Was Sunday Observance adopted from Paganism?

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The myth that Sunday was formerly a pagan day of worship of the sun adopted by the church, is a proverbial horse that has been ridden to death. Even worse, this ghostly horse has taken on a life of its own and has moved beyond the religious fringes where it was initially stabled.

The basic idea is this: Sunday was the established day of rest, the weekly holiday in the ancient pagan world. On this day each week, the Romans, Greeks, and other pagans, gathered in temples to worship their pagan gods, particularly the Sun-god—hence the term Sun-day.

This misinformation has been repeated so much that it’s time we threw it in the dustbin for the falsehood that it is.

In two previous articles (one/two), I’ve examined the erroneous claims made by Seventh Day Adventists regarding the Jewish sabbath and the Lord’s day from historical and biblical perspectives.

Now, I still intend to refute the tortuous, incoherent and intellectually suicidal connections they (and other religious groups adhering to the Jewish sabbath) forge between Sunday as a day of worship and ancient Greek or Roman Paganism.

1. Those making this claim of “Sunday stolen from the pagans” usually fail to back it up with historical sources. They will quote virtually anyone but a reputable historian – and by this, I mean someone whose credentials are in History and has published academic works in that field.

If you scan through SDA materials, you will observe the conspicuous absence of citation of sources to corroborate their assertion of Sunday being a pagan day. Instead, they conveniently declare this information to be historical “fact” and quickly move on to their next rhetoric.

But on the odd occasion that a source is cited, it’s usually Arthur Weigall’s 1928 work “The Paganism in Our Christianity,” in which he states that the church made Sunday sacred “largely because it was the weekly festival of the sun; for it was a definite Christian policy to take over the pagan festivals endeared to the people by tradition, and to give them a Christian significance” (p. 136).

Aside from the fact that this man had cultic agenda (he was a Unitarian), SDA writers who cite him don’t disclose to their readers that he also declared:

  • The virgin birth is of pagan origin (p. 44)
  •  Jesus’ miracles are of pagan origin (p. 58)
  • Jesus didn’t really die (p. 93)
  • The Jewish Sabbath is of pagan origin (p. 136)

It’s clear that Weigall’s work is a sword that cuts three ways. If it proves Sunday to be a pagan day, it must also prove Saturday to be a pagan day, and if either assertion is to be accepted as valid, then Christianity as a whole would have to be rejected as pagan! Certainly, this is not a source a believer would want to appeal to.

2. A competent study of history and ancient Greek and Roman religions shows that neither the Romans nor the Greeks ever had a regular weekly day of rest from secular work.

Neither did they have a regular weekly festival day. They didn’t have a regular day of the week on which they gathered for pagan worship. These are facts of history.

Dudley M. Canright, a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor, researched these facts early in the 20th century. He sincerely believed Sunday worship came from paganism—since this teaching had been passed on to him. But when he began to look into the subject more fully, he came to a different conclusion.

It was at his time (c. 1913-1914) that he contacted four Greek and Roman history scholars with ten questions that he submitted to them separately. These scholars were:

F. N. Pryce of the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum.

R. Rathborn of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.

George F. Moore, Professor of Ancient Roman and Greek History, Harvard University in Cambridge.

Prof. W. H. Westerman of the University of Wisconsin.

D. M. Canright reminds us that: “All four of these specialists in ancient history agree in answering these questions though neither one knew that they had been submitted to the others yet all four exactly agree in every particular, though widely scattered … Such a unanimous agreement would settle any question in a court of law.”

These findings were published in his work, The Lord’s Day From Neither Catholics or Pagans. I reproduce here only two of the historians’ answers:

From the world renowned British Museum in London, England, Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities

Sir: I am commanded by the Assistant Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities to reply as follows to your questions on the ancient week:

Q. 1. Did the pagan Romans and Greeks ever have any regular weekly day of rest from secular work?
Ans. No.

Q. 2. Did they have any regular weekly festival day?
Ans. No.

Q. 3. Did they have any regular weekly day when they assembled for pagan worship?
Ans. No.

Q. 4. Did they have any special day of the week when individuals went to the temples to pray or make offerings?

Ans. No; both for Greeks and Romans the month was the unit and not the week. The Greek calendar varied in different states but the month was generally divided into three periods of ten days. The Romans reckoned from three fixed points in the month, the Kalend or first, the Nones fifth or seventh, the Ides thirteenth or fifteenth. These subdivisions in themselves had no religious significance.

