This is my comments about the first part of Tower's book.
I'm embarrassed for S. A Tower and her ex-”witch” friends, the stories of which she included in her second book.
A little background here about me. I've been a Pagan/Wiccan for over three decades and during that time I have read and heard a number of Christian anti-Pagan claims, ranging from the pathetic Jack Chick tract nonsense and the crap straight out of “ The Two Babylons” to the books that show the author knows the basics but chooses to “ interpret” based on the Bible ( which is a nice way of saying they twist and distort the facts to suit their preconceived, prejudiced views).
I've read books by alleged former “ satanists” and “ witches” who were outright liars. I've read Christian books and visited web sites that claimed Halloween is a “ satanic” holiday. I'd guess it would be accurate to say that when it comes to Christian books about Wicca, the Goddess and Paganism, I've read almost all of them.
And I can honestly say that while some of these Christian books in the past few years have come close to being honest and unbiased, none of them have yet to actually be fair, accurate and unbiased.
Including this one. Though Tower does come close at times, she screws it up with what I would call “ flashing red neon warning signs” of, as she might call it “ stumbling blocks” to conversion.
Now I realize that Tower intended this book to reach her fellow Christians to give them “ ammo” to “ witness” to Pagans by showing some allegedly ex-witches “ testimonies”. As I was reading this ebook, at times it was almost painful for me to continue due to my embarrassment for Tower and her friends. I fully intended to be fair to her as I read it but as I encountered twistings of facts, references to bad sources and absurd claims, I almost gave in to my annoyance and anger. The ignorance at times was appalling from supposed long term “ witches”.
When Tower described the beauty of nature as her gods creation, not the Goddess, I almost chucked, because her description sounded a LOT like what a fluffy bunny would say. The term “ fluffy bunny” is a derisive term for the new Pagan or Wiccan who pretty much yammers on about how beYOOOtiful nature is, runs around in a Tinkerbell costume, complete with wings and a glitter fairy wand, and pretty much acts like Jethro Modine on ecstacy. IOW a frigging idiot.
“ La de la la la! How wonderful nature is! Look at the blue sky, the flowers, butterflies, the green grass!” ( Grabs a leafy vine and spreads the leaves all over he face) “ Oh isn't it WONDERful?”
“ Robert, get the calamine lotion. Tinkerblather just rubbed her face with poison ivy.”
Yes a sunset can be beautiful. And yes each season has its form of beauty-- except in certain parts of the world where it involves harsh conditions. The natural world can be an awe inspiring wonder, including some awesome full moons rising from the eastern horizon. But nature is not nicey nicey. Just watch the National Geographic Channel for awhile. Even the lion, the king of the pride, can be outright murdered by the younger male lions, torn apart alive.
And if you are some natural creature's meal, naturally ( pardon the pun) you'd have a very different view of nature. A rabbit may be cute and fluffy, but I rather doubt it likes being someone's meal. You can be friendly to a crocodile all you want, all the croc sees in you is lunch.
I'm assuming Tower is not a country dweller. If she was, and if she was dependent upon her crops and food animals to help her and her family survive winter, she would understand how harsh and cruel nature can be, that at times its kill or die. That cute grayish doggie in the woods turns out to be a wolf, not a shepherd. That nice adult Bambi with the soulful black eyes has to die to feed you and your family for the winter. Hopefully you are a good enough hunter the deer dies so quickly it doesn't even feel pain.
When she says Mike reveals that other religions have their roots in Babylon, I sighed and said, “ Oh no not that “ The Two Babylons” crap book again.”
There is a web site I recommend regarding Christians who think of becoming Wiccans.
Erin Dragonsong in this and her sequel entry shows a number of reasonable, credible arguments in defense of Wicca, stated in such a way as to not sound anti-Christian.
In fact, she does argue that if Jesus was alive today, he'd shudder at most of Christianity and on looking at Wicca, he'd say that was more of what he was trying to teach.
A side note: I also found online some web sites of people claiming to be former “witches” turned ( OC) Christian ( none of whom as far as I can tell were mentioned in her book) that I am sure Tower would be embarrassed to read as well. I realize that she selected the ones with a more credible claim of being former “ witches,” Wiccans and Pagans precisely because she's met the bragging phonies.
Unfortunately for Tower and her friends, they've relied upon one huge stumbling block in that they use the Bible and the doctrines and dogmas of Christianity to put down Paganism, The Lord and Lady, and the other elements of the Craft. A technique that I've seen way too many times before that is flawed from the get go. Sorry folks, but for a mature Pagan like me, we know history. And while a Christian might claim that the Bible is the “ word of god”, historical fact shows that what is now known as the “ holy bible' is an edited book. The emperor Constantine and he various councils decided which sacred texts were allowed in the Bible. And apparently a number of sacred scrolls were left out. Worse still, those Christian sects who kept to their specific holy scrolls were eventually targeted by the Church and exterminated ( IOW murdered and their texts destroyed). So what was eventually presented to Christians was not in fact all the sacred Christian texts. IOW their “ god's word” had been altered and edited-- to fit the aims of the ruling church bullies.
