Personally I'm more of a snail mucin gal.
Meet Katie Souza! She's a kooky gal who supposedly led a life of crime and drugs and danger before becoming an evangelist. In a recent (okay, two weeks ago but I kept meaning to get to it!) episode of "Sid Roth's 'It's Supernatural!,' one of my favorite fundie talk shows on the YouTube because of how he reminds me of Kane from Poltergeist, Souza explained how one can stay young forever simply by banishing the Evil Spirit of Death" from their lives. Which means I have been spending way too much money on skincare products.
What is the Evil Spirit of Death? Let's let Katie explain:
The spirit of death is active in the world at every moment, he's putting death on people's bodies, he's causing rapid aging, he's causing disease, disorder, he's also killing off finances and marriages and relationships.
And Sid, honestly, I believe that when we transition to heaven as a born-again believer, that we just do that. We lay down at God's appointed time and we just transition to our place in glory.
If the spirit of death is in the room at the time of our death, it usually means that we're dying of a disease or something that was not the will of God.
Well that is just science.
Souza has had her own run-ins with the Spirit of Death, who came into her room one day when she was sick. She even heard his voice! So she asked God who it was and God was all "It's the spirit of death, he's on assignment to kill you." And then she immediately went into menopause!
Renounce This Evil Spirit Aging You Prematurely! youtu.be
Then she gained eight pounds and her hair got really bad and her skin started sagging all over — just in a week! As if that wasn't bad enough, the Spirit of Death then started screwing with her marriage and cutting off the financial support for her ministry.
And it got worse!
"I had four people in my life, very close to me, who were killed by the Spirit of Death," she explained, "Then he even took the lives of my dogs! Two of my dogs died within weeks of each other."
Apparently, as she learned from the holy spirit, she did some kind of sinning that gave the Spirit of Death the right to attack her and her organs. And apparently her dogs.
So she rededicated her life to Jesus and repented constantly, and that made her skin tighter and made her marriage better. Alas, her friends and dogs stayed dead.
Later in the video, she tells the story of how she met an old lady with some health problems and so she shook the Spirit of Death out of her and then the next day she was young again. And apparently wearing the same outfit and standing in the exact same place. Magic!
She Shook Off the Spirit of Death & This Happens… #Shorts www.youtube.com
Yeah, I think I am probably going to stick with my snail mucin and AHA/BHA and all of my other skincare stuff, as that has been working pretty well from me (such a big fan of the Philosophy Microdelivery Dream Peel right now, by the way). I am not really interested in any supernatural assistance, as I already know how that movie ends.
meryl streep 90s movies GIF by absurdnoise Giphy
Jesus' anti-aging program looks a hell of a lot like Botox and fillers anyway.
Here is a quick but extremely dramatic bio of Souza from some religious channel called Daystar, though I have absolutely no way of vetting any of this right now.. I'm definitely getting some Mike Warnke energy though so take it with a grain of salt.
Born in 1963, Katie Souza grew up a tomboy, hunting and fishing with her mother on a rural ranch in Wisconsin. At age ten her family moved to the Hawaiian Islands. Katie's problems began when she started experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Her use of drugs escalated when, at age 17, she went to work in the entertainment industry as a disc jockey in Honolulu, Hawaii.
At age twenty, Katie left Hawaii to go to California. For three years she worked as a broadcast engineer at a CBS affiliate in Bakersfield, doing modeling and television commercials on the side. At this point her drug use was daily. In 1986, Katie moved to Los Angeles. Engrossed in the Hollywood drug scene, Katie dropped out of television and started a rock band. By 1991, Katie had become a career criminal. Her life consisted of drugs, clandestine laboratories, stolen vehicles, high-speed chases, gun shootouts, and many arrests. She was arrested in February of 1999, charged by the federal government with manufacturing, conspiracy and gun possession, Katie was sentenced to twelve and a half years in federal prison.
Part-Time Model - Flight Of The Conchords (Lyrics) www.youtube.com
So Souza did all of the crimes, all of them, and then she found Jesus and now she makes her living shaking old ladies to get evil death spirits to leave them alone so they can be young again. Good for her.
Now I am going to go and learn literally everything about this lady and her wackadoo life, and you may all open thread!
