LTRP Note: The following “notes” were written by an attendee at the recent Oprah Winfrey tour in San Jose, California, Oprah’s Life You Want Weekend Tour 2014. Along with a number of New Age speakers was emergent former pastor Rob Bell. While the following is lengthy, it is well written—and we have posted it because it is a perfect example of how a false New Age christ is being brought to millions of Americans through two of its most popular figures, Oprah to the secular, Rob Bell to the young with a Christian background. Warren B. Smith, a former New Ager, was contacted by this attendee, who in turn agreed to allow Lighthouse Trails to post this. In Smith’s book, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?, he describes how a false christ will deceive millions and millions into believing he is the Savior of the world through meditation. We are witnessing this happening today in both the world and shockingly, in the church (through the Spiritual Formation movement).
Written by an anonymous attendee:
Note: The quotes from the various speakers in this account are approximate, based on copious notes rather than precise transcription.
FRIDAY DAYTIME (O’ Town)
O’ Town was a pop-up town square. Inside, there was a gigantic “O” where participants could get a photo in the “O.” There was also a station for massages, make-overs, a kiosk selling Oprah’s books, various Oprah bags, t-shirts, etc., and the books of those “hand-picked spiritual trailblazers” (as Oprah called them) speaking at the conference. There also was an Oprah Show Photo Gallery with various celebrity photos of her guests over the 25-year run of the show. Notable photos included Oprah with President Barack and Michelle Obama, Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, Rhonda Byrne [the Secret], Dr. Mehmet Oz, and a host of Hollywood New Agers. Once inside “O Town,” attendees were given an “O Tour Wristband,” a special souvenir. They were told to wear it during the weekend. The wristband had internal lights that would later on be controlled remotely, once inside the arena. A Yoga Session also was held during the day.
Friday evening was Oprah’s 2-hour New Age testimony. As the intro to her grand entrance, the entire arena was darkened, and everyone’s wristbands lit up into various colors, controlled remotely. They used these wristbands for visual effects (thousands of people with blue lights on their wrists, green lights, red lights, etc.) Also, the wristbands blinked when they wanted people back in the arena. As Oprah entered, it looked like a re-creation of the so-called BIG BANG explosion, which evolutionists believe created the universe. The whole background and the whole arena, with the thousands of lighted wristbands, made it seem like everyone was in outer space. As she entered, it appeared to be an attempt to recreate the supposed creation of the universe by the “BIG BANG.”
Oprah started out the talk by quoting the poem “Invictus”:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Next, she held up the picture of her “meditation chair”: a white chair surrounded by a bunch of trees. She said she goes there often and enters into the silence. Then, she quoted Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
She then talked about how “it,” “the voice” had been giving her signs all along to guide her life . . .
She began by showing a cute photo of herself at age 5. She shared how she was born in Mississippi, born an illegitimate child. She attended an African-American Southern Baptist church where she memorized her pastor’s sermons and tried to re-preach them, complete with her pastor’s mannerisms, to her classmates. She joked that “that didn’t go over too well as you can imagine.” In her early childhood, she was raised by her Grandma Hattie Mae, who was a maid for a white family. Grandma Hattie’s only adult aspiration for Oprah was for her to find a decent family to work for as a maid. It was then that Oprah claimed, while sitting on her grandmother’s porch, she “heard the voice telling me that I wasn’t (going to be a maid) . . . it told me to not tell my grandmother that.”
Oprah then shared about her teenage pregnancy at age 14, and her baby boy that died. At that point, she had moved in with her birth father Vernon. She had contemplated suicide, but her father told her it was her “second chance.” She then talked about the importance of living each day to the max, and how to be grateful for everything.
It was at this point the arena darkened again, and the background slide was Newton’s Cradle (also known as an Executive Ball Clicker). This Newton’s cradle (or Executive Ball Clicker) consisted of 5 identically sized metal balls suspended in a metal frame, so that they were just touching each other at rest. Each ball was attached to the frame by two wires of equal length, angled away from each other.
