THE NIGHTMARE KNOWN AS MOMENTUS

In November 1994, my wife and I participated in a four-day training experience called Momentus, created and presented by a group that calls itself Mashiyach Ministries. We were persuaded to take Momentus by John A. Lynn, a local minister and head of another group called Christian Educational Services (CES--actually a splinter group from the Way International cult). We were told by John Lynn, who'd taken the training a year earlier, that Momentus was a Christian training that would help us "get closer to the Lord and to His people." We were lied to.

The following testimony, originally part of a letter to a minister I know in Kentucky, is mine alone, though I have referred to several other believers who have shared with me their experiences in the devilish New Age heresy of Momentus. The description of events is as accurate as humanly possible after the passage of almost six years of time. The conclusions and opinions are my own, though I know they are shared by many others who have taken Momentus. They are the result of several years of research, study, and soul searching in light of God's Word. This study led me not only to certain truths in the Word, but also to many other sources that helped me to learn where Momentus really had its roots: squarely in the New Age. I provide this testimony in the hope that it will help keep others from experiencing the deception and the pain inflicted by the Momentus training.

We can never cease to be vigilant in these spirirually perilous times, as both the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul clearly warned us in the Scriptures that some would come among us preaching false gospels and doctrines of demons to attempt to turn some of the flock away from the true message that has already been given to us in the greatest revelation of all -- God's Word. The Word tells us that these false teachers and prophets will even claim to be speaking in His name as they ravage the Body of Christ, like ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing. So we cannot simply accept at face value every person who claims to be teaching the truth of the Word and speaking God's messages without testing what that person says against both the Spirit within us and the Word of God and also looking for the fruits that result from what these people are teaching.

If even Satan can appear as an angel of light, so can those whose messages are harmful to the Body (because the messages stem from nonbiblical -- even antibiblical -- sources) often appear to be Christian ministers. But, despite their appearance, their message comes from the wrong source and bears bitter, poisonous fruit. We must, therefore, guard the flock vigilantly to keep those who oppose themselves -- who are themselves deceived by the devil's devices--from slipping in and harming with their poisonous messages His sheep. It is both the message and its vehicle that I see that is wrong about Momentus. And I believe that the Word instructs us to take a stand against those, so that others are not harmed nor deceived, as were many of us here and elsewhere.

I personally suffered greatly as a result of my participation in the Momentus training, as did many others I know who are close to me (and others about whom I've only heard). That is why I struggled for more than a year with it, seeking guidance of the Lord, learning to look to His Word instead of to men for my answers, before I could finally be certain that I was not just judging the training carnally because of my own sufferings. The Lord continued to teach me throughout this time, telling me again and again through the testimony of the Scripture that what I was seeing was of Him and not out of my own mind or imaginations -- just as I believe He'd initially brought to mind Scripture that told me not to take Momentus, that it was not of Him, when I first heard about it. But I let myself be talked out of the Lord's testimony because of my misplaced respect (at that time) for John Lynn, who'd promoted the training to us. And I suffered as a result. As have others.

A pattern that I'm seeing very strongly is that, initially, most people who hear of or become involved with Momentus realize right off in some way that it is wrong, that it's not of God. Some pay heed and are spared the horrors of Momentus. Others fail to heed what Scriptural testimony the Spirit brings to mind, as I failed to do so, letting themselves eventually be talked into taking the training by men they respect -- and suffering the consequences. Even John Lynn, a self-described Momentus fanatic, told me that he was initially "dragged kicking and screaming" into the whole Momentus thing by others in CES, indicating to me that he, too, recognized that it wasn't of the Lord, but failed to heed that recognition. I've learned from that experience to look only to Him and His Word for guidance, no matter who says otherwise ("...even we, or an angel from heaven . . ." to paraphrase Paul). Too many Christians -- even ministers with strong callings in the faith -- have let other men talk them out of what the Scripture can tell them regarding Momentus and succumbed to its seductive deceptions. We must all remain on guard against this subtle, all-too-effective ploy of the adversary.

One of the biggest problems I have with Momentus (other than its teachings and practices being derived from New Age and, ultimately, occult sources, of course) is the conspiracy of silence surrounding what it's really like. Just as secret societies such as the Masons and various other occult groups hide the truth of what they're really all about until people are too deeply involved to easily get out or see the truth, so does Momentus hide its true nature under a facade of Christianity. Before the training, all a prospective trainee hears about Momentus are the glowing reports of those who've taken it, who claim that it's "changed their lives so dramatically." That last part is often true, but the change is not always what it seems to be. But try to get details about what goes on within the training and you get evasion at best, stonewalling at worst. (And you don't need to take my word on this -- if you know of anyone who's taken Momentus and thinks it's great, ask them to provide exact details of what happens in the training. No one will. One believer I know who'd also taken Momentus told me by phone that, after receiving letters that I and others had written him with our concerns, one minister called Dan Tocchini -- the creator of Momentus -- and Larry Pinci -- the other main trainer at the time - -on the phone to talk about these concerns about Momentus he was hearing; according to my friend, they were both very evasive with this minister. I can't verify this myself, as I'm merely reporting this third-hand, but it fits the patterns I've seen regarding the dissemination of accurate information about Momentus.)

