crmlogo  Cornerstone Research Ministry        Home     About     Articles    Contact
    Recognizing False Biblical Teachings and Teachers

 

 


Cornerstone Newsletter

Visualization and Contemplative Meditation: Sorcery In The Church

By Greg DesVoignes

There shall not be found among you... that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.  For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord".  Deuteronomy 18:10-12

Below are definitions from Strong's Concordance of the terms in Deuteronomy 18:10-12
Italicized words are the Hebrew from Strong's and their definitions

(divination qecem - to conjure, as nations of Balaam, false prophets)
(observer of times anan - a witch, enchanter, fortune teller, make something appear)
(enchanter nachash - to hiss, to whisper a spell, observe signs)
(witch kashaph - to practice sorcery or witchcraft)
(charmer chabar - to join or bind together)
(consulter with familiar spirts [consulter sha'al - to inquire of] [familiar spirits 'owb - spirits, ghost of dead, necromancer])
(wizard yidd@`oniy - a knower, one who has a familiar spirit, false prophet)
(necromancer [darash - to seek, inquire of, or follow a pagan deity] [muwth - killed or slain, dead])
(abomination tow`ebah - disgusting, impure, detested, shameful)

Introduction

visualizationI wrote some on visualization and contemplative meditation in the article, Birthing of the False Church Through  Ecumenism and how this practice is a common thread that links the church, business world, governments, education, and other religions with each other with what appears to be a global agenda.  The practice is being taught in, and used in each including the medical field.  However in this article I go into it a little deeper because it is one of the most dangerous practices of deception that exists.  It is dangerous because (1) it is within the forbidden practices seen in Deuteronomy 18, (2) engaging in it makes one an abomination (impure - disgusting) as it is a substitute for God, (3) it facilitates the end goal of Eastern mysticism.  That goal is "enlightenment" (a subsitute salvation not of God) that comes from within, with a deceptive self realization of divinity and "oneness" with all things, (4)  it puts one in contact with spiritual demonic entities, . (5) It is being used in the church.

Later on I will share an example in this article of the dangers of these things where a child who was involved with visualization after learning it in her church, ended up turning away from God.

The verses at the beginning of this article were God's word to Israel before they crossed the river Jordan into Canaan where they were to take the land.  God was speaking of the things the Canaanites practiced.  Because the Canaanites practiced these things God said they were an "abomination" to him.  God told Israel they were not to do them and that because the Canaanites practiced these things, God was going to drive them out of the land.  God had also warned them shortly before about this saying,

"Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods... Deuteronomy 12:30-31

Israel did not listen. There are serious things to consider as we continue in this article; because as Israel did in Canaan in learning these ways in Deuteronomy 18, the church has also done.  We have gone outside of it's realm of God, to those outside of Christianity, to learn what God said we were not to learn nor even inquire in the use of them.  Problem is, many in the church think it has to be like the world so we incorporate even more from it.

Now Samuel compared witchcraft and rebellion with each other when speaking to a rebellious Saul in 1 Samuel 15:23 when Samuel said, "...rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft..."   Engaging in practices such as visualization makes one listen to and follow deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons instead of listening to and following God in truth.  With this practice in particular and one of it's end goals, it takes one right back into the garden of Eden where Satan told Eve their "eyes would be opened" (mental, spiritual faculties open to hidden things) and they could be "as gods".   In visualization the answers and help for man are found "within", not from God. And...., It makes one impure.   In Galatians 5:20 "witchcraft" is listed among others as one of the things that will prevent a person from entering into the Kingdom of God if we practice it.  That is serious.

Visualization and contemplative practices are all too popular today.  It is so mainstream in some realms that it is just "part of the landscape". If you find you are involved in visualization / contemplative meditation, God has provided a remedy for it though.  It is called "repentance", to turn away from it. So I will begin to explain these things in hope to give an understanding why it should not be engaged in.

The New Age Movement

In this article and others on this website, you will hear references to the "New Age" or the "New Age Movement".  Many  today in 2018 have never even heard of this movement.  But it is alive and well in the world and  within the church in many of its ideologies and practices, including visualization and meditation techniques.  The New Age Movement has a globalist goal as part of its agenda.  Satan has this same goal so he can place his false Christ in as the leader of the one world system.

The Biblically based Church is the last stronghold that Satan wants to overtake so the anti-Christ can be revealed. Visualization is part of that system to make that unity happen.   But it is now being used in the church as well as outside of it.  So having said this I will explain the New Age from some of it's own followers.  It will give you a little insight to visualization later on.

New Age leader Marilyn Ferguson (now deceased) wrote a popular New Age book called "The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation In Our Time". It was first published in 1980 and is considered the New Age bible.  According to her son in a November 2,  2008 LA Times article about her death, former VP Al Gore, while a Senator, participated in her network of associates.  Ferguson also addressed some members of Congress at a luncheon in 1980.

In her book she describes the New Age as,

"A leaderless, but powerful network...to bring about radical change in the U.S. Its members have broken with certain key elements of Western thought...There are legions of conspirators in corporations, universities and hospitals, on faculties of public schools, in factories... in virtually all arenas of policy making in the country...They amplify the activities of the conspiracy...articulating the new options through books, lectures, school curricula and congressional hearings and national media". (Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation In The 1980s, JP Tarcher Publishing, 1980, pgs 23,24)

When Ferguson says that its members have broken with "certain key elements of Western thought, part of that is embracing the eastern mysticism ideology that man is moving toward the realization that he is divine and that man is part of an interconnection of all life forms. In their thinking, man is just one part of many in this model of nature and society must align with this nature in order to transform society and make it work better.  Visualization type practices are one of the main ways this is to be achieved. The larger goal of this movement in their astrological view is to move the world from what is called on a Zodiac the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age.  It is to be an age of harmony, unity, peace, etc. It is also largely based upon eastern mysticism / nature and pantheistic religions.  How do they get this accomplished? New Age contributor Dick Sutphen says of the New Age,

"One of the biggest advantages we have as New Agers is, once the occult, metaphysical and New Age terminology is removed, we have concepts and techniques that are very acceptable to the general public. So we can change the names to demonstrate the power. In so doing, we open the New Age door to millions who would normally not be receptive". (What Is, summer 1986, Dick Sutphen, Infiltrating The New Age Into Society, pg 14)

Look at the date of the book; 1986.  So, it would seem that for a long time the New Age Movement has used deceptive means to accomplish it's goals to make it more acceptable.  The New Age has it's own language so to speak.  They just change the occult and religious looking names and concepts so people don't know the reality of it all.  Interesting book title too (Infiltrating).  2 Peter 2:1 says that false teachers would come in and secretly introduce destructive heresies.

Sutphen's, (who is 81 years old now), bio says, "Dick Sutphen has been teaching Hypnosis and Metaphysics since the 1970s. He is a Pioneer in Brain-Mind Technology, has taught thousands to be Professional Hypnotists, and has given seminars throughout the world on various Metaphysical Studies". End quote Source: dicksutphenschool.com

(This "Brain-Mind Technology" subject comes up later in this article and is one of these examples of changing terminology and concepts)

New Age ideal follower and former Berkley Physicist, Fritjof Capra said,

"The parallels to Eastern mysticism are appearing not only in physics but also in biology, psychology and other sciences.  Western science is finally...coming back to the views of early Greek and the Eastern philosophies". (Frijtof Capra, The Tao Of Physics An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism, 1975, pg 17)

Again, look at the date of the book.  That was written 43 years ago. 

In a more recent article (2015) Capra said,

"The extensive explorations of the relationships between science and spirituality over the past four decades have made it evident that the sense of oneness, which is the key characteristic of spiritual experience, is fully confirmed by the understanding of reality in contemporary science.... The awareness of being connected with all of nature is particularly strong in ecology. Connectedness, relationship, and interdependence are fundamental concepts of ecology; and connectedness, relationship, and belonging are also the essence of spiritual experience."  Frijtof Capra, Fritjof Capra on Science and Spirituality, Sutra Journal, December 2015.

So Eastern mysticism, which the New Age ideology embraces, went from "appearing" in the sciences in 1975 to being "fully confirmed" in them in 2015.  So we can see that this slow and seductive transformation has been going on a long time.  Visualization is a key part of eastern mysticism and with it comes what Capra says is the "key characteristic" of these "spiritual" experiences, which is the sense of "oneness".

