The Richest Caveman

This is the personal testimony of Pastor Doug Batchelor called "The Richest Caveman." Born to wealthy parents, Doug grew up mostly as a nonchurched person. With a Jewish background he was basically an atheist. After an early life of crime, drugs and wild living, Doug sought to find meaning in life by living in a cave outside Palm Springs, California. During this time alone he discovered God.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Question and Answer: Karen Batchelor

KB: Alright. This is a neat one. This is from Karla. It says: Hi Doug and Prophecy Code team. I live in Auburn, Washington. I attended your first five meetings and loved them so much, but then departed on Friday morning, March 11, for an international business trip. I was feeling disappointed that I would be missing your meetings and now I find myself sitting on the 6th floor in a ho--hotel in Amersterda--Amsterdam and I’m watching on live--online. (DB: Amen) Wow! Thank you for posting your presentations on the website, I will be able to continue watching throughout my entire trip. (DB: Amen) I’m so happy to hear your messages and learn more. And that’s from Karla. So praise the Lord, there are many ways that (uh) people are able to get the good news, aren’t there? So we’re glad.

KB—Question and Answer #1: Alright. Why is Jesus taking so long to return?

DB: Well you know when He does come most people would think it’s too soon. (KB: Hmm-hmm) (Uh) He’s not late. When God called Abraham and said, “Through your descendants the Messiah would come,” the first time as a sacrifice 2,000 years went by before He came—from the birth of Abraham and to the birth of Jesus. And Christ said, “I will come again.” Right now it’s been about 2,000 years so I think we’re right on schedule. The Bible says, “A day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” The (uh) history in the plan of redemption and this world, supposed that you have roughly 6,000 years, a thousand years where we live and reign with Christ during the millennium, total of 7,000 years. What is 7,000 years compared to eternity? I mean it’s not--it’s a--not even a fraction of a fraction. And so Jesus is not late. For us with our limited lives, it seems like a long time. And that’s why the Bible says, “This is the patience of the saints.”

KB—Question and Answer #2: Alright. What is a spiritual Jew?

DB: Good question. Well first of all, anybody who accepts Christ by faith becomes a spiritual Jew. (Uh) Every genuine Christian is a Jew. Follow me now. We’re all saved under which covenant, the Old or the New Covenant? New Covenant, correct! Let me quote that to you. “I will make a new covenant after those days sayeth the Lord with the house of Israel.” The Lord is making the new covenant with who?

KB: The house of Israel.

DB: There is no salvation covenant made with the Gentiles. Paul says that we Gentiles are grafted in, well I should say you cause I’m a Jew, (Audience laughs) Gentiles are grafted in to the stock of Israel. And Israel can be grafted back in as well. But all the promises in the Bible this is a Jewish book and--and we become spiritual Jews. In--in essence when we’re baptized, that’s what that means. And when you read--pardon me, when you read in the Bible about Rahab, she became a mother in Israel, (uh) Ruth, she was a Moabite but she became a mother in Israel, and they basically were assimilated, they became spiritual Jews as well.

KB—Question and Answer #3: Can a person who loses their mental abilities lose salvation?

DB: Well let’s get the--the sequence right. (Uhm) God does not (uh) eliminate somebody from access to salvation because of a limited mental capacity to comprehend. To whom the Lord has given much, of him He requires much. If a person mentally does not have the ability to comprehend the gospel, God is loving and just. He judges everybody according to their ability. (Uh) And there are people who may have lived a life with the Lord, their entire lives and then through some accident or chemical problem they become mentally deranged, maybe it’s (uh) mental degeneration or Alzheimer’s. I knew this dear saint, and she was a saint. And (uhm) she came down with Alzheimer’s and just started acting like a different person. I think God is gonna judge her based on her life that she lived before the disease took over. Amen? (Audience says amen)

KB—Question and Answer #4: Amen. If we have backslidden, is it possible to regain our salvation?

DB: Well yes, there’s many promises in the Lord. The Lord appeals to backslidden Israel in the book of (uh) Hosea. And so God is calling us to return. You’ve got a number of examples in the Bible from David to Solomon where they wandered and the Lord brought them back again. Even Peter temporarily backslid when he denied the Lord and he was forgiven, he came back. If there’s no hope fo--for backsliders then we’re in trouble because (uh) the story of the prodigal son is exhibit A. He was in the father’s house, he left and he came home again. So of course there’s hope for backsliders. Amen?

KB—Question and Answer #5: Amen. Yes. Can Christians be perfect like Jesus?

DB: Well in the sense that when we accept Christ, the Lord looks upon us as He did on Jesus when He was baptized and He says, when you come out of the water after baptism, and you’ve accepted the provisions of the gospel, and you’ve repented of your sins and confess them, God declares to you what He said to Jesus; “This is my beloved son (or daughter) in whom I am well pleased.” We are fully (uhm) assimilated into the family of God. We become sons and daughters of God. He covers us with the blood of His Son and the robe of His righteousness and He looks upon us as though we have the same perfect righteousness as--as Jesus. This is what justification is.

Can we have a life record like that of Jesus? Well how many have sinned? We all sin, so (uh) you know, no, we can never have a perfect record like He’s had as far as looking at the history of the life cause we’ve all fallen. But when the Lord comes and He looks at us. There’s only two classes of people that Jesus is gonna see when He comes back: those that have the character of His Son and those who don’t. So we must be—Christians are followers of Christ, amen? (Audience says amen) And we’re asking Him to give us the gift of perfection of His Son.

KB: So we--will we be perfect before Jesus comes?

DB: We need to be. Now what does that mean? Oh, you--she set me up. (Laughs) (Audience laughs) This is a question we get a lot. I believe that we are to continue following on in sanctification. Christian perfection means that Jesus is reigning on the throne of your heart. Allow me to quote from a classic book called, “Steps to Christ” where the author says, “It is not the occasional good deed or the occasional misdeed that determines whose side we are on, it is the habitual words and acts.” Paul puts it this way, “Let not sin have dominion.” Before you’re saved, sin has dominion in your life, it rules. The Lord is to be enthroned in our hearts. When we have the experience of Daniel, Shadrack, Meschack, and Abednego, where we love the Lord so much, we’d rather die than knowingly disobey Him? That’s Christian perfection.

KB: Amen.

DB: It’s perfect love. Don’t miss this. Matthew, Jesus says, chapter 5, “Be therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” But in Luke he words it differently, “Be ye therefore merciful even as your Father in heaven is merciful.” God is looking for perfect love, perfect mercy. And when we have that love, we’ll obey Him. Didn’t we learn that last night? (Audience says yes) Okay, hope that was direct enough.

KB—Question and Answer #6: Amen. Thank you. Doug, are you suspicious of anything that claims that God has hidden the truth in mathematical formulas? Isn’t that exactly what is the main premise of the Prophecy Code lectures—that the code to the prophecies themselves are things hidden in other parts of the Bible?

DB: No, that’s not what I’m saying. (Uh) I believe that there are messages in the Bible that are hidden in the stories. In--sometimes it’s in allegories: for instance, the story of Joseph is the story of Christ. You think about the story of Joseph: sold by his brothers for the price of a slave and yet he forgives them. So there’s a number of symbols in the Bible that can be found, for instance, we’ve learned that a sword represents what?

KB: The word of God.

DB: The word of God. And a woman in prophecy represents a church. And a lamb represents Jesus, and the dragon is…

KB: Satan.

DB: Satan, and a horn. Horn represents a power; could be a kingdom or a power. And remember we--if you go to we’ve got a website and the place where you could look at some of the Bible symbols and their meanings. (Sound effects starts and ends)

Sermon Questions: Douglas Batchelor

Well I’m so thankful to see you here this morning and (uh) please pray for me as I share with you for a number of reasons. (Uhm) I’ll be sharing aspects of my testimony this morning that I’ve not shared before. (Uh) Since the book first came out (uh) a matter of fact I might start by (uh--uhm) going to the slides. Believe it or not, that’s me. And since the book first came out (uh) 1985 or 86, it’s been translated in ten languages. Of course a lot has happened, that’s 19, 20 years ago while it was still on the writing process. And (uh) there is always a risk when someone is sharing their personal testimony that (uh) you could make an individual appear bigger than life. And I’m praying that Christ will be held forth (uh) through this.

