What People Say
I recently came upon your Abounding Love Ministries website and read about your story. I've been a Christian almost my entire life, but struggle often with loneliness and insecurities. Your story has touched me in a way only a few testimonies ever have. I'm 22 years old so I hope you know it means something to someone younger of this generation.
This past year filmmaker Quentin Tarantino made a film called "Once Upon A Time in Hollywood", which has the Manson family as the backdrop of the plot between a fictional actor and his stuntman, set during 1969. I have a feeling you haven't seen it, but just curious if you have, or if you have heard anything about it? Do you have any thoughts on it? If so, what?
It might sound strange, but without seeing this movie I might have never looked deeper into the Manson case, or come to discover you coming to Christ. It was one of the most critically acclaimed films of the past year and I discovered your testimony now as a result, several months later. A lot of people on the internet cheer the films ending because it has the perpetrators killed by the actor and his stuntman, with Sharon Tate and the others at their home alive as an alternate reality. As I type this letter though, I can only imagine if more people, other Christians included, could know how much God has changed your life.
I can't fathom all that you've had to deal with in your life. I'm so grateful though that you found God and are willing to share that with others. I was very touched reading about your interaction with Susan LaBerge and her showing the power of forgiveness. I'll be sure to share your testimony with many friends.
I'm not sure if you'd be able to write back but if you could...I'd be extremely grateful to hear your perspectives and thoughts. Keep doing what you're doing, it's helping others. I'll pray for you and that your Bible that was stolen is found and returned. Many blessings, Andrew from IL.
In the early eighties, I was a young rebellious teenager. I left my home behind and soon found myself relocated amongst a bunch of "Jesus Freaks" 5 states away. Fortunately, in spite of my self-destructive behavior, I stayed on the right side of the law. That said, I was fascinated with the macabre, and my curiosity even led me to investigate the occult. All of this together created great spiritual conflict. I eventually discovered my true condition before God, I am a sinner and surrendered myself to Christ. The church I have been a part of for decades is one built on deep biblical study/discipleship and understanding our very personal relationship with our God.
I now run a secular veteran's non-profit to prevent suicide and a veterans outreach ministry through our church. I also volunteer at one of our local prisons' veterans programs on occasion. I have seen the horrors of war and I have many who ask that catch-all question..."If God is so good, why does He allow evil to happen in the world?"
When I read your book "Will you Die for Me" back in the early '80s, I honestly wasn't thinking about you or if your walk with Christ was legit, what I saw was an insight into how forgiving our God really is. I don't know your mind/heart, in fact, you could be full of crap, but what I learned about God through your words is nonetheless true of our Father. He can (and desires) to forgive the worst of us. His grace; not our works. On occasion, I share your story (along with some others) in my teachings to make a point about the extremeness of God's forgiveness. It's hard for many to take, but my point is to begin trying to see things through God's perspective and not our own human comparison.
My question for you (if you will) is this...Would you share with me what God's grace and forgiveness means to you? I know I sometimes struggle with the wrongs I have done in my life, feeling guilty (because I am) and constantly having to give that guilt to my Father, so I can only imagine that for you it must be very difficult. Living with and being accountable to what you have done, how do you approach God? What about accountability for your actions? I believe forgiveness doesn't absolve our accountability for our actions, eternally forgiven--yes, but we are still accountable to whatever consequences there may be. Do you agree?
Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response which I hope to share with those I encounter who are really struggling with their past. Respectfully and In Him, Michael from OH.
My name is Tracey and I live near Detroit. I am a born-again, blood-bought, forgiven daughter of the King. I've read your books and website, and I'm very impressed with your teachings! I agree with so much...especially the evils of Rock Music. I was in a successful local band years ago, and it led to much destruction. Now, I write Christian music.
I hope this letter finds you and our loved ones well! I don't understand what prison is like, however before Jesus, I was in a prison myself. God freed me from heroin, valium and alcohol. A mighty, mighty deliverance. I feel He's called me to help addicts, the mentally broken and the homeless, but also to use my musical talents.
