Nancy Fowler, a 48-year-old Conyers, Georgia housewife, who lives on a 180-acre farm 23 miles east of Atlanta, has been called “an unlikely visionary.” She claims to have been speaking privately with “Mary” and “Christ” since 1988. Larger crowds are being attracted to Conyers than to any of the other 200 current sites of purported apparitions around the world. As many as 80,000 pilgrims have gathered there at one time to hear the “visionary” relay the latest “message from Mary.” Pilgrims testify to changed lives, healings, and other miracles.
One of the most visited Marian shrines in the world is that of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She allegedly appeared as an Indian woman to Juan Diego, an Indian peasant, near Mexico City, at a sacred hill dedicated to the Aztec mother goddess, Tonantzin, mother of all Indian deities. Catholic Indians identify “Mary” of Guadalupe with Tonantzin. She is called “Mexico’s Symbol of Unity, the Patron Saint and Protectress of Mexico,” under whose banner the Mexicans fought the Spaniards for independence in 1910. She impartially provides miracles and protection to everyone, from Chicano gang members in Los Angeles to drug runners or devout South American peasants.
One of the most powerful stories comes from a Fr. Barham, descended from a long line of pastors and leaders in the Assemblies of God, and now a Catholic priest. He tells of a man who converted to the Assemblies of God and hated his former Catholicism with a passion. Furious at finding a book about Medjugorje in a Bible bookstore, he bought every copy and took them home to destroy them. He heard a woman’s voice, “Would you pray with me?” He found himself on his knees. Fr. Barham continues the story:
“And when he knelt…he began to sob…[and]…began to think, ‘Could this be Satan trying to deceive me…[to] believe that my mother who has died is speaking to me?’ He was to become an official in the local Assembly of God Church that weekend. But…Sunday morning he heard the voice saying, ‘Would you pray with me?’ He answered, ‘If you are from Satan and you’re trying to make me believe you’re my mother…I plead the blood of Jesus over you and I command you to leave…!’
The voice said, ‘I am your Mother, but I’m…the one that Christ gave you at Calvary.’
He said, ‘Are you the woman of Medjugorje?’
‘Yes,’ she said.
She said, ‘It is my Son, Soul and Divinity, who becomes present on the altar…. Now, would you go outside…?’
I knelt in my yard and Marry said, ‘Look at the moon.’ When I did…I saw Mary holding the Body of her Son, taken from the cross at Calvary…[and] sobbed at what I was seeing…. I did not go to the Assembly of God Church. Instead, I sought out [a] Catholic Church [that] had confession open to me. I was reconciled with the Church I had hated… Now…I am back where I belong…. I’ve been able to bring many people back to the Catholic Church that once I pointed away from it. I have found Christ more alive in my heart and in my life. And I have found Mary as my mother.”
Convincing? Yes, but no more so than the appearance of Djwhal Khul to Will Baron. Radiating an almost blinding golden light and a soothing presence that filled him with peace, this demonic “Ascended Master” drew an eager Baron deeper into the occult. Will writes:
“When I first saw him, my own initial thought was, He looks just like Jesus Christ…. Any lingering doubts in my mind…were now demolished forever. The dramatic visitation by Djwhal Khul relegated the philosophies of materialistic atheism to the level of absurdity.”