Also in the Roman calendars were nundinal, or market days, at periods of eight days, or, as the Romans reckoned time. On these days farm work, etc., stopped and citizens flocked into the town markets. To some extent this may be a regular stoppage of secular work.; but it had no religious significance, except that it was considered an evil omen when the nundinal coincided with other festival days, e. g., the: Nones. The nundinal period seems derived from a blundering reminiscence of a quarter of a lunar period, and there seems no connection with the later seven days’ week (see below).

Q. 5. As Sunday was sacred to the Sun, Monday to the Moon, Saturday to Saturn, etc., were those supposed deities worshipped on their own particular days more than on any other days?

Ans. No; the old worship of the gods was disappearing when the seven-day week came about. The significance of the deities’ names was astrological, not religious, e.g., if a person were born on Monday, the moon would influence his horoscope, but the moon was never an object of common worship.

Q. 6. When was our week of seven days first introduced into the Roman calendar?

Ans. There are traces in the literature of the late republic (first cent. B.C.) that the Romans used the week of seven days for astrological purposes, in connection with the many Eastern superstitions of the period. It was probably the third century, A.D. before the seven day week came into common use.

Q. 7. From whom did the Romans learn the week of seven days?

Ans. From the Jews, alternately the Assyrians and Babylonians; the names were probably fixed by the Hellenistic Greeks.

Q. 8. Did the pagan Greeks ever adopt in common life, or in their calendar, the week of seven days?
Ans. No.

Q. 9. Did Apollo, the Sun god, either among the Romans or Greeks, have any special day on which he was worshipped with prayers or offerings more than on any other day?

Ans. There were certain set festivals at various temples; these were annual, not weekly.

Q. 10. Did the pagan reverence for Sunday have anything to do in influencing Christians to select that day as their rest day?

Ans. No; it can hardly be said that there was any special reverence for Sunday in pagan times (see answer to No. 5).

I am, sir,
Your obedient servant,
F. N. PRYCE.

3. The following was the response from George Moore, Professor of Ancient Roman and Greek History, at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dear Sir:

There are two seven-day weeks: the Jewish week, with a Sabbath on the seventh day; and the Astrological week, with days named after the sun, moon, and five planets, in our order determined by the theories of astrology, but without any day of rest

The Astrological week first appears in Greek and Latin writings about the beginning of the Christian era … It had no use in ordinary life. Abstinence from labor on the seventh day, or on one day in seven, is a distinctively Jewish institution.

The edict of Constantine (321 A.D.) closing the courts on Sunday and prohibiting some kinds of labor on that day, is the first recognition of a seven-day week in Roman law. The ancient Romans had a market day every eight days, when the peasants came to town to market, but it was in no sense a day of rest.

In the old Roman calendar there were many days when the courts were closed and other public and private business was not done. They had also many festivals on which the people left their ordinary occupation to take part in the celebrations, but these have no periodicity like that of the week

The planetary week in which the days were named from their regents, Saturday, Sunday, etc., was an invention of the astrologers, probably in the second century, B.C., and has no relation to religion or influence upon it. Saturn, for example, was not worshipped on Saturday, nor Jupiter on Thursday. The festivals of the several gods were never weekly festivals, nor did they occur on days fixed by other divisions of the month, say the tenth day …

Private persons went to the temples when they had occasion to offer prayers or sacrifices or to make vows, etc. There were no stated days for such visits-though some days were in some temples luckier than others, and there was nothing like a stated day for the assembling of a worshipping congregation except the festivals of the local calendar.

Very truly yours,
George F. Moore.

4. One of the most detailed works on ancient Roman religion that I’ve read is, The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic by Warde W. Fowler (The Project Gutenberg, e-book released in 2009).