What keeps you busy now Charles? As I stated, the website/ministry is awesome. I learned a lot from reading. How about the various people who write to you? Have you forged Friendships? Are some folks troubled? I'd enjoy a reply!
My current ministry is online prayer, encouragement to addicts and a tract and snack ministry. Yours in Christ, Tracey from MI.
I wanted to finally contact you and let you know how inspirational I found your books. I also draw inspiration from what I've read on Abounding Love Ministries. I truly believe that you're found your salvation through Christ, and are doing God's work in your ministries. I hope and pray that one day, that you'll be granted release. I had thought with the new Governor, that parole might be a possibility so that you can reach more people with your ministries.
It saddens me when I see show after show, movie after movie, and book after book, looking to cash in. I think with each one, it makes it harder for you and on you. I will be praying for you, and I hope that someday, you will be able to be with your family full time. God Bless you, and thank you for all the work you do with the people you interact with daily.
Is there anything I can help you with, to help you further your ministries? I'd love to help, but not sure how I could, other than in my prayers, but I'd like to do more. I know that if you can turn your life around, anyone can, and your inspirational story is one that can teach a lot of people about the love and forgiveness of Christ Jesus. Byron from CA.
Hello, I recently came across the website "Abounding Love" and wanted to give you my praise. I consider myself a religious person who believes in God and prays daily, but I do not attend church or read the bible. But some of the words you've written were very meaningful to me, and I wanted to thank you for having such information readily available for someone such as myself to see. I wanted to ask if there are any books you recommend? I am always eager to learn and share with those around me, so it would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best. Jeff, CA.
I just completed reading "Manson's Right Hand Man Speaks Out", and was completely blown away. On the 50th anniversary of the "Manson murders", I had re-read "Helter Skelter" and watched the many documentaries that have been airing. I was as terrified and disgusted as any other human with a soul should be, but I also started questioning how on earth something like that occurs. Your e-book answered many of my questions.
It is clear that we are currently living in a culture of rapidly increasing senseless violence and hate (perhaps not perpetuated, but certainly not condemned sufficiently by our politicians). There are A LOT of young people out there (four were just arrested just this past week) with desires to create mass carnage. It is scary and it is simply not easily understandable...at least until I read your e-book. Many of your very valid and thoughtful points helped me to better get a grip on why a lot of this is happening, and how it could ever be avoided.
It is clear that you are a very different man from the one that was condemned many decades ago. In the same breath though, I think of the families of your own victims, and how I would personally feel if somebody murdered my loved ones. Hate is a disease, but it would most likely be one that I would have to live with, since my love for my family is infinitely greater than my capacity to forgive. I was however fascinated and happy to read your journey to personal forgiveness, and your trek to forgive yourself. It was tremendously thought inspiring.
Your points about incarceration and recidivism were also very interesting. I absolutely believe that rehabilitation starts with honest personal reflection and an acceptance that there is something much greater than the self. Until an inmate accepts their small place in the bigger world, the chance of repeat offence seems to be high. I just don't know if you can ever FORCE somebody to make that acceptance and understand the much bigger picture....they have to WANT to make that change. Should those that do not wish to make that change be kept incarcerated (I personally believe so)?
The question becomes, once they have made that change and accepted their place, should they be offered a place back into society? How do you measure their true intentions? I have a friend in jail for life for murdering a VERY bad guy for what I consider good reason (even the victim's family support my friend). If he were ever paroled, I would not hesitate to trust him with my loved ones. But, odds are...he will die in prison. What good is that going to do anybody?
Bottom line, I'm holding on to your e-book for future reference. It was very thought-provoking, and answered a lot of questions that I had about your own past, but also about the reform system. I'd imagine that the violence of your own acts may prevent you from ever being released, but I am remarkably impressed with your grasp of self and the world around you, and I thank you for authoring such a thoughtful read. Sincerely, Randy from FL.
My name is Scott, and I am 43 years old. Throughout my life, I have known about the incidents that occurred back in 1969, but did not know a lot of details about what happened. But since the new movie came out in July 2019, I wanted to learn more about what happened. As I did more research, I learned more about you, then I found your Abounding Love Ministries and visited the website. I browsed the whole site and all I can say is what a great testimony you have. I am also a Christian and have been saved since September 16, 2007. You are proof of Jesus' mercy and grace and as you know, all the things you did back then are washed away forever, never to be thought of again.
