, it is conceded that we were "right in saying that there are many witchcraft groups. Bill has even gone to lengths in his subsequent talks to correct any confusion this statement may have caused.... witches, like cultists, have the belief that their form of Wicca is the 'only, true form of witchcraft.'... The Druidic Craft (Mental Science Institute) taught that all other witches were false.... To the devout Mormon, there are no other 'restored churches,' even though there are actually more than a hundred. Similarly, to him, all other witchcraft traditions were fake, so Eli was in fact the head of all witches; just as Benson is the prophet of all Mormons."
In his lecture delivered at Capstone Conference in 1986, William Schnoebelen acknowledged that "witchcraft is sort of like many religions, its fragmented. There's literally hundreds of ways of practicing it." He boasted, however, that "this Eli... had responsibility over literally thousands of occultists and witches from the Druidic Rite, as it's called, of witchcraft." Although Mr. Schnoebelen would have us believe that "Eli" was over "literally thousands" of people, the evidence does not seem to support that claim. Dr. J. Gordon Melton, the noted authority on churches, cults and the occult, claims that the Mental Science Institute was actually a small group. He feels, in fact, that it probably did not have more than one or two hundred members.
In any case, William Schnoebelen claimed that he had a xerox copy of a typed sheet containing a ritual used in the Mental Science Institute where a man and woman were sealed together "for time and all eternity." This contained wording which is strikingly similar to the Mormon temple ceremony in which couples are also sealed "for time and all eternity" (see our book Mormonism - Shadow or Reality? page 473). We felt that the parallels between the two ceremonies were just too close to be coincidence. In his 1986 lecture at Capstone Conference, Mr. Schnoebelen claimed that the Mental Science Institute rituals "date back to at least the Scottish immigration to Southeastern America in the 1700s, and they are virtually identical to the rights that are used today in the Mormon temple."
In the first edition of The Lucifer-God Doctrine, we made a careful study of the Mormon temple ceremony and found that the material Mr. Schnoebelen claimed was out of witchcraft resembled the modern version of the temple ceremony (which we had published in Mormonism - Shadow or Reality? in 1972) far more than it did versions published during the 19th century. Since a number of changes had been made in the temple ceremony since it was given in the 1840s, this indicated to us that the material which Schnoebelen claimed was from witchcraft and dated back to "the 1700s" was in reality taken from the Mormon temple ceremony in recent years. In his 1986 lecture at Capstone Conference, William Schnoebelen had this sharp rebuke for those who would be so misinformed as to suggest that the witchcraft material was taken from the Mormon temple ceremony, rather than the other way around: "...I have this to say to them: PHOOEY!"
Even though William Schnoebelen seemed so emphatic in his position that there could not have been a reverse borrowing of the material, the evidence we had uncovered indicated that this was the case. Fortunately, we were referred to Jack Roper, an expert on the occult. Mr. Roper was aware of the Mental Science Institute and had met "Eli" at one time. He thought this organization had doctrines similar to Mormonism and referred us to an article by J. Gordon Melton which contained the following:
Eli Taylor, who is the grand master of what is termed druidic witchcraft, is a descendant of Thomas Hartley... The Mental Science Institute was organized in the late 1960's as a focus for Taylor's brand of herbal magick.... The universe is seen in a series of levels celestial, terrestial and telestial. The celestial is divided into sublevels at the top of which is God the Father, followed by the Lord of Lights, arc-angels and angels. Man, animals and plants are on the terrestrial level. At the lowest level, the telestial level, are the mineral, chemical and electrical elements and creative thought. Just as there is a Father, there is a Mother of all men.
Mental Science Institute.
In a concept very close to Mormon theology, the Mental Science Institute teaches that the Father must at one time have been a child.
