Candid Conversations with Jonathan Youssef

Episode 238: New Age to New Life: Jordan Taylor

Episode Summary

Jordan Taylor was entrenched in the New Age for more than ten years. She practiced witchcraft, performed spells, was a tarot card reader, and enrolled in classes to sharpen her psychic abilities. She was a certified Reiki master and yoga teacher. She used crystals as a means of healing, protecting, and manifesting. She worshiped nature and worked with goddesses. She found her spirit guides and let them lead the course of her life. She believed she created her reality and was her god, controlling her life. But she grappled with darkness, deception, and a yearning for more…until she had an encounter with God. Jordan Taylor first shared her testimony of giving her life to Christ on Facebook, which went viral. She then turned that post into an article for the Gospel Coalition. We wanted to know more, so Jordan joins Jonathan for a Candid Conversation to discuss what led her into the New Age, what prompted her to consider a relationship with Christ, and how that relationship has transformed her life from anxiety and darkness to peace, love, and light in Christ.

Episode Notes

Jordan Taylor was entrenched in the New Age for more than ten years. She practiced witchcraft, performed spells, was a tarot card reader, and enrolled in classes to sharpen her psychic abilities. She was a certified Reiki master and yoga teacher. She used crystals as a means of healing, protecting, and manifesting. She worshiped nature and worked with goddesses. She found her spirit guides and let them lead the course of her life. She believed she created her reality and was her god, controlling her life. 

But she grappled with darkness, deception, and a yearning for more…until she had an encounter with God. 

Jordan Taylor first shared her testimony of giving her life to Christ on Facebook, which went viral. She then turned that post into an article for the Gospel Coalition. We wanted to know more, so Jordan joins Jonathan for a Candid Conversation to discuss what led her into the New Age, what prompted her to consider a relationship with Christ, and how that relationship has transformed her life from anxiety and darkness to peace, love, and light in Christ.

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This transcript recounts Candid Conversations Episode 238: New Age to New Life with Jordan Taylor. 

Jonathan Youssef: Today, my guest is Jordan Taylor. She wrote an article on the Gospel Coalition website, and Jordan, you mentioned that your testimony went viral. Was it that article on Gospel Coalition, or was there another platform on which your testimony went viral?

Jordan Taylor: Yes, my testimony on Facebook went viral.

Jonathan: Facebook. Okay. Jordan Taylor comes out of New Age, so don’t worry if you’re a Christian. If you’ve heard that term a thousand times and still have no idea what it is, Jordan Taylor will define it for us. And it’s a wonderful testimony of how the Lord has drawn you to Himself. It sounds like He’s using you to help others who are caught up in this worldview, particularly young people who are getting caught up in this—I know I’ve seen it quite prevalently, even in the most recent years, so thank you so much, Jordan Taylor, for joining us on Candid Conversations.

Jordan: Thank you so much for having me.

Jonathan: Let’s start with a definition of “New Age.” You could use that term, and maybe 10 percent of the people in the room would have an accurate definition; the rest just nod along and assume they know what you’re talking about.

Jordan: True. So, it is very difficult to define because there is no systematic doctrine for the New Age, and it borrows from many different religions, belief systems, and esoteric traditions. So you might find it’s sort of an umbrella term for a mixture of these concepts drawn from things like Hinduism, Buddhism, metaphysics, astrology, occultism, and mysticism. So it pulls from all different places, and you can say one thing, and another person in the New Age may not be doing that same thing.

Jonathan: Right. Is it sort of the view of they’re at the top of the mountain, and they’re saying, “Hey, all the paths lead to the top, don’t worry” sort of thing? 

Jordan: Yeah. You will find that. You will find that all roads lead to heaven sort of mentality. 

Jonathan: Interesting. Will you tell us your story? Let’s start with origins and how you got into this, and then we’ll get to the rest of your testimony and how the Lord saved you from it. 

Jordan: I was in the New Age for about 13 years. I started by getting involved with yoga, and eventually, that led into meditation, so it was sort of a snowball effect. I started going to therapy—and you’ll see in any modern therapy as well as if you google stress management or how to deal with anger or how to deal with anything, you’ll see that the results are yoga, breathing, meditation. You’ll find a lot of that. So, I started seeing a therapist who recommended taking yoga, and I was not really into that. I wasn’t sold on it. But eventually, after enough encouragement, I decided to try it. I was already into psychic mediums, and I had an obsession with crystals, so I was already there. I had moved to Salem, Massachusetts, at the time, so I was engrained in—

Jonathan: Witchcraft.

