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Moira Noonan will be celebrating Halloween as the vigil of All Saints. That’s a break with her previous life as a leader in the New Age movement. The Register asks her about her trek back to the Church.
BY Matthew Rarey
Moira Noonan left the
Catholic faith in the early 1970s and became a leader in the New Age movement.
She mastered occult practices and belief systems that have passed from the
fringe into the cultural mainstream, infiltrating even the Church.
Following a powerful conversion
recounted in her autobiography, Ransomed From Darkness: The New
Age, Christian Faith and the Battle for Souls, she initially felt
desolate after having spent “so many wasted years looking for truth in all the
wrong places.” Finding hope in St. Paul’s assurance that “All things work for
good for those who love God,” however, Noonan has devoted her life to exposing
the errors she escaped and evangelizing for the faith. A diocesan-certified
catechist and Benedictine-certified spiritual director, she travels
internationally, speaking at seminars, workshops and retreats.
Register correspondent Matthew Rarey
recently spoke with her.
How did you become involved in
the New Age?
It’s a long story, and I fully
recount it in my book, Ransomed from Darkness.
But here’s the short version.
I was raised Catholic, but my faith
began drifting away when I attended a non-Catholic boarding school. This was
during the “Age of Aquarius,” when gurus and Eastern mysticism were all the
rage. I became interested in both and pursued these interests during college.
Today I ask people interested in New Age and occult practices, “Is your faith
stronger than your fascination?” Well, my Christian faith may have gone by the
wayside, but my fascination never abated. You see, people are by nature
spiritual beings, and if they don’t have the truth, their spiritual vacuum will
be filled with falsehoods.
After college, I pursued the
feminist dream of becoming a successful, professional woman. I had a great job
working as a publicist for Francis Ford Coppola. Then I got into publishing and
was very successful at that. But when I was 28, I had a major car accident. For
a year I was partially paralyzed and in chronic pain. Nothing seemed to help.
So I reverted to spiritual search mode. And I like to say that my insurance
company paid for me to become fully brainwashed in the New Age.
Your insurance company?
Yes. It sent me to a clinic that’s
now affiliated with the Menninger Clinic. The main therapy was autogenic.
That’s a form of hypnosis and “New Thought” approach to reprogramming the mind.
Basically, they would brainwash us into a mind-over-matter way of thinking that
“If you believe you have no pain, then you have no pain.” This was achieved
through hours of self-hypnosis in which the mind is reshaped to conform to this
new “reality.” We also were taught that suffering has no purpose and that pain
can be cured by healing our thoughts. We were specifically told that believing
in a savior who would rescue us from pain, or who would make our suffering
spiritually redemptive, was a waste of time. We had to do it for ourselves.
It’s important to know that the New Age trinity is Me, Myself and I.
And the system worked. I was off
pain pills and beginning to feel good again. And this is the clincher: There is
power in these anti-Christian practices and teachings, but the power is not
divine. It’s a power that leads us away from Christ by trading in our
Judeo-Christian beliefs for a “new” way of thinking about ourselves and the
world. And that’s the point.
And after you left the clinic?
I was there for a little over a
month, and I was looking forward to resuming an active life. So I asked my new
mentors about going to church again after leaving. They said I definitely
needed spiritual support but that the Catholic Church was totally out of the
question. If I wanted to stay free from pain, I had to remain in this “New
Thought” frame of mind and only certain “churches” offered this: Unity
churches, Dianetics, other churches without Christ.
Basically, one thing led to another,
and over the next decade, I immersed myself deeper and deeper in many New Age
and even old-fashioned occult practices. I worked in religious science ministry
and got fully certified or developed expertise in hypnotherapy, clairvoyance,
spiritual channeling, crystals, the Course in Miracles,
past-life regression, astrology, to name just a few. It was exciting. But
sometimes it could be very scary — opening oneself to demonic influences may
bring power of a sort, but it does not bring peace of
Then one day in 1990 I had a wake-up
call that shocked me back into reality and started my conversion back to the
What is the New Age, and is it
It’s only new insofar as it’s new
marketing for an age-old lie, the same pride that inspired Adam and Eve to
choose the forbidden fruit: “You are equal to God. You are the creator. You can
realize your true divinity.” When you start dabbling in the New Age, right away
you break the First Commandment. After that, it gets easier to rationalize all
the other commandments and let them fall away. You become the author of your
own life; you make your own rules. God is no longer in charge.
How does the New Age differ from
The New Age thrives on the fallacy
that so many people think it’s a religion. And most Americans are reluctant to
criticize any religion. It’s not a religion, however, but a loosely structured,
eclectic movement based on monism that leads people to believe in pantheism,
that all is “God.” And it may ultimately lead people to reject salvation
because it makes one feel there is no need for penance.
How does the New Age do this?
Because it runs on lies and
half-truths. The New Age offers a kind of utopian vision of one world unity,
harmony and peace, which sounds very good. It seeks to accomplish this through
such diverse means as Eastern mysticism, Eastern religions, Western occultism
and humanistic psychology. Although Jesus’ name may be used, and many New Age
practices are “packaged” to appear Christian, New Age beliefs deny doctrines
essential to Christianity such as the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, and the
redemptive sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.
From the Christian point of view,
the New Age is a movement of false spirituality. This deception, however, is
You mentioned Oprah Winfrey.
Since Jan. 1, Oprah has been
offering on her daily radio program a year-long course on the New Age Christ
from the New Age bible called A Course in Miracles.
With one lesson a day, she will completely cover the 365 lessons from the
companion workbook. However, A Course in Miracles
is not Christian.
is actually three books based on the messages received by its “scribe,” Dr.
Helen Shucman, a psychologist at Columbia University who was a self-described
atheist. Starting in the mid-1960s and lasting for seven years, she claimed to
receive daily instructions from an invisible teacher who called himself Jesus,
and she auto-wrote these messages, seemingly without exercising her own will.
She was always uneasy about this.
Anyhow, this “Jesus” explained that
his biblical counterpart was misunderstood and misquoted — that his true
teachings were not revealed. Her colleague, Dr. William Thetford, and
especially her pupil, Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, got the Course
published and popularized. And here’s an interesting factoid: Dr. Wapnick, a
former Catholic seminarian, studied under Dr. Shucman with Father Benedict
Groeschel. They’re like night and day. Wapnick has worked tirelessly promoting
the Course, getting it into Barnes & Noble
and helping make it mandatory reading in so many [university] psych
the height of my New Age career, I participated in study groups in which Dr.
Thetford was involved. Maybe because I spent so much time studying the Course, its
radical departures from Church teaching are so shockingly clear.
SpiritBattleForSouls.org Tapes and CDs: ConceptAudioTapes.com (630) 566-0308