One of the most unbelievable stories I think anyone's heard in a long time emerged yesterday. Some are, not surprisingly, calling it a miracle. It's certainly miraculous.
A South Lake Tahoe girl who was abducted 18 years ago, when she was only 11, was found alive, though not well, and living in the backyard of her abductors with the two daughters she had with one of her abductors, Phillip Garrido.
The way my mind work, I immediately wondered whether this story had any religion legs. I hoped not. I prefer to think that the kind of people who could commit such crimes aren't folks I'm likely to see every Sunday at church. (Think: BTK.) But then I read this in The New York Times:
The break in the case came Tuesday afternoon when a University of California, Berkeley, police officer noticed Mr. Garrido trying to hand out religious literature on campus and asked him for identification.
God help us. The LA Times makes no mention of this religious literature. But that doesn't mean it isn't true. Certainly the paper of record wouldn't introduce this vague detail without exploring it a bit more. Right?
Mr. Garrido gave a telephone interview from jail to station KCRA in Sacramento, saying, "In the end, this is going to be a powerful, heartwarming story."
"My life has been straightened out" in recent years, he said. "Wait till you hear the story of what took place at this house. You're going to be absolutely impressed. It's a disgusting thing that took place with me at the beginning, but I turned my life completely around."
In a posting on a blog associated with the God's Desire church, Mr. Garrido told of his ability to control sound.
"I Phillip Garrido have clearly demonstrated the ability to control sound with my mind and have developed a device for others to witness this phenomena," he wrote. "I have produced a set of voices by effectively controlling the sound to pronounce words through my own mental powers."
Think again, because that's it. You can infer from Garrido's words, within the language of redemption, that he's a bit off kilter. What we don't know is whether his "religion" has caused this or vice versa. In fact, we don't learn from The New York Times a single detail about this so-called church.
Now, I fancy myself a bit of an expert on Christianity, but I'd never heard of the God's Desire church. How did I miss this one? Must be a small denomination, right?
Like maybe it exists only in his head. On that "blog associated with the God's Desire church," Garrido, under the screename "themanwhospokewithhismind," announced Aug. 1:
For those that follow this blog we would like to inform you about our website. WWW.GODSDESIRE.NET. Thank you for your continued support.
That domain remains empty and Garrido said nothing about the leadership of this church. But the online site LALATE, which I discovered while researching this story, reported that Garrido registered the church as a California corporation with the secretary of state last year. And would you look at that: A little searching on the secretary of state's website and, voila:
Now I understand why The New York Times didn't educate me on the beliefs of the God's Desire church. What I don't understand is how they missed this detail.
Garrido's jailhouse interview can be heard in the above video.