A Great Christian Scam
By Gary Amirault
This article generated enough interest to warrant complete documentation of the Wyatt Archaeological Research findings on the Tentmaker website.
Well, I hardly know how to begin this story. What I have been through the last couple of weeks sounds like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. As a matter of fact, part of this story deals with the subject matter of one of the Indiana Jones movies-the Lost Ark. It actually deals with two lost arks, Noah's and Moses'. The major difference between the Indiana Jones story and this one is that the Hollywood movie is fiction. What I am about to tell you is true.
In this short article, I will only be able to highlight some of the important parts. I will give more details on an audio tape which you may order.
This story began a couple of weeks prior to this issue of Dew going to press. In the book review section, I was going to review a book by Dr. Ernest Martin entitled The Secrets of Golgotha. His new up-dated version was scheduled to be released in the latter part of November. I had read his earlier version and found it interesting enough to write a favorable review. I was having a difficult time writing the review because Dr. Martin speaks strongly against the use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit today, especially speaking in tongues. He recently released a very strong warning against the kind of "speaking in tongues" used in the Charismatic Movement.
I also did not agree with his views on eschatology and prophesy, so I had some hesitation recommending his book because I knew those who ordered the book would be put on his mailing list to receive his other teachings. We agree on many things including the centrality of Jesus Christ, reconciliation of all mankind, and many others topics, but due to our differences stemming from the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we also see many things differently.
Nevertheless, I love him as my brother, and I highly respect his research into church history as well as his research into the ancient civilizations. I think his book has some great insights. I will gladly give his address to those of you who would like to order his book. Just don't get mad at me if you also get material speaking against dreams, visions, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit etc.
As I was working on the review of Dr. Martin's book, I came across some information which placed the site of Jesus' crucifixion at a different sight from Dr. Martin's location. I called the ministry who published this information. Dr. Martin places the crucifixion on the Mount of Olives. Ron Wyatt of Wyatt Archaeological Research (WAR) placed the site on Mount Moriah. Before releasing information on Dr. Martin's book, I felt I should look at the evidence from WAR. They sent me two videos and three books. One video was a two hour presentation entitled Discovered, Noah's Ark. The other video was entitled Presentation of Discoveries which presented a video presentation of several very significant archaeological discoveries made by Ron Wyatt. I also received three books entitled Discovered!-Mount Sinai, Wyatt Archaeological Research "Discovered" Volume, and The Ark of the Covenant.
Since the crucifixion location was what I was working on, I watched the video entitled Presentation of Discoveries and read The Ark of the Covenant first since these were supposed to contain the material on the crucifixion.
What I saw on the video and read in the small spiral-bound book made my jaws drop. I saw video clips and photographs of ancient sites and artifacts which just seemed unbelievable. This man, Ron Wyatt, believed he had verified the true discovery of Noah's Ark approximately 15 miles from the main peak of the Ararat Mountains, discovered the cities of Sodom and Gomorroh, revealed exact location of the Red Sea Crossing of Israel, showed in incredible video and photographs the original Mount Sinai, and to top it all off, he laid claim to having discovered the exact stake hole for the beam which held Jesus Christ. The crowning achievement was the discovery of the lost Ark of the Covenant buried 20 feet below the crucifixion site. He claimed the Ark was sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ when his side was pierced and the earthquake opened a crack which opened the way for His blood to literally drop down onto the Mercy Seat of the Ark.
As I watched this video and read the book, I could hardly believe my eyes. If this was all true, why hasn't every television channel broadcasted these amazing discoveries. But then some of it has appeared on television. His work on Noah's ark was aired on the television program 20/20, the Today Show, Discovery Channel as well as others. Wyatt's video on Noah's Ark was full of top quality scientists, archaeologists, government officials, and Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters, all seeming to acknowledge that this structure 15 miles south of the central peak of the Ararat Mountains was indeed, Noah's Ark.
I could hardly believe my eyes! But when watching Ron Wyatt make his presentation on the video, looking into his watery eyes as he described the blood of Christ sprinkling the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant, I couldn't call him a liar. He looked like one of the most humble, loving men I have ever seen. This video of the Ark of the Covenant was filmed at a convention of a large world-wide Christian Women's organization. The Christian astronaut James Irwin seemed to be involved with the Noah's Ark video. The videos and books were full of names of prominent people in Christian, scientific and archaeological, circles.