With Newton’s Cradle on the background screen, Oprah started talking about Newton’s Law of Motion. She said: “I love Newton’s Third Law, which basically says that ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction.’ ” She then started the repeating/looping video clip, complete with sound effects, of Newton’s cradle. The looping video clip with sound effects kept showing the last ball on one end being lifted up by its string on one end and released, colliding with the other 4 stationary balls. The impact from the first ball was transmitted through the stationary balls to the last ball at the other end of Newton’s Cradle. For seemingly quite a long time (5 minutes perhaps) she kept looping that video clip with the loud “CLANG” every time there was a collision of balls. The time lapse between each sound of collision (“CLANG”) was around 5 seconds, so she was able to interject her talk and make points while the looping video was going on.
Of course, while the video clip is looping, she wasn’t really explaining anything. She kept talking throughout the looping video clip, but always paused when there was the loud noise of collision of balls. She went on to say “Every cause has an effect . . . every action a reaction . . . your actions/intentions have consequences . . . every action has a reaction . . . Every action creates another reaction, which then creates a new counter action. Actions and reactions . . . actions and reactions . . . This is karma . . .” The main point she made was how she LOVES Newton’s Third Law or Law of Motion. She repeated several times with the loud “CLANG” of the ball/sphere collisions: “Your intentions matter . . . your actions matter . . . action and reaction . . . action and reaction . . .”
The repetition of “CLANG” interspersed with her comments about karma was very mesmerizing, but in a very light weight kind of way, to warm people up to belief in karma by using very simple sounds and visualizations.
Following the Newton’s Cradle illustration, she went on to talk about how her new OWN television network’s purpose is to help others become spiritual. She basically preached a New Age sermon and even sang the refrain of the hymn “I surrender all” but she modified it. The actual song goes: “All to Jesus I surrender . . .. I surrender all, I surrender all, All to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.” But Oprah left out the “All to Jesus” and “blessed Savior” parts. She said the turning point in her life, when she transitioned from her Southern Baptist roots, was when she finally figured out what “surrender” meant. She said the moment that changed her was when she realized in church, she had been told surrender was bowing her knees (and she bowed her knees on stage), but she realized that surrender is standing up with arms stretched upwards, reaching upwards (and she did this on stage). She said that was surrender, not bowing the knee. That was pivotal for her. She said this was related to her shift in her spiritual life when she got the role of Sophia in Color Purple. She said she became Sophia, and it transformed her life. “The voice” had told her she was destined to get the role.
Oprah said she wanted to make sure everyone understood that they are co-creators with the universe. That everyone’s intentions have power. Their words have power. That they all have their own path and energy field, but they must not mess or interfere with anyone else’s energy field. “Don’t interfere with anyone else’s energy field,” she repeated. She ended the talk with the last line of Invictus again “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”
The Speakers on Saturday were: Deepak Chopra, Elizabeth Gilbert Eat, Love, Pray, Rob Bell, and Iyanla Vanzant. Oprah led 3 “workbook” exercises, which were basically New Age meditation exercises.
In addition to the scheduled talks, Oprah added her own commercials (so to speak) for what she wanted to promote.
So, amidst all the various disturbing meditation sessions and demonic talks, Oprah plugged her “SOUL SUNDAY’ on OWN network, which (not surprisingly) airs at 11am when people would normally be at church or watching a TV-based church service.
Also, starting Jan. 2015, Rob Bell will have his own program on Oprah’s OWN Network. And, Oprah hyped up her 6-week documentary miniseries called “BELIEF” which she said took 2 years to make as she traveled to 35 countries interviewing people of all different cultures and backgrounds.
She also plugged her New Age “Life” courses (which is attracting men as well as women).
She also promoted a stationary bicycle workout company called: SOULCYCLE 15, a holistic cycle workout chain. Women from SOULCYCLE led a 15-minute workout with thousands of people. It seemed like Satan was training up a New Age army. It hearkened back to when Hitler trained up thousands of youth to be part of his “pure-breed Aryan army.” There were thousands (mostly women) punching outwards to “get rid of their negative energy,” and then reaching upwards to “grab what they want,” and marching forward, yelling “I AM . . . I AM . . . I AM . . .” for 15 minutes.