In it, Fowler describes Roman festivals in detail but says nothing about a weekly day of worship. This would have been a strange omission if Sunday had been “a venerable day of the sun” observed by pagans in Rome. Instead, the work shows that their festivals were seasonal or monthly.

The Roman annual calendar started on March 1; April was regarded as the month of opening or unfolding vegetation; May was the month of growing and June, the month of ripening and perfecting.

The Roman calendar at the time of Christ was divided into months, not weeks; they didn’t use our modern calendar. Therefore, the idea that the Romans specially worshipped the sun on Sunday, the moon on Monday or Frigg on Friday is a hoax.

5. The Encylopedia Britannica, article “Week” says: “For a time the Romans used a period of eight days in civil practice, but in AD 321 Emperor Constantine established the seven-day week in the Roman calendar and designated Sunday as the first day of the week.”

The Encylopedia Americana on the same topic says, “The Romans and Greeks …were not acquainted with the week till a late period. The Romans had, however, for civil uses, as the arrangement of market days, a cycle of eight days, the ninth being the recurring one, instead of the eighth as with us.”

In other words, the edict of Constantine in 321 A.D. was the first time in Roman law that Sunday was set aside as a holiday. It simply means before then it wasn’t recognized as a pagan holiday of the Empire. Before Constantine, the Roman Empire had eight days in a week (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, then 1, 2, 3, 4 etc.), but he made it into seven (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 then 1, 2, 3, 4 etc)

Assuming the Roman or Greek festivals were observed weekly, this calendar eliminates the possibility of pagans holding a feast for the same deity on the same day of the week, let alone being adopted by the church. Ralph E. Woodrow aptly pointed this out:

“Now this should be carefully noticed. IF pagans gathered on the first day of the week to worship Apollo, Mithra, or some other Sun-god, this would not correspond, week after week, to what we call Sunday. For example: Suppose our calendar had eight days in a week (instead of seven), and we met for Christian worship at seven day intervals. This would require a change of day each week!

“If we met the first week on Saturday, seven days later we would meet on Friday. Seven days later we would meet on Thursday. Seven days later we would meet on Wednesday, etc. There is simply no way that the first day—of an eight-day cycle—will consistently correspond with the first day of a seven-day cycle. This cries out in a loud voice, then, that the pagan Romans did not observe what we call Sunday as a weekly sacred day!” (Did Sunday Worship Come from Paganism? Palm Springs, CA., February 1999, p. 3).

It’s one thing for a denomination to say, “We meet for worship on Saturdays because we believe the New Testament does not really impose any particular day on believers, but gives us freedom to choose our own day of gathering for worship in church” – which is biblically fair. And I personally respect such sincere differences.

But it becomes a totally different ball game when a sect dogmatically says, “Sunday observance came from paganism! It originated from the worship of the Sun god in Rome and it won out because church leaders rebelled against God’s law. Sunday means ‘day of the sun,’ so if you go to a church on a Sunday, you are worshipping the sun god – Satan, and God told us through a 19th century visionary that Sunday worshippers will receive the mark of the Beast!”

This is a rhetoric laden with gross misinformation, falsehoods, fanaticism, poisoning the well, and religious mind control.

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When Witnesses leave the Watchtower

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According to an estimate, at least 70,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses leave that religious group annually.

Some of them are disfellowshipped for flouting their by-laws while others simply walk out of the cult due to a number of issues, such as the prevalence and cover-up of sexual abuse within the organization and spiritual emptiness.

Like most heretical sects, the JW belief system is a house of cards. If just one card falls, the entire structure crumbles. Interestingly, for each individual JW, it’s a different card which falls first.

For some, they find inexcusable errors in Watchtower teachings, some witness the injustice, others walk away when they can no longer stomach the Himalayan hypocrisy and the cruelty embedded within the system.

Janja Lalich, a professor studying cults and totalitarian leadership, made some statements regarding cult groups. “There’s this intense devotion and the inability to question or criticize or doubt,” Lalich told The Daily Beast. “They seem to be in a state of what we call cognitive dissonance, where what they believe doesn’t match reality,” she said.