I share some of the various things that I’ve been through because I’ve made a lot of mistakes, hoping that you’ll know in spite of those things God can still reach us and use us (Audience says amen). But (uh) I also wanna be very real, (uh) and not make things bigger than life. I remember (uh) a girl was asked in elementary school to do a book report on Abraham Lincoln, and she wanted to make a good impression on her class and so as she got up to read her book report she said, “Abraham Lincoln was born at a very early age in a log cabin he built with his own hands.” (Audience laughs) And (uh) sometimes history in the retelling (uh) ceases to be accurate. So (uh) be praying for me.

Everybody wants happiness. I think that’s one thing that we all share in common. But the places and the way that people look for happiness varies greatly. You know you’ve heard me mention earlier in the program that (uh) am tickled (uh) when I check out of the newsstand to look at the (uh) supermarket tabloids. And sometimes I’ve just laugh out loud standing in line. Now I know that you--you don’t read them, but how many of you will admit you read the headlines when you’re checking out? And (uh) some of them are very entertaining. I’ve seen some that are (uh) r--really amazing. Hope pe--people aren’t getting their prophetic information from these cause it changes by the week.

But (uhm uh) I remember one it said, (uh) “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Discovered in a Meat Freezer.” (Audience laughs) And that’s one that really stuck in my mind. And you probably all seen the one about the bat boy, or the boy half alligator and half (laughs) and I guess there are people that--that (uh) are entertained by it, if--if nothing else I don’t want to ridicule. But you know one reason that these are some of the most popular magazines in North America? It’s because they are principally dealing with the lives of the rich and the famous. And somehow people believe that if they could experience these lives by curiously—they--they believe the illusion that happiness comes from fame and fortune. That’s why many of these tv programs that deal with (uh) the rich and the famous are so popular. And people wanna marry a millionaire, who wants to be a millionaire, if I could be more popular, more beautiful, or be more famous, and it’s really a fantasy, it’s an illusion.

I was raised with an unusual perspective because of the family God placed me in. (Uh) My parents were very unusual and driven people. (Uh) Two more opposite people I don’t think ever got married, you heard the expression opposites attract? Never is that more true than with my parents. My mother was Jewish by birth, my father was a Baptist. My mother was born in New York City, was very sophisticated in that way, my father was an Ohkee, born in Oklahoma, came during the Dust Bowl to California. She was a Democrat, the head of the Women’s Lib Movement in New York City. My father was a redneck Republican. (Audience laughs) I mean they were just so completely opposite that it--those that knew them just marveled that the marriage lasted six years. (Audience laughs) (Uh) My mother was in show business and my father was in the aviation business.

I’ll start more specifically with Dad. (Uh) A very unusual man, His father died when he was seven years old, left his mother pregnant with three other younger brothers. My father was the oldest and he learned as a young boy to work very hard during the depression, and (uh) was very, very poor. (Uhm) They used to save string, I mean just to give you an idea of how things were growing up. During World War II Dad did manage to get some education and got himself (uh) flight instruction. He entered World War II as (uh) a pilot, a flight instructor, and finally went overseas, was there during D-day and (uh) has (uh) you know a number of interesting stories he could tell.

After the war he wanted to continue working with aircraft he began to buy and to sell airplanes, and was involved in the designing of aircraft, a matter of fact several in our family. You ever heard of Area 51? My Uncle Jim, still alive, worked there. It’s true, they’d fly him every week from Burbank to Area 51 and he worked on things like the SR 71 Blackbird, and the stealth plane, and (uh) all of my Dad’s brothers, (uh) three younger brothers, ended up (uh) working at some point in the aircraft business. Dad began to buy and sell planes until he became very successful.

(Uh) He worked with people like Howard Hughes, and was in business with Kurt Yukorian and a number of these very famous, wealthy people. Dad did not like a high profile, he always felt insecure because he was an Oklahoman he didn’t have a lot of education. He stayed away from the lime light as much as possible but we did manage to get a few photographs of Dad. (Uhm) At one point he owned two airlines, not to mens--mention airli--Airline Leasing Companies. He had Arrow Air, Capital Air, part of Western Airlines, some of you remember International Air Leases. The Military leased aircraft from my father. And it was a very lucrative business. (Uhm) Anybody for years who wanted to lease an aircraft, they called George Batchelor. And he became very, very wealthy, a driven man, worked very hard.

Now my father, his first wife and baby died in a plane crash. (Uh) It was a tragic story, he was supposed to be on the plane, he missed it, the plane flew into a mountain. And (uh), then he married my mom, who was about ten years younger than Dad, and (uh) and it was a pretty rocky relationship and they divorced when we were three. And Dad I think married about five times in his life, (uh) that’s not counting relationships in between. And he was always looking for happiness. I could see happiness did not come from money.

(Uh) When I lived with Dad growing up he had the mansion, Miami Beach. I was born in Burbank, California but (uhm uh) Dad moved his business to Miami Beach and (uh) then for years had a mansion on an island, one of the sunset islands in Miami Beach. And (uh) all the toys, (uh) Lear jet, this is one of my Dad’s Lear jets he’s had several over the years. At one time he didn’t know which one to buy so he bought three and tried them out and then sold the other two at a profit. And (uh) race cars, and had the Rolls Royce, and--and (uh) all of the toys of millionaires he was supposed to have, with a butler and a maid and those things.

Now my life was, would go through very dramatic changes when I was living with Mom in New York City where she moved. It was so different from when I was living with Dad in Miami Beach, and then they’d sent us to live with grandma and grandpa who were very poor most of their lives in California. And my brother and I went through some very radical shifts as we went from place to place. (Uhm) Mom and Dad both married several times and we got sent off a lot. This is a picture of—matter of fact I think this is Dad racing—he’s in his 70’s here when he was racing. He--he was very active for a better part of his life.

(Uh) This is Dad and his (mmm) third wife—this was after mom—Betty, was married to Betty for 30 years, very sweet lady, she was Ms. Kentucky, and we’re still in communication together. (Uhm) But (uh) that fell apart. Dad was a hard person to be married to, he was a driven man and (uh) when that relationship unraveled, Betty divorced Dad (uh) it made Florida headlines. It was the largest divorce settlement in Florida history. (Uh) Dad had a lot of money and money did not bring happiness.

This is front page here of the Miami Herald Business Section, “Still Flying High,” in the closer print says, let’s see if I can read this here, “At 71, Aviation pioneer George Batchelor isn’t ready to descend, he runs one of Miami’s most successful businesses, pilots, jets, races, cars, water skis, and is soon to take a bride age 29.” (Audience laughs) That had something to do with his divorce with Betty, (Audience laughs) “at 71, Batchelor going on 16.” (Audience laughs)

(Uh) Every member of my family: my brother, my mother, my father, my grandparents, has all been in national headlines at some time or another. I don’t have time to tell you all about it but I have an unusual family. (Laughs) (Uh) This is one of the few pictures I’ve got of a (uh uhm) that’s my brother Falcon, he had cystic fibrosis and (uh) struggled with his health (uh) all through his life. His wife Sandy, who is an attorney, still lives in Florida. My father, he looks like a little tired there, and his 29-year-old bride. (Audience laughs) (Uh) That was really interesting when that happened because (uh) well I’ve got one more picture here I’ll show you and this is--this is actually I think my 35th birthday, was that right dear? And Karen was there that day.

(Uhm) I--it’s so different because when Dad married Mary Anne was wife number…four? Yeah, I lose count. It’s kind’a strange because she’s younger than my wife. My wife’s six years in case you’re wondering, she’s six years younger than me. I know I look older but I’m just high mileage I’m not really (Audience laughs) that old. And I had to correct John on that last night (Laughs) I think he said, “Yeah, Karen looks so much younger than you,” no she’s not. (Laughs) (Audience laughs)

But (uh) it was really strange when Dad married Mary Anne because--follow me this gets very interesting. Dad had a brother-in-law. He was 72 I think when he got married. He had a brother-in-law that was 11 years old. (Audience laughs) Can you imagine that? “Wanna meet my brother-in-law”? (Audience laughs) Wait, it--it’s more interesting, his mother-in-law was younger than me. (Audience laughs) I know I tell you it was really strange.