Capra practiced various forms of eastern meditation and visualization.   In The Tao Of Physics Capra describes a spontaneous mystical experience his mind entered into in which he saw himself as being "one" with the atoms of cosmos as a result of continual practice of these things.   In describing this mystical experience he said,

"As I sat on that beach my former experiences came to life; I “saw” cascades of energy coming down from outer space, in which particles were created and destroyed in rhythmic pulses; I “saw” the atoms of the elements and those of my body participating in this cosmic dance of energy; I felt its rhythm and I “heard” its sound, and at that moment I knew that this was the Dance of Shiva, the Lord of Dancers worshiped by the Hindus." Frijtof, The Tao of Phyics, Cover flap

Speaking of this spontaneous vision, in a March 2016 article called, "A New Vision of Reality - Frijtof Capra", Capra told the interviewer,

"Now, it is possible to have spiritual, or mystical, experiences spontaneously — in a powerful experience of art, in sports, in sexual experiences, and in other highly charged emotional states. My experience of the cosmic dance of subatomic particles, which I described in the opening pages of “The Tao of Physics,” was such a spontaneous experience. For most of us, however, these spontaneous experiences are few and far between. To increase their frequency generally requires rigorous training in a spiritual disciplineLike you, I have had many such experiences in meditation."  Source:  creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/a-new-vision-of-reality-fritjof-capra/

So then, continual engagement in meditative - visualization exercises can bring about unexpected mind trips like the one in which Capra saw himself as one with the atoms.  Not only was it being one with the atoms but he likened it to being "the dance of the Hindu god Shiva".  Shiva, (The Destroyer) among other attributes, is the Hindu god of yoga, meditation, and the arts.  People who have taken LSD have these same unannounced spontaneous experiences.

The late apologist Walter Martin said in one of his books of the things Capra speaks of;

"The New Age derives its belief in the inherent divinity of man from...belief in the divinity of all things... Thus the New Age Movement advocates various methods of altering the consciousness (Yoga, meditation...) as a means of salvation. These enable man to consciously experience his supposed union with God, and experience defined as enlightenment." {Walter Martin, The New Age Cult, Bethany House Publishers, 1989, pg 19}

New Age Summary

So we see that the New Age is largely a global spiritual movement in disguise, with disguised terminology.  It can be seen that it has infiltrated all aspects of society (and it really has).  We see that  it changes the metaphysical eastern terminology so that these spiritual things would become acceptable to those who would not be receptive.  One of these ways is to call it, "science" as science as adopted the eastern occult thinking.  As we will see, their target and deceptive terminology in swaying, now includes the Church.  One end goal of this New Age Movement is the forming of a New World Order with a one world government, monetary system, and spirituality.  Visualization is one of the vehicles to create a compelling but deceptive pathway to this.  It is being promoted and practiced in all aspects and institutions of society today.

Visualization Comes In Many Names

Visualization is one of these world unification New Age practices where, for the sake of infiltrating, is called by a variety of different names depending on who is using or promoting the practice.  Some of the terms used are:

Concentration
Centering and Centering Prayer
Contemplation
red Contemplative Meditation and Contemplative Prayer
red Soaking Prayer
The Practice
Channeling
Creative Imagination
Active Imagination
Sanctified Imagination
Imagining
Imagery
Guided Imagery
Focusing
Dream Wanderings
Right Brain Tapping
Zen
red Mindfulness
red Belly Breathing
Progressive Relaxation
Autogenic Training
Rethinking
Thought Stopping
Mental Diversion
Transformational Intuition
Several Others

Visualization Is Witchcraft

No matter what title it is given, it is witchcraft.

One of the targets of infiltration of New Age practices is the education system at all levels. It is there. Back in the early 90s I was asked to go over a counseling type program that was being used in the five elementary schools of one of our area school districts.  I was told by some concerned parents that this school district was getting elementary school students involved in "New Age" concepts that were in this new program, and they were performing psychotherapy on their children.  This concept they were concerned about involved the practice of visualization and guided imagery meditations that were being used on the children and taught to them.  I was told that parents had been complaining to elementary Principals about this but that nothing was being done.

At the invitation of, and agreement of the parents with the school district, my involvement was to go over this program and then would make a presentation to the school district Superintendant, the elementary Principals, and Counselors of what I found.  It did this.

The program and material was called "Pumsy in Pursuit of Excellence" by Jill Anderson.  The book was written in 1987 and the concept was passed off as being one associated to science.  The Preface says the purpose of the book was "intended as a curriculum guide for teaching self-esteem to elementary school children through cognitive and restructuring and positive thinking skills.". End quote  

It was designed for three 30 minute sessions a week for eight weeks. The guide is over 200 pages.

The program used the story of a "friendly" dragon called "Pumsy" as a base for the teaching.  In short the purpose of the book was as noted above; to restructure a child's thinking with the dragon as the example.  It was about getting Pumsy to change from having a negative "Mud Mind" to having a positive "Clear Mind" and on to it's "Sparkler Mind".  While it contained aspects of Psychotherapy, the active method of restructuring was the dangerous practice of visualization / guided imagery, and even "channeling".

The program was progressive in its visualization techniques like all of these type are.  Now observe and note these starting introductory techniques carefully because you may see them being used in your own church or other institution or business .  If you do,  do not engage in them.  While seemingly innocent and even sold as being scientific, good, and beneficial,  these fundamental exercises  are the gateway to taking one into an altered state of consciousness and beyond as we will see.

Pumsy starts out in the first two sessions with the teacher getting the students set up to believe they can use their imaginations to make positive changes in their thinking and behaviors.  There was even a Pumsy songbook to sing Pumsy songs.  By the third session the teacher is beginning to introduce the children into the world of visualization under the guise of using their imagination.  The starting techniques are the gateway to altered states and the beginning of using visualization.

Relaxation and Breathing Exercises

In Session 3 the teacher then instructs the children into getting into a relaxed position, both feet on the floor, relaxing arms, legs, shoulders and head.  "Let your whole body work as if it were in slow motion" it says.  The children are then told to close their eyes and take slow deep breaths saying, "you might feel as if you could sink into your chair" pg 43

I mentioned Dick Stuphen previously.  He starts out his visualization and hypnosis exercises the same way with relaxation and breathing techniques.  He lives in Sedona, Arizona which he and many other New Agers believe is a "spiritual vortex" of spiritual activity in the U.S.  He uses this technique as the steppingstone to take people into this vortex to have what he describes as spiritual and psychic experiences.  Stuphen calls his wife, Roberta, "a master medium... she sees through to the other side"

I would say that is pretty much what God was talking about in Deuteronomy 18. The witch at Endor that was contacted by Saul was a medium and had a "familiar spirit" (1 Samuel 28).  Roberta Stuphen says she has the ability to talk with any person's "spirit guide", i.e. familiar spirit.

Visualizations Come Next

The children are then told to imagine they  are in a beautiful meadow where nothing can hurt them.  They are directed to a pond in the meadow and to look to the bottom of it and to note the colors and how clean it is.  They are asked if they want to put this water on their faces.  The teacher says, "All of this is wonderful, and you feel good knowing that you are a very important part of it all" pg 44

The teacher then tells the children that they can come and visit their pond at any time because it is in their own mind and heart and no one can stop them from going there.  The next instruction is really the indicator that they were taken into an altered state.  The teacher is supposed to say, "When you are ready to leave the meadow for now - you'll be back soon, and you'll be there more and more often - you can start wiggling your fingers, and then, when you are ready, you can open your eyes and repeat aloud with me in a clear strong voice...'I can choose how I feel". pg 44.  This "positive affirmation" phrase is repeated.

So in this exercise the teacher has acted as the one who performs "guided imagery" on the children.  By these relaxation and breathing exercises she has put them in an altered state and then into a nature scene where they are told they are an important part of it  (As we will later see, this "knowing that you are a very part of it"  means you realize you are "at-one" with nature in the eastern and other New Age religions of witchcraft.)

The teacher then brings them out of this state when they are "ready to leave" it.  Wiggling the fingers is to get in touch with the hear and now and in some practices has another spiritual aspect to it.  This same technique is repeated and performed again in Sessions 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 and 24;  just in different scenes and situations.  In these scenes and situations they were to visualize a desired change and see it happen.

In the Strong's Concordance definition of "divination" in Deuteronomy 18, the false prophet Balaam was given as an example.  Balaam attempted to visualize Israel as being cursed for Balak.  (Read Numbers 22-24, Deuteronomy 23:4, Revelation 2:14 and others)

Session 24 is the final session with another bad twist.  In this session the teacher takes the children back to the meadow and outside of Pusmy's cave.   The visualization is very detailed in the use of the senses to see rainbows, feel a breeze, and smell things.  Here the children are introduced to Pumsy and his companion dragon who is called "Friend".   This is in effect, the beginning of channeling familiar spirits.

In Session 24 Pumsy is having a conversation through the teacher with the children and says he has been keeping a secret that he can fly.  The children are then directed to visualize climbing on Pumsy's back. Pumsy takes them up in the air with "Friend" who is sitting behind the child holding them.  They fly away from the meadow into the sky.  But then the children are told they too can fly too.  They are told to experience the floating and feeling light.  Then, again, when the child is ready, they are told to have Pumsy take them back to the meadow in a detailed sensual awareness of wind, and visual things.