Of course, they mixed in some other more normal moves like squats, etc. to make it seem more innocent.
SOULCYCLE15 has the motto:
SOULCYCLE. We aspire to inspire. Inhale intention, and exhale expectation. We commit to our climbs and find freedom in our sprints. We are a fitness community raising the roof of our own cardio purity. The rhythm pushes us harder than we ever thought possible. Our own strength surprises us every time. ADDICTED . . . OBSESSED . . . naturally attached to our bikes. High on our sweat and the hum of our gages . . . we reshape our entire bodies one ride at a time.
CHANGE YOUR BODY.
TAKE YOUR JOURNEY.
FIND YOUR SOUL.
SATURDAY (Oprah with Deepak Chopra)
Oprah introduced this session with: “The Bible says, ‘where two or three are gathered in my name . . .’ I can feel the force, the energy, the vibrations . . . thousands here . . .”
Oprah introduced Deepak by saying: “This is a big open-hearted day. One of your assignments is to DREAM BIGGER!”
When Oprah greeted Deepak Chopra on stage, she said “Namaste.” Deepak responded with a “Namaste.” “Namaste” is a Hindu term [which means “the god in me greets the god in you]. . .
Deepak began to explain his “7 Principles of Success”:
1) See the world as a reflection of your inner state.
2) Understand the essence of relationship (in other words, how you see someone else, is ultimately the way you see yourself)
3) Make sure your intentions are not only for yourself but also for the common good. (Here, Oprah interjected: “I prayed that God would use my show for the higher power.”)
4) Free yourself from emotional toxicity, hostility, resentment, jealousy, guilt, shame, fear. (It was at this point Deepak defined yoga as: “a yoking today or union,” and led us all in a yoga/’breath prayer’ session.) [LT Note: Breath prayers are taught in Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life.]
He never finished his 7 principles. He spontaneously started to lead the arena in breath prayers and meditation. The meditation session took a bit of time. Here is an approximation of what he said:
“Observe your breathing. Listen to your breath. Who am I? What do I want? Allow any images, sensations, feelings, or thoughts to come to you . . . What is my purpose? What am I grateful for? . . . Repeat to yourself: “I am (your full name) . . . So, I say: “I am Deepak Chopra.” Now just repeat your first name . . . ’I am Deepak’ . . . Now drop your first name and repeat: “I am.” “I am” “I am” “I am” . . . Mantra lets you go beyond the mind . . . Now go to the vibration of “I am.”.. Finally drop that . . . You have dropped all your assumed identities . . . Now rest in awareness . . . rest in this “being” . . . pure . . . Seed yourself with intentions . . . whisper into your awareness these words: “Joyful, energetic body” . . .feel your body . . . ”Loving, compassionate heart.” Bring your awareness into your heart . . .Bring awareness to your crown chakra which is on the top of your head . . . bring awareness to your third eye which is the space between your eyes . . . Introduce intention “Light of Being” . . . Introduce light of awareness, likeness of being, awareness of soul . . . we have seeded conscience with 4 intentions. Relax in your body and slowly open your eyes.”
With thousands of eyes now open, there was stillness in the arena. Deepak then said: “Start every morning and those intentions will organize your day for you spontaneously. The universe organizes itself around your intentions. With this, Oprah said goodbye to Deepak with (again): “Namaste” and he responded with “Namaste.”
Notable Deepak quote: “Religion is believing in someone else’s truth. Spirituality is believing in your own. If someone’s pointing at the moon, you should be looking at the moon, not worshipping the person’s finger.”