And then we went to this wedding and they--they rented a John Deere mansion in Miami Beach and it (uh) it just looked liked a royal wedding, I mean there were helicopters with news people, and this train of limousines coming in and army of valet parkers and everybody stepping from their cars looking like reigning monarchs. I mean it was the who’s who wedding in Miami a few years ago, when was that ten years ago dear—at least, huh?

And (uh) it was really funny because one of my friends told our son Daniel, they said, “Now Daniel, when you get to the wedding you make sure and hop up on Mary Anne’s lap and say, ‘Grandma, tell us about the good ol’ days.’” (Audience laughs) (Laughs) You don’t tell Daniel that, because he did something very close to that. (Audience still laughing) And you know Karen and I and the family, we went to the wedding and we’re so out of our element you know, they’re going around serving the escargot and they’ve got the orchestra playing, there’s a gondola in the Bay that is taking people in and out, and--and (uh) my Dad’s yacht was parked out back. (Uh) This was actually a picture of my Dad’s yacht in the--in the Bay, it’s called, “The Batchelor Party.” (Audience laughs) And (uh) this is the inside just to give you (uh) a picture. That was very, very nice. And during the wedding with Mary Anne, his alarm went on--off on his watch reminding him to take his heart pills. (Audience laughs) And he’s marrying a 29-year-old.

So (uh) and then you know actually (uh) she--she took him to Rome, she was an Italian girl, she had connections and (uh) Dad got to visit the Pope. And I think that only cost him about two million dollars. But (uh) yeah, he said he was so awed by it, “All this money and wealth and still I lived with them,” very unhappy man. I asked him one day, “Dad, are you happy”? He said, “No, nobody’s happy.” And (uh) I said, “I’m happy,” this was after I became a Christian I was talking to my dad about spiritual things. (Uh) When we’d go visit him he’d be so tense all the time. Karen’s a physical therapist then, so you’d given Dad a back rub one day.

“A man’s life,” Jesus said, “does not consist in the abundance of things that he possesses,” does it? “What profit is it if you gain the whole world and you lose your soul”? And my Dad at one time he had two or three Rolls Royce and fancy cars in his five car garage, but Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures here on earth where moth doth corrupt, or rust corrupts, and moths devour and thieves break through and steal,” because the Rolls Royce turns into rust someday, doesn’t it? Happiness doesn’t come from things in this life. My memories of Dad, 90 percent of the time, I’d see him briefly in the morning on his way to work and he’d always come home intoxicated, and he’d drink himself to sleep every night. (Uhm) What profit is it if you’ve got all that money and you’re miserable?

On the other side of the equation, Mom and Dad very different, (uh) I was born in California but when they divorced, they both took off different directions. Mom moved to New York City, she was involved in show business. My mother was a very talented and if you don’t mind my saying so, a very beautiful woman, and I guess I took after Dad. (Audience laughs) And (uh) she was pretty much self-taught; high school drop out but she learned to play the piano, the guitar, was a lyricist, started writing songs for Elvis Presley, and (uh) some of you remember that name. Any of you remember Eddie Williams, Frank Sinatra, and anyone (uh) Frankie Avalon, and (uh) she was writing songs for some of those people back then, she was an actress, and mostly small parts in big movies.

Any of you ever see the Ten Commandments? I think she was a slave, (Laughs) (Audience laughs) greasing the stone. And whenever we watch it with the kids we say, “There’s grandma,” and then she’s gone. (Laughs) (Audience laughs) But (uh) so she was an actress but never very successful in that field, her real success came as a film critic. She was a successful song writer, a playwright, and a film critic. (Uh) She replaced (uh) Rona Beret on Good Morning America, and she was the president and founder of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Lived in Beverly Hills at that time and it’s a very, very powerful position because when the critics say, “This movie stinks,” the producers, the studios lose millions. When they say, “It’s outstanding,” it’s more likely then to get Academy awards, and it makes a lot more money. And people were always sending her gifts, and they’re coming by, and they’re sweet talking here, and giving her free cruises and tickets and movies, and very powerful position.

And as my brother and I were growing up in New York City a lot of these people (eh) names that you know in Hollywood, would come in and out of the house and they’re calling our home and we didn’t even know who they were. Most of the time we didn’t know or care because when you grow up with it you’re sort of immune, you’re--you’re--you’re aloof, insulated, you don’t, I don’t know what it was but it just didn’t impress us the way I see it does other people. And when I tell this story people say, “Aw, Doug ah, you--you’re making all this up,” so I drop in a few pictures of mom with different individuals.

(Uh) You recognize of course Mohammad Ali, Cassius Clay, and (uh) do you still remember George Burns? (Uhm) This is Mom, (uhm) these are all black and white just because she had a mural where they’re all done in black and white that’s the only way I got ‘em, (uh) Sylvester Stallone. I got one color picture here and I remember this, m--I was there when this picture was taken, Mom and the three stooges. Now that is the original, Mow and Larry, they had replaced Curly, had passed away, but I got to meet them. And (uh) they’re all 70 years old at that time and still very funny. (Uh) Some of you remember Rhoen and Martin, and (uh) I also got to meet them, went--been to their homes, (uhm) Warren Beatty, (uhm) and (uh) who do we have next here?

We gonna go through these pretty quickly because it’s self explanatory. There’s Mom with Jimmy Stewart, and (uh) Mom at dinner with Bob Hope, (uhm) and then who’s this, Natalie Wood, some people said they looked a little alike. (Audience laughs) And I don’t think she looks anything like Roger Moore though. (Audience laughs) The former one of the James Bonds, (uh) Sally Fields, so these are the people that she--the circles that she was moving in, (uh) Clint Eastwood, and as time goes by and I share my testimony the young people aren’t gonna know who these people are, right? (Audience laughs) (Uh) Paul Newman, and (uh) I got quite a few in here I thought I pulled some of these out, Dustin Hoffman.

And so Mom was famous, she knew a lot of these people, and growing up my brother and I knew a lot of these people, and one thing we discovered very quickly is that happiness not only didn’t come from fortune, it didn’t come from fame. Because in growing up a lot of these people we knew had money, popular, wealthy, good looking, all the things that people say, “I wish I had,” and they killed themselves. Many of them were so miserable and unhappy. Many of them destroyed their lives with drugs. And I’m not saying all of ‘em, like it’s some of them are very nice people and seem to have their act together but there was a lot of confusion, a lot of misery, a lot of spiritualism in Hollywood, you’d be surprised.

(Uh) You talk about God in the Bible and they act like they’re so out of touch but (eh) the New Age and these things were very popular among Mom’s friends. She was into the astrology and all of that business. But when Mom died, none of ‘em were there, there were no cameras there, (uh) Karen and I was in the hospital room with Grandma and my aunt and that was it. And (uh) even though everyone knew her back then when she was on Good Morning America everyday, (uh) basically died alone. Happiness does not come from fame and from fortune.

Now as I mentioned (uhm) Mom I think this is when Mom was a (uh) a blonde and (uh) Mom and Dad had two boys. After they discovered Falcon had cystic fibrosis they decided they shouldn’t have anymore children. I could have been, I could have had it and (uh) I had a one in four chance of not having it so I thank the Lord I was born healthy. My brother used to become very irritated he said, “Life isn’t fair Doug,” he said, “I’m so smart and I’m sick and you’re so stupid and healthy.” (Audience laughs)

Falcon was my older brother. My father named us both after airplanes. And (uh) I was named Douglas after the DC craft which isn’t so bad. I could find my name on a key chain. But my bro--my poor brother, my father named him Falcon after I don’t know who knows what Falcon, fan jet or something like that. And he grew up with the name Falcon Batchelor, and he got teased a lot in school because he was already small from cystic fibrosis and he had flaming red hair. (Uh) We--we didn’t at all like each other but same Mom and Dad; brown eyes, freckles. I’ve got blue eyes, no freckles, no hair. (Audience laughs)

And (uh) but I still wear his--some of the clothes he left me, we were of the same size and weight. And (uh) but (uh) I really miss my brother but (uh) he had a tough life. And some ways because Falcon was sick, I had a tough life. Because a lot of times the parents would take out their frustrations on me because I could, they figured, “He’s healthy, he can handle it.” And (uh) Falcon would get in trouble and he’d point to me and we named him “the little angel.”