They are told to tell Pumsy and Friend how they felt about flying and to tell them goodbye.  They are told they can return to Pumsy any time....

The children have just been introduced to their own spirit guides (as they are called in witchcraft), their own familiar spirits (as the Bible calls them). The children have just been introduced to another occult practice called "astral projection". We will see this being done in other examples later in this article.

"Hogwash", you may say.  That's what the principals and counselors were basically saying to the parents.  They, like many still do today, thought this was a science. But is it "Hogwash"?.  I knew what it was.  My thought was, how do you talk about spiritual things to probably secular people who operate in a secular institution, who are possibly not Christians, who think this is science, and do not understand these things?  They probably could care less what Deuteronomy 18 says.  How am I going to show them this practice is not science, but religious?  Pray. Actually I ended up showing them directly where it came from.

What I did was take a few visualization instructional books written by New Age associated occultists, and compared the visualization instructions in their books to the ones' given in Pumsy.   One of these is a very well known practicing witch.   The instructions on the relaxation and breathing exercises in all these books were the same as was seen in the Pumsy program.  In fact, some instructions were almost verbatim.  They all started with relaxation and breathing exercises.  They all ended up in visualizing places, meeting their spirit guides and taking trips into the air or even further.

So after completing this research, I had a breakfast meeting in a restaurant with the group from the school district.  It was explained to me by a person in this group that parents were going to the schools and yelling at the staff that they were teaching the children "New Age" things.  This group of people told me they did not know what the "New Age" was, so they didn't understand what the parents were talking about.  I was told I had only 20 minutes for my presentation.

I started by explaining to these people what the New Age Movement was and then went on to my presentation of the comparisons of Pumsy with the books on witchcraft.  Below are some of the things out of the books I used and some others that show the reality of visualization.

Laurie Cabot, a witch and well known leader in the WICCAN religion calls witchcraft a "science" and says;
"The science of witchcraft is based upon our ability to
enter altered states of consciousness we call "alpha"... This is a state associated with relaxation, meditation and dreaming...In alpha the mind opens up to non ordinary forms of communication...Here we also experience out-of-body sensations and psychogenesis and receive mystical, visionary information" {Laurie Cabot with Tom Cowan, Power Of the Witch, Delta Books, 1989, pg 173}

Note what Cabot refers to witchcraft as "science" and says witchcraft is based upon the ability to enter altered states.  Part of this starts with "relaxation".  Her instructions on this were as in Pumsy. Next note what will happen while in this altered state; the mind opens up to what she calls non ordinary forms of communication. In other words, something, other than normal begins to happen. Cabot is referring to psychic forms of communication.

She also notes that while utilizing visualization, certain experiences may happen.  She lists these as, out-of-body experiences, mystical and visionary information. Cabot says further of these visionary trances that they

"...open the doorway to the Higher Intelligence or for working magic". Power Of The Witch, pg 16}

So there is a power in it.  In fact Cabot calls visualization, magic, when she says;
"Magic is the knowledge and power that come from the ability
to shift consciousness into a   non-ordinary visionary state of awareness...Certain tools...cause this shift...music... meditation... breathing exercises...forms of hypnosis". {Power Of The Witch, pg 16}

So, breathing exercises are a "tool" to cause a mind shift go into this different state of mind. (Note the music and meditation for later)

Dressing this ancient witchcraft practice in modern terms, Cabot says; 
"In an alpha state...the holographic potential of the brain/mind comes into full play"  "...contact with unconscious materials and images occur spontaneously. Imaginative possibilities are more sharply focused... For these reasons witches do most of their magical work in alpha". {Power Of The Witch, pg 175}

There is that reference to the "brain/mind" again. So the relaxed state of "alpha" is the area of the mind witches work in.  In fact Cabot says that 
"Alpha is the springboard for all psychic and magical workings. It is the heart of witchcraft". {Power Of The Witch, pg 183}

As noted previously, "Alpha" is achieved in part by the relaxation and breathing exercises for the purpose of bringing on a relaxed state of mind.  So what was happening in Pumsy and other similar instruction techniques, is well known to be part of witchcraft.

Cabot also said, "...in those moments of altered consciousness...universal knowledge becomes available. We open the Mind of the All. We let knowledge in. We let light in. We are enlightened". {Power Of The Witch, Pg 152}

So we can see that breathing exercises are part of the process for getting into this alpha state to bring the mind into an altered state of consciousness.   Like Cabot said, this relaxed state of mind "is the heart of witchcraft" and witches do "most of their magical work in alpha".  Cabot's statement of the practice bringing about knowledge and becoming "enlightened" is the same we saw from Capra.

Rick Stark, another occultist says,
"Once you are in a relaxed state...visualize yourself already out and at a different location...You can also use meditative or rhythmic breathing exercises to get into a relaxed state..." {Rick Stark, Out of Body Adventures, Contemporary Books, 1988, pg 117}

Of course this is the same instructions given to children in Pumsy.  Out of the room and into the meadow.

Like in Pumsy, Stark also promotes the use of positive affirmations along with the visualization.  In Pumsy these affirmations were done when coming out of the visualization trip.  Stark says in part;

"Start out with your first affirmation and begin to speak it, either aloud or in your mind. Say it with feeling and feel what you are saying. Deliberately allow yourself to believe what you are saying as you say it..."pretend" that what you are saying is already true... 

Repeat the statement over and over, and begin using your visualization...Imagine it as vividly as you can... Imagine that you have already achieved your goal...In your mind see the event you want to happen actually occurring.. for example moving effortlessly out of your body". {Out Of Body Adventures, pg 73}

This is exactly what the Pumsy visualization exercises do; see the issue, make it happen.  See yourself go from the Mud Mind to the Sparkler Mind. Then, repeat the statement loudly; which is actually nothing more than a "mantra" used in this occult practice.  The event the teacher puts in the children is flying with Pumsy and then experiences a floating sensation as they fly on their own.

Kathryn Riddal, another channeler says in her 1988 book, "Channeling - How To Reach Your Spirit Guides",

"...these same techniques will...increase you spiritual receptivity...There are no rules that govern the spiritual path...trust your intuition... In practicing the relaxation exercises...you have systematically prepared yourself for channeling.  As you open the gates to unseen realms [this is what visualization does] you have the potential to meet many spirit friends" [like Pumsy and Friend]. {Channeling, Bantam Books 1988, pgs 86, 87, 109}

That is what this last exercise in Pumsy did; it brought the children into channeling two spirit guides in the form of "friendly" dragons.  And, as with the others above, Riddal started with the breathing exercises.  I find it rather disturbing that this practice, will, and does "open the gates" to unseen realms.  Dick Stuphen and his wife are prime examples of facilitating this.

Another book I used to illustrate the religious overtones of visualizations was written by a person who calls herself Shakti Gawain.  She also has the same relaxation and breathing exercises to start as seen in her book, Creative Visualization

She says;

"Creative Visualization is not just a technique, but ultimately it is a state of consciousness. It is a state of consciousness in which we deeply realize we are the creators of our universe...There is no separation between us and God; we are divine expressions... Manifestation through Creative Visualization is the process of realizing and making visible...our divine potential. {Creative Visualization, Pg 149}

Here Gawain proclaims what Eastern and esoteric occult religions proclaim. Visualization is the door which brings us automatically into a state of consciousness in which an occult religious experience happens: the Hindu belief that we are gods. She echoes Capra.  To the Eastern and other occult religions, visualization has always been the tool or process of "self realization", that we are one with nature, one with the universe.  This was the thought given to the children in Pumsy when they were told to visualize this creation and realize, "you are a very important part of it all"

Gawain gets right to the point that shows the bridge between visualization and Eastern religious philosophies. Speaking of the two she says;

"...in actuality there is no contradiction between the two teachings when they are understood at a deeper level" {Creative Visualization, pg 41}

Gawain's background makes her qualified to make this statement. Her educational history includes, psychology, and two years in Europe and Asia studying Eastern philosophy, meditation, and yoga.

As seen with Frijtof Capra, this New Age thinking, the practice and goal of enlightenment through visualization was mainstreaming in the 1980s within the intellectual realm.  The now retired Yale Medical Professor Bernie Siegel said of visualization,

"The goal is to reach a light trance state, sometimes called the alpha state...[which] is the first step in hypnosis, biofeedback, yogic meditation, and most related forms of mind exploration.  With guidance and practice, meditation can lead to breath- taking experiences of cosmic at-oneness and enlightenment." {Yale University Medical Professor, Bernie Siegel, from Dave Hunt, America: The Sorcerers New Apprentice, Harvest House, 1988, pg 256}

Again, it was just  that "cosmic at-oneness and enlightenment" that Capra experienced. So it is not just outwardly practicing witches and channelers that teach visualization methods; it is also the academics, those involved in the "sciences".