SATURDAY (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Love, Pray)
Her talk was primarily a New Age testimony of her life and how it relates to a 1949 book called The Hero’s Journey. A high level observation is that her New Age testimony is the opposite of Caryl Matrisciana’s. Caryl initially believed the New Age “gospel,” left India, heard the true biblical gospel, repented of her sins and came to believe in the true biblical Jesus Christ. In contrast, Elizabeth heard a “voice” in New York City, went to India, got deceived by the New Age “gospel” and started following a False Christ.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk in a nutshell is this:
Mid-30s, wealth, high-level corporate job, married for quite a while, yet realized she was deeply depressed. Long story short, she was on her bathroom floor, crying, had stopped eating, etc., when she heard a “voice from the universe” say to her “You have to completely change your life. You are on the wrong path.” Elizabeth’s prayer to the “voice” was “Show me how to change my life.” The “voice” answered, “Changing your life will be painful.” Then the “voice” said to her: “Transformation will be painful. Change is painful.” She then quoted Meister Eckhart (can’t remember quote). She then said that that moment changed the course of her life.
Because of that “moment,” she basically left her husband and successful career, house, etc., and spent 2 years travelling around the world. The first stop was India because the “voice” had led her out of a NYC Post Office that day to the street where she saw 5 Asian Elephants walking outside of Madison Square Garden.
Through her trip to India, etc. where she got inspired to write her autobiography “Eat, Love, Pray,” she fulfilled what she called her “Calling,” or “Quest.” That is where she dovetailed into explaining for the next hour about Joseph Campbell’s narrative “The Hero’s Journey.” She said this narrative, or “story” has deeply impacted her life.
She then gave a brief summary of what the “Hero’s Journey” is all about. She said there are some basic elements:
1) CALL TO THE ADVENTURE OR THE QUEST
This is where some circumstance, something outside the hero, a crisis, etc. shakes him from his normal life, so much so that he begins to face that there is something greater than himself that is calling him.
2) REFUSAL OF THE CALL
This happens because of fear.
3) CROSSING THE THRESHOLD
This is when the hero makes the commitment to leave the life he knew (familiar, comfortable, know) to pursue the quest, not knowing where it will lead.
4) TESTS, ALLIES, ENEMIES
The hero is here tested and sorts out his allegiances. Those who he thought were his friends turn out to be his enemies. Those he thought were his enemies, turn out to be his allies.
5) BELLY OF THE WHALE or DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL
This is where the hero must face his fears and uncover the power and talents he never knew he had.
6) THE GREAT BATTLE
This is where the hero conquers his fear, realizes his true calling, and returns transformed, intact with his powers and talents which were always within him, that are now realized.
Then, Elizabeth Gilbert went on to say: “Gilgamesh, King David, Buddha, Moses, Bilbo, this sounds familiar doesn’t it? The Hero’s Journey is their story. This story is also ours. It’s our story. Joseph Campbell said that Hero’s Journey is a story that all humans already know intuitively. He said it is the most important tale for humankind.”
Elizabeth Gilbert then went on to share that Joseph Campbell, when asked by someone, said that the hero can only be male. Females, in the story, could be the mother, the wife, the friend, but a female could never be the hero, because females (according to Campbell) are here on earth only to have babies, so in mythology, she has no emotional needs . . . the female can play a role in the Hero’s Journey, but she can never be the Hero.
Elizabeth Gilbert then says: “Joseph Campbell was limited in his thinking by the time period he lived in. Now, in 2014, women do not have to be limited in that way. We have power in 2014 to make choices, to be the hero, to find our own path and quest, to be the hero of our own journeys. She then quoted the Bagadavita (Hindu holy book) which says: “Living your own destiny is far better than living someone else’s.”
Elizabeth’s mini-New Age altar call consisted of: “The call will come for transcendence, for the quest. Will you be willing to leave everything to follow the call? The voice had said to me to ‘not stop until you find beauty/miracles in the world.’ We are co-creators with the universe. Co-creation. Co-creation. Miracles. Miracles happen at the intersection between our intentions and the universe. I realized I was now in collaboration with the universe, on the right path, on the quest. Fight for the freedom to choose to follow your call, the quest, to find your own path. I had to fight. I went through a horrible 2-year divorce battle. I lost most of what consisted of my former life (financially, relationship-wise, etc.). You must decide to become the hero of your own story and stop waiting for someone else to be the hero, to save you. Your own hero’s journey is in your hands. THE HERO IS YOU! Your divine life is in your own hands.
