Evidence of Evangelistic Apostasy

The Dishonesty of Focus on the Family

By Brian Karjala

For millions of supporters of Focus on the Family, including the large constituencies of Evangelical, Catholic and Charismatic believers the notion that there are catastrophic problems within a ministry they have been led to believe is helping to strengthen the family unit and spread the Gospel is often hard for them to grasp.  As a former employee and past supporter of this ministry I too at one time firmly believed that Focus on the Family was a God-ordained vehicle of truth and deliverance.  But the evidence I have uncovered in recent years speaks more of lies and damaged lives then it does of truth and deliverance. 

There is some excellent information available through the Internet regarding the deception that is tolerated and practiced by the governing body at Focus on the Family.  My purpose in this writing is to inform concerned Christians of this credible information by linking them to these articles (written from Christian perspectives).  But before I do that I would like to comment on some very problematic issues that are receiving little or no attention from any other sources.

The first issue I would like to address concerns a Focus on the Family radio program that aired nationwide over a period of three days in December of 1996.  It featured the story of Tom Papania and was made available to the Focus constituency via an audio cassette tape titled "From Mafia to Ministry" for the suggested donation of $7.  On the tape Papania shares a story where he makes the claim that he was a top member of a New York crime family before becoming a Christian.  The story is related about how one man was transformed from a violent thug into a minister of the Gospel.  It was an incredibly popular tape and in early 1997 became the most requested broadcast in Focus history and launched Papania into a very successful career as an international speaker.  Multiple thousands of copies of this tape were sent out to callers and writers to the ministry who asked for it.  I processed quite a few orders myself for this particular item.  The problem?  It was later discovered that Tom Papania is a fraud.

Focus on the Family got played big time.  Part of Tom Papania's testimony was stolen from another man who filed a lawsuit against Focus on the Family which forced the ministry to discontinue the Papania tape and remove it from their catalog.  But did the ministry ever issue a public apology on any of their radio programs or in their magazines for the role they played in promoting a liar?  No.  They never did.  They keep quiet about the issue and refuse to take the pro-active position needed to correct the problem.  If you contact the ministry asking for the tape you will be informed that because of concerns with the accuracy of Tom Papania's testimony they have decided to no longer endorse the man.  (You have to ask for this information.  They don't volunteer it.)  But what about the many thousands of people who bought the tape and think they possess a legitimate story of Christian conversion?  Unless they discover the truth about this man they will continue to believe a lie.

The Focus leadership has no interest in warning the public about Papania because for them to admit publicly that they made a mistake promoting him would create a public relations disaster that would hurt their reputation.  By refusing to take responsibility for their error they demonstrate that they have no real interest in the truth and prefer that people remain in the dark if it means avoiding embarrassment on their part.  The ministry could set the record straight on this issue using a variety of media outlets if they so desired.  Focus has a very comprehensive website listing all kinds of information about the various ministries they are involved in and the products they offer (visit the Focus on the Family website to see).  Yet if you do a search on their site using Papania's name you will come up with nothing.  Papania continues to deceive multitudes yet Focus hasn't posted anything online to warn the public about him.  They don't provide any statements whatsoever for anyone who visits their site looking for information about the man.  That's by design.  You can find all kinds of information about other Focus broadcasts... yet what was once advertised as the top selling broadcast in Focus history has completely disappeared from the database with no explanation.  How's that for integrity?

[UPDATE:  (March 15, 2005)  After years of online silence a search on the Focus on the Family website for Tom Papania will now bring up a sentence stating that the ministry no longer offers the Papania broadcast.  Conspicuously absent from the statement is the reason why Focus no longer offers the Papania tape.  The website gives no warning about Papania's fraud.  Please visit the Focus site and submit feedback asking for a more detailed and honest explanation.  Click on this link:   Can I get a copy of Tom Papania's testimony "From Mafia To Ministry"?]