 As we have seen, and the educators I spoke to saw, even the relaxation and breathing exercises are the doorway to bring a person into the "alpha" or "altered state" of consciousness.   They saw these things are used by witches, and in eastern associated religions.  The group of educators were starting to see that what they thought was science, was actually psychotherapy that utilized an occult religious practice.  My allotted 20 minutes ended up to be more than an hour.  I heard later that this program was removed from the district.  Did the parallels I showed them convince them it was witchcraft and that it was wrong?  Maybe some.  But at the very least the veil of New Age terminology was removed to expose visualization as a religious practice which the educators knew could not be taught in public school.

I did not know it until I started doing some current research into Pumsy, and found that it was a subject of contention across the United States back in the early 90s.   A Seattle Times article from September 18, 1992 was about a lawsuit filed by parents against the Everett School District in Washington State to have them stop the Pumsy program.  According to the article, Pumsy was being utilized in about 16,000 schools at that time and that there was an awareness of it being challenged 40 times across the U.S.

You know there are a lot of teachers and children in 16,000 schools.  This program alone deceived many educators, children and parents.  But Pumsy wasn't the only program.  During this same time period (late 80's and early 90's) another well known person in the education field had his own visualization filled program.  Jack Canfield came out with a school curriculum called, "Self Esteem In The Classroom" 1986.  Another area school district actually had a seminar given by Jack Canfield for all the district teachers.  He sold large filled binder on this program at this seminar.  The venue for this seminar was in the auditorium of one of the high schools.  It held about 500 people and was full.  This curriculum guide was filled with the same slow introduction to breathing exercises and the rest of the visualization processes. 

During that same time period in the late 80s and early 90s, California State University Professor Barbara Clark wrote a 580 page curriculum for gifted children called "Growing Up Gifted: Developing the Potential of Children at Home and at School" .  I have the 1992 "fourth edition". There are at least eight editions now.  Part of her ways to enhance their giftedness was through the practice of visualization.   In addition to being used to reduce stress, one purpose of visualization was to develop them into "Futurists" and groom them for leadership and "global education".

One quote on this global education in the book says,

Just as leadership is an important concern for those who plan curricula for gifted learners, global education must be considered essential to their preparation for the future Boyer (cited in King 1985) identified two objectives for the nation's schools: to make it possible for individual aptitudes and abilities to be discovered, and to discover our connections with each other so that we can live socially and civically and spiritually in tune with those about us.  "The curriculum must affirm both our independence and our interdependence" (p. 2)  Growing Up Gifted, 4th edition, Barbara Clark, Merrill - McMillan Publishing, 1992, pg 337

How are these connections accomplished to become spiritually in tune with each other.  Again, it is through visualization. 

Speaking of what she calls "Transformational Intuition" Clark says,

"This third level of intuitive processing, transformational intuition, is the most fascinating and the most awesome.  When operating in this transformational level, a person seems to be using a different kind of sensing that "picks up information through a means that has defied scientific understanding" (Lyoy, 1983, p. 52).  Those who have received information at this level often report that ideas came through them as if from an outside source..." Growing up Gifted, pg 350 

Remember those in the occult in previous examples talked about these outside sources.  Certainly these things defy scientific understanding, and the things that come through this do come from an outside source of the spirit realm.

Clark continues,

"Finally, this level of intuition can be experienced as transcendence....  This highest form of knowing occurs when one knows totally the universe, the self, and the connection between... Eastern mystics seek this elevated state of knowledge, as do the religions of all faiths.  Variously known as enlightenment, illumination, ecstasy, or by other similar terms, this form of intuition is the ultimate experience, the drawing together of all other forms of intuitive process " Growing Up Gifted, pg 350

Here again it is back to an the end goal purposes; spiritual experiences that bring about, enlightenment, and a professed "oneness".  Where Jill Anderson in Pumsy tells the children to see that they are all an important part of nature, Clark says that knowing the connection between the self and the universe is the highest form of the final "transcendence.  And this is in a book for educating children that was written 26 years ago with the first edition published 39 years ago, with an eighth edition in 2013.  How much more of this is in our institutions today in 2018?

The following are my thoughts and some possibilities I have seen concerning some instances in the Old Testament (Scriptures). They make sense to me, but maybe not to you.

As I read this book, in places it was a description of the Babylonian system as seen in Daniel 1. There we see the Babylonians taking the highly intelligent young persons of their captives, like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, and teaching them the occult processes of the "Chaldeans" for the purpose of grooming them for leadership to serve the King of Babylon.  These four grew up in the "end times" of Israel in it's apostasy and were carted off to Babylon for their indoctrination and training .  It would appear that they were taught the true word of God as youth so they did not involve themselves in the apostate teachings prior to being taken into captivity. These four also did not get involved in the practices, the sorceries and witchcrafts, of the Chaldeans in Babylon.  Instead, they did not compromise themselves, and the difference between those who engaged with the practices and these four were readily seen for the glory of God.

How was that?

I think we sometimes fail to make some connections between the things taught in Scripture and the New Testament that may help us see things.  In the case of Daniel 1 I think this could be one of those instances.  In Daniel 1 it tells us that Daniel and the three others were "nourished" with a daily "provision" of the Kings "meat" and "wine" for three years.  We would look at this in the sense of actually eating and drinking meals.  But there may be something more to it.

For instance the word "provision" (KJV) in Hebrew is "dabar".  The Strong's Concordance definition is "speech" "saying", "words", "utterances".  So it would appear that these "provisions" they were getting was a daily teaching and was used to define the King's meat and drink.  The word "nourished" is the Hebrew "galad".  The Strong's Concordance definition is, "to grow, become great or important, promote, make powerful, praise, magnify, do great things", which would be the end result of three years of partaking of the King's feast of teachings.

Now certainly in the realm of the Jews, certain foods were prohibited because partaking of them would defile them as these three contended.  So they asked to be given "pulse" and "water".    In Strongs, "Pulse" is the word "zeroa".  A generic search of "zeroa" in concept shows it is associated with the the roasted lower shank bone of the Passover Lamb.  It was supposed to be sacrificed in the Temple. In Strong's, their definition of "pulse" or "zeroa" as used in only these verses in Daniel is "vegetable".  This too was part of Passover and was dipped in water before eating it.  According to what I have read, "zeroa" as in the Passover Lamb, can be substituted with a vegetable at times.   I don't know if this was the case with Daniel and the others.  But having no temple for the sacrifice would only leave the symbolic vegetable.

So we know that the Passover ceremony represented Israel's deliverance from Egypt and their last meal in eating this Passover meal that was symbolic of Christ's crucifixion and death on the cross for their sins.  In effect there were two different  things going on with those in training in Babylon.  There were those who were eating the of the King's table, and the other four eating a the Passover table.  There were those who were being trained (nourished) in the ways of the Chaldeans, but not the other four who declined for something better.

Whether in food or symbolism or both,  there were two tables here.  One; that of the Chaldeans and their magic, sorcery, and other forms of witchcraft.  The other was chosen by Daniel and his four friends.  It was devoid of the teachings of the Chaldeans.  The New Testament notes also that there are two tables and two different drinks. 1 Corinthians 10 says

16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?...

20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.

I believe in these verses and others it is possible we are being shown the same concept seen in Daniel 1. 

2 Corinthians 6 makes a similar distinction.  It says

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

And so we see how God made a distinct separation between the four and with those who learned the witchcraft of the Chaldeans.  Daniel and his four friends were the one's who had the abilities and power over the others, showing the glory of God.  But I am afraid we many times chose the wrong table to eat at.

Growing Up Gifted does have a last days Babylonian globalism in mind in it's content.  In fact Clark cites New Age writer Marilyn Ferguson's "Brain - Mind Bulletin" fourteen times in her book with quotes taken from Ferguson's "Brain-Mind Bulletin".  As noted before, the New Age is one of the main promoters of the one world system.

The good disobedience of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah in refusing to learn the ways of Babylon almost ended their lives when they did not and could not worship the image that the King of Babylon had set up.  One interesting thing that caught my attention in this account is, If you look at Daniel 3 you will see music was the initiator of worshiping the image.  The order was, when the people of Babylon heard some music play, they were to worship the image. When these three did not bow down and worship the image, the King gave them another chance to try it again.  He told them if they were "ready" to worship the image, then at the time they heard the music played again, they were to worship the image.  They told him they could not.  Was music used as a trigger to initiate a conditioned response back then?   Eerily a similar "image" scenario plays out in Revelation 13 when the "whole world" is told to make an image unto the Beast.

It is interesting that as noted by Laurie Cabot, music is one of the triggers that can cause a "shift in consciousness".  Music is a large part of these meditative and visualization practices today.  I will bring this up later too, but in the mean time, Bethel Church, Redding, CA put out a heretical book called "The Physics of Heaven" in which one of the writers declares that God is going to "soon" produce a "sound"  that will actually change the way people think and will conform people to him.  Trouble is, they knowingly got inspiration and ideals for this book from teachers they knew to be New Agers in Sedona, Arizona.  Recall that is where Dick Sutphen along with many other occultists live.