Jordan: Yeah. Witchcraft—

Jonathan: Right at the heart of it, Salem. 

Jordan: Yeah, my interests were piqued in that matter, so being in Salem definitely overwhelmed me with more of that. Then, being encouraged to try yoga just kind of fits. So I did. I tried yoga and thought I could see how people would like this and how people would feel better after a class like this. I still wasn’t 100 percent sold, but eventually, I liked it so much that I got certified as a yoga teacher. So, I was a yoga teacher. I also became a reiki master- an energy healer. I did hands-on energy healing. I was doing crystal healing. I was an oracle card reader. I was doing intuitive readings with people. And I built a whole business around this, so—

Jonathan: Is this about finding peace, connection with the universe, and alignment? I’m assuming astrology probably comes into this. Yeah, so it’s a seeking of oneness and purpose. These are kind of the main thrusts behind this mindset.

Jordan: Yeah, I was certainly seeking my purpose. I came from a childhood of trauma. I had a pretty rough childhood growing up, and so I had a lot of unhealed trauma that I hadn’t processed.

Jonathan: And that's why you were seeing a therapist to begin with?

Jordan: Yes.

Jonathan: Okay. All right.

Jordan: Yes. I was really searching for ways to heal, for peace, and for my purpose on this earth, and the New Age really played into all of that.

Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah, and it gives you a lot of answers, too; I know the term they like to use a lot is holistic, right? It’s mind/body/spirit, things that are not uncommon to the Christian faith in terms of thinking through those things. Our body is a temple, etc., the renewing of your mind. But the connection to the Earth and the universe, from our perspective now, now that the Lord has saved us, and given us a mind to think, and given us His Word, right, there’s some truth in the elements of creation and the display of the wonder of God, but it’s been warped, it’s been twisted. I remember reading in your article about this is sort of buying into the original lie of Adam and Eve in the Garden. 

Jordan: Yes.

Jonathan: That's sort of a helpful thought. I mean, I think everything originates there, right? It’s, in a sense, even in the seeking of oneness, there’s this element of divinity within ourselves and not outside of us so much. Yeah.

Jordan: Totally. I would say that witchcraft started in the Garden of Eden. I mean, Adam and Eve believed the greatest lie ever told, that you would be as gods, and so when you think about it, a lot of times you’re thinking, okay … Well, in the New Age you believe that you can create your reality. You believe that you can manifest what you want. And so essentially, you are thinking that you are your god.

Jonathan: Speaking things into existence and power over all sorts of things. Okay, so you’re headlong into it. You’re teaching yoga, you’re a reiki master, you’re reading cards. Where does the metaphorical stop sign come, or what does it look like, a yield sign or …?

Jordan: I was just so deep into this stuff and at the darkest time in my life. I can remember struggling with depression. I was putting on this façade like I had all the wisdom of the universe and all the secrets and the keys to life and abundance, manifesting joy and peace. And really, behind the scenes, I was struggling deeply with anxiety and depression. And I was at such a low point and such a dark point that I remember saying I preferred not to live anymore. And I was also experiencing things. Because my intentions were good, I thought that I was helping myself; I thought that I was helping other people, and my intentions were good. But what I didn’t know was that I was playing in the spiritual realm, and I was opening doors to places that I didn’t realize I shouldn’t be going. And so I was welcoming in darkness, and I was welcoming in the enemy. In my article, I said that I was laying down a welcome mat for deception and darkness. 

And so it got so bad, I was experiencing sleep paralysis, just so many things were happening, and I reached such a low. And at that time, I was dating someone, and the guy that I was dating had just lost his brother. He was an atheist, and he told me one morning that he had a dream, and in the dream, he had met Jesus. And so he told me about this dream, and I didn’t know what to do with it because I had all of these opinions about Christianity, I had all these opinions about Jesus. I believed that Jesus was just a prophet, a historical figure, a teacher. I had even subscribed to the fact that maybe Jesus was some ascended master—you’ll hear that in the New Age. And I also had so many opinions about the bible, and I had never read it. 

