If there is one thing I have discovered throughout my life it is God’s grace and mercy to me. If you just look at the amount of times He was merciful in the Bible it will move you to new appreciation for Him. But here is my story of God’s grace…
I was born to a father who was a former alcoholic who owned a beer distributorship. But something happened to him a year before I was born. He found Jesus Christ. Under the conviction of the Holy Spirit he knew he had to sell the distribution business even though it had made him a millionaire. My mother was the first to come to salvation through Jesus and she had been the one to lead my father to Christ.
They found a church not far away from where we lived in the little town of Hopewell Virginia named Woodlawn Baptist Church. Some of my fondest memories are from there as a child. We had so many friends there who were such wonderful people.
I was one year old when I fell on my head. I was crawling up the stairs in my parents’ huge two story house. My mother called out to me, but it was too late. She saw me at the top of the stairs just as I crawled through the metal poles that made up the railing.
She called 911 and I was immediately taken to a hospital in Richmond Virginia which I fail to remember the name of at this time. My good friend Earnie Thomas came to pray for me as I recall. He was one of the elders at Woodlawn Babtist. I survived. The doctors said it was a miracle. I had suffered a sever fracture in my skull, and it stopped just before my temple. I think my mom knew at that point that God had a special plan for my life. I’ve heard from my mother that I was prophesied over by a woman at Woodlawn Baptist. She said that I was holding a light out to a large group of people and that many were coming to the Lord.
My early childhood memories are ones of fondness. I had a best friend when I was growing up, Jason Bailey. His father had died in a car accident, hit by a drunk driver when he was very young, less than a year old I believe. His mother married a wonderful man, Jay Hays, a fireman who I always looked up to and thought was one of the coolest guys in the world. Both of Jason’s parents went to Woodlawn Baptist with my parents. Both of our mothers were best friends as well.
My younger brother Adam came along three years after I was born. He and I would become best buds as the years went on. He was a rascally child. I remember one night we had gone out to the convenience store, I think we were back from church or something, and I saw Adam with a couple of pieces of candy. He was hiding underneath a chair in our bedroom that we shared. I pointed it out to my parents and they found out Adam had stolen the candy. He got in huge trouble.
Adam contracted pneumonia while we were living in the basement of the new house my parents were having built. We were in the middle of watching a movie when I stepped on Adam’s foot. He began crying and I can’t remember what I said. I went over to talk to my parents and a few minutes later Adam came over. I said “Oh what is it now?” He said “I can’t breathe.” My parents immediately called 911 and the paramedics were there within minutes. I can remember seeing a bunch of our neighborhood friends directing the ambulance down to the house as it was a little hidden from the main road.
Adam and I really enjoyed playing cowboys and Indians growing up, back then this was still politically correct. One of our favorite movies to watch was Davey Crockett, and old Disney movie that many from my generation are probably not familiar with. We watched a lot of old Disney movies but were not allowed to watch the cartoons for the most part, because many of them contained magic and sorcery. Interestingly enough, my first memory of a movie as a child was the scene from Fantasia where the sorcerer comes out to meet Mickey. I remember being quite frightened of him.
My parents read a book called Turmoil in the Toybox when I was a child which prevented me from watching many of the movies and playing with many of the toys other children played with. We were not even allowed to play Nintendo. I was a good boy, so when my neighborhood friends would ask me to play video games I would decline, or watch movies that were not approved by my parents. The Ninja Turtles were the biggest thing I remember wanting to play with when I was a child, but my parents would not have it. So I actually came up with my own four turtles. I was an artist and loved to draw.
One time I remember wanting to sell candy in the neighborhood but I didn’t have any to sell. Kyle and Laura were two friends of mine who lived down the street, and I got the bright idea to draw out some candy and sell them to Kyle for 5 cents. What a surprise when he got paper candy and he had thought he was getting quite a deal to buy candy for 5 cents.
As a child I always had a sense of the spiritual world, and what represented evil and what represented good. Kyle and Laura had ghosts and goblins on the outside of their house at Halloween. One year I decide to tell them that this was evil and they should remove them. I was about five at the time. Another thing I distinctly remember is a toy of the evil sorceress from sleeping beauty that Kyle and Laura had. Toys have a very special place in my life as I believe they do in the lives of many people.
About the time I was age five my parents decided that school was not the place for me and that I would be homeschooled. This was fine with me for about the first 14 years of my life. What prompted this was an event called the Basic Seminar, hosted by a man named Bill Gothard. Bill ran a cult known as the Institute in Basic Life Principles. There were many strange things that I will get into later on which were progpogated through this cult and had a huge impact on my life.
I went to what was called the Children’s Institute while my parents went to the Basic Seminar. This was the first time I ever remember having a stomach virus. I remember sitting on the curb outside the church where it was taking place and feeling like vomiting. I had fried catfish and coke that night. A bad combination to regurgitate. It would make me hate catfish for a long time after that.
For some reason in the earlier part of my life at about age 10 I remember feeling rejection really for the first time or sense of wanting another’s approval. My friend Jason Bailey was staying the night over at my parents’ house along with another friend of mine Greg Stamp. We were staying in my parents’ basement and I think Greg wanted Jason to stay at his house the next day instead of mine. I just remember thinking how rejected I would feel if Jason went to Greg’s. later on in my life, my family and I would go back to visit Jason and his family frequently.
I know I have talked some about the toys I was not allowed to play with, but there were ones that I was which I loved the most. Legos. I have a very analytical mind, and so legos being a close fit to engineering were a perfect fit for me.
One birthday when I was seven there was a series of legos called Ice planet 2002. There was a particular one I wanted. Well I didn’t get that one. My parents had a problem with me saying my own version of the F word a lot…fock. I would say it whenever I got angry and this time my dad decided it was time for a little disciplinary action. I said
“But dad, you can’t spank me for a word I don’t even know the meaning of.”
So my dad wnet on to explain to me the meaning of the F word. Probably not the wisest thing to tell a seven year old but then again I had to learn at some point.
It was almost my eleventh birthday. My parents had read a newsletter by the institute in Basic Life Principles, the Christian cult I mentioned earlier. They were looking for someone to be their kitchen leader at their facility in Oklahoma City. This cult has a number of different locations around the country and even some in other parts of the world. My dad had even visited one in Moscow Russia. I would end up visiting a number of these locations as a teenager.
My parents packed up the car and all four kids. It was January 1996. I was ready for Oklahoma City. It was an exciting new adventure. From what I heard it was where a lot of cowboys and Indians had lived. When we arrived there three days later, it was a little bit different than what I expected. I had expected it to look something like Arizona, but it didn’t look like that at all. It was just plain flat. And there was a lot of dust.
The facility that we were headed for was called the Oklahoma City Training Center, or OTC for short. I don’t remember what happened when we first got there but I sure remember how things went afterwards. There were definitely some good times. The Training Center was run by a man named Tim Levendusky at the time. He was a kind fellow with wire rimmed glasses in his mid-thirties. Tim was single and had all the time in the world for running a ten-story renovated Holiday Inn. I liked Tim immediately. He introduced my family to another of other families who regularly came down to volunteer at the Training Center. One of the families who would prove to be a huge influence on my life were the Williams. Terrel and Kathy Williams had two boys, Clinton and Vincent.
My family became such good friends with the Williams that they even came to our house that we owned out in Virginis to stay for a trip. We ended up going ot Washington DC together for two days. This was during the presidency of Bill Clinton, a person I would end up trying to emulate later in life because of his charisma. While were in DC, Clinton Williams was just learning how to drive. I remember one night we were driving through DC and Clinton almost hit a car. “Ahhh!,” Terel yelled in the back seat of the car. Clinton’s mother Kathy went crazy as well. I remember Clinton saying, “Mother!” It was one of the highlights of my year. We were visiting the Capitol when all of a sudden out walked out Al Gore and Newt Gingrich. They smiled and stopped to pose for the media. A trip to Washington D.C. doesn’t get much more exciting than that.
At the Training Center we were not allowed to watch TV or any movies really. But the Williams changed that. Another thing we were not allowed to do much was talk to girls. This was not a big issue for until I turned twelve. That was when I hit puberty. I had a crush on so many girls there at the Training Center it was unreal. But there are two specific girls that I really had a crush on, Lindsey Sholtess and Rebecca Jestes. Lindsey’s mother and my mother became good friends. They, the Williams, and my family all went to the same church, Harvest Hills Baptist.
It was about this time in my life that I also began to get into mild forms of pornography. I remember I saw my first cover of Playboy at this age and also began to look at Victoria Secrets magazines. I do not know if seeing the first cover of Playboy is what started as a fascination with blondes or not. But I remember when I was about 17 becoming somehow totally obsessed with blonde hair color. Now that I think about it though, I believe it began with the Left behind book series that I ended up reading. That I will discuss in more detail later on.
Because of my friends Clinton and Vincent Williams, I soon became a huge Star Wars fanatic. I also learned that the movies I grew up hearing about, E.T., Jaws, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park, were all movies made by the same man, Steven Spielberg. By age 12, Steven Spielberg was my idol. One thing that I was not aware of at this time was how I began to have a deep-seated desire for the approval of others. My family as well as the Williams and the Sholtess family began going to a church called Western hHills Baptist. This began a new Chapter in my life.
I had terrible achne. This began to contribute to very a low self-image. I had a very creative mind and I think I used it to escape from my low self-image. In retrospect, because I was homeschooled, I spent a lot of time before I moved to Oklahoma playing with Legos as kind of an escape. It wasn’t really an escape from the harsh world around me, as I would try to do later in life, but really just how I spent my spare time. Now I realize that a whole new world opened up to me when my family moved to the Training Center.
Because I wasn’t used to being around people, I loved the fact that I had people around all the time at the Training Center. It was only at age twelve that I started finding it harder to relate to people. I started gaining weight and my nose got bigger. Those were just some of the details I remember in addition to the acne. We had a dress code at the Training Center as well. Khaki pants with a button down light blue shirt. This was one of the cult elements. This did not become a factor for me until a couple of years later.
One of the biggest struggles I had was that there was no dating allowed in our homeschool cult. It became a bigger factor as I got older. This also developed into an unhealthy inability to relate to girls and women without seeing them as objects. Our cult did not believe that girls and boys could develop close friendships either without it going the wrong direction.
I discovered my dad’s old Panisonic camera and became fascinated with it. I started making my own lego movies and plannignt to eventually become the next Steven Spielberg. I still wasn’t allowed to watch a lot of the movies that my friends were. The interesting thing ws that I was allowed to listen to the music. I distinctly remember staying over at Clinton and Vincet Williams house while my parents went out of town one week and spending tons of time listening to the music of Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and Indianan Jones. In my head I would make up what the movies looked like. That was a lot of fun. It was kind of ruined when I actually watched the movies though.