Once the seed of doubt is sown into the heart of the Witness against his/her authoritarian leadership, the structure of their beliefs begins to crumble. It takes just one weak link to break a chain.

In the testimonies of former Witnesses who have come to know Jesus Christ, one can see various ways the Watchtower chains of deceit holding them down were broken.

“Between the two of us, we conducted ‘home bible studies’ with dozens of people, and we brought well over 20 of them into the organization as baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses,” says David Reed an ex-JW elder and his wife, Penni. “We weren’t stupid,” he continues, “but we were totally ignorant of the Bible. Besides, the Jehovah’s Witness program of indoctrination is so cleverly put together that it appeals to intelligent people.”

JWs will not come to your doors to talk about their most absurd beliefs, but would rather start out teaching things that most people agree with and gradually introduce the more absurd beliefs as time goes by.

“When I think of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I recall a lifetime of bondage to a cult which I served for the first 28 years of my life,” wrote Paul Blizard, who was a third generation JW.

“I was taught that Jehovah’s Witnesses had the only true religion, a religion governed from Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y. The governing body controls 2.3 million people. I use the word ‘control’ because Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that everything written by the Watchtower is from God and is not to be questioned,” he wrote.

In Tammie’s case, she was “a religious zealot and looked scornfully at anyone too lazy to pursue the ‘Truth’ as we called it.” She adds, “I was persuasive enough to lead five people to the point of baptism. I reported a monthly average of 10 Bible studies and [gave out] hundreds of pieces of literature. I read and studied the organization’s materials to the extent that I was able to argue doctrine better than any elder I knew, and this by their own admission.” Yet, “I was desperately lonely and empty.”

An online Christian ministry that evangelizes JWs notes that:
There are two types of converts. Those who joined this religion because it met an emotional need and those who converted because it gave them ‘answers’ to the questions they were facing in life. While the second group is easier to reach through logical reasoning about doctrinal inconsistencies, the first group is the most difficult to reach.”

What attracts people to the group usually keeps them in it. Penni recalls, “We were at a Witness convention and a handful of opposers were picketing outside. One of them carried a sign that said ‘READ THE BIBLE, NOT THE WATCHTOWER’.”

That night, she and David decided to follow that instruction. They read their Bibles and their discoveries eventually led the couple out of the cult.

Paul Blizard was given a book titled ’30 Years a Watchtower Slave’ by a fellow JW. The book was authored by an ex-JW who had found the truth by reading the Bible without Watchtower materials:

“I knew that my duty as a good Witness was to turn in my friend to the elders, for we were forbidden to read any anti-Witness material. But in defiance, I read the book. It disturbed me very much, for the author was a former worker at headquarters, and I could relate to many of the things he was saying.”

Then the Watchtower fancy cards came crashing down:

“My wife and I secretly studied our new Bible long hours into the night, discovering that many of the major doctrines that we had been willing to die for were false. I confronted my father about some of these issues. Being an elder, my father saw that I was questioning some of the main teachings, and he reported my wife and I to the elders, to stand trial for apostasy.”

Tammie, had her doubts when she met true Christians:

“I wondered why I had been warned all my life not to read other people’s religious materials. I observed these people’s lives and how they really lived what they believed and I began to wonder why a God of love wanted to kill these people at Armageddon. Was God so cruel to want to destroy these people who obviously love Him, just because they were not Jehovah’s Witnesses?”

Cynthia Cooper questioned the JW religion when her sister married a non-JW man. “My parents had literally thrown all of my sister’s clothes out on the front lawn.” She wondered “this is your child, how can you say you love your child and you love God but you are treating your child this way?… This is not the love of God.”

After Cynthia left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, she was shunned by her family and nearly committed suicide. But with the support of her Christian friends and pastor, she regained her feet and is still in the Lord.