This article provides information which seems to show that the Mental Science Institute has borrowed some of its ideas from Mormonism. Besides the parallel concerning the Father having "been a child," we have the words "celestial, terrestrial and telestial." Those who are familiar with Mormonism know that Joseph Smith taught that there were three kingdoms in heaven, the celestial, terrestrial and telestial (see Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76). While Joseph Smith's view on three heavens could have been derived from Swedenborg's writings, the idea that one of the kingdoms was named the "terrestrial" kingdom seems to be unique to Mormonism. (The word Terrestrial, of course, actually means earthly.) The fact that the Mental Science Institute used the word terrestial (Eli seems to have dropped the final r from the word) as the name of one of the levels of the universe leads to the view that this organization was borrowing from Mormonism. The thing that really cinches the matter, however, is the use of the word "telestial" for the lowest level. It is a well-known fact that this is not a real word. It was, in fact, invented by Joseph Smith in the early 1830s.
Ed Decker and William Schnoebelen took issue with our research concerning the Mental Science Institute and wrote the following on pageá21 of their rebuttal:
It was good of Mr. Tanner to note that occult researchers Jack Roper and Gordon Melton collaborate both the existence of Eli and his Mental Science Institute, and its strong resemblance to Mormonism. However, with typical misdirection, he then writes: '[Melton's] article provides information which seems to show that the Mental Science Institute has borrowed some of its ideas from Mormonism.'
Actually, the article does no such thing. Interestingly enough, Bill was perfectly aware of the Melton book and provided a photocopy of the article to his co-author, Jim Spencer; who came to precisely the opposite conclusion as the Tanners taking it as a confirmation of Bill's story....
All this proves is that LDS and Wiccan theology are close. But Mr. Tanner concludes that it proves he is right and we are wrong. He feels that the use of the word 'telestial' by Eli proves that he borrowed from Mormonism rather than vice-versa.... It may be that telestial is not a real word, but if anything, that substantiates the claim toward his getting it from witchcraft.... Which is more likely, that Smith pulled the word out of thin air or that he got it from one of the many occult associations in Smith's family?
While Decker and Schnoebelen charged that we were using our "typical misdirection" in stating that the Mental Science Institute borrowed from Mormons, the evidence that this is the case has become irrefutable. On January 13, 1988, Dr. J. Gordon Melton, the author of the article which tipped us off to the Mormon connection, sent us a prepared statement which confirms that the evidence does show that Eli borrowed from the Mormons:
"During the 1970s while I was researching the NeoPagan community, I had ample opportunity to investigate the teachings of the Mental Science Institute led by Barney Taylor (Eli). All of the evidence suggests that Taylor created MSI himself using as content some books on Rosicrucianism, herbalogy, Mormonism, and the occult. Taylor had no discernible traditional roots in any witchcraft prior to the contemporary Gardnerian revival which dates from the 1940s. I can say that beyond any reasonable doubt that any similarity between MSI and Mormonism on matters of teaching is due to Taylor's having taken Mormon ideas and incorporating them in MSI. Taylor does not represent any nineteenth-century witchcraft tradition which could serve as a common source for both his teachings and those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. During my extensive study of witchcraft in America, I could find no evidence of any witchcraft apart from various mundane magical spells (such as making love potions) being practiced in America. There is no evident [evidence?] of anyone advocating or practicing a consistent witchcraft worldview from which a sophisticated religious teaching such as Mormonism could be derived. Anyone advocating the development of Mormonism out of witchcraft has the burden of proof upon them to establish that any such witchcraft existed." Gordon Melton
At one time an ex-member of the Mental Science Institute gave Dr. Melton a "large file" of material he had acquired while he had belonged to that organization. Among the items was The Second Book of Wisdom - a document of 126 pages by Barney C. Taylor (Eli). This work contains "a series of informative materials, study questions, and practices for the beginner in occult science... leading to the Diplome of a Fellow of Mental Science." We were especially interested in this document because in a letter dated April 13, 1987, William Schnoebelen claimed that the pages he had containing the sealing ritual (the material which is similar to the Mormon temple ceremony) were taken "out of the 2nd Book of Wisdom, a ritual work book of the Druidic Craft of the Wise aka Druidic Wicca or Mental Science Institute.... my copy was destroyed by fire in 1984, but I was able to procure these pages from a former colleague high priest in Arkansas. They were typed by him and sent to me."
