Article by José de Segovia from Madrid/Monday, January 13th 2020

Spellbound? John Todd y los Illuminati

Conspiracy theories attract us because they make us feel important. If the problems we have are not proof of our fragility and helplessness in the face of life, but we are victims of a hidden plot of great proportions, not only do we feel less alone, but in our vanity we want to find meaning in the banality of evil. The truth is that this fallen world does not move by the intelligence of evil, but by the folly and selfishness of a fragmented society in which all seek their own interest, like John Todd (1949-2007).


The networks are full today of groups where loners find comfort in knowing that they are aware of the great Illuminati conspiracy. They believe that they have discovered with their clear minds that hidden knowledge, transmitted by a few who have seen the light that others ignore. This Gnostic mentality also has its Christian version, as in ancient times. This is what we′re going to talk about now, the one that came from Pastor Jedidiah Morse (1761-1826) to Jack Chick′s publications (1924-2016), based on Todd′s revelations about the Illuminati.

Todd pretended to have been a Satanist, raised in a family dedicated to witchcraft, but converted to Christianity in 1972. What happens is that he was later sentenced to thirty years in prison for rape and abuse of minors, until he died in a psychiatric in 2007. His followers believe that his death and imprisonment was also the result of a conspiracy. The purpose of these reflections is not to say how bad Todd was, but to deepen the confusion between fantasy and reality that occurs in certain evangelical circles.

Although it is now easier than ever to obtain information over the Internet, one is usually found on networks with fake news and conspiracy theories. It is true that much is still in English, but the problem of many is not that they do not know, is that they do not want to know! The world is full of ignorant people with so many prejudices that it is not even worth trying to enlighten them. In the case of believers, in addition, faith joins credulity in a feeling of threat that makes them see enemies everywhere. In their fanaticism they seek their identity in a tribalism that frees them from the chaos of today′s world. And his speech feeds on the same victimhood of all. Everyone suffers from an evil for which they try to find explanation, not only in the Bible, but in a hidden reality.

WHO ARE THE ILLUMINATI?

In principle, the Illuminati are nothing more than a group split from Bavarian Freemasonry in the 18th century. Everything else is esoteric fantasy. The only Illuminati in history are born in the Catholic part of southern Germany, after the Reformation. There the Jesuits became strong. With them Adam Weishaupt (1748-1830) was educated, who had a freethinker grandfather, influenced by the French Enlightenment, the baron of Ickstatt. After studying law, Weishaupt became a professor at the University of Ingolstadt in 1772. He was the first layman to be a professor of canon law in what is now Germany. The opposition of his colleagues and some members of the Bavarian government led him to seek support in Freemasonry.

Those who confuse Freemasons with the Illuminati have to know that they are born precisely in opposition to Freemasonry. After his disappointment with Freemasonry, Weishaupt founded with another five in 1776 a group called the Perfectibilists, who would later be the Illuminati. Despite his distancing from Freemasonry, he mimics his initiation rituals, based on the supposed cults of Mithras. He speculates about mathematics and spirit cleansing, but follows the hierarchical structure of the Jesuits. He instructs the Baron of Knigge the statutes and degrees, which he takes from Freemasonry, but the two face each other.

The promulgation of a series of edicts against secret societies causes the Illuminati to disappear with the arrest of one of their leaders in 1786 and the exile of Weshaupt, who returns to Roman Catholicism before he died in 1830. Nothing more He knew about them until an American Protestant pastor, Jedidiah Morse, defender of orthodoxy in the congregational churches of New England, faced with Unitarianism, made three sermons in 1798, after reading John Robinson′s book, ′Evidence of the conspiracy.′ Defender of federalism, Morse believed that opponents were influenced by the Illuminati, who believed they were responsible for the French revolution. This is how the conspiracy mind is implanted in the United States in relation to Protestant orthodoxy.

The father of the inventor of the telegraph was a geographer who had studied theology at Yale and was a doctor from the University of Edinburgh. Disciple of Jonathan Edwards, he devoted much of his life to fighting liberalism in religion. He opposed the election of the unitary Henry Ware as a Yale professor and founded the Andover seminar. He organized the well-known congregational church of Park Street in Boston, as a bastion of orthodoxy, but like so many defenders of ′sound doctrine′ he became the victim of a paranoia that saw hidden conspiracies everywhere.