One of my most fun experiences with the Panasonic camera though was when my family and I took a trip out to California. We stopped by the Grand Canyon on the way. I went right to the edge and would zoom in down on the beautiful rock formations. I was extremely afraid of heights at the time. Eventually I would end up going skydiving.
I tried lifiting weights and bodybuilding so as to impress the girls. One day I saw a video of Schwarzaneggar’s at Walmart called “Pumping Iron”. He became a huge icon of mine. I especially started lifting weights to impress the one girl I mentioned earlier, Rebecca Jestes. She was working at Western hills Baptist where I was going at the time so I would go to work projects there at the church just to be around her.
At one of the Basic Seminars hosted by Bill Gothard I really liked her so I started following her around because I didn’t know any better. She said “Stop following me around.” So I did. But this became part of some deep seated rejection that I started dealing with at a young age. This is not really Rebecca’s fault though. She was only a couple years older than me and had no idea how it would effect me.
It was round this time that my parents decided to move us out of the Trianing Center. My father had always loved the idea of living on acreage. He enjoyed horticulture from the time I was a very young child. The perfect place seemed like Mustang, OK. We found a house out there on twenty acres. At the time I was ready to move out of a renovated Holiday Inn and have a place to roam free.
Once we found a house, we got the Sholtesses to help us move. It was over a Thanksgiving when they come out to our house in Virginia to help us move. Bryan Sholtess and I were determined we were going to catch a raccoon. They liked the trees that surrounded our property and of course we had a bunch of cardboard boxes for moving. We got some leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner and put them in the microwave. Then we tied a rope to a stick that we put under the cardboard box and put a brick on the top of it. We set the microwaved food under the cardboard box then waited. Sure enough, a raccoon was down the tree and into the food within minutes.
We tried pulling the stick, but the raccoon managed to scramble out from under the box. We decided we would get some more food and wait by the box so we could hold it down on top of him. The raccoon came back down the tree and Bryan set the box on top of him. The raccoon busted out of the top and scratched Bryan’s arm. His mother, being a nurse, was morbidly afraid he would contract rabies. But he didn’t.
After my family started going to Western Hills, my friends began to change. There was Kyle Jestes, Rebecca’s older brother, and I thought he was the coolest guy around. Him and Luke Hodges. Luke was the older brother of Matt Hodges, my brother Adam’s best friend. Ultimately I felt rejected by both Luke and Kyle. They tried to be nice to me, but at the age I wa and what I was goin through I don’t think they could understand. So when I could no longer gain their acceptance I went after another group of peers. The Rebels.
The Rebels were termed such at Western Hills because they were a group of homeschoolers and most had families that were members of Bill Gothard’s cult, the Institute in Basic Life Principles. You were named a Rebel either at the Training Center or Western Hills if you did not conform to the strange rules they tried to enforce. Now, one of these rules, which I did not have problem with until I turned 14, was that you could not listen to any form of rock or contemporary music, including Christian. Because I felt rejected by Luke Hodges and Kyle Jestes who I looked up to, and they were the good kids at Western Hills, I decided to make friends with the Rebels in the church. There was a family of boys whose names were the Flatts. There was Rob, Dave, Marcus, and John.
Something about the attraction towards girls and the combination of an unknown world that my parents didn’t want me to be a part of triggered me being drawn towards this new crowd.
There was a trip that a bunch of us boys from Western Hills Baptist went on called Resource 1. It was kind of like a boys scouts trip, only it was meant to be an extension of something called Alert that was part of the himeshcool cult. Alert was for older guys in a place called North Woods in Michigan. Imagine West Point without any military equipment. Kyle Jestes and Luke Hodges had both attended this program and decided to put together this Resource 1 trip for the younger guys in our church.
On this trip was really when the transition took place from the “good” kids in church to my friendship with the “bad” kids. The Flatts were on the trip as well as a fellow named Dustin Bragg, who I had started forming a friendship with. The moment I decided that I was going to become a bad kid was when a girl came by on the camping trip with her boyfriend and Dustin Bragg whistled at her. At that moment I decided that it was going to be more fun to be one of the bad kids on my church.
There was a trip we went on to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which played a significant role in me wanting to rebel against what my parents had taught me. I was about fourteen and it was in the month of August or September. It was around that time that I really started noticing women who were in bikinis and flirting with some of the girls there. One girl in particular seemed to like me. It was also on that trip that I first watched the show Happy Days. I wanted to be just like the Fonz.
Another trip we went on had a great impact on me. My whole family went down to the Bahamas. I saw a lot of women wearing very little clothing and that caused me to want to rebel a lot as well. My brother Adam and I spent a lot of time flirting with girls we met down there, but we were too young to do anything with them at the time.
I remember one particular Sunday we had a church potluck and I went over to talk with Dave Flatt. By my dad’s admission, the Flatts were very charismatic, so Dave always had a group of people around him. I asked Dave what the local music stations were, and he said KJ 103 and Wild 97.9. I thought “This is awesome! Now I’ll be listening to what all the cool kids listen to.”
I went home and turned on the station KJ 103. At that time, the popular music playing was the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and Britney Spears. I was immediately hooked. I decided that I wanted to marry Britney Spears. It makes me laugh just to think about it. I’m pretty sure that every other guy my age at the time was thinking the same thing.
Internet pornography had just become widespread on the internet in the form of pictures. I was obsessed with some of the Victoria’s Secret supermodels and began to look them up. I was on the phone one day with my friend John Holly from Western Hills. I was telling him how I saw one of the supermodels on the internet without any clothes. My father overheard the conversation and made me call back John and apologize for encouraging him to go look at it. Reluctantly I did.
My brother ended up having to go to the hospital for an injury he incurred on his foot, so my parents left me with my little sister Hannah and my brother David for the weekend. I go them listening to the music I was listening to. When we went to the hospital to visit my brother a couple of days later my brother said to my dad when they were playing some music “Oh I wish that was Rock music.” So my parents put two and two together and found out what I wa up to. Basically, I told my parents that all of their stuff they believed about not dating was crazy and not being able to listen to music and I was going to do it anyway.
At the time, my dad had switched positions down at the Oklahoma Training Center and was no longer working in their kitchen. He was now working with a man named Tom Hill in a division they called Character First. We had moved out of the Training Center to Mustang Oklahoma, out in the middle of the country. My parents decided as I did not want to follow their rules anymore, I would go back to the Training Center to work with my father. I put up a little fight over this but was actually somewhat excited to get around a lot of people again.
Because how I felt was a little squelched by my parents I began to revert into somewhat of a fantasy world of my own making. I had a poor self-image as I mentioned earlier and that did not help. During this period of my life, I read a series of books called Left Behind. No doubt many of you reading this book have read this series yourself. Because of my poor self-image and desire for approval I began to be fascinated by the character who plays the antichrist in the series, Nicolae Carpathia. He is portrayed as the ultimate ladies’ man in the series in addition to being the most powerful and famous man in the world. I became so obsessed with him that I wanted to look like him and even have the same hair color. I even had delusions of changing my name, moving to Europe and becoming the Antichrist.
Being a teenager, I also had other ambitions. No longer did I want to be a movie director or producer, but I dreamed about the possibility of becoming a movie star. My desire for attention and approval made me pretty much eant to be anyone famous and popular. I also wanted to be one of the Backstreet Boys. I thought it would be awesome to be the biggest music superstar in the whole world.
During all of this, my dad had me working on various projects, always keeping an eye on me. I would put together different materials for the Character First organization. Occasionally I would go work down in the kitchen which I enjoyed.
I was recently watching some of the shows with the Duggar family who had a television show on TLC. They were also a part of this IBLP Bill Gothard cult. I read a few articles about them by some Christians. It is interesting to note that one of the things they talked about was the lack of preparing adults for the real world in this home school cult. The Duggar’s have kept their adult children at home (primarily the female children) to help them watch over their younger children. This is an unhealthy psychological condition known as co-dependency. I experienced this when my father made me work at the Training Center for him. There was no preparing me for the real world and the challenges I would have to face. As of now, I still continue to work for him for very little pay. Home schooling parents who are part of a cult often tend to develop this unhealthy bond with their children.
My friend Josh Hollman was having a baptism out at his house on this particular day. During the baptism I noticed a girl looking at me and smiling. At the baptism we had an after party. I got in line behind the girl who had been eyeing me during the baptism and struck up a conversation. I knew the girl from a few years earlier. Her name was Dallas, and I had always been attracted to her. I had met her a few years prior at a local state fair in El Reno, Oklahoma with Josh where they were part of a home school competition. Since we were both home schooled we had that in common. We went outside from Josh’s house, and I told her how I wanted to be a movie star like Matt Damon when I got older or one of the Backstreet Boys. She went inside and came back out with a piece of paper in her hand, smiling. I didn’t open it up until later when I was in Dad’s truck by myself while he went into a service station. She had written down her phone number. I smiled, beaming from ear to ear. This was the first phone number I had ever gotten from any girl. Teenagers didn’t have cell phones back then, and since I wasn’t allowed to date, I would sneak up into my room and call Dallas from my bedroom closet with the house phone. We had a conversation one night about what she was going to wear to a particular dance. After that night, I decided not to call her anymore. I felt like since I didn’t have a car there was no way of seeing her, and so it was unfair to her for me to try and pursue a relationship with her when it was futile. This inability to be able to have a relationship with a girl would soon result in me objectifying women in an unhealthy way rather than being able to form relationships.
Dad and I went on a trip to Bill Gothard’s Institute in basic Life Principles headquarters located in Oak Brook, Illinois. While there we staid in the same room that they had set aside for Corrie Ten Boom, which I thought was pretty cool. We had great pizza there, I can say that.
One day I told my dad that I wanted to become a music super star or a movie star or someone famous like that, some kind of celebrity. My dad said “Well son I just don’t think you have the charisma for something like that.” Well immediately my confidence was shattered. But I wanted to know more of what that meant. My dad said “Well son, that just means you have the ablilty to draw people to yourself. It’s come kind of special personality trait. Now, your younger brother Adam has it.” One thing we were taught by Bill Gothard in the Insitute in Basic Life Principles is that it’s never good to compare. Well I just saw first hand why that is the case.
So I became obsessed with the idea of charisma. What is it? How do I get it? How do I know when I have it? I started off by looking at a ot fo the major Hollywood stars, but he one person I had pointed out in particular to my dad who was a music sper star I wanted to be like was Michael Jackson. This was before all of the scandals came out about Michael’s private life.
In addition to wanting to look like the antichrist figure in the Left Behind series, I also became obsessed with looking like Brad Pitt. I would even wear clothespins on my nose trying to make it look smaller so I could have a nose more like Brad’s.