I've read the Bible, OC. And like Thomas Paine, I came to the conclusion that the Bible is more the work of an evil being than of the Deity. So for someone like Tower and her allies to “ stand firm” on the Bible is to me serving their Satan more than they realize. One of the things I noticed was that Tower referred to “ the enemy” or “the adversary.” As I reported in an earlier blog entry these were references to the Christian devil. This isn't Hogwarts where everyone fears naming “ he who shall not be named”. And yet such euphemisms strike me as if Tower is afraid if she even types out “ Satan,” The Devil” or similar it might be some sort of invitation for him.
Sheesh. More likely its her attempt to actually say outright the usual crap Pagans have seen before, that our deities are demons, that we're blissfully on the path to hell etc. The same old Christian lies, retold in a gentler way. But the same damn lies nevertheless.
“ Mike furthers our insight into the worship of their gods. “ The worship of various gods and goddesses goes back to the days of Noah, when after the flood, his son's descendants repopulation of the earth, One of his great grandsons, Nimrod, established an empire in the place known as Babylon. He and his wife, Semiramsis, established the earliest mystery religion-- and from this rapidly spreading religion came the polytheistic and Pagan religions.” “
This is the “ Two Babylons” crap that shows an appalling ignorance and lack of understanding as to how religions develop. But since it fits their Bible, they accept this garbage as fact. The “mystery religions” have nothing to do with Babylon and emerged on their own independently for the simple frigging reason that all religions do not come from the same “ historical” source. This so-called link is something Christians made up. It is not historical fact.
'Wicca continues to evolve as it progresses... weaving into a changing society, thus breaking its own traditions in the process and ultimately altering its beliefs and practices.” News flash for you. Wicca is ALWAYS evolving, has done so since before Gardner ( and yes Wicca existed before Gerald Gardner, but was not a survival of The Burning Times. By the time Gardner found it, Wicca was already three generations old.). I know because when I first became a Wiccan in 1979 it was not the same as Wicca of 2014—and should not be expected to be unchanged. And here is one reason why: because Wicca, like other forms of Neopaganism, is an experiencial spiritual path, so for one Wiccan it is a little different than for another Wiccan.
The day Wicca stops changing is the day it starts to stagnate and die.
Really bad “ explanation” of “ witchcraft” that ignores anthropological, folklore and different cultures about “ witchcraft” not being of the same exact thing.
About “ witches” “ Unlike Wicca, the Rede or Threefold Law is not a code which one lives by.” Tower made a bad sentence, which to someone who wants to be prejudiced, reads as if Wiccans don't follow our own Rede. To make matters worse, Tower mixes “ witches” with Wicca.
Chapter 3 on Halloween is pretty accurate. It seems dumb to me that she mentions neither Halloween nor Samhain is mentioned in the Bible. Well DUH!!!! Celtic people, remember? The people who wrote and edited the Bible knew nothing about many other areas of the world. She does, however do the usual against divination and other anti- Halloween stuff certain Christians use to condemn Halloween.
“ Halloween is the worship of a false god”-- Mike Morton. He then makes the excuse that the “ false god” is not the “ Gods and Goddesses of the Witches or Pagans” but the “ god” called money. The “ commercialization” of the holiday, much like Christmas. A rather lame and obvious attempt to infer that Wiccans share the Christian dislike of a commercialization of a religious holiday. An act I'm not falling for.
Tower here and in her blog says in the Ebook that “putting on a costume” “ temporarily takes on the persona of the character,” which, OC, ' become demonically influenced by the identity they assumed.” What utter rot.
The end of the chapter has a good point regarding Christians condemning outright Halloween. But no mention of the horrible Christian "alternatives” like Hell House.
Shalom claims to have been the Tennessee director of the Witches League for Public Awareness.
Chapter 4 on bad church experiences seems accurate enough. However she claims “ the enemy” creates doubt which leads to unbelief. IOW Satan is behind doubt, unbelief and people leaving Christianity, not human decisions to not believe Christian doctrines and dogmas.
IOW a cop out rather than address the all too human evils Christians have done.