I know as a Christians, we are not to take credit from man, but I just wanted to say keep up the good work and keep planting and spreading God's Word. One day, you will know how many people you have directed towards the Lord and you will receive your reward in heaven. As you know, from the worst situations imaginable, God can make wonderful things happen for His glory. Scott from FL.
My name is Kelsey, I'm from Massachusetts and I'm about to turn 23, right around the same age you were when the murders occurred. I'm currently reading the book "Helter Skelter" and I watched "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" over the summer, but the murders and Manson's "cult" are something that have interested me for a while. I don't judge you or anyone else for them, I simply wonder why and try to place myself in that kind of state of mind you were in.
I know the 60's were a much different time, and when you're at a low place in life it can be easy to fall into bad hands. I know you're eligible for parole--- do you believe you'll ever get released? Or do you think you'll live out the rest of your life there? What's your opinion now, being reformed and older, on what happened, and on the other members? What were the 60's like, and your life prior to the murders? Did you ever think they, and you, would gain so much publicity? I read a lot on this kind of stuff, and I plan on becoming a mortician, so it always interests me, I guess you could say.
Also, I'm curious; genuinely, are you happy with your life now? I know being in prison is difficult, but are you happy? I hope to hear back from you. Thank you for reading. Kelsey, MA.
Thank you ever so much for your fast response! I appreciate the Christians 12 step, I have it up on my computer now and am reading it as time allows at work. Yes, wow, the website is phenomenal! Lots of cool stuff in there!
Please know that your testimony is amazing, where you came from, and where you are now with God. I have been thinking about it and that is a miracle of God's Divine Mercy and Providence! I can honestly say that I am inspired and motivated to change many things in my life, because of your story.
August 26th is my three-year AA sober anniversary and I am getting smoking out of my life, starting on this August 26th. Working to be better for myself, my son and daughter, and most important to be as you are, a Soldier for the Lord.
Thank you again for your inspiration, it has helped me to be better. Prayers Always, Martin CO.
My name is Nick, I've pastored a church in the Mississippi Delta for the past forty years. I've been deeply touched by your life story and testimony. I would like information concerning your ministry and possible materials that might be available. It would be a privilege to correspond with you and pray for your ministry. Enclosed is a self-addressed envelope. Looking forward to your response. Thanks so much. In Christ, Nick, MS.
I was happy to hear that you are making the most of your life as possible, and you are doing everything positive that you can.
It was also noted that you are certain that you're forgiven, but have a Godly regret for your actions. It seems to me that your feeling that you will never get out, and the fact that you don't feel you deserve to get out, and you've been living a Christina life since 1975, gives you a good deal of credibility.
I'm also wondering if in your life you've had many experiences when you've felt you've had a positive effect on others, and if there is somewhat of a redemptive feeling when that happens...like that you have a purpose?
Before I close, just wanted to say that I feel for people everywhere who have done something they truly regret. I know the world is full of people who don't really care what pain they inflict. I do think there are a limited number of people who have true remorse for their actions and would give anything to go back in time and change what they did. That is so sad to me that they can't undo it. It's also really horrible for the victims that they can't undo the past
Working as a school counselor during my career, I saw kids make some pretty bad mistakes that cost them dearly, it is difficult to watch. I'd think you may have words and a perspective that could be helpful to people, and obviously your ministry is proof of that. Respectfully, David OH.
What good news it is to me that you are using my letter for your June 2020 View. If we can just reach one person out of the masses, then they can pass it on, and from there it grows and grows. There is a saying we have in AA, when two alcoholics meet at any place and anytime it is considered a meeting. The same can be said about when two Christians meet, or in our case, correspond by letter. With churches being empty, and the sermons being preached online, I sure feel more fellowship writing you.
