Friday, April 11, 2008

A personal letter to me from Peter Popoff!

Envelope from Peter Popoff.A few months ago, I filled out a form on Peter Popoff's website for a free "book", Prosperity Thinking (really a booklet).. Since then he has been my most frequent correspondent, sending me "personal" letters at least once a week, sometimes more. I've decided to post my "personal letters" here from now on, for the benefit of the other people who are no doubt getting exactly the same "personal" letters from Peter Popoff. Since he has sent a few little gifts in the past, when I saw this envelope I thought there might be a paper angel inside, but no, there was just... I'll reveal it later, he wanted me to read all of his letter before looking at the special envelope inside with the gift.

Page one of letter. Click to read.Here's his letter— you may have received one just like it. (Click to see larger version). Note the bright green faux handwriting... I've blurred out my personal information.

He writes, "I've never written you a letter like this before..." Really? I guess he's forgotten all the other letters he's sent me for the last few months...

He says God has a plan to solve my money problems, but to get this money I must be obedient to God, and "Obedience to God will involve sacrifice." I wonder what that could be? Could it be, oh, I don't know, sending money to Peter Popoff, just like he's asked in every other letter?

Page 2 of the letter. Click to read.At the top of page 2, he writes, "You cannot deny that this letter contains things about you personally." Well, actually, the only personal information in the letter is my name, address, and that I am having unspecified money problems, all information he got from the form I filled out to order his free booklet. Which seems pretty strange since he is supposedly praying for me personally and getting visions from God about my situation.

Unfortunately he apparently is taking in a lot of people with these "personal letters". Peter Popoff Ministries raked in $23 million in 2005, according to Charity Navigator--Popoff himself got a salary of $628K, his wife Elizabeth made $203K, and his son Nickolas took in $182K.

Page 3: click to read.On page 3, he finally reveals what was "terrifying" about the vision he had. The world is ending! But I will be "surrounded by a hedge of divine protection" IF I "enter into this 'endtime covenant' in the next 90 days." In other words, there's not much time left to think about it, I need to send him money soon or I'll be vulnerable to the "wars..., plagues and rivers of blood and insects". Of course my money problems won't matter then (though he claims that he "through faith... [has] found the money [I] need"), and certainly the donation he's asking for will be irrelevant when the endtime comes, while his divine protection won't be.

Here on the last page of the letter, he harps on and on about how I must be obedient and have faith. The miracle money that will bring me a glorious future (even though the world is ending?) and make me rich is "only for those who can give in strict obedience and faith". I'm guessing this is not just to guilttrip those who are having doubts about sending their money to this con-artist, but also to give him an out—if someone doesn't get their miracle money, he can claim it was because they did not have enough faith.

The inner envelope

Incense.He usually includes a smaller envelope with something special inside which we are not supposed to open until we read his whole long letter (four pages, legal size). I suppose that opening this envelope without reading the whole long letter could be another excuse for the miracle money not coming. Special Holy Instructions—click to readInside the envelope are "Special Holy Instructions for Miracle New Millennium Money!" He wants me to burn some incense he's sent to me and mail him the ashes so he can "fast and pray in sackcloth and ashes... for miracle money for you!"

Now we get to the main point of this mailing: to get my miracle money, I have to send money to Peter Popoff. Not only that, but my offering will be rejected if it's not enough. "If the offering is rejected... there can be no harvest."

How much do I have to give? "Too many times people respond when they receive a ministry letter from me by just sending anything." I have give enough that it is a sacrifice to me. "If the gift you give to God does not move you... how can it move God?" (So now Peter Popoff is God?) In other words, give 'til it hurts (he suggests $50--i.e. perhaps a weeks grocery money for some person in dire financial need. I wonder how many poor people are going with out food to support this jerk's lavish salary?)

Form, front side. Click to read.And here's the form I'm supposed to send back to him. (I occasionally do send the forms back, though never with any money.) He reassures me that "this is not a work of man... but it is the work of the Holy Spirit." (God sends form letters?) "I have not been called by God to take money from you..." (so why is he trying to do so?) "but ... to help get miracle money to you." How reassuring.

He warns me that "during the next few moments, satan [sic] is going to try to convince you that this is not of God... or that I'm only trying to get your money." Gee, why would we think that? It must be Satan's work.

And another guilt trip—my offering of sacrifice is to benefit not just me but also my "loved ones".

Not only does he want $50 now, but he wants me to pledge $1000, or $500, or $100. That makes $50 look almost reasonable.

Form, back side with testimonials. Click to read.On the back of the form, he asks for information about my debt (perhaps to insert in future form letters?) and testimonials. The lady at the bottom won a lottery of $7.2 million after sending $7 to Peter Popoff, and asks for "wisdom and insight as to what I should do with all this money." I'm sure that Peter Popoff will have a suggestion for her...

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