Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could join us. In today’s program, Tom wraps up his two-part series with guest, author and conference speaker Warren Smith. Here’s TBC executive director Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Today we’re picking up where we left off last week. My guest is Warren Smith. He’s the author of The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace and Deceived on Purpose. And we had the great opportunity to talk about another of his books titled Another Jesus Calling, which is a very, very important book, and I recommend that you have the opportunity…because of the impact that Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is having on the church. So I encourage you to get a hold of that book.
Our topic is sorcery. Warren, thanks for joining me again on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Warren: It’s good to be with you, Tom.
Tom: As you know, I’m trying to set up here the background for discussing an article from the New Yorker magazine that I sent you, and the title of the article is “Trip Treatment.” The subtitle, interestingly enough, is “Research into psychedelics shut down for decades is now yielding exciting results.” And the gist of the article is that the medical establishment is experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs to treat those dying of cancer, and the purpose is not to cure the cancer, but to relieve the individuals’, as the article says, “existential distress.” Now, what’s your comment on that right away?
Warren: Yeah, I’m looking at the quote in that article. The doctor said, “People don’t realize how few tools we have in psychiatry to address existential distress.” And isn’t that pretty much how a lot of people got involved with drugs? You know, “I don’t know what my life’s all about. I don’t know what to do. I’ll take drugs and maybe that’ll help.”
Tom, I was a social worker my whole career. I finished off the last six years or so as a hospice social worker, and I watched a lot of people in a lot of existential, so-called, distress at the end of their life, and they used that opportunity to really come to terms with what their life had been. A lot of them looked at where they were going to be going, and if they didn’t know, they tried to figure it out. And I just remember, you know, “Tune in and drop out.” It’s like take drugs and just kind of like leave the whole existential distress, and that’s how a lot of people got involved in the New Age.
I remember specifically one woman, very nice woman, in New Orleans, where I did hospice social work for a while. She said, “Warren, your…” and I was a believer, you know, definitely a believer at this time, and she said, “Warren, your job as my social worker is to keep every religious person out of my house.”
And I said, “Okay.” So I told the spiritual counselor, so-called, at hospice not to come. But as I would come each week, she would have some kind of a question that had spiritual overtones. And to make a long story short, she loved the music of Emmylou Harris, and I had just seen Emmylou Harris at the House of Blues the night before I saw her one day. And Emmylou’s first song on her album - she’s a country singer; I don’t that she’s even a believer, but she had gospel music on her album, and the first song was, “Where Will I Be When the Trumpet Sounds?” The third song was “Sun and Moon Will Be Replaced by the Light of Jesus’ Face.”
And she told me - she said, “Bring that album next week,” and I did, and she lay there - she was half-paralyzed - and she just kind of moved her finger. And when the song finished, the side of the album finished, I said, “Diana, can I pray?”
And she said, “Please do.” And I really believe that she got saved. It was not your typical kind of - you know, the situation just lent itself, and I get… My whole point is just that as a hospice social worker, I saw a lot of people who took that so-called existential distress and went deeper, and looked at their life, and there were many people that came closer to the Lord, and some got saved. But when you take the drugs, they’re basically saying, “Trip out…” It almost has to be somebody that’s done drugs or is a New Ager or something to even use that term like “tripping out,” you know. It just seems absurd to me. But you’re basically - what you’re doing is you’re distracting people from some very important business, which is, “Where am I going? Where am I heading? Is there such a thing as eternity?” Or like Diana said to me one day, she said, “Well, there’s no hell - is there?” You know, it’s like…and what an incredible place and time to finally deal with issues that maybe you’ve put on the back burner until you get into a situation where you’re just - you need a Savior.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Well, that seems to be the strategy here of the adversary…
Warren: Yeah, absolutely.
Tom: …take away the sting of death, the fear of death.
Tom: Well, the drug that they’re using is psilocybin, and I guess they start with that, because - well, it was known back in our day as the sacred mushroom, or psychedelic mushroom.
Warren: The shrooms.