There's another troubling aspect to this issue.  Even worse than knowing that Focus on the Family is working to keep this issue from the public's attention is knowing that the ministry was aware many years ago that there was a problem with Tom Papania's credibility and yet still continued to promote the man.  I will personally testify that Focus knew as far back as 1997 that there was some doubt about Papania's testimony.  In the late summer of '97 I had a conversation with another Focus employee in the Administration building at the Focus headquarters here in Colorado Springs.  The young man (who worked in a technical department) told me that the ministry would not rebroadcast the Papania tape through its radio outlets because another person had recently offered testimony in a court of law that directly conflicted with Papania's story... but I wasn't given a name.  I was also told that this person had written a book about his life in the mafia.  (Years later I would learn that the testimony disputing Papania's position in the Gambino family was from Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano -- testimony that was given in the summer of '97 at the Vincent Gigante trial and in Gravano's book "Underboss".  One of the things that concerned the Focus leaders is that Gravano, a long-time top man in the Gambino family, makes no mention anywhere of Papania which would not be the case if Papania was the high ranking member of the family he claims to have been.)  What I heard from this person who told me I had to keep quiet about it (who said he wasn't supposed to give me this info) troubled me because at the time we at the ministry were still selling Papania's tape.  If the Focus leadership had enough concern to not rebroadcast the tape why then were we still offering it to the public?  I believe there is one key reason.  It was a great money-maker (but ultimately it will cost Focus).  The tape was discontinued shortly before a settlement was reached in the year 2000 with Focus on the Family by way of a confidential church based resolution initiated by one Rocky Scarfone (the man who had parts of his story stolen by Tom Papania).  Because this is a public matter people should find this confidentiality unacceptable.  Scarfone has publicly admitted to the agreement but Focus on the Family has not.

I felt a sense of betrayal in realizing that along with the general public I too was deceived by the Focus leadership.  During my tenure with Focus the management there had told me and the other employees that the Tom Papania broadcast would not be re-aired on the daily Focus radio program because it created too much of a response through the phone lines which our staff was not prepared to handle.  That's what I was led to believe until I had the impromptu conversation with that other Focus employee who told me what he said was the real reason.  After hearing what this person said to me I became troubled and walked back to my department in the Operations building uttering to myself the phrases "Uh oh..." and "Oh no...".  Even though I found the secrecy of the matter unusual I assumed that there would be a forthcoming announcement from management (at the time I still had trust in the management) though I did know that the secrecy meant something was very wrong.  Shortly after that eye-opening conversation I experienced problems with my health (a reaction to the corruption) which caused me (at age 22 in September 1997) to self-terminate my position with the ministry.  But there was no way I was going to stay on the job and promote and sell the tape or be subservient to the liars who kept it as an active resource.

I understand why I felt a great sense of peace come upon me after I left that place.  The Focus leadership practice dishonesty by keeping their constituents and even their own employees in the dark.  In September 2002 I communicated with two former co-workers from my old constituent response team who were then working in the Focus public policy department.  They were kept in the dark on this issue of Tom Papania for over five years until I informed them.  They knew that their ministry was no longer promoting Papania but did not know the reason why.  (After telling them what I know about the issue they broke off contact with me.)

Focus on the Family allows a fraudulent tape to remain in circulation and has never issued a direct warning about it in any of their magazines or over the radio.  If they were a business they could be charged with consumer fraud!  What about donor fraud?  Focus supporters who read this page should demand to know why they were never told the truth about Papania.  The Focus leaders (who's primary goal is preservation of their organization) will continue to keep quiet about this issue with the hope that it will soon fade away.  It is their plan to deceive people until those of us who have knowledge on this matter can find a way to inform the public that the Focus board of directors, through their silence, are active deceivers.  But here's the good news:

"There is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known."

(Matthew 10:26)

Focus on the Family was not the only organization to be fooled by this Tom Papania fellow.  Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) program The 700 Club, Life Outreach with James Robison, The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), CrossTV, Daystar TV, Charisma magazine -- all of these organizations and their viewers / subscribers were fooled by Papania's phony testimony not to mention the countless churches throughout the world that were also deceived (and, like Focus on the Family, all of these ministries refuse to publicly apologize for their role in promoting a liar).  In my research I also discovered that the Calvary Chapel bookstore I visited in the early 1980s (located in Santa Ana/Costa Mesa, California) was at one time selling Papania's story.  (An e-mail sent to the bookstore asking if they still sell the tape went unanswered.  But someone did subscribe me to their product mailing list.)  This has been a real mess.  These organizations need to thoroughly check the backgrounds of people before they decide to promote them!  (For more info on this issue, including comment on the lawsuit I was threatened with:  Karjala vs. Papania.)