I believe that this evasiveness is because the trainers, as well as most graduates of the training, even if they love Momentus, rightly know that most Christians would never take Momentus if they had any inkling of what went on in it. I know that I never would have. And that's because what goes on in it has little to nothing to do with life and godliness as unveiled in the Word of God. But it does have a lot to do with psychotheraputic practices (from Freudian to primal scream therapy), with indoctrination techniques (similar to those used by the Red Chinese during the Korean War, as well as by cultists even today), and with New Age visualization and occultism. Ridicule, mockery, and abusive language directed against the trainees by the trainers (and eventually, as they get into the "spirit" of Momentus, the other trainees) is par for the course, as they work to shock and break down the trainees into abandoning their own belief systems and accepting those of the trainers. The methods used in the training I participated in (and in others I've been told about) are not at all godly, even if some people believe the results to be so. (I don't think God'sWord in any way justifies the worldly concept of the end justifying the means; see, for example, Romans 3:8.)

But, as I said, you don't hear any of that before you take Momentus. The material you receive in preparation for the training lists books to read by Christian authors and includes exerpts from other Christian writings. (Since then, however, I've discovered that many of these "Christian" works are spiritually questionable at best, including a book by a Mormon, several by dominionists and charismatic extremists, and one by former leaders of the Way International cult.) The only real indication you get of what may be to come is a requirement that, if you're in therapy or have been in the past few years, you get a signature from your psychiatrist that it's okay for you to take the training, plus a vague caution that the interactions with the trainer may at times become "intense." But you get this information only after you've sent in your nonrefundable $150 training fee (which you don't get back, whether the trainers or you decide you shouldn't take the training). And "intense" is hardly the word I'd use to describe the abusive language (including profanity) the trainers used as they contradicted, mocked, and baited people during the training we sat through.

I took several group dynamics courses in the Psychology department and elsewhere at I.U. when I was in college, and so I was no stranger to intense interaction--but those were a cakewalk compared to Momentus. (Incidentally, just as people coming out of Momentus often proclaim how close they feel to the other trainees, we all experienced similar feelings after our group experiences in those secular, abiblical psychology courses -- which suggests that such feelings have no real bearing on the validity, or nonvalidity, of such training situations. I'm also reminded of how victims of abuse often come to feel close to their abusers, even to the point of considering themselves being wrong and their abusers in the right.) No, the material sent out beforehand in no way prepares you for what Momentus is really like. Coupled with the almost universal refusal of its adherents to give anyone a valid, even a balanced, view of what happens in the training, the practice of promoting Momentus as nothing but a "wonderful" "Christian" experience constitutes, in my mind at least, nothing less than outright fraud. (Strong words, I realize, but compare Jesus' words about the doctrines practiced by the Pharisees, who also displayed a veneer of righteousness yet taught and practiced traditions contrary to the Word of God.)

Based on ample documentation, I've discovered that Momentus is, in fact, merely a (barely) "Christianized" version of the New Age mind dynamics training called Lifespring, which was an outgrowth of the human potential movement of the '70s. Lifespring has many of its own roots in the same humanist and occult principles as did Werner Erhardt's est classes of the '70s--many of the same methods used in est (and in its successor, the Forum) were also used by Lifespring and, consequently, imported whole from Lifespring into Momentus. Est itself was a mixture of Erhardt's various occult influences, including several forms of Eastern mysticism and Scientology (in turn, a mixture of Eastern mysticism, occultism, and science fiction, created by a science fiction writer reportedly looking for a way to make money), plus liberal does of humanist psychotherapy. I'm not going to go deeply into est or Lifespring -- plenty has been written about both to make it unquestionable that they are earthly, sensual, and devilish and have nothing to do with the Word of God or His spirit of truth.

For more information, I recommend the following books: The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, by John Weldon and John Ankerberg (the chapter on Est, Lifespring and other courses, which briefly discusses Momentus); and Straight Answers on the New Age by Bob Larson. (Although considered controversial himself in manyChristian circles, Larson ably, if briefly, describes the Momentus Lifeboat exercise as one used in Lifespring -- in a book published at least a year before the first Momentus classes were ever run). Ankerberg and Weldon have since released a followup to their first encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions, which goes into even more depth about Momentus and its roots and true nature in a similar chapter to that in the first book.