Fortunately, The Institute For the Study of American Religion, which is directed by Dr. Melton, provided us with a xerox copy of The Second Book of Wisdom. This copy, which contains 34 lessons, does not have any material concerning couples being sealed "for time and all eternity" i.e., the ritual which Mr. Schnoebelen claims came out of "the 2nd Book of Wisdom." When we questioned William Schnoebelen about The Second Book of Wisdom, he claimed that "it was only available, you see, to the High Priesthood." Mr. Schnoebelen's claim seems inconsistent with the cover pageáwhich says that it is "for the beginner in occult science." When we showed Schnoebelen the copy we had received, he looked it over and said: "Well, this is a lot more comprehensive, okay, than what I saw. In fact, this looks like its been kind of worked over and polished up.... I recognize things in here." When he was asked if this was the book referred to as The Second Book of Wisdom, he replied: "I would have no reason to doubt it, No, no." The question was raised concerning why the material that resembled the Mormon temple ceremony was not in the copy which Dr. Melton obtained. Mr. Schnoebelen responded that "it was" in the copy he had, and he didn't know "why it isn't now.
William Schnoebelen went on to state that The Second Book of Wisdom was only "available to a High Priest or a High Priestess." He had previously written that he destroyed his occult material in 1984 when he became a Christian. This would explain why he had to go back to a "high priest in Arkansas" to obtain copies of some of the pages from that document. He later related, however, that "Sharon's occult things were at her parents" and therefore "were preserved from destruction." (The LuciferGod Doctrine: Shadow or Reality? page 18) Since the High Priestess was also supposed to have a copy of The Second Book of Wisdom, we asked Mr. Schnoebelen why her copy had not survived. He replied: "Well, you see, you've got to understand something and I hope Jim can verify this for my book; we had a fire in 1974, and all her occult materials were destroyed because... the fire bomb was thrown into our attic." It would appear, then, that there were two fires Sharon's copy was destroyed in the fire set by an arsonist in 1974 and ten years later William burned his own copy.
While J. Gordon Melton's copy of The Second Book of Wisdom does not give any support for the material Mr. Schnoebelen claims was in the document (i.e., the pages concerning the sealing of men and women "for time and all eternity"), it does provide extremely important evidence to show that Mormon words and concepts were used by Eli as structural material for his own peculiar version of "Druidic" witchcraft. For instance, in his translation of the Book of Abraham, Joseph Smith seems to have created a new word by slightly modifying the Hebrew word for star - kokob: "And I saw the stars.... and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God;... and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God:..." (Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham 3:2-3) On page 10 of The Second Book of Wisdom, Eli borrowed the word that Joseph Smith had created:
Then one giant yellow sun; a world of very high vibrations, came into the Universe. This was the world of KOLOB, the first.
When we questioned Mr. Schnoebelen about the word "Kolob" found in Eli's document, he admitted that "he [Eli] used the word Kolob quite frequently..."
In the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:25, we read: "Adam fell that men might be and men are, that they might have joy." In The Second Book of Wisdom, page 66, Eli borrowed the last seven words of this verse, and although he put quotation marks around them, he did not give the source: "Then what should we get out of living? 'Men are that they might have joy.' "
J. Gordon Melton has also sent us a copy of the Mental Science Institute's Priesthood Manual. On page 19 of this work, Eli again cited from the Book of Mormon: "People should have fun. Our scriptures say that 'MEN ARE THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE JOY,' so have fun." That Eli would refer to the quotation as being from the "scriptures" is very interesting.
Other things in The Second Book of Wisdom betray that it had roots in Mormonism. Although Eli seemed to avoid naming Mormon publications, on page 77, he expressed the importance of paying tithing and used "the Mormon church" as an example. He claimed that because of its system of tithing the church flourished. Today it is about the seventh in numbers in the United States, but the second in wealth."
Through The Institute For the Study of American Religion, J. Gordon Melton has also provided us with another book written by Eli, The First Book of Wisdom. This book uses the word "Kolob" over a dozen times in the opening section. On page 6, for instance, Eli spoke of the time "when the children of Kolob became Gods in their own solar systems,..." This, of course, has a familiar Mormon ring to it. On pageá22 we read that "All worlds, celestial, terrestial, and telestial, are inhabited by beings with physical bodies suited for their worlds."
