Jesus Christ has not always been the pre-eminent
One in my life. My childhood was full of toys,
dogs, cowboy shows, snap pistols, Cub & Boy
Scouts, building go-carts and vacation Bible school--even
faithful appearances at the local Methodist Church.
At the age of twelve, I allowed Jesus to become
"a part" of my life. I thought that
giving God some of my life (and being sprinkled
in baptism) would be sufficient to join the ranks
of Christianity. Was I ever wrong! A definite
relationship with the Spirit of the Living God
was missing. As a result, nothing filled my void.
My teen years throughout high school produced
high acclamation. Athletics (football, basketball,
and track), elevated the person of Charles Watson,
and not the person of Jesus Christ. In addition
to this, my life was not centered in the Word
of God (the Bible). So it seemed fitting, that
the course I was on, would lead me to beer, liquor,
fast women, and other forms of "temporary
happiness and satisfaction."
Leaving the Nest
As the time passed, I found myself in college.
This lead me to the same non-fulfilling practices.
Additional works of the flesh were introduced
to me through the residing fraternity. My athletic
activities eventually turned to the art of "making
sport" instead of practicing one. Stealing,
the party life, and experimenting with marijuana
were now "a part" of my life.
After three years of college, I headed out to
California. My desire was to have complete freedom
from the moral guidelines of my parents. What
I wanted was to be released to do what "I"
desired, not what someone desired for me. I was
tired of always having to measure up and be checked
In California, my life was one of rejection,
only it was I who was doing the rejecting. I had
rejected my parents' faith and God, along with
God's book of "DO's and DON'Ts." In
actuality, I was rejecting the Answer for my life.
My choice to drink, to take drugs, and to live
the fast life, led me to dropping out of college,
a failed business, and to Charles Manson. Soon,
I joined his cult. The book I have co-authored
entitled, Will You Die For Me? spells out clearly
how a person's mind can be brainwashed of what
morals it has, and then programmed to kill. As
a result of my choices, seven human beings lay
dead by my hands. Through my life, I allowed the
destroyer to kill, steal, and destroy the lives
of others, as well as my own. By giving myself
to drugs, drug-crazed friends, and the desires
of the flesh, I was ripped-off!
After being ripped-off, Satan had DEATH ROW waiting
for me! However, God's love, grace, and mercy
prevailed. The death penalty was abolished by
the U.S. Supreme Court, and I was transferred
to the California Men's Colony.
Then, three years later, I heard the Gospel with
my heart for the first time. In May 1975, I was
sick and tired of serving the devil. I was finished
with being ripped-off. No more did I want to do
things "my way." I was looking for answers.
I knew I had messed things up. At that time, Christ
came to me through many of His servants.
I repented of my sins, and confessed Jesus Christ
with my mouth as Savior and Lord. I trusted in
His blood that was shed on the cross for me, and
received Him as the Boss of my life. Even though
I was sorry for my crime before Christ, a greater
evidence of remorse was present. My face began
to glow, and there was no more need for the false
peace that drugs gave. The closer I drew to God,
the nearer He drew to me. My life began to produce
the fruit of God's Spirit.
Growing in Christ
God was surely moving "in" my life
at the Colony. For the first time in my life,
I found someone who could fill my every need.
"And this same God who takes care of me will
supply all your needs from his glorious riches,
which have been given to us in Christ Jesus"
(Phil. 4:19 NLT)
All my life I had spent searching for lifelong
satisfaction. I found someone greater than just
fulfilling my physical needs. Christ had shown
me the Spiritual realm, and now my eyes were open
to His finished work at Calvery. My heart was
At the same time, I knew something new had taken
place in me. My life in Christ was real to me,
and to others. I soon realized I had been
made the righteousness of God in Christ, having
wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.
I had been set apart from sin, because of Jesus
Christ. God had delivered me from the power of
darkness and had translated me into the kingdom
of His dear Son. Where I was once living in defeat,
I was now living in victory. I was a conqueror
in Christ, capable of overcoming all the circumstances
of this world. By the word of Jesus Christ, whose
testimony was witnessed in my life, I was now
content, and lived by faith in the Son of God,
Who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians
My Future in Christ
My time is well spent sharing the Good News of
Jesus Christ in prison and through non-profit
ministries. I have been solidly committed to full-time
ministry for going on three decades. Even though
there are prison walls, the Lord had made a way
for His testimony to be shared with millions of
Over the years, God has worked in all things
to change me to become more like His Son. I live
my life broken before my Heavenly Father. It is
only by living in His throne room of grace can
I obtain mercy and find ability to help in time
of need. Through it all, I know I have been chosen
of God to sow seeds of love, grace and mercy (Micah
6:8). Jesus is my life! I live to serve Him humbly
with all my heart. A miracle has taken place.
In closing, I recall the conversion of the Apostle
Paul. Jesus Christ spoke to Ananias and commanded
him to minister to Paul. But Ananias said, "I
have heard by many of this man, how much evil
he has done to the saints at Jerusalem...But the
Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen
vessel unto me, to bear my Name before the Gentiles,
and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will
show him how great things he must suffer for My
Name's sake" (Acts 9:13-16).