These things again show the potential of the deception of many teachers, students, and parents into the realm of this dangerous practice.  As I researched for this updated article I saw numerous visualization and yoga programs for children on-line.  Sad; but that was just a beginning.

Visualization Came To Church

So now, visualization has been established as an occult practice and one God said to stay away from.  I had originally written a hard copy newsletter article on visualization in the 90's and then published it on-line in December of 2001.  After one of it's publications I received a correspondence from a woman who was distraught after her and one of her children and a friend were introduced to visualization through her church.  At that time she gave me permission to reprint it.  She said,

"Please subscribe me. I am really grateful for your commentary on visualization. This technique is really made headway into our church. It has caused a lot of confusion in my family. It came a year ago when our pastor visited Toronto and was on the prayer team. Since that time he has brought teacher after teacher from Toronto.  I have been trying to make sense of it and your article really cleared things up, particularly the teaching on the inner child.

We had a native American woman teach and share her testimony and my daughter's best friend went into a trance. Her father could not get her to wake up and when she woke up she said that she had been flying with Jesus over mountains. The parents were upset and were rebuked by the pastor and the native American woman. Since this time I have been researching these phenomena day and night.

Sadly enough my 16 year old daughter told me she was so confused that she did not even know who the real Jesus was anymore.  I can't believe this has happened. If you had told me this 5 years ago I would never have believed it.  I am in the process of coming out of this brain-washing and I want to rescue as many people from this false doctrine as I can. Thank you, S."  End quote

 If you do not know what "Toronto" is, there is still an old article on-line I wrote in 2000 called "A Toronto Blessing... Or Kundalini Curse".  It explains it.  There are also other articles on it.  Sadly, as we move almost 20 years forward from this above email, visualization is becoming the norm.  It is hard to imagine witchcraft, sorcery, and divination being integrated into the church after God said do not engage in it.  If you look in the Scriptures you will not see these things being taught.

As I said earlier, when I was going to present my observations to the school district that was using Pumsy, the initial thought was, how do I present spiritual things to secular people in a secular organization?  Back then it was the Christians that saw it.  Now it has progressed to; how can you present spiritual things to those people in the church who are supposed to understand these things, but do not?  Probably the same way I did to the secular educators.  That is why I started the article in this way.  That's sad. 

So why are people following this demonic practice?  To many, it looks, good, is beneficial, it works.  It is experiential and gives one an "encounter" a "presence" with what they believe are Godly angels, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and God himself or some divinity within.

In addition, perhaps they follow it is because it is being promoted by the churches of some of the most esteemed false teachers in the world of Christendom such as Bill Hybels and son-in-law Aaron Neiquist at Willow Creek, by Rick Warren at Saddleback Church, and by Bill Johnson at Bethel Church, Redding, CA, self proclaimed prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation such as James Goll, and many, many others.  The mega church pastors promote the outside teachings of the highly regarded persons in the scientific community to validate their use.  After all, they are smart, intelligent, and certainly can't be wrong.

One additional reason I know they are followed is because people do not know God's word.  God said his people perish because they do not know him.

I find it interesting that Bethel Redding's philosophy of trying to invoke "encounters" with God at their services was adopted after Johnson had a visit to the Toronto Airport Vineyard church and became involved in what is known as the "Toronto Blessing".  This is the same thing that happened to the pastor of the church that the woman who wrote me the email was going to.

Again, I find it also interesting that, while blatantly opposing God's commands, members of Bethel Redding went to Sedona, AZ,  one of the New Age centers in the United States, to knowingly and purposefully glean from them demonic aspects of the New Age.  They then brought his New Age occult-plus-science into numerous churches in the form of a demonic inspired book called "The Physics of Heaven" under the guise of science and wrongly used bible verses.

But let's get back to Willow Creek and Saddleback.  The following is also in the article on Ecumenism on this site but needs to be repeated here too.

In 2018 we see churches such as Bill Hybels' mega church, Willow Creek, under the guise of acceptable science, and ancient Catholic meditative practices, incorporating the demonic technique of "visualization" aka "guided imagery" as a regular spiritual exercise.  Willow Creek does this in their church and calls these sessions "The Practice".

It was started by Aaron Niequist Willow Creek's now former Senior Pastor, Bill Hybel's son-in-law.  The Practice is promoted as combining "Brain Science" and "Spiritual Practices" (sound familiar?).  These spiritual practices have their source in part, in the meditative practices of the Catholic Jesuits.   Niequist calls The Practice a "discipleship-focused, formational, ecumenical, practice-based community " (Source: aaronniequist.com/about/ )  So here is another reference to "Brain Science" and combining it in a spiritual setting.  This is a "spiritual" setting, not a Christian one.

"Ecumenical" is a true statement of this in combinging science and religion.  In fact, Niequist has incorporated a Jesuit Priest into Willow Creek by the name of Michael Sparough. Niequist calls this Jesuit his "Spiritual Director".  Let's see, a Catholic Jesuit directing a leader in a greatly followed supposed Protestant church.  As part of "The Practice", Willow Creek engages in the Catholic "Eucharist" version of Communion.   Along with this is the New Age use of meditative hypnotic music used in what Nieguist refers to as "The Examen".  This is rather a blatant show of  this ecumenical trend both in leadership and in Catholic occult practices.  In the 80s and early 90s I would get my research material at times from New Age bookstores.  When you walked in to them there was this soft meditative music being played.  Now the same type music is being used in churches and can be heard on Christian Radio by Contemporary Christian Music performers.

Aaron was the former worship leader at Mars Hill Church and is the worship leader at Willow Creek.  He is currently promoting "The Practice" to be used in other churches.  The Practice logo is below.

The Practice

Willow Creek and Bill Hybels were like the ground zero of the origin of the "Church Growth Movement" (CGM) and the sources used in deceiving churches in the 1990s.  I started researching their teachings and materials back then and wrote a lengthy article on that system.  I will republish it in the future as it is still relevant from a historical and doctrinal view. It was not good even back then.  This evolved system is now called "The Emerging Church".

In the late 80s and early 90s Bill Hybels was on par with the late self proclaimed prophet C. Peter Wagner of the Fuller Institute of Church Growth.  Both promoted things opposed to God in their books and other materials.  It hasn't changed any and has become even more ecumenical and demonic with the books they recommend today.  The books on visualization they recommend also have to do with combining "science" and the occult practice of visualization. For instance one of the books Willow Creek recommends on their website is;

Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships" by Curt Thompson, MD.  In this book Thompson takes you through occult meditative exercises and suggests the witchcraft techniques of Yoga and Tai Chi.  A bio on Thompson says,

"Curt Thompson, M.D., is a psychiatrist in private practice in Falls Church, Virginia and founder of Being Known, which develops teaching programs, seminars and resource materials to help people explore the connection between interpersonal neurobiology and Christian spirituality which lead to genuine change and transformation." Source: beingknown.com/about-curt-thompson/  .  End quote.

 

There is no connection between these things with Scripture.  It is not "Christian" spirituality. Change and transformation come through Christ, not neurobiology and occult practices.  His "Christian spirituality" is based upon the Catholic Jesuit practices, which are religious; just not Christian.

 

The second recommended book is, "Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation" by Daniel Siegel, MD.  His bio says,

 

Dr. Siegel's unique ability to make complicated scientific concepts exciting has led him to be invited to address diverse local, national and international groups of mental health professionals, neuroscientists, corporate leaders, educators, parents, public administrators, healthcare providers, policy-makers, mediators, judges, and clergy. He has lectured for the King of Thailand, Pope John Paul II, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Google University, London's Royal Society of Arts (RSA), and TEDx. Source: drdansiegel.com/about/biography


Dan Siegel, who is also a Psychiatrist, has quite a bio and the potential for a lot of global influence in the same institutions Ferguson said had New Age followers in them.  And when you see someone refer to the Dalai Lama as "His Holiness" and see his association with him and others that would oppose Biblical Christianity in belief's, one should be able to see that a book like this and it's practices do not belong within the church.

 

Dan Siegel also teaches the witchcraft practice of guided imagery under the guise of it being scientific.  The photo on the left below is from a video of him spending 40 minutes talking to an audience at Naropa University and taking them into a guided imagery experience.  In a 40 minute session he took the audience "progressively" out of the room out  and into the world to experience oneness with it.  He started with the relaxation exercises.

