We’re moving into modern day apocalypticism. We’re going to talk about 3 main figures: Bo Gritz, Julie Rowe, and John Pontius. Bo was former army officer and Mormon convert who ran for president of the United States in 1992, receiving a significant number of votes in Utah.
Christopher: Yes, absolutely. In the 1990s, Bo Gritz is a great representative, as well as guys like Jim Harmston, and others, of a Latter-day Saint who’s become concerned about New World Order conspiracy theories. The United Nations, what role are they going to play in sort of setting up the scene for an anti-Christ figure and certainly our own distrust of the idea of the sort of global government? I just find that really interesting how Latter-day Saints turn in that direction as well. This is a moment where far right conservative, political ideas–John Birch Society is functioning in Utah and sometimes, John Birch Society isn’t far enough for some people in Utah County.
Julie Rowe currently has a YouTube channel where she shares her beliefs. John Pontius has written an influential book called Visions of Glory.
Christopher: John Pontius wrote this book, “Visions of Glory,” which is Spencer’s story of his near death experience. Then there’s Julie Rowe, whose publisher Chad Daybell, helped her write several books about her experiences. Some people have wanted to say, the reason Spencer had so much more influence, particularly amongst mainstream Latter-day Saints, is because he was a man, Julie was a woman. I think that’s related to what’s going on here. But I actually think something else is going on here, because Spencer played the rules. The rules are, you don’t want to become a celebrity, you’re not trying to build a following away from the Church. He makes himself anonymous.
His narrative is about how he actually had this vision and didn’t share it until God told him to. He was friends with an apostle, and that apostle discouraged him from sharing it until he received revelation to do so. His details are so thoroughly–I mean, it’s really a Last Days’ event, that is about the power of the church, like the church coming together. I mean, he plays by all these rules, but the most important rule he does is he doesn’t continue to write. He doesn’t show up in podcasts. He doesn’t have a website you can watch him. You can’t send him money for energy work.
Whereas Julie, and Julie would say, she’s received direction to do this. Part of her message is what she’s going to do. She’s going to be this general in a Last Days’ army, this nine-month war. She needs to prepare camps and gather supplies for individuals. She wrote multiple books. She started a YouTube channel. You can pay her a significant amount of money to have energy work done. I assume she’s doing it for the best of reasons, but she’s an entrepreneur. This is something that most Latter-day Saints would think is a little too close to being a paid preacher, or a little too close to being schismatic. So, I think it’s interesting to piece those two together, and think why would one be prosperous in these stories and one not? Ultimately, it’s interesting to me that these visionaries rise to popularity, and then they rise and fall. So, when one falls another shows up. I trace that most of these are based on near death experiences. So, I think it’s interesting that Betty Eadie, the first major near death experience writer who wrote her own book, was a Latter-day Saint.
Dr. Christopher Blythe will tell us more about these recent figures. (We will focus on Chad in our next episode.) Check out our conversation….
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