I cannot properly describe to you how effective the scenes on the video and Ron Wyatt's presentation were. You would have to see the video to know what I am trying to poorly convey. All I can say is this: I used to be in the advertising business and know how presentations are put together to make you buy something. Having been a successful sales manager, I know a great deal about techniques of persuasion. I have seen behind the scenes of many Christian organizations and have uncovered many power-driven, money-making deceptive practices by "respectable" Christian leaders. I have shown how many Christian publishers take dead men and women's books and edit them to change their doctrines to make the books more marketable. I have read many books uncovering some behind the scenes activities of some of the major Christian television broadcasting companies. I know about the many frauds going on in many of the healing and evangelistic ministries. I have read books like Marjoe revealing how the "World's Youngest Evangelist" was nothing but a money making con orchestrated by his greedy evangelist mother and father. I have talked to Amazing Randi the magician who exposed the evangelist Peter Popoff by showing on the Johnny Carson Show how Popoff's so-called "word of knowledge" was nothing but a radio receiver in his ear from which he was fed information about people in the audience. (Incidentally, even after being exposed as a fraud to the entire country, Amazing Randi, the magician told me Peter Popoff is still making millions still conning gullible Christians.)
I said all the above and could say much more just to let you know, as a result of what I know about deception in the Christian world, I don't get suckered easily. Yet after watching the video and reading the book about the Ark of the Covenant, based on his presentation, I had to believe he was telling the truth even though my mind said, "This can't be!"
I got the address of Wyatt Archaeological Research from a person who writes a Christian newsletter and travels the country teaching Bible. I called him and asked him whether he believed what Ron Wyatt had presented. He said he did. This man has spent a great deal of time studying Biblical times. I told him I wanted to check things out. He gave me the address and telephone number of the people who had first introduced him to Wyatt Archaeological Research material. (I will use the initials WAR for rest of the article.)
I called this number and talked with the wife of a man who had become a close confidant to Ron Wyatt. This woman, who would consider herself a devoted Christian, told me that at first she was extremely doubtful about what Ron Wyatt was claiming. But after several meetings and having her husband minister with Ron Wyatt, she was convinced he was one of the most sincerely Christian men she had ever met. She mentioned her husband shared some of the material from WAR in an audio tape which has been reproduced by many people and has gone all over the world. She said every week they get responses from all over the world wanting more information. I asked her for a copy of the tape. She gave me the name of a Christian bookstore in Portland, Oregon which sold the tape. I called the store and asked for a review copy. (Publications such a Dew that review books etc., often get review copies free.) The man, who sounded like he might own the store, told me it would cost $2.50 plus $2.00 postage and I could put it on my credit card. I hated to spend the money, but I did.
So now I had a newsletter writer and Bible teacher tell me they believed Wyatt's claims, a wife of an associate of Wyatt's who put him on a pedestal, and a Christian bookstore selling audio tapes that promoted Ron Wyatt's discoveries.
I called a friend of mine about this information and he informed me that one of the leading international Creation Science organizations was recommending Wyatt's materials. This friend of mine gave me 3 or 4 telephone numbers of Creation Science groups in the United States. He thought perhaps they might have some information on WAR.
At this point, things began to explode. I received about thirty pages of faxes of different articles from one of the leading Creation Science research organizations. These articles stated that Wyatt's research was at the best based only on circumstantial evidence to being an outright fraudulent. Another Creation Science organization whose present head comes from Australia, did a soft-shoe dance on a telephone interview with me. He basically said all of Wyatt's evidence for his discoveries is circumstantial, but he wouldn't rule it out. I later found out his organization not only promoted WAR's discoveries, but actually sold WAR's materials to their organization's supporters. This leading Creation Science spokesperson was so concerned for his position and job, that he would not acknowledge that he promoted a fraud. And we wonder why the Creation Science scientists have a difficulty establishing credibility.
This article cannot go into all the details dealing with all the scientific tests and archaeological evidence against almost all of WAR's claim to fame. For those of you who want the addresses for more information, I will happily forward them to you. I want to focus on something else.