So hearing him say, “I had this dream about Jesus,” I didn’t know what to do with it, but I thought, you know, he’s going through a lot, and I’m going to support him, no matter what that looks like. So I just kind of listened. And then he started—next thing I know, like every time I see him, he’s got his nose in the Bible. And then he’s like, “I want to go to church. I want to find a church.” And I’m just like, “What is happening?”

Jonathan: Where’s my atheist boyfriend?

Jordan: Yeah! It served me when I was in the New Age because I could kind of pull from any sort of belief and make it true, or true in my mind, I should say. And so being with an atheist matched that for me.

Jonathan: He wasn’t giving you any insight.

Jordan: No, and he wasn’t challenging me in any sort of way, either, to think otherwise. Because I could think whatever came my way, I could think that it was true. And so I’m seeing him checking out churches and reading the Bible, and I remember one time, it was on a Saturday, and I was working, and I text-messaged him and said, “What are you up to?” And he said, “Oh, I’m just watching Passion of the Christ.” And I was like, “For fun? Like this is what you do for fun now?”

Jonathan: Just another Saturday afternoon.

Jordan: I was really confused. But I did become curious. So, since I’d seen him reading the Bible so much, I wondered, “What is in there that has gotten your attention? What are you reading?” And he started to tell me some things he was reading, and I was like, “Really? That's in the Bible?” I didn’t know what was in the Bible; I’d never read it, but I thought I knew what it was all about. I feel silly thinking back on it. And so I remember him asking me to watch a movie called Son of God. And I just really was like, I don’t think that I want to watch a movie about Jesus in my spare time. I don’t want to watch a movie about Jesus for fun. And I was just so averse to that—even though a part of me was curious about what was happening in him, curious about what he was learning, that I eventually did say, “Okay, I’ll watch this movie.”

And so I sat down to watch the movie. I remember very distinctly that I don’t remember what part of the movie, and I can’t even tell you how the movie was, whether it was good or not, but all I can remember was there was a moment where I just started weeping. And it was a cry that I’d never cried before. And I was weeping, and at the same time that I was weeping, I felt this overwhelming feeling of love. I was just enveloped in this overwhelming feeling of love.

And I was just crying and crying, and I remember looking over at my boyfriend and him looking at me, and I was just like, “What? What? Don’t look at me! I’m having this experience. I don’t know what's going on.”

But I realized at that moment that it was God. And I knew that God was after my heart. Ever since that moment, I have thought, I want to feel that again and know what this is all about. I want to know what God is all about. I thought I knew best because I’d had so many different experiences throughout my life, especially in the New Age. And after that moment, I felt compelled to read the Bible. I ended up going and buying a Bible. Once I started reading the Bible, I realized that so many things were taken from the Bible and repackaged in the New Age so that people could either digest it better or make it more appealing to people. And ultimately, I guess, make it less offensive. 

So I was reading these things, and I’m like, Oh my goodness. I remember learning about this in the New Age, but under such different circumstances, under deception. And so as I was reading, I felt this sorrow that I knew what I had been doing was wrong, and I knew that I had been sinning against God, and I felt really bad, but in a way that it was a godly sorrow. But I’m realizing, Oh my goodness, I see the truth. I see the truth now. And as I’m reading God’s Word, I’m like, Oh my gosh, I was doing all of these things unknowingly against the God who created me. And so I thought that I knew who “God,” I say in quotation marks, who God was. I always called God “the universe” and thought that this universe was handing me my cards in life, not knowing that God is a person who is alive and—

Jonathan: Revealed Himself and—

Jordan: He has revealed Himself to me, and I’m learning the truth.

Jonathan: You mentioned that you thought you knew what the Bible was about. So, in that lifestyle, what did you think the Bible was about?

Jordan: I thought the Bible was just this tool to oppress people. I thought that it was so outdated and that it was just a tool for the patriarchy. I thought that it was anti-women. You know, I was really big into feminism, so I thought it was anti-women. I thought it was just anti-people, really, and that it was trying to create systems of oppression. And yeah, I just thought that people who read the Bible and Christians were stuck in an old paradigm and not realizing that it was me who was deceived.

Jonathan: You mentioned that as you began to read Scripture, you found some of the things taught in the New Age were disambiguation or twisting of scriptural text. What were some examples of things you read and found the original purpose versus the twisted interpretation you were given?

