By Gregory Reid <email@example.com>
May 13, 2002
Many of you have never heard of the name Lauren Stratford. She was a war
hero of a bloody battle a decade ago, a soldier dedicated to saving victims
of satanic ritual abuse. No one suffered more. No one suffered braver. No
one suffered better.
early 1990's, our national network of law enforcement, probation, therapeutic
and pastoral workers were working 24/7 in the war against satanic crime and
the occult. We had burned a significant trail and saw no defeat in sight.
Then, a soldier fell. She was not hit by enemy fire. She was felled by our
own butchering, journalistic wolves in sheep's clothing - Cornerstone Magazine,
Jon Trott, Bob and Gretchen Passantino.
With one article, they fairly destroyed her ministry and her life. But not
completely. The test of a real Christian is how they react to evil, malicious,
ungodly attacks on their character, motives and faith.
In this, no Christian I have ever met stood the test better. Despite the
unbelievably evil attacks on her, she never stopped loving God, nor lost faith
in Jesus, nor stopped ministering to the hurting.
Lauren's book Satan's Underground was a major blow to the powers of
darkness. Her testimony of child abuse and satanic crime was an astonishing
message of the power of God's love to heal. It was a book she was reluctant
to write. It was destined to be read by pastors and survivors worldwide. Soon
she became a reluctant spokesperson for victims everywhere. But she used each
opportunity, interview and talk show to tell people about her beloved Savior.
I saw her appearance with Johanna Michaelsen on Oprah Winfrey, opposite Michael
Aquino, head of the Temple of Set satanic church. He was NOT happy. When
Lauren testified to Jesus saving her life, the look in his eyes was frightening.
Was this where it all began? For within a year, the devastating article from
Cornerstone was released. I was stunned - first, by its sarcastic, biting
tone - but more, of the totally contradictory portrait of Lauren I had gotten
from her book. They painted her as mentally disturbed - unstable - a manipulator
who destroyed people's lives.
I KNOW disturbed people - I've worked with them all my life. A disturbed
person could NOT have written that book!
So I called her. We talked for a long time. She was sane, loving and full
of the Spirit of God. How could the things they wrote be true?
I did not ask for her explanation of the discrepancies in her story the article
brought out. Frankly I thought the whole piece was nothing but "bait and switch"
- "Well, these people said this, (we can't tell you who they are) so voila!
she's a fraud!" Of course her family members claimed she lied. They
were the ones she said abused her. I've never heard an abuser say, "Oh
yes, of course we abused her." I wasn't buying it. I know firsthand how the
media - and media wannabes - twist the truth. More, I KNOW a fake survivor
story from a real one. I AM a survivor. Lauren was as real as you could be.
There is so much about what happened that people don't know. While the writers
of the article portrayed themselves as sympathetic, caring "truth lovers",
the reality was starkly different. They harassed Lauren. Their lackeys showed
up at her home church, "demanding to talk to her" or they wouldn't leave.
Pastors were pressured into taking a secret oath not to tell Lauren about
what they were going to do until after it was too late for her to defend herself
or even prepare. One of the Cornerstone people, in a phone conversation with
Lauren - while she wept and pleaded for them not to contact an ill and elderly
aunt - screamed, "Shut up and listen to me!"
Lauren's weakness was her trust and innocence about the capability of these
rabid, agendized individuals of shredding people without a pang of guilt.
She wept. She bled. She didn't understand. She watched in horror as conference
after conference she was booked for was canceled after "someone" mailed the
Cornerstone packet to the sponsors. She cringed as the article was posted
on hundreds of web sites - false memory syndrome sites - and most telling,
satanic web sites.
I walked with my dear sister through all of these passages. I watched in
awe as she reached out to my own hurting family to heal their wounds suffered
through satanic terrorism. And, I personally became the recipient of Lauren's
compassion, through the death of my mother, and then, through the consistent
phone calls during the illness, and passing, of my father.
A fraud? Don't even DARE tell me that. She was one of the most genuine Christians
I ever knew.
The measure of a believer is love. (I Corinthians 13) It is FRUIT that matters.
Any objective look at the tactics, terroristic methods, arrogance and heartless
pursuit of this little woman by the Passantinos et. al., speaks - no, SCREAMS
loudly as to who they are.
