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Mother's Prayers Challenge Son's Satanist Lifestyle

Brian shared, “I hated people all me life, and if I couldn't use you, you meant nothing to me at all.”

Being a short kid with buckteeth, Brian was the perfect target for bullies. But none of his classmates’ teasing compared to the physical and emotional abuse he received from his own father.
Brian said, “I had this idea all through life that until I got to the age where I could take my dad on, fisticuffs that I would never be right with him. I hated him. I hated him.”

As Brian grew, so did his hatred. And by 5th grade, he began stealing and picking fights in school and church.

“I was getting,” he said, “the finger pointing and the ‘you're a little troublemaker,’ ‘you’re nothing,’ ‘you're never going to amount to anything,’ ‘you’re a sinner,’ ‘you’re going to hell.’ Here I was 10 years old and I didn't want to be at home and I don't want to be at school, I don't want to be at church.”

But one person was different than the rest, his mother Dorothy.

Dorothy shared, “I always told him I loved him. I'd say, ‘No matter what you do, you're not going to turn my love away.’"

Then, Brian met some older kids from the neighboring high school. They offered him a cigarette and friendship – he accepted both gladly.

As he explained, “They stuck up for me. So now the tables got turned. And I remember realizing that and saying to myself, ‘Now it's my turn.’”

Emboldened by his new friends, Brian became what he hated most. And pretty soon, everybody knew his name.

“I was a big-time drug addict and selling marijuana,” he said, “selling pornography in schools. Breaking into churches and stealing their sound equipment and trashing the place. I loved it. I loved that people looked up to me. I loved that people were scared of me. I was the man.”

When Brian was 14, his father turned him in for dealing pot. For the next 4 years he was shuffled around group homes, treatment centers, and psych wards, while continuing to sell drugs and steal. Still, his mother refused to give up on him.

“I tried my best” Dorothy said. “It was just one thing after another. It was hard.”

But as Brian remembered, “I was happy where I was at and you couldn't change me. The drugs were my life.”

At 18, Brian aged out of the system and his parents divorced. Shortly after, a sting operation landed him in jail. He was charged with burglarizing 250 homes and sentenced to 10 years in prison. While in maximum security, Brian took up a new hobby he believed would further his reputation – Satanism.

He described, “Calling on all the powers of the demonic realm. By then I was already heavy into the speeders, heavy into LSD. Seeing the fear in people's eyes knowing what I was involved with, even the guards – boy, that really fed that ego.”

Then, shortly after his release in 1994, Brian’s new girlfriend cheated on him with her soon-to-be-ex-husband. Brian, in turn, broke into the man’s home and shot him point blank. The man survived, and a tip led to Brian’s arrest – that tip came from his mother.

“Of course I blamed my mom,” he admitted. “You’re gonna do me like that!”

“At that point,” Dorothy said, “I decided there's nothing more I could do for him. I had to pray for him. That's the only thing that would bring me through.”

After serving 12 years, he reconnected with an old friend and customer and turned him on to a new addiction, meth. One night, after going on a 6-day binge, his friend passed out on a mattress next to a heat register. It caught fire, and he burned to death.

A year later, Brian was once again behind bars.
He shared, “I was in my 40s and I just didn’t want to live anymore. I knew I was responsible.”

Desperate to get clean, Brian joined what turned out to be a faith-based drug and alcohol program.

“I found out,” he said, “you had to have a Bible to do the homework and I was like ‘Oh, man.’ You had homework for each lesson and it was all fill-in-the-blanks from Scripture. So as I'm filling in the blanks, I saw this verse Psalm 51:7 and it says ‘Purge me with Hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.’ And it blew me away because it was word for word part of the cleansing rituals in the occult. I'm like, ‘What is this doing here?’ And that's when it went from just filling in the blanks to now I’m reading some stuff. The Lord said, ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.’ And because I was reading truth, he was already starting to change me. Instead of me filling in the blanks now, the-the gospel was filling in mine.”

A few weeks later, he was given a new assignment – write to someone who had been hurt by his addictions. Brian wrote his mother, and she responded with a 13-page letter.

He described, “I didn't even get past a page and a half. And I wept. I realized that all my life I had hurt my mom up to the point where she wanted to just die.”

But it was at that moment Brian realized he had never been unloved.

“She told me,” he said, “that she had been praying for me ever since I got lost. It blew me away. It blew me away that for 33 years my mom never gave up on me. That's real love. That's the love of Christ.”

As much as Brian wanted God’s love, one thing kept holding him back.

“How could God forgive me for the things I said and did against him personally? The old chaplain at the jail – I told him about that and he said, ‘You been reading your Bible?’ I said, ‘Yes, sir.’ And he said, ‘Did you read that part about as far as the east is from the west?’ And I said, "Yeah." And he goes…’Do you think God can forgive, or forget?’ And I said, ‘No, sir.’ And he goes, ‘Well, he chooses to cast that off in the sea of forgiveness.’ And that's what it took. And January 22nd, 2009, I got on my knees and-and I said, ‘I'm all in. You're Lord, use me.’”

Dorothy shared, “I never in the world thought I'd see this miracle in my life. So there is a Lord.”

Brian renounced Satanism, and over the next 18 months, learned to forgive and be forgiven. And by his release in 2010, there was only one person left he needed to make peace with.
“I went to my dad shortly after I was released and I said, ‘I hope you can forgive me.’ Shortly after that, I was over at his place one day and he said, "You know what Brian, I love you and I’m proud of you.’ And I had not heard those two words all my life.”

Brian, who’s now a husband, father, and pastor, has a new purpose – to share God’s love and forgiveness with others.
He said, “I want to be a picture of hope for anybody, especially those involved in crimes and ex-convicts and the hurting, the manipulated, those coming out of drugs. Because I want them I want them to have the same thing I got. I want them to have Jesus.”

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