Well we grew up in New York City and (uh) lived on 51st St. on the East side, 81st St. on the West side. And (uh) this is one reason John and I enjoy working together, we speak the same language, we can talk New York cause he comes from New York City too. And (uh) you become a little bit cynical when you grew up in New York City because there’s so much

a--allusion there, and I got into a lot of trouble and went to a lot different schools. I’ve only completed formally the 9th grade, but I went to 14 different schools, and several of ‘em were boarding schools. My parents would send me off frequently (uh) to boarding schools.

Sometimes they’d send us off to Summer Camp because my mother was so driven to be famous and my father was so driven to make money that my brother and I just seemed to get in the way. And (uh) I went to--matter of fact, I went to a Catholic school, I went to military school. First military school I went to was Black Fox Military Academy, and I understand Donald Trump went there too. And (uh) I was five years old, you can tell folks wanted to get us out of the house. And again I went to New York Military Academy when (uh) I was 11 years old till 13, and I went to Jewish schools. I went to two different Catholic schools, a number of (uh) public schools.

(Uh) Matter of fact--(uhm) this is another picture of me in New York Military Academy.

And you know one thing I remember is that I was probably happier there at New York Military Academy than I was at several other schools, and you know why? I think it’s because I--it was the first time I’d really had structure and discipline in my life. And I learned something that you cannot be happy without self-control and discipline. Now for those of you who are parents, and some kids who might be listening, I went to another school when I was--I got into trouble and I was in and out the jail, I went to another school when I was 14 years old, 15 years old, called Pine Hinge.

Matter of fact I found it on the internet and I’m trying to hook up with some of the old students. It was an experimental school in Maine for kids who had (uhm) trouble adapting to normal education and it operated on the principle that you can’t force a young person to learn, you need to just put them in an environment where they’re exposed to things and they’ll teach themselves. You didn’t have to go to class if you didn’t want to, it was a boarding school, coed from 8 to18 coed dorms, coed rooms, you did--no dress code, no rules, well they had three rules. Three rules were: no drugs, no fighting, no sex, and nobody paid attention to the three rules they did have. It was the most bizarre, unbelievable school you can imagine.

And so I went to a school that was the strictest school in North America, New York Military Academy, it’s the Elementary School for West Point, strictest school in North America and I went from there to the most liberal, unstructured school in North America. Where do you think I was happier? Several young people attempted suicide at Pine Hinge and the school closed down I think the year after I left. Might’ve had something to do with our raiding the kitchen everyday and but (uh) and I think I set the building on fire once by accident. (Audience laughs)

Matter of fact, true story, I went to three schools, it went on fire. But I was only responsible once. (Audience laughs) Now I was very unhappy and I should add that Mom and Dad, while Mom had a Jewish background she was not religious, very zealous about being Jewish but didn’t believe in God. You know you--you can be Jewish as far as a Jew by race and not be a religious Jew. And Mom was very loyal to her race but (uh) she had no time at all for Christianity especially, they were the enemy. And Mom growing up used to say things that (uh) now I shutter at, I mean she said that (uh) the only reason Jesus didn’t get married is cause he must’ve been gay and that the Bible was just a bunch of fables, and Christians kill all the Jews through history and they used the Bible as the excuse.

And I hated the Bible. I thought it was (uh) I was raised to believe that (uh) especially the New Testament was (uh) just (uh) a lot of propaganda, anti-Jew propaganda. And (uh) Dad, while he was raised a Baptist, after World War II he just began to wonder, “If there’s a God why would He allow all these death and suffering”? And so I was pretty much raised an atheist. It’s interesting that the parents would send me to religious schools but they thought they had better academics. And you know something, if young people are raised without believing there is a God I--I don’t see how they can be happy. Because I’m convinced you can’t be happy if you don’t know something about where you came from, what you’re doing here, and where you’re going.

And I didn’t have these basics. And so I--6, 7 years old I began to think nobody is happy, fame doesn’t bring happiness, for--fortune doesn’t bring happiness, and what’s the purpose of life? I believed in evolution you know. You live a little while, you die, you turn back into fertilizer, and there’s really not much purpose to life. And I think that might have something to do also with the high percentage of suicides among young people, teenagers in particular. They’re being told there’s no purpose, if they’re being told they’re nothing more than glorified monkeys you can understand life doesn’t hold any purpose. And as soon as things get tough and their friends start to ostracize them they figure what’s the use and they take their lives.

I started thinking about suicide when I was seven years old; seriously, I used to wonder what’s the best way to kill myself, and part of it I think also has to do with a broken home. Kids that get bounced around between their grand parents and the mother and father and they don’t feel like they belong. One reason I used to think about suicide is I thought, “I’ll get my parent’s attention if I commit--kill myself.” It was a desperate plea to get their attention.

And I still remember when I live in New York City, I’d find my way up to the roof and I’d stand on the precipice of these buildings sometimes 20 stories up. We lived in apartment buildings. And (uh) I’d get out there and I’d stand right on the edge and I’d play this game where I’d see how far out I could lean until I felt my center of gravity. And I used to think see you--you’d be amazed how often I thought about jumping, just jump, end all your troubles. And the only reason I didn’t jump is because I thought, “What if I jump and I don’t die”? Periodically I’d--I’d hear about people just got mangled. And I don’t wanna get mangled. (Audience laughs)

And I remember one time my (uhm) Falcon have gone to live with Dad in Florida for his lungs, his lung disease and the--in New York City pollution was pretty bad on his lungs. And I was by myself with Mom and she was often out working or at parties at night, I--I just felt so alone and (uh) I was in trouble at school and I thought, “You know I’m just gonna kill myself.” And I knew Mom took sleeping pills every night. So I went into her bathroom and I got into the medicine cabinet and I looked on the bottles and I found one that said, “Take one at bedtime.” And I filled my hand, I got the water, I was just ready to take the pills and I thought, “You know what it didn’t really say sleeping pills on the bottle it said take one at bedtime.” Then I studied it and the bottle said, “Valium,” they were sleeping pills now I know, but then I was 13 years old and I thought, “Valium, that might be a pill for ladies, I don’t know (Audience laughs) and I don’t wanna get sick.” (Audience still laughing) I don’t wanna get sick I wanted to die. (Audience laughs)

And so you know somewhere along the way in there I thought I--I really did wanna die cause I thought life--people aren’t happy. But one of the things that kept me alive was I have an insatiable curiosity and I kept thinking, “You know if I kill myself today something interesting is bound to happen tomorrow and I’m gonna miss it.” (Audience laughs) And so you’d be surprised I postponed my suicide one day at a time for years because I thought, “May as well stick around one more day I can make it one more day.” And that’s some advice for anyone out there that thinks about it, postpone it, cause once you do it you can’t turn back.

You know I get phone calls every now and then from people asking about suicide and I say, “Suicide is one of the biggest mistakes anyone could make. Because you destroy all your options and if you think suicide is going to remove your problems what it does is it permanently seals your problem with no alternative.” As long as you’re alive, Solomon said, “A living dog is better than a dead lion.” Where there’s life there’s hope, right? (Audience says amen) And so I just kept putting it off and--and praise God, I mean the Lord I know many times the Holy Spirit said, “I’ve got a plan for you, not today.”

And finally I thought, “You know why die by doing something boring taking pills, jumping off a building,” I said, “I wanna die with excitement.” I’d watch this beer commercial, Old Slitz [??] beer commercial and it said, “You only go around once in life get all the gusto you can.” I didn’t know what gusto was but it sounded good to me. So I said, “I’m gonna have as much excitement as I can.” And I began to live a very rebellious life and that was probably right around 12, 13, 14. (Uh) I started drinking and using drugs, a matter of fact I could probably say at this point (uh) I got a little help from my parents.