 

What is "Naropa"? On their own website Naropa University says; "Buddhist-inspired and nonsectarian, Naropa University is rooted in contemplative education, a teaching and learning approach that integrates Eastern wisdom studies and the arts with traditional Western scholarship. Naropa was the birthplace of the modern mindfulness movement. "

 

Dan Siegel Dan Siegel and Lama
Dan Siegel at Naropa doing a guided imagery session Dan Siegel at the Dali Lama Center

 

For future reference, remember the word "contemplative".   It is a popular meditative practice taught in a lot of books (especially by Catholic associated authors); but is not in the Bible.  Remember here that contemplative teaching integrates Eastern teachings with the arts. Remember that they said Naropa was the birthplace of "mindfulness" (visualization meditation). But this is just one of many examples of the false views that witchcraft is science that popular churches have bought into.  None of it is in the word of God and it is a part of this ecumenical spirituality today.

 

So why are churches reaching out to non-Christian (even opposing) sources?  God told Israel to remove it from the land, not embrace it.  It is called "apostasy".  Willow Creek has been into these things too long and I have no other choice but to categorize them as a "New Age" church.  Sorry, but one just has to look what they have been incorporating over the years and where they are at today.  This is a big problem today; churches looking Christian but integrating the world and things of other religions.  God told Israel in Zephania 1 that the day would come he would destroy the land and gave one of those reasons as there are, "them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and them that swear by Moleck".  Incorporation of religions.  Can't do both. As Paul warned "you cannot partake of the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils" 1 Corinthians 10:21

 

Now this Dan Siegel book at Willow Creek brings up another potential issue for churches on the subject of visualization.  Try to follow me here.

 

There is a prominent  member of Willow Creek by the name of Valerie Bell.   Her husband, Steve Bell is one of the Executive Vice Presidents of the Willow Creek Association.  Valerie is also the new CEO of Awana and has otherwise been involved with it for several years.  Of course as seen, Willow Creek embraces visualization and Catholic leadership in their church.  But does Valarie embrace these things, and could this be an issue for Awana?   Well, lets see.

 

Next, Valery is also associated with a ministry called "Hungry Souls" run by David and Karen Mains.  Valerie has a link to this organization's website on her own site's "Favorites" page.

 

One problem is that Karen Mains is also involved in promoting and using the content of one of Dan Siegel's books, "The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being".  Karen has a promotional article on the Hungry Souls website about this book.  Her article is titled, "Mindfulness:  A Neuroscientist Examines Meditation.".  As previously noted, "Mindfulness" is another name for visualization and meditative practices.  In addition we again see the acceptance of science as part of Christianity.

 

Her article praises the positive effects of engaging in these things, and as with the others in this article, equates it with science to validate its use.  In quoting from the cover flap of this book Karen says in her article,

"I love it when science verifies what the wisdom literature of the ages has firmly maintained. From the book-flap copy: 'Ancient cultures and religions worldwide have long drawn on various methods, from meditation and prayer to yoga and Tai-chi, to help individuals move toward well-being by focusing their attention and attuning to the present. Now, mindful awareness has been scientifically proven to enhance our physical, mental, and social well-being.'

There. I knew there was a reason for all those “Retreats of Silence” Hungry Souls has sponsored over the seven years of its existence." End quote

Christianity has never drawn on these eastern occult practices except those elements of it that are following false teachers.

The sidebar on the page is a generic review for the book from another person.  In part is says, "... Despite this, Siegel does introduce persuasive scientific evidence that meditation and the mindful state not only produce improvement in well-being, but also detectable physical changes in the brain,... If the result of Siegel's marriage of medicine and mysticism is something of a muddle, he is to be commended for the effort,  " Source: hungrysouls.org/newsletter/issue-07-13.html

So again, another connection between mind science and religion, and science trying to verify religion (the occult side anyway).  There is more praise for the book and "Mindfulness" but I won't go into it here.  The point here is the connection between Bell and Mains, and if the connection involves the belief in visualization / meditation.  It seems to be that way.  I'll explain.

Hungry Souls holds retreats and tours at times.  One such past tour involved both Bell and Mains taking a travel group on a "spiritual exploration" to France.  In speaking of the content of the trip Mains says on her website,

Our intention is to open the eyes of our souls through a dialogue stimulated by the arts. We will walk slowly, learn to attend to beauty every day, and share in-depth dialogue along the way. Lectures will be short. Our prayer is that you will find the freedom to explore our common life in Christ and to rediscover the artist within. Consequently, we are not traveling as tourists but as spiritual explorers. We will teach you how to "read" great art and then how to use those same viewing exercises to develop a contemplative prayer practice for the soul.

There again is the introduction of "the arts"  into this spirituality mentioned on Naropa's website.  The "arts" (another issue for later) are being introduced into many churches today.  I will try to cover the reasoning for this in another article.  But note that the visualization practice of contemplative prayer is taught on that tour.

In speaking of places they will visit Main says, ..."Travel to the walled city of Avignon, where we will explore the Palace of the Popes. Enter into a guided exercise of silence; consider the meaning of the broken bridge"

These "exercises of silence" are another description of contemplative visualization meditations, starting with the breathing exercises.  This "Palace of the Popes" was the center of Catholicism for awhile until the Papacy moved back to Rome.

Under the category of "Spiritual Teachings and Practices" they would be doing, Main lists two more meditative practices; "The contemplative journey: learning that seeing takes time" and "Lectio divina: introduction to the deep study of the word" 

The Lectio divina is a meditation practice started by a Catholic monk in the 12th Century.  Willow Creek also teaches this occult / New Age practice.

So then, there is a connection to the beliefs of both Bell and Mains in these occult practices aside from the fact that Valerie Bell's church, Willow Creek, promotes and teaches them.  Does this mean a problem for Awana in that these occult practices have the potential to be introduced to Awana teachers and participating children since Bell is CEO of Awana?  It possible.

I did some research to see if visualization / meditation techniques were in Awana curriculum or otherwise, on the web.  I found only two areas that indicated there is at least a beginning awareness of it.

One was on an Awana page directed to Awana teachers one the subject of "recharging".  The writer in part says,

"Take 5 minutes to slow down to a full stop. Don’t roll through this. Find a quiet place you enjoy that’s free from distractions where you can be alone with the Lord. Patiently breathe in and out. Close your eyes and imagine being face to face with Jesus. Repeat Psalm 46:10 in your mind or as a whisper: Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Source: awana.org/2016/05/31/ready-set-recharge/#

This is classic introduction to the contemplative practices and visualization as we have seen previously including the "affirmation".  By the way; what does Jesus look like?  You cannot "sanctify" your imagination in a practice prohibited by God.

Now how about the children participating in Awana?  They have a series for the "Cubbies" called "Appleseed".  It has 26 lessons in over 200 pages.  The first lesson ends with telling the teacher to engage the children in prayer.  It is simple and the teacher just tells the children to close there eyes and then directs a prayer.  However, by lesson 25 this prayer changed.  The teacher is instructed to tell the children;

Cubbies, close your eyes and picture Jesus sitting in the room with us. He is here now. When I count to three, let’s all talk to Jesus. You can say, “I love you, Jesus” or “Help me to trust You” or “You are so strong!” or anything else you want to say. It doesn’t matter if we all talk at once, because Jesus can still hear each one of us.

(Count to three and let the Cubbies all talk to Jesus. Since this is a new method of prayer, you might need to try it a couple of times for Cubbies to feel comfortable.) Cubbies, when you feel scared, you can pray like this. Close your eyes, picture Jesus with you, and just talk to Him.

From Unit 6 Core Truth: God Sent the Savior:  Bear Hug 25 – Jesus And The Storm Prayer (1-2 minutes) Pg 223  Source: loopkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/BH25-AppleSeed-Teaching-Plans-ESV.pdf

Aside from the visualization introduction, Since when did prayer become a time of chaos when it says, "It doesn't matter if we all talk at once"?  God is a God of order and not chaos.

Now does this mean that it was Valarie Bell who introduced these things into Awana?  No; but since her church and co-ministry friends all approve of it, it would, and may, be condoned by her for use in Awana.  Pastors, parents and teachers need to be made aware of these practices and turn from them.

Another employee of Awana wrote a book that promotes the use of the breathing relaxation techniques.  Her name is Catherine McNiel and she wrote a book called, "Long Days of Small Things - Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline".  In this book she gives instructions on the relaxation and breathing exercises and calls them an "act of worship, meditation, and prayer". pg 12

In keeping with this theme Catherine also says,

Worship through breathing.
As you breathe deeply, consider with gratitude the life God's Spirit has placed in your body, his presence in this very moment, and the peace his love provides.  Choose a one-word prayer to whisper to him in your heart as you exhale" pg 12

This is another technique of contemplative prayer (along with the breathing) in finding a word or phrase to focus on and repeat it.  This is the same technique used in eastern meditative and visualization practices, but it is called a "mantra".  As is done in this New Age deception, the word "mantra" is now, for the Christian, called "prayer".

Where did this new way of praying come from?  Who came up with this technique of "whispering" a one-word prayer, a mantra? Well it is found in the Bible, but what it says is...