I also recommend a book entitled Invasion of Other Gods by David Jeremiah, in the chapter on New Age influences that have crept into the church. Except for a part about participants hearing "whisperings from God" (God and anything He says was almost totally absent from the training we took) and the current costs, it's a fairly accurate description of some of what we experienced in Momentus as we sat through it -- though it in no way conveys the true horror of the experience. The book by Ankerberg and Weldon I mention above, in its discussion of Lifespring, describes many other aspects carried over from Lifespring into Momentus. For example, after you get in the class, it starts off with a manipulative introductory session in which you're plunged into darkness and treated to loud, swelling (and, ultimately, nearly deafening) music that seems designed to assault your senses and play with your emotions. (It was from the movie The Last of the Mohicans. Not what I'd particularly consider godly music, nor was much of the music played during the training, at deafening volumes, to assail our senses and, with the lack of sleep and constant harrassment we experienced, put us in a state of extreme susceptibility - -or what many would describe as a state of altered consciousness.) Then comes a dramatic reading from some introductory material, interspersed with a few almost unrecognizable verses from the Message, a bible version that I personally find nearly impossible to reconcile with any other version of Scripture I've ever studied. Having taken enough psychology and theater courses in college, I quickly recognized (to my surprise, at that point) that the purpose of this opening was probably to unsettle us emotionally (as so much of the training appeared designed to do). And my "spiritual alarm bells" began going off like crazy - -but as I'd already committed to sitting through the training, I continued to ignore them.

After this opening, the trainers ran us through the "ground rules" for the training (one of its holdovers from est and Lifespring) and required us to sign an agreement to abide by these rules. We were also required to sign a "hold harmless" agreement, asserting that we'd been "adequately informed" of what the training consisted of and that no matter what happened to us in (or as a result of) the training -- including death -- we'd hold the trainiers and the sponsors harmless. (Now, maybe I've not gotten around quite enough, but I don't recall ever having to sign such an agreement before taking any Bible class I've ever been in before or since - -not any class I've taken through any church or ministry . . . except for Momentus. But Lifespring, on the other hand, does require such an agreement, as do many other similar New Age courses -- because several people have died as a result of taking that training. And several people, myself included, have come at least close to dying as a result of taking Momentus. In fact, one girl we know who served on the training crew for a later Momentus told us how the trainers issued vomit bags to the crew -- because they expected some people taking the training to become violently ill during some of the exercises.)

As I've been told since, this "Hold Harmless" agreement may even be a fradulent contract, under standard contract law, because we were not adequately informed of what the training consisted of; of course, at that point, having read only the stuff sent out to us and not knowing what actually was to occur during the training, we didn't know that. And, we were told, too, that if we didn't sign the agreement, we either had to pay up an additional $300 to the trainers on the spot -- or leave the training (and we wouldn't receive a refund of our original $150 fee). So, of course, we signed -- we had too much invested in the training at that point to do otherwise, as they no doubt counted on. (To be fair, the additional $300 was mentioned along with a reference to a "standard release form" in some of the materials we received before the training. This information was, however, tucked away at the bottom of a page of info about the training that was part of a questionnaire that we had to return long before the training started. So it was not something that I at least, nor my wife, even recalled by the time of the training. Additionally, what we may have expected from a "standard release form" and what the "Hold Harmless" actually described were quite different things. Perhaps we were simply naive on this point. I'm personally convinced, however, that the trainers expected most of us to overlook or forget the brief mention of this agreement and extra payment until we arrived at Momentus and then figure that we were in too deeply at that point to do anything but sign the form.)

Finally, the training began in earnest--four days of what essentially consisted of psychological warfare against us, seemingly designed only to break us down to the point that we would accept whatever the trainers wanted us to accept (though the trainers, of course, denied this throughout). Much like how many cultic brainwashers operate (and some deprogrammers who use similar methods), the trainers spent the first two days tearing us down through verbal abuse and exercises with no real point other than to get us to take our focus off of God and the Lord Jesus and put it onto ourselves. And that, I believe, was the whole goal of Momentus: to get us to the place of self-government, as they call it, so that we'd essentially become our own gods (though again, this goal was greatly disguised in Momentus, as opposed to its openness in est and Lifespring); we'd in essence be creating our own "realities" via our choices, within the confines of "the physical universe."

The focus thus was taken off the things of the Spirit as revealed by God's Word and put on things carnal. "The physical universe never lies" is one of Momentus's great mantras (though, of course, the physical universe lies daily in that it denies the spiritual). We were required to make commitments to what we wanted to "cause" in others (a phrase that seems to me to be a pretty apt definition of manipulation). Unwittingly, still mentally believing that something of value could be obtained from the Lord in following their directions, I committed myself to "causing" openness and honesty -- and in so doing, essentially opened myself to subsequent torment at the hands of various "gung-ho" Momentus grads who were following its doctrines of demons. In opening up to the possibility that Momentus actually may have had something godly to teach me, I unwittingly set myself up to suffer whatever spiritual garbage its supporters threw at me. But it would be months before I realized that, and then, finally, only thanks to the healing power of the Lord and the loving help of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

The first two days of the training ended with the "Lifeboat" exercise, in which we were forced to condemn our brothers and sisters to "life or death." Who "lived" and who "died" depended on who we voted into the lifeboat after a New Age-like visualization session in which we were on a cruise ship that suddenly started sinking. The lesson that the exercise actually taught was that only those who live the kind of life the world values -- the loud, aggressive, pushy, hey-listen- to- me- and-forget- about-you types of personalities, who attract lots of attention to themselves (as some had in the training thus far)--would end up in the lifeboat and be saved. Those exhibiting such traits as meekness, humility, self-denial -- in short, any traits that failed to bring lots of attention to themselves (including those the Word of God exhorts us to exhibit) -- ended up in the water, "dead."