I immediately noticed after my dad’s statement about my charisma that the friends I had made began to drift away. The Flatt brothers did not want to hang out with me anymore and thought I was weird and John Holly, another fellow I had become friends with, began to stay away from me. We had classes for himeschoolers that I had become enrolled in at Western Hills. We also had a program that was an extension of Character First called Character First Education. In this program, teenagers would go to a school and teach positive character traits to the students of elementary schools. We did this through Western Hills Baptist and almost all of the people I have mentioned earlier were a part of this program when I was involved in it. This was a period of my life when I faced a lot of rejection. I also began to develop what is called social anxiety disorder.
One day I forget exactly what happened, but I got into it with one of the Flatt brothers, Marcus, and he spat a lougie into my drink from Taco Bell. Amazing I can remember those details. I was so afraid of what people would think that even though I was angry I did not punch him in the face. I held onto that for a long time.
I continued working with my dad at the Training Center and they shifted me from working in the graphic design department to shipping in the warehouse. This is where my friend Daniel Landeene’s father was in charge. I enjoyed working there for a while but soon found myself working alone and not around other people as much. I was not being socialized. And for a developing sixteen year old that was crucial to my development.
We went on a trip with our Character First group. Clinton Williams and Vincent were on that trip but at the time we were not really very close. I remember at this time being especially afraid to talk to others in the group but really wanting their approval and acceptance. These were some of the most difficult years of my life. Even though I was socialized I felt extremely isolated.
The ski trip was nearing and I was reluctantly preparing to go. I still wanted the approval so badly of Marcus, John Holly and Jacob Wells. I sat in the back of the van with them. I remember hardly feeling like I could say anything for fear of looking stupid. John started making fun of a fellow Curtis who was also an awkward homeschooler. I wanted to say something but refrained. We got into the mountains and it was snowing badly. Clinton Williams was driving the van that I was in and it began to slide backwards down the mountain. Mike Jestes was afraid that it would go over the edge of the mountain as it continued to slide. We all got out of the van and stood on the road for anumber of minutes. Eventually smaller vehicles came to pick us up and take us to the cabins where we were staying.
Since I had wanted to live in LA and go to Hollywood to become a movie star, my father decided to take me out to Hollywood for my 18th birthday. Our plan was to go to the 2003 Super Bowl where the Buccaneers were playing the Raiders in San Diego. When we got there, fans were lined up around the stadium for at least two miles. We couldn’t find a ticket for under $1,500, so we decided to just walk around. One thing that astounded me which I had never seen before were people holding signs that said “F Jesus.” I couldn’t understand this open hatred for Jesus. Dad and I ended up going back to the hotel where we watched the game. “I’m glad we didn’t pay $1500 for a ticket to get into this game,” Dad said. The Buccaneers ended up routing the Raiders 48-21.
Dad and I went to Universal Studios which I absolutely loved. We also visited the wax museum where all of the Hollywood stars were immortalized. I remember winking at myself in the mirror as we walked out, thinking that one day I would have my own statue in there.
A couple of months later my whole family went back out to Hollywood. We went to Universal Studios again. I especially liked the Jaws ride. During that one you went through the parting of the Red Sea that was used in The Ten Commandments. We were riding through the studio lot when who should ride by in his golf cart but my childhood idol Steven Spielberg. Everyone started shouting “Look! It’s Steven Spielberg!” I can’t think of anyone I’d have rather seen in Hollywood.
After graduating highschool, Iw as not sure what I was going to do. I didn’t event think about it really. I still lived in the fantasy of being someone famous like a rock star or a movie star. I had picked up guitar so I began to listen to a lot of harder rock music.
My father had quit working for Character First in the Oklahoma City training Center, so now he had his own office in Mustang Oklahoma. About age 17 he had put me to work doing his bookkeeping. Over time, the emotions of rejection and not being able to talk easily with other began to build up on me. I came into his office one day which was next to mine and broke down crying. I had virtually no friends besides my brothers and sister and it was beginning to show. I finally told my father that the statement he had made to me a couple years earlier had really damaged my self image. He bagan crying as well and told me that he was so sorry it ahd caused me this much pain. But he really did not know what else to do. He did not know wither that this would have huge ramifications years later. I started doing some research online while I was at work doing the company books. I found out that I had developed a psychological condition known as Social Anxiety Disorder. This is where you have so much anxiety around other people that you cannot even carry on a conversation. After becoming aware of this, I considered getting help from a psychologist, but didn’t know who to call on. So I just abandoned the idea.
The music I began to listen to became darker and darker. I started to listen to the rock band Nirvana whose lead singer had committed suicide in 1994. My favorite song of theirs was the last one he composed right before committing suicide. The lyrics and tone of the song was dark and depressing, and you could tell he was on the verge of taking his own life.
My brother David and my brother Adam had started playing basketball with Tim Flatt’s home school team. They had a tournament, and I attended for the whole week. Thes events had become associated with rejection to me as many times I had tried to connect and gain the acceptance of John Holly again as well as the Flatts and Zack Wells, the pastor of Western Hills’ son. This particular time there were a couple of blonde sisters playing in the tournament that I was attracted to. I sat next to one of them and became friends with her. The girl’s brother came up to me and said, “Dave Flatt wants to talk to you.” I went down to see what the deal was. Dave said, “Yeah that girl’s brother told me you’re really creeping her out. I don’t think she wants to talk to you dude. He said you should stop talking to her.” Of course, Dave said this out of jealousy. I was very hurt by this and didn’t know how to respond. This lead to me being very resentful of and hating Dave Flatt. I went out to my parents’ car and cried. I listened to the rock band Nirvana on the radio.
We moved from Mustang to Oklahoma city again on the north side of town. Finally there was a glimmer of hope in my social life. Adam and I along with our friend Matt Hodges were at a Oklahoma City Redhawks game. We always liked to run around and see if there were pretty girls to talk to. That was our real excuse for going. Both of our parents did not approve of dating and were a part of the same cult. On this particular occasion, I ran into a girl and her friend. One of them was a striking blonde who I thought, gave me her number. In the course of our conversation it came up where she worked which was at a pizza restaurant. When we got home later and I tried to call her I found out it was a wrong number. So naturally, being naïve as I was, I called her up at work to confront her about it. She just ended up hanging up on me and being creeped out.
Things began to open up. I reconnected with an old friend of mine from Western Hills Baptist named Danny magar. It was around this tiome that I started lookigna t the the option of going to college for filmmaking. I couldn’t decide between that or trying to become a rockstar but I was leaning more towards beinga ovie director again. Danny introduced me to ym first college party. We went to it out at Oklahoma Baptist University. This wasn’t the first timea I had drank alcolhol. There was a local dance club on the north side of thcity where my family had moved to where I had my first drink, club Mardi Gras.
Hanging around Danny, I started going to a lot of college parties and drinking on a very frequent basis. The alcohol became a from of social acceptance but was also a way fro me to escpe thee social anxiety I had felt as a teenager. I was still a virgin at the time and losing my virginity for social acceptance also became a huge issue for me. It also made me feel weird like something was wrong with me.
One night, Adam and I and our friend Matt Hodges decided to try something new. We dialed a dating hotline to see if we could hook up with some girls. Sure enough we got a couple of girls on the phone who were on the north side of Oklahoma City. We decided on a spot to meet up with them near a car wash. When we got there, we weren’t quite sure what we saw in the car, but we didn’t like it. The girls didn’t appear attractive to us at all. I was driving. As soon as we pulled up Matt said “Go! Go!” We jetted out of there as fast as the car would take us.
At one fo the parties I went to near the university of Central Oklahoma with Danny, I met a new friend of mine, Michael Newberg. He was quite an interesting fellow. Michael and I immediately meshed when we found out we both liked to play guitar. Mike as I called him, and another guy (who used to go to Western Hills) named Josh Johnston, had started up a band. I went over one night to play around a little bit with Josh and Mike. Mike asked me after we had played for a while if I wanted to join their band. I was not really high on this at the time as I had just decided that I wanted to go to school for filmmaking, but I couldn’t resist the possibility of becoming a rock star, so I conceded.
More parties followed. Mike lived near Norman Oklahoma, where the University of Oklahoma is located. There were always college parties to be found if you just took a little drive on campus on the weekends. Pretty soon, we were taking my younger brother Adam along and his friend Matt Hodges. They also had a friend named Tyler Payne who later got involved with the Blood and Crypts gangs. Unfortunately, he was shot and killed a few years later. I really enjoyed hanging out with him though.
We were all out one night at a party and decided to go to a frat house afterwards. Josh would get himself into trouble often times under the influence. When we left the frat house, Josh decided to run outside and tip over a huge potted plant that they had sitting outside. We all started running. We didn’t get 50 feet before a loud husky voice from behind us said “Hey, which one of you broke our pot?” I was scared to death. I had never been in a fight before and I could sense one was coming. The guy was a wrestler, and I wasn’t about to get into a tussle with this guy. He came up to me fisrt. I said, “It wasn’t me.” Next he went up to Josh. Josh tried to say it wasn’t him either, but the wrestler wasn’t buying it. Next thing I knew, Mike came flying out of the air like a crouched tiger. The wrestler was on the ground. Tyler Payne took off his shirt and started going to town on the guy. The wrestler was in for a pretty severe beating, but was saved by another guy who apparently knew Josh coming up to pull everyone off of him. I had just stood by watching the whole thing go down.
I continued hanging out with Josh and Mike for about a month. I was not happy with the position I was in as back up guitarist and singer in our band and the ego was rising. Plus, I was the only one of the three of us who had a car, so I had to drive everyone everywhere. On top of that I was always being made fun of for being a virgin. That drove me crazy.
Because we were in a rock band and we all came from conservative families, Mike, Josh and I kind of considered ourselves rebels. None of our parents liked rock music or wanted us listening to it. Mike’s dad was a Baptist pastor and had a video called Hells Bells about the dangers of rock music. It talked about the occultic associations and even ties to Satanism that much rock music has. The three of us watched the videos and became very intrigued.
After watching the video, Mike took Josh and I out to a nearby field. He drew out a pentagram in the middle of the dirt and had me lie down in the middle of it. Then he and Josh began to chant something. I was supposed to levitate off the ground. I remember being so scared as I looked up at the night sky that I would go up and never come down that I got up before anything could happen. I just wrote this off as a little game and nothing to really worry about.
I had had about enough one night when I came down woth a very severe cough. We were down at another house party and I was ready to go home. Being the only one with a car Mike didn’t want me to leave, but I decided to anyway. After recovering from my cough, I called Mike and told him I was out of the band. He was furious. I had borrowed a few of his CDs and he wanted them back. I told him I wasn’t bringing them so he threatened to come up there to my parents’ house and beat me up. “I will kill you Matt!” he said. I panicked and called the police. Ultimately I decided to go down and take the CDs to him. But first I called up Luke Hodges who was living in Norman Oklahoma at the time where Mike was at.