Tom: Yeah, exactly, because that’s where they get psilocybin. But the other side of it is that they say, “Look, this is a drug. It’s going to help people, ease them, get them off the stress of facing cancer, facing death, and so on.” So as we’re seeing in a lot of things today, “Well, let’s just make the person more comfortable. Let’s not let them go through the existential distress.” Stress - let’s just call it that!
Tom: So…but there’s the problem. They say, “Well, come on! Psilocybin has relatively little side effects, so what could be the harm?”
Warren: Well, you know, it’s funny, Tom, I googled psilocybin mushrooms and bad trips, and I went down the page, and it says, “Teenager on shrooms shot himself in the head to wake up from what he thought was a bad dream.”
“Magic Mushrooms, Bad Trip.” This is on the first page that came up for Google, I think, or maybe it was the second. “Eight Levels of Insanity: My Bad Trip on Shrooms.” And then guess what the next one was? “The Trip Treatment,” The New Yorker!
Tom: Which is the article we’re referring to, folks.
Warren: Yeah, it’s on the same page as all these other things talking about all these bad trips that people had. So doctors think that they can kind of manage and orchestrate, you know, drugs. But I’ll tell you as a social worker, there are a lot of people [who] have stuff buried in their psyches, and there’s a tremendous amount of abuse in people’s backgrounds; some of them just aren’t even hardly aware of it, and these things have been locked away in the subconscious, and when you take drugs, sometimes it comes up. For these doctors to say that it’s relatively safe and that, you know, I mean, there are people that seem really normal that can go off on a bad trip, and they’ve got the whole thing sort of clinically analyzed, but anybody that looks through…
There was another website that had 175 documented cases of people that had bad trips. So, you know - and I’m not saying that everybody’s going to have a bad trip, or that it’s even that common, but the fact that it could happen at all, they’re really - didn’t you get it from the article? It really minimized it; it’s almost like, “Hey, we’ve got a magic pill here that people can take and feel really good about. They can just be in ecstasy as they die,” and…wow.
Tom: Yeah, well, that’s been the thrust of using hallucinogenic drugs. I think - well, even going back to Freud, he was recommending cocaine, you know, as the solution to many of our problems. When you go along with that, then however drugs are being used - “Yes, it’s going to work this way; it’s going to help this situation or that situation.” But bottom line (and we’ll keep coming back to this, folks) is that when a person is put on a psychedelic or a hallucinogenic drug, basically they’re in an altered state of consciousness, and any kind of rationale, any kind of perception of reality down there is gonna get distorted.
Now, the big distortion is - so we’re going to make people comfortable in, let’s say, the last months of their lives, and they’re going to be comfortable to the point of accepting death; that’s like comforting people as they slip into the lake of fire from a biblical perspective. That’s the huge problem here, but it isn’t just psilocybin and this kind of medical drug treatment, this is just a way of reintroducing this into our society when it kind of fell off, because back then, it was illegal. Now you have medical marijuana. You have institutions like Johns Hopkins and New York University, and in England, for example, you have the same thing going on where drugs are being introduced - not to cure people, okay? Not to cure them of cancer, but to ease their condition, to comfort them, and […], so they’re going to slip off comfortably into eternity, which for many may be the lake of fire. It’s a bad deal. It’s a bad trip.
Warren: Absolutely. And it’s…you know, I was struggling in my life. I was trying to find answers, and when I went to that psychic and a ball of light popped up, you know, all of a sudden I started feeling good. I mean, when you’re in the New Age, generally you’re given a free rein, and you feel good about everything. So this idea of feeling good, it’s kind of like the whole experiential thing that’s going on in the church right now. People are reading a book like Jesus Calling, and they’re feeling good. But what they don’t realize is that there’s a spirit that comes with that book, and that’s - we talked about that in a previous program, but it’s the same thing. There’s this idea that feeling good is the end-all.
And I’ll give you a quick example going back to hospice: okay, we’ve got this so-called existential distress, and then if you’ve got somebody that knows the Lord and they’re dealing with things and they start asking questions, you can come right at them with the truth. We had a guy that was a volunteer coordinator at hospice, and - very nice guy; he used to be, like, a Catholic youth worker. Well, he went off to graduate school, and some New Age - you know, got a New Age degree, and now he’s a spiritual counselor with hospice.