The state of affairs within Christendom is far worse than what most people are aware.  The lack of good judgment shown by Focus on the Family founder and radio host Dr. James Dobson is not an isolated instance of how a popular "Christian" leader has miserably failed to serve the public.  The problem is systematic to almost all of the leaders in the land.  One of the best ways for me to prove this point is to direct your attention to a document revealing the deception and acceptance of compromise by the men and women who lead and command America's largest Christian audiences and congregations.  The document I am referring to is a letter sent to the White House by the Center For Religious Freedom and the Institute on Religion and Democracy in November of 2001 and signed by over 100 prominent social and religious leaders (including Dobson):

Ecumenical Letter to the President of the United States

The purpose of the letter was to plead with President Bush to make an effective stand against the oppressive government of Sudan, a regime responsible for killing and forcing into captivity African Christians numbering in the millions.  The ending of this persecution is a just and noble cause with which to contend for.  However, the misunderstanding of key issues by the authors of the letter and by those who have stated their support for the letter should not be ignored.  The letter begins by applauding President Bush for repeatedly affirming that the attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon "reflect an ultimate perversion of religious faith...".  It is grossly ironic that what the letter refers to as "the great traditions of Islam" is a sentiment endorsed by professing Christians who fail to see that it is those same "great traditions" responsible for the chaotic hell that has befallen the people living in the Sudan.  There is yet another horrendous irony about the letter.

Consider who the letter is addressed to.  George W. Bush is a man believed by many deceived individuals to be a born-again Christian.  Yet even after making a public profession of Christian faith the man remains loyal to Yale's occultic Skull & Bones Society (creepy, huh?).  Think I'm spreading a bad rumor?  My source for this info is none other than George W. Bush himself!  In his 1999 autobiography, "A Charge to Keep," Bush wrote:  "My senior year [at Yale], I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society, so secret I can't say anything more."  (For a 2004 NBC video admission, click: Bush Exposed.)  One might get the impression that the man is bound by some kind of gag order imposed by this elusive society.  So who is more powerful, the President of the United States or the "Bonesmen"?  Who controls who?  What kind of secrets is the now former President keeping from us?  These are the kind of questions we need to ask ourselves and our officials.  Many of you reading this may be wondering, "Why have I never heard this before?"  That's another question you need to have answered.  The U.S. national media has remained almost completely silent about Bush's devotion to the society.  The mainstream "Christian" community leadership certainly did not warn any of us about Bush's involvement.  Yet the information was right in front of our faces!  Our visible "Christian" leaders have neglected to warn us about the problem of a man who professes to serve two very different masters at the very same time.  Is it because they don't know?

James Dobson knows.  In that same book, "A Charge to Keep," the man who was formerly America's Commander in Chief lists Dobson's Focus on the Family as an influence on his life.  Dobson likes being recognized by the powerful (as evident from the pictures of himself with secular leaders displayed at his headquarters) and believed that the Bush empire would support his agenda.  That is why Dobson speaks well of Bush and will not publicly oppose him.  (For example, Dobson views the passage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 as a pro-life victory by the Bush administration when in actuality the legislation is a fraud.  See:  The Partial Birth Abortion Scam.)  Dobson's support of Bush represents an unholy alliance on the part of Dobson.  And don't think for a second that Dobson has not been made aware of the anti-Christian content in George W.'s book or of the Bush administration's part in the torture and massacre of innocent civilians throughout the world.  (Pro-life, Dobson?  You hypocrite!)

Understand also that when George W. Bush said that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon "reflect an ultimate perversion of religious faith" he was in fact talking about his own faith when this weak and morally compromised President allowed himself to be used as a figurehead by outside criminal elements who brought destruction to America!  (See: Sabotage.)