What have you come here to do today?
Be the hero of your own story.
SATURDAY (Rob Bell, author of various books, most notably the book endorsed by Oprah What We talk About When We Talk About God)
Oprah introduced Rob Bell with this: “Rob embodies my deepest belief: Everything is spiritual. We just have to become aware.”
Rob Bell started out his talk with a short bio. He is married to his wife Kristen, and has a 16-year old son, 14-year old son, and 5-year old daughter. He said: “The word for breath is basically the same as the word for spirit. In the Hebrew it is “ruach” and in the Greek it is “pneuma.” The word for breath is a physical manifestation of the spirit. You are a spiritual life. It’s not that you have a spiritual life. You are a spiritual life. He then asked if the audience was familiar with the Lord’s Prayer. He said, “It starts out with ‘Holy be Your Name.” This means to begin each day with life. The first word about you is that the universe, god, whatever language you want to use . . . the universe chose to give you life. The first word of your day is: You have received this gift of life from the universe.”
Rob went on to say: “Despair is a spiritual condition when you are stuck thinking that tomorrow will be the same as today. You need to pause, take a breath, and say to yourself, ‘It’s all a miracle. The life that you want begins by embracing the life you already have, which is already miraculous. All or your life matters . . . Live your life with that awareness all the time that life is sacred, precious . . . life matters . . . Could you grow in your awareness that everything matters? Brother Lawrence was someone who decided to do everything in life with love. The presence of the divine was so evident in his being that people came from all over the world just to peel potatoes with him . . . Have you heard of the story of Jacob’s ladder? He had a dream and he proclaimed afterwards: ‘Surely God was in this place and I was not aware of it.’ “
It was here that Rob interjected more of his life bio by talking about how he and his wife started his church. Rob said: “We started a church, and it grew, and it grew . . . it grew astronomically. But, the busier I got, the more it felt like I was strangely missing out.”
Rob went on with: “I crashed. Kristen and I learned how to be in the moment. This has a rich ancient tradition. The mundane can become electric when you have become so present in the moment. Have you heard of Moses? Some commentators say that it wasn’t that the bush started burning and Moses noticed it. No, the bush had been burning all along, all the time, but Moses finally became aware of it. Did Moses take off his sandals because the ground became holy in that moment in time? No, Moses took off his sandals because he finally became aware the ground had been holy all along. The universe chose to be generous to you.”
Rob then said: “Yes, I know you are thinking, which many people also asked me when I was a pastor: ‘OK Rob, the universe chose to be generous to me, life is a gift, all of life is a miracle, but what about suffering?’ Yes, suffering does raise questions about the universe, but grace, gift, generosity, and breath raise other amazing questions about the universe. These questions all lead to mystery. Suffering leads to mystery. Grace, gift, generosity, breath lead to mystery. Think about when you are reading an amazing mystery novel. When you get near the end, don’t you get sad that the mystery is going to be solved? Solving the mystery ruins everything.“
Rob then began to share a conversation he had with his church-going grandmother, in which they were going back and forth, and Rob said to her: “Be very suspicious of anyone who claims they can explain suffering with great certainty.”
Rob then went on to say: “Remember when you were younger, there were always rules. Don’t do that. Do that. You were taught that morality is binary. But we are spiritual . . .”
Rob went on to say: “When I was a pastor and asked people what ultimately shaped who they were today, most of them did not say that easy or happy moments in their life shaped them. They shared that it was the heart-wrenching moments in life that shaped or made them who they are today. The times that shaped them were the times of loss, heartache, struggle. It was these moments that brought them to realize how life is precious.”
“I am actually quite grateful. The divine is in all of your experiences, inviting you into your true self. We are the most transformed when we enter into the mystery. Our lives are mysterious . . . The joy comes most not from solving the mystery . . . Return to the first word about you: you have received the gift of life.”