Luke agreed to meet up with me and take the CDs to Mike. I was crying on the phone and on the way down as I talked to Mike. Mike told me, “It’s ok Matt. We’ll talk about it when you get down here.” I ended up meeting Luke and he took the CDs to Mike. My mother was in the car with me, and I decided right then and there that I would rededicate my life to the Lord.
It was 2005. At age 20 I decided that what I was going to do was go back to college. The decision to quit my band had actually been made as a decision between taking the ACT college exam or auditioning for Warner Brother, Atlantic and Universal Records. That was part of what had made Mike so mad.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to study in college. I went for general education courses and enrolled at Oklahoma City Community College on the southside of Oklahoma City. I am actually quite surprised I did not choose psychology as a major, as I ended up becoming fascinated with it the next year.
In 2006 I decided that I would go into journalism. Over the summer, I had reconnected with an old friend of mine Daniel Landeene. He and I had been great friends back at the Oklahoma City Training Center when his family lived down there. But they moved back to Washington state where they were from back in 2001. Daniel and I became fascinated with human psychology, especially as it related between men and women and dating. I decided to go on a trip up to Washington and hang out with Daniel for about a week. We went to a few college parties and had a blast.
Right before I reconnected with my friend Daniel Landeene a very significant event had taken place in my life which was one of the things that caused me to become so interested in psychology. I had started going to a new church with my family and met an older fellow who I became friends with. I became an extremely vulnerable young man. Heritage Baptist was a friendly, small church where I felt right at home, maybe a little too much so. I became a member of the choir, which was headed by Howard Geis. The church’s pastor was Marty Brown, an incredible man of God whom I have come to admire greatly. Interestingly enough a few years later I would run into Marty’s daughter at night club in downtown Oklahoma City.
There was an older man in the choir who began giving me special attention. I really thought nothing of this at the time. Everyone seemed to like him and he had a lot of friends in Heritage Baptist. He invited me over to play pool. “Isn’t it a little weird to be going over to a seventy-year old man’s house for a twenty-two year old?” my mom asked me one day. I told her I didn’t think so. I started spending nights over there at his house. He assured me it wasn’t strange at all because there were other guys who had families and wives that he introduced me to. He said they had done the same thing. “Brian used to come over all the time and his brother,” he told me one time. Brian was the son of another couple who went to Heritage Baptist. We watched the Blue Lagoon together one night at his house, which is a racy movie that contains a lot of nudity. He was using this movie to try and arouse my sexual urges. Another night I staid over at his house and he came onto me sexually. He had talked me into sleeping in the same bed as him. I stopped him and left the house the next day. After I got home I suddenly began to realize what had been happening the past couple months. I was enraged. “You come near my family, my younger brothers or sisters, I’ll kill you,” I told him.
When I got back from the trip with my friend Daniel Landeene, I contacted my friend Mike Newberg and we started hanging out again. It was during the summer of 2007 that I decided I wanted to get into filmmaking again. I had read a book called Rebel without a Crew by director Robert Rodriguez who made the movie Once Upon a time in Mexico. He talked about how he had made a film on a shoestring budget, less than $15,000. I thought for sure I could make one as well.
Mike and I talked off and on about getting our old band back together, but I still felt strongly towards making movies. Every time I would think about trying to become a famous movie star or rock star it would always bring back that desire to be charismatic. It would stress me out to no end and bring back my social anxiety.
I began writing some stories and sharing some of them with Mike. He was also a writer and together we came up with a story called Hatchet Hill, about an Indian witch doctor who comes back from the dead. I had two fold reason for getting into this type of theme. One was that supposedly you could make a horror film for very cheap. The second was I became very interested in the occult.
Star Wars was the main reason that I had decided to become a filmmaker. I read in book called Turmoil in the Toybox which I mentioned earlier, that George Lucas the creator of Star Wars had been inspired by the occult. The Force supposedly had come from Lucas reading a series of books called Tales of Powers by Carlos Castenada, and Indian sorcerer from Mexico. I also came up with a horror fantasy story about a boy who is met by a demonic spirit who was named Lester. In the story the demon Lester begins to form a friendship with the boy who has started a rock band called the Wicked Licks. The young rock stars begin drawing their power from Lester to perform onstage. At the end of the movie Lester joins them onstage. Only the members of the rock band can see him. This story was somewhat inspired by E.T. I drew a picture of Lester which I later destroyed.
Ever since being in the rock band with Mike, I had slowly become more interested in the occult. I began to read books like the Prophecies by Nostradamus. These books contained astrological projections about the future. I also read the books by Carlos Castenada and other books by Mexican witch doctors. Another book I became fascinated with was the ancient book called De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum, in English translated “On the Mysteries of the Egyptians.” This was a book which had inspired Nostradamus. It was an occultic book filled with ancient witchcraft and summoning of demonic entities.
Mike and I went to one party where there was a girl that I started flirting with. I was still a virgin and it was plaguing me. This girl’s boyfriend was there. After she left, her boyfriend saw me outside his house. “Why were startin’ a bunch of drama?” he asked me. Earlier that night, I had called on Satan for power because I had thought that a fight would be ensuing with this particular fellow. Mike and I had a fellow named Ron who was with us at the party. Ron was an MMA fighter. Ron used to tease me about beinga virgin all the time, but on this particular occasion I was glad to have Ron along. The fellow I was about to get in a fight with shoved me, and I walked away with my tail tucked between my legs. After he went inside Ron said, “When are you gonna’ stand up for yourself man?” I decided I was not leaving this guy’s house, even if it meant a fight. Sure enough the guy came back out. When I refused to leave, the guy punched me right in the eye. I had glasses on, and immediately my right eye began to bleed. Before I knew what was happening, Ron was on the guy’s back and he was down on the pavement in front of the steps to his porch. I started pummeling the guy with my fists. Adrenaline was flowing nonstop. Ron let the fellow up and he decided to retreat into his house. My adrenaline is flowing right now just thinking about it.
After the fight, we all got in the car and headed over to IHOP. When we walked in the door, about nine police officer heads all turned around to see my bleeding right eye. I barely looked at them and walked straight to the bathroom. One of the police officers followed me in and asked what had happened. I made up this story about a guy at a party trying to take advantage of a girl when I stepped in. I told this same story to my parents the next day when they saw my black eye. They bought the story and so did the policeman.
I decided that I would enroll in a form of mixed martial arts called Brazilian jiu jitsu. I thought that if Ron the fighter had not been there I would’ve gotten pummeled. Ron’s making fun of me would ultimately cause me to decide that once again I wanted to rededicate my life to Christ. I had begun to wear a pentagram around my neck as a sign that I was a follower of Satan. Ron made fun of me for it and a girl who was a friend of Mike’s one night told me that it was creepy. That did it. I threw the pentagram in the trash can and decided against being an open follower of Satan. But I did not realize the door I had opened.
The next year of my life I continued going to college, but in the summer of 2008 I changed my major to film. I figured I didn’t really need to do Christian films, just be a Christian in the industry. My father had become involved with a multi level marketing company a few years prior, and I decided that I would become involved fulltime as well. We sold fruits and vegetable pills. Since the company promised financial freedom, I thought this would be my ticket to becoming a star filmmaker. I would build up my business in multi level marketing and then move out to Hollywood.
A good friend of mine, Nate Dillow, was also Highly interested in becoming a filmmaker. We started making a few videos together for the Character First organization and dreaming about the prospects of becoming independent filmmakers and eventually moving to Hollywood.
But as my multi level marketing business began to grow, I started seeing myself pulled into two different directions. I knew there was no way that I could maintain a fulltime business and become a film director. So I decided at the end of the summer semester in 2008 to give up being a director.
I had a mentor in my multi level marketing business (by the way it is called Juice Plus) named Joe Spears. We had an interesting conversation about the level of stress that I was feeling one night on the phone. I told him about the problem I had all these years with acceptance and wanting to be famous. I asked him what he thought about me being a movie director and if that were part of the problem of why I was feeling so stressed out. He said, “Matt, don’t do it to be famous. Do it because you enjoy it.” I knew right then and there that my reason for doing it was to be famous. So I decided to give it up.
I hadn’t been partying in a long time, but with my new found social skills from doing all of this selling in my Juice Plus business, I decided it was time to get out and start partying and chasing girls again. It was time to lose my virginity. That became my new obsession.
I moved out of my parents’ house in the fall of 2008. I started searching for an identity at this point. It came in many forms. I believe at this point I was actually demon possessed. I would occasionally read verses of the satanic bible and became obsessed with criminal identities. My favorite movies became Scarface, the Godfather, and Fight Club. Kathy Williams came to work for my father and I as our secretary. Sometimes we would clash over small things, but overall it was an enjoyable experience. Clinton Williams, her son, worked on our web page.
Once I started partying again I contacted my friend Mike Newberg. He and I as well as another friend of mine named Sean started partying at the bar now that we were of age down at the University of Oklahoma where we used to go to college parties. One of the first parties that I went to with Mike in 2008 was a rave that he and his friend were hosting. There was a girl there named Miranda that Mike and I ended up getting into a huge argument over. Our relationship was never the same after that. I held resentment against Mike for a very long time over that particular situation.
One day I decided that I wanted to cancel my martial arts training with Lovato’s. Thinking I was in the Mafia at this time, I took a baseball bat with me to visit my former instructor, Raphael Lovato. I wanted a refund for the past couple of months that I hadn’t been attending. I wore my black trench coat and thought, “If he doesn’t give me my refund back, I’m going to bash him in the head with this metal bat.” Fortunately he gave me the refund and no violence ensued.
Preston Rhodes was now my roommate. A few years later, Preston would be incarcerated and sent to prison for trying to kill his girlfriend by poisoning her. I believe it is very likely Preston was influenced by demonic spirits I had called into the house. We had another roommate, Brandon, who moved in shortly after I did. I liked Brandon at first. “He has some problems with alcohol,” Preston warned me, “But he seems to be doing better, so I’m going to let him live here.” After Brandon moved in I would regularly find my Coors beer missing and catch him drinking it. He stopped paying Preston rent not long after he moved in. I became increasingly agitated with him. One particular day I was filled with rage and decided to start a fight with Brandon. I walked by the door to his room. “Hey Brandon,” I said, and flipped him off. “Come back here you p-ssy!” he screamed, “You f-ing p-ssy!” I ran into his room and began swinging. Brandon fell back on the bed and started kicking. I couldn’t get past his legs to punch him. I walked off back into my bedroom. Brandon’s clothes were out on the front lawn soon after that.
I worked for my father part time and also did my Juice Plus business. In 2009 my father decided that he wanted to try a new venture. He would make a Christian animated video called Character Tales. I was not much on writing at the time so I contacted an old friend of mine named Chase Layman who I had met at a Blockbusters a few years prior. Both of us shared similar interests in filmmaking so I thought that I would talk to him about writing the script for the video.