Daniel Rodriguez, who has led many JWs to Christ observed that:

“Many who exit the Watchtower on their own never again involve themselves with “religion” of any kind. Many become agnostics or atheists. Many have suicidal thoughts. Some succumb to those thoughts. Thankfully, there are those who, in time, work out the trauma of leaving the Watchtower organization and live meaningful lives. Many publications deal with ministering to Jehovah’s Witnesses; but very few address the trauma of those who exit the Watchtower organization (Winning the Witnesses, Chick Publications Inc., 2007, pp. 75-76).

Raymond Franz, a former member of the Governing Body of JWs and cousin to a former President of the Watchtower Society, Fred Franz, provided some interesting insights into the hermetic mind control operating in this cult

“Sadly, in the case of most Witnesses, the organization has so persistently pushed its own self to the fore, has occupied such a large place on the spiritual scene, focusing so much attention on its own importance, that it has kept many from the closeness of fellowship with the heavenly Father that should have been theirs. The figure of the organization has loomed so large that it has overshadowed the greatness of God’s own Son, has clouded the vision of many from appreciating the warm relationship he invites persons to share with him, has distorted their perception of his compassionate personality.

“It is not surprising, then, that many persons, if expelled from the organization feel a sense of aloneness, of being adrift, floundering, due to no longer being tied to some visible authority structure, no longer having their lives channeled into its routine of programmed activity, no longer feeling the restrictive pressures of its policies and rulings” (Crisis of Conscience, 4th edition, Commentary Press, Atlanta, 2004, p. 397).

“When I told my parents that I had accepted Christ as my Savior, my mother cried and said she would never speak to me again,” recalls Tammie. “They believe Satan has blinded my mind so I can’t see the Truth anymore but I have discovered that the Truth is not an organization or a religion; it’s a Person, it’s Jesus Christ.”

After Paul Blizard and his wife were expelled and shunned, “Christians came to our home and helped us with food and money … The living testimony of these people affected my wife and I so much that we decided to start again studying the Bible.” From their study, “one night, my wife and I held our hands and gave our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Salvation is in Jesus Christ alone, it is not in a religious organization.

Unbroken Racism, Fanaticism and Paranoia

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Here is a feedback I received from Pillah Bee (from Kenya) on my recent Facebook post about Rebecca and Daniel Yoder:

Somebody recommended Unbroken Curses for me to read. I somehow found the writer to be biased against people of other continents, especially the blacks. How can she claim they have tribal gods in the current generation?

This is a good observation. Several reviewers of Unbroken Curses on Amazon have also pointed out that Rebecca and Daniel Yoder appeared to link other races to haunting  ancestral curses, but didn’t apply the same to their own race.

I particularly noticed a prejudicial indent in Rebecca’s first book, He Came to Set the Captives Free, where she referred to an African American couple as “Mr and Mrs Black” and “a negro couple.” She intentionally wanted her readers to know that they weren’t Mr and Mrs “white skinned.”

Considering the history of racial tensions in the American society and the Christian nature of her book, I didn’t consider it appropriate for her to append a pseudonym as “Mr and Mrs black”, or the term “negro” to persons of colour. It was unjustified in the 80s and inexcusable today.

In the Unbroken Curses (Whitaker, 1995) book, Rebecca made Africans (and by extension, African Americans) out as a violence-infested race, dying like flies today because of the influences of their tribal gods. Here is the quote:

The whole continent of Africa is characterized by tribal warfare. In 1995, there have been uprisings of intertribal warfare and massacres in Kenya as well. We have all seen the same thing in Somalia as it was filmed by the news media. The people of Africa have never broken away from the sins of their forefathers. Each tribe is consequently ruled by particular demon gods. Demons hate people and are determined to exterminate them!

Thus, the whole history of Africa has been incessant warfare and massacres among tribes. Until the Christians unite as one body and cry out to God in repentance for the sins of demon worship and hatred and warfare among their tribes as well as their ancestors’ tribes, the curses from the sins of their forefathers will not be removed from their lives. Christians and non-Christians alike are being killed in those massacres. They are wasting away in the iniquities of their fathers (Leviticus 26:39).

“This same problem exists here in America. The biggest problem in any large city is gang warfare and violence. Most of this is black-on-black violence. Why? Because the intertribal warfare among blacks is being carried on right here in America. Each gang is the same as a tribe. It doesn’t matter that these precious people are no longer in Africa. They are still wasting away in the iniquities of their forefathers” (pp. 31-32).