Jordan: Yeah, I remember one thing when I read about God’s loving-kindness. That word stuck out to me because, in the New Age, there was something called meta meditation, a loving-kindness meditation that focuses first on the self. So, you’re meditating, focusing on yourself, and giving love to yourself. And then it goes out to other people and returns to yourself. You always start and end with yourself and other people in between, and so you’re giving loving kindness to yourself and others. But when I read about God’s loving-kindness, and I saw that word, I was like, Oh my gosh, here I am just really glorifying myself in this and thinking that, Oh, because I’m thinking of others, my intentions are good and pure, not realizing—

Jonathan: Ultimately, you’re thinking about yourself. 

Jordan: Yes. A big part of the New Age is the huge emphasis on self and the glorification of self. So yeah, that was a big one for me, the meta meditation that I learned in the New Age and then seeing that it’s God’s loving-kindness that all this stems from.

And then the biggest one was I remember doing a meditation, I think it was with Eckhardt Tolle, that one, and he, in this meditation, he said when you meditate, and you ask yourself who you are, you’re probably going to come up with all the wrong answers. And I’m paraphrasing here, but he said that the real, the correct answer to “Who are you?” when you’re meditating is “I am.”

Jonathan: Whoa!

Jordan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And you know now as a Christian that is so blasphemous.

Jonathan: Old and New Testament, right?

Jordan: Yes. Yes. So you know you think about this. You’re sitting there in meditation saying, “I am,” and yeah, now thinking back on it, I’m just…

Jonathan: Fascinating.

Jordan: Yeah. So blasphemous. And believing, again, that's just like emphasis on the self.

Jonathan: Yeah, and again, back to the garden. I am a god.

Jordan: I am a god, yes. Yeah.

Jonathan: I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this. I feel like we are seeing some believers being tempted; it’s very much in the Hollywood culture to combine some New Age with Christianity as a form of getting closer to Christ. I know you talk about the Christ consciousness in your article, which I think is Friedrich Schleiermacher, but because you’re so aware of the New Age practices, you lived it out; maybe you’d give us some examples of where you’re seeing that in churches or individuals and maybe kind of throw out some of the warning signs of where people could be leaning into that, and the red flags are going up for you.

Jordan: Yes. Another phrase for that would be “religious syncretism.” This means fusing more than one religion or belief to create a new religion. And that's exactly what the New Age is—borrowing from different religions. I would say there’s so much that can be said about this, where you’re seeing the New Age pervade the church today.

One of those things that I’ve run across a lot lately is yoga in the church, and Christians are turning it into holy yoga and and so taking a practice that comes from Hinduism and Christianizing it. But you can’t Christianize a practice that comes from another religion and think that you’re glorifying the God of the Bible. So I see a lot of that happening. I also see even churches not preaching from the Bible, not preaching the gospel, or using the Bible. I had a friend tell me before that he was attending church, and he loved it because they didn’t use the bible at all. 

Jonathan: It’s the best church ever.

Jordan: I was thinking, Wow! That's not church.

Jonathan: Yeah, yeah. What's the authority they’re teaching on?

Jordan: Yeah, yeah. So even that, I would say, is New Age in and of itself. I would also say the law of attraction. You see a lot of that in churches—name it, and claim it. 

Jonathan: Right. Sort of a prosperity gospel kind of, yeah.

Jordan: Yeah, that. So you’re seeing a lot of that come into the churches. Even crystals themselves come into the churches or meditate. But Scripture tells us to meditate on the Word of God, not to empty our thoughts, not to empty our minds of thoughts, but our thoughts are supposed to be focused on what is good and holy.

Jonathan: Yeah, right.

Jordan: So, there’s that. Along with the law of attraction, there’s that word of faith. I would also say the whole follow your heart, believe in yourself—

Jonathan: Be true to yourself.

Jordan: Yeah, be true to yourself. There is so much emphasis on self, which will also lead you down a road of chasing after what feels good. If you’re following your heart, you’re chasing after what feels good, but that's not what we’re supposed to do as Christians. We’re supposed to follow Jesus.

Jonathan: Well, and to see that our hearts are deceived … deceitful, wicked, they’re bent in on themselves, as Calvin says. They’re inwardly bent on worshiping themselves. Yeah, that's true, and that's part of pop culture, right? That seems like the motif of almost every child’s movie through Disney. It’s the belief in yourself, trust in yourself, and you just want to say that won't end well.

Jordan: It’s not going to end well. No, it’s not. Yeah, I think Jeremiah says that the heart is deceitful.