Pages 21 and 24 of The First Book of Wisdom contain material that was obviously derived from Mormonism:
...the Father must have been a child before He became an adult.... The Father therefore must have been a man before he became God... God is a perfected man.... If God was once a child, he must have had a Father, who also must have had a Father, and so on back into infinity.... If Man has a spiritual Father, then he must have had a spiritual Mother. Even though God is a perfected man, he could not become a "Father" without a female spirit to act as Mother and accomplish the miracle of creation.... You are a spiritual Being a child of this celestial family a child of God a God in the making.... You WILL be like your Father in Heaven. A Creator in your own right.... Eternal progress is the law of the universe.... When the Children of God become adult Gods, they will be required to create their own worlds as schools for their own children.
The reader should compare these statements made by Eli with quotations from the teachings of Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders:
"First, God himself... is a man like unto one of yourselves.... God himself; the Father of us all dwelt on an earth... You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves;..." (Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, vol. 5, pp. 613-614)
"...God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through a school of earth life... He became God..." (Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through The Ages, page 104)
"... our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again, He was begotten by a still more ancient Father, and so on,..." (Orson Pratt, The Seer, page 132)
"The stupendous truth of the existence of a Heavenly Mother, as well as a Heavenly Father, became established facts in Mormon theology." (Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, page 98)
"...God, our heavenly Father, was perhaps once a child, and mortal like we ourselves, and rose step by step in the scale of progress,..." (Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 123)
"God the Father is a glorified and perfected man,..." (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, page 319)
A careful search of Mormon literature on the teachings concerning God might reveal many more parallels to Eli's teachings in the First Book of Wisdom. Even more important evidence, however, comes from a statement which appears on page 26 of Eli's Priesthood Manual:
Gemini Message -"As men are, God once was, until he thought; as God is, men may become, when they think."
Any real student of Mormonism will recognize that Eli has borrowed from a poem written by Lorenzo Snow (Snow later became the 5th president of the Mormon Church):
"As man now is, God once was:
As God now is, man may be."
(As cited by Van Hale in Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1978, page 214, n.26)
When we had the tape-recorded interview with William Schnoebelen we pointed out that the evidence clearly showed that Eli borrowed from Mormonism. We noted, in fact, that Eli had lifted material from all the standard works of Mormonism i.e., the material Mormons accept as scripture. We showed that he used the word "telestial" from the Doctrine and Covenants; that he took the word "Kolob" from the Pearl of Great Price; and that he quoted directly from 2 Nephi 2:25 in the Book of Mormon. That Eli used two very unique words which Joseph Smith himself had coined seems to be very strong evidence in itself that he was using Joseph Smith's writings in creating his system of witchcraft. Since Mr. Schnoebelen had claimed that Eli said "the Mormon temple was an especially powerful place to go... that there was an occult power to be had in the temple that could be achieved nowhere else," we felt that Eli must have been a Mormon at one time.
After presenting some of the evidence which led us to conclude that Eli had borrowed from Mormonism to William Schnoebelen, we asked him if Eli had any Mormon books. He replied: "Not that I ever saw." To our great surprise, however, he made an astounding admission when we asked, "Did Eli... ever join the Mormon Church to your knowledge?" Mr. Schnoebelen responded: "...he claimed that at one point he had been a Mormon bishop." Mr. Schnoebelen went on to state: "He indicated that... when he had been on the west coast he had found it expeditious to do that at one point."
If Eli was telling the truth when he told Schnoebelen that he had been a Mormon bishop, he undoubtedly would have gone through the temple a number of times. (We do not, of course, even know for sure that Eli's real name was "Barney C. Taylor." The reader will remember that Mr. Schnoebelen and his wife changed their names after joining his group.) In any case, the evidence clearly reveals that Eli was a student of Mormon theology and his exposure to Joseph Smith's writings is reflected in the teachings of the Mental Science Institute. While Schnoebelen is unable to show that the material which contains parallels to the Mormon temple ceremony was taken from The Second Book of Wisdom, as he previously claimed, we cannot completely discount the idea that Eli would have had such a ceremony in his Mental Science Institute.