So how about this for a scenario, Tom: you get somebody that takes this psilocybin and has an experience where he sees the oneness of everything, God is in everything. He comes back from that, then you’ve got this spiritual counselor who’s, you know, grounded in the New Age, and he goes, “Wow, yeah! You’ve got it! You’ve got it, man. Oneness - everything’s connected. We’re all God!” And he goes flying off into, like you said, into death, and into complete…the lake of fire, hell - the whole works - feeling good. And that’s what the New Age was all about. That’s what Oprah’s all about. That’s what a lot of what’s going on in the church is all about. It’s like experience becomes the end-all, not truth.
Tom: Yeah, so this is the grand scheme of the adversary, Satan.
Tom: The article that we’re referring to is called “The Trip Treatment,” and as I mentioned, it’s research into psychedelics, which was shut down for decades because they became illegal, but now it’s coming back in almost a flood.
Now, one of the things about the article that I found so obvious, so overt, is that in these experiments in trying to help people, they point out over and over again that these individuals on psilocybin, in particular, they experience - well, it’s called spiritual experiences. Since many people today say, “Oh, no, no, I’m not into religion, I’m into things spiritual.” Well, that sounds like a good thing, but is it?
Warren: Yeah, well, it’s interesting - you probably…I’m sure you noticed this in the article, Tom - they say one thing, but then they have other findings in the article that actually contradict the idea that there are no problems or… The most outstanding one was this double-blind experiment that they did: this guy Walter Pahnke, I guess is name is, and he was doing a Ph.D. dissertation under Timothy Leary at Harvard. It just says here, “In a double-blind experiment, twenty divinity students received a capsule of white powder right before a Good Friday service at Marsh Chapel on the Boston University Campus. Ten contained psilocybin, ten an active placebo. Eight of the ten students receiving psilocybin reported a mystical experience, but only one in the control group experienced a feeling of sacredness and a sense of peace.” So they basically said that this one guy - or a couple of people just had a tremendous experience, and everything was kind of…everything was good. But then it says that, “In 1991, Rick Doblin, the director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies,” went a little bit deeper, did a followup with all the divinity students, and he said, “They all reported that the experience had shaped their lives and work in profound and enduring ways. But Doblin found flaws in Pahnke’s published account: he had failed to mention that several subjects struggled with acute anxiety during their experience. One had to be restrained and given Thorazine, a powerful antipsychotic, after he ran from the chapel and headed down Commonwealth Avenue, convinced that he had been chosen to announce that the Messiah had arrived.” You know? So we’re not getting the full story, but interestingly, in this article they came back and contradicted some of the stuff that had been presented. They’re trying to make a really good case, and then they show that, “Hey, there are some problems here.” When you deal with drugs, you’re dealing with the spirit world, and you’re dealing with all sorts of other factors.
Tom: And the connection to Eastern mysticism, to yoga, to transcendental meditation - I mean, it comes through over and over in the article. So somebody looking at this from a biblical perspective - I mean, this is like a billboard: Wait a minute! You know? This is not medicine here, this is not objective science medicine, this is a way to introduce a spirituality that - you know, as we said…well, I’ll quote from the article. It says, “People who had been palpably scared of death - they lost their fear. The fact that a drug given once can have such an effect for so long is an unprecedented finding. We have never had anything like it in the psychiatric field.” But let me…here’s another quote: “Two-thirds of the participants rated the psilocybin session among the top five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives; a third ranked it at the top. Fourteen months later, these ratings had slipped only slightly.” So this is huge! This is introducing spirituality that’s antithetical to the Scriptures, to the Bible, but it’s being accepted because, “Oh, wait a minute! People are being comforted through this.” Well, we’ve talked about that.