A complete dissection of the unnerving rhetorical device employed here would require a separate post on its own, but few points are in order.

If the author(s) had a slight knowledge of the history of warfare and violence in Africa, she would have realized that Western powers are also implicated in it. Not to mention, her simplistic grasp of the causes of the massacres in Kenya and Somalia.

One only needs to read the paragraphs quoted above in light of violent occurrences in the U.S. in the past decade alone, to see how her racial prejudice negated her prescription for Africa.

I believe it would be very insensitive, twisted and condescending if an African writer cited the American Civil war, the Connecticut, Marysville, Roseburg and Parkland school shootings, several workplace shootings, the Orlando night club shootings and serial murders in the US and link it to European and Native American pagan gods and conclude that “Americans are wasting away in the sins of their forefathers.”

The most irking part for me was when she wrote with dogmatic certainty that, “the people of Africa have never broken away from the sins of their forefathers.”

I can only hope that this pair have met enough real African Christians since the time they wrote that hogwash to correct their misconceptions. Racial profiling is bad. It destroys social relations and fosters divisions within the Body of Christ.

A man from the UK who had read my blog articles on the Yoders, told me during a chat few weeks ago that when he read Unbroken Curses at the age of 22, he became so obsessed with demons that he was casting off demons from virtually everything. I can relate to that.

You see, the case histories given in the book tend to induce in an unwary reader, a neurosis of tying almost anything from a non-American or non-caucasian context with the demonic.

Few examples are in order:

(1) They narrated about a Japanese hand painted fan with the picture of a geisha girl allegedly evoking lustful thoughts in an American couple (p. 54).

We are told that geisha girls “are high-class prostitutes” and since “the painting on the fan honored and glorified geisha girls…the demon of sexual immorality had the legal right to be on the fan, which made it an unclean object” (p. 55).

From my study, geisha girls are not prostitutes, they are rather a symbol of Japanese culture.

Using Rebecca’s logic, Christians will have to be casting Buddhist and Shinto demons out from Japanese cars imported into their countries or they will come under demonic attack.

(2) Rebecca said she “fell into the trap of honouring demon gods…while visiting Hawaii for a speaking engagement” (p. 60).

She explained that when she arrived at the church the first night, two little girls placed a lei of flowers around her neck and welcomed her. Then when she began to speak, she became confused, her mind blanked out, and she couldn’t put two sentences together to make any sense.

Later, she realized that the pagans on the islands regarded the leis flowers as sacred to their gods and a sign of good luck. Thus the quirky conclusion:

I had unwittingly given honor to the demon gods of the Haiwaiin Islands when I accepted the leis around my neck! This brought me under a curse and gave the demonic spirits the legal right to attack me! (p. 61).

I must confess, that this is a twisted, tortured path. First of all, who created those plants? God. So even if some pagans sincerely believed that they were sacred to their deities, they can’t bring one under a curse or make one susceptible to demonic attack.

Apostle Paul directly addressed this: “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim. 4:4).

Rebecca quoted this same passage when addressing unclean foods on p. 116, but she probably forgot to apply the same in this situation.

Pagans also believe roses to be sacred to their gods, but to assert that giving someone a rose flower as a gift will bring down a curse on them, is a demonic delusion in itself.

(3) A statement she made on pg. 63 would be of interest to Christian archaeologists and historians:

Thus, around the world, and on St. Croix specifically, ancient demon gods are being dug up, carefully restored, and placed in positions of honor. Money is being paid in honor as tourists go to see them. In essence, little difference exists between these tourist attractions and pagan temples.

This is a display of fanaticism. A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance. It’s not a pagan temple.

The ethnic images placed in museums are not for religious veneration. The money paid by tourists are not paid “in honour of demon gods.”

Various scholarly works are done by digging up such past artefacts and many of them have been useful to biblical authenticity and understanding.

