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My involvement with the occult started when I was very young. I read books on ghosts, magic and ESP. I attended slumber parties where we held séances and played with Ouija boards. As a teen in Los Angeles, I read New Age texts and books on sorcery. The band I was singing with read those books too. We used drugs and invited "allies" (demons) into our lives. We learned to mentally manipulate objects. I'd never experienced such power before. But even though our focus was white magic—you know, the "good guys"—we were still playing with the devil. And soon my life became a living hell.

As I got deeper into this ring of sorcery, I realized it was evil and that attaining the highest level of power involved killing someone. I wanted out. That's when my "friends" turned on me. My car was stolen. I came home to find robbers in my house, and someone stole my modeling portfolio. A gang began stalking me. I was even tortured by my dreams. Then Jesus rescued me.

I decided to explore Jesus Christ and His teachings with the same energy I had applied to the New Age, and proceeded to read the Bible day and night. During this prayerful and diligent pursuit of truth, I found a safe place to live and a strong, loving church home with people who helped me rise above those choices that nearly destroyed me.

The Bible has a lot to say about the occult—mainly that God hates it. How much does He despise witchcraft, divination, sorcery, spiritism, human sacrifice and consulting with the dead? Deuteronomy 18:12 states, "Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord."

Looking back, I was very fortunate to escape the occult, yet I know others who've not been so successful. That's why I'm very concerned about the attacks being leveled against adolescents today. They're bombarded with television shows, video games, music and movies that make the occult look cool.

Great Britain's Pagan Federation, which represents druids and witches, claimed that the TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sabrina the Teenage Witch have fueled a rapidly growing interest in witchcraft among children. The organization averages 100 inquiries a month from kids who want to become witches. [Editor's Note: This article was written a full year before the first Harry Potter film reached theaters, after which the Pagan Federation reported another jump.] Last month it appointed its first-ever Youth Officer to counsel young people. Why? A spokesman for the Pagan Federation said his group is filling a spiritual need, picking up the baton dropped by the Christian church. How tragic! Clearly, if we don't address this issue with our teens, darker forces are waiting to do so.

The approach I take with the youth I teach is this: Instead of simply telling them not to watch Buffy or Charmed (two series I do not recommend), I will occasionally record an episode and watch it with them in a classroom setting. Due to their sin nature, curiosity and peer pressure, I know many of the kids in my group will watch these shows regardless. This way I can aggressively dissect the content with them rather than have them soak it in passively.

I remind students that Satan cannot create anything; he can only pervert what God has created. I help teens identify those perversions. For example, characters on Charmed often chant, "The power of three will set you free." So I stop the tape and ask the class to tell me what the devil is perverting. It's such a joy to see the light come on in their eyes as they yell out, "The Trinity!"

Exposing the darkness is one way we can teach teens to avoid the life-draining influences of the devil. We can also look for resources to help us defend this generation against spiritual attack. Most importantly, if a young person should come to you describing gothic nightmares or demonic visions, please take them seriously. That teen could have been me. Pray with them. And be sure to point them to Scriptures such as Luke 4:1-13, Revelation 12, Genesis 3:1, John 8:42-47 and 2 Corinthians 11:14, which proclaim God's sovereignty and expose Satan's true character.

Atlantic recording artist Tracy Dawn emerged from the L.A. club scene and dark spiritual confusion to take her place among CCM's most passionate singer/songwriters with her 2000 debut, Poetic Aftermath.

Published October 2000

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