This period of my life became like hell on earth. I was watching pornography nearly everyday. This was during the time when pornographic content began to explode on the internet. My every waking thought was on losing my virginity. I didn’t care at what cost this would take place.
I had decided that it was time to do something. Something drastic. For a long time I had been acting like I was in the Mafia, but I had not taken that big step into becoming real life mobster…murder. For years now I had watched movies like the Godfather, Collateral, and Scarface, wishing to be like the characters they portrayed. I especially liked Tom Cruise’s portrayal of a Middle-Aged hitman who goes around on killing spree one night in LA being driven around by taxi driver Jamie Fox. I even listened to the theme song from the Godfather quite often as I thought it represented my life. This also had to do with my listening to movie soundtrakcs as a teenager. The one thing I had always believed is that dangerous men were successful with women. I had tried everything. I thought being an incredible salesman would give me the ability to get a girlfriend. Here I was at age 24 and still a virgin. I reached the point in my life where I didn’t care if I was dead. If I got shot in the process of trying to act out a hit on someone, then so be it. I had always wanted to die from a gunshot or nuclear blast anyway. I figured one day they’d find my body inside a trash can, and I couldn’t have given a crap less.
I went to the local gun shop and checked out the handguns. I remember the clerk being somewhat uneasy as I tried out different guns, holding them and seeing which one would fit my grip the best. The more I considered it the more I thought I should try to get one illegally so it could not be traced.
I convinced myself and justified murder under the guise of killing only rival criminals, drug dealers and the like. And I knew just the man to go to. Xavier. I met Xavier at the local gym I worked out at, All-American Fitness. I had tried to convince Xavier to take my Juice Plus that I was selling. Through the course of our conversation I learned that Xavier was a cocaine dealer. I invited him out to the bar with me and my friend Michael Newberg on a couple of occasions. One day I was at my parents’ house visiting when I decided to give him a call. “Hey Xavier, I need to discuss something serious with you in person,” I said, “It’s a business proposition. How bout’ we meet over at Baker Street?” I gave him the date and he agreed to meet. I went up to Baker Street that night expecting to meet him there. I waited drinking a Budweiser, but Xavier never showed up. Instead I ran into an old friend of mine from Western Hills, Juan Manzo. Juan and I talked for a while and he bought me a beer. I found out he was now going to the same church as me, Quail Springs Baptist.
It wasn’t long afterwards that I ran into Xavier at the All-American Fitness off of NW Expressway in Oklahoma City. I approached him and said, “Alright man, here’s my proposition…I wanna’ become a hitman for you.” Xavier looked scared out of his wits. He said, “That’s some serious sh-t man. I don’t mess with that sh-t man, but I can get you into contact with people who do.” I thought for a moment and said, “Well, I was just going to do it for you since I know you.” I have no doubt had he said yes, I would be dead or in prison right now.
As I was continuing my Juice Plus business, I also kept on helping my father with his children’s video project. But at some point I realized that I could not continue pursuing both. I was noticing that working on this video with him was pulling me away from trying to build my multi level marketing business, and somehow I was not independent and free like I wanted to be. I also attributed this to me still being a virgin which was driving me crazy.
Finally I hit the end of my rope when my brother (who was also working for my dad at the time) and I got into a fight over his ex-girlfriend. I remember punching my brother, him jumping on me, Bruce from next door coming to stop the fight, and then me leaving the office.
I was determined that I would never turn back and quit working for my dad altogether. All those years of having been forced to work for him and not being independent had built up and I exploded. I had taken a break from doing martial arts but I decided that I wanted to be a cage fighter. I thought that would help me get girls and lose my virginity. I continued to do my Juice Plus business and thought I could work it up to a full time living. I ran nearly every day for three miles at the local lake, Lake Hefner. I would occasionally stop into Louie’s restaurant and get water after my run. One day I ran into an old acquaintance of mine, John Holly. He seemed somehow different now. Not the cocky guy I used to know in high school at Western Hills church. I tried selling him on Juice plus which never amounted to anything. I continued to get discouraged in pursuing multi level marketing as my numbers just plummeted.
During much of this period of my life I would routinely read verses from the Satanic Bible online. I watched a documentary on YouTube about Aleister Crowley, the founder of modern day Satanism. A verse from the Satanic Bible that says “Do what thou wilt” became my life motto.
A very distinct situation happened to me after getting in a fight with one of my friends down at the University of Oklahoma. I’d been drinking a lot and said something to my friend Sean’s girlfriend. He came over and tried to punch me. I blocked it and fell backwards in my chair. I hit my head against the corner of a wall and blood came gushing out. My friend Mike wrapped a towel around my head and I walked out to my car. I was so upset and angry. So many emotions were going through my head. I sat in my car. Suddenly a voice that sounded demonic started coming out of me. I got out of my car and slammed my fist on the top of it.
I ran back into Mike’s apartment and punched my friend Sean in the face. I hugged him afterwards and then left again. As I was driving back up I-35 from Norman Oklahoma it was like a voice in my head said that I should brush the right side of my car against the concrete side rail of the highway. So I did. Then the voice said to do the same to the left side of my car so I did. I already had one tire blown out. Then the voice said to try and vault my car over an upcoming bridge. That was where I drew the line.
No matter how hard I tried I could not go fulltime with my multi level marketing business. Despondently, a month after I quit working for my father I called him up and said I needed to come back and work for him. I read all the self-help books and books on selling in the world, but they still didn’t work.
In the fall of 2009 I decided to give a shot at going fulltime with my dad’s Christian video business idea. We started doing the voices for it as the story was already written. I would play a character named Buffalo Billy, an outlaw in the wild west. He and another character, a rooster named Sheriff Hitchcock, would be the two main characters of the story. My friend Chase Layman had basically obtained full creative rights to the story when I left my dad’s company. When I came back in I basically let him run things the way he wanted for a while.
My brother Adam moved into Preston’s place after having a feud with my parents which got him kicked out. Tension had been building between Adam and my parents for a while. A year prior he had been incarcerated for seven days and charged with a felony for distribution of marijuana. I knew where Adam kept his stash hidden in my parents’ house, so I found it and we flushed an entire gallon bag of marijuana down the toilet in case the police showed up to investigate.
I was running around Lake Hefner one day when I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke down and cried. I had been rejected by so many girls, and being a virgin was killing me. I had experienced another rejection that day. I was on the other side of a little cove at the lake, on the other side from Hefner Parkway. I sat on a rock and cried. I said,
“God please…please just one!”
When the spring of 2010 rolled around we had to get started on production of the video. My hopes were high as well as my dad’s. We thought we were on the way to making millions. At this point in my life my heart was far from Christ. The next step in production of the video now that we had done the voices was to do drawings which the computer animators would follow. Originally my friend Chase was going to do these but I wanted to do them because I decided I needed more control over the production.
At this point I had become very frustrated with the fact that I was still a virgin. I had never gone through with becoming a cage fighter, but this time I did it as I thought it was my only hope of attracting girls. My testosterone was at an all time high. I thought to myself “I will find out when the next local cage fighting match is and try to get in the cage with one of the other fighters.” I drove for about two hours north after finding out where the next local fight night was to be held. I went into the tent where the fights were. “Who’s in charge here?” I asked someone. They directed me to the man in charge. I said, “I want to fight.” He told me, “That wouldn’t be fair to you or the crowd. Without proper training you won’t stand a chance. The fight will be over in seconds. I tell you what,” he said, “come down to the training place Monday and we’ll get you started.” I started practicing with a bunch of cage fighters and somewhere between the stress of doing these drawings for hours on end and cage fighting it was all about to come to a head. I remember going down one day and being like “I AM getting in a fight today.” I got down and challenged my instructor to a match which he was not at all pleased with.
I found out that my friend Chase had hired out some Bosnian animators to do the production of our video. I was out of town on a trip to visit my friend Daniel Landeene who was getting married. Over the course of the trip my dad and I decided that we did not want my friend Chase any longer involved in the production of our video. I decided to get Chase out of the production and sent him a threatening message, still thinking I was in the Mafia. My friend Daniel said that when I began talking directly to the fellows in Bosnia, he and his girlfriend began to feel a very heavy spiritual presence as I was staying with them. It was so bad that they literally had to ask me to find a hotel. It was like I was demon possessed.
During the trip, I got a call from one of my friends at Quail Springs Baptist where I was going to church. “Matt, Lee’s in the hospital. He’s been stabbed multiple times. It’s bad Matt.” Lee was a friend of mine that I’d met at All American Fitness. I had introduced him to Juice Plus and invited him to Quail Springs. I knew for a long time that Lee’s safety was in jeopardy due to some conversations we had. Lee had started attending church with me some time ago. He would come to the Wednesday night service as well and made many friends at Quail. As soon as I got back I went to visit him. Dale Silvernail who had given me the call filled me in on what had happened. Apparently, drugs or alcohol was involved. Lee had been trying to get away and had tried to defend himself with a golf club. But the assailant, his roommate had overpowered him as Lee was extremely weak. I was infuriated. I had Lee’s address, and I thought I would go down and pay a violent visit to his roommate. I got in my car late one night and headed down to Lee’s apartment. I came to the door. And I was surprised what I found. Scripture and other things about the Lord were all around the front door. I’m sure the demons in me wanted me to violently confront the assailant, but I felt as if the presence of God were there and I could not carry out my plan. I left. Soon afterwards, Lee died.
For a long time now I had been looking for a prostitute to take away my virginity. I had been unsuccessful in finding one. After I came back from my trip to visit my friend Daniel, my brother’s girlfriend informed me she could get me the number of a prostitute. She said that fellow who worked up where my brother and her were servers had it.
I called her one day on my way to the office and asked if she had the number. She said that she could not get the number from the guy because the prostitute had been found out. I didn’t believe her, so I raced up to the restaurant where they were working determined to get the number. A few minutes later I was in the lobby of the restaurant screaming. “Where is he?” I said to my brother Adam. My brother said “Matt, if you don’t leave now I will call the police.” I knew this was a no win situation. I could not deal with the reality that I was still a virgin at age 25 and began smoking marijuana at least a couple times a week.
I continued working with the Bosnians on my dad’s video project and decided to go on a trip out there to visit them. I was packed and ready. I was trying to figure out how in the world I could smuggle some marijuana on the plane ride to Bosnia with me as I didn’t want to go a week without smoking. I got on the Skype with Mirko and Mladen and tried to figure out if they could get me some while I was there. “Oh you don’t need that sh*t,” Mirko said, “you just need some good Bosnian beer.” I even went so far as to get a wig to see if I could hide a small bag of marijuana under it. My brother had successfully smuggled some onboard the plane during our trip to Long Beach, so I figured I could too. I thought to myself “This is the perfect opportunity to lose my virginity while I’m out of the country.” I told my father “I need three hundred dollars in euros.” “Why?” he asked me. “Because, “ I said, “I might need it for something in case the credit card doesn’t work.” I figured I could probably just proposition a woman on the street and pay her three hundred Euros to have sex with me.