In the interview he had with us, Mr. Schnoebelen acknowledged that J. Gordon Melton has "probably done more spade work and knows more people in various witchcraft groups than probably anyone else." When we asked Dr. Melton if he had encountered any other witchcraft group besides the Mental Science Institute which claimed to have a marriage ceremony wherein couples were sealed together "for time and all eternity," he replied that he had copies of a number of marriage ceremonies for different groups involved in witchcraft. These ceremonies did not contain such a ritual nor did he have knowledge of any group having such a ceremony. He, in fact, said that the marriage ceremonies were usually for only a short period of time. This might account for the statement made by Mr. Schnoebelen which we have already cited: "We've had so many marriages, I have trouble keeping them all straight."
Although William Schnoebelen admitted that J. Gordon Melton was a good scholar of the occult, he argued that "his knowledge is academic, it's not experiential." He went on to say: "I don't really think that just because, for instance the Druidic rite is the only rite that has these resemblances, necessarily makes it suspect. We were taught that the Druidic rite was the only true form of witchcraft and that all these others were more or less... take offs. And other scholars in witchcraft... have very much established that the whole of witchcraft was basically stitched together out of whole cloth in the beginning part of this century. Eli, on the other hand, asserted, for what ever it's worth,... that his was the true and that all these others were more or less pretenders."
In addition to the document which was supposed to have been taken from The Second Book of Wisdom, William Schnoebelen claimed he had a "copy of a copy" of a typewritten satanic ritual which is supposed to also resemble a portion of the Mormon temple ceremony (see Mormonism's Temple of Doom, pages 35-36). He claimed that he originally had his own copy in 1977, but since he burned it in 1984, he had to obtain a copy from a "rather strange fellow in Chicago." This man had been one of his "old pupils" who was of "lower rank" in the organization. One would think that Mr. Schnoebelen might know the name of the satanic group he was affiliated with, but when he was asked about the matter, he responded: "Well, I don't know the name of the group. I know that it claimed to be affiliated in California.... I saw stationery that had the heading on it 'Thee Brotherhood'... which is I know in subsequent research in actually Melton's book, it is a known... hard core satanic group." Although Mr. Schnoebelen seemed to be either unable or unwilling to provide any definite source for the document, he maintained that he participated in this ritual ("I actually did it"). As we have indicated earlier, we feel that this document, or at least part of it, may have come from the organization which Aleister Crowley was associated with, the Ordo Tempi Orientis (OTO). We have also noted that the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis appears to be part of Crowley's organization and that the document which has parallels to the Mormon temple ceremony contains the words: "Liturgia De Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis..." Since Crowley was chosen "to rewrite the order's rituals" in 1912 or 1913, this would mean that the Schnoebelen document cannot really be trusted to represent something that dates back to the time of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. We, in fact, feel that even if most of the document can be traced back to Crowley, the small portion which is like the Mormon temple ceremony was probably an interpolation made within the last few years.
In any case, as we pointed out in the Salt Lake City Messenger, November 1987, the text of the purported satanic material resembling the temple ritual has had some deliberate changes made in it between the time it was first made public by Schnoebelen in 1985 and when it appeared in Mormonism's Temple of Doom in 1987 (see pages 35, 36 and 41). Over a third of the words have either been added, deleted or changed without any indication. While all of us are prone to make mistakes when citing material and it is sometimes easy to accidentally omit a number of words, the changes in this document were obviously intentional. The text, in fact, seems to grow closer to the Mormon temple ceremony with time! This evolution of the text raises an important question: if this many changes have been made during the brief period in which we have been able to observe it, how many changes may have occurred in the previous decade? Unless Mr. Schnoebelen can provide an earlier text that can be verified, scholars will be skeptical of its value.
