Charles was born in 1945 in Dallas, Texas. He grew up in Copeville, 35 miles north of Dallas. He left for California in 1967, believing that out west promised satisfaction through drugs, sex and rock 'n roll.
In California, he enrolled in college and secured a job, but soon dropped out in exchange for the fast life. He met Manson and ended up becoming a member of the Manson cult. He was part of this group for a year. Manson offered a utopia, but in reality, he had a destructive worldview which Charles ended up believing in and acting upon. His participation in the 1969 Manson murders is a part of history that he deeply regrets.
For participation in these crimes, he received the death penalty, but this was overturned in 1972. Charles remained imprisoned with a life sentence. Three years later, Christ came into his heart and called him into the ministry. He began ministry training and co-authored the book "Will You Die For Me?" in 1978. This book has touched thousands of prisoners spiritually. He founded the original Abounding Love Ministries in 1980, and became an ordained minister in 1981. He has spent all these years ministering to prisoners and to others around the world.
His web site, www.aboundinglove.org, was created in 1997, and has received millions of hits worldwide. In recent years, he wrote the book Charles Watson Speaks Out! to answer the many questions he is still asked in interviews and through letters. His notorious past is a tragedy from any point of view, but for many decades, his life has testified to the awesome grace of God.
Charles is a man of peace and character, who shines brightly in a dark place. His identity has shifted from that of a murderer to a child of God. He no longer allows his crime to identify who he is. He sees himself as God sees him -- a new creation in Christ.
He is not only a man of faith, but of feeling. He walks the prison yard while sharing what it means to be a Christian. He fellowships with other Christians and helps them to see God as their heavenly Father who loves them unconditionally.
He shares a Godly wisdom that has come through past failures and years of spiritual and mental growth. In 2009, he completed his B. S. in Business Management.
He rejects "legalistic Christianity," where people are led to believe they can earn their salvation through their own good works, because right-standing with God is possible only through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He lives every day reaching out to unbelievers with the grace of God and prays with believers to understand their awesome inheritance obtained through their union with Christ's death, burial and resurrection.