Visions On Demand: The Medjugorje Conspiracy
Fake Apparition • Real Consequences
"Medjugorje," said the priest, "is the devil's plan for the pious."
It wasn't surprising to hear a priest talk about Medjugorje this way. But it was surprising to hear a Franciscan talk this way, especially at Medjugorje itself. It just shows how things have changed over the years. This man had been there for over ten years and in that period of time had gone from believing that Medjugorje was a visitation of the Mother of God to where he now believed that it was a demonic hoax, and I was listening to the story of his spiritual odyssey.
"The whole point of this," he said gesturing toward St. James Church in one direction and all of the buildings, drug centers, souvenir shops, "orphanages" in the other, "is to take a human oracle and promote it to the status of something divine, and then to excommunicate everyone who doesn't believe it. This is another Jesus."
In early 1997 Network 5 began an investigation that culminated in Visions on Demand, the first TV documentary that deals honestly with the financial and spiritual manipulation behind what promises to be one of the greatest spiritual hoaxes of the 20th century. Network 5 later joined forces with E. Michael Jones, an American journalist who has investigated Medjugorje for the last 10 years. What they came up with is the definitive explanation of how Medjugorje got started and the damage it has caused, based on footage which has never been seen before. The uproar has already started in England and now it's on its way over here.
Queen of Peace - Ethnic Cleansing - Ruined Lives
Written by E. Michael Jones. The Medjugorje Deception breaks the conspiracy of silence that has surrounded one of the biggest hoaxes of the 20th century. It tells the full truth . . . from the bloody atrocities during World War II on the other side of Apparition Hill to their bloody sequel in the ethnic cleansing of Mostar's Muslims with money raised by Medjugorje groups. The Medjugorje Deception is more than a book; it's a spiritual work of mercy.
BISHOP PERIC OF MOSTAR:
"Medjugorje, considered as a location of presumed apparitions, does not promote peace and unity but creates confusion and division, and not simply in its own diocese. I stated this in October 1994 at the Synod of Bishops and in the presence of the Holy Father, and I repeat it today with the same responsibility."
Letter from Dr. E. Michael Jones:
It was 5 o'clock in the morning and I was lying on my bed at the Silver Legacy casino in Reno, Nevada unable to sleep because of either jet lag or all that was running through my mind. So rather than just lie there, with all that I had to do, I decided to go down to the restaurant- since in the casinos everything is open 24 hours a day-and have something to eat. As I'm waiting for breakfast I look out across row upon row of unoccupied slot machines and see this lady sitting at one about 10 rows away from me. She is sitting there waving her arms.
She's not winning any money as far as I can tell; she's just sitting there alone in this huge room full of slot machines waving her arms, as if she's drowning. And I'm sitting across the room looking at her wondering what I'm doing at a casino in Reno at five in the morning, when a little voice from deep inside me answers, "Stupid, you're doing research on the Blessed Mother."
I was in Reno to meet the husband of a seer, or better, the seer's ex-husband. Jeff Lopez met Tonie Alcorn in April of 1987 as the result of an affair they had had when both of them were working at Wendy's in Denver, Colorado. In March of '91, shortly after pleading guilty to a charge of check fraud, Tonie, who was then known as Theresa Lopez, went to Medjugorje. By November of 1991 she was having her own apparitions and drawing thousands of people to the Cabrini Shrine near Denver, Colorado. Two years later, Theresa left her husband to become a full-time seer. The last time they were together she told him "if I get involved with this I can be somebody." Phil Kronzer, the wealthy California businessman who introduced us, had lost his wife to Medjugorje around the same time Jeff Lopez had, over the winter of '93-'94.
Both of these domestic tragedies began with Medjugorje. They represented just two links in a long chain of fraud and deceit that began on a hillside in Bosnia in 1981.
Medjugorje nearly destroyed me too. I became involved in the Medjugorje story over the spring and summer of 1988. As the editor of Fidelity, a Catholic magazine, based in South Bend, Indiana, I kept hearing conflicting reports from my readers. Some claimed that Medjugorje had changed their lives dramatically; some felt it was a hoax but had nothing to go on but suspicious promotional materials from Medjugorje newsletters.
