AssemblyBoard
August 16, 2022, 06:45:31 am *
The board has been closed to new content. It is available as a searchable archive only. This information will remain available indefinitely.

I can be reached at brian@tucker.name

For a repository of informational articles and current information on The Assembly, see http://www.geftakysassembly.com
 
   Home   Search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 6
  Print  
Author Topic: How Do These People Live With Themselves?  (Read 68247 times)
outdeep
Guest


Email
« on: March 28, 2007, 07:33:40 pm »

Last night, I Loretta and I went to Hebron Colony, a local alcoholic rehab ministry, to hear the testimony of Tom Papania.  He was billed as a former mafia boss who dramatically came to Christ and now ministers as an evangelist around the world.  He was featured on Focus on the Family.

A small but rather significant inconsistancy in his testimony as well as a brief mention of "how the devil is bringing accusation against my ministry" prompted me to do a Google search.

As encouraging as last night’s testimony was, there seems to be quite a lot of evidence on the internet that it was probably fraudulent.  Even FOTF has cut ties (though I have an e-mail in to FOTF to double-check that). 

A good summary and place to start is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Papania

I know anyone can do an “accusation” web site but then Mr. Papania doesn’t work real hard to post irrefutable evidence (such as photos of him with known mob bosses) on his site either.  He relies on spinning opposition as the work of the devil preventing many souls coming to Christ.

This doesn't stumble me because I'm well aware of false teachers.  What it motivates me to do is to be more determined to speak the truth humbly, as honestly as I can, and without fanfare.  Make double-sure you do not take advantage of the gullibility that is often found among Evangelicals who want to believe the best about fellow Christians.

But, how do these people live with themselves?
Logged
Joe Sperling
Guest


Email
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2007, 08:52:59 pm »

Dave---

Your post reminded me of Mike Warnke, the Christian comedian/minister, who claimed he had been
the head Priest and leader in a Satanic Cult. It turned out he had dabbled a bit in satanic things, but
had greatly exaggerated the story, with several of his former friends claiming that most of what he
said were lies and hype. He has now faded into obscurity.

You're right though---how do they live with themselves?

Logged
Oscar
Guest


Email
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2007, 10:14:17 pm »

Dave and Joe,

How do they live with themselves?Huh


I hear that counting large amounts of money obtained through the sale of books and cd's is very soothing to the conscience.

 Wink

Tom
Logged
outdeep
Guest


Email
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2007, 01:58:09 am »

Dave and Joe,

How do they live with themselves?Huh


I hear that counting large amounts of money obtained through the sale of books and cd's is very soothing to the conscience.

 Wink

Tom
Yeah.  Other than the Great White Throne judgment thing, it is rather attractive I have to admit.


Seriously, I know many of the folks who where there.  Some are involved in our Celebrate Recovery ministry.  (In fact, it was our CR praise band that did the music).  I know where some of them were just a short time agao and the things God is doing in their lives as they walk with the Lord and form relationships in a caring community.  If one of these folks when finding out are stumbled, write all of Christianity off as fradulant and go back to their old drug friends, I would be pretty ticked.
Logged
outdeep
Guest


Email
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2007, 08:14:37 pm »

Here is a letter I sent off to Mr. Papania.  If you don't hear from me again, then I was probably taken out by the mob. 

-Dave



Dear Mr. Papania,

I enjoyed listening to your testimony this last week at Hebron.  It was uplifting and inspiring.  Of course, I would enjoy it much more if I knew it was true.

I certainly understand that anyone can put up an accusation website and I appreciate your reluctance to defend yourself and get on with the work of preaching the gospel.

Unfortunately, your accusers seem to have some substantive claims.  It would certainly be helpful in removing doubt and opening doors for you to preach the gospel if you would at least address some of these claims specifically.