In the Decker-Schnoebelen response, pages 18-19, they try to explain away the changes in the text:
The 1985 booklet is actually slightly older, being a reworking of a chapter out of the as yet unpublished manuscript by Bill. It was actually written sometime in the fall of 1984. At that time, Bill had not yet acquired the GRIMORUM VERUM text, and despaired of doing so. Therefore, he relied on his memory for the rendering of the incantation in the chapter, which later became the booklet.
In being transformed into a booklet, this oversight was not noted. He had no idea at the time that his work would be subjected to such wide-spread publicity or such intense scrutiny....
The 1986 "documentation" version is, of course, the definitive version being a photocopy of the pageáitself. It is very closely matched with the text in the 1987 book by Bill and Jim Spencer.
The quotation is from the chart on p. 41 of the book, and is admittedly different. The reader will note that the quote is not attributed and is basically a generic version of the magickal incantation, which (like most magick charms) can be given in either first or second person.
According to this explanation, William Schnoebelen actually "relied on his memory" when he wrote out the text for a manuscript written in the "fall of 1984." Sometime later, as Mr. Schnoebelen has informed us in a letter, he felt that it was so important that he have the original text that he searched out the "rather strange fellow in Chicago" who gave him a copy of the material. However, when he published Joseph Smith's Temple of Doom in 1985, he seems to have entirely forgotten that he had actually obtained the typewritten text of the ritual. Instead, of using the document itself, he copied out the text which he had previously "relied on his memory" to restore. When the text finally appeared on page 41 of Mormonism's Temple of Doom in 1987 it had strangely become almost identical to that found in the Mormon temple ceremony. Decker and Schnoebelen maintain that this version "is basically a generic version of the magickal incantation." This explanation for the changes in the text put forth in the Decker-Schnoebelen response is very hard to believe. It seems far more likely, in fact, that the text was deliberately altered for the express purpose of making it more like the Mormon temple ceremony.
It appears, then, that the two most significant documents which William Schnoebelen has held up as evidence that the ritual in the Mormon temple ceremony was derived directly from witchcraft and Satanism are tainted by serious problems with regard to the origin and transmission of their texts. All that we have with regard to the satanic document is a typewritten sheet which could have been prepared by anyone. We have no date as to when it was first penned nor any assurance that it was not altered after it was written. Moreover, the text has suffered serious alterations since it first surfaced in 1985.
The document which is purported to be from the Mental Science Institute could not be found in The Second Book of Wisdom. Even if it could be traced back to "Eli," it would be of no real value in proving a relationship to ancient Druidic witchcraft. Since Eli himself was deeply immersed in Mormon theology and since there seems to be no proof in earlier witchcraft groups of the unique concepts he taught, it would be very hard to believe that the portions of his teachings which so closely resemble Mormonism were derived from some more ancient source.
All of the work about Mormonism and witchcraft which Ed Decker has published for William Schnoebelen and that found in the 1987 printing of Mormonism's Temple of Doom is seriously flawed by the fact that Schnoebelen has suppressed important information which is vital for a correct understanding of the relationship between Mormonism and witchcraft. Mr. Schnoebelen was aware of the fact that Eli used unique Mormon words such as "Kolob" and "Telestial," yet he withheld this information from the public. If he had mentioned this, it would have undoubtedly thrown up a red flag which would have led scholars to question his entire presentation concerning Mormonism and witchcraft. Moreover, Mr. Schnoebelen suppressed the fact that Eli himself had told him that "he had been a Mormon bishop." Even worse than this, however, is the deliberate attempt to misdirect us from the truth which is found in the Decker-Schnoebelen response, page 19: "He [Tanner] is asking us to believe that it just happened that one group of witches in the hills of Arkansas (where Mormons are as scarce as hen's teeth) and another group of satanists based in Illinois both happened to borrow elements from the LDS temple endowment independently of each other. Isn't this the same kind of suppositional research that they charge us with committing?"
