Former Satanist From Ohio Glimpses Lake of Fire
"The Holy Spirit opened my eyes and I knew I was going to Hell."
by Rick Wesley
You certainly wouldn't know it to look at him. Mid-40's, clean-cut, bespectacled?a virtual poster-boy for "Successful Businessman Quarterly." Larry Whatley is a strong Christian and church leader who volunteered in the Billy Graham Cincinnati Mission effort. But Whatley once followed a path that literally took him physically to the edge of a cliff in Carlsbad, California and spiritually to the edge of the abyss of Hell.
"On Nov. 15, 1986 in the middle of a ceremony involving a high priestess of a witches coven, several warlocks and myself, Jesus Christ opened my eyes, and He came into my life. And it has changed my life in a massively dramatic way."
Whatley will soon retire from his job as a nuclear project engineer to embark on a career in finance. Whatley spent 13 years traveling the U.S. working at various commercial nuclear plants. He is currently a member of Open Arms Community Church in Fairfield, Ohio.
Whatley's parents took him and his younger brother to church when they were young. But by his teen years, "as kids do, I got real rebellious and quit going to church altogether." Whatley's father was away fighting in Vietnam. "When he returned from 'Nam he was pretty much disillusioned by things he had seen during the war."
Whatley's father had been a devout Christian, and though he "maintained a steady faith in the Lord, for 20-30 years after his experiences in 'Nam, he never went back into a church."
"Losing that foundation and being rebellious, I got involved with the wrong crowds."
It was at this point that Whatley became involved in drugs. "Mostly pot," he said. Whatley dropped out of school in his junior year from Woodrow Wilson High in Tacoma, WA, and joined the Navy. But Whatley found trouble once again or trouble found him.
"I got heavily involved in drugs," Whatley said. "I was totally disgruntled with the Lord. I wasn't even considering Him in my life."
It was in 1981, while working at a nuclear facility in Oregon that Whatley met Dianne-a woman who was to lead Whatley to the very edge of the abyss. "She seemed like a nice lady and we started dating. I had no knowledge of her activities or her past," he said.
They married in December 1981. "Our life was cocaine and pot," he said. After marrying, Whatley took a job in Oconee, South Carolina near Clemson University, when he first discovered his wife's involvement in the occult. "I found out that Diane was involved in various forms of witchcraft," Whatley said. "She was also into crystals, pyramids, amulets, color magic, tarot cards and palm reading. Dianne considered herself a 'white witch.' She felt she used her magic for good. But the only things that I ever saw were either self-serving or to bring harm to other individuals."
In the ensuing months, Whatley began to discover the depth of his new wife's depravity. And he was introduced to Dianne's coven. "I found out this group of (5-6) women she had coming over to the house weren't just baking brownies-they were all involved in witchcraft and the occult."
At first, Whatley was not permitted to be actively involved in or present at the actual rituals. "They told me I was a "Gatekeeper." Whatley was considered to have a "force of good" that was necessary for the coven's activities. But Whatley's involvement deepened. "There are a lot of things that went on over the next few years that I am deeply ashamed of," Whatley said.
Whatley's duty was to take the Bible and find a verse that somehow loosely "corresponded" to the particular ritual the coven was performing. "I would find a Scripture and twist it to make it match what they were doing. The occult has many facets, many sides," Whatley said. "They are all a lie straight out of the pit of Hell."
Though the coven may have initially professed itself to be "white witches," Whatley said they progressed to be full-blown "servants of Satan." They began to throw lots of "parties" which were in actuality recruitment sessions. Lonely and impressionable young teens searching for respect and acceptance were made welcome.
"These kids-16 and 17-year-olds-would come over to the house and gradually be drawn in to the coven. What I didn't realize was that some of those rituals now were involving perverted activities. I suspected it. But I didn't want to believe it."
With the coven and their "Gatekeeper" everything was strictly on a need-to-know basis. "I would get a phone call at work: 'Larry, there are some heavy things going on - don't come home."
And Whatley would stay away. Partly out of loyalty. Partly out of fear. "One time I did try to go home after I'd been told not to and I physically couldn't go onto the property. I tried. But the fear that I felt was so overwhelming that I couldn't even step up on the sidewalk in front of the house. I had to get back in my car and leave until I was given the call to come home," Whatley said.
