Maybe God Was Calling Him Home, People!

True Believers Know There Is A Difference Between Talking To God And Hearing Voices!
True Believers Know There Is A Difference Between Talking To God And Hearing Voices!

While I am busy working on my upcoming posts on Wade Robson and Karen Faye (both of which admittedly may take several days each) I wanted to address something that I can put up quickly, TODAY.

On Wednesday, there was very sad testimony in the Katherine Jackson vs. AEG trial from Alif Sankey, associate producer of the This Is It shows. This story was mostly buried in the (conveniently) distracting avalanche of the Wade Robson story, which (again, most conveniently) broke on the very same day. But I wanted to address this story because, as so often happens with any media reporting on Michael Jackson, I can see already that this story (and Michael’s quote) is being misinterpreted, mocked, and ridiculed all over the internet.

Even CNN’s Alan Duke, who seems overall to be one of the most fair and balanced journalists reporting on the trial, couldn’t resist the urge to paraphrase Michael’s quote so that its context takes on a meaning much different from the one I know Michael intended. (And how do I know? I know from the context and the circumstances under which the words were spoken, as stated under oath by Sankey herself. And I “know” because of what I know in general in regards to Michael’s spiritual beliefs, which were not only very similar to my own, but also are not that fundamentally different from what most Americans believe-that is, if you believe the hype that most Americans are Christians, or claim to be). Yet it’s amazing how the very views we pretend to espouse are so often twisted, mocked and ridiculed.

Before I ramble further, let’s just look at the first article I saw that broke the story, on CNN.com:

Michael Jackson days before death: ‘God keeps talking to me’

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Thu May 9, 2013

Los Angeles (CNN) — Michael Jackson told his tour director days before he died he was hearing God’s voice, a producer testified Wednesday.

“God keeps talking to me,”Jackson said.

Those words spoken to Kenny Ortega and Jackson’s frail appearance were so disturbing that it caused Ortega and associate producer Alif Sankey to burst into tears at a rehearsal, Sankey said Wednesday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jackson’s mother and three children.

Jackson, who was being fitted for his costumes, appeared “extremely thin” and “was not speaking normally” at the June 19, 2009, rehearsal, Sankey told jurors in a trial to determine if concert promoter AEG Live should be held liable in the pop icon’s death.

Jurors saw a photo of Jackson at the costume fitting that showed an obviously thin and gaunt man.

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Sankey testified that she and Ortega cried together after Jackson left. On her way home, Sankey stopped her car to call Ortega “because I had a very strong feeling that Michael was dying.”

“I was screaming into the phone at that point,” Sankey testified. “I said he needs to be put in the hospital now.”

Sankey became emotional as she testified about the call.

“I kept saying that ‘Michael is dying, he’s dying, he’s leaving us, he needs to be put in a hospital,'” Sankey said. “‘Please do something. Please, please.’ I kept saying that. I asked him why no one had seen what I had seen. He said he didn’t know.”

Ortega sent a series of e-mails early the next morning that resulted in a meeting at Jackson’s house between Jackson, Dr. Conrad Murray, AEG Live President Randy Phillips and Ortega.

An e-mail from Phillips after that meeting said he had confidence in Murray, “who I am gaining immense respect for as I get to deal with him more.”

“This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig, so he (is) totally unbiased and ethical,” Phillips’ e-mail said.

The lawsuit contends that Phillips and AEG never checked Murray out. Otherwise, they would have known he was deeply in debt and vulnerable to breaking the rules in treating Jackson to keep his job, it argues.

Jackson lawyers contend that AEG Live is liable for Jackson’s death because the company negligently hired, retained or supervised Murray — who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death.

Jackson’s last rehearsal was at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on June 24, 2009. Security camera video shown to the jury Wednesday showed him walking with a blanket wrapped around him as he passed Sankey.

“He didn’t look good,” she testified. “I asked him if he was cold, and he said ‘Yes.'”

Jackson sang two songs that last night on stage: “Thriller” and “Earth Song,” she said.

“He did it,” Sankey said. “He went through it. He wasn’t in full performance mode.”

Sankey said she was standing next to Ortega at a rehearsal the next afternoon when Randy Phillips called to tell him Jackson was dead.

“Kenny collapsed in our arms,” she said.

The lawsuit contends that AEG Live executives missed a series of red flags warning them that Jackson’s life was at risk because of Murray, who was giving him nightly infusions of the surgical anesthetic propofol to treat his insomnia.

