Yesterday I was thinking about those very powerful things we call words. I thought especially of how our own words can ‘seal’ our own thoughts. Do you know what I mean?

If I am thinking a critical thought about another person and voice that to another human being, it hardens my heart against that first person. What was just a thought or observation takes on a life of its own. Likewise, if I am in a situation of stress and voice faith in God to help me, my heart is fed by my own words and I feel stronger.

From there my thoughts jumped to something Anna Salter said in her fascinating book about criminal minds. She concluded that a particular type of criminal uses his words as weapons. How? He talks and talks and talks as he tries to ensnare you in some way. Why? So you won’t have time to evaluate the quality of what he is saying. Words, words, words.

And since I was on the mental track of deception: self-deception, other-deception, I then thought of a passage in that unique book I have read and re-read: Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, by Charles Chiniquy. Again, I will introduce Chiniquy. He was a brilliant Canadian, Roman Catholic priest in the 1800’s. He was sent by his superiors into the Chicago region to be a leader of French immigrants as the Catholic church determined to essentially claim that area for herself. Instead, he was converted and helped lay the foundation of the Bible Belt.

Chiniquy has a fascinating insight into the use of words and sensory overload, employed together as weapons to further deception. Here is a passage describing the faithful Roman Catholic child’s first communion:

“For the Roman Catholic child, how beautiful yet sad is he first communion! With joy and anxiety he is about to eat for the first time what he has been taught to believe to be his God! Not in a symbolic or commemorative way but to eat His flesh, His bones, His hands, His feet, His head, His whole body! I had to believe this or be cast forever into hell. Yet all the time, my eyes, my hands, my mouth, my reason told me I was eating only bread!

Shall I say that I believed this? I believe like all good Roman Catholics believe. I believed as a corpse believes. My reason and senses had been sacrificed at the feet of that terrible modern god, the pope! Foolishly I had said to my intellectual faculties and my senses, “Hush, you are liars! Till now I had believed you were given to help me walk in the dark paths of life, but, behold! the holy pope teaches me you are only instruments of the devil to deceive me!”…..And a few paragraphs down….

The Church of Rome is the most skillful human machine the world has ever seen. Those who guide her dark paths are often men of deep thought. They understand the minds of children at the supreme moment when they would have to sacrifice their reason on the altar of Rome. To prevent these struggles, always so dangerous to the Church, nothing has been neglected to distract the mind to other subjects.

First, the parish priest, helped by the vanity of the parents themselves, sees that the children are clothed in every way best calculated to flatter their vanity. The church building is pompously decorated and the service charmed with choice vocal and instrumental music. Incense ascends from the altar in a sweet smelling cloud. People come from every direction to enjoy the beautiful spectacle. Priest from neighboring churches add to the solemnity. The officiating priest is dressed in the most costly attire. Silver and gold altar cloths are displayed before the wondering spectators. Often a lighted candle is placed in the hand of each young communicant. This itself would draw his whole attention, for a single false motion would set fire to the clothes of his neighbor, or his own, a misfortune that has happened more than once in my presence.

Now, in the midst of that wonderful spectacle, busy holding the lighted taper to keep from being burned alive, the moment of communion arrives without time for him to think of what he is about to do!”

Isn’t that interesting? A twenty-first century criminologist and a nineteenth century converted Roman Catholic priest are saying the very same thing. Evil people and institutions use very deliberate smokescreens to divert us while they accomplish their work of destruction.

Lord, we await the day when you destroy the destroyers!