As to Lauren, the record is clear. She never wavered. She never recanted
one word of her testimony (when it would have benefited her to do so.) She
continued to love the wounded, continued to write and be published, and continued
to represent her Savior with dignity and truth with all she had left. And
she had little left. In the last few years, her health declined and she was
in constant pain from her debilitating ATIII blood disease. She had found
comfort and purpose in the L.A. Jewish community. She hid herself there, looking
for final answers to the mystery of her origins and her life. She wanted only
to be left alone. But, quickly, she was discovered by the Passantinos again
(did they ever stop watching her?) and they planned another devastating article
on her based on flimsy facts and disregard for her need to be alone.
Lauren called me in a tearful panic. A man had shown up at her post office
in the town where she had recently moved and had demanded from her postmaster
that he give him Lauren's home address. He showed "credentials" but it was
still against the law - so he angrily left. The postmaster alerted Lauren.
I suspected Lauren's spiritual stalkers were at it again. That's when I called
Bob Passantino and had a two hour blistering conversation with him. He feigned
ignorance; rather than lie and say they weren't doing a second article, he
just said, "Well, Greg, is there a reason we SHOULD do another article on
Lauren?" Two months later Gretchen Passantino called to gather information
about the article Bob seemed to deny they were writing. So much for "lovers
of truth." Now I understood firsthand how calculated, cruel and SCARY Lauren's
adversaries really were. I could not prevent the second article; all I could
do is make it VERY clear that if they even dared to get close to Lauren, I
would be right there to make them back off.
The article was the last straw for Lauren. She gave up. She got rid of all
her files. She began to delete her life in increments; not out of despair,
but because she was tired, and in pain, and just wanted to go home. Last summer,
Lauren told me she had six months to live. I was in shock - and denial. I
could not bear the thought of losing my precious sister, the one who called
me "Big brother", although I was sixteen years her junior. We e-mailed frequently;
called too infrequently. Then came a letter asking for friends to send a card
to her, so she could be comforted by the love of her friends in her final
hours. I sent a card and prayed it would comfort her fragile heart.
Her e-mails grew more infrequent. "Where's my big bro? I'm worried about
you." So like her; always worried about everyone else. The e-mails stopped.
My cousin talked to her; I had sent her the CD of my story; she had heard
it, and was proud and impressed at the effort. On April 10th Lauren's dear
"Sis" Johanna called me. "Dear brother, I have sad news. Lauren went home
to be with the Lord Monday." I wept silent, deep tears.
It was the end of an era. It was the end of so much. But it was a beginning,
too. For me, it was a rekindling of my calling. I had been Lauren's "big brother"
- her friend - her spiritual bodyguard for so long. Now I was relieved of
my commission and bereaved of my precious friend. Lauren's memorial was an
extraordinarily holy moment. I drove 800 miles to be part of it and share
my heart; it was a promise to her I would keep.
The chapel was filled with friends. Her dear "Pastor Scott" flew in to give
the message, a caring godly man who had stood by Lauren when nearly the entire
pastoral world abandoned her. The Michaelsens were there. Johanna had been
with Lauren when she died; Johanna, Lauren's dear "sis" who was perhaps closer
to Lauren than anyone in her life; her loss is profound. Lauren's niece Tristie
spoke about her Aunt, the only person in her family, she said, who had love.
This was the niece that had not met her Aunt Lauren until AFTER the Cornerstone
article; a niece who had been abused by Lauren's abusers; a niece who had
a court order to keep Lauren's family away from her son. The same relatives
Cornerstone painted as innocent victims of Lauren's "fabricated story." I
am thankful Lauren had one relative to come forward and say, "I believe you
because they did it to me too."
So many came forward to testify of Lauren's profound effect on their lives
- her compassion and love - her commitment to Jesus. She never really knew
in life how dearly she was loved. She does now. It is difficult to know
how to close this tribute to my dear friend. I have been reenergized by her
departure - renewed in the fight for abused children and victims of satanic
and sexual crimes. Renewed in my determination to bear witness to the truth,
and the power of Jesus' love to heal.
I will miss my precious sister deeply. I will miss calling her and hearing
her sweet, "Hi, Big Brother!" I'll miss our get-togethers at Marie Callendar's.
It will feel lonely going on without her. But I, and those who remain, must
continue this noble fight - to honor this fallen soldier, this pioneer - this
wonderful Gift given to us for such a brief moment. There was no one like
her. May her grain of wheat - her surrendered life on the altar of God - produce
a harvest of souls far beyond even the thousands she reached for Jesus in
Goodbye, sweet Lauren. Thank you for showing me the heart of a true servant.
Thank you for letting me serve YOU. We will finish this battle well, and we
will not forget the price you paid for it. Thank you - for giving to the Lord.
All information posted on this web site is
the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only.
It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor
can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer
of your choice for medical care and advice.