As recently as five years ago, I was the world’s top-selling New Age author. At the time, I enjoyed a phenomenally lucrative lifestyle. I lived on a 50-acre ranch in Hawaii. My publisher treated me like a rock star, flying me and my husband first class to give sold-out workshops across the globe. We would stay in penthouse suites at swanky hotels and rub elbows with celebrities.
Yet despite this worldly success, I was hardly at peace. For all my New Age seeking, there were answers I could never find.
The Devil’s deception
I grew up in the false church of Christian Science, although my mom always said that we were Christians. I was taught to ignore the “negative” parts of the Bible, such as the fall of humanity and the crucifixion of Jesus. To the extent that we studied Scripture, we only cherry-picked verses or read them out of context. So I was ripe for the Devil’s deception.
I went to Chapman University in California, where I earned degrees in psychology and became a professional therapist. From there, I found a literary agent and started writing self-help books for major publishers. This brought invitations to speak at conferences and appear on radio and television, where I preached the gospel of self-help.
When a New Age publisher offered to turn my psychology dissertation into a self-help book, I agreed. With this publisher, I began writing other psychology books that incorporated my Christian Science beliefs. Their popularity landed me a gig as a speaker with a group of New Age teachers and vendors who traveled to convention centers around North America.
During breaks from speaking, I would walk around the convention floors and visit the various New Age booths. I was intrigued by the healing crystals and other exotic wares they displayed, as well as the healing techniques they promoted, which involved sound, energy, massage, and yoga. From these vendors, I learned more about New Age beliefs and practices.
Soon enough, I was teaching these New Age methods at my workshops and incorporating them in my books. Meanwhile, I immersed myself in yoga, Eastern meditation, chakra cleansing, astrology, divination, and other New Age practices. New Agers often view Christianity as having dogmatic rules, but they have their own rigid standards about what an “enlightened person” must and mustn’t do.
During my 20 years as a New Age teacher, I toured with other best-selling authors. We would promote techniques like “vision boards” and “positive affirmations,” believing and teaching that “your words create your reality.” Many of us twisted Jesus’ words to suggest that God would give you whatever you asked for. And all the while, we held up our wealth and fame as evidence that our principles were true and effective.
Yet despite this worldly success, we were unrepentant sinners with lives marred by divorces and addictions. Having sold-out workshops, standing ovations, adoring fans, and celebrity friends gave us swollen egos. I remember believing my every thought was a message or a sign from God or his angels.
All the while, I convinced myself I was actually a Christian, albeit an “open-minded” Christian who was superior to all those narrow-minded followers who only believed in Jesus. For me, Jesus functioned as a “spirit guide” who, like a magic genie, helped me make my wishes come true. I was a student of world religions, and I even had a necklace with symbols of all the major faiths. I believed all paths led to heaven and all religions were worshiping the same God.
Of course, neither I nor any of the other New Age teachers ever pointed to the real Jesus Christ. We certainly never told anyone to read their Bibles. Instead, we encouraged people to pursue their selfish desires, making them more covetous and materialistic.