ETA: Don't forget! Stephen and I will be live here tomorrow at 3:30pm EST, so come hang out with us!
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Professional Christian liar and fake historian David Barton has a hot take, and it is that southern states only had slaves because they didn't read the Bible like northern states did, and therefore did not know slavery was bad, according to the Bible.
We'd say "wow, that man sure is confused," but the more charitable explanation has always been that Barton is just a garbage human being liar.
Religious-right pseudo-historian David Barton claims there was slavery in the U.S. only because "the Southern state… https://t.co/Qa7wd1qIS3— Right Wing Watch (@Right Wing Watch) 1634154781.0
BARTON: The northern states were very anti-slavery because they were very Bible-oriented. The southern states were very Christian-professing, but they didn't know much about the Bible and they didn't read it much, they just professed to be Christians.
If those southern slave owners weren't reading the Bible, they sure were missing out on how the Bible is literally full of slavery.
Of course, in reality, most of the southern defenses of slavery were completely predicated on the Bible. Slavery was part of their fucking theology, and it went right along with the garbage about the husband being the head of the wife just like Christ is the head of the church. Such hierarchical thinking isn't antithetical to the Bible, it's integral to it.
Want to learn things? Here's you a whole article about the subject, by somebody who isn't a fake historian. It explains, among other things, that many southern Christians considered slavery "ordained by God," and that Southern ministers "had written the majority of all published defenses of slavery." But sure David, none of 'em ever read the Bible.
From the article:
Biblical justifications had imbedded slavery in a set of orderly domestic hierarchies so that the power of slave owners over slaves paralleled the power of husbands over wives and of parents over children. Slavery was legitimate, so the arguments went, because it was like marriage.
It was 100 percent about the fucking Bible. But David Barton is up here saying the southerns just didn't know much about the Bible, whereas the northerns did.
As anyone familiar with David Barton knows, he lies about the Bible and he lies about history as often as he breathes. (Unless he's just really that stupid, in which case omg bless his heart.) He's got this uncanny way of coming up with fake reasons to claim that Jesus and/or the Bible believe whatever bigoted paste-eating moron GOP thing he's trying to push that day.
One time he claimed Jesus was against the minimum wage. He also used to somehow think the Justice Department was a Muslim terrorist organization or at least had been infiltrated by such. Back when Barton was propounding those fever dream myths, Newt Gingrich got so excited about Barton's work, you'da thought he had met Barton during a speed dating event in a hospice cafeteria. So he's had some influence.
Barton thinks the Constitution is full of direct quotes from the Bible. He thinks climate change is caused by abortion. Here's a clearinghouse of resources on how full of shit Barton is, and what a fake historian he is. Here's Right Wing Watch's archives. He just lies in service of his theocratic garbage religion. Or again, it's possible he's really that stupid, in which case, OOF.
We don't want to assume such mean things about him, let's just stick with liar.
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Those were for small businesses, not megachurches.
Prosperity Gospel preacher Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church caused no small amount of scandal last year when the megachurch received one of the largest and most notorious PPP loans — $4.4 million — while thousands of actual small businesses not run by evangelists worth over $100 million didn't get much or didn't get anything at all.
The church is now paying that loan back, and probably not out of the goodness of Joel Osteen's heart. PPP loans were and are forgiven if the business using them actually used them to cover people's paychecks, the rent or mortgage, and other approved expenses. (Wonkette received a PPP loan.)
Part of the controversy surrounding the loans also had to do with the fact that the loans are forgivable, meaning that if they had followed the rules and only spent it on things it was supposed to be spent on, it would have meant the government was just straight up giving money to a church. Churches are not taxed and there is supposed to be a wall between church and state in this country, so that's not a great look!
Rob Boston, senior adviser for the Washington, based Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said he was pleased Osteen is repaying the loan, for which Boston said Osteen was "rightfully" criticized.
"But there's a larger issue here," he said. "Religious freedom is a core promise of our Constitution, and that means that no one should be forced to pay for someone else's religious beliefs or practices Historically, the practice in the United States has been for congregations to support houses of worship and not rely on taxpayer money - and to be free from the inevitable entangling forms of oversight that brings."