We then had to give our "epitaphs" from our watery graves about how worthless we were. This, more than anything else, revealed the true nature of Momentus to me -- its focus on aggrandizing the self over anything else, especially the things of God. And people were worked up by the actions of the trainers to actually experience acute emotional pain over having to "condemn others to death" in what essentially was a huge, manipulative, New Age mind game. Except that I'd foolishly made the commitment to see the training through, no matter what, I'd probably have left it that night and not returned. Well, there was one other thing. We were required early on to choose a buddy to "watch over" during the training. If anyone left, we were told, their buddy had to leave, too. This turned out to be an outright lie, as several people did leave the training and yet their buddies were always allowed to stay--but not before being subjected to serious condemnation and verbal abuse for not somehow forcing their buddies to stay through the entire training. I could not have allowed that to happen to my buddy -- or to anyone else -- if I could prevent it. So I stayed.

(The "buddies must leave if you do" statement wasn't the only deception the trainers engaged in. Another concerned the homework assignment. Because a few people didn't complete the first night's homework assignment as thoroughly as required--writing only a page and a half instead of two pages, for example -- the trainer, in what appeared to be a fit of anger, said that he was ending the training. The only way he'd let us complete it, he asserted, was if we all got together and pressured [or "persuaded," as he mischaracterized it] those who hadn't done the homework as required to agree to finish it during that day. Of course, by this point, we did as he required, and the training continued. I later learned from the girl who served on the training crew for the next Momentus in Indianapolis, however, that this charade was all part of the "script" for the training. The trainer for that class did the same thing, but after he returned to the room, some of the trainees still hadn't agreed to finish their homework--so he had to leave the room again to "give them more time." The training would have continued regardless -- this was apparently just another exercise to get the group in on helping the trainers control others in the training through peer pressure. Yet more deception. In fact, as our source on the training crew told us, all on the crew were given massive copies of the script for the training, spelling out what everyone, including the trainers, was to do and say the entire four days. So one of the reasons often given by Momentus adherents for not describing the details of the training ahead of time -- to preserve the "spontaneity" of the class--also is spurious, based on how the training is so tightly orchestrated.)

The next day, the training took a different course. Just as the cultists and brainwashers would hammer at their victims for several days and then, suddenly, turn around and become their "best buddies" -- to further throw their victims off and disorient them -- the trainers suddenly became warm, lovable "nerds." The lesson we were to learn then was that we're all nerds, always have been and always will be. And by realizing this, we reach the exhalted state of "Nerdvana." (Yet I somehow don't recall this term nor this description of God's people in His Word.) But the sudden lessening of pressure had its desired effect.

We continued with the training, thinking the worst was over. But more was to come, though the pressure was subtler, the manipulation less obvious. On these days, we grouped in circles in the darkness to "confess our sins" to the trainers as they ran down a litany of sins, to which we were to raise our hands if guilty, while weeping and wailing in the darkness. Never did the concept of the Holy Spirit convicting us of sins come into play or of confessing to the Lord; we were in effect "saving ourselves" by dredging up everything we could think of from our pasts and getting all emotional over it to "cleanse" ourselves through an emotional catharsis (rather than through any true, Godly repentance).

We were even instructed to think back to our childhoods and dredge up things for which we, as Christians, already have the remission of sins after being born again. No matter. If we could get all emotional over it, that was fine--we were pursuing the goal of Momentus' self-government approach, in taking our focus off the Lord and putting it solely on us and our sins. (Again, this was never directly stated--I had to deduce later what was really happening during these sessions by gathering information on Lifespring and est and their stated goals of making man into gods by way of the same kind of exercises as practiced in Momentus--the same type of lie that the serpent used to deceive Eve, played out yet again! Only then did the apparent hidden agendas buried in Momentus became even clearer to me.) And, of course, at the time, immersed in all that was happening, we never stopped to ask why we had to raise our hands so that the trainers could see what sins we were confessing to--or why they needed to do this. (I can't confirm that this is what was actually happening, but I did notice that the one trainer at least appeared to be taking notes as people raised hands to confess to various sins!)

We also were required on those final days to bring in pillows to beat on during a session in which we laid a good portion of our problems on our mothers and fathers. As we beat on the pillows, shouting "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" and "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy," this act was supposed to "free us" of hidden resentments we'd harbored for all the "evil things our parents had done to us" when we were little. (Regardless of whether our parents had actually done us evil or whether we harbored such hidden resentments.) The homework for that section even required us to determine whether we believed our parents really had wanted us and to describe how this affected us. This was pure Freudian psychotherapy, mixed liberally with primal scream therapy. The unstated idea of this session came across pretty clearly to me even then: to shift the blame for our problems onto our parents, further "freeing" us of guilt and somehow helping us farther along on the road to "self-government." But God's Word, on the other hand, admonishes us to honor our Fathers and our Mothers--a far cry from the practices of this, yet another Lifespring exercise that was co-opted in total by Momentus. (A Christian that I know from Columbus, IN, described this very exercise to me before he'd heard about it being a part of Momentus; his brother had seen it in an ABC 20/20 expose on Lifespring and had told him about it.)

