"A Twisted Faith: A Minister's Obsession and
the Murder That Destroyed a Church" By Gregg Olsen (2010)
Twisted Faith is a tale that is too often told in these days. Pastor/Priests manipulating others for personal satisfaction of sexual desire. Trusted men and women who use the trust and faith of others to prey on the innocent, and those who only want to serve God.
This book will have you wondering what were these people thinking? And where were all the men? A Pastor preying on the faith of women to fulfill his evil desires. And no one questions him? Not the women being preyed upon and not the husbands who’s wives are being used?
My husband and I enjoy spending time together. If he or I were to have an affair, the other would know it. If only because our pattern of behavior would change so drastically. The husbands in this true crime story thought nothing of their wives spending time alone with the Pastor of this particular church.
I questioned over and over again, Why do they treat this man as if he were God Himself? How can they think that this man is perfect because of his position? How can they ignore what their hearts are telling them to be true, and what they know is wrong?
The women willingly drugged their children with over the counter medication to have sex with this Pastor. The women of this story actually believed the Pastor when he told them it was God’s Will for them to have an affair! The murder victim's mother’s had sex with her murderer, because she thought that God wanted her to, and out of sympathy for his lost wife!
And it also leads me to wonder why people don’t look to God for truth. Why do they think that their Pastor or Priest has a right to know God and His will in OUR lives, but we do not? It’s a reminder to me that we need to ask God ourselves and not expect someone to tell us what God wants.
I wish I could say that this is one story in one part of the country. But we have all heard about the Catholic Priest Scandal. As I told the story of this book to my friend, Darlene*, she told me of her Pastor, from an unrelated religion, whom she had recently learned had also cheated on his wife with many manipulated women, and even molested his little sister for years.
Another friend from another religion had similar problems with their Pastor. A man claiming he is of God, and setting himself up for others to look to him to know God’s will, but then preys upon the women in his congregation. He tried to manipulate members to do his bidding instead of God’s. Unfortunately, many do, without question and without praying to God to find out if they should be doing what this Pastor is asking.
I don’t know if the problem lies with the women, who feel a need to be the Pastor’s sexual play thing, or with the men who choose to be Pastors and in positions of trust and power and then abuse that trust and use that power to manipulate women and children. Or maybe it’s some of both.
At the church I attend, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we believe that if you have a question that needs to be answered, you ask God. You don’t leave it to your leaders to find answers for you. Though we don’t know how the answer will come, we trust that God will provide an answer. We also don’t choose to be a leader in the LDS church. You can’t go to a Bible school and become a Bishop. You are called by those who are already in place, the leaders pray for an answer of who should lead a particular congregation. And it is through prayer that the answers come. Our leaders are chosen and made into leaders. They are not men who choose to manipulate and seek after power. I’m not claiming they are perfect, they are just men after all. They can choose to do wrong, manipulate and have affairs. But they don’t have life appointed positions, either.
I’m not suggesting this will work in other religions. Most churches do not have the ability to “call” someone to serve in a unpaid volunteer position. I’m only suggesting that you need to be wary of men who choose positions of power and trust, and men who are in positions in which they can easily manipulate their flocks. Trust your own heart and believe that God will answer your prayers.
God is our Father, and what father does not want the best for his children? Affairs, murder and manipulations are not what is best for His children.