His group is among many who've called for more oversight of PPP loans, particularly those received by religious groups. They point to cases such as that of Daystar Television Network, a massive Christian broadcaster based in Dallas which said last year it was $3.9 million PPP loan following questions about whether some of it was used to purchase a luxury Gulfstream jet.
From what I understand, the way "Prosperity Theology" works is that you give all of your money and social security checks to the sketchiest evangelist you can find, and then God is so excited that you helped said evangelist buy a luxury jet or buy a fleet of private jets (for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, obviously) that He or She then showers you in money and success. And if that doesn't happen, it is probably because God doesn't like you.
Given that the United States of America did not immediately become fabulously wealthy upon giving $4.4 million to Osteen's church, that either says something damning about America, or about Joel Osteen and prosperity theology in general, and I think it's probably safe to say it's the latter.
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Or not, given that Satan worship is not an actual thing.
For the last few years, there has been but one person that QAnon followers have been as devoted to as Donald Trump — and that would be Trump's erstwhile National Security Advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn. The popular mythology these days is that rather than being one individual person, Q was a team of "whitehats" trying to save the world by publishing cryptic messages on an image board known for publishing child pornography, for your Aunt Carol to decipher. This team included Flynn, Trump, and whomever else they happened to like at any given moment.
Perhaps more than anyone else, Gen. Flynn has really leaned into his role as the grand seigneur of the Q movement, nurturing the conspiracy theory that considers him the greatest American hero (and profiting off it as well).
Alas, people who are pretty much just making shit up as they go along tend to be pretty fickle in their loyalties. When a video surfaced of Flynn doing a strange-sounding prayer that included references to "sevenfold rays" at an event last month, several followers started to consider the possibility that it was, in fact, a Satanic prayer, to Satan. And that perhaps Flynn had been leading them astray this whole time.
TruNews calls out Michael Flynn for claiming that he was just delivering a simple Catholic prayer at Hank Kunneman'… https://t.co/oAd5mexh3Y— Right Wing Watch (@Right Wing Watch) 1633700360.0
In response, Flynn appeared on a random YouTube show called Truth Unveiled TV this week to tell his side of the story, which was that he was actually just reworking a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel that he carries around with him and was not in fact praying to Satan.
Ironically, Flynn suggests in the video that people should stop reading things into everything he or anyone else says, which is pretty much the main activity that his followers are Where We Go One We Go All-ing about.
Now, Flynn's prayer bears no resemblance at all to the most common prayer to St. Michael, but it does, as Twitter user Jim Stewartson pointed out, bear a strong resemblance to a "decree" by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, the leader of the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT)/Summit Lighthouse — a theosophy-based cult that rose to prominence in the 1980s when her followers all moved to underground bunkers in Montana in hopes of living through the apocalypse she had predicted.
I did a video comparison of I AM / Church Universal Triumphant cult leader Elizabeth Clare Prophet in 1984 and Mike… https://t.co/HqfaazA6so— Jim Stewartson, Antifascist, #RIPQ 🇺🇸🏴☠️ (@Jim Stewartson, Antifascist, #RIPQ 🇺🇸🏴☠️) 1633550862.0
Prophet: I AM the instrument of those sevenfold rays and archangels! And I will not retreat. I will take my stand I will not fear to speak. And I will be the instrument of God's will, whatever it is Here I AM, so help me, God! In the name of Archangel Michael and his legions, I AM freeborn and I shall remain freeborn! And I shall not be enslaved by any foe within and without!
Flynn: We are your instrument of those sevenfold rays and all your archangels, all of them. We will not retreat, we will not retreat. We will stand our ground. We will not fear to speak. We will be the instrument of your will, whatever it is. In your name and the name of your legions. We are freeborn, and we shall remain freeborn. And we shall not be enslaved by any foe within and without, so help me God.
There is little question that this is basically (entirely) the same prayer — although in CUT terminology, it's called a "decree." To be clear, by the way, it's not "Satanism."
That being said ... as hilarious and ironic as it would be if it were true, I highly doubt that Michael Flynn is secretly a member of the Church Universal and Triumphant or any other Ascended Masters group, not least of all because barely anyone is a member of CUT these days. However, the Summit Lighthouse does hand out pamphlets on occasion — I actually have one at home because all of my friends know I love weird religious tracts — and St. Michael the Archangel figures really heavily into the Ascended Master stuff.