I got into New York City around one or two in the morning. Immediately I was swarmed by taxi drivers after getting off the plane. One fellow in particular came up to me. “Need a ride?” he asked. I was so tired, and even though I knew dad had already prepaid for a taxi I said “Yes.” Something seemed awfully shady about this guy. He was dressed like he worked for the Mafia. I followed him out to the taxi cab. He put my bags in the trunk. ‘Wait here,” he said, “I need to go find a couple more people.” I kept waiting and waiting. Finally twenty or so minutes went by and I had lost my patience and started to get suspicious. I looked for the button to pop the trunk as I waited in the passenger’s seat. I finally found it. I was pulling my bags out of the trunk and the guy suddenly popped back up. “What are you doing man? Come on, let’s go,” he said. I was not about to be pushed around. I said “Get my bags outta’ the trunk.” He kept insisting. “You don’t wanna’ p*ss me off bro!” I said. It took me about an hour but I finally was able to get a hold of the taxi Dad had reserved.
I awoke the next morning and landed in London soon afterwards. I have never had so much fun travelling as I did to and from Bosnia. My next stop was Budapest, Hungary. I was surprised to see that almost every house had the same orange roof. It was quite a sight flying in on the plane. In my room, they actually had a magazine with a number you could call for a prostitute. It was quite a culture shock compared to what I was used to in America. I looked out over the beautiful city some 200 feet up on my metal balcony while I smoked. This was a grand adventure into a strange new world. When I landed in Croatia after a night in Budapest, Hungary, I was waiting on a bus to go to the airport, when a police officer walked by with a dog. I was thinking to myself, “Well, I probably could’ve made it this far with the marijuana, but it probably would’ve ended here.” I was met by Mirko Jankovic, the Bosnian animator we had been working with. “Mirko!” I said. I hugged him and we went out to the car. There Mladen Djukic was waiting for me, the man in charge of the Bosnian animation studios. We were headed for the border to cross into Bosnia. I thought for sure there would be tanks and antiaircraft. Dead wrong. Two police officers was it. As we drove I took in the Bosnian countryside, knowing that a war had erupted here about twenty years earlier and ended about ten years ago. I saw some of the houses and buildings still shell shocked from the war. On the way we decided to stop by a pizza place, some of the best I’ve ever had. I decided to pay for my share of the pizza with the credit card Dad had given me. Mladen did not like this too much and said it was insulting. “We will take care of everything for you,” he said. The hotel, Hotel Bosna, was one of the nicest I’d ever seen. It was basically a five star hotel. I was immediately struck by the beautiful women in Bosnia, and I eagerly anticipated going out to the clubs that night. Mladen and Mirko took me over to the animation studio which I was enthralled with. We did a Skype with Dad and Adam. It was pretty surreal seeing them from the other side of the globe. We spent the rest of the day there then went out for drinks that night after dinner. Mladen’s girlfriend was there along with some of her other girlfriends. Mirko didn’t want to go out, so Mladen, the girls and I went out to the local clubs. The first club we went to, I met a girl named Dragana. We danced for a while and she gave me her phone number. While we were there I went off by myself for a little while. We were out on a deck that overlooked a pond. The moon was shining down and I looked up to the sky. I imagined the front cover of the book Nicolae from the Left Behind series, where Nicolae is looking up at the moon. I dreamed once again of being the Antichrist. The first thing that struck me when we rode into Bosnia was the fact that the commercial industry had not been established yet. There was not a McDonald’s in sight. Yet there were all of these consumers with good incomes. I thought I could move to Bosnia, invest money there and begin a capital empire. Then I would become a politician and soon begin my conquest of becoming the world leader I dreamed of.
We continued on to another night club in Banja Luka. I went around talking to different girls until I met a girl named Sanja. She had blonde hair and was very pretty, a few years older than me I found out. We danced for a while and I got her phone number as well. The next day was a Bosnian holiday, so Mirko, Mladen, his girlfriend and a bunch of other guys who worked at the animation studio went to a place in the Bosnian countryside outside of Banja Luka. It was a great time. Great food, great company, great conversation. I took a nap for a little while in the cottage there. It had no air conditioning, but it didn’t matter because I was tired as all get out. I texted with Sanja a little bit and we agreed to meet up the night after next to go clubbing again. The next day, Mirko took me to a fort that had been built by the Turks to ward off the Roman invasion. It was really cool to see so much history all in one city.
Mladen’s girlfriend, I and her other girlfriends, went out again on the town. She dropped me off where Sanja said she was partying. I rode in the car with Sanja over to the night club where we had met the night before. We danced for a while and kissed. The next day I texted Sanja. She told me she had a boyfriend. I got very emotional. I said, “What?! Why wouldn’t you tell me that before? You know I have feelings for you.” She told me she had a good thing going and didn’t want to mess it up. I remember going for my daily run around Banja Luka. I was listening to a song called Somebody Save Me by a band named Cinderella. I was throwing my hands up in the air in agony. Later Dejan, one of the animators at the studio told me he saw me while he was driving in downtown and I looked very upset. After my run I decided to try and put that 300 Euros to use. I found the prettiest Bosnian girl I could find and tried to proposition her. But to no avail. The next day I went skydiving which was a bit of an escape from what had transpired the day before. I went up in an airplane that had no door on it and looked like it had been used in the Bosnian War. Mladen had me sign an agreement that my family wouldn’t hold anyone legally responsible if something happened to me. He also said, “You have to make sure you jump out correctly. Otherwise you will tumble in the ropes and die.” I was ready. We flew up about 10,000 feet. It took around twenty minutes. My heart was pounding the whole way. I still felt high from the marijuana I’d smoked a few days before. They had told me I’d have to step out on the wing 10,000 feet in the air and jump backwards. We got to 10,000 feet and we just jumped straight out. The free fall for forty-five seconds was like your brain just taking a vacation. The air rushed through my nostrils not unlike water when you jump from high up. Then the chute opened and we were suspended. I was singing Armageddon It by Def Leppard and throwing the peace sign in the air with both hands. Being suspended in the air for twenty minutes was like being suspended in a roller coaster with my body pressed against the harness. When I landed, I couldn’t believe that had just happened. Later that night, I went out partying again with Mladen’s girlfriend and her girlfriends. I had been messaging Sanja during the day and she agreed to meet up with me outside the Hotel Bosna. We spent a little while talking about our feelings and we kissed. We parted ways and that was the last time I saw her.
After I returned from my trip to Bosnia, actually the day of, my brother Adam met me at the airport. I was in dire need of some marijuana, so I thought. I was getting all my marijuana from my brother Adam, and I decided that I wanted to get it from someone else as I felt like Adam was trying to control me with it.
Preston had known that I was smoking marijuana for some time in his house. One day he told me, “Matt, I’ve decided it’s time for you to move out.” He also knew I’d been smoking in my room which contributed to his decision to kick me out. I started looking for an apartment and found one off of N. MacArthur Ave. in Oklahoma City called the Warren which I had wanted to move into for some time.
I procured the number of another fellow who was in high school that was selling marijuana. I called him and set up a time to come over. “You gotta’ hurry up dude,” he told me, “My mom is going to be back any time now!” I drove up to a small house and was greeted by a kid who couldn’t have been older than seventeen. He gave me the bag of weed and I handed him the twenty dollars I had. Then he asked me, “Have you ever tried Acid?” I said, “No.” He said, “Me and my girlfriend drop acid all the time! You want some man? It’s the same price as the weed.” I looked at him, and then I looked at his girlfriend. In my already high mind I thought, “Well, they seem normal enough to me, might as well try it!” He said, “Alright dude, here’s what you wanna’ do, either stick it in a water bottle and drink the water or let it dissolve on your tongue.” I didn’t get much more instruction than that. As anyone who has done acid or LSD as it is also called, will tell you there are a few strict rules you must follow or you risk going on what is known as a bad trip. I drove back to my apartment, paranoid the whole time of course that I would get pulled over. When I got back, I put the tab of LSD into a water bottle. I let it swash around in there for a minute, then I started to drink out of it. Didn’t feel anything. I thought, “Huh, this isn’t working very fast.” I decided to put it on my tongue and got the brilliant idea of going to my favorite bar, the Dugout. When I got there, I ordered a few beers, then swallowed the tab of LSD. I was talking with a bunch of the girls I knew and suddenly, a strange feeling came over me. Stairway to Heaven was playing and it was like I suddenly understood what they were talking about. I started to feel as if I was in heaven on earth. At some point, I went out onto the patio and exclaimed aloud, “I’m on acid!” A man out on the patio looked over at his girlfriend and said, “Good thing he doesn’t know I’m an undercover drug officer.” I looked at him angrily and said, “What?!” He looked up and said, “Oh nothing man, nevermind.” Right before the Dugout closed, I walked out of the bathroom, and that’s when it hit me. It was like my mind was going a hundred times faster than everyone else’s. I walked up to the counter at the bar and yelled, “I’m on acid! Who else is on acid?” A couple of girls raised their hands on the far side of the bar. The blonde girl looked sheepishly at her boyfriend sitting next to her and slowly lowered her hand. The only way I can describe this reality was it was like being in the Matrix. One of the bartenders I knew well said, “Yeah man, I do acid all the time!”
I drove in my car over to my dad’s office about a block away on N. May Ave in Oklahoma City. As soon as I entered the building, I began to get this gripping fear that the CIA wanted to assassinate me. I went on Skype and called Mladen. In my state of paranoia I asked him, “Are you guys in the CIA?” He looked tired as all get out. “Dude, we are tired as h-ll over here,” he said, “Been working day and night non-stop. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I called up the guy who had sold me the acid, “Dude, is the CIA on acid?” I asked him. “Dude, what are you talking about?” he said, “You’ll be fine man, just try to relax.” I became so paranoid I thought the CIA had planted a bomb under my car that would blow up if I tried to turn it on. I thought I was sped up in some other dimension that only I and the CIA, who I thought were on acid, were in. I ran out the front door of the office building and yelled in agony, “I’m on acid!” I was scared to death. I started walking to my parents’ house which was about two miles from there. I was paranoid that at any moment I would be shot by CIA agents. I got lost in my panic, and called my brother Adam. “Adam, I’m lost! I don’t know where I am,” I said, “I’m somewhere in Mom and Dad’s neighborhood.” Adam said, “Just stay there Matt. I’ll come get you.” I called up Mom and Dad. I told them where I was. Somehow I managed to make it to their house. I walked in the front door and said, “Mom, Dad! I’m on acid! The CIA are after me!” My dad just stood there in a complete state of shock not saying anything. My mother took me into the living room and tried to get me to calm down. Moments later, Adam arrived. He lead me outside. He was afraid that my parents would make it worse. I sat against the brick wall of my parents’ house holding my head in my hands. I thought it would never stop. I was going completely insane. “You’ve gotta’ calm down dude,” Adam said, “People have gone completely insane forever on acid.” We got into his car and started driving over to my old house. Along the way Adam was saying, “See the lights? Look at the beautiful lights,” trying to calm me down. When we got to his house my mind was in torment. I cried out to God saying, “I promise God, if you get me out of this, I’ll live for you and never mess with drugs again.” I went into my old bedroom and laid down on the floor with my head in my hands, thinking I would never go to sleep again. Some time during the early morning, I called Mom. “Mom, I think I’m demon possessed,” I told her. She started praying with me. I felt this wild tingling sensation as we prayed. Then sudden relief. She arrived to pick me up soon after that. I thought I was fine and went back to my apartment. Another drug I’d been experimenting with was K2. I picked some up and smoked it again. At that time you could buy it at the local service station. It’s a synthetic form of marijuana.