Warren: They’re having a drug-induced spiritual experience. In my particular case, I had a psychic (“psychic” as in a psychic who does psychic readings) induced experience. If you had asked me in the middle of my New Age days, “Warren, what was one of the most amazing top experiences you’ve ever had in your life, spiritual experiences?” I would have said, “With the ball of light over my head with the psychic.” And then I probably would have moved into Rajneesh and a mountaintop experience I had with Rajneesh in Big Sur. I mean…but it was all deception. It was all - it was an illusion, you know, that this was good.
Interestingly, in just poking around a little bit on the internet, I found a man who did quite a few drugs, and he said that he’d done psilocybin a lot, but all of a sudden, one time when he was taking these shrooms, he went into a really horrific state, and he said, “Actually, the one thing that frightened me the most was fear itself.” So it doesn’t always work. You’re basically…what these doctors are doing is - what they often do is they’re experimenting with people’s psyches to the detriment of their eternal well-being. I mean, it’s a very dangerous thing that they’re doing here.
A friend of mine, her stepfather was in the Navy way back - I think it was like in the ‘60s or ‘70s - and he was one of the ones that was in this experiment where they - actually, with the military, they gave them LSD. They’ve done experiments, and the government has sponsored a lot of this stuff. But again, it all comes down to just yet one more way to deter people from dealing with reality and trying to come to terms with what’s true and what’s not, “Where am I heading…” It’s all getting lost in the maze of feeling good, and that’s why the church is in the state that it’s in today, because everybody wants to feel good. They’re getting spiritual experiences from books like Jesus Calling, from contemplative prayer, from pastors that aren’t really dealing with the fact that there’s tremendous deception out there, and so it’s one big experiential mess that’s heading right into everything the Bible said it would, which is great deception at the end of time.
Tom: Mm-hmm. The other aspect of this is, as we talked about primarily last week, this is shamanism. This is the ability to contact spirit entities out there, and for these, you know, whether they’re materialist scientists who say, “Oh, no, that doesn’t happen. This is just somebody communicating with his own subconscious or whatever it might be.” No, there’s new information, and many of those who are overseeing this experimentation are influenced by what these - what their patients are telling them based on their drug trip: new information, communication. This is what you talked about last week with, you know, A Course in Miracles, right?
Warren: Yeah. Yeah, and what it comes back to is what you were saying: most of these or a lot of these people that are involved with this stuff are people that have been through drug stuff themselves, have been through New Age teachings or Jungian psychology or whatever that is right there with the New Age, and so they’re very comfortable with this, and they’re not looking at the fact that…how dangerous spiritually this is for people that - I mean, they just don’t give any credence. Existential distress, psychology has no answer. Well, guess what? The answer is right there in front of our noses in the Bible.
Tom: Yeah, but listen to this - again, from the article - the individual that is talking here is a little concerned, but here’s the quote. It says, “Is psychedelic…” Well, this is the author: “Is psychedelic therapy simply foisting a comforting delusion on the sick and dying?” Well, how do these practitioners handle this? Here’s one who says, “Well, that’s above my pay grade.”
Warren: Yeah, right.
Tom: Okay? In other words, they don’t know how to deal with it, but they like some of the results, even though they don’t follow - as you said, just google this stuff! Look for “bad trips.”
Now, of course, their rationale is, “Well, that’s for those who are not in a controlled environment.” Like everybody, once this takes hold, everybody’s going to be in a controlled environment and so on? And by the way, when you look at the controlled environment for some of these individuals, they don’t do it in a hospital setting; they have a room set up that looks like your living room. Oh, and by the way, there are music by Ravi Shankar playing over, or New Age music, and then there’s a statue of Buddha…this is from the article!
Warren: Yeah, and there’s a ceramic mushroom. Unbelievable.