Erik Prince, friend of James Dobson, is founder of Blackwater USA, the mercenary army linked to the deaths of multiple civilians in Iraq and elsewhere (Prince/Dobson/Bush connections).  Just prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq James Dobson appeared as a guest on CNN's Larry King Live to make a case for the invasion.  Dobson used the "Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction" argument to justify the killing of Iraqis.  (The invasion also provided opportunity for Dobson's friend Prince to reap huge lucrative government contracts.)  Appealing to Dobson's alleged pro-life position King told Dobson that pregnant women and unborn children would be killed in the war.  But the revelation did not sway Dobson from his warmongering.  (Dobson is fine with the U.S. using weapons of mass destruction.)  In the years since that CNN interview the WMD argument used to incite a destructive war has been debunked and fraud has been revealed.  But, Dobson will never apologize or beg for forgiveness.  Dobson served as a Bush propagandist and has no moral conscience.  For this crime Dobson will receive a greater condemnation.  (James 3:1)

[2009 UPDATE:  Son of Focus Board Member Elsa Prince Implicated in Murder]

To really understand Dobson's cruel nature one must understand his disciplinary teachings.  Do an Internet search for Dobson and his old dog Siggie.  I fully believe that his treatment of that dog is similar to how he has treated others, from his own employees to members of society.  It's no secret that he's a very difficult man to work with.  All of his insiders know this.  I even once had a professor in the mid-1990s in West Palm Beach (who by that time had twice met with Jim Dobson in Jim's third-story office suite) confess this to me.  Years ago my mom, a long-time Focus volunteer who occasionally worked in the third-story executive section of the Administration building, told me that two Focus vice presidents complained to her about Dobson's behavior.  She quoted one of the VPs as saying, "Why does Jim talk to me like I'm a child?!"  Jim's cold and rigid nature (masked by a friendly radio voice) translates also to his most ardent supporters and close associates.  Some of these people talked to me like I had lost my mind after I walked out of my Focus job, as they were blissfully and pridefully unaware that I was demoralized by much of what I saw take place there (they are trained to always tell me that every problem is my fault -- they always favor the organization over an individual).  Two days after self-terminating my job I met with the smug director of the Focus counseling department as part of an exit interview.  I know full well why that pansy of a man found my depression amusing and why he questioned my Christian faith (Willy Wooten, you're on notice!).  These people show a lot of disrespect for someone who walks out on what they have been brainwashed to believe is God's ministry.

Dr. Dobson and his organization are doomed to destruction.  Separate yourselves from them.  Do not share in the sins of these crass liars and warmongers.

"But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived."

(2 Timothy 3:13)

My 1994 Brief Encounter with George Sr.'s Sidekick, Former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle (video)

(From my personal home movie collection: a short lesson demonstrating how the New World Order crowd infiltrated Christian communities, years before the Bush family effectively used the same ploy with George Jr.)

[UPDATE:  (April 28, 2005)  The death of Pope John Paul II exhibited a worldwide devotion by millions of people who revere the man's life.  The pope taught that anyone of any religion will be saved if they believe in their god and do good works.  This is why he has such a universal appeal.  Despite the pope's false teaching on salvation and promotion of the worship of Mary his views on moral issues earned him praise from "Christian" leaders like Jim Dobson who esteem morality as more important than a Christ-based evangelism.  For a dishonest person like Dobson to speak on issues of morality is just as absurd as it is for him to compliment the leader of a false religious system known for its false doctrine and history of corruption.  An unsaved world fell over themselves to honor a deceased pope with Dobson playing his part (see: Dobson responds to the death of Pope John Paul II).  Even after offering glowing words about the former pope Dobson will continue to be promoted as a leading Evangelical Christian.  When will people wake up?] 

SPECIAL NOTE:  In January 2005 Papania's attorney, a Dobson supporter, offered me a "possible settlement" as he tried to get me to delete this page and related pages.  I refuse to accept a payoff.  I anticipate the enemy will now resort to more brutal tactics (beyond the slander and impersonation / identity theft), like what happened to Rocky Scarfone and others (see below).

"Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis"

("Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us")

"The past - man's past - is mainly a grim struggle for survival.  But there have been moments when a few voices have spoken up . . . and these rare moments have made the history of man a glorious thing.  I refuse to believe it's dead and gone.  We've had our dark ages before and this is just another one of them.  All it needs is for someone to show you the way out.  I'm only a tinkering mechanic but I'm sure there must be this hidden spark in one of your people.  If only I can kindle that spark . . . My coming here will have some meaning . . ."

(The Time Machine; 1960 motion picture based on the novel by H.G. Wells)

May the spark that can be ignited only by the Holy Spirit pierce our hearts and our minds!

Related Info & Links:

Focus President Jim Daly (Dobson's Successor) Injured in Motorcycle Crash (June 2010)

Focus Founder James Dobson Injured in Fall from Horse (September 2011)

Many people are wondering about Dobson's split from Focus on the Family.  Dobson related his sanitized version of the event in this 2010 newsletter.  In his writing Dobson describes his 33 years of experience working with the Focus employees as "...like one huge family that worked together in remarkable harmony."  That is one of the biggest lies he has ever told.  In 1997 my constituent response team was regularly lectured by our supervisor about issues of gossip and in-fighting among the employees.  That year things got so bad a course in biblical conflict resolution had to be taught throughout all departments of the organization.

Testimonies about Corruption at Focus on the Family

Focus Leader Acknowledges My Writings to Correspondent; Refuses to Discuss the Facts I Raise and Dismisses Me as "Disgruntled"

Why religious leaders refuse to engage me in conversation:

I'd Rather Not Talk About That Right Now

James Dobson's False Gospel of Self-Esteem

James Dobson Just Doesn't Get It!

(The author rightly criticizes Dobson for endorsing Newt Gingrich but fails to mention that, like Newt, Fred Thompson was also involved with the anti-sovereign Council on Foreign Relations.)

Focus on the Family's long history of refusal to speak out against corruption in the family courts (from the perspective of a divorced father separated from his daughter):

Focus on the Family's Message to Divorced Dads & The Philosophy of Father Replacement

Colorado Right to Life:

Open Letter to James Dobson

Dobson's support of the secular nation calling itself "Israel":

Is Zionism of God? (pdf)

James Dobson & Roman Catholicism

Focus on the Family's promotion of C.S. Lewis and his books:

The Witchcraft of the Narnia Chronicles

Focus on the Family downplays the effectiveness and dangers of hypnosis and claims that the technique is only dangerous when it becomes associated with the occult and eastern religion.  But hypnosis is itself a product of the occult and cannot be disassociated from its occult roots.  Compare and contrast the official Focus position on hypnosis with that of a more discerning counselor who explains the Scriptural warnings against the practice.

Former Focus board of directors member Dr. Adrian Rogers passed away on Nov. 15, 2005.  Rogers served as a stooge for Dobson and did not help me and others reach people with the truth about key issues.  That's why Tom Papania paid tribute to this man.  See this link:  Tom Papania honors Dr. Adrian Rogers

Former Focus Supervisor Released from Prison 

Ignorant Focus Employee Tries to Spin the Truth

James Dobson's friendship with phony conservative Ted Haggard... (Would Dobson really have an interest in a friendship with a smart-mouth sissified heretic if Haggard was not the pastor of what was once the largest church in Colorado Springs?  It was all about building consensus among like-minded imbeciles):

Ted Haggard's Deception(Over the years hundreds of Focus employees have been members of Haggard's now former church.)

In the year 2000 James Dobson's organization featured a radio broadcast from Ted Haggard who spoke on the wages of sin and the negative ripple effect the actions of unrepentant sinners have on people.  At the time Ted was covertly describing his own life (past, present and future):

Ted Haggard's Focus on the Family Broadcast

Focus on the Family's Involvement with the Council for National Policy (CNP):

"The Unholy Alliance - Christianity & The NWO" (2002 articles):Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4

James & Shirley Dobson Attended White House Correspondents' Dinner (2005 article)

The Order of the Skull and Bones

Bush White House Showed Favoritism to Bones Members

(Includes updated info revealing Donald's Trump's association with the satanic society.)

Bush Family Nazi Ties (video)

NBC video clips of both George W. Bush and John Kerry shrugging off questions about their allegiances to Skull & Bones:

2004 Republican presidential nominee,

George W. Bush:  "It's so secret, we can't talk about it."

2004 Democratic presidential nominee,

John Kerry:  "There are all kinds of secrets."

There's not a dime's worth of difference...

The Christian's response:

"But we have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."

(2 Corinthians 4:2; KJV)

Regarding Tom Papania:

Some of the lies Tom Papania has published about me over the years include the false accusations that I was fired from Focus on the Family and then protested the organization while wearing a devil costume.  He circulated these lies after he read the writings of a former Focus on the Family employee by the name of Brian Cooper (a person I have never met).  Cooper wrote about his termination from Focus on the Family for opposing the organization's alliance with Mormons, Muslims and Hindus (nearly four years after I quit my job there).  Cooper also testified about picketing the Focus campus while dressed in a devil costume.  Cooper's writings have since disappeared from the Internet but an archived copy of his testimony can still be read on the WayBack Machine:  Brian Cooper and Focus on the Family

2001 New York NBC News Reports on Papania's Fraud (video)

(Reports produced just before the corporate media blackout of this fraud went into effect.)

Mainstream Media Censorship on this Issue

What Else is the Mainstream Media Lying About?

Wrongful Death Civil Case!

Original source: Okaloosa County (Florida)

Search the county court records for Thomas Papania

(Funny how the press also "forgot" to tell you about this story!)

In yet another media-censored case, Papania claimed (in 2005) that Scarfone breached an agreement these two made together (in 2002):

Tom Papania vs. Joe Baffa (a.k.a. Rocky Scarfone)

Original source: Gwinnett Courts (Georgia)

Search the court site for Rocky Scarfone or Thomas Papania

(I submitted an affidavit for this case in late 2005.  See the documents section.)

From Scarfone's legal filing to the court in February 2007... (Scarfone is the Defendant and Papania is the Plaintiff):

"...And that Defendant have time to submit verified emails showing that Plaintiff threatened Defendant, and thereafter his house was broken into, his web-mobile set afire and produce 75 other emails that show that Plaintiff was in direct contact, harassing witnesses that Defendant advised he would call in Defendant's answers to interrogatories throughout the past two years."

In early 2001 Christianity Today reported on the original Scarfone / Papania lawsuit.  CT deceitfully portrayed Scarfone as an opportunist and Papania as a victim of fame.  CT never reported on Scarfone's eventual victory over Papania (nor the subsequent contract dispute), and stated that Scarfone's lawsuits against Focus on the Family and CBN were dismissed without mentioning that both organizations settled with Scarfone out of court by paying him money.

Tom Papania's Frivolous Legal Threat

Tom Papania's Third Wife Filed for Divorce

Not only was I secretly told in 1997 about a (unnamed) mobster in court who's testimony concerned the Focus hierarchy, I was also told about a (unnamed) minister who warned Dobson's people on this matter:

First Known Minister to Warn Focus on the Family

Certified court and prison documents relating to the life of Tom Papania:  Tom Papania Info (Australian site)

[Warning:  The Australian webmaster for tompapania.info, Wayne Robinson, has for years written agitating e-mails to myself and other people claiming that he and his partner Andrew Bolton are better than everyone else at exposing Papania's fraud (even though Papania's lying nature was well established online years before these two published their website).  In his most recent e-mails (Oct. 2014) Wayne repeatedly called me a fool and made numerous untrue statements about my life (these bizarre and disturbing e-mails showing his demonic behavior are on file and ready to forward to anyone who requests them from me).  In the past this insecure and prideful Wayne character was bragging that he was tougher than Papania and on YouTube he had posted insulting and vile comments under the user name TPapania.]

Letter explaining Papania's popularity (from an Australian not associated with the above web link)