When you do LSD your mind begins to play tricks on you. Many occultists and Satan worshippers have actually used the drug to get in contact with demonic spirits, most notably the founder of modern day Satanism, Aleister Crowley. Whatever you are most paranoid about at the time of your trip on LSD is what you will hallucinate about. I was walking back to my apartment one day when I saw on the sidewalk outside parked a black car. I knew there was no way that a black car could be parked on that sidewalk. This was a paranoid hallucination due to my paranoia of the CIA being after me.
I began to realize many interesting things after I went to Bosnia and took LSD. My friend Mirko Jankovic had told me of a documentary called Collapse after I got back. I began to realize that Hitler had been used by Satan to collapse the governments of Europe in order to form the European Union, a major step towards world government. Hitler was an occultist, which is even talked about in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, and no doubt he was demon possessed. Hitler also used methamphetamines on a daily basis to keep himself awake, thereby inviting in even more demonic forces. It is said that when you take LSD you open up what are called “the doors of perception.” Indeed I began to see the world as it really is. When I came back, I started to notice all of the scanners that were in place, in supermarkets like Walmart, as well as scanners hooked up to computers in service stations. It was like I was living in a different dimension. I remember one day specifically going into a Shell station located off of N. MacArthur Blvd. and 122nd street in Oklahoma City. After I had brought my items up to the counter I scanned the back of my right hand. For some reason the girl behind the counter acted as if this was normal behavior. At that time being demon possessed, I believed I was the Antichrist, and in my drugged state of mind I believe I was living in a spiritual reality of the future.
After smoking some K2 one night, I went out on a run around Lake Hefner. I was wearing ear buds and sunglasses. Then something came over me like a demonic force. I suddenly believed I was in the CIA and was supposed to go to the Dugout. I drove my car up to the Dugout and went up to the front door. “Let me see your ID,” the bouncer said. “You don’t need to see my ID,” I replied. “You know who I’m with, and I have business here.” Well apparently that didn’t convince the bouncer. I attempted to enter anyway and the bouncer tried to stop me with some martial arts moves. What happened next was like being in the Matrix. It was like I was in fast motion and any attempt he made to take me down I thwarted and we basically had a martial arts fight for about a minute when one of the other bouncers showed up. He put me in a choke hold from behind for a few seconds, then I got out of it once we were outside. I tried to get back into the Dugout. “You know who I’m with!” I told him, “And we’ll kill you!” I wouldn’t leave so he called the police. The Oklahoma City Police Department showed up with two cars and cuffed me. Some bizarre interaction happened on our way down. From then on everything that happened was bizarre. When we got to the jail, I went inside and they asked me what number I wanted. I said, “Six six six!” I was clearly still demon possessed. While I was there I met a really cool Deputy Sheriff who last name was Garcia. When they released me he said, “You’re creepy dude, but you’re cool. If I ever see you out on the streets I’ll buy you a beer man.” I was released the next day. I would meet Deputy Garcia again when I was arrested and taken to jail later.
I started seeing a psychiatrist almost immediately after I was released. I moved back in with my parents and started going to Henderson Hills Baptist Church with them. I also began attending Celebrate Recovery there which I would discontinue later. I went into Celebrate Recovery one night in a small room where a few of us were meeting. Suddenly I got in the middle of the floor and I started going into convulsions. This was probably a result of mixing the synthetic marijuana with the LSD. Chuck Robinson, who was the leader of Celebrate Recovery at Henderson Hills, took me down in his truck to Baptist Medical Center on Hefner Parkway and NW Expressway in North Oklahoma City. This would be the first of many mental episodes that put me in the hospital and mental ward.
I was still convinced I was demon possessed, so my parents contacted a pastor in Pennsylvania who was known for dealing with demonic entities and helping deliver people who had been involved in drugs, Satanism, and the occult. I sat down at the living room table in my parents’ home and they put him on the phone. He started to speak to the spirit inside me. Suddenly a voice came out of me, “We…have…to…go…somewhere else!” The light went out on the chandelier above me indicating that some supernatural activity was taking place. The pastor rebuked the demons and commanded them to go to the outer abyss where they came from.
I remember one night, sitting in my dad’s office at Character Tales. “I can’t gat a job, this business is a failure, and I’m a 26 year old virgin.” It stung deep. I had gotten on some new meds which I attribute some of the decision to, but in the end, despair had set in. I became so fearful of another bad trip, so fearful of ending up out on the street in the cold and in misery, I decided to commit suicide. I contemplated how I would do it and what I’d do the night before. The Oklahoma City Thunder were playing that night and Adam and I had decided that we were going to the game. We ate out at a Japanese restaurant with our family. Earlier that day I had bought a huge bottle of over the counter pain pills and a big bottle of coconut rum. “I’ll go out and party the night away, then take my own life in the house where I used to live when this all started,” I thought to myself.
Adam was still living in the house where I used to live with Preston at the time. After we ate dinner at the Japanese restaurant with my parents, we decided to go out to a local bar called Twin Peaks. We were there with are friend Adam Miller and a few others. I had been drinking a while and in a demonic voice I told someone, “I’m going to hell tonight, and I don’t mind taking someone with me.” Up to that point I had tried to maintain a healthy weight, but that night I ate anything that was offered to me. Adam Miller said, “Here, want some of this?” He offered me some chicken fried steak. I thought, “I’m going to die tonight anyway, might as well take some.” By about two o clock, my brother Adam and I, fully intoxicated, left the bar to go to my old house. I opened the bottle of pain pills and started downing them as fast as I could. I just kept downing them all the way to my old house. I started getting a chalky taste in my mouth that made me gag inssesantly. I took a handful of pills with me into the house. I sat in Adam’s room on the beanbag and we talked for a while. He asked me if I wanted some marijuana, and I said, “No, cause I may need to find a job tomorrow.” I went back to the kitchen sink and swallowed a handful of pills with a glass of water. I went back into the bedroom and laid down wearing a tie and shirt and dress pants. I thought to myself, “I’ll wake up dead tomorrow in heaven or hell.”
I woke up the next morning, and I wasn’t dead. I didn’t fell anything, except for the urgency to go get a job. Adam woke up. “I’m heading out to get a job bro,” I told him. “See you later bro,” he responded. I wasn’t sure where to start. My first stop was along Memorial Road past Santa Fe. The place was called Jasco, a manufacturing plant owned by a friend of my father’s. I stumbled into the waiting area and asked for an application. I tried to fill it out as best I could, all hung over. By the third application and scratching out half of what I had put down, I said, “I think I’ll just come back later.” My next stop was the BMW dealership off of Blvd. Expressway. I went in and asked the girl at the reception desk for an application. She had to print a new one every time I messed up, which was about three times. After scribbling through a bunch of mistakes I made in my hung over state of mind, I decided to gie that one up as well. I drove out to Lake Arcadia where Pop’s restaurant is at. I went in and asked for the manager. I had filled out an application there about a week earlier. I asked if they had a chance to review it and they said “No.” I went back out to my car and started downing as many pain killers as I could. I looked up into the sky and said, “Lord, if you’re ready I’m ready, take me.” The next hour would be a blur. I wound up in the back of someone’s yard that I thought was my parents’. I was trying to get into the back door when suddenly I heard a voice, “Edmond PD! Come out with your hands up!” There to my left were two Edmond police officers hopping over the fence with both of their guns pointed at me headed in my direction. I thought, “Wow, so this is how it ends. I’m about to be shot.” On my left a SWAT team member came at me with an automatic rifle in hand. “Get down on the ground! Put your hands on top of your head!” said the officer. I got down on the ground and put my hands on my head. The officers came over and cuffed me, then toted me back to the police car. There were police cars everywhere and I saw where they had opened my car door. I could see the pills and the unopened bottle of rum inside. They put me in the back of the police car, and the sergeant came up. “I don’t know what’s going on officer,” I told him, “I thought I was in my parents’ back yard.” The sergeant asked me, “Where do you live?” I said, “1801 Morning Star.” He knew something wasn’t right. They toted me off to the Edmond jail. I told my story to the police. They believed me when they looked up my medical history and found out I was bipolar. They carted me off to OU Med Center in Edmond. They put me down on a stretcher and I was still very suicidal. My parents and brother Adam as well as my sister Hannah were present. The nurses started sticking all kinds of needles and IVs in my arms. I tried to take them out. The nurse said, “Get Charley!” Apparently, Charley was the police officer on duty who I would see around Edmond a couple of times after that. Charley, a massive brooding cop came in the room. “If you don’t stop revisiting, “ he said, “we will put you in a straight jacket.” I looked at him, then I looked at his gun. All I could think about was grabbing his gun and ending my life right then and there. It was like hell on earth. I had always wanted to take on the police hand to hand and beat them up, and here I was, a humiliated virgin still having to cower to them. Later, I would exact my revenge. The doctor informed my father that they had saved me just in time. Apparently my liver was in shock and could have sent me to a horrible and painful death. They had to pump me with all kinds of fluids. During my stay I got many visits from people in my parents’ Sunday School class at Henderson Hills. Their Sunday School leader, Alan Rice, and his wife even came to stay with me for a night. I also received a visit from Chuck Robinson when I was first admitted who was in charge of the Celebrate Recovery ministry at Henderson Hills. I was in the hospital for about a week, eating mostly hamburgers and French fries. Sometimes I just out flat refused to eat.
After I got out of the hospital I found out that I had been charged with public intoxication. The felony charges had been dropped due to my condition. All I had to do was attend a couple of Alcoholics Anonymous classes and pay a few court fines.