Whatley realized that his wife and her friends had gone, in his words, "over the edge" in their journey into the occult. But he loved his wife. And he was estranged from God.
A revealing and frightening aspect of their story is that though the Whatleys moved frequently due to the transient nature of his job, Dianne never had any trouble in establishing a new coven. "It didn't matter where we went. She always had people around her who were into that," said Whatley.
After having been more a part of the group's inner sanctum, Whatley suddenly found the group distancing themselves from him, and he from them. "I didn't know it (then) but my sister Linda had been praying for me daily?that God would somehow come into my life."
God answered those prayers by placing Lawrence Crawford in Whatley's life who would witness to Whatley simply by how he lived his life. Affectionately known as "Chocolate Thunder" by his co-workers, Crawford was an African-American man who was both a giant physically and spiritually. For the next two-and-a-half years Whatley observed how Crawford would Bible-study at lunch and on breaks. How he would speak to and deal with his fellow workers. How Crawford "lived a sermon." And ever so slowly, it began to impact him.
"Seeing that personal witness being played out in the life of Larry Crawford is one of the reasons I'm a Christian today," Whatley said. "God just started dropping people into my life. None of them witnessed to me. But you could see it in their life. It was a living witness."
On her 35th birthday, Dianne was to undergo a "Ritual of Purity." During this ritual she would invite demonic familiar spirits-her "spirit guides" -to totally inhabit her. Larry, who was working in Louisiana, was ordered to go back to Carlsbad to preside over that ritual in his role as "the Gatekeeper." Coven members assembled at the Whatley house for the occasion, facilitating what was to transpire through chants and rituals. Dressed in a transparent white robe, Dianne led Larry to a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Larry had chosen Rev. 12-13 and Rev. 21:5-6 as appropriate verses for the ceremony.
"Standing there on that cliff," said Whatley, "as I read from Revelation, I suddenly stopped and did something totally uncharacteristic to me. I challenged God. I called out and said 'God, if you're real, and this book is truly yours, I challenge you to reveal to me in this Word something I can believe."
God took the challenge. Instead of reading the verse he had planned, Whatley found himself reading from Rev. 22:8. "That the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice the magical arts, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur."
It was as if Whatley had been struck by a thunderbolt. He dropped the talisman he had been holding and stepped away from the edge of darkness and made his first strides toward the light. "The scales fell off that had been blinding me for 20 years and the Holy Spirit opened my eyes. And I knew that I knew I was lost and going to Hell," said Whatley.
Three days later, after finally leaving Dianne and the occult world behind, Whatley was on a plane bound for L.A.-firmly convinced of only two things. That his soul was doomed to eternal damnation-and that he was going to die before his plane landed.
Terrified and weeping, the demonic voices telling Whatley he was going to surely die were suddenly quieted. In their place Whatley says he began to hear children's voices singing softly, joyfully, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so." Verses learned long ago as a child welled up inside Whatley and he remembered his words on the cliff.
"I said, 'God, I need you in my life.' And I repented of my sins right there. I asked God 'Can you forgive me for what I've done? Can I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior?'"
Whatley's answer was instantaneous. "The power of God just flooded into me. It was a sensation I will never forget."
Today, Whatley is a pillar of the community, in love with the Lord and with his wife Mary, a lifelong Christian. He frequently gives seminars at churches testifying about his former life and the power and mercy of God. And he offers a lifeline to those who may currently be trapped in the same dark world he once inhabited.
"People who are bound up in the occult, people that have been serving demons?even those who have gotten away from that, yet have the prevalent belief, because of the lying spirit whispering in their ear on a continuous basis, saying, 'Jesus doesn't love you. God doesn't want anything to do with you. You have committed the unpardonable sin. You have served the Kingdom of Satan and there is nothing you can do to get back to God. God does not want you.' And that is such a lie. Jesus is standing there right beside those people saying: 'Come to Me.' He's knocking on the door. But they have to open that door."
"If Jesus could reach down in the middle of a satanic ceremony and open up the eyes of a warlock who's worshipping Satan, and show him that he's lost and going to Hell, and then turn right around and offer him salvation?He can do the same for you. No matter what your circumstances."
Reprinted by permission, Christian Citizen USA.