One of the articles about Ron Wyatt which was faxed to me came from Christian Information Ministries International, whose editor is Bill Crouse. He did some investigation of Ron Wyatt and his organization and discovered some of Wyatt's information about himself in a brochure his Christian booking agency produced for him was untruthful. Bill Crouse spoke with Jeff Roberts and Associates, about the false information in the brochure they used in booking Wyatt into churches. (Yes, many Christian celebrities use booking agencies to get speaking engagements in churches) Quoting from the Ararat Report of May-June 1988 from Christian Information Ministries, it says, "It lists Ron as graduating from the University of Michigan with honors in Pre-med and as having finished all the requirements for both M.A. and Ph.D. in antiquities. It also lists him as being a Korean war veteran." Christian Information Ministries when checking this out found none of the above to be true. According to Bill Crouse, when Ron Wyatt's booking agency Jeff Roberts and Associates, located in Hendersonville, Tennessee, was questioned about the discrepancies in the brochure, they admitted the brochure needed to be re-written, but they did not know who was to blame for the inaccuracies.
I called this agency up to find out what their views of Ron Wyatt were today, 7 years later. First, I got a run-around. Then, the receptionist was told to tell me that it was too far in the past to remember. Imagine yourself as a small Christian booking agency and the man who claims to have found the Ark of the Covenant with the blood of Jesus Christ still on it wants to give you the honor of announcing it to the Christian world. It is your job to get this incredible information to the Christian world and seven years later, you don't remember anything about it? I told the lady to tell her boss, that as a Christian, he should be ashamed of himself. He was promoting one of the greatest scams I have ever come across in my life and now the head of this "Christian" booking agency is not willing to warn the Christian community of this con artist. Why? Because it would leave egg on his face and he would rather see the name of Jesus Christ dragged through the mud and thousands of innocent Christians being taken into this con, than to admit his part in this deception.
As I followed this story as far as my income would allow, I found many others, like the heads of this booking agency, willing to hide their involvement in this rip-off and allowing the show to go on to avoid the risk of "losing their credibility or reputation." A head of a Creation Science organization, Professors at seminaries, people who lost thousands of dollars investing in WAR, owners of Christian book stores, heads of large Bible teaching organizations, all just shoved the thing under the rug or were still promoting what I now see as probably the most incredible scam I have ever seen. Hollywood would have a difficult time creating a "Sting" movie as incredible as what I have come across the last few days.
Perhaps more incredible to me than the fact this con could go on as long as it has, is the response of many Christian leaders to this perpetration. I think the most honest response I got in this whole investigation came from a non-believer from a television studio. He said, "I became involved for the money." Thank you, non-Christian for a little honesty.
I can't cover most of what I discovered in the several days of investigative calls all over this country. I'll try to put all that in an audio tape complete with the details of how to get this information for yourself. I will tell you enough here to hopefully convince you WAR is a Christian con game. Ron Wyatt is either very psychologically ill or one of the greatest liars I have ever come across.
One of the individuals who I interviewed, who lost approximately 30,000 thousand dollars to Ron Wyatt, went to Israel with him, supposedly to see some of these sights and record them on film. An assignment editor of a major television station in Nasheville went with them. Not only did this individual not see any of these incredible discoveries, but his wife was told by one of Ron Wyatt's sons that the chariot wheels that Ron supposedly discovered in the Gulf of Aqaba were planted there by Ron. Mr. Wyatt gave this couple some coins which he supposedly found at the Ark of the Covenant site. Again, one of Wyatt's sons informed the wife that Wyatt bought those coins. Gentle, soft-spoken Ron verbally abused an Arab car rental agent when the agent told Mr. Wyatt that his son was to young to drive the vehicle.
This couple and the television man returned with nothing to show for the ten's of thousands of dollars he gave to Ron. Later, Ron returned and asked for $10,000 dollars more. This man told Ron he would give him the money if he agreed to take a lie detector test and sign a statement agreeing to allow this man to use the results of the test any way he wanted. Ron tried to get the money without agreeing to take the test, but when he saw that he would not get another dime without the test, he finally signed the statement and took the test. In the words of the man who put Ron Wyatt through the test, as told by the man who gave Ron Wyatt all the previous money, "He failed just about everything except his name."