On a personal note, does anyone still call you "Tex?" My old nickname is "Llama." My old friends were the only ones who called me that. In 2012 when I went to prison, all the people I grew up with and that I held closest to my heart, all abandoned me. I have been tossing an idea around in my head about the "Ballad of Tex and Llama." A tale of bad choices, drug and alcohol abuse, and unforgivable actions. It feels as if I have a scarlet letter on my forehead, and I feel as if everyone looks upon me and I feel great shame. Now I walk with my head up and feel proud of who I am. Galatians 2:20 really sums it up for me! IT really says to me, I may be the same body and head, but my thoughts, heart and soul are nothing like the old carcass I use as a vehicle.
I now try to carry myself through Psalm 107:2. I am slowly but surely realizing that the old me is me I don't recognize anymore. Those who gave up on me I dearly miss, but those who didn't know the old me, have been touched by God through me. I can only pray for those who have abandoned me, and hope through actions and word, they realize I am reborn and live for the Lord now. As I hope and pray for the forgiveness of others, my Pastor told me to hold onto Ephesians 4:31-32. Those two verses go hand in hand with the AA saying, don't go to bed with a grudge! I pray you're doing well and stay safe. Your friend, Kenneth, TN.
I am just shy of twenty-four years of age. What made me aware of your existence was a fictional portrayal of you in a movie. Now, I consider myself a relatively well-informed student of American history, but coming out of this film (called Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), I was unaware that so many of the characters portrayed in this alternate history scenario were based on actual persons -- this was quite shocking.
I would like to say that I was reading on the website of Abounding Love Ministries, and I found the story of your conversion to be quite inspiring. To be honest, despite coming from a Catholic background I do not consider myself to be a religious person. But hearing that someone like you, despite coming from such terrible circumstances, decided to dedicate their life to a higher purpose truly struck a chord with me. Perhaps I am young and naive, but the question is still worth asking: when is retribution accomplished? J.P., Alabama.
Thank you so very much for your reply meant a lot to me. I wrote to you a couple of years ago.
I am 72 next month and remember the 60s like it was yesterday. The time of the Hippies and flower power was the best time ever for me. And all the music form the Byrds, Beach Boys, Mamas and Papas. We live in a different world now; it was a much better time then.
Thank you so much for putting me in the right direction. I was all over the place and nothing made any sense. I never believed in anything or anybody. Was totally lost and now thanks to you Charles I have found God and my life has totally turned around and I feel so much better now.
Please take care of yourself. You are doing a wonderful job with your abounding love. You have sent so many people in the right direction. And we are all grateful to you Charles. Please take care of yourself. God Bless, Jim, USA.
Dear Charles, I read with great interest your life story: "Will You Die For Me?", and wow! Thank you, very inspiring.
I just saw the new movie "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" with my 15 year old son over the weekend, and it piqued my interest.
It has been 45 years since I, as a 13 year old, read "Helter Skelter", and I was reminded again of that crazy time in 1969 (almost 50 years ago to the day).
Thank you, Charles for your great service in the Lord's work, and please know I am praying for you, and for God's will to be upon you, whether pardoned or not.
I am going to light a candle at night (I am Catholic) from August 8-10, and all night it will remind me to pray for God's blessing on you. Thank you again. This read truly did move me! Sincerely, Martin, CO.
Dear Mr. Watson, My name is Derek , and I live in Salem, Massachusetts. (Yes, the "witch" city! Ha ha!) I am interested in your case because of the incredible strides you have made in becoming a better person while incarcerated and the fact that you strive to help others better themselves through your writings and your religious group. I have read a bit about Abounding Love Ministries on the internet and was very impressed with the progress you have made in your rehabilitation, and the great remorse you must feel. I think everyone deserves a second chance, and in my opinion, you have earned and deserve it. Derek, MA
Thank you for writing me back. I did check out your website and found it to be very interesting and I love how open you are, especially when it comes to sharing your love for God. I am still trying to understand the meaning of God's plan. My questions with my believing and having faith has come from the bad things that have happened in my past. You are an inspiration to me to learn more about his love and salvation. I have told others about your website so hopefully they will check it out. Jamie, OR
Wishing you every love and happiness at Christmas and throughout 2019. May the grace, mercy and blessings of Jesus Christ enrich you throughout the holidays -- and always. You are often in my thoughts and prayers and your ministry has been a fountain of strength for me during the last 6 months. Thank you! With my best regards always. God Bless you! Chris, U.K.
I received your postcard. I look forward to seeing the letter on your website (December 2018 Monthly View). You are always in my prayers. Maybe you can show me how to repent. I have done some terrible crimes myself. Maybe we can help each other. I just wanna do good for God now. I wanna make amends. You are a role model. Please stay in touch. Your friend and brother in Christ, John, PA.
I emailed the admin about 4 or 5 years ago when I was initially blessed to discover Charles' amazing testimony. I just wanted to say that ALMS is still making a difference in my life and helping me tremendously in my walk with Christ. I've printed many of your Gospel Tracts/Leaflets and will be sharing them. Today I started with my Church in NY! I plan on writing Charles personally soon. I pray he and all his dear ones are well. Thank you for all that you do. God bless you! Jillian
Hope this finds you still solid in the Word and in good spirits. Certainly over the years there have had to be times you wanted to be free and actually it is my view that you should have been freed a long time ago. But my opinion on knowing that GOD changes people has no clout except to another brother in Christ...which you are. So keep that chin up brother and say prepared. There will come a day when you will feel the breeze blowing on your face in a land paid for by Christ with His blood. Nobody is totally innocent here Charles save the children who haven't been corrupted yet. And while some have a past that is rougher than others...we are ALL capable of being washed clean in the blood of the Savior!! Greg, GA
I was looking at some online ministries and found yours. Your story is extraordinary! People get locked up and the world forgets them. They don't dare and do not see the good that someone in prison can supply! Yours is a story that can motivate and encourage people to torn their life around and help others! If I can send you anything to help out, please let me know. Scott, NC
I wrote you a couple months ago and telling you my interest in going to grad school and asking your opinion on the hippie movement. I actually have just recently applied and haven't heard back from the school yet. I just wanted to write this letter thanking you for your response. I tried to get in contact with roughly 15 people from the 60s, and only got a response from you and one other. So again, thank you. Lastly, I wanted to say that the more I read about the hippie movement, the more inclined I also am to think it was a failure. As you said, they had no foundation. To me, the only thing that held them together was the Vietnam War, and once that ended, they had nothing. Cole, GA
I was struggling with addiction and went off the deep end. Lost my girl, sold everything, and had hardly nothing, but I came across your letter and the uplifting, positive things you said to me. Something hit me, the Lord! I knew that there was only one way to go, up! I checked into a clinic, kicked drugs and booze, and I thank the Lord Jesus, and you and your story. You really helped me, man. Aaron, TN
I continue to be blessed by your Christian website. I just learned how to use the computer about 3 years ago. God has given us a measuring stick of His love and that measuring stick is called "Calvary"! Lifting you up in prayer today during my fellowship time with the Lord! In addition your ministry! Floyd, USA
Dear Mr. Watson: Yes, I gave my soul to Christ years ago when I was in my late 20s. Yes sir, it is free and the world would be a better place if everyone knew Jesus. It was good receiving a letter back. I showed your flyer to my pastor..., and he did a sermon about you. I think you will be happy to know that, and the sermon was very good I might add. He said he was going to write too. I'll keep you in my prayers. Your friend, Jake, FL
I'm 35 years old and I'm a truck driver. I don't want you to take this letter as fan mail. I'm not a collector in any way. I just like the page Abounding Love Ministries and feel it's a very good thing you are doing. I read your book "Will You Die For Me?" It is a great book and a real eye opener. So after seeing your mailing address, I figured I would write and tell you how much I enjoy what you do. Thanks Mr. Watson. Jake, Florida
I never imagined myself sitting down to write you a letter, but here I am. I have been fascinated with cults and cult mentality since I wrote my first research paper on the Manson Family back in 1985. I recently read your interview "Will You Die For Me?" and I was very impressed with the insight you were able to provide from first-hand knowledge of how a person is able to be drawn into the "cult" mentality. I just wanted to take a moment to say that I admire that you have step up to take responsibility for your part in that summer, and how you have turned your life around. Rhonda, IN