Shortly after this occurred, my friend Jerry Scott contacted me and told me that his brother needed a caregiver during the day. This would be a Certified nurse Aide type job. I had met Jerry at Henderson Hills when I first started going there and looked up to him as a strong man of God. I agreed and began taking care of his brother John during the nights and weekends. John lived with his sister, Julie Krywicki, and her husband Bill and their two children, Will and Georgia. He had his own small house in the back of their house. Jerry and Julie suggested that I go through Certified Nurse Aide training at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City. I agreed and they helped me financially to get my certification there. While I was there, I tried to connect with the girls who were part of the program but many of them snubbed me. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to get a girlfriend. Finally one day it was like I just snapped. At the time I was living with a friend of mine named Michael Cross. I had also met him at Henderson Hills in my Sunday School class and found out that he needed a roommate. Michael had a gorgeous girlfriend named Pammy. I always found myself envying him for having such a gorgeous girlfriend, especially since she was just my type, blonde and vivacious. I still had an awkward time around women being a virgin, and having someone as gorgeous as Pammy around all the time didn’t help. Over the summer of that year, I started chatting with one of my sister’s friends named Lacey. I was sure that I was going to somehow break through this time and manage to get a girlfriend. Michael was studying to be a psychologist and we had a conversation one night. I told him how I felt like maybe I had been misdiagnosed for my mental illness, and that I really was not bipolar at all but had just suffered some short term effects of doing LSD. He told me that people do frequently get misdiagnosed as having a mental disorder when it is really just a short term result of drug usage. I decided right then and there that I would stop using my medications cold turkey. I began to feel as if I was high all the time. Things didn’t work out between me and lacey and this just frustrated me. After all the flirting and what not I still hadn’t gotten a girlfriend. I tried to get her to go skydiving with me but to no avail. I started going out again to the bars which I hadn’t done in a long time and drinking. One night, I went in my Nurse Aide uniform and danced to Billy Jean with a live band playing at Baker Street. I did the Moon Walk and everything. The place exploded in applause when I was finished. I was talking with my friend Nathan Dillow on Skype one night about Pammy and how I’d wanted to have sex with her. I felt like I was high and laughing hysterically. Apparently my other roommate overheard and told Michael. He kicked me out immediately. My parents knew that I wasn’t taking my medications anymore, and when I called them they said I couldn’t come stay with them unless I agreed to take my medications. I went to Baker Street to think things over. I was going to have to sleep in my car for the night. I was homeless. I wasn’t about to start taking my medications again as I thought they were holding me back from achieving my full potential. I called my parents again and they agreed to let me stay with them. I got word from another friend of mine at Henderson Hills Baptist that a fellow named Ed Borgers needed a new roommate. I’ll never forget Ed calling me and the first thing he asks is, “Well Matt, we’re doing some roofing tomorrow about seven, wanna’ come make some money?” I was thrilled.
I was now living with Ed Borgers. He had a roofing company and I was able to work for him and supplement my income while working for my father.
Since I was a Certified Nurse Aide I started doing sermons for a nursing home that a group from Henderson Hills went to every week. There was a girl there that I liked named Lacey who was one of the nurse aides. Another girl there caught my eye, and when I found out that Lacey had a boyfriend, I asked her about the other girl. “Oh, Heather,” Lacey said, “I don’t think she does.” I was smitten by Heather. She would walk by and smile at me quite often as she worked. I would chat with her a little bit. She was just my type, blonde and gorgeous. As time went on things began to happen with my mind. I felt like I was tripping out sometimes. One particular night I drove all the way out to my old house in Mustang. I got out and walked around. For some reason, I started to believe I was God. I even texted Adam my brother and told him that I was God and my friend Daniel Landeene. I started having a major mental breakdown. On one particular day, I decided to go out streaking on Second Street in Edmond, Oklahoma. Just after I put my clothes back on I walked in front of a police car. The police officer flashed his lights and stopped the car. I won’t explain the thinking behind all of this as it is to bizarre to even try to explain. The police officer asked me, “Were you walkin’ around naked?” I said, “Yes” He said, “We got a bunch of calls sayin’ somebody was walkin’ around here naked. Turn around.” I got cuffed. Three or so police cars pulled up before they carted me off to be processed at the Edmond Police Department.
When I got there, I could hear the officers talking to my parents in the next room. They sat me down opposite an officer in an adjacent room. I tried to get up and leave. The officer came over and pushed me down into the chair. “Sit down!” he said. I got back up again and he tried to pin me to the ground. I did this once or twice and he unsuccessfully tried to keep me in the room. I started to walk out when another officer showed up. “Where are you trying to go dude?” he asked. “I want Heather!” I said. “Who’s Heather?” he asked. I said, “She’s my girlfriend and she works at Grace Living Center!” He said, “We’ll get Heather on the phone.” I kept getting up until finally the officer lead me into the next room for processing. “What are you doing back here again?” asked the female officer. She recognized me from the time I had attempted suicide. She was actually really nice about it. I got processed and sent to a cell to await transfer to the Oklahoma County Jail.
Later that night, I rode in a squad car along with a female prisoner to downtown Oklahoma City. When we got to the jail, they put me in a holding cell with a bunch of other guys. My brain was going crazy and I was tripping out. I thought I’d never get out of that cell. I thought, “The only way to get out of here is start a fight.” I looked across from me and there was a guy sitting with his legs crossed and to me it looked like he was meditating. He was an older black fellow with yellow sandals. In my mind I thought he was like a sensei saying, “Do what you need to do.” I got up and looked at a dude who was about 6’ 1” with blonde hair, real muscled up. I said, “Wanna’ fight?” I started taunting him and all the guys in a circle around us were yelling. It felt like Fight Club in prison. I did the motion with my right hand for him to come hit me, beckoning him towards me. He puffed out his chest and I could tell the testosterone was rising inside him. I knew I was going to have to punch him. I punched him in the chest first. “Knock it off!” he said. But he still stood there. I thought, “Alright that didn’t work. I’ll try something different.”
By now the whole cell was watching and jeering on. I punched him right in the forehead. The next thing I knew he caught me with an uppercut. I flew backwards and hit my head on the concrete. When they say you see stars if you get knocked out, they aren’t lying. That was the first time in my life I saw stars. “Stay down!” he said. I immediately got back up. Within seconds the cell was swarming with police. They cuffed both of us and took us outside. The officer behind me started cranking the cuffs down on me as hard as he could. “You wanna’ try and fight me? I’ll kick you’re a**!” he said. “Great job adding an assault and battery charge to that!” one of the officers said to me. I heard them telling the guy I punched that he was also being charged with assault and battery. “What?!” he said, “That was self-defense!” Within a couple hours they took me to a cell. Three officers pinned me to the ground. One of them pulled my arm back so far I thought it was going to break. “Don’t move! Stay on the ground!” they said, “Or we’ll kick your f***ing a**!” A little while after they left I got up. I’d been through this drill before. I was ready to fight my way out of this jail. I was in some kind of a bad trip. The water fountain wasn’t working so I drank out of the toilet. I decided to go over and taunt the officer guarding the hall right outside my cell. I kept calling him the N word until finally he got so angry he rounded up two other officers and they tried to get into my cell. The minute they opened the door I started punching and kicking them. They tried for about a minute and realized it was futile. All the while the officer I had been taunting stood behind the two other officers and watched as they tried to get into my cell. I tried to bust out the door but it got shut on me. My dad, mom, and brothers Adam and David showed up to visit me at the Oklahoma County Jail probably a week later.
“If you don’t take your medications Matt,” my dad said, “You’re going to go to prison for two years.” Apparently I had a lawyer now who was state appointed. I went back to my cell and cried. After I got transferred cells, I was told I was being charged with assault and battery. They made me sign a paper admitting my guilt. I met with my lawyer a few days later. “Well, you could be facing as much as ten years in prison,” she said. I was in total shock. No crying though, I had gotten over the initial shock already. I ran into Officer Garcia again while I was in the jail. “Man, what are you doing back here?” he laughed. I was laughing too. I was released from jail about thirty-seven days after being behind bars. I got sick of baloney while I was in there. So the first thing I wanted was a Dominos pizza when I got out. I told everybody I was going to eat a Big Mac on top of a slice of pizza.
After being released from jail, I started going to a church I had attended a couple times before, Highland Park Baptist. I was struck by the love of the people there and the love of the pastor towards me, Pastor Joe Rhodes. I began seeing my pastor Joe Rhodes for counseling on a regular basis. I always enjoyed those visits because Joe had his door open all the time. The church was unlocked so I could come any time I wanted. I had actually met a Joe a couple years prior to attending Highland Park Baptist in Edmond. My coworker and friend Jeff Bedford had gone to the church to sell Pastor Joe the children’s DVD Character Tales that my dad and I had produced. I immediately became friends with my young adults pastor Aaron Argo and a number of the other young adults attending Highland Park. I was disappointed though that Joe’s son Ryan and his wife Lynsi had left for Africa a few months before I started attending regularly. I really like Ryan and his wife Lynsi is a real sweetheart.
This is probably the hardest part of my story to tell. The first time I saw Bella I was in line at church during one of our potlucks. Bella had noticed that I didn’t have a napkin so she offered me one. I had been attending Highland Park for a couple months now. I didn’t really talk to Bella for a couple of weeks and then one day, it was like we just hit it off. She asked for my phone number and texted me after church. Bella was from Cameroon, a country in Africa. I suggested that we go to a movie the next week and she said yes. I went o go pick her up and was struck by how beautiful she looked in her platform heels and skirt. We took my car down to Tinsel Town theatres to watch Oz: The Great and Powerful where I had seen the first movie I ever watched in the theatre. I kissed her during the movie and I don’t think she was sure what to think.
We went to her apartment after the movie and stayed there a while watching movies. The attraction was building with every moment that went by. I was still a virgin at twenty-eight and new at all of this. I invited Bella over to my house where I was still living with Ed Borgers for dinner and a movie. We started getting very lovey dovey during dinner and continued it in the bedroom. We kissed for probably twenty minutes during the movie passionately, then began to go further. But we decided to stop short of having sex.
I went over to her apartment the next day. The passionate kissing resumed. We stopped short of sex again. In the morning I gave her a call and went back to her apartment. We spent the whole day together and I stayed the night. That night I lost my virginity. It was a Saturday and we went to church the next morning. I was over at Bella’s later the next week. While I was there she got on the phone with a guy who was a friend of hers in Maryland. “Oh I like the way you say my name,” she said to him. That’s when I started to realize we couldn’t be together anymore. She was visiting Maryland she said to be with her sister. While she was out there, I decided to break up with her. We were off and on for the next few months, but no matter how hard I tried I could not bring myself to trust her.
This was the end of a very long battle in my life. Much of the reason I had wanted to become the Antichrist, become a criminal, gotten into the occult, and become a Satan worshipper had been because of this one thing in my life. Now that I wasn’t a virgin anymore there was no reason for any of it. I was certainly very repentant of my sin, but it cost me my peace of mind. I was in the mental hospital again shortly after that. I had to call the police because I was feeling suicidal. Now, I am delivered from all demonic oppression, possession, and drugs. My favorite verse in the Bible is John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” This I have discovered, is the only true reason for living.