When I saw on Facebook that there would be a prayer group outside the recent Long Island Medium event in Bismarck on Monday, and learned she’d be appearing again last night in Grand Forks, I offered my prayers from Fargo. Though I couldn’t make the drive to join the “peaceful protestors” at the former event, I’m glad someone was willing to cover the area in a prayerful appeal to the Living God.
I will admit, there was a time in my teen years when I was fascinated with this kind of thing. Long ago, as part of our National School Assembly series, a supposed medium came to our school. He asked us to say our initials in our minds and he would call on someone. I wanted it to be me! I thought hard, “R.B.! R.B.” And guess what initials he called out? Yep. He proceeded to spell my name, and share some information about me that was fairly personal. He also told me about something I had lost, and directed me where to find it once I was back home.
Did I think I was special? You bet I did. From out of the hundreds of students in the auditorium that day, I was among a select few called on. It was a miracle of sorts, right?
There were a few problems, however. Soon, stories arose of this presenter having quietly asked some students beforehand to reveal some personal things about their peers who would be there that day. Was this true, or was someone just trying to denounce this legitimate mind-reader’s presentation? I wanted to believe he’d been for real. If not, after all, what did that say about me?
Another problem emerged when I didn’t find the thing that was lost. I honestly didn’t know to which object he was referring, and I couldn’t come up with the location where he said it could be found. A drawer lined with newspapers didn’t exist in my house. Doubts crept in as to his authenticity. As for the little-known fact he’d revealed to the whole school? Well, it was little known but known by some. So there was a hole there, too.
I wanted to believe. After all, I do believe in the afterlife, in the supernatural, in life on the other side of the veil. But in hindsight, I see that I wasn’t special, only gullible. In some ways, I was the fool. Someone had picked up on my vulnerability and thought I’d be a good candidate for a public joke, and they were right.
As my faith has matured, I have become much more skeptical of mediums. Not necessarily mystics — that’s a whole other story, and more on that in a bit. But the kind of “work” people like Theresa carry out. It doesn’t ring completely of truth. I now think anyone wary is also wise.
That’s not to say I would discount that folks like Theresa have good intentions, or that some of her fans are not comforted. I know that they are, or she wouldn’t have such large audiences, and I know in some cases the assurance she brings is like gold to them. But is it solid enough to bet on, and is it fair?
Taking a step back, what I see here most of all is lack; a confused and hurting culture, people who sense there is something more, but have become a little misguided in finding it. They seek answers but maybe not in the right places, and unfortunately, the good feelings that might come can only be temporary and incomplete.
Let me share just a few of the red flags I see in merely reading about Theresa’s “The Experience” performances (and my interpretation of them).
- “’The Experience’ brings Theresa face-to-face with her fans, as she lets spirit guide her through the audience.”
Red flag #1: Who is “spirit?” No mention of Jesus, or God, even. I’m sure Theresa doesn’t want to lose any of her potential audience members by naming the “spirit,” right? Very suspect, however. The name of Jesus is powerful, and if Theresa truly is a faithful Catholic as she claims to be, then she would not be afraid to say Jesus’ name. Not doing so seems cowardly to me. If “spirit” isn’t Jesus, who is “spirit?”
- Next: “The experience isn’t about believing in mediums. It’s about witnessing something life-changing” says Theresa Caputo. “It’s like Long Island Medium live, witnessing first-hand spirit communication.”
Red flag #2: I think we need to be careful with anyone who can conjure up the dead at will. Even if Theresa would argue this is not what happens, it seems a little too contrived. Furthermore, I’m concerned at how she uses this “gift” for profit.
- Speaking of her “gift,” it’s described on her website as an ability to “communicate with the dead.”
Red flag #3: I’m not saying the dead have never and could never speak with the living. They can and have. But I think we need to be very scrutinizing of anyone who claims this gift. This is serious matter, and not to be taken lightly.
Others have gone more in depth – I’ve linked to a fascinating article that can shed important light. There is more, but that’s enough to start with.
I realize I risk offending those who find Theresa’s ability to help “individuals find closure by delivering healing messages” suspect. Please understand my intentions and thought. It is good to want healing for others and ourselves, but I question the method, and the money made from it. It seems Theresa may be preying upon the vulnerable, as I had been vulnerable long ago.
What would Jesus and his church say about all this? In searching, I found this very thoughtful piece on the site, Mystics of the Church. The article sorts out fact from fiction, and brings needed balance to the whole thing in my mind, especially in light of the Church’s (Jesus’) views on the matter.
I found this particularly interesting; a note on the extraordinary mystic St. Gemma Galgani, who was regularly visited by those from the other side. But she soon discovered not all were authentic. So she found “a very simple, yet very effective way to determine the authenticity of her heavenly ‘visitors,'” to separate the “angels” from demons only dressed as angels, trying to deceive her.
St. Gemma’s spiritual director helped her learn how to test the spirits’ authenticity by saying, “Blessed be Jesus and Mary!” in their presence. “If the spirit was sent or given permission from God, the spirit would always reply back to her with the same exclamation…If however the spirit was not of God, it would either not reply to her exclamation, or it would say simply ‘Blessed be!,’ the simple reason being that demons will never utter the holy Names of Jesus and Mary with devotion.”
Which is why the fact that Theresa doesn’t name her “spirit” bothers me. This woman needs our prayers, because she has opened herself up to a force that is powerful, and may very possibly not only be fooling her, but many.
Yes, I know it’s all very fascinating, and I’m sure interesting to be at these events. But again, those on solid spiritual footing will think twice, and I implore those who are not to proceed with caution.
There’s a place where we can put our trust exclusively, and he won’t charge us dime, not to mention $50 or more a ticket, to access him. He’s free, and he’s the real deal. He has access to the dead and will lead us to our loved ones in time. In the meantime, he will care tenderly for them while we wait for the reunion.
And I’m not afraid to say his name: Jesus. Yes, Jesus, my Lord and my God; beginning to end; alpha and omega; my strength and my salvation; my hope and my help; my past, present and future; my all in all.
The other day, while listening to Catholic radio, I heard a guest talk about The Fall, and how the serpent deceived Eve by convincing her that there was something good to be had, but that she had to go against God in order to have it. Eve sold her soul, and we’re all at risk of that too when we diverge from following the True Spirit: God.
I find it interesting that Theresa claims to be a faithful Catholic. The evil one wants nothing more than to destroy Christ’s church. This seems just one more foothold for that plan.
Let us cover Theresa in prayer, that she might change courses despite the allure and short-term, worldly payoff before her, and discover an authentic, Christian life spent in the presence of the living and true God.
Q4U: What do you think of the Long Island Medium? I’d love your honest answer.