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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

HE WILL ALWAYS BE KEN

I am continually amazed by what people believe, and even more by what they expect others to believe, such as the 60 year old man who came into the Nishtar Hospital in Multan, Pakistan, to report he had been the victim of a pair of armed rustlers. He told the doctors that the intruders not only stole two of his water buffalo, but before they left they took the time to shove a bottle of Pepsi Cola up his butt. No, really; Dr. Abdul Manan, the physician who performed the “Cola-ectomy”, has the x-rays to prove it. Yes, it is very easy to fake x-rays. But why bother? Most emergency room folk know similar stories and many have similar x-rays revealing everything from Pepsi bottles to small furniture inserted into rectums by a curious public fascinated with shoving things up their own butts. But they never seem to think far enough ahead to wonder how they are going to get this stuff back out. In other words I don’t believe the story about the cattle rustlers. Which is a shame, because this poor guy probably spent hours inventing that cover story before he decided he had to go to the hospital. I just want to know how he got there. Did he walk? That must have been excruciating.
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And then there is the amazing story invented by Ken Williams, the twice elected mayor of Centerton, Arkansas. He looked his long suffering wife square in the eye one afternoon and told her, “Our whole world is about to come crashing down around us because I am Don LaRose, and I am Ken Williams, sort of.” Hearing that, my first reaction would have been, ‘this ought to be good’, but his wife Pat assured the “Benton County Daily Record” that she still loves Ken, or Don, and will stand by him, or them, because, “He’ll always be Ken”. Well, actually lady, evidently not.
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According to Ken, in 1975 Ken, who was then Don and a Baptist preacher, was kidnapped by a gang of “underworld criminal Satanists”, because criminals are so often swayed by theology. They hustled him into the back of a van and told Ken-Don that Satan was unhappy with him because he was such a good preacher, and wanted him to stop. Then they stuck an electronic device on his forehead to wipe out his memory and dumped him in Minneapolis, because, I guess, how would he ever find his way home from Minnesota. But I have to wonder why they wiped out his memory before they told him why they were doing it, since, presumably, once his memory had been wiped he would not remember the justification. It seems that back in the 70’s Satan was hiring idiots to be his henchmen.
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In any case, Ken did find his way home, even though the cops showed little interest in his tale of abduction by a gang of criminal Satanist, and he kept preaching. In 1978 Ken-Don moved with his wife and two daughters to the Hessville Baptists Church in Hammond, Indiana. And there, in 1980, the Satanists showed up again, as they so often do. This time they told Ken-Don that if he kept preaching they were going to murder his family. And, so, to protect his family, Ken-Don disappeared. What a heroic figure! Or so says Ken.
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Here is what exists on the public record. Donald Lester LaRose was born March 11, 1940. In September 1958 he began classes at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and left in 1961 without graduating. According to Ken-Don he then went to work in Christian radio. In 1972 he remade himself again, this time as a minister and moved his wife Eunice and two children to Maine, New York, where he was hired as a preacher at the First Baptist Church. According to Ken-Don, one day in 1975 a letter arrived. “Inside was a piece of black paper with a pasted-up message on it…it accused me of blaspheming Satan and committing sacrilege against him. A few days later a second letter arrived.” I guess the Reverend Ken-Don was singled out because he was the only Baptist minister in America who had taken on Satan.
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As Ken-Don so dramatically puts it, on Election Day, 1975, he vanished. Of course, 1975 was an off year election and it would have been so much more dramatic if the Satanists had waited a year, but they didn’t. Less spectacularly, Eunice told the FBI that Ken-Don had said he had to go next door to speak to someone in the church, and never came back. A few days later his car turned up abandoned in nearby Binghampton, New York. Ken-Don’s disappearance was chronicled in a number of Christian publications, as well as the local secular press. And in February, 1976, a part time preacher in a Minneapolis shelter saw Ken-Don’s photo in a magazine and recognized him as the man he knew as Bruce Williams. When confronted, Ken-Don-Bruce insisted he was the only son of Dr. Kent Williams, of Middleport, N.Y, and that he was a salesman for Williams-Fragrano. But when the FBI checked they found that Bruce Williams had died in a horrible car crash years before. Ken-Don-Bruce then said his name was Donald Fragano, but the FBI already knew that Fragano had died in the same crash that had killed Bruce. Finally Ken-Don-Bruce-Donald came up with the Satanist abduction story and the FBI decided they had more important things to worry and returned him to his lucky family.
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Back in Maine, New York the “simple country folk” as Ken-Don-etc. described them, were just glad Ken-et.al. was safe. But frankly his utility as a preacher had been about used up, so after hearing his abduction story, they fired his ass. And that was why Ken-Don-etc. and Eunice and the kids moved to the little church in Hammond, Indiana; lucky congregation, they. And it was from there, on June 8, 1980, that Ken-Don-etc. disappeared yet again. According to that missing person’s report, Ken-Don-etcs’s friends in Hammond said they feared he might have been abducted by the same “cult” which had kidnapped him before. Seven years later poor Eunice had him legally declared dead.
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I will leave it to Ken-Don-etc. to explain the details of his fascinating life (detailed at http://donlarose.com/) in part because the details keep changing but mostly because frankly I don’t find the details, what ever they are at the moment, all that fascinating. My own life is much more interesting, at least to me; such as the revelation I experienced when I was ten or eleven, angry because I had done a good deed and had not received what I thought was sufficient praise. My mother had given me a hug and a kiss on the forehead and then asked, “What did you expect, a medal?”
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Clearly, Don.LaRose was expecting a medal. And when he didn’t get one, he sent Bruce Williams out to collect it. And when Bruce didn’t get one, Ken-Don-etc. kept changing characters like other people change shirts, until, at the age of 67 or 69, depending on his choice of birth dates, Ken-Don ran out of the energy needed to keep reinventing himself. So now he’s decided to celebrate his self obsession and self centeredness on an elaborate website, when he ought to be celebrating the two kids he abandoned, and the two wives he spent a lifetime lying to. How come he didn’t devote his web site to them?
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Ken-Don-etc. is a guy with a lot more up his ass than just a Pepsi bottle. He’s got his whole head up there. And a couple of other people’s heads as well.



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