Other exercises the final days of the training included breaking up into groups and telling each other, one on one, our hidden, inner secrets -- such as the worst betrayal we'd ever experienced. Paradoxically, we were sometimes required to "share" these secrets by speaking in a "nonsense language." This was just another example of the use of secular psychotherapy techniques, employed in a training that denies it even uses such techniques. (I have a copy of a letter written by one Momentus promoter in which he flat-out denies that Momentus uses any psychological techniques at all.)

The final day also consisted of us sharing our own "nerd" traits (often mocking ourselves and others in the process) and putting on little vignettes in groups that the trainers put us in, apparently based on superficial readings of our personalities. (I was put in what I was able to perceive must have been characterized by the trainers as the "stone face" group, along with some others who hadn't actively participated in the exchanges of verbal abuse with the trainers during the weekend.) We also engaged as part of these groups in another pretty obvious New Age exercise on the previous night: We were lifted up in the air by others in the training, to feel the experience of "floating," while specific songs aimed at how the trainers categorized us played in the background. My group's song was a Bob Dylan number that seemed designed to make us feel that we were worthless. This entire exercise was, in my opinion, simply more manipulation to break us down emotionally.)

And at every chance offered, such as when I played my mandolin as part of our vignette that last day, all the crew and the trainers--and then, of course, everyone else--jumped up and danced around wildly with total abandon, furthering the emotional free-for-all the training fostered. (And if anyone didn't get into the excessive emotional displays that the training encouraged to show that you were "getting it," one trainer seemingly had an answer; he'd earlier misused the "conscience seared as by a hot iron" verse in Timothy. As he stated the verse and what it meant to him, using the movie Pulp Fiction as his example, the result was to plant the subtle suggestion that, if you didn't get into the training and accept it totally and be transformed by it--regardless of whether such a transformation was desirable or Godly--well, you must have a "seared conscience," incapable of feeling anything, and so are worthless to yourself, to others, and to God. And, yes, self always came first in the training so that you could then, after taking care of yourself, help others. The Lord ran a poor third, when mentioned at all -- which was rarely.)

By this time, however, even though the Holy Spirit had been warning me all the way through and I even knew by my senses from what I knew of the Word and what I'd observed that this training wasn't right and wasn't of God, I'd still let myself get mostly sucked into it. The lessening of pressure and the "we're all buddies in this together" approach had worked as intended. But then, the trainer told the myth of the "hundreth monkey" as though it were a true story--and something desirable, for that matter. If you're not familiar with this, it's a New Age fable from a book of that title written by New Age guru Ken Keyes, Jr. The basic story is that a group of monkeys were trained how to wash their food as part of an experiment. The monkeys were isolated on an island and had no contact with other monkeys. The monkeys in their little group then trained other monkeys how to wash their food. And at the point that the hundreth monkey learned how to wash his food, all monkeys everywhere--not just those on the island, but those they'd never come into contact with--also suddenly just "knew" how to wash their food the same way. The stated reason behind the trainer telling us this myth -- and describing it as something that had actually happened--was that so we'd know that, after enough people had taken Momentus and learned its ways, everyone everywhere would automatically become "enlightened" just as we now were and would start using and living by the same techiques with no one teaching them how to do so. And so it was up to us to practice what we'd learned in the training and get others to do so, too, mainly by getting others to take the training. (This last part I don't believe was actually stated, although it was so strongly implied it was impossible to miss; and grads of later Momentus trainings in Indianapolis told us how they were subsequently pressured to get their kids to take Momentus and to go out and find at least five more people each and pursuade them to take Momentus, too.)

Personally, I don't think I've ever heard many ideas much more devilish being described as a "Christian" concept than that the whole "hundreth monkey" thing. What exactly would need to be happening for the hundreth monkey story to be true? Monkeys, having no spiritual connection to God, have no way of communicating to Him, much less to one another, outside the five senses - - except perhaps through a transmission of ideas via demons flitting from one monkey to the next! And this is what we, through our participation in Momentus, were supposed to be bringing about in other Christians? Of course, I wasn't aware at the time of the spiritual ramifications behind this "wonderful little story," because like nearly everyone else in the training, I'd pretty much been "trained" by that point to ignore what the Spirit of the Lord was telling me through the Word I knew (and reaching such a point is another goal of Momentus, I believe).

