Gwan Garrison, the next Mike Warnke?

April 19, 2007

I recently ran into the following two stories, both on the website of Baptist Press in Tennessee:

Gwan Garrison claims to be an ex-Satanist. Googling “Satanism Gwan Garrison,” I found the following earlier versions of the above two articles, on Christian Index, a Georgia Baptist site:

His bio seemed awfully fishy to me.

I also found some witty and thought-provoking commentary on About.com, on Witchvox, and on J-Walk Blog.

On About.com, in an article titled “Satanic Panic, or ‘I was a Satanic Witch (No, Really, I Could Fly and Everything!)’,” Jennifer Emick sums up Gwan Garrison’s story as follows:

Baptist Pastor Gwan Garrison talks about how much he enjoyed “persecuting Christians,” and he’s sure to mention (with the amount of accuracy typical in these stories) his “Satanic altar” and his “crystals.” It’s light fare compared to some of these stories- no bloody sacrifices, no marriages to Satan- but there is a glowering cat and a high-voltage Satanic bible- and there is, of course, that ever-present character, the tirelessly persistent evangelical whose refusal to stop pestering the ungodly results in his miraculous transformation.


On Witchvox, Richard Brownbear remarks in a comment:

The same old “I had the world in the palm of my hand with everything that I wanted, but then gave it all up FER JAYZUS” manufactured story.

Of course, on Witchvox, there are also a few of the usual attempts by Pagan Witches to claim exclusive possession of the word “witch” (claiming that all witches, not just Pagan Witches, are “not Satanists”). These folks repeat some of the usual Pagan misconceptions about Satanism (e.g. “only renegade christians worship the christian devil because only christians believe in him at all”). But, surprisingly, there were not too many of those in the comments on Witchvox.

On J-Walk Blog, in a post titled “Protecting Yourself From Satanic Spells,” Gwan Garrison is quoted as saying, “The power over Christians was less effective, while those without a strong commitment to Christ were more vulnerable.” In response to this, someone named Sheldon says in a comment:

My experience has been the opposite. The more a person believes in Jesus, the more they accept that Satan exists. The more they believe Satan exists, the greater the fear of black magic, and the less amount of time I have to wait in line at the grocery store.

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4 Responses to “Gwan Garrison, the next Mike Warnke?”

  1. independentsatanism Says:

    I read Mr. Garrison’s “salvation experience” in “The Devil Had my Heart….” article. I have a theory that this struggle and emotional experience a person goes through is due to not a struggle with spirits or gods, but with their own will.

    His description of his life as a “Satanist” seemed pretty shallow and spiteful to me. He “enjoyed persecuting Christians” and obsessed over one employee whom he considered would be a “trophy” if he could foil her efforts. Why would someone care whether someone was a Christian or not if they were a valuable, competent employee who can be an assets to the company and make him money? It said he would not give time off for Christians to go to church. So he felt unhappy employees were profitable? Seems like a self-defeating way to operate a business.
    The man was also on a down-hill slide with his family, his children living with relatives and his marriage on the brink of divorce. Salvation experiences and changes in religion often come at times of life-crises and stress.
    So he watches a religious play and “gets saved.” His life was crap and he spent his time hating and harming Christians at his own business. Anyone who was honest with themselves could see that this was not a positive lifestyle.
    So why hate Christians? Why neglect his family? Why be so materialistic? That is a workaholic who is empty spiritually and does not even know how to handle human relations.
    If was obvious that Mr. Garrison did not know what to do, so the closest solution was a religious change. He dubbed himself a sinner and that “Satan” was destroying him, instead of taking responsibility for his own bad choices and skewed view.
    One would hope that Mr. Garrison follows the Christian codebook and it has truly let him to improve his character and skills in human relations.

    MizzCrowley

  2. Diane Vera Says:

    Hi, MizzC! You wrote:

    His description of his life as a “Satanist” seemed pretty shallow and spiteful to me. He “enjoyed persecuting Christians” and obsessed over one employee whom he considered would be a “trophy” if he could foil her efforts. Why would someone care whether someone was a Christian or not if they were a valuable, competent employee who can be an assets to the company and make him money?

    It’s possible that he really was once as obsessed as he claims to have been with “persecuting Christians.” But I personally believe it’s more likely that his entire story is just a tall tale like Mike Warnke’s, and that the “persecution” angle is just there in order to appeal to Christian persecution paranoia.

    As you rightly point out, it is contrary to the principles of most of the better-known forms of Satanism to be so obsessed with “persecuting Christians.”

  3. BEN Says:

    HI CAN WE HAVE A PRIVATE CONVERSATION


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