For example,
1.   You claim that you were put in prison in 1965 for shooting two men for the mafia and you passed the test.  However, the court documents posted on your accuser’s website indicate that you were actually in prison for robbing a car yard and a TV shop.
2.   There seems to be no collaborating evidence from anyone that you had any association with the Gambino family. No photos.  No statements from any other individuals.  You’re on no government lists.  You are not mentioned in any books on Gambino family history.  In fact the only item available is your sworn testimony of April, 1987 where you said under oath that you had nothing to do with the mafia.
3.   You claimed that your only non-mafia job was when you worked as an operations manager for a dairy farm.  During the period where you claimed you were in control of several lucrative businesses (1970’s and 1980’s), sworn testimony that you gave says you were working for places such as Jilly’s Restaurant, Improved Drywall, Fantastic Chicken and United Produce.  This is inconsistent with what you said.

I am willing to believe that these accusations are simply a fabricated story by someone who wants to discredit your ministry.  However, the documentation seems to be on your accuser’s side.  I am really going to need your help if I am going to be able to defend your ministry.  Here are some things I would like you to do demonstrate your credibility.  Remember, like Paul who defended himself from his accusers, if you deal with this credibility issue, there will be more doors open for you to speak.

Would you consider the following?
1.   If you were indeed jailed in 1965 for shooting two men, could you post on your website copies of the notarized court documents?  These are public records and easily obtained.
2.   Could you also post some collaborating evidence that places you together with the Gambino family?  The testimony and contact information of some witness?  Perhaps an old photograph of you with the Gambino family?  Perhaps the testimony of someone who owed the Gambino family money who you intimidating into paying up.  I’m sure they would be happy to testify how they could see “their funeral” in your eyes and how much you have since changed.
3.   How about some statements and contact information from the pastor and members of that church you were saved in?  Certainly someone would remember how you came in that first day dressed to the hilt and driving an expensive car.  You would have stood out so strikingly that it would be in their mind.
4.   Perhaps you could list the exact businesses you ran when you were a mafia kingpin.  Also, when you became a Christian and gave it all away, you should be able to obtain a donation receipt.  I think if you posted on your website a donation receipt for a million dollars to a charitable organization during that period you gave it all away that would help collaborate your story.

You see, Mr. Papania, I am not asking that you spend all your time and resources defending yourself.  It would just help us greatly if you can put forth something – anything - concrete that would collaborate what you are saying is true.  After all, if I claimed in my testimony that I was in the band KISS for twenty years, I should be able to at least produce a photograph.

Unfortunately, your website has nothing.  It only has God-talk claims of how the Holy Spirit is using your ministry.  I’m afraid that won’t do.  After all, we have all encountered meetings where the Holy Spirit seemed to be moving only to find out later that the teacher had some sin in his life.  Ted Haggard immediately comes to mind as well as Mike Warenke who in his testimony claimed to be a High Priest of Satan until his claim was exposed as fraud in a 1991 Cornerstone magazine article.

Again, I appreciate your response as it would help me greatly in being able to recommend your ministry in the Boone, NC area.

Thank you very much,

-Dave Sable
Logged
Joe Sperling
Guest


Email
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2007, 01:14:10 am »

Dave----

Good letter---hope you don't wind up "swimmin' wit da fishes" for what you said  Grin

I had not heard of Tom Papania before---I went to Google and found "Tom Papania's
God's Saving Grace Home Page". It's very interesting to read that website singing his
praises. Every place they mention his name they put a (tm) next to it.

EX:  "Tom Papania(tm) is truly one of God's trophies of Grace". I don't know if (tm) stands
for "trade mark" or what it is, but it appears after the mention of his name everywhere on the
site.  It's almost though he is a character and not real. It's like Bernard Schwartz using the
name Tony Curtis (Tony Curtis's real name is Bernard Schwartz), and the person has a movie
personality and a real personality. Could Tom Papania be doing this for legal reasons?  Hmmm....

How does he live with himself?
Logged
Joe Sperling
Guest


Email
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2007, 01:27:07 am »

Dear Friends---

The below posts are very interesting and make one wonder. I am so grateful to God that I learned
to avoid that path a long while ago. You see friends, I used to have a tendency to exaggerate quite
a bit, until one day, a good friend of mine set me straight. I remember it well. It was on Apollo flight
11, and I was telling a story about how I caught a 667 pound sturgeon. Of course, the story was pure
fabrication, but I enjoyed seeing people's eyes grow wide as they hungrily believed my tall tales.

Anyhow, I was right in the middle of telling the story again when Neil Armstrong turned to me, looking
past a wide-eyed Buzz Aldrin, and said "Burt, stop exaggerating. You know you either never caught that fish, or it was way smaller than you claim. If you want to gain people's respect, and want to honor the
Lord, simply tell the truth. How do you expect to be a minister one day when you tell stories like that??"

Boy, did that hit home. I stayed quiet from that moment on. Few people realize I was even on that historic
mission, or walked on the moon with Buzz and Neil, because I tried to stay in the background. I had been truly humbled.  So, when I hear a story like this one about Tom Papania, I feel very sad. Too bad he hasn't learned to humble himself and just be who he was meant to be.  But if anyone would like to read my testimony in a more detailed manner about how I learned humility that day simply send $37.50 to the address below.

Thanks and God bless,  Reverend Burt

Burt O 'Leary
2222 Kingston Lane
Barstow, Ca., 92233
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 01:31:47 am by Joe Sperling » Logged
outdeep
Guest


Email
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2007, 02:17:29 am »

The following is a letter I got back from Papania.



Dave, this will have to do for now for what you ask is too lengthy to put in a E mail but I would like your phone number so I can explain everything to you. I leave for Ohio in the morning and will be back late Monday April 2nd.
To Whom It May Concern:
 
I am Rev. Fred Kelly a 42 year veteran pastor, most recently having served 30 years as senior pastor of a church I founded in Norcross, Georgia. At Landmark Church it was my joy to welcome and lead to Christ my friend Tom Papania. When he came to our service in 1984 he was serving as a body guard for Carl Coppola, a local restaurant owner who had recently been kidnapped by thugs but had escaped. It turns out that Mr. Coppola was also a drug importer who used his restaurants to launder the drug money. When he called New York for a "connected" body guard, Paul Castalano sent down Tom Papania. One of our members was doing business in the restaurant where Tom was "working" and invited him to church. He came and he was saved over a period of a few meetings. Subsequently Tom was in Atlanta Federal Prison while on trial and there he led Coppola to Christ and I baptized him in the prison chapel. Tom had already been baptized at Landmark; he also went through deliverance.
 
Coppola was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in the federal system. I have visited him many times at various prisons. Tom was found not guilty! I know Tom's story is a compelling one and I was there for the beginning of his life in Christ. I have been his friend and mentor all of these years. I love and appreciate his desire to serve the Lord through sharing his testimony. We have had him for two revivals at Landmark and the results are powerful. He was a member at Landmark for many years until he moved away from the area.
 
It is not surprising that the devil has sent people to attack Tom because of his great work in the Kingdom. It is surprising that some in the Kingdom have chosen to stand down in the face of the lying enemy instead of standing up for a brother whose life is precious to God. I will never stand down where Tom Papania is concerned. He is a courageous and powerful brother in the Lord; I know him well and am proud to have been used by God in his salvation!
 
Rev. Fred Kelly, Founding Pastor, Landmark Church
President International Ministerial Fellowship
pastork@mindspring.com



I did some internet searching and there really was a Landmark church and a Reverend Kelly (www.landmarkchurch.org) who was founding pastor of Landmark Church.  The e-mail is the same as on the church's website.

This does bring one bit of confusion:
1.  Mr. Tom Papania came to this church in 1984 according to this letter and received Christ.
2.  In Mr. Papania's testimony he made a point of how he was dressed in the fancies clothes and pinky ring and was driving an expensive car.  He was shocked when he drove up to the church and found that folks were meeting in a double-wide trailer.
3.  According to the church website, they built a 250 member accomodation in 1978.  Not a double-wide, but a real building.
4.  Still no collaboration confirming his years with the Gambino family or explanation about the two accounts concerning his arrest.

I e-mailed Reverend Kelly, the current pastor and their information line asking about this but haven't heard back yet...
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 02:20:38 am by Dave Sable » Logged
moonflower2
Guest


Email
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2007, 05:03:01 am »

Dear Friends---

The below posts are very interesting and make one wonder. I am so grateful to God that I learned
to avoid that path a long while ago. You see friends, I used to have a tendency to exaggerate quite
a bit, until one day, a good friend of mine set me straight. I remember it well. It was on Apollo flight
11, and I was telling a story about how I caught a 667 pound sturgeon. Of course, the story was pure
fabrication, but I enjoyed seeing people's eyes grow wide as they hungrily believed my tall tales.

Anyhow, I was right in the middle of telling the story again when Neil Armstrong turned to me, looking
past a wide-eyed Buzz Aldrin, and said "Burt, stop exaggerating. You know you either never caught that fish, or it was way smaller than you claim. If you want to gain people's respect, and want to honor the
Lord, simply tell the truth. How do you expect to be a minister one day when you tell stories like that??"

Boy, did that hit home. I stayed quiet from that moment on. Few people realize I was even on that historic
mission, or walked on the moon with Buzz and Neil, because I tried to stay in the background. I had been truly humbled.  So, when I hear a story like this one about Tom Papania, I feel very sad. Too bad he hasn't learned to humble himself and just be who he was meant to be.  But if anyone would like to read my testimony in a more detailed manner about how I learned humility that day simply send $37.50 to the address below.

Thanks and God bless,  Reverend Burt

Burt O 'Leary
2222 Kingston Lane
Barstow, Ca., 92233
Is paypal a payment option?
Logged
outdeep
Guest


Email
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2007, 06:47:10 am »

Hi folks,

I keep posting my correspondence about Tom Papania because I am simply astonished at how similar their reasoning is to what I left behind in the Assembly.  So far, it comes down to, "Mr. Papania is a man of high character and has a powerful ministry and therefore that is all that needs to be said."  Did we really believe that "Mr. Geftakys is a man of God and has an announted ministry so it doesn't matter that everything doesn't add up about his life?"  My God!  We did!   Cry

The following is the response from his pastor Kelly who led him to the Lord followed up with my response.



I am Fred Kelly. My office where we met that night was indeed in a doublewide manufactured building ... we had our first permanent building by then but no space in it for offices. Our campus is quite impressive today, but not then. As to Tom's testimony ... how could you or I either one know about the details? You think the mafia kept pictures? I KNOW Tom Papania. He is a man of God with a thrilling story to tell.about redemption. I also know the nut who is accusing Tom. He is NOT a Christian, is profane, tells lies, and is worthy of no attention from either of us.

I am frankly tired of people who will believe a lie, and then will hardly believe me as I vouch for Tom. You find the pastor who will vouch for "Rocky Scarfone" which is a made up name, by the way. You find the churches who have been blessed by his testimony. Tom has hundreds around the world. What does Rocky have ... a seedy jewlry store and some computers. No churches ... none!

Have Tom and be really blessed or don't ... your call. I know him very well, and I have had him in revival several times. THAT speaks for itself.

Fred Kelly
pastork@mindspring.com



Hello Reverend Kelly,
 
I sure appreciate your response.
 
We have had Tom out and were blessed.  I would be blessed even more if I was sure that what he said was true.  As you know, a man named Mike Warenke blessed many people with his testimony about being a high priest of Satan until it was exposed that it never happened.  One has to say a little more than "believe me because I'm a great guy and a powerful speaker".
 
While I certainly understand that accusers set up web pages.  In fact, anyone can set up any kind of web page and make any kind of claim.  This is why I am trying to test the claims - whether it be Tom's claim or the accusors - with collaborating evidence.  Again, saying "Tom is a great guy and a powerful speaker" is not collaborating evicence.  Jim Baker was a great guy and a powerful speaker as well.
 
The fact that you are the first piece of collaborating evidence is a good thing though to be honest, Tom said that church took place in the doublewide, not just the office but I won't make him an offender for a minor point.
 
The two outstanding issues that I would like to see resolved before I can argue on his behalf is this:
 
1.  Why does Tom claim that he was arrested for shooting two people when the notorized court records say that he was arrested for robbing a television store and a car lot?  Wouldn't simply getting the correct public document and posting it on his website clear that up?  This is a big difference and it undermines a key part of his testimony.
 
2.  There seems to be no collaborating evidence that Tom was assiocated with the Gambino family.  I know the mafia are not into home moves.  However, there are books on the Gambino family with pictures.  No mention.  There are govenment lists.  No mention.  There were people Tom collected money from who would recognize how much Tom had changed after he came to Christ.  No mention.  There were busnesses owned with records and business permits.  No mention.  Is there really not a single scrap of paper or eye-witness which can tie Tom to the Gambino family other than his own word?
 
Again, if you and he could clear these two credibility points up, more doors would open up for him to speak.  Until then simply retorting, "but look at all the people who come to Christ" is simply sidestepping the issue.
 
Thank you very much again for responding to my e-mail.
 
In Christ,
 
-Dave Sable
Logged
Oscar
Guest


Email
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2007, 09:12:38 am »

Dave,

Collaborating???

Don't you mean corroborating?

Tom
Logged
outdeep
Guest


Email
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2007, 06:51:37 pm »

Dave,

Collaborating???

Don't you mean corroborating?

Tom
Yes.  Opps.  Spellcheck doesn't always correct my ignorance. Embarrassed
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 06:53:21 pm by Dave Sable » Logged
Joe Sperling
Guest


Email
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2007, 09:26:38 pm »

For those reading along on this thread---the person mentioned below a few times(greatly exaggerating his past life as a high Priest of Satan) is Mike Warnke, not Warenke, in case you wanted to read up on him.

--Joe
Logged
outdeep
Guest


Email
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2007, 09:31:40 pm »

Here is Wikipedia entry for Mr. Warnke:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Warnke

Here is the Cornerstone piece that exposed him:
http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss098/warnke_index.htm

Here is Mr. Warneke's "comeback" website:
http://www.mikewarnke.org

Check this out!  He still bills himself as a former satanic high priest!
http://www.mikewarnke.org/default.asp?startpage=bios.asp
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 09:45:49 pm by Dave Sable » Logged
outdeep
Guest


Email
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2007, 09:34:20 pm »

This just in.  I got a reply back from Mr. Papania's pastor.  Again, he completely ignores my questions (1.  Why the difference between his story about his 1968 arrest and the court records and 2.  Why no corroborating evidence to back up his Gambino family claim).  His reference to Carl Coppola has to do with when after he came to Christ in 1984 and was back in prison awaiting trial.  It is probably true that he did lead this man to the Lord. 

It is his earlier mafia connection that is dubious and clearly unsubstantiated.

I thanked the pastor for his time and response.  I will ask those same questions to Mr. Papania and will then wrap things up.

BTW, does anyone have a clue what he is asking me about prayer?

Update:  I read this a little too quickly before I posted.  There may be some corrobating evidence if Mr. Coppola indeed told the pastor that the Gambino specifically sent Tom as one of his men.  This certainly isn't slam-dunk proof but it is a move in the right direction.  Since #1 above was not addressed, we may have moved from no involvement to some involvement that is greatly exaggerated.



Okay, once more into the breach: I baptized Carl Coppola in the Federal Prison here in Atlanta. He was the drug kingpin who called  for a body guard. (He had been kidnapped by rivals and escaped but was in fear for his life.) Gambino sent him one of his men, Tom Papania. I know that for a fact because Carl told me. Tom was the one who led him to Christ in the cell they shared in the prison. I visited them both many times during the eleven month trial that took place within a year of Tom's salvation. Tom was found not quilty of the drug charges while Carl was sent into the federal system for 35 years ... I have visited him many times in various prisons. Carl is still serving the Lord, by the way. I am so proud of him and his true conversion just as I am of Tom's.

Doubt or believe ... your choice. I know what I know and can't do more for you. What does God say about this when you pray?

Fred Kelly
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 11:16:52 pm by Dave Sable » Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 6
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!