Praise the Lord, however, that He brought to remembrance my having read something about the "hundredth monkey" theory in the newspaper some months earlier. I didn't connect it to the New Age idea at the time, but I did recall that the article told how the original study it was supposed to have been based on was known to be flawed; the control group of monkeys weren't actually isolated. Cross-contamination had taken place, and monkeys outside the group had learned from monkeys in the group who'd gotten out of the control area. But the whole idea was appropriated by New Agers and puffed up into what was essentially a big lie to promote their occult belief in a Jungian "collective consciousness." And this concept was now being propounded by the trainer as a "great Christian truth" -- and that we were all part of it! All we had to do to achieve this great goal was to continue on with what the training had taught us and to live it in our daily lives--in essence, engage in continued spiritual deception, laying accusations against, forceably confronting, and verbally abusing our brothers and sisters in Christ whenever we perceived that they weren't acting the way we thought they should (which was not according to the Word but according to whatever we perceived was "missing for us" in the relationship -- another mantra often used by dedicated Momentus grads such as John Lynn). Oh, and of course we therefore had to get others to take Momentus so they'd be able to do the same thing.

Sadly, too many of those who decided that Momentus was a "good thing" did carry on that trainer's admonition, verbally ripping and tearing their dear brothers and sisters in Christ, operating in an accusing spirit and even employing what some have described as "Christian witchcraft" (referring to various forms of spiritual manipulation) against others in the fellowship in Indianapolis, which is what led to our finally breaking away. But for the moment, with the hundreth monkey fable on the table, the spell was at least partially broken for me. I knew that story wasn't true. And, I believe, the devil knew that I knew it wasn't and that I wasn't ever going to end up a totally deceived Momentus supporter. Which is probably why I experienced what I did for more than a year afterward at the hands of those for whom Momentus took the place of God's Word, leading me into extreme depression and even thoughts of suicide; but even then, I still thought that, though I'd just heard a lie taught as truth at the end, maybe it was just me who was wrong. Maybe I did have a "seared conscience." After all, John Lynn said Momentus was wonderful and of the Lord; so did several other Christian leaders; and a lot of people who sat through Momentus came out of it declaring it the "greatest thing since the new birth." And so began my year of mental and spiritual torment at the hands of our adversary, the devil, thanks to the New Age doctrines of demons taught in Momentus.

Praise the Lord that He never gave up on me (although so many Momentus "grads" did as soon as they saw that I hadn't wholeheartedly bought into their new doctrines). And after I finally just gave up trying to figure it all out for myself, as I plunged deeper and deeper into depression thanks to the treatment I received at the hands of my "loving" fellow Momentus grads (even to the point of getting mental images of putting a gun in my mouth and pulling the trigger just to get some peace of mind), and as I at last turned to Him for help, I felt led to talk with another brother in the Lord about what I was going through. This brother also taken Momentus and had, thank the Lord, seen it for what it was and helped me put together what God had been teaching me about it for so long, had I listened. And then that brother led us to meet with others who'd also seen the truth about Momentus, and I finally began again to see that, despite being treated as a pariah by the local Momentus-ites, I wasn't alone at all -- that the Body of Christ was still living and loving in Indianapolis. And I don't mean in saying this to put down or malign any of the people deceived by Momentus -- as I know that it's not them at fault but rather the doctrines of demons influencing them. I pray constantly for the people so deceived (and thus hurt, too) and blame the devil, who's really responsible. I pray daily in fact for the deliverance of all those hurt or deceived by Momentus. And I believe that God wants me to help warn His people in any way that I can about the dangers of Momentus.

Now, I do realize that some people still come out of Momentus thinking it's the greatest thing ever and believe that they've been really helped by it (or set free or whatever). Well, of course, some people are going to derive benefit from it (or think they have, in any event); the devil's not stupid -- a counterfeit that hurts everyone isn't going to be effective for very long. And I can easily point to documentation of glowing reports similar to those of some Momentus grads having come from grads of est, Lifespring, Scientology, Transcendental Mediation and other obvious non-Christian spiritual counterfeits. I believe that this sort of thing can be explained by way of analogy in terms similar to those verses in Luke, where a son asks of his father for physical nutriment -- for a fish, for bread, or for an egg. We learn from those verses that our heavenly Father would never give us anything bad if we go to him asking for a blessing. Yet, many of us who took Momentus, even though we went in asking God for spiritual blessings through that training, came out with unquestionably bad things. And, I believe, even many of those (if not all) who came out thinking they'd received good actually received the opposite.

The three things God says that He, as our heavenly Father, wouldn't give reflect, I believe, the three categories of what people who take Momentus come out of that class with: Those who ask for a fish all too often actually receive a serpent--spiritual deception. Those are the ones who come out thinking Momentus is totally wonderful, that anything about the training that's bad is worth going through to get its "benefits" (reflecting the non-Christian idea that the end justfies the means; see Rom 3:8), and then go on to promote Momentus heavily to others, keeping its secrets and playing by its "rules" (even where they contradict God's commandments). In many ways, this is the worst "gift" of Momentus, because those receiving it hurt not only themselves by their actions, but others in the Body as well; instead of laying up spiritual rewards, they're laying up spiritual brickbats as they help deceive others into taking Momentus.

The second category consists of those who ask for bread and get a stone. These are perhaps the most fortunate of those who come out of Momentus -- they went in asking for spiritual nutriments and got, essentially, nothing that they could digest. They may have come out confused or just wondering what went on -- they may even believe that the training contains some good amid all its wrong doctrine and abiblical practices -- but in the end, they neither embrace Momentus nor are seriously hurt by it. They've just wasted their time, money, and effort on something that is at best spiritually barren. (My wife came through the training in this category.)

The final category are those who go into the training asking for an egg but who receive instead a scorpion--those of us who were emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually damaged by the training. I fell into thoughts of depression and suicide as a result of my experience with Momentus. Another wonderful believer we know experienced such confusion as a result of Momentus that she nearly overdosed on medicine. Another Christian woman we know was driven into a psychotic state during the Momentus training that she took and had to be carried out to the mental ward of a local hospital. Others have been similarly hurt by the training. I personally know of at least two marriages that fell apart as a direct result of the training and of a third that nearly did. (Had we pursued and practiced what Momentus taught, I have no doubt our marriage also would have fallen apart.)

And churches nationwide have been ripped apart by the division that descends on an area in the wake of Momentus. (The same thing happened to the church where it originated; see the aforementioned Invasion of Other Gods.) Having to oppose the demonic doctrines being practiced locally -- doctrines originating in Momentus -- was another of the factors that finally brought us to leave the local CES-founded Living Word Fellowship church and its misnamed "iron sharpening iron" inclinations (actually iron bludgeoning iron, as the Scripture was twisted to justify the use of manipulation and carnal accusations against us). (This church, by the way, was founded primarily as a result of Momentus and, although no longer directly affiliated with CES, continues to promote Momentus at last report.)

Those, as I see it, are the real fruits of Momentus: division, deception, destruction, doctrines of demons. I've seen it happen here and I've heard horror stories from people I know and trust about it happening elsewhere, as well as read testimonies collected by counter-cult researchers that reflect similar experiences and conclusions, almost word for word in some cases, to mine. Dissent over its involvement with Momentus became so great that the leaders of CES finally had to issue a disclaimer in their newsletter stating that they'd no longer be promoting Momentus as a ministry, in an attempt to lessen the backlash against them from so many people who'd previously supported them but who'd been harmed or turned off by Momentus (as well as to stop losing those so deceived that they began to support Mashiyach Ministries instead). Yet, as they admitted, the leaders of CES are still promoting Momentus individually, and the disclaimer still included such blatantly false claims as the "momentous" exaggeration that only "5 percent" of those who took it didn't like it or had problems with it.

And then they had the nerve to lay the blame on those who took the training for their sufferings, claiming that participants choose to take Momentus out of our own "free will." But the truth is that we were robbed of our free will choice by the conspiracy of silence concerning the true nature of Momentus. What we chose to take--what was promoted to us so heavily and so admiringly -- was not what we received. Had we known the truth about what goes on in Momentus, we'd have been able to exercise our free will, instead of having it stolen from us -- and would have rejected Momentus as the ungodly New Age hell that we now know it to be. (Incidentally, although they claimed they'd no longer be promoting Momentus as a ministry, a subsequent CES newsletter contained almost an entire page promoting Momentus and its spinoffs, including a book on "Killing the Victim," which echoes another New Age theme promoted by Shirley McClain and others, that "there are no victims - you always choose what happens to you." And, of course, after you kill "the victim" inside you, so that you "know" that whatever happens to you is "your choice," you've opened yourself up to be victimized by anyone clever enough to do so -- and the devil can be quite clever enough if we let down our guard this way and fail to remain vigilant to guard against his wiles, as too many of us did in accepting Momentus for other than what it truly is. Furthermore, John Lynn, at least, continues to promote Momentus as a Christian experience to people across the country, as recent testimony on an Internet message board devoted to such topics revealed.)

Yes, we weren't vigilant enough then--we failed to see the ravening wolves under the cloak of the sheep we were told that Momentus was. But now I know it for what it is--and I refuse to stand by idly and let any more of my brothers and sisters be sucked into that harmful New Age quagmire if I can help it. I hope, therefore, to get word out about it to as many as will hear what Momentus truly is like after you get inside it--to counteract the propaganda that's all the prospective trainee hears from its supporters. Personally, I'd prefer to see no one ever again take that hellish training and to see it die quickly so that no one else is ever again harmed by it. But I realize that's probably not going to happen (unless the Lord intervenes directly). So, as the Lord guides me, I'll do what I can in helping get word out about what actually goes on in Momentus so that people get to hear both sides of the story (not just the "official line") and then can truly make a free will choice whether to take it or not. At least then, if people do decide to take it and go in prepared, perhaps they'll be more likely to seek the protection of the Lord while there and so avoid the worst of the effects of that awful training.

As for the claim by many of its supporters that Momentus is of the Lord, well, I hope I've presented enough information herein to demonstrate that not to be the case. In fact, I personally consider such a statement to be nothing short of blasphemy--our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would never operate in such as way as to use deceptive practices to entice people into taking something that can seriously hurt some of his people! Jesus Christ is the good shepherd, a perfect gentleman as one minster described him--not a shepherd who sometimes must "break the legs of the sheep" to get them to listen, as Momentus teaches. (I'd forgotten that one until another Momentus participant brought it to remembrance and shared a letter with us that he'd written on that subject, showing vividly how scripture fails to support this view in any way.) God, as the Word tells us, is no respecter of persons. Satan, on the other hand, is--just as Momentus is very much a respecter of those persons who decide to sell out to its teachings, and it trashes everyone else.