After this, Ron Wyatt physically threatened the man who had Wyatt sign the statement. I also found out one of the so-called scientific apparatuses Ron Wyatt used to determine that he verified the true Noah's Ark, was a device advertised in the back of treasure hunter magazines. It was nothing but a glorified "divining rod." It had absolutely no scientific value whatsoever, yet leading ancient antiquities professors, Creation Science people with advanced degrees in geology, and newsmen fell for a modern version of the old water "divining rod."
I hope you understand the reason I am writing this story is really not to expose one man, Ron Wyatt. There are thousands of Ron Wyatt's in the Christian community. One of them may be in your pulpit. What I want to expose is what causes us to fall for these kind of schemes.
After I listened to the tapes and read the books, listened to Ron Wyatt give his explanations on the telephone for an hour, talked to his wife a couple of times, and spend almost an hour with the wife of one of Ron Wyatt's associates, I believed Ron Wyatt was telling the truth. I could not call him a liar. Everything about him seemed very Christ-like. His videos showed well known people support his views.
But I had an obligation to those who read Dew and receive Tentmaker material to search the matter further. It cost several days of time and probably hundreds of dollars, but it uncovered the lie which was so beautifully packaged. This scam had its beginning as early as 25 years ago. It is still going on, ever increasing in deception. Many leaders in the Christian community know it is a lie, yet they keep their mouths shut either because they do not want people to know they fell for it, or because they made money themselves from it, or because they are running a small version of a scam themselves and just don't want people to get too disgusted with things like this because it might shut down their little scam.
I have to admit, I believed this man was telling the truth. Should you see the video, you will see that it was put together very well and Ron Wyatt certainly deserves an Emmy for his performance. I have never seen such an amazing performance in my life.
As the pace in this world increases, and decisions have to be made faster and faster, it will be much easier for people to be taken advantage of. One of the biggest scams going right now in the Christian community is the Pre-trib Rapture teaching. This teaching has set up millions of Christians to be conned many times. The any-day-now rapture opens the door to Christians making many rash decisions because there is not enough time to think about it, certainly not enough time to search and see if these things be so. There is just enough time to buy the right books and tapes to get ready and maybe save some of your friends and relatives.
Christians of all different persuasions have developed the "tickled ear" syndrome. They are so busy chasing the things of the world while claiming to be seeking the things of the kingdom, there is not enough time to really study, search, and pray. We'll just find a nice looking man or woman who, for a little of our money and a couple hours on Sunday will keep us informed of what we need to do to be ready "when the Lord returns." And most of those who live like this do not realize that because of their own attitude about how to spend their time, they have prepared themselves to be a perfect candidate to attend a church with the same kind of leaders as Ron Wyatt.
What can I say to you to make you see the seriousness of this situation? Father, please do something to the one who is reading this right now to turn to You in a fresh way, to seek you with all their heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. Father, raise up leaders who do not seek to sit in Moses seat, but who desire to lift your people up to you. Raise up servants who can bring forth teaching which will make your people desire to study and seek your face in a deeper way than ever before. Oh, Father please, deliver your people. Set us free to enjoy receiving your wisdom so that we will no longer be taken in by charismatic cons who know how to manipulate our senses.
Addendum: I, Gary Amirault, wrote this article many years ago. Today, February 2013, I note that the internet is still buzzing with this fraud, Christians are still being scammed, major Television cable companies are still playing these videos. Internet sites are still selling Ron Wyatt videos, books and sulfer balls. Let me tell you, the television industry, has no regard for truth. It's all about money. Anyway, as the famous circus owner P.T. Barnum once said, "The show must go on." Scams, in religion, whether Judaism, Christianity, Islam or otherwise, will run on right to the end.
In Judaism, for example, did you know one could buy dirt from the Mount of Olives for $25 to sprinkle on your grave (that is if you are Jewish), so that your bones when they have to travel through the earth to get to Jerusalem at the resurrection won't hurt so much from the burrowing? Yep, I have a bill from a Jewish funeral service to prove it. Magic dirt from the Mount of Olives to heal your bones from the pain of having to burrow your way back to the land of Israel in time for the resurrection. You see, there are con artists in every religion. And the people will continue to waste their money on these cons, and the Rabbis, Priests, Ministers who profit from them will continue to perpetuate these myths for money's sake, and the media? Well, it's really all about entertainment, isn't it? After all, the "show must go on."