The coroner ruled Jackson had died from an overdose of propofol in combination with several sedatives on June 25, 2009.

Murray told investigators he used the drugs to help Jackson sleep so he could be rested for rehearsals.

AEG lawyers argue Jackson, not their company, chose and supervised Murray, and that their executives had no way of knowing what the doctor was doing to Jackson in the privacy of his bedroom.

Michael’s creativity

In contrast to six days of testimony mostly about Jackson’s death, jurors did hear about the pop icon’s creativity during Sankey’s testimony

“Michael’s imagination was endless,” Sankey said. “He would visualize it, and it happened. It was amazing.”

Katherine Jackson dabbed tears from her eyes as her son’s “Smooth Criminal” video was played in court.

Sankey first met Michael Jackson when she was a dancer in the 1987 video production.

“We got to see Michael’s imagination come to life,” Sankey said. “That was my first time as a dancer, as an artist, that I was completely inspired by his craft and inspired by his attention to every detail. He was so detailed and he never missed a thing.”

Working with Jackson was “magical,” she said.

“I dream still to this day that I will be able to create on that level of magic that Michael created,” Sankey said. “It was like living a dream of working with an artist like that, and I will treasure it and have it in my memory forever.”

Sankey’s work as an associate producer and dancer for Jackson’s “This Is It” tour put her on the witness list in this trial.

“He shared with me that he was excited to do the show,” she said. “He was excited to show his kids, finally to show them who he was, what he was all about; he was very excited about that.”

Jurors heard about Jackson’s relationship with his three children and their love of their father. Sankey described how they would come with their father to the set each day in early June when he was filming video elements for the show.

“Paris had a purse, and inside her purse, she had all this candy in her purse she didn’t want her daddy to know about,” Sankey said. “She had these little pictures of her father in her purse that were in frames. She had, like, a lot of them. Her purse was full of candy and pictures of her daddy.”

“They loved their daddy,” she said.

The “This Is It” concert would have been “a pretty big show,” Sankey told jurors.

“It was going to be huge and it was going to be innovative, different,” she testified. “From working with Michael in my past, I knew it had to be something that no one’s ever seen. It all had to be new and pioneering.”

The next witness when court resumes Thursday morning will be Michael Jackson’s longtime hair and make up artist, Karen Faye. She was quoted in interviews after Jackson’s death saying that the pop star was in ill health weeks before he died.

Spectators in the small Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday morning included Judge Lance Ito, famous for presiding over the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995. Ito was there to watch his friend, Judge Yvette Palazuelos, preside over this trial and then go to lunch with her.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/08/showbiz/jackson-death-trial/index.html

The paraphrase from what Michael actually said-via Sankey’s testimony-to the opening paragraph of the article is telling, and a perfect case of media slanting for an intended effect. But there is a substantial difference between a person claiming to hear God’s physical voice, and a person who is simply stating, “God keeps talking to me.” These distinctions may seem minor, but they are of the utmost importance when making the distinction between a person suffering from genuine mental illness and delusion on the one hand, and on the other, one who is simply speaking from a deep-rooted faith that relies on an instinctive and intuitive sense of when God is “speaking” to them-which, as any deeply religious person can tell you, is not a matter of physically hearing God’s voice at all. Rather, it is simply a deep-seated, intuitive feeling of being “called”-not unlike any preacher or reverend who simply states that his occupation is a result of having answered “God’s calling.”

It Was Often Clear In His Performances That Michael Was Channeling From A Higher Source of Power. He Claimed His Songs Came From God. Why, Then, Should Some Find It So Odd That He Should Know When He Was Being Called?
It Was Often Clear In His Performances That Michael Was Channeling From A Higher Source of Power. He Claimed His Songs Came From God. Why, Then, Should Some Find It So Odd That He Should Know When He Was Being Called?

 

Why does it sound so perfectly natural and acceptable coming from those folks, but not from Michael Jackson? Just because he was an entertainer? Or because we have been so brainwashed by a cynical and (mostly) atheistic media and entertainment industry that talking to God is only for the mentally insane?

The difference between the paraphrase and Michael’s actual, quoted words-via Sankey’s testimony-makes all the difference.

Michael was never saying at any point that he was hearing the voice of God. What he said was: “God keeps talking to me.”