In May of 1988 two wealthy supporters of the magazine paid my way over so that I could do a story based on my own experiences. The two long articles I wrote, which were eventually published in the book Medjugorje: the Untold Story, were both disturbing and dismaying to large numbers of Catholics in the United States and eventually throughout the world. After the articles came out, the letters poured in, some people explaining that they were praying to the Blessed Mother - that I would have a massive heart attack and die.
That's how dangerous this thing is - spiritually, morally, financially and politically. The break-up of these two marriages was one more bad thing that had happened to the world since the Queen of Peace arrived in Yugoslavia in 1981. Proponents of the apparition like to talk about its fruits. All right, let's talk about the fruits: the broken families, the pregnant nuns, the poor people bilked of their money, the division in the Church, the de facto schism, the worst fighting in Europe since World War II, the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from Gradno, just five kilometers from Medjugorje - all of it followed inexorably from those children on that hill in Bosnia in June of 1981.
And then to top it all off, when I got back to my room in Reno I got a call from a man in England telling me that if I went back to Medjugorje the Franciscans were going to have me killed. So add death threats to the list of fruits.
For a while I thought I was out of the Medjugorje business. Then I gave a talk in London in September of 1996, and then a TV producer who had done a pro-Medjugorje video heard the talk. In January 1997 he contacted me and said that he had changed his mind, that he now knew that what he said in the first video was wrong, and that he wanted to do another video that would tell the truth.
So, after nine years I was back in the Medjugorje business and flying back to what used to be Yugoslavia to do the story again. No, scratch that. I was flying back to do the rest of the story, the story of what had happened since 1988.
I'm writing to you now to share with you what I risked my life to find out. I'm writing to you because I think that the truth is great and that it will prevail, but only if we are open to it and do our part to promote it.
I'm writing to you because I'm tired of seeing good people's lives destroyed by the lies and the manipulation and the greed that Medjugorje has spawned over the almost two decades since it began.
I'm writing to you because I'm tired of seeing families break up. I'm writing to you because I'm tired of seeing the Blessed Mother used as a front for the occult.
I'm writing to you because I'm tired of seeing money collected for charity being used to wage war.
I'm writing to you because I'm tired of hearing lies put into the mouth of the Blessed Mother.
If just one of the accusations I've just leveled were true, it would be reason enough to warn people. But everything I've said is true and every accusation I've leveled can be proven.
But don't take my word for it. Take the word of the Bishop of Mostar, the man in charge of the diocese where Medjugorje is. I met with Bishop Peric twice this year. Bishop Peric knows that you don't cross the Medjugorje crowd with impunity. In April of 1995, the bishop was attacked by a mob in his chancery; his pectoral cross was ripped from his person; he was beaten up by the mob and then forced into a car and driven to an illicit chapel run by the Medjugorje Franciscans and held hostage for 10 hours. It was only when the mayor of Mostar showed up with UN troups that the bishop was released.
And what does Bishop Peric have to say about Medjugorje? He says:
"There are many disorders there. Thre are Franciscan priests there with no canonical mission; religous communities have been established without the permission of the diocesan bishop, ecclesiastical buildings have been erected without ecclesastical approval, parishes are encouraged to organize official pilgrimages, etc. Medjugorje, considered as a location of presumed apparitions, does not promote peace and unity but creates confusion and division, and not simply in its own diocese. I stated this in October 1994 at the Synod of Bishops and in the presence of the Holy Father, and I repeat it today with the same responsiblity" ( cited in Present, 25 January 1997).
You ignore warnings like this at your peril, and that's why I'm writing to you today. I've never been involved in a TV documentary before. I don't even own a television. And yet this year, after thinking that I was out of the Medjugorje business for good, I've been involved in the making of two feature length TV programs. One of them just aired on prime time TV in England (Dispatches on Channel 4). The other which goes into greater depth on the stand the Church has taken, and why Medjugojre is a danger to you and the well-being of your family, is called Visions on Demand and I'm making it available to you right now.
I would guess that just about everyone who receives this letter has heard about Medjugorje, but that virtually no one knows one tenth of the facts that I've mentioned in this letter alone.
That's why I'm writing to you now. This information blackout has gone on for long enough. Too many people have been fooled. Too many people have been hurt. Too many families have been destroyed. Too many widows have been bilked of their money by unscrupulous con men. I'm writing a book which will document all of this and more. You will hear about the book in a few months. Right now, I want to put this video in the hands of the people who need it most.
Why? Because too many people have been hurt already.
Yours in Christ,
E. Michael Jones