We feel that it is very likely that the portions of the two documents linking the Mormon temple ceremony to witchcraft and Satanism were actually the products of the same person. Since Mr. Schnoebelen cannot seem to give us any real information to prove his statement concerning the "group of satanists based in Illinois," this leaves us with the "group of witches in the hills of Arkansas." This, of course, is referring to Eli's Mental Science Institute. The Second Book of Wisdom states that Eli lived in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The reader will remember that the Decker-Schnoebelen response maintains that "Mormons are as scarce as hen's teeth" in the "hills of Arkansas." The obvious purpose of this statement is to convince people that Eli could not have been a Mormon. Now that we know that Eli told Mr. Schnoebelen that he had, in fact, been a bishop in the Mormon Church, it becomes very obvious that this was an attempt to mislead the reader.
A SERIOUS SITUATION
It has been with great sorrow that we have lifted the pen to deal with these issues. We are, in fact, deeply grieved by the whole situation. Nevertheless, we sincerely believe that the type of excesses which we have pointed out in The Lucifer-God Doctrine can have a devastating effect on thousands of people. We have sought God's help about the matter and have concluded that strong action is necessary to prevent the spread of erroneous information that could undermine people's trust in material published on Mormonism and Christianity. While we realize that this action will hurt some people, we have concluded that the problem has to be dealt with.
Since the material was not only circulated in Christian churches, but throughout the world by means of the printing press, video and audio tapes, radio, etc., it became a public issue. It was not a private matter like the transgression mentioned in Matthew 18:15-17. We felt that the situation was analogous to that which Paul spoke of in Galatians 2:11-14:
But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Apostle Paul felt that Peter had committed a public offense against the "Gentiles" when he separated himself from them. Paul, of course, was a Jew, but God called him to be an Apostle to the Gentiles. He was, therefore, very concerned that the Gentiles receive good treatment and not be made to feel that they were unclean. Because of Paul's deep love for the Gentiles, he felt that he had to do something publicly to counter Peter's action. He did not call Peter aside privately, but instead he confronted him "before them all."
We have found ourselves in a similar position. We have a love for the Mormon people and desire to bring them to the truth. For this reason, therefore, we believe that it would be an injustice to keep silent any longer. As we have noted, Ed Decker and William Schnoebelen responded to our work in a 30-pageápamphlet entitled The Lucifer-God Doctrine: Shadow or Reality? While we believe that their charges are without foundation in fact, we feel that it would take too much space to respond in this newsletter. We are, however, preparing a new edition of The Lucifer-God Doctrine, in which we will deal specifically with the major charges made against us. Those who want to read the other side of this issue can write to Ed Decker or William Schnoebelen at Saints Alive in Jesus, PO Box 1076, Issaquah, WA 98027 for their response to us. An offering to cover the cost of the material and postage should be included.
There is just one more item that appears in the Decker-Schnoebelen pamphlet (p. 1) that should be addressed here: this is the charge that the The Lucifer-God Doctrine is "in its entirety" a "direct attack on Ed Decker, Bill Schnoebelen and Saints Alive." While it is true that the pamphlet is critical of some of the extreme views held by Decker and Schnoebelen, we do not consider it as an attack on the people in either Saints Alive or Ex-Mormons for Jesus. On the contrary, we feel that there are many fine Christians in these organizations who are also concerned that things have gone to far. In fact, some of the people who have been very closely associated with Ed Decker over the years have voiced their support for what we have done.
While we have no idea what the final outcome of this whole matter will be, we do know that Paul has promised that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) The scriptures also make it clear that nothing is impossible with God and that sincere prayer is the most important step in obtaining solutions to the problems that confront us: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
We would ask, therefore, that everyone who is interested in the various ministries to Mormons to pray fervently for all those engaged in the work that they will have discernment and the love that is necessary to point people to the Lord and that we may see tens of thousands of Mormons come to know the truth.
Other ministries are also showing a concern about presenting a balanced picture of Mormonism's relationship to witchcraft. Wesley P. Walters, who is noted for discovering the original document which proves Joseph Smith was arrested for being a "glass looker" in 1826 and for his excellent work on the First Vision, has become concerned that some have fallen into the trap of trying to derive their understanding of demonic workings from their study of the current practices of witchcraft rather than from biblical teachings on the subject. He feels that if this anti-biblical teaching were widely accepted, it could plunge Christianity back into the superstition which was prevalent in the dark ages. He, in fact, refers to these new ideas as "pseudo-Christian witchcraft." Wesley Walters has prepared an article in which he shows the serious nature of this error. It will appear in the newsletter published by Personal Freedom Outreach. This publication frequently contains important information on Mormonism as well as on other religious groups. Although there is no charge for the issue containing Wesley P. Walters article, those who are interested in obtaining it should send a donation (to help cover postage and handling) to Personal Freedom Outreach, PO Box 26062, St. Louis, Missouri 63136.
In the September 1987 issue of the Messenger, we mentioned that we had prepared a cassette tape which deals with questionable methods used by some critics of the Mormon Church which we feel are tending to needlessly harden the hearts of the Mormons against Christians who are trying to work among them. It is basically a call for a more loving approach to the Latter-day Saints. This tape is entitled, PROBLEMS IN WINNING MORMONS, and is available from Utah Lighthouse Ministry for $3.00 (mail orders please add minimum postage and handling charge of $2.00)
As we indicated earlier, we are preparing a new enlarged edition of The Lucifer-God Doctrine which will deal with the major charges made against us in the Decker-Schnoebelen response. We do hope that many of our readers will take the time to read it and become informed on this critical issue.
Lest the reader get the wrong impression concerning our criticism of some recent research on the Mormon temple ceremony, we should state that we have not changed our minds in any way concerning the temple ritual. We do feel that it contains a good deal of occultic material borrowed from Masonry. Furthermore, the temple ceremony tries to link Christians and ministers of other churches to the devil's work, and the penal oaths which are taken in the temples are contrary to Christianity. In our book Mormonism - Shadow or Reality? we devote 44 pages to the temple ceremony and its relationship to Masonry.
The predicament which we have mentioned in this issue of the Messenger and the reports we have heard during the past year concerning the fall of two prominent television evangelists because of the exposure of their sins brings to mind an article we printed in the January 1975 issue of the Messenger. Although it was written thirteen years ago, its message is so important and relevant to things that are going on today that we have decided to reprint it here.
AN ETERNAL COVER-UP
Although the Watergate scandal has really hurt our country, there is a real lesson that we all can learn from it that is, that it does not pay to try and cover up our sins. The Bible warns: "... be sure your sin will find you out." (Numbers 32:23) It is true that we can often hide our sins from men, but Jesus tells us that we cannot hide them from God: "... there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known." (Matthew, 10:26)
Our former President must have firmly believed that his tapes would never come to light, but through some very strange circumstances they did become public and caused his downfall. This is certainly a tragic example, and we cannot help but feel sorry for him and for his family. Nevertheless, it teaches us that even the President of the United States does not have the power to cover up his sins.
It is certainly ironical that Richard Nixon should be trapped by his own tapes. The Bible, however, tells us that we all stand in jeopardy of being convicted by our own words at the judgment:
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37)
Although we do not feel that God has a secret tape recorder which he uses to bug us with, we do believe He has knowledge of everything through his Holy Spirit. The Bible says that God not only knows our every word and action but also the "thoughts and intents" of our heart:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
In 1 Corinthians 4:5 we read that the Lord "will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts..." Romans 2:16 tells us that "God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."
In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus it is clear that after death our memory will be restored and that if we have continued in sin and selfishness it will condemn us (see Luke 16:25). The Bible tells us that we are all sinners and in need of God's forgiveness. To refuse to face this fact is to live a life which is founded on cover-up, and this will eventually prove disastrous to our souls. In the story of the Pharisee and the publican Jesus shows that we can appear to be very religious, but if we have not acknowledged that we are sinners in need of God's grace we are still under condemnation.
Now, while the Bible teaches that it is impossible for us to cover up our own sins, it does state that God Himself can cover them up if we will turn to Him and ask for forgiveness:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:7-9)
In Psalms 32:1 we read: "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." This is a cover-up that really works. In Psalms 103:12 we find this statement: "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." Isaiah 43:25 gives this assurance: "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." Those who have received the Lord into their hearts know the great joy and peace that comes from accepting God's forgiveness. The Bible says:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
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