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep (Whisper), and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:19-20

This same page on "Worship through breathing" has references to mothers being as what she calls the "Hindu and Buddhist" "householders".  Why would she be referencing mothers using eastern religion terms?  Is she into these eastern religions?  It appears so. She gave a four star review of a book on Buddhism called, Buddhism:  A Concise Introduction" on a review site called "Good Reads".   In this review she says, "Huston Smith is amazing. Not only was this a page-turning introduction to Buddhism, but also pointed out wisdom about humanity and faith in general. Excellent!  Source: goodreads.com/review/show/15369133

Aside from the issue of this person being employed by Awana, Valerie Bell endorsed McNiel's book.  So, the approval of such practices would not be a problem within Awana right now.  And this is not a good thing.

But there is more. The December 17, 1990 issue of Newsweek noted this in an article on The Church Growth Movement. The article said, "This is the 1990's, an age of mix 'em match'em salad-bar spirituality - Quakerpalians... New Age Jews - where brand loyalty is a doctrine of the past and the customer is king. What counts on the Sabbath Day, if a church or synagogue is to attract its share of the baby-boom market, is not the name on the door but the programs inside". Pg 50

That was 28 years ago!  And it has progressively and rapidly become worse, especially with the occult programs.  To be honest, it is the parents who are supposed to be teaching the children.  But many just leave it up to churches to do this and it makes it easy to deceive them if churches are not looking at what their programs have in them.  It is true of adult programs too.

Rick Warren of Saddleback Church has taken the same route on the incorporation of the occult filled sciences into the church.  In his popular diet book, The Daniel Plan, he notes three persons that contributed to it;   Dr. Mehmet Oz (a Muslim and well known TV personality), Dr. Mark Hymen (Jewish) and Dr. Daniel Amen, a celebrity brain disorder doctor.  Drs  Hymen and Amen both have videos on Saddleback Church's website.

So how are these persons associated with false teachings? Dr Oz's wife is a practitioner of Reiki.  Reiki is an occult version of the laying on of hands for healing.  Dr Oz has had Reiki practitioners on his TV show.  Problem is there is no Holy Spirit involved in this. In opposition to God's word, Warren gives these things a welcome by his association with Dr Oz.  And this is just one way.  You do not use a person of a religion that opposes Christianity to interject anything into the church.

Dr. Daniel Amen is a promoter of the Hindu practice of Tantric Sex.  He also teaches a Hindu form of meditation called, Kriya Kirtan.  In this guided imagery meditation, the practitioner utters a mantra while touching each finger to their thumb.  Each finger and mantra represents a different god and thus those who do this are calling on these gods.  Source of practice: "Making Your Mind Great", Daniel Amen).  This is not science but as with others previously mentioned, he uses scientific brain studies to try to validate the practice as scientific.  Again, these are practices of religions outside of Christianity and those that partake in these things are opposing God's word as seen in Deuteronomy 12, 18 and others.

Dr Mark Hyman is also a well known doctor.  Part of his bio says,

Dr. Hyman works with individuals and organizations, as well as policy makers and influencers. He has testified before both the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Senate Working Group on Health Care Reform on Functional Medicine...Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa nominated Dr. Hyman for the President’s Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. In addition, Dr. Hyman has worked with President Clinton, presenting at the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters, Achieving Wellness in Every Generation conference and the Clinton Global Initiative, as well as with the World Economic Forum on global health issues."  Source: https://drhyman.com/about-2/about-dr-mark-hyman/

So, in keeping with Ferguson's assertion that New Agers were working with "policy makers", we now have another more recent example of this as seen with Mark Hyman (Al Gore was a past example).  In addition to these above things, one other problem with this expert is that he also teaches guided imagery (alternative medicine); and he teaches it in a video on Saddleback's website.  In this video he takes the viewer through a guided imagery session.  Like with all of these teachers of these previously listed, he starts out with breathing exercises (a common practice to begin to get a person to relax and slip into a "alpha" brain state).  Hymen also begins with imagining a local scene and gradually takes a person on an astral projection trip out into the universe.  All of this is witchcraft, not science.

Recall again, the warning God gave Israel;

 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.

Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.

For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. Deuteronomy 18:9-14

Amen, Hyman, Siegle, Thompson, and those like them are the consulters, the wizards, the charmers, and consulters of familiar sprits of this age. First, they are not Christians.  They are the Canaanites and Chaldeans of Babylon of today. Compare what they do to the  words of a witch and other occultists associated with the New Age.  Yet instead of turning away from these things God has forbidden, the Church has done what Israel did and, opposed to God's word, is learning them.

Ferguson also said in The Aquarian Conspiracy,

"The premonition was recorded that a minority of individuals would some day be yeast enough to leaven a whole society. Serving as a magnetic culture, they would attract order around them and transform the whole." The Aquarian Conspiracy, pg. 45.

Again, this is the goal of the New Age.  And as we have seen, visualization is one method they can obtain this transformation. Can we see how this is happening in the church? What does the word say about leaven? It would be hidden within the good meal, and it would not take much to leaven a whole lump. Thus we can see that through the introduction of New Age prophets and teachers, this very thing is going on today.  It is not just in this occultism, but in other aspects of our society.  Look at the minority of screaming, harassing, mob control mentality of so called "protesters" today.  They are trying to transform our country into their way of thinking with intimidation, violence, and anarchy.  Evil and demonic.

There was mob rule and violence in Sodom before it was destroyed.  Jesus said it would be like in the days of Sodom in the last days.

We constantly are failing to learn from the lessons in the scriptures concerning what happened to Israel and Judah. We are doing the same thing. How?  Again they were told;

"Thus says the Lord, 'Do not learn the way of the nations...'." Jer 10:1

Did they listen? No. Are we listening today? No; we are incorporating the ways of the world and the occult into the church.

They were also told
"Thy holy people possessed Thy sanctuary for a little while, our adversaries have trodden it down. We have become like those over whom Thou has never ruled, like those who were not called by they name." Is 63:18-19

Is the church becoming more like the world today?  Yes.  Churches seem to have this thing for reaching out to bring the worldly things into the church to pollute it.  So, like Israel and Judah, the Church has "become like those over whom Thou has never ruled..  Israel polluted the temple; we have polluted the church.

Again they were told,
"Ephraim mixes himself with the nations; Ephriam has become a cake not turned. Strangers devour his strength, yet he does not know it... Hosea 7:8, 9

They did not even realize that by introducing the things from outside God's word, their strength in God was being devoured by the "strangers" they consulted in.  It was so deceptive they did not even know it.  It is the same in the church today.  The church does not see what is going on, BUT, some in the occult see it and don't understand why the church doesn't.  The church is consulting in the same spiritual strangers outside the church as those previously mention.  We are not very bright; can't even see it.

For instance, 30 years ago New Age "Futurist" Willis Harman said,

"This picture is complicated because one of the most visible phenomena is the growth of Christian evangelical fundamentalists - a group who appear to have little in common with the followers of the Asian gurus passing through. It is only by talking in depth with many of these people that one discovers underneath a quiet but spreading commitment to an M-3 kind of metaphysical perception." Willis Harmon, Global Mind Change; The New Age Revolution In The Way We Think, Warner, 1988, pg. 121.

What is an "M-3 kind of metaphysical perception"?  It is basically an eastern mysticism way of thinking. Harmon said of this;

... In transcendental monism M-3, the basic stuff the universe is found to be consciousness. Mind or consciousness is primary and matter energy arises in some sense out of mind... Ultimately the reality behind the phenomenal world is contacted not only through the physical senses but through deep intuition (p. 34).

Echoing Harman, Another proponent of changing world views to this M-3 says,

"M-3
Transcendental Monism (Mind Giving Rise to Matter): The basic stuff of the universe is mind or consciousness; the world of matter-energy is as a dream in universal mind... M-3 seems quite foreign to the Western mind, or certainly would have a generation ago. (It is not nearly as alien as it was one-quarter century ago if we may judge from the kinds of books purchased, motion picture themes and innuendos, participation in meditation and yoga workships, etc.) The Reenchantment of Science: Postmodern Proposals, David Ray Griffin, State University Press, 1988, pg 126

The following quote is from a book that promotes integrating visualization practices into businesses.  It says,

Humanity, in general, is now beginning to think in terms of a M-3 cosmology in which all things are united.1 From this perspective, the only thing that exists is consciousness. All matter—animal, vegetable or mineral—has some degree of awareness. An M-3 mind-set accepts the view that we are not only superficially connected but, in fact, an integral part of an infinite, eternal consciousness. Plato expressed this idea…

"...Finally, meditative practices are said to enable us to pierce the veil that hides the ineffable beauty, harmony and unity that mystics have long experienced..." Conscious Capitalism: Principles for Prosperity, By David A. Schwerin, Routledge, 2011,  pgs 69, 71

Basically what these people are saying is that the practice of visualization has as one of it's purposes, to bring about a unification of man with man, and "oneness" with all things.  (For an overview of this, the the article on Ecumenism)

Can we start connecting the dots here?  This ancient practice has been introduced to every aspect of society on a global basis; a lot of it through the New Age so called "conspirators".  So what we have is that through business, medicine, education, the governments, and now the church, all are engaging in this demonic practice.  And what is it's end purpose?  Unification of all things and a realization of the divinity of man.  It is conforming to the image of the Beast, not Jesus.