I believe I know who's really behind this evil being perpetrated on the Body of Christ, as I think any Christian would who really sees Momentus for what it really is. Momentus is not of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but is earthly, sensual and devilish -- a massive deception aimed at Christians by the father of deception. And I hope to do whatever I believe the Lord directs me through His Word to do to help stop the devil in this, his latest ploy to deceive the Body of Christ. I prayerfully hope that this testimony helps to do just that.

Addendum: Mashiyach Ministries continues to conduct Momentus trainings around the country and in other countries. One of the two local sponsors of the Momentus training that we took, along with his wife (a grad of that same training) later became Momentus trainers and exported Momentus to India to take advantage of the growing missionary work in that country. They offered several followup trainings to Momentus, including one called "Legacy" and another expressly for married couples by the name of "One Accord" (described by a local sponsor as just like Momentus but without so much yelling), along with a six-tape "self-government" series and a Momentus grad tape that they sold at the end of the training (when people were espcially emotionally vulnerable to their sales pitch). They offered other monthy teaching tapes for an annual subscription of $120--$10/tape, for what most ministries charge from $3 to $7 maximum per tape--again selling them at the end of the Momentus training, when most trainees were too emotionally worn down or exhuberant to exercise either discernment or judgment.

A recent e-mailing I received indicates that the Momentus training has been somewhat altered in scope recently. What was once a free single-evening recruitment session for Momentus, the "Discovery" seminar, has now apparently become a multiday initial training itself, with the Momentus training apparently following it (possibly in two different parts or forms). One former Momentus/One Accord trainer now offers a clone of the Momentus training of his own called "Out from Egypt," under the mantle of his Hidden Manna Ministries retreat in Texas. I believe that some of these changes in the names and formats of the Momentus training (and its clones) may be the result of negative information about Momentus finally being disseminated enough for people to take notice of its non-Christian nature and ill effects.

A recent guest on the 700 Club TV show apparently described her experiences when a Momentus grad tried to recruit her for the training as well as what she discovered of its cultic, non-Christian nature, which resulted in an e-mailing by Mashiyach Ministries to all its supporters asking them to flood CBN with complaints about the appearance (and describing a scheme to use a personal contact to get one of Mashiyach's leaders on the show to counter the orignial guest's "spurious" information).

The current issue of Al Dager's Media Spotlight newsletter (Fall 2000) contains a major article about Momentus (for information or a free copy of the issue, contact Mr. Dager at Media Spotlight, P.O. Box 290, Redmond, WA 98073). For additional information and testimonies, you can also contact Marian Bodine at Christian Research Institute (CRI), P.O. Box 7000, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688. The Christian Research Journal, CRI's quarterly magazine ran a short story in its News Watch feature a few years ago; I'm told it can be found on CRI's Web site at www.equip.org. And finally, Dr. John Juedes' Web site about the Way International contains several Momentus articles and testimonies (including a shorter version of this one) because so many people freed of that cult's clutches have fallen prey to Momentus through the influence of ex-Way splinter groups such as CES and Atlanta Bible Fellowship. The Web address for that page of Dr. Juedes' site is
http://www.empirenet.com/~messiah7/cultsthe.htm

It's also accessible at http://www.abouttheway.com -- just scroll down the page after clicking either link and click the Momentus button. All the Momentus testimonies and information are accessible now from the Momentus page.

A Web search for Momentus may also turn up additional information, though it's often changing and sometimes out of date.

You will, of course, find Momentus grads who'll swear by what Momentus did for them. And that's to be expected. As a recent issue of Cephas' newsletter stated about the Alpha Course, Momentus works because there is power behind it. That power, however, comes not from the God of the Bible or His holy son, the Lord Jesus Christ, but from a source that is wordly, sensual, and, at heart, devilish. My final prayer is that all those reading this testimony be warned of this spiritual deception plaguing the church today and that you warn others as well. God bless you!

--William A. Barton, Sept. 2000

News Update: As of late October, 2000, Mashiyach Ministries has changed its name to the "ASSOCIATION FOR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT" (ACCD), and Momentus training is now going by the name "BREAKTHROUGH" training (second in the "Momentus series" after the Discovery training, which was originally a free single-evening recruitment session for Momentus. Now it is a full-fledged, three-day training for up to 100 people). The Momentus Website is being revamped into the new ACCD Website (with the work being done by ex-Way International "trunk" leader Bo Reahard, an association that should further demonstrate the cultic nature of the Momentus trainings and teachings). Please don't be fooled by these name changes, as the same doctrines of demons are certainly being taught and promoted. (The 700 Club has done an expose' on Momentus) W.B.

For additional information click on http://ex-ces.faithweb.com and then click on the Discernment Page on the left side of the page for further updates on Momentus and the new ACCD.

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