Rob then raised his arms and said: “There is this thing called a ‘benediction’, which is where I pray over you. I’m going to do that now . . . .” (Note: Can’t remember what was in the benediction).
For sale at the conference was a special edition of Rob Bell’s book (published by HarperOne): “What We Talk About When We Talk About God.” On the front cover is Oprah’s orange sticker on the upper-right hand corner that says: “Thank you, Rob Bell, for creating this very special edition. Together, we awaken to the life we truly want. -Oprah.”
SATURDAY (Iyanla Vanzant, author of 16 books, including her most recent book: “Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone For Everything)
Some notable quotes:
1) Breathe in. Breath out. Breathing out is “hah” (the sound of breathing out). In ancient times, it was known as “patah.” Ancient people knew it as “RAH,” “BuddHA,” “JehoVAH.” Whenever the ancients said “hah” (breathe out) they were invoking the Divine Light. When the ancients recognized the “hah” (breathe out) in them, they celebrated by singing “HalleluJAH!”
2) “Life talks. We must learn to listen. She tries to help us. Life is a she, because she talks so much.” (laughter)
3) Life (she) wants you to have what you want to have. She is on your side.
4) The mind tricks us. We have to be willing to seek direction from within. Ask help from life (her).
5) “Be willing to stand in your own truth. The truth is within yourself. The life you want is within yourself. Here’s to life. Here’s to love. Here’s to YOU!”
MISCELLANOUS OBSERVATIONS ABOUT ENTIRE WEEKEND
Needless to say, the word “sin” was not mentioned once during the 2-day conference.
1 John 1:8,10 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us . . . If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
“The cross” was not mentioned once during the conference.
Occasional bible verses were quoted out of context.
The buzzwords of the weekend were: “the voice,” “it,” “life,” “whatever you call god,” “mantra,” “vibration,” “energy,” “the divine,” “the universe,” “co-creation,” “power,” “awareness,” “experience,” “standing in your own truth,” “crossing the threshold,” “surrender,” “meditation,” “entering the silence,” “I am,” “change,” “transformation,” etc.
At the end of the conference, Oprah gave what was effectively a New Age “Altar Call.” It did not seem to have the spiritual impact that the whole conference was being built up to have. She pleaded: “Surrender the life you want to that which is spirit. Surrender your vision to that which is spirit. Detach from your desire for it, and know it shall be done. If the dream is aligned with the truth in you, it shall be done. It shall be done. It shall be revealed to you. Step into the life you want now.”
After Oprah’s New Age “altar call” and dramatic conclusion (with head collapsing in exhaustion and the stage going dark), there was an eerie silence for a minute or so while the arena remained dimmed. Then abruptly, the lights and loud rock music came on. At that point, most of the thousands in the arena scrambled out of their seats and out the door. A few lingered and were journaling quite furiously (having embraced all the demonic lies being propagated all weekend). The majority appeared to be unsure of what happened. Some comments afterward included: “I don’t know what just happened” and “That Oprah, she’s something isn’t she?”
A few notable Oprah quotes/mantras during the weekend:
1) “I really appreciate Joel Osteen. I really connected with his ‘I AM Sermon.’ In that sermon he says: ‘Whatever follows the statement ‘I am . . . (confident, tired, happy, etc.) will follow you wherever you go.’”
2) “God doesn’t require our belief. He requires our experience.”
3) “We are here to turn up the VOLUME on your life. I’m here to help you embrace why you are here.”
4) “Find the thread that connects your life experiences.”
5) “You can find out who you are TODAY.”
6) “You can find your second chance in life.”
7) “Be grateful for every day.”
6) “You can find your own validation by serving others.”
7) “Everyone just wants to know that they matter. Everyone is looking for validation.”
8) “Everything that has happened TO you has happened FOR you.”
9) “IT” is always here waiting for your awareness.”
10) “When you inhale you ‘accept’. When you exhale you ‘Surrender’ ” (as she led in “breathing exercises”).
Related Information From Lighthouse Trails Research: