= This file was downloaded from a Christian occult = BBS, and should be regarded as suspec
= This file was downloaded from a Christian occult =
= BBS, and should be regarded as suspect in areas of =
= factuality. The Christian cult has seldom displayed =
= any aversion to lying to achive their agendas. drice =
- by Ken Smith
"You deserve to die, Bob Larson ... I'll brand Satan's
cross on YOUR forehead!" F1@ Such are the threats of
Glen Benton, lead singer (and I use that term advisedly)
of the Tampa-based death-metal band, Deicide. Even in his
photographs, the burly 25-year-old rocker looks as
sinister as his music sounds, right down to the inverted
cross -- his `trademark' -- burned into his forehead.
A challenge like that, from a self-professing Satanist,
would frighten any sane man. But the object of Benton's
attention, veteran Christian talk-show host Bob Larson,
shows no fear. In a fund-raising letter, he boasted that
he will face Benton anywhere -- "with the armor of the
Lord and the power of God's word."F2@ Benton reiterated
his threats while in Denver on a recent concert tour, but
Larson was so confident that, to the best of our
knowledge, he never even bothered to press charges.
July 15, 1993. Larson appears as a guest on Ft.
Lauderdale radio station WFTL, denouncing death-metal
bands like Slayer and others as "posers" who are merely in
it for the money. But when host Pat Stevens asked him
whether he was in the ministry for the money, he
indignantly said that he was "insulted" that she would
even ask that question. And that's where I came in.
My opening salvo was familiar to CPR readers: "The
primary mission of Bob Larson Ministries is to minister to
the extravagant financial needs of Bob Larson; the kids
are just an alibi."F3@ I followed by reiterating three
basic charges: (1) although he tells his audience that his
ministry was on the edge of financial disaster, it was
sitting on nearly $2 million in cash;F4@ (2) even though
he supposedly earned a modest $69,000 salary from the
Ministry, his total compensation package from Ministry
sources was somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000 per
year,F5@ and (3) while we had a copy of a letter from
his attorneyF6@ clearly indicating that he did not -- in
any meaningful sense of the word -- write his best-selling
novel, _Dead Air_, he still claimed authorship. I further
outlined the documentation we have at our disposal, which
includes contracts, the Ministry's audited financial
statements, and other documents signed under penalty of
As a guest, Larson didn't have his `panic button' handy;
he became almost apoplectic. His calm, self-assured
facade gave way; his voice betrayed a chilling sense of
desperation. You see, it is quite easy to refute the
ravings of a madman ... but facing up to several pounds of
hard documentation is quite another matter. Unable to
respond intelligently to my charges, Larson resorted to a
ferocious _ad hominem_ assault -- accusing me of
complicity in a litany of criminal acts, and labeling me a
"stalker" who has hounded him for years. And then, he
adroitly tried to change the subject:
"You want to talk about my novel. If you want to
talk about that I'll be happy to discuss it; if you
want to talk about the personal private affairs or the
personal marital affairs of the other gentlemen in the
room -- and let's bring all those issues out in the
open -- and we want to make that the subject..."F7@
Stevens saw through Larson's blatant diversionary
tactic, and would have none of it:
PS: "Well, what we want to talk about, Bob, is Bob Larson
Ministries, and Bob Larson Ministries is what you had, and
that's -- that seems to be what's being taken into issue
BL: "We're not here to talk about Bob Larson Ministries."
PS: "Well, I'm here to talk about Bob Larson Ministries. Are
you ashamed of your involvement with the Ministries? Are
you not willing to confront this individual?"
BL [interrupting]: "I, er..."
PS: "If he's actually a liar, then you should be really
anxious to be able to point it out on the air, and
PROVE he's a liar!"
BL: "Pat, if you know anything about pathological stalkers,
you know the most dangerous thing you can do is to
allow these people any further opportunity, and I will
not threaten the lives of my family..."
PS: "Sounds to me like you're a chicken, Bob. Sounds to
me like you're too darned afraid to bring this up ...
and I think you'd better pray to God, and have a
little bit of strength and courage and confront this
The phone fell silent. Bob Larson, that proud spiritual
warrior, a grizzled veteran of hundreds of exorcisms,
simply hung up. And, when the people at WFTL tried to get
him back, he evidently refused: "He's afraid of your
long-distance caller. He won't go back on the air."F9@
Let's put this incident in its' proper perspective. Bob
Larson can look the Devil in the eye -- and, make him
blink. He can face avowed Satanists like Glen Benton and
Vince Crowley (of the death-metal band Asheron) without
fear -- for he knows that the armor of the LORD will
protect him. But yet, he flees in stark terror from the
inquiries of a certified public accountant?
_Res ipsa loquitur_ (the thing speaks for itself).
NJudge not, lest ye be judged....@
As _World_ editor Joel Belz pointed out,F10@ Bob
Larson's teachings are the picture of orthodoxy. Thus it
is not that he doesn't believe the Scriptures, but rather,
that he believes they apply only to mere mortals --
best-selling authors and commentators are, of course,
exempt. For little gods like Bob, do what thou wilt shall
be the whole of the law.
For instance, in a letter to Christian talk-show host
John Stewart, Larson chastises him for his supposed
"efforts to publicly bring harm to the Lord's work" and
invokes Matthew 7:1: "... in the same way you judge
others, you will be judged (NIV)."F11@ Further, he has
vilified his other critics, charging them with
perpetrating "vicious attacks" and engaging in "unethical"
conduct on occasions too numerous to mention.F12@
Therefore, if he is to have the right to judge us, his
conduct in this affair must itself be reasonably ethical,
and devoid of vindictiveness. In that light, let us
consider how Bob Larson has conducted his affairs.
In the winter of 1988, a Larson employee leaked
internal BLM memos to Christianity Today outlining a
scheme wherein Bob would feign illness, so that he could
take his annual vacation in Maui without suffering a drop
in donations. Of course, the memos mysteriously
disappeared ... and just three weeks later, that
"extremely mentally unstable" employee, as Larson put it,
was fired.F13@ The employee, Yvonne Morgan, sued Larson
shortly thereafter; some of the allegations made in her
pleadings are decidedly intriguing:
"7. After her probationary period, Plaintiff became
aware of unusual, and improper practices, including
practices which she believed to be unlawful.
8. Upon realizing that unlawful practices were
occurring, including but not limited to donors being
provided false information concerning the financial
needs/expenditures of Bob Larson Ministries, ...
9. In response to a request for feedback from
Defendant, Bob larson, Plaintiff provided written
memoranda, as well as provided verbal input concerning
what she believed to be improper practices, including
the hiring of an individual, and the ministry paying
her a substantial sum of money when it was obvious to
Plaintiff, and others, that the primary purpose in her
being hired to work for the ministry was a personal
one of Defendant, Bob Larson.
10. A great deal of undue stress, and other
intentional conduct was perpetrated against Plaintiff,
including but not limited to her receiving a memo,
shortly before she was terminated, to the effect that
`your body is going to be found floating face down in
28. From the time that Plaintiff began opposing the
unlawful practices of Defendants, she has been
receiving, and continues to receive harassing phone
calls at home."F14@
Larson quietly settled this case out of court for
$30,000, F15@ and if the allegations Morgan made had any
grounding in fact, advisedly so. In defense of Larson,
the line separating illegal from unethical conduct is not
always a clear one. However, the Morgan incident is
evidence of Larson's modus operandi: the strategy he
employs to neutralize his critics.
Lori Boespflug, World's `star witness', reported that
Larson hurled personal threats at her as well. In my July
1992 interview with her, she related her firing (on a
Saturday night, at her daughter's dance recital) in lurid
detail -- among the myriad vulgarities he unleashed during
his tirade, he pledged to "make her life a living
hell."F16@ It is, ironically, one of the precious few
promises that he has, on some level, been able to keep.
Larson's penchant for defaming his opponents is, if
anything, even more pronounced. However, the shameless
methods he will resort to in order to get his `mud' are so
far beyond the pale of ethical behavior as to speak for
themselves. You can imagine my shock when I received a
copy of this internal Bob Larson Ministries memo from one
of my BLM sources:
"TO: Angelo [Diasparra, BLM vice-president]
RE: Rummerfield [Golden, CO-based private investigator David]
FROM: Bob Larson
I think you need to talk over with Chris J. [Chris Johnson,
the Ministry's general counsel] the options he has indicated.
I am not impressed with his report. Is this all we get for
the money spent? He hasn't reached any conclusions we
didn't already know. I thought we'd get some serious info
about Ken Smith that couldn't be obtained by any reasonable
person by just reading his letters. I hesitate to go
forward unless he does some serious detective work...Smith's
finances, employment situation, comings and goings,
relationships...anything we can do to put some heat on him.
Also, by now you should have checked up on the Susan Miller
situation and returned her call. (Be careful for a set up.)
We don't need Rummerfield for that. You call and find out
what you can."F17@
Larson has never disputed the authenticity of this memo
-- instead, he has claimed that it was the product of
computer theft.F18@ But even if it was obtained from
the Ministry via gunpoint, it still shouldn't change the
fact that Larson was intent upon gathering information on
me that can have only two conceivable purposes: blackmail
or revenge. [Incidentally, upon receiving said memo, I
immediately turned it over to the custody of the Lakewood
(CO) Police Department;F19@ my copy was obtained from
Jon Trott of _Cornerstone_ magazine.]
In an interview on Wichita radio station KNSS, Larson
explained the memo in the following manner:
"It was a private communication with regards to threats
upon my life ... with regards to arson threats upon my
If there is any nexus between that memo and supposed
arson threats, it is tenuous in the extreme. The Lakewood
P.D. did report one incident, but it has more the flavor
of a high-school prank than anything else. As the
reporting officer described it, this purported "threat"
consisted of a photograph of two unidentifiable
individuals -- wearing hooded robes and apparently
"holding a flaming bottle of beer" -- allegedly standing
outside his house. The message on the back of the
photograph read, "This Bud's for you, Sh**head! Happy
Halloween P.S. Love your house $441,000."F21@ As might
have been expected, Larson fingered me as a suspect, if
for no other reason than I was getting a tad too close to
uncovering the skeletons in his Ministry's closet.
None of Larson's opponents have been spared from his
naked and vindictive `verbal muggings'. His latest victim
(aside from myself) was Chicago-based _Cornerstone_
[in response to a caller] "No, _Cornerstone_ is not
a reputable magazine. They've been on a `kick' for
the last two years to destroy anyone who speaks out
against Satanism, and they will stoop to any tactic,
they will lie, they will misrepresent any fact, and
they will twist anything.... And what they did to me
-- the lies they were willing to dis tribute and the
things they were willing to tell that were flat out
lies ... and they know than they were lies ... and
the kind of, uh, uh, I wouldn't expect out of the
National Enquirer what they did behind the scenes in
the most ugly -- the most incredible, ugly kinds of
ways to destroy me...."F22@
[re: a follow-up question on Mike Warnke] "It isn't
just an issue of what they said about Mike that was
true or not true, it's how they went about it ... the
tactics -- the unethical, illegal tactics they used to
bring Mike down. It was vicious, and it was ugly. I
know what went on behind the scenes, and it's some of
the same kind of junk they tried to pull against
What Larson unquestionably objected to the most is that
_Cornerstone_ reprinted the most damning evidence against
him, a letter from attorney William T. Abbott -- which
clearly indicates that Larson did not, in fact, write
"his" best-selling novel, _Dead Air_. And, although he
evidently lacks the courage to address these issues in a
neutral site against a knowledgeable opponent, he has seen
fit to respond to the charge in the comparative safety of
his own studio (the caller raising the question was
heavily censored, and was not afforded a chance to
comment). His explanation is as follows:
"What they [_Cornerstone_] printed was plain and simple:
An attorney, that represented this ministry a couple of
years ago, became concerned about an employee who might
try to assert unreasonable rights, claiming contributions
to the book that were lies, and he was warning me in
advance about that. In fact, that very employee was fired
for immoral reasons [sic], turned around and did make the
allegations I was warned about in that idiotic letter that
was a stolen document of confidential private information
between attorney-client privilege [sic], had to do with an
attempt by this very individual, and all the attorney was
trying to was warn me that that might happen. That's
While Larson is a master at making it look as if he is
the victim, the letter he is referring to paints a
drastically different picture. Phrases like "knowing the
role Lori has played," "I know how I would advise her in
this regard," and "You will be required to write more"
make it self-evident that Larson's attorney knew full well
that Lori Boespflug could lay a legitimate claim to the
authorship of _Dead Air_. Standing alone, that letter
(and Larson's misrepresentation of it) is highly
incriminating. However, in the light of a wealth of
corrobo rating evidence (e.g., signed contracts, letters
from Thomas Nelson editor Janet Thoma to Boespflug, a Form
1099-MISC, authentication of the letter by Bill Abbott
himself, et al.), it becomes the proverbial `smoking gun'.
Larson's other contentions are either ad hominem or
non-sequiturs. Ms. Boespflug was in fact fired for living
with her fianc, but there is fairly convincing evidence
that there was a lot more to that story than meets the
eye. But regardless of the moral judgment you pass on her
conduct (do keep in mind that Larson divorced his wife --
not the other way around -- and recently married a
divorce nearly 20 years his junior)F25@, it should not
lessen her credibility in the slightest. If anything, it
adds credence to her testimony -- she didn't even try to
deny it, despite the fact that she "was certain" that she
would be fired for admitting it.F26@
Along similar lines, Larson's claim that the Abbott
letter was subject to the `attorney-client privilege' is
equally ludicrous. If, as Larson states, Bill Abbott was
in the employ of Bob Larson Ministries -- as opposed to
Bob Larson individually -- then that document was in fact
Ministry property. Hence, Boespflug, a corporate
officer,F27@ had a clear right to possession, and,
arguably, a fiduciary obligation to disclose Larson's
ultra vires activities. Conversely, even if Abbott was in
his employ at the time that letter was written, the
attorney- client privilege can be lost through client
negligence. Besides, if Bill Abbott was representing both
the corporation and Bob Larson personally, all sorts of
conflict-of-interest problems come up. Thus it would seem
that Boespflug obtained that letter both legally and
ethically. Consequently, so did _Cornerstone_'s Trott.
But even if _Cornerstone_ editor Jon Trott broke into
Larson's office and stole the "Abbott letter" from his
personal drawer, that wouldn't change the fact of its
existence, nor would it make it less true that "his"
best-selling novel was, for all practical intents and
I respectfully submit that Bob Larson does not have the
requisite standing to complain that he is the victim of
unethical conduct. The common law has an old saying: "He
who asks equity must do equity."
I could go on (and have, in my earlier article, _"The
Two Faces of Bob"_), but trust that I have made my point.
Bob Larson is a liar and a rogue -- a man with the
conscience of Jeffrey Dahmer, the grace of Sean Penn, and
the courage of Roberto Duran. His holy grail is naked
power; he cares not about those he would use and destroy
in order to attain it. I've seen the evidence, spoken to
And Bob knows it. That's why he fears me.
NFor Whom the Bell Tolls...@
It is perhaps fitting that, by his own words, Bob Larson
has sealed his fate. Responding to a caller who
criticized him for his penchant for attacking cults like
the Mormons and Masons, he said:
"Sir, when people claim to be Christian, or
Christ-like, and they are lying to the public, I
consider it my Biblical responsibility -- MY BIBLICAL
RESPONSIBILITY -- to take a stand."@28@
And all across the country, good Christians are
beginning to take a stand. One former `Bob-backer' went
so far as to pass out copies of _"The Two Faces of Bob"_
at his appearance in Dallas -- and was quickly escorted
from the premises by Larson's security people. A
gentleman in Wichita, after hearing Larson's interview
there, took it upon himself to offer us a donation (we
don't accept them). Still others are joining this fight
in more subtle ways: not contributing to BLM, boy-cotting
Thomas Nelson, and making their opinion known on the
nation's bulletin boards.
But the real heroes of this story are where you would
least expect to find them: inside the walls of Bob
Larson's own fortress. Even at the risk of their careers,
they provided a steady stream of essential intelligence.
When Bob strutted his stuff on the town with his latest
lovely, we knew about it. When Bob prepared to launch his
counter-attack, we were ready for it. And when Bob threw
his world-class hissy fit, storming out of his office
after our little confrontation in Wichita, we heard about
it. Sad fact is, these people might never be able to take
their well-deserved bows. They were willing to place the
truth above even their own livelihood; that demands
Where people dare to lead, their leaders care to follow.
Regrettably, the record of the Christian journalistic
community has not been quite as exemplary; the word
"abysmal" would be rather kind. Still, there are
indications that even these self-serving sycophants will
see the train before it hits them. Even David Neff -- who
bears ultimate responsibility for the whitewash job in
_Christianity Today's "Bob on the Block"_ -- candidly
acknowledged that I have provided him "with materials
which suggest that indeed something is rotten in Bob
Larson's ministry."F29@ (Of course, he was nowhere to be
found when his candor would have been useful, but that is
another story, for another place and time.) Who knows,
maybe even Doug Trauten will "get religion," as my Con Law
professor is wont to say. Folks like Anton Hein and the
people at _Cornerstone_ deserve kudos for their courage
... but they are exceptions, not the rule.
Those station owners who carry Larson's programs could
arguably be cited as complicitors in this sordid affair.
Bob Larson, despite his consistent claim of poverty, is
easily one of the best "pays" in the business. When
considering whether to pull "Talk-Back," CKER general
manager Diana Parker observed that they would be "lucky"
to sell that time slot to another Christian broadcaster
for 50% of what Bob Larson paid.F30@
Another station owner -- who swapped anonymity for candor
-- admitted that if he lost "Talk-Back," he might have to
close his station.F31@ It is difficult to resist the
allure of easy money -- only a handful of stations
(including CKER, one of Canada's "ethnic" stations, and
WHLV (whose owner, Garyl Gibson, did the original work on
Larson)) found the strength to resist. By contrast,
Anchorage pastor Jerry Prevo, a BLM board member that
reputedly has an interest in one of Larson's most
profitable stations, has stood by in silence.
But no one is more deserving of scorn than Thomas Nelson
president Sam Moore. Under his leadership, Nelson has
fallen to a standard of depravity which isn't even
tolerated by that supposed `object lesson in moral decay'
called Hollywood. When it was discovered that Milli
Vanilli did not record the vocals on one of their
best-selling songs, the entire musical world was outraged;
when it was learned that Larson did not write "his"
best-selling novel, the mavens of `mainstream morality'
were strangely quiescent. And now, we know why: Jerry
Falwell's ghost-writer is gay.F32@
Divine justice at work.
Maybe it is. Whether it is my will or Thine, the Bob
Larson scandal has brought together the unlikeliest band
of confederates imaginable. But all for a worthy cause.
During WFTL's Larson interview, Bob Sands, senior pastor
of Griffin Road Baptist Church, put the Larson scandal in
"I have no trouble with them bringing up information
about him, because I think he's leading people astray,
and the danger is that he's mixing a little bit of
truth with a little bit of error. And then what
happens is somebody like Bob Larson gets on your
particular radio program, and then all the other
people who are Christians -- are out there doing
legitimate ministries trying to help people -- look
An earlier caller poignantly pierces the veil of
illusion and hypocrisy which Bob Larson has so skillfully
woven into the fabric of his life and ministry:
Fred: "I've listened to Bob for about ten years, when he
first went on KVTT in Dallas, and one of the things
I think is rather interesting about it is when we
look at Bob, and what he says about being a
self-styled expert on satanism and the occult is:
what's his background? I.e., What church does he go
to? Where is he ordained? By what denomination?
What is his educational background -- does he have a
college degree? What is his military experience?
If you check this, it all adds up zero."
PS: [with raucous laughter in the background]: "He's ...
he's never been ordained? And he doesn't go to
Fred: "If he's ordained, he won't tell us who it is!"
Paul Castranova: "Can you back this up?"
Fred: "Yes, I can guarantee he will not tell you on the
air or anywhere else what church he goes to ... his
college, he was supposed to go to the University of
Nebraska; he never graduated, he was a dropout. [PS
makes a mostly futile attempt to hold back her
laughter.] And the fact is, what's his military
PS: "Well, this -- Was he ever in the military?
PS: "I don't know. Did he claim...."
PC: "You don't have to be in the military to be a preacher,
though, or talk on the radio."
Fred: "What I'm saying is that this is a man who has been
berating Bill Clinton on his program, week after
week, and yet, we find out that he doesn't even have
the credentials that Bill has!"F34@
Still, there are those in the Christian community who would
defend Bob Larson ... and that may be the most pernicious
scandal of all.
1 Bob Larson, "Back Me in the Battle," Fund-Raising Letter, 6
2 Ibid., p. 2.
3 Ken Smith, "Hot Talk with Al Rantell," Radio broadcast, 15
4 Bob Larson Ministries, 1991 Consolidated Balance Sheet
(obtained from Bob Larson Ministries, 12 Aug. 1992,
balance sheet reprinted in summary form in K. Smith,
"The Two Faces of Bob," infra n. 5), p. 2.
5 Ken Smith, "The Two Faces of Bob," April, 1993
(reprinted in Christian Press Report, 15 Jun. 1993,
currently on Abba II BBS, 619-487-7746, under LARSON-0.ZIP).
6 William T. Abbott, Letter, 8 Jul. 1991 (Reprinted in J.
Trott, Bob Larson's Ministry Comes Under Scrutiny,"
Cornerstone, Vol. 21, Issue 100, Feb. 1993, p. 41.).
7 Bob Larson, "Hot Talk with Al Rantell," Radio broadcast, 15 Jul.
8 "Hot Talk," ibid.
9 Ibid., ibid.
10 Joel Belz, "We Can't Be the Last to Tell," Editorial, World,
23 Jan. 1993, p. 3.
11 Bob Larson, Letter, 10 Feb. 1993, p. 2.
12 E.g., Bob Larson, "Talk-Back with Bob Larson," Radio
broadcast, 29 Jan. 1993.
13 "Questions Raised About Bob Larson Campaign," Christianity
Today, 3 Mar. 1989, p. 48.
14 Morgan v. Bob Larson Ministries, Complaint and Jury Demand,
signed 6 Mar. 1989 by attorney Andrew T. Brake, pp. 2-4
(according to Denver District Court clerks, the suit was
15 Lori Boespflug, Interview, 16 Jun. 1992.
16 Ibid., ibid (see also, Jay Grelen and Doug LeBlanc,
"This is Me, This is Real," World, Vol. 7, No. 32, 23
Jan. 1993, p. 9).
17 Bob Larson, Memo, 28 Dec. 1992.
18 Bob Larson, "Prepare For War," Radio broadcast, 29 Jan. 1993.
19 Ken Smith, Certified Letter, 31 Dec. 1992.
20 Bob Larson, Radio broadcast (KNSS - Wichita), 15 Jul. 1993.
21 Offense Report (Misdemeanor harassment), Lakewood (CO)
Police Dept. (Officer Ponczek, reporting), Case Report
#92-105773, 3 Nov. 1992, p. 2 (it is a closed case and
thus part of the public record). The deed, obtained by
the author from the Jefferson County Clerk and
Recorder, shows the actual sales price to be $440,000.
22 Bob Larson, "Talk-Back with Bob Larson," Radio
broadcast, 8 Jul. 1993.
23 Ibid., ibid.
24 Ibid., 28 Jul. 1993.
25 Application for Marriage License #E64338, filed 12 Feb.
1993 (The former Laura Ann Harris Anderson was born on
10/29/61 -- Larson was born on 5/28/44.
26 Lori Boespflug, Interview, 16 Jun. 1992.
27 Bob Larson Ministries, 1991 Corporation Report, attachment.
28 Bob Larson, "Talk-Back with Bob Larson," Radio
broadcast, 24 Mar. 1993.
29 David Neff, Letter, July 23, 1993.
30 Diana Parker, Telephone interview, March, 1993.
31 Name withheld by request, Interview (conducted by an
associate), July, 1993.
32 "The Gay Ghost," Newsweek, 26 Jul. 1993, p. 4.
33 Bob Sands, "Hot Talk with Al Rantell," Radio broadcast,
15 Jul. 1993.
34 "Hot Talk," ibid.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank