August 2012

Welcome to the monthly view, where I am often led to answer a letter that will hopefully speak to many.

“And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.” [1]

An Inquiring Mind…

Here’s a letter from a lady named Denise, who wrote directly to me, saying:

“I read your interesting memoirs in Will You Die For Me?, and I feel that some basic questions were left unanswered. According to your book, both your childhood and adolescence were fairly normal and happy. Yet you were willing and able to slaughter seven people. This can’t be explained by Charles Manson’s influence since, again according to this book, you were willing to circumvent his desires by keeping a cache of “speed” secret from him and disobeying a suggestion he made after the murders.

In your opinion, what was lacking in your personality that permitted you to mercilessly murder other people?

And what was the reason for this lack? Thank you. Best wishes.”


I appreciated her letter because she asked first what was lacking and then asked the reason for the lack. I’ve always contended that my problem was more what was lacking in me, rather than the many possible reasons for the lack.

Federal agents investigating counterfeiters are taught to recognize exactly what real money is like, so when any fake bills come along, they can clearly make that determination. I was unable to recognize between real love (like I had received from my parents) and the fake, self-serving “love” of the Manson family. I was left open to become a part of any manipulative relationship and to act on behalf of that relationship – no matter how illogical or destructive such actions might be.

My Response…

Manson’s influence was “what it was.” This was put forward in my books Will You Die For Me? and Manson’s Right-Hand Man Speaks Out! You are correct! My willingness to kill for him can’t solely be explained by his influence.

As far as keeping my “speed” [a 60’s name for methamphetamine] secret from him for 30 days before the crime and disobeying his order to murder again after the crimes, it’s in our fallen nature to keep things from our authority figures. After the crime, I was experiencing guilt and remorse, so I fled to my family in Texas – confused.

What was lacking?

The many things that were lacking in my personality are shared on my website, but here are a few major ones.

I was lacking a sense of power, unconditional love, and a sound mind. I was overcome by a spirit of fear. As a result, the fear of failure and judgment came upon me. The apostle Paul wrote:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” [2]

In the book of Job, he wrote:

“For the things I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me.” [3]

For those of us in Christian Twelve Step Recovery, we admit that we are powerless over the effects [resentments, frustrations, insecurities, fears, etc., which produce anger, hostility and violence]; and of our separation from God [the reason for lack]. We came to believe in a power greater than ourselves to restore us to sanity – that is, belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ or the power of the Gospel. [4]

  • Power of the Blood of Jesus
  • Power of the Resurrection
  • Power of the Holy Spirit

When the Holy Spirit reveals that we can be made right with God through faith, we make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God – this is humility.

A Lack of Humility…

It has been said that humility is “…simply the willingness to surrender our will, our opinions, and our views to the view and will of God.” Because of my pride and self-centeredness, I surrendered my will, opinions, and views to Manson. I tried to impress him and the others for acceptance and approval, since I lacked identity, security, and significance in Christ.

Listen to the views and will of God:

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” [5]

In the 60’s, I was selfish, fulfilling my lusts in college and becoming academically lazy. I blamed my parents for my failure, feeling they had pushed me to fulfill their goals. In reality, I lacked assertiveness to make my desires known.

My parents were very loving, caring and hard working, but I felt their love was conditioned upon my performance. Sometimes, one’s understanding of Christianity can be very legalistic, which is contrary to God’s love and grace. As a result, I medicated my emotional pain arising from the fear of failure.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” [6]

A Lack of Knowledge…

Lastly, I was simply lacking knowledge. I was spiritually blind to God’s unconditional love and I was mentally unable to process my thoughts and feelings in a healthy way. My choices were influenced by my own ignorance of God’s plan for my life. The prophet Hosea wrote:

“My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge…” [7]

Consequently, I lacked an experiential knowledge of God’s love and acceptance through faith in Jesus Christ, and the reality of the presence of the Holy Spirit, Who gives us a conscious relationship with God.

I lacked God’s wisdom, understanding, counsel and strength, the knowledge of the Lord, reverence towards Him, and the sense of righteousness through a sound belief system.

My new belief system gives me the ability to say “NO” to willful deliberate sin, because of my secure identity in Christ.

Today, I no longer believe a lie. “…I know the truth and the truth has set me free.”[8]

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” [9]

Salvation was absent. I needed God’s will for “whosoever believes” in Jesus Christ. We receive His righteousness to rule in life, His perfect peace that is above all understanding, and His joy from the Holy Spirit empowering us to overcome all the consequences of sin.

Acknowledgement of God’s plan for us:

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But to us who are being saved it is the very power of God at work in us. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never know Him through human wisdom, He has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe… To those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Jesus Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of the Lord’s is wiser that the wisest of human plans, and His weakness is stronger the greatest of human strength. He chooses things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chooses things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. He chooses things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and uses them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in God’s presence. This is true humility. [10]

A Prayer for Humility…

Heavenly Father, we know that we used to reject You and Your gospel. Jesus had no place in our lives. But in time, You brought us out of our worldly thinking and into Your plan for our lives. We came to believe that even though we were sinners, Jesus Christ, God made man, had died for us. Such love is too wonderful to comprehend. That you, Father, could love us when we hated You is beyond our worldly understanding. We are humbled by Your great love and the sacrifice of Your Son, which has made us right with You. We desire to do Your will, to live the plan You have for us, and to bring others to the knowledge of Your love so that they, too, may be saved. We thank You, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture References:

[1] Philemon v. 6
[2] 2 Timothy 1:7
[3] Job 3:25
[4] Romans 1:16,17
[5] Philippians 2:3-5
[6] Proverbs 14:12
[7] Hosea 4:6
[8] John 8:32
[9] John 3:16
[10] 1 Corinthians 1:18-21; 24, 25; 27-29

Acknowledgement: A special thanks to Evan for transcribing this months view!

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