Sankey and Ortega, evidently, understood exactly what he meant-and which, in turn, was precisely why they were so alarmed, as well they should have been.

As per usual, the story has generated the usual media spins of Michael as someone suffering at the very least from mental delusions, and has invited the usual ignorant and trolling comments. Perhaps that would not bother me half so much, except that all of the comments, whether from haters or well-intentioned fans, seems to entertain no possibility other than the fact that Michael was “not himself” in his last days. And that is putting it kindly. “Face it, it’s a sign of mental illness,” went one of the-let’s just say-more compassionate comments.

When A Man Insists That God Keeps Talking To Him-And Days Later Is Dead!-Can We Simply Chalk It Up To Mental Delusion? I Think Not!
When A Man Insists That God Keeps Talking To Him-And Days Later Is Dead!-Can We Simply Chalk It Up To Mental Delusion? I Think Not!

Well, has anyone considered that just maybe God was talking to him? Is it any coincidence that, within days of making this statement, he was dead? Think on that for a moment. While that thought is simmering, let’s consider some other things.

Michael had certainly maintained a close relationship with God throughout his life. Let’s not forget, he was raised as a devout Jehovah’s Witness. Even after breaking away from the church and the JW faith, he maintained a deep spirituality that was always a bit out of kilter with the entertainment industry (for as I said, most of the entertainment industry is comprised of atheists and those who practice alternative religions).

However, I have also heard some  arguments from fans that Michael’s comment was simply part of his lifelong creative partnership with God. He always said, for example, that his creative gifts came from God, and that writing a song for him was more about channeling than creativity. Someone even (half jokingly, I believe) brought up the alleged conversation between Michael and Kenny Ortega in which Ortega told him to turn off God’s voice, and Michael quipped, “I can’t-God might give all of my ideas to Prince.”

Now that was the Michael we all know and love; he was certainly well known for his outrageous sense of humor.

But this was no laughing matter, and hence the grave concerns of Sankey and Ortega. They knew that Michael was being serious this time.

But deluded? Possibly; I am certainly no medic and certainly not qualified to make a diagnosis. I wasn’t there, and I did not witness what these people saw and heard. But my gut instinct tells me that both Sankey and Ortega knew exactly what Michael’s words portended. Why do you think that, according to Sankey, her immediate reaction was to get on the phone to Ortega and scream, “Michael is dying. He’s leaving us.” Why? Because in her heart she knew exactly what those words meant.

The Dying Often Seem To Simply "Know." And While There Is No Exact Science To Verify It, This Seems To Hold As True For Those Who Die Unnaturally As Naturally.
The Dying Often Seem To Simply “Know.” And While There Is No Exact Science To Verify It, This Seems To Hold As True For Those Who Die Unnaturally As Naturally.

It has always been said that the dying seem to know when their time is near. Certainly we see evidence of this all the time, especially among the elderly and those with lingering illnesses. But even those doomed to untimely, accidental deaths may often have a sad feeling of foreboding in the days and weeks leading up to their death. Often this takes the form of an inexplicable sadness or melancholy that they just can’t shake off. Many times, their loved ones may see the signs, but may not realize until looking back in hindsight that this is what was happening to them. For example, I had a beloved college instructor who died in a tragic car accident while I was away at graduate school. I didn’t know of her death until I came home for summer vacation. But after I learned of her death, I also learned from many of her colleagues that her behavior in the months leading up to her death had been rather strange. She had complained about teaching a course on Chaucer (an author whom she adored, and a course she normally loved to teach) and had often expressed thoughts that seemed foreign to those who knew her best. While there has been much study done on the psychology of the dying, the studies mostly apply to the terminally ill-those who know they are dying. There is, as yet, no absolute science on those whose deaths are simply imminent, whether by accident or natural causes. Yet history has taught us that, often, those who are nearing death simply know.

Being of Native American descent (and one who has actively participated in Native religions, as well as having been raised in the Christian faith) none of what Michael was saying seems at all unusual or deluded to me. Many cultures and, specifically, many religions teach that those who are dying receive warning from God. In Michael’s case, it seemed that he was being called-urgently-and had been for days, perhaps even weeks or months. That isn’t to say I believe he had a death wish, or was suicidal. I don’t believe that at all. But I think, as so many often seem to, he may have had a sense that his time was imminent.

My grandmother, who was 86 when she died of diabetes complications, went through the same process. For months on end, I sat in her hospital room while her “delusions” