Friday, June 13, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

What can I do? What should I do?

A letter from Patsy

Over the past month, I have been e-conversing with Pastor Tim O’Brien who has some limited national recognition throughout the US. The conversation started because I was upset after seeing how the children were treated in Jesus Camp, and I expressed that to him. As a result, the conversation continued to grow.

He and I are polar opposites. I am an atheist and I have been questioning much of what he does. He has told me in several emails that he has healed the sick with prayer. He says has healed leukemia. He has told me of two incidents where he has prayed and “watched” a leg grow, one inch in front of him and another one inch overnight. He says he has healed back problems. His claims own hearing was healed by prayer when he was 10 years old.

His church sends out missionaries and they have recently been to India supposedly healing at least 12 AIDS patients. They have been totally cured for at least a month, so it is said.

I have never been able to get him to admit he’s taken money for these prayer healings. His non-answer to my direct question leaves me with the impression he indeed has suggested and accepted money. I have been trying to get him to try James Randi’s $1,000,000 challenge. Of course, he won’t do this, because he knows it’s “rigged."

Tbe best email was when he told me something along the lines that it's not so hard "to make a human from dust. All the combined ingredients would cost about $2.79.”

Somehow, with all these interesting beliefs, he manages to stay under the radar. There is nothing about him on the Internet where someone claims to have been cheated out of money for a false healing (at least nothing I’ve found). When I started to write to him and questioned his reports of prayer and healing, he removed comments pertaining to prayer and healing from his website. (Last time I checked he also removed his sermons after I poked fun at them).

This man is charismatic and it’s easy for me to understand how he charms anyone. While I’ve been appalled at much of what he’s said to me, and I’ve expressed that to him, in most cases he’s remained calm. I, however, am haunted with this, thinking he will tell a person who is genuinely sick that he’s healed them.

Is there anything that can be done to stop this sort of action? Am I out of line pursuing this? Should I just leave those who are vulnerable to fend for themselves? I would really like to see an operation like his shut down. I need the perspective of others. Any thoughts and assistance will be appreciated.

I have all the email conversations between us. He is in Missouri and I am in Arizona. His website is www.roaministries.org .

I don’t know of anyone who has claimed to be hurt by this man ... I’m just worried.