Do we not think that as we watch the two dividing forces of what is going on in the United States government on the subject of either being a sovereign nation as opposed to open borders and Globalism on many fronts, that this very unification is being attempted?   Visualization has been used for a long time in the U.S. alone.  It has been changing the mindset of people to actually believe their experiences and this unification over the word of God.  Churches such as Bethel Church, Redding, Morningstar, Willow Creek, Saddleback and their outreaches via their charismatic leaders, worship music, and other media, are in the forefront of spreading this God-opposing practice.

Other Dangers Of Visualization

Some readers may still be saying, "hogwash, you've got to be kidding!".  Ok.  But perhaps the dangers of engaging these practices may convince one they are not of God.  Ask yourself this; would God put out something that would be hurtful to me? Perhaps to test or correct, but really;  No.  But visualization is harmful.  If what was written before hand may not have convinced you then let's look at what some other sources say.

Carl G. Jung a well known Psychologist was admittedly possessed  by a demon spirit guide he called "Philemon".  He said of visualization;

"The method [visualization] is not entirely without danger, because it may carry the patient too far away from reality". {The Portable Jung, Edited by Joseph Campbell, Penguin Books, 1971, pgs 67-68}

Popular New Age psychic Edgar Casey (known as "The Sleeping Prophet") also warns,

"Through attunement of the spiritual centers to these planes, we may communicate with discarnate entities, spirit guides and even archangels... if we seek from the outset to relate to such messengers... we may become idolatrous, and we may even become subject to possession". {Herbert B. Puryear, The Edgar Casey Primer: Discovering The Path To Self Transformation, Bantam Books, 1982, pg 46}

And you eventually will.  I know people who were.

One disturbing aspect of this is the "messengers" themselves.  New Age occultist Lola Davis says,

"A powerful tool for developing spiritual intuition is meditation..."Through meditation, Davis says, man can seek guidance from the "One called Lord Maitreya" {Dark Secrets Of the New Age, pg 101}

Davis is writer of a book called, "Toward a World Religion for the New Age, Science, Religions, and the Ageless Wisdom Point".  "Maitreya" is the New Age version of the Messiah.  He is the substitute for Jesus just as visualization is.  He is the anti-Christ.  According to the New Age beliefs of the now deceased occultist Benjamin Creme, this thing is alive at this time, waiting for the right time to manifest.  One cannot deny that visualization has a very dark side to it when this false god or other entities become the substitute for the true God for guidance.  This one reason God prohibits it.

Going back to the writer of the book on channeling, he says,

"Sometimes Mithra comes to me, just right out in plain sight.  I'll be walking down the street and suddenly I'm channeling". {Channeling, pg 35}

Mithra is a "sun god" and is the equivalent of the Babylonian "Shamash" and the Greek "Apollo".

 Eventually, you won't even have to go into a trance; these entities will appear like the spirit guide demon god Mithra does to the writer.  It is like the uncontrollable movements that happen as a result of doing Yoga that are called "kriyas", or having spontaneous visions like Capra, or being involved in the trances and jerking as seen at Bethel Church; they just manifest when they want to and out of your ability to control them.  You can look up videos about these things at Bethel on-line.

One of the things that happened to the friend of the child of the person that emailed me was that she spontaneously was taken over and set on a journey with some Jesus imposter demon.  Jenn Johnson, daughter-in-law of Bethel Church's Pastor Bill Johnson speaks on a video of just sitting in church and being spontaneously  pulled by her out of a church pew by what she thinks was God and taken up into the universe.

The U.S. government has a department specifically tailored to "complimentary and integrative health".   It comes under the Department of Health and It is called, the "National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health".  Yes, visualization / meditation is covered in it, and recall that Dr Mark Hymen testified before a White House Commission on "complimentary and integrative health". One such page on their website says,

"Meditation is a mind and body practice. There are many types of meditation, most of which originated in ancient religious and spiritual traditions. Some forms of meditation instruct the practitioner to become mindful of thoughts, feelings, and sensations and to observe them in a nonjudgmental way." Source: nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation

So, the government admits the source of these things are from ancient religions (you know, like Canaan and Babylon).  They also note the use of relaxation and breathing exercises to start the meditations out.  Another of their webpages says,

"There have been rare reports that meditation could cause or worsen symptoms in people with certain psychiatric problems like anxiety and depression. People with existing mental health conditions should speak with their health care providers before starting a meditative practice, and make their meditation instructor aware of their condition."  Source nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm

Oh, so the government admits it has its dangers too.  Would God do this to you?  No, but you do it to yourself by engaging in it.  But, they back flipped on another of their pages when they said,

"The scientific evidence to data suggests that mindfulness meditation—a mind-body practice which cultivates abilities to maintain focused and clear attention, and develop increased awareness of the present—may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression..." Source:  nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/meditation

So what is it: worsen, or reduce?  The government has no idea on this either.  Of course it will cause problems; and it is not just with people that have anxiety or depression.  This last webpage actually has a video that  promotes the practice of "Mindfulness" on it. "Mindfulness", as noted at the beginning of this article, is just another New Age word for the occult practice of visualization.  Think again, would God provide a practice that is harmful?  But we engage in a number of harmful things purported to be from God; but are not.  Does the Bible say anything about "mind and body practices"?  Only in the sense we see in Deuteronomy 18 and other places.

But It Works!

Yep, it might.  And that is the intrigue, the hope, and.... the bait.  But it is a false hope. Many people are looking for some way to improve themselves, others, even the world.  They may be in desperation because of illness, pain, or some mental anguish.  And visualization is promoted as an answer, an improvement, a remedy.  The "experts", the PHDs will show you studies that say it works.  But they will not show you the real source and the damage it can eternally do.

There is a beautiful side of evil.  In fact a book was written in 1982 with the title, "The Beautiful Side Of Evil" by Johanna Michaelsen.  In this book she talks about her experiences with the occult.  She points out that these things have a beautiful aspect to them as initially do the entities contacted.  One such entity Johanna visualized and contacted was supposed to be Jesus.  Eventually it turned on her and tried to control her.  But for a time, all of what she was involved with had this attractive beneficial beauty to it.

Recall what Satan showed Eve and her reaction to it.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.  Genesis 3:6

It looked good, gives knowledge, but was evil.

Johanna is still active in ministry today and is still rightly angered by the teaching in the church that visualization , the contemplative meditations, and the practices of Yoga are alright.

Many need to see if their churches are involved with these things.  Parents especially need to find out if these things are being utilized as part of a Sunday School curriculum or within their own schools.  I have seen countless programs for kids on-line to indicate these things exist in both realms.  When my oldest daughter was in high school some 25 years ago, her English teacher was using visualization on the students in her class.  I had a talk with the teacher and after explaining things to her, told her my daughter was not to be part of it.  Sometimes that has to be done if they cannot see it.

I will end this article with what God told Israel in Ezekiel 16, and the story in 2 Chronicles 33 of how God dealt with Manasseh, one of the more evil kings of Judah, and the people, because of their apostasy in using, in part, what we have just covered.  But it has an interesting ending we need to observe and pay attention to.

First, Let us not be like the unfaithful bride God described Israel as when he said in part,

Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied therewith.

How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman;

In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire;

But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!

They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom.  Ezekiel 16:29-33

It is sad that we in the church pay for the instructions from those outside the church, strangers to the word, instead of following God for free.

Now to Mannasseh.

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:

But did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. (those Canaanites)

For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.

Also he built altars in the house of the Lord, whereof the Lord had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.

And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. (he polluted the house by bringing the ways and gods of the Canaanites into it)

And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.

And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:

Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.

So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.

And the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.

Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.

And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,

And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.

Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.

And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city.

And he repaired the altar of the Lord, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.

Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the Lord their God only.

Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the Lord God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel.

His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sins, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.  2 Chronicles 33:1-19

If you are involved in these things today, how will you respond to God in recognizing your error?  Initially Manasseh and the people refused to see it, refused to drop it.  So, God showed them it would do them no benefit.  He showed Manasseh and the people that their wizards, their enchantments, their spirit guides, were not the power and the source.  They were shown that the Lord is the only one we go to as seen in his word.  But it took going into captivity because of these things (it is serious)

But, in his affliction in this captivity, Manasseh humbled himself and was restored.  And in his being restored, he turned away from these false things and restored Judah to the proper worship of the true God.  But why wait?

Speaking of this system called "Babylon",  God tells his own people"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Revelation 18:4

God knows that his own people are in it and he has called us to come out of it.