Tom: Yeah, it is, but folks, look, we’re not trying to mock this. What we are is greatly concerned about what’s taking place. This is a fulfillment of prophecy of the Word of God; in particular, Revelation talks about sorcery in the last days, and as we’ve defined it, sorcery is not just - well, it’s given a definition two ways: it’s witchcraft, okay? It’s shamanism, it’s contacting the spirit entities, but it’s also - in Revelation, twice the term is “sorcery,” meaning…or the Greek term pharmakeia, pharmacy. So all I’m saying here, and this is what certainly Warren and I are concerned about, we’re seeing it come back again as in fulfillment of prophecy, and it’s - you know, it’s like a set of waves. We had it in the ‘60s and ‘70s, then the wave drops its debris on the beach, and then it pulls back. Well, the thing that made it pull back in our time is that it became illegal. But now it’s coming back again like a second set of waves - waves usually come in in sets - and it’s depositing this again, and who knows before the Lord returns how much of this we’re going to see grow and develop?
But the point is, prophecy is being fulfilled, and we will see it grow and grow and grow. Here in Oregon we not only have medical marijuana, but now it’s been passed that we’re going to have recreational marijuana. So sorcery in the last days.
Warren: Yeah, it’s - the other day I was just talking to my wife, and I said, “You know, remember that nursery song ‘Round and round the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel…’ I mean, it’s like that’s where we’re at. We’re right back, Tom, where you and Dave were warning about years ago. I mean, it’s just coming back around and around. But a lot of godly men and women have passed on, and a lot of youngsters who just don’t know about deception are getting caught up in churches like Bethel, they’re getting caught up in IHOP, they’re getting caught up with contemplative prayer that’s being brought in by people that they think they should be respecting. The contemplative prayer thing really is another aspect of sorcery, because you end up hearing a voice that purports to be Jesus or the Holy Spirit, and it’s the spirits, so you’re actually becoming your own channel, if you will, and that’s perhaps one of the most dangerous practices of all.
Tom: Sure. Again, I mentioned Revelation. Revelation:18:23 states that: “For the by the sorceries were all nations deceived.” And that, at least, is going to be a part of the last days deception. Jesus said, “Take heed that no man deceive you,” talking about the last days. His disciples asked Him what would be a sign of that, and we’re certainly seeing this, and one major aspect of this is sorcery or drug use - as I mentioned, pharmakeia.
Warren, what are your last thoughts on this to encourage our listeners?
Warren: Well, I think the encouraging thing is that the Bible warns about everything that’s going on. That was the encouragement that I had as I read Johanna Michaelsen’s book as a New Ager on the floor of a bookstore in Hermosa Beach, California. It was really like when Philip came alongside the Ethiopian eunuch and just - the Ethiopian eunuch was trying to understand the Book of Isaiah. Johanna just explained it, and it just kicked in…I mean, it took a while for us to work things through, but the Bible is the Word of God. And you hear someone like Rob Bell just recently saying that, “Well, this 2,000 year old book…” You know, God has preserved…
Tom: Yeah, putting it down.
Warren: Yeah, yeah! You know, and traveling around with Oprah, who recommends A Course in Miracles that says, “for the slain Christ has no meaning,” when everything happened on the cross of Calvary. So I just think that, “In everything give thanks.” I think that people are being given an opportunity now, and I think the Lord has allowed a lot of room for people to discuss these things. But unfortunately, I think a lot of Christian leaders are just ignoring it. They’re trying to preserve their flock, they’re going with the flow, and as a result, the deception is gathering momentum. But the Bible has the answers, it is the Word of God, and thank God it’s there for us.
Tom: You know, one last comment: I know from my own experience, and I’m sure many others out there - when somebody undergoing - whether it be a loved one, a father, a mother, a spouse is dying of cancer, what we want (primarily our heart, but maybe more our flesh) we want to see them healed, and that - we can fall into a state of real vulnerability to just grab on to whatever’s out there, whatever seems to work. But you know, as biblical Christians, we need to go to the Word of God, to be Bereans, to check these things out, to make sure that we’re not being led down the primrose path.
So, Warren, thanks for being with us, and Lord bless you and encourage you. And I cry out to people - you know, I know your schedule’s…you’re all over the place, so we covet from our listeners prayer for you, to watch over and protect you, and use you to His glory in Jesus’ name.
Warren: Thanks, Tom. Always good being with you.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 featuring T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800-937-6638, or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in, and we hope you can be here again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.