Chapter 5 on the “ church's “ response is interesting, but Tower slips when she says this: “ If a woman smelling like sage, dressed in black garb, boots ans wearing a pentacle around her neck sat next to you on Christmas Eve, would you welcome her with open arms and love her unconditionally?” While that is a good question, it is not, however an accurate depiction of how Pagans like me actually look like. Not to mention anyone who would look like that in a Christian church is either dumber than a rock or wanting a confrontation. I can only speak for myself here. If you actually saw me, you would NOT see me looking like a Goth. And if I were to attend a Christian church ( which I usually will not do) it certainly will NOT be in a frigging black outfit with a pentagram prominently displayed. In fact if I did attend a church, I would look no different than anyone else in my appearance.
There is a veiled reference to Mike as a Special Ed teacher finding what is obviously Jack Chick tracts in his desk, but Tower does not mention specifically Jack Chick, which I found to be gutless. She does, however, mention “ The Crusaders” comic, which is from Chick. To her credit she does mention the disgusting “ shalt not suffer a witch” Bible verse and how Pagans like me react to it. However she makes a serious mistake in claiming “most biblical scholars agree” that the Exodus quote “ pertains to any number of occult activities” when in fact it is a mistranslation for the word poisoner.
She then mentions the street evangelism of Todd White and says White said this about Wiccans :
“ They're no different than anybody else, they're just twisted up in their belief system...” ( my emphasis added.) IOW the usual condescending crap. Her recommended approach-- basically a love bombing cult tactic. Flashing red neon light again.
The chapter on “ witchcraft in the church” is interesting. OC Tower discounts the idea that many paths to Deity as long as it is love is “ a lie from the pit of hell”, with OC the claim that the only path is through Jesus. Shalom says walking the Labyrinth ' exposes one to the opening doors to the demonic.' This is fear mongering bullshit. The Christian practice of “ grave sucking” sounded bizarre. Shalom, once again is quoted by Tower with this: “ Oh my, this is a subject that points up so well how Paganism has infested the Church and is corrupting Christianity.” What utter bullshit. Like Paganism is a disease. Red flashing neon light again.
Chapter 7 on “ Witnessing to a Witch” has a number of good points, including the “ fruits of the Spirit” and that one's actions are being observed by the Pagan being “witnessed” to. Tower's friend “ Bo” claims the “ enemy” uses the Christian's “responding in the flesh,. Anger, hostility, confusion, pride, self-righteousness, impatience and even, sarcasm, are just a few of the traits the enemy wants you to display so the conversation will be de-railed, if not stopped completely.” Again the “enemy” is OC Satan and not the mundane human ignorance or just a misinformed Christian basically being an asshole Then, once again, Tower does the Christian condescention of “ a soul blinded by the spirit of deception is unable to see God's truth as their spiritual eyes are covered and no amount of coercing can convince them to believe.” Rather ironic considering certain things Christians accept, like the “ end times,” “ prosperity gospel” and other crap. As for the eyes of Pagans being “ blinded”, again that is a condensention assuming yet again Pagans like me are being deceived by “ the enemy” rather than being on our own spiritual legitimate path.
Her solution: “ spiritual warfare” when the Wiccan refuses to “ open their eyes” “ to the way, the truth and the life. This is where you may experience some resistance and your intercession may cross over to spiritual warfare.” Flashing red neon light warning here. Interestingly she also claims one should “ respect” those who are not interested in “ the saving grace”. A claim I find contradictory regarding her “ spiritual warfare” approach. However her description of not being a “hound dog” after the “ unsaved” is to me a lot like the abandonment trick Christians used on me when I didn't convert on the spot to their act of being my “ friend” for that moment. BTW another cult tactic.
As for the “ spiritual warfare” claim, I've looked into Christian claims about “ spiritual warfare” partly because of McExorcist Bob Larson is exploiting that avenue of Christian whackery. The red flashing neon warning light is because some Christian “ spiritual warfare” is more destructively fucked up than I can describe in one blog post.
Part II in the book is the “ ex-witch stories” which I will comment on in a future blog post.
In conclusion as to part one of her FTCTC, all I can say is that she's come closer than most Christian books on Paganism and Wicca I've read,, but the core assumptions ( and therefore errors) are still there.
Tower “missed the boat” in the witnessing / conversion advice to Pagans about something very simple that even I could have told her.
Simply put, be true friends to us, not be false friends as a lure to conversion. Actually give a damn about us and not use any sign of “ weakness” as an avenue to proselytize or preach to us. And OC be honest to us, not use the vague language like our deities are “ created beings, created by god” when we both damn well know you mean demons. I should add that Tower doesn't address what the Lord and Lady are to her religion-- probably with good reason.
Another view of the similar claims in the book is here:
Christian to Pagan__ http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usil&c=words&id=15614
Bear in mind the author is not responding to Tower and her book like I am doing here but is addressing some of the doctrines and prejudices Christians have.