WITCH AND SATANISM?

If a certain Protestantism relates to Freemasonry in the nineteenth century, there is another so opposite to it that it relates to witchcraft and Satanism in the twentieth century. To name it they use the old name of the Illuminati, as if they still exist. His association was born in the literature that became popular in the late 70s in fundamentalist circles with the publications in the form of a comic by Jack Chick. One of his first influences was John Todd, who reveals that his family had had a relationship with witchcraft for several generations under the name of Collins and that he had been a Satanist, but not just anyone. He claimed to be since 1971 a great Druid high priest of what he called the Council of 13, who supposedly worked for those he called the Illuminati. His first mission was something as picturesque as infiltrating the army in witchcraft in the Vietnam War. The next task will be better known: take one of the main record houses to introduce satanism among young people through rock.

The first news we have of Todd is from 1968. He was then 19 years old. He was married to a woman named Linda and they had a 4-year-old girl named Tanya. They lived with relatives in Phoenix (Arizona), when he asked a pastor named James Outlaw of the Unitarian Pentecostal church to rename him in the name of Jesus alone. He told him to have been a green beret, that is, a member of the special forces of the United States Army in Vietnam and to have been dedicated to witchcraft until it became a Pentecostal church in southern California. Outlaw remembers that Todd disappeared a few months, but later returned without his wife. He then told him that the Lord had given them a prophecy by which they should separate and seek another partner. The pastor assured him they were wrong, but he helped Todd find a job in a Mexican restaurant. He disappeared again and had no more news of him until the end of the year 72 or the beginning of 73.

Todd is then related to the movement of the People of Jesus, when many hippies converted to Christianity. It has to do with the ministry of an evangelistic café-bar called Open Door, which was carried by someone named Ken Long. Outlaw introduced him to Todd. Long believed that Todd worked miracles. In fact, he thought he saw one leg heal. He was then part of the People of Jesus, but when Todd asks him to marry a girl from San Antonio named Sharon Garver, Long was already an independent Baptist pastor in Phoenix from the tradition known as Free Will or Will. Todd was still in the cafe, where several girls accuse him of trying to seduce them. Two confessed to Long having had sex with him and four told him he was still in witchcraft. So Long expelled him from his ministry.

In ′73 he appears then in a Christian program of a local television in Phoenix (Arizona). He said the Illuminati were financing fundamentalist churches, such as Long′s. He claimed to have been a sorcerer of the Kennedy family (′JFK was not really murdered, I just visited him on his yacht′) and had witnessed the stabbing of a girl by Democratic Senator McGovern, opposed to the Vietnam War. He was so successful in the program, that the audience donated up to twenty-five thousand dollars and was invited to work on it, but Todd preferred the invitation of a better-known evangelist, Doug Clark, to participate in the program ′Wonderful Prophecies′ of Faith Broadcasting Network . John and Sharon move to Santa Ana. They are already a phenomenon in the charismatic environment of Southern California.

VICTIM OR FRAUD?

As often happens in the evangelical world, nobody asked questions. He went from one ministry to another, as it suited him or had problems with the people who were, that nothing happened. On the contrary, where he went they received him with open arms, because they considered themselves better than the others. It wasn′t until 1979 that an investigative journalist named Gary Metz made a report on him for the prestigious Christianity Today magazine - founded by evangelist Billy Graham and directed by the interesting thinker Carl Henry -, followed by others in the publication of the People of Jesus of Chicago, Cornerstone. I was subscribed to both, but it is now that I have made contact with Metz, to ask him questions about it. For the conspiranoicos, Gary is an agent of the CIA, but to belong to a secret service, it is surprising that it is not difficult to find him on the networks.