Jonathan: That’s right. There will be people listening to this who have a friend or a relative who may be dabbling in this or caught up in it. What's your suggestion for the best way to start a conversation? Is it just to order many copies of the Son of God or Passion of the Christ and then start showing movies? Obviously, that's how the Lord worked for you. But what are your recommendations for beginning those conversations?

Jordan: When I told my testimony, many people said, “Well, what movie is it?”

Jonathan: We need to go buy it!

Jordan: Yeah. And I want to say even if you watch that movie, it doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience that I had. And if you have people who are in the New Age, there’s a disconnect here that I think Christians are missing. Part of that is understanding the root cause of why people went to the New Age in the first place. So, understanding what it is drew them there first and validating their experience. So if it’s childhood trauma, if you’ve had experiences and people are telling you you’re crazy, it’s listening to understand someone to start, instead of jumping down someone’s throat and saying, “Well, you’re wrong, and this is the truth, and this is what's right,” it’s understanding what brought them there in the first place and validating their experience that got them there.

But then let them know that there is a better way and that the truth is that there is hope in Jesus Christ, a peace that surpasses all understanding in Him, and give your testimony of how Jesus has worked in your life. And so I think if people have loved ones that are stuck in New Age that it’s more of being a good example of Jesus, being the hands and the feet of Jesus, and like I said, listening to understand; knowing there’s a root cause for why they got there. And I do get pushback from Christians who will say, “Well, you don’t want to enable the sin.” But you can’t have someone conclude that they are a sinner until they’ve first heard about where they’re at and why they’ve come to this place. And if they don’t understand what that is, then, of course, they’re not going to want to listen.

I have a friend with whom I’ve been friends for 30 years, and she has been praying for me for just as long. There were times that she would want to speak to me about Jesus and want to talk about the Gospel and would send me books and movies and things like that, and my first reaction was to throw it out. And it wasn’t because she was doing anything wrong; it was where I was. And I think people have to understand that it’s not personal. So if you are talking to someone in the New Age and they are not taking what you’re saying and just suddenly becoming a believer, it’s not personal, and that this really is a spiritual battle and you’re told to plant the seed.

Jonathan: One of the fruit of the Spirit is patience.

Jordan: Absolutely. A lifetime of 40 years is a long time to be patient, but if there’s any encouragement in that, it’s that I’ve spent 13 years in the New Age, my friend has been praying for me for 30 years, and ultimately, I came to Christ. And so for people who are stuck in this, watch them suffer and watch them go down these paths to just stay steadfast in your faith and stay steadfast in prayer. And know that this is a spiritual battle and it’s not personal. It’s not about you.

Jonathan: And it’s not over. 

Jordan: It’s not over, that's for sure.

Jonathan: In your Gospel Coalition article, you mentioned that you’re working on resources to help guide people in the New Age to freedom in Christ. What are some of those resources? Are they available at the moment? Are we still working on them?

[31:25] Jordan Taylor: Yeah. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything available yet. I wish I did. I’m pausing social media at this point. Since my testimony went viral on Facebook, my platform has become kind of crazy, and I always get DMs. I have a lot of similar or common questions that come up or topics that come up, so I’d like to—right now, while I’m off of social media, I’m kind of working on some content and information to put out there so that people can find something to either find encouragement for the Christians that have people that are in the New Age.

Or encourage people who are in the New Age and want out. Believe it or not, some people are in the New Age and are being called by Jesus, and they know it and are struggling to—

Jonathan: They feel imprisoned. 

Jordan: Yes. So, I’m working on some resources. I don’t know when they will all be available, but for right now, I will probably be off social media through Easter, and I’m hoping that come springtime, I’ll have some stuff to put out there for people.

Jonathan: Wow, that's wonderful. I think it’s an absolutely needed resource, again, as we’ve said, in this day and age where young people are looking for answers, they’re dealing with hurts, and they’re turning to all sorts of things—different religions, different … and New Age is definitely one of those near the forefront of those options. As you said, that tends to come up for Google searches, yoga, meditation, and everything else. And so, Jordan Taylor, we’re just so grateful for how the Lord is using you, and we pray that He will equip you with what you need as you put those resources together. We’ll keep our listeners up to speed as those become available. Your article on the Gospel Coalition, for those who are interested, is called “I Left New Age for Jesus.” And that's

Jordan, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us on Candid Conversations.

Jordan: Thank you so much for having me.