I just would not personally put it past an old Catholic guy from Rhode Island (where almost everyone is Catholic and assumes everyone else is also Catholic) to be like "Oh look, a nice prayer to the Archangel Michael, let me cut that out and put it in my wallet or on my refrigerator, with all of the other prayer cards and memorial cards and random pictures of angels," or for someone to have given him the prayer already cut out. My dad literally just stopped mailing me newspaper clippings a few years ago and I have to assume this is a cultural thing of some kind. I'm an Occam's Razor kind of gal and I'm not about to fight QAnon with QAnon.
The big tell, however, is that he wears a lot of red and black, which is totally forbidden by both the "I AM" Activity and the Church Universal and Triumphant. It's not a casual suggestion, either. When I visited the "I AM" Activity temple in Chicago, they told me I wouldn't be allowed in if I were were not wearing the right colors from head to toe.
But While We're Here — What Even Is This Shit?
Contrary to what Stewartson says in his tweets, The I AM Activity and the Church Universal and Triumphant, though both are centered on Theosophy, New Thought, and "Ascended Masters" woo, are not the same organization and have different beliefs. CUT certainly co-opted a whole lot of their nonsense from Guy and Edna Ballard and considered them both to be Ascended Masters once they died, but they were and are both their own weird thing. For instance, CUT definitely incorporated Christian beliefs, as well as beliefs from other religions, to a greater degree (although almost all Ascended Masters groups consider Jesus to have been an Ascended Master). They were also really, really, really anti-communist and really into hoarding guns, because they thought the apocalypse was coming and they were going to have to defend their bunkers from looters. CUT is basically what would happen if your weird friend who thought she was an Indigo child joined the John Birch Society and the NRA.
Neither groups have particularly active followings these days.
Guy and Edna Ballard, aka Godfré Ray King and Lotus Ray King in their fabulous cult outfits.
The primary belief of both groups is in the "ascended masters" — people who have been reincarnated enough times to attain enlightenment, become one with their "Mighty 'I AM' Presences" and enter "the sixth dimension," whatever the hell that is supposed to be. The main characters from most religions? Ascended masters. Most of the leaders of these groups claim to be super close to becoming ascended masters themselves and frequently discuss their previous incarnations. Guy Ballard, for instance, had been many people, including King Henry V, King Richard the Lionhearted, George Washington, Alexander the Great and Aemilius, a Roman Centurion present at Jesus' Crucifixion.
Literally just watched this episode last night and the quote felt relevant!
Their main dude, however, is St. Germain — whose last incarnation was as Francis Bacon, though he was previously Christopher Columbus, Plato and Merlin, the fictional magician. Ballard claimed to have met St. Germain at Mount Shasta (yeah, they're all up in that Mount Shasta shit). According to Elizabeth Clare Prophet's nonsense, Francis Bacon faked his death and then lived as the Count of St. Germain for several decades and then ascended. However, all of these different Ascended Masters groups have different ideas about how that all was supposed to work.
If you are thinking "Boy, that sounds like a super white version of some Eastern religious traditions," you would be correct. Helena Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy and a super weird and interesting lady in her own right, traveled to India to learn from the yogis there, took some of what they said and then came up with her own thing. While she used the term "Mahatma" instead of "Ascended Master," it was basically the same deal.
The best Ascended Masters group, by the way, was the Unarius Academy of Science, led by the Archangel Uriel (aka Ruth Norman) and her extremely good outfits.
Such good outfits.
One thing I do find kind of interesting though is that Edna Ballard, Elizabeth Clare Prophet and Ruth Norman all had husbands who kind of started them off on the New Age Trip, but then very much took over and became the more prominent leader of their respected groups, particularly after said husbands died. It's like Girl Boss Feminism, cult style. Maybe?
There are, of course, other Ascended Masters groups, like "I AM" University and most of your smaller New Age cults, which are probably more active than CUT or the "I AM" Activity these days. There are all kinds of theories involving some Ascended Masters being born as adults or having previously reincarnated on other planets, there's even UFOlogy in some of them.
So yeah, Michael Flynn is probably not secretly in a cult that barely exists anymore and is just a regular grifter. Although if he starts doing a violet flame decree or channeling St. Germain, I will happily eat my own words.
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