When Metz consults his military documentation, he discovers that Todd had no more functions than a typist and was not even in Nam. What the army medical report says is that Todd suffered an “emotional instability with pseudological fantasy that made it difficult distinguish reality from fantasy ”. When Todd denied that role existed, Metz published it. The document says that he was only twenty-five days in Germany, not in Vietnam. Todd says he went there later, but had an argument with an officer who had been with him in Nam and shot him dead. Metz finds no record of that death. The reason for his military discharge is ′mental disorder of character and conduct.′

His wife Sharon tells Metz that Todd ′didn′t start talking about the Illuminati until he heard some tapes after his conversion.′ She believes that she took drugs and continued to practice the occult. To understand each other, we must explain that the type of witchcraft that became popular in the last century with the birth of modern Satanism is a sexual magic. Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) - created in Assemblies of Closed Brothers, but sickly identified with all the condemned characters in the Bible, such as Cain, Judas or Antichrist himself - goes from a repressive education to sexual liberation, through the Magic. That′s why when Todd wants to attract Sharon′s relatives or coffee girls to witchcraft, he wants to have sex with them. His own sister-in-law says that Todd has made him pregnant.

John leaves Sharon in 1976 and leaves for Dayton. There he met Sheila Spoonmore. They lived together for two years, before getting married, when parents of teenage daughters denounced him for corruption of minors. A 16-year-old girl said she had made him follow a rite of magical initiation, naked, until he was forced to have oral sex with him. He spent two months in prison for a half-year prison sentence. He left with five years of probation, because he had seizures. He returns to Phoenix, where he reappears in the evangelical scene in 1977. Long returns to find him a job as a cook, since he has left the occult. In two weeks, he had already disappeared with new complaints from girls.

THE STRANGE WORLD OF CHICK

These periods of absence in the Christian world, many see it as moments of return to witchcraft, but the testimonies are always from people who consider themselves deceived by him and prefer to see him as a diabolical instrument of disappointment. The truth is that it was Christian churches and ministries who wanted to use their testimony, because it seemed spectacular. It is they who gave loudspeakers to their delusions and sickly hungry for attention, until then everything turned against him. A good example is Mike Warnke, the Christian comedian who claimed to have been a Satanist, who even wrote the prologue of a book against Todd - written by Darryl Hicks and David Lewis -, before Warnke himself was unmasked by the Cornerstone magazine itself.

Blaming Todd for everything is not understanding that he is nothing but the symptom of a deeper evil. This is how from the year 78, its cause is embraced by the conservative evangelical Christianity that occurs in the most fundamentalist circles, opposed to Pentecostalism. To do this, Todd has to silence his past in charismatic media and extend the Illuminati conspiracy to Christian preacher organizations opposed by these fundamentalist ministries, such as Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker, Shakarian Demos or Morris Cerullo. Participate in the campaign against Senator Strom Thurdmond, who has to leave the committee of the fundamentalist university of Bob Jones, for being accused of a Mason. According to him, the police themselves are full of freemasons who serve the Illuminati. That′s why I had so many problems with her!

His alliance with Jack Chick was born, who had already used his information in 1974 for a comic from the large, full-color collection Los Cruzados: ′The Broken Cross.′ Now he will use his testimony for two others in the same series, ′Angel of Light′ and ′Bewitched?′ His name appears above on the first page of each comic and on the last one is even a character named Lance Collins, the last name that claimed to really have his family. In that third party they even try to kill him, as he begins to say from now on. The latter, less known in the Hispanic world, since it was not translated, because it is the so-called ′Christian rock′ - something little known in the Latin evangelical environment, where the so-called ′praise music′ predominates, although in other brochures translates as reggaeton! -, that Todd believed it was a satanic invention to catch young Christians with their ′demonic rhythm′. According to him, the Illuminati gave eight million dollars to Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel, to promote the music of hippies converted to Christianity.

Todd predicts that the Illuminati will take over the world in 1979, after a major economic disaster. According to him, Carter is the Antichrist who would take measures that would lead to a third world war: first, he would take away the right to arms (something that for American Christianity is as sacred as the Bible); second, it would remove the tax exemption for Christian ministries (one of the explanations for why there are so many religious organizations in the United States); third, it would order ′genocide′ for those who promote the conversion of members of other religions (death penalty for evangelization); fourth, it would establish martial law (privilege of the president); and fifth, it would prohibit the supply of food and medicine (the obsession of those who seek survival in deep America). In a word, Todd becomes a spokesman for the fears of conservative American Christianity, which favored the election of Reagan.

 

CHILD OF GOD?