The Yoders laid a burden of guilt on their Christian audience at St. Croix (and by extension, their readers):

We had to tell them that if the Christians of St. Croix do not join together to vigorously protest the [museum] project and do everything possible to stop it, then they would be guilty of sinning against God by being partakers in giving honor to demon gods...” (p. 67).

At this point, a reasonable reader should question if Rebecca and Daniel Yoder have ever vigorously protested the building of Masonic lodges, Wiccan covens, Hindu or Buddhist temples in their own state of Arkansas before asking Christians to fight against a museum project – which is a purely secular undertaking?

This is why I can’t recommend any material by this pair for new Christians. They simply capture the fevered imaginations of their own minds and syringe them into their readers.

There is a world of difference between a person enlightening you and someone filling you with hysteria.

There is a part of the book where they relayed a story about “a powerful American Indian demon god” called Tsagalalal and how she ruled over the whole region of Stevenson, Washington DC.

But when you read about this Tsagalalal from any reference work, you will realize that the Yoders exaggerated her power and influence in their book more than the Native Americans themselves.

I must also point out that the “vision” relayed by Daniel Yoder, of the rainbow bridge between heaven and earth where pets await their owners, is a variation of an American Indian myth. So much for their earlier fuss with their lei flowers.

Expectedly, on pg. 122, Rebecca exhibited her demonic paranoia towards African arts in a hotel in Abidjan:

A large, woven tapestry was hanging on the wall at the head of our bed. It had African figures woven into it. We quickly recognized that the figures were representations of demon gods. A painting of the opposite wall was a watercolor of an African tribe holding a ritual ceremony. Both were legal grounds for demons.”

Take note of two things. Once they found out an African (or non-Western) painting in the room, they instantly branded it as demonic. The silent inference is: if it isn’t Western art, it must be satanic.

Second, the figure woven into the tapestry in that hotel were plural (“representations”). Later, things went downhill:

During our stay, I developed a physical problem. I realized that I was under heavy demonic attack, but I was unable to gain victory.” (p. 123)

Now, this narrative of being defeated by demons in spite of prayer is a recurring trope in the Yoders’ books as I have pointed out. Eventually, the key to the puzzle was found when the hostess came to their room:

As soon as she looked at it [the tapestry], she said, “Oh, that is the god Poro. He is a powerful god of the tribes in northern Ivory Coast.

Earlier, we were told that there were figures woven into the tapestry, but now we are told it’s a singular figure – Poro. Rebecca further said:

Poro “hated women so much that any woman who dared to look at him or at a depiction of him immediately had a curse of death placed on her. There are no images of Poro among those northern tribes because the women who look at them die.”

If these were true, then the hotel management must have been part of a hidden conspiracy to afflict and murder foreign women by putting up a tapestry that could bring death curses on female visitors. Ah, such unbroken curses!

Let anyone reading this take a moment to do a brief Internet search about “Poro” and you will realize that it’s a male fraternal society, not a deity. Poro society is known for hunting and they are resident in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and the Ivory Coast.

The Encyclopedia of African Religion (Molefi Asante and Ama Mazama, 2008), says that “Sandogo is the women’s society, and Poro is the men’s society. Although Poro is the men’s society, young girls and post-menopausal women are permitted to join Poro, and men are permitted to join Sandogo.”

There are depictions made of Poro men and their masks, but there’s no such thing as a “powerful god of Ivory Coast” called Poro, whose hateful gaze makes women drop dead.

The argument that the hotel staff wouldn’t know her own culture as to misinform the Yoders doesn’t wash. The Yoders’ claims betray a premeditated and wilful intent to deceive their readers and sensationalize spiritual warfare.

From what I have documented so far, honesty seems to be the farthest thing from Rebecca and Daniel Yoder’s minds whenever they communicate with the public. Take their stories and visions with much caution and discretion.

I end this with the words of Pillah Bee:

That put me off. If she (or should I say they) wanted to put across their points, they need not to be biased, if their argument is valid. It is very wrong to misinform the readers especially because that’s a print media, we have people who are truly seeking to know more about biblical truths, and they need to be guided in the right direction.

Here is my exchange with a zealous fan of Rebecca Brown on this piece.