I remember when I was 13 years old Mom said to me one day, “Doug, I know you’re gonna run into this stuff,” you’ve heard about how parents need to talk to their kids about drugs? Well my Mom did. She said, “I know you’re gonna run into this stuff on the streets and I just assume that you did it at home where you won’t get into trouble,” and so she rolled a joint started smoking it with me. And then later it was hashish and (uh) Mom already served alcohol with our dinner, and so we could drink at home. And (uh) lot of people in show business use drugs and Mom not only took pills, ups and downs, and LSD, and pot, and hashish, but (uh) lot of people in Hollywood use drugs. Now as I guess all kinds of exotic things they’re using.

So I--it became a regular thing with Mom, at least twice a week, we would smoke pot, watch tv, and eat ice cream. And (uhm) Falcon would come and visit from Florida and he’d feel left out because he, with his lung condition, couldn’t smoke pot, so Mom would make him marijuana or hashish cookies, Mom was a good cook. (Audience laughs) And (uh) I remember one day (uh) I took ‘em to a school party and we gave them to the teachers. (Audience laughs) See if we could get them loosen up a little bit. (Audience laughs)

So then I, when I was living with Dad, Dad thought that (uh) you know pot and those things were (uh) shameful but he drank himself into a stupor everyday. And he had a bar in the house, had a butler and a maid and a complete bar that he kept well stocked. And it--very early I started emptying my Dad’s martini glasses when I was a toddler. I still remember doing that emptying the glasses and eating the olives in the bottom. But (uhm) when I was living with Dad in Miami Beach, we could go into the bar whenever we wanted and just wait till the butler wasn’t there. Dad was at work and Betty was out shopping and we’d drink, we’d invite our friends to drink and that we drank an awful lot and--and (uh) Dad never knew, if he did he never said anything because the butler thought Dad was just drinking more than usual and he’d replace it, so Dad never knew what was missing.

And I got into a lot of trouble. And I was in and out of jail you know, most of it was because it was a plea for attention and I wanted my friends to like me. My parents were so busy with their careers that I started trying to get attention and acceptance and love from my friends. And I found I didn’t seem to get any positive attention from being good, I only got attention from being bad. And as you may have guessed I was sort of the class clown and I was very disruptive and rebellious, and started getting involved in crime. And (uh) not because I needed the money but I began to get involved in burglary and--and (uh) drugs for the excitement.

My friends would dare me to jump off a bridge and I’d do it, in Biscane Bay. They dare me to break into a house and we began to get involved in burglary. And what’s really strange is the island I was living on with Dad, Sunset Island Number I, a lot of millionaires live around that island. You heard the Firestone tires? I used to date Amy Firestone. Karen’s better looking—

just want you to know that. (Audience laughs) (Uhm) You’ve heard of Hoover Vacuum Cleaners? Sandy Hoover, who’s a--he’s a boy. Sandy Hoover was one of our friends that lived on the island, course not a lot of us played with Sandy because he was a little different. You know what his goal was in life? Whenever Sandy would ride his bicycle around the island he’d come up to a stop sign and he’d go, “Ka-tchhu, everybody off,” he was always pretending his bike was a bus, he wanted to be a bus driver; (Audience laughs) the heir to the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner dynasty. Last I heard, you know what Sandy was doing? Driving a limo on a bus! Happiness doesn’t come from money, does it?

But the other kids on the island that (uh) we’d play with, we’d get into trouble and we’d start breaking into homes—just for the excitement. All these millionaire kids were breaking into the mansions of the other people that lived on these islands. And they had guards you had to go by to get there. And we’d get bored and they’d dare me to break into a house and I’d do it and it didn’t matter just--we’d steal anything just so we could say we broke in. And (uhm) my friends would dare me to break into a house while people were still awake and walking around in the house and I wanted their acceptance so much.

You know what was really strange though there’s this ci-crime spree on the island of all the millionaire’s kids breaking into each other’s homes and the security company for the island thought that thieves were coming by boat, and so we would (Audience laughs) sit there on the dock, we watch these police boats circling the island at night trying to catch the thieves and it was all the students all the--the children of the (uhm) the millionaires breaking into each other’s homes. But (uhm) and I’m making a long story short, I’ve been (uh) in and out of jail several times and chased by the police, and shot at, and (uh) and I’m not proud of these things but just to give you a picture of where I was.

I ran away from home first time when I was 13 years old, (uh) have been in reform school for brief periods of time because I was in trouble. One time I got arrested I wouldn’t tell them who I was because I’d rather stay in jail than go back home again. I was so unhappy. And (uhm) last time I left home I was 15 years old when I ran away; hitchhiked up to Boston, father said “I’m through with you I don’t know what to do with you.” And (uh) began to break into homes, now I was a burglar not for entertainment but I needed the money. And I became a thief, and I was stealing cars, and I was stealing televisions, and I had a part time job as a security guard at the same time. (Audience laughs)

I--I know that sounds really bizarre but it is absolutely true. I was 16 years old at this point and I had a driver’s license that said I was 18. So here I am a big shot, walking around this oversized uniform in Boston, with a weapon and I’m a security guard, and--and I had a license so that I could (uh) buy. I was buying alcohol and--and (uh) I would guard places at night and I’d steal during the day because if you walk out of a house at night with a tv you look suspicious, but if you do it during the day when the people are at work they think you’re just moving. (Audience laughs)

And so this is how I was living and then a friend of mine who was into these Eastern religions, he knew about my day job. His name was Jerry. And (uh) he said, I said, “You gonna turn me in”? He said “No, Doug, I don’t need to turn you in,” he says “God sees what you’re doing and your karma is gonna get you.” Now karma is this (uh) ethereal rule that whatever you do comes back. “With what measure you mete it’s measured to you” is how Jesus put it, and there is an element of truth in that. When you live on the streets they put it this way, “What goes around comes around, you gonna get what you give,” and there’s an element of truth in that. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I said, “Nah, there’s no God.” And I said, “I stole that tv and I got rid of it nothing happened to me, nothing’s gonna happen. He said, “You’ll see.”

And not long after he told me this I woke up in my apartment in Boston and my door was open, and my television was gone, (Audience laughs) and my radio, and I was really mad I called the police right away. (Audience laughs) I wanted them to track down, I felt they’d (uh) invaded my privacy. I wanted them to catch these thieves. (Audience laughs) And--and I started watching and it began to slowly dawn on me that I wasn’t getting ahead because I would like--everything I did went wrong. I’d steal something, I’d often do it while I was drunk or high, and I’d hide it, and then I’d sober up and forget where I hid it. Or I would steal something and my friends were all thieves, they would in turn then steal it from me, “Oh, I don’t know where it went.” And (uh) or I would risk my life to steal like a stereo or something I’d get back to my place, plug it in, it was broken, I stole a broken stereo. (Audience laughs)

And just everything was going wrong and I said, “Man,” what convinced me may seem strange, it was a little thing, I didn’t quit stealing cold turkey, I tapered off, I used the patch. (Audience laughs) And (uh) but I was at someone’s house and I stole a box of Krusteez instant pancake mix, any of you remember that? It was the whole wheat variety, and (uh) I did it because even though here I am a hippie you know and I’m--I’m drinking, and smoking, and taking drugs, and LSD, and staying up all night, but I only eat whole wheat because the other stuff is not good for your health. (Audience laughs) And so I steal this box of pancake mix, this is the whole wheat variety, and on the top of the box it was stamped, a dollar nineteen. This is before the days of the bar code. The little blue circle, any of you remember that, stamped on top, a dollar nineteen.

That same day some friends went through my place, I had a brand new jar of Tang instant breakfast drink. They took the jar, they drank the whole thing, and there by the empty jar was a lid stamped and it said a dollar nineteen. And I looked at the pancake mix, a dollar nineteen, and I thought, “Crime doesn’t pay.” (Audience laughs) There must be a God. Once I realized there was a God I really began to search. And while I was there in Boston I began to explore a broad spectrum of different religions.

First thing I did is I turned on the tv and I saw on the news where it said the Protestants are killing the Catholics and the Catholics are killing the Protestants in Ireland you know, and--and they both claim to be Christians and blowing each other up, I said, “Ah, Christians are all hypocrites.” Or I’d watch some of the broadcast Sunday morning with a televangelist, and for me they were the lowest life form there was. Doesn’t God have a cool sense of humor? (Audience laughs) And now I’m a televangelist, (Laughs) (Audience laughs) and they’re all beggin’ for money you know and--and I said, “Ah man if these are Christians they’re all hypocrites.” That’s what I said.

And I still run into people say, “I’d be a Christian but they’re all hypocrites you know.” I’ve come to learn a Christian is not a follower of Christians, a Christian is a follower of who? Of Christ! And people will let you down Jesus will never let you down! And so I began to get into a lot of the more exotic religions and I started looking into some of the New Age religions. I looked into Buddhism. And my mother was wish--wishing I had stayed with Zen Buddhism, and (uh) Hinduism, and Transcendental meditation, and I would sit by the hour and meditate and try to be at one with the god in me.

And I always thought looking back now it was peculiar that someone have to say, “Don’t you know that you are god”? Because you think even if you are a little god you’d be smart enough to recognize it, no one would have to tell you, right? But I was trying to find the god within me, and I already of course had my (uh) Jewish background and so I tried to mix the Kabbalah (Cabala) and some of the Jewish tradition, and I was creating a milk shake of different religions trying to find the truth, and the Lord knew I was searching.

And I’d been to the Catholic schools and was (uh) doing the repetitive prayers and I thought if I mix (uh) a one “Our father” with an “Ahmmm” and do this--these meditatings that maybe I’d--I’d find God, and (uh) I really did search. A matter of fact, I was hitchhiking all over the country. I have been--I’ve probably got a hundred thousand miles on my thumb. I mean I’ve been all over—I’ve been from the East Coast to the West Coast, from Florida to Maine, all over the country hitchhiking, I was really searching for God. And you know God, as mixed up I was, God knew I really was searching for the truth. And I was confused.

I remember one time I went to Southern California with a friend named Jay Samuels, from Brooklyn, New York, and (uh) we were living on the streets. And we went to a Christian mission because they offered free food, but before you get your food you had to listen to someone preach. And so they bring you all in and they shut the door and then they (uhm) they preach to you, and they testify, and I’m so embarrassed now because the crew I was with, I mean we’re--we’re a bunch of drug addicts and alcoholics, we were so disrespectful, and rude, and they were belching and--and falling sleep, and being rude, and then when they got done they were--all these people, these Christians were so nice, and loving, and smiling, “Oh, this can’t be real.” And then they fed us this great meal with cherry pie and everything and I thought, “These people are so nice to these bums that are rude,” that’s what I thought. I was embarrassed to go back because they were so nice to us.

But we found out that the Hari Krisna Temple also serve free food so I said, “Jay, let’s go down there.” So we went to the Hari Krisna Temple in Sta. Monica, California. They said, “But you’ve gotta go to our services before we feed you.” We said, “We understand, that’s the rule.” (Audience laughs) So we went in their services, involved jumping up and down for an hour and a half and they said, (clears throat) “Hari Krisna, Hari Krisna, Krisna, Krisna, Hari, Hari, Hari Rama, Hari Rama, Rama, Rama, Hari, Hari,” I never forgot it because they did it for an hour and a half. (Audience laughs) And at one point I actually went to the bathroom because I said, “This is just hypnosis.” (Audience laughs) They had a drum going “dun dun dun dun dun” and then they had a bass, “Hari Krisna,” and I saw all these guys in their pajamas and shaving their head and all this and I thought, “They gotta be hypnotized, no one else would do this.” (Audience laughs)

So I went to the bathroom and I waited and waited until the music started dying down, I went back in cause I wanted the food and Jay was starting to get into it he’s “hari k—.” (Audience laughs) I had to get him out of there. (Audience still laughing) And (uhm) after all that jumping up and down they gave us yogurt and raisins. (Audience laughs --loud) And that was, I knew that day I couldn’t ever join that religion.

Well I went back to Boston and while I was living on the streets in Boston—I actually had two jobs, and (uh) I had cut down on my stealing but I was working as a security guard part time and I was working in a rust-proofing factory, we would rust proof like the steel toes in boots, and it wasn’t very exotic but it was honest and I had a lot of money. Because between selling drugs and the work, I was I--I’m a little driven li--like my parents, very motivated.

And my Dad came to visit me one day and I was big shot I said, “You want, let me buy you a dinner Dad.” I said, “I got my own apartment now,” and I was showing him all the stuff he was so discouraged. He said, “Doug,” says, “you’re throwing your life away,” he says “you need an education.” He says, “You know you’re brother is sick,” I’ve got a step brother, John, (uh) who (uhm) from (uh) Betty who worked for Dad until Dad died, and (uhm) he said, “Falcon’s sick,” he said, “if you ever wanna work for me you gotta get an education,” he said, “I found a school, you’re gonna love this.” He said, “This is a school on a boat,” he says, “there’s girls, you sail around the world, you get to see the sights, you water ski, you scuba dive,” he says, “give school one more chance,” he says, “you’re gonna love this.”

And he was pleading with me and I--you know, I just couldn’t tell him no, and so I said, “Alright, alright.” And so he was so excited he took me right then to the airport, I don’t know who he paid but he got me a passport and a passport picture within a few hours. (Audience laughs) And he took me to the airport, he flew with me to Milan, Italy, where the boat was parked, docked, handed me over with a smirk on his face. And then I found out I’d been duped. (Audience laughs)

This school that he made sound so good was actually a very unusual exclusive school for the children—it was called the Flint School Abroad. There were two schools like this, they made a movie about one of them called, “The White Squall,” I don’t know if any--have you have ever heard about that, that one was all boys. Our school was coed, the Flint School, school on a boat. It was for the children of politicians and millionaires whose kids were getting mixed up in drugs, or the wrong crowd, or some cult religion, to get them out of their environment and straighten them out. And it was very strict. They took away your passport they said, “Basically, if you run away,” in Turkey or some of these countries, “you get arrested,” they put the fear in you, they said, “there’s nothing anyone can do, you’re gonna rot in jail.”

So they really had us like imprisoned. And (uh) I was so mad because here I’d been living on my own like a big shot, 18 years old, had my own job and--and (uh) now I’m a kid again. So I rebelled. And (uh) they couldn’t--at military school you misbehave they hit you, back then they could do that, now I don’t think they can do it anymore. But this school they couldn’t touch these kids cause they were the kids of the millionaires you know. And so I said, “I’m not going to class,” and so I just stayed in my room. And then they said, “Alright well then you have to sit on floor during meals.” So I’d sat on the floor and I goofed off and disrupted everything and I was just infuriated that I had been tricked.

I never did go scuba diving or water skiing or these things that I thought. Furthermore, they taught atheism in the school, it was the curriculum. They showed films of Darwin, they mocked anyone who believed in God as a fool, and now I believed in God. I’d seen too many things I couldn’t explain. I knew there had to be a God. And (uhm) so I’m in my room meditating, they finally said, “We’re not letting you go to meals,” and I had my roommates smuggle me food and this battle between me and the--the Captain is the principal, it went on for a while, until pretty soon the students, I would not stand watch, I would not participate, it was a protest, I’m very stubborn.

And (uh) Ha, I thought Karen would go amen at that point. (Audience laughter) Thank you for controlling yourself. Captain took me for a walk one day and he said (uh), “Batchelor, what do we need to do to get you to cooperate”? I said, “Ah, he wants to negotiate.” I said, “If you let me go home for Christmas break, I’ll behave between now and Christmas,” two weeks away. Only model students got to go home for Christmas. He was so anxious to get rid of me. He walked right from that conversation he said, “Is that a deal?” “That’s a deal.” He walked, he called my Dad, woke him up cause of the time zone, said, “Mr. Batchelor, we’ve got good news Doug has shown remarkable progress and we (Audience laughs) think he’s gonna be ready to go home for Christmas.”

My Dad was so happy. So I behaved for the next two weeks until Christmas and I stood watch and washed dishes and did my job and went to class. But I learned something interesting, while we were saving--sailing from Tunis, Africa, Northern Africa, across the Mediterranean just before Christmas time to port of Mahon, Spain, we got into a very severe winter storm. And the boat we were on, this is actually a picture of the two boats that you see here I--I was able to capture this from the website (uhm) two mast schooner, about a hundred and fifty feet long, waves were 25-30 feet, (uh) boat was going up and down through the waves, water was coming in, the main sail ripped, wind was howling so loud, Captain asked if someone would help drop the sail and go back up again, and you could scream at the top of your lungs to somebody that’s five feet away, they couldn’t hear you.

Everybody was seasick including the captain, how do you think that made people feel? Captain said, “If you get washed overboard,” and things were washing overboard, the nose of the ship was going thorough some waves, and part of the wave would roll from bow to stern over the boat and take things with it. We are wearing this foul weather gear but we were freezing out there cause it’s the Mediterranean in winter. And he said, “If you get washed overboard we’re not even gonna turn around because we’ll never find you, we’ll mark the spot and tell your parents where we lost you, you better hang on.”

And (uh) I tell you what it was a pretty scary experience. Everyone was looking for the place in the middle of the boat cause th--so many were seasick. If you went below deck, it looked like some great hand had taken the ship and turned it upside down and shook it, because in the halls and all over the rooms where the books and the mattresses and everybody seasick, do I need to say more? It was awful!

And (uh) what do you think all those atheists started doing when they thought they were gonna die? It was amazing! Nobody needed any lessons at all! (Audience laughs) Nobody was going “Hari Krisna, Hari Krisna.” (Audience laughs) People were praying and making promises to God and I probably made a few, and you what else is interesting is people always know when they’re doing something wrong cause when they’re about to die, they know what to confess. They know what to promise God they’ll never do t again. But you know fear is a wrong reason to serve God. It might be a starting point, coming to God. Nothing wrong if fear drives you to the Lord, then praise the Lord that you came to your senses, cause you were doomed until you came to your senses.

But the best reason to serve God is love. If you are only serving God because of fear, then if you should get to heaven you’ll lose your motive, right? Well as soon as the storm was over, everybody forgot their prayers and their promises, including Doug. I told the people on, “As soon as I got on the airplane flying home,” I said, “you will never see me again,” and they never have. I bought a beer and a pack of cigarettes and (uh) when I got back to Florida, Dad took the family snow skiing, he was so happy that I was doing better at school. I thought, “Well I’ll go on a vacation with the family before I run away.”

So after we got skiing, got done skiing in Canada, I sold everything I owned to my brother, who was a very shrewd business man to get as much money as I could. And I took off hitchhiking to California. While I’d been there at 15, 16 years old I’d found a cave and I wanted to move out to this cave. And on my way out I had a very interesting experience. I was hitchhiking from Miami, Florida to California and if you don’t know that’s a long way, Christmas time, I left Florida with Florida clothing. In Virginia, I lost all my money drinking and playing pool. I got drunk, and by the way of all the drugs I’ve used, you know cocaine, and marijuana, and LSD, and ups and downs, and hash, and you know more of my friends died from alcohol than all the others put together. It just really worries me that every now and then I run into a Christian that thinks drinking is okay.

I got drunk, I lost all my money making stupid bets. I’m a pretty good pool player when I’m sober right, John? Oh, come on now, (Audience laughs) and (uhm) I got on a highway the next day and I really felt like at the bottom. Because here I am first I’m on freezing to death, I’m in Oklahoma, I got stuck in Oklahoma. And (uh) I remember every time a truck went by I’d count to three and I turn around and then three seconds after the truck went by the wind from the truck would hit me and I was as bitterly cold, I was sick from drinking, hang over, I was all out of money, I did not like myself, and I mean I really was a rotten person.

Giving you an example, when I was stealing cars, I stole this one car, a few weeks later came back to steal the same car. There’s a note taped on the steering wheel, I’m in there with my little flashlight getting ready to steal the car and I’m reading this note, little index card it says, “Please don’t steal my car.” (Audience laughs) It says, “I’m a pastor and every time my car is stolen it cost me a fortune to get it out of the tow yard, please don’t steal my car.” I laughed and I stole the car and left it in New York City after taking it from Boston. I didn’t care.

I had a friend that got a brand new bicycle for his birthday. I broke into his home, I stole his bicycle, sold it to another friend who--it was a very expensive bike, painted it, changed the serial numbers, I then stole it from him and sold it to another friend. (Audience laughs) So when I said I was a rotten person I really was a very selfish person, you know why? I didn’t think anybody cared about me, and so I made up my mind I’m not gonna care about anybody.

While I’m out there on the highway, I prayed, because I became desperate. And I asked God for four things. I said, “Lord, I know I’m a sinner,” I didn’t even know how to pray. I remember my Jewish parents taught me a Jewish prayer and I didn’t even know what it meant, “Brukatohaloi elohim my kalom.” So I didn’t even know how to pray, I could say, “Our Father,” going to Catholic School, or “Hail Mary.” But I just prayed from my heart I said, “Lord, I know you’re there, I know there’s a God. I know I’m an awful person, will you forgive me? I needed forgiveness, and will you help me”? And I said, “Lord, please, I need four things.” I said, “I need a ride to where I’m going, 2,000 miles away. See, please give me a ride, please help me get some food, I’m hungry, please help me get some money, I’m broke,” and the fourth thing I prayed the Lord would give me a ride with somebody normal, because I kept getting picked up by these lunatics (Audience laughs) you know.

I got picked up by people--I remember this one guy drinking picked me up and he said, “Watch this I can drive with--without my lights on.” And he turned off the lights on a windy road. (Audience laughs) Or I get picked up by a couple of college students that were smoking so much pot they obscured the visibility in the car they went across the median on the Interstate into oncoming traffic. Or I’d get picked up by people that had sexual motives. (Uh) And so you gotta pray, you think it’s dangerous to pick up hitchhikers? It’s a lot more dangerous to hitchhike. (Audience laughs) So I said, “Lord, give me a ride with someone normal.”

As soon as I finished praying, right there on Interstate 40, the next vehicle stopped. I’d been there eight hours, soon as I finished praying he stopped. It was a white van. He picked me up, he took me 2,000 miles to the door of where I was going in California, he fed me all the way out, I didn’t ask him to, he gave me 40 dollars when he dropped me off that I didn’t ask for. I should mention I also did not ask for him to preach to me all the way from Oklahoma (Audience laughs) to Palm Springs, California. This was, I just wanted a ride but the Lord sent a Born Again Christian. And he was preaching to me and reading the Bible and sharing it with everybody along the way, and this fellow was really aggressive about sharing his faith. And I kind to had to listen to him, you know, I’d be sitting there and he’d be preaching, I’d be thinking, “Yeah, right, uh-huh,” I had to either listen or get out.

But you know I did pick up something, I now do that. I think it’s a good way to share your faith. If you’re not afraid to pick up hitchhikers what you do is you pick him up and you wait until you’re doing about 60 miles an hour and you make your gospel presentation, (Audience laughs) then you accelerate and look at them and say, “Now would you like to accept Jesus?” and don’t look at the road. (Audience laughs) And a lot of people have found the Lord in my car (Audience still laughing) that way, it’s true I do pick up hitchhikers, and I--and I witness to ‘em along the way. (Audience still laughing)

But you know I had to listen to this guy but I really believe the Bible was a fairy tale. I mean who can believe the stories about Adam and Eve, and Noah and the Ark, and my Mom had always told me and this most of these schools I went to tha--that this was just fiction. So now I moved up into the mountains into a cave way back in the hills above Palm Springs, California. My brother came to visit me once and he took these pictures. And I lived there a year and a half like a hermit. And it was a long way out of town. I used to have to climb from Palm Springs to this mountain that was over 45 hundred feet and then back down the other side, very rugged, steep, dry, dangerous terrain. Several people died up there in the time I lived there.

And the mountain was Mt. San Jacinto, one of the tallest mountains in Southern California, it’s 11,000 feet high. And (uh) I lived in this cave, it was a beautiful cave, I mean as far caves go, (uh) right by the cave I had a creek that ran by. I was very comfortable, my cave was very neat, it was the neatest cave there was because I went to military school my bed was made everyday and I had all my stuff in its place. You can ask Karen, I’m sort of a fanatic that way. Yeah there you go I knew I’d get a name on that one. (Audience laughs) And (uh) I mean I’d make my hotel bed when I check out. (Uh) So pray for me. (Audience laughs) There’s a beautiful waterfall and a pool right by my cave.

That was my cat Stranger. He just showed up one day, lived with me for a year and disappeared. And (uhm) I’d go to sleep at night and Stranger would come at night and he’d press his nose when it was cold, he’d press on my nose until I opened up my sleeping bag and he’d crawled in by my feet, he’d purr down by my feet it was great. But sometimes he’d go out hunting and he’d like make a skunk mad and chase a skunk through my cave. (Laughs) (Audience laughs) But I’ve a lot of experiences I can’t share.

But the real miracle is while I was living up here, somebody (uh) had left a Bible in the cave. And somebody asked me one time, “Was it a King James Version? Did the Gideons put it there”? You know the Gideons put them in all the hotel rooms, they wanna know if now they’re going to all caves everywhere. (Audience laughs) The Gideons—no it was just a regular King James Version of the Bible. And at first I ignored it. I would hike down to town once or twice a week. I used to pan handle, I begged for money, and I’d play the flute, I’d buy my groceries or I’d dig in the dumpster, and then I’d head on home.

And (uh), you know I had to pause here and just mention, eventually, my father found out how I was living and when he found I was digging in the dumpster looking for food, how do you think that made him feel? That broke his heart. And so (uh) you’ve got a heavenly Father, and it breaks his heart when we go to the garbage of the world looking for happiness because it will never satisfy.

Well, as I began to read the Bible, I finally picked it up one day and I didn’t understand everything I read. When I’d read through the Old Testament, I got through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament. And (uh) I didn’t understand a lot, but I found a version of the Bible maybe a little simpler, and two things became very clear to me: one, I was a big sinner, and that Jesus was a big Savior. It also became clear to me that God had a plan for my life.

And I got on my knees up there in the cave and I said, “Lord, I’m a big zero.” I mean I’m running around up in the mountains—did I mention I didn’t wear any clothes up there? I’m running around naked up in the mountains, (uh) long hair and a beard, digging in the dumpster, drinking, and smoking, and using drugs, stealing, living immorally. And I asked the Lord I said, “Will you forgive me from my sins and come into my heart and give me some purpose for living”? I mean I was a big zero.

And you know God came into my heart back then. And He didn’t change me all at once but He started changing me. And He started working miracles where I knew He was real. I remember at one point, (huh) this is a picture of (huh) it’s me in my cave with Stranger, I had clothes on so I thought I’d show you that picture. And it was of course from reading the Bible this happened. At one point I was up there and I was reading the Bible and I thought, “I wanna share God’s word with other people, but I don’t know how this is ever gonna happen because (uhm) nobody is gonna know me up here,” and (uh) I said, “Lord, I’d like to witness for you but I don’t know how I’m gonna do that cause I live in a cave all by myself,” I would go days without seeing another human. No radio, no tv, no cell phone, no human contact for days.

Right after I prayed that prayer--prayer I went to town, I called Mom who lived in Beverly Hills, she said, “Doug, I’m coming by to see you.” Said, “What do you mean”? She said, “NBC is coming with a helicopter, we wanna interview you.” They’re doing a national human interest story on this millionaire’s son that lives in a cave. I said, “You’re kidding.” So they flew up to my cave with a helicopter and interviewed me for the news, and it was on three times that day, only reason I know that, I didn’t have a tv my friends in jail said they saw it three times. (Audience laughs)

And while I was on national news he’s saying, “Why do you live like this?” and I was able to share my testimony about how I’d become a Christian and happiness didn’t come from money. So here I just prayed God would give me an opportunity to witness, “So how could I ever witness to anybody I live in a cave”? Don’t underestimate what God can do (Audience says amen) if you’re willing to work for Him. He sends the national news to give me an opportunity to share my faith.

In the time that’s passed and I’m just making al--a lot had happened since then till now. (Uh) Family and I, we’ve been up to the cave a few times, (uh) this is a picture I think of when Karen and I went up there with the kids. I don’t know how long ago this was Dear, (uhm) 1992—we--that’s from the top of the mountain. My cave was just over that hill and down the other side. Nineteen-ninety two we flew up. Some people think Christians can’t have fun and all they say, “Oh, I’d like to be a Christian but you know you don’t have any fun and you can’t drink and use drugs and all these things and so all those sins.”

I have so much more fun now as a Christian than I ever had before. A matter of fact you young people who think it’s not fun to be a Christian, you ought to try and follow Pastor Doug around, keep up with him. (Uh) Ask John, he’s been to our house before up in the hills and (uh) I went sky diving, a couple of years ago, that was a blast! Do I look like I’m having fun? (Audience laughs) And we went hang gliding and (uh) I--I like flying, I’m a pilot, and the family’s got some kayaks up in Covelo where we lived, and we like to go kayaking down the river. Karen and I have our scuba certificates and we’ve been scuba diving (uh) the Barrier Reef, and Caribbean and other places, and as I said I still have my pilot’s license and like to fly around.

I got a picture—that’s Angie, I think John took this picture, and (uh) that’s my son, Micah, and (uh) that’s John and I flying and you could see we’re paying close attention to the instruments. (Audience laughs) We run heavy equipment and (uh) and I like working with my hands. And (uh) few years ago, I went back up to the cave when Micah (uh), first born son, was seven years old, and (uh) went visiting—he’s swimming there in the pool, it was freezing water that day. And I brought a Bible back up there, I just had felt impressed that I wanted to leave a Bible in the cave because of the way it had changed my life. And I’ll never forget that experience. That was such a wonderful trip. It was just Micah and I. It’s amazing he made it, he was seven year old then and it is a grueling hike up to these desert mountains.

(Uh) Back in 2001, Karen and I were doing meetings in (uhm) the Philippines and we got some tragic news that Micah had died in a construction accident. And you know that was probably one of the hardest things that I ever went through, (uh) that we--that we went through. But (uh) it--it helped me to realize in a special way how much our Father must love us, because losing our first born son like this (uh) creates such a vacuum in your life. And you think about it everyday and it hurts everyday, you never stop thinking about it, you never completely get over it.

And then you think that God so loved the world that He willingly gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life. You know in the years that have passed I was present when my (uh) brother died. Falcon asked me to pray with him before he died. Karen and I came back from meetings in Russia and (uh) Mom was in a coma, she died from bone cancer. (Uhm) Few years later, back in 19, oh 2003, or 2002, Dad passed away. And (uh) so we’ve lost all the immediate family. I--can you tell I’m the black sheep fr--from looking at that picture? That’s Mom and Dad, my brother Falcon, and that was at Falcon’s wedding.

And (uh) when Dad died, we went to visit him, they wouldn’t even let us say goodbye to him, wouldn’t let us in into the door. Some gal was getting ready to marry him in a few days while he was in his hospital bed. And they were afraid we were gonna find out, so I’d flown out with my son, Daniel, in his military uniform, he’s in the marines right now, Steven, named after Dad, they wouldn’t let us in cause they were afraid we would interfere with the wedding, we just wanted to see Dad and pray with him. He died not long after she married him. I think two weeks after from cancer.

And (uh) whole family got--the whole estate got embroiled and for the record, I never received a penny, a photograph from my father’s es--estates since he’s died. I could have gotten all mex--mixed up in all that dispute but the Lord says, “Doug, I’ve called you to preach the gospel.” (Audience says amen) And I keep remembering that Scripture, “What profit it is if you gain the whole world and you lose your soul”? You know real happiness comes from, who? From Jesus! We wanna go off the air with this message, I’d rather have Jesus. Friends, is it your prayer this morning to say, “I’d rather have Jesus”?

Father in heaven, (John Lomacang singing “I’d rather have Jesus” in the background) help us to make that decision to put Jesus first in our lives, to accept Him as our Savior knowing that He has a great plan for each one of us, and any who are watching if they’ve not made that decision may they come to Jesus just as they are today, we pray in Christ’s name, Amen.

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