When you search for images of Todd in a search engine you will find only a photo with a black and white mustache from the 70s, as well as the cover illustration of a publication of his on ′The Illuminati and witchcraft.′ It is an edition of the Children of God in 1980, when they were already called the International Family. Todd′s relationship with David Berg (Moises David) has to do with Doc Marquis (1956-2018). This Christian writer claimed to have been a member of the Illuminati since he was a child. He would leave the organization in 1979, as he says he wanted to do Sharon Tate, when he was killed by Manson in 1969, which was also Illuminati, of course! They were trying to kill him too, he said.

Marquis began to give talks for the ancient Children of God in the house of Friendswood (Texas), which belonged to the so-called Brother Tomás - a televangelist who supported the Family in Houston, but later became one of his enemies, although The house is still theirs. Todd′s publication in the year 80 is accompanied by Jacob Sailor′s drawings, the name used by the illustrator of the Letters that Moses David edited as True Comix, ′for adults only.′ Berg then made two types of publications, those disseminated by its members to a wide audience and those that only reached the hands of the followers who understood the sexual content of these letters. The author of the illustrations adds that Todd′s text is accompanied by comments from M&M, the initials of the literature department of the International Family - literally Mail Ministry.

When Todd arrested in 1987 for raping a student at the University of South Carolina, he is also accused of child abuse at a karate school where he worked. The sentence was thirty years, but he was released in 2004 to continue treatment in the mental health department of this state. He died while he was admitted at the end of 2007. It seems that at the end of his life he returned to the unicitary Pentecostalism of the beginning. He denied the Trinity and insisted that the only valid baptism was only in the name of Jesus. In 2006, Chick continues to publish comics about him, such as ′the former great druid high priest.′

The sexual nature of Todd′s crimes suggests that he might have some connection with the peculiar combination of evangelical Christianity and free sex in the Children of God, but there is no more proof for it than his 1980 publication. true that it is in the middle of a period of sexual exploration in the surroundings of Berg. And from 1979 the track of Todd is lost, that supposedly moves to the rural environment of Montana. Who knows what he would do then? It is true that the International Family does not publish authors that were not Children of God, not even Doc Marquis! I don′t think Todd was from the Children of God, but he had a relationship with them. How much, is one of Todd′s many mysteries, which remain to be resolved. The incredible thing is that there are still evangelicals who defend him.

FEARLESS

It is time to reach some conclusions. First of all I must say that after studying the subject in depth, I do not see any evidence for the conspiracy that Todd speaks of. Moreover, I believe that the conspiracy mind is in contradiction with the Christian mind presented to us by the New Testament. If anyone could be paranoid about the attacks he received, that was the apostle Paul. However, it shows no fear, but confidence in the God in which he has believed and the Christ who tells his followers not to be afraid.

The climate of suspicion in which many Christians live is unaware that God′s love for his people is also shown in love among his disciples (John 17: 20-23). It is the final apologetics, as Schaeffer said. It is true that there is a spiritual conflict and misconceptions of Christianity, but that has nothing to do with Todd′s speculation, but with the truth of Jesus, as proclaimed by the apostles. We have to examine all things in the light of Scripture (Acts 17:11). You have to try all things, to retain the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

The Christian has to believe in the Bible as the Word of God, but he has no obligation to believe what anyone says in his name. One thing is faith and another is credulity. The Christian world is full of doubtful testimonies of what some were before their conversion. These stories are not the Bible. We have the right to doubt and investigate them, like any teaching that bears the name of Christian. That does not mean that these people do not have faith, nor are they really believers. No one is free from lies. We often deceive ourselves and end up believing our lies.

The conspiracy mentality ignores the profound reality of evil that the Bible calls sin. As intelligent as evil may seem, there is no perfect conspiracy. One of the clear evidences of what the Bible calls sin is the folly that accompanies human beings over and over again in their fallen condition. We are stupid. We make the same mistakes over and over again.

There is no perfect crime. Our ego makes us believe we are smarter than we are, but our clumsiness causes us to continually fail. We have such a fragility that, if it were not for the mercy of God, we would be lost. And without his wisdom, we would not understand anything. And that is in Christ Jesus, the One whose Truth we should never doubt.


This is an short translation of the original article published in Spanish by Entrelíneas: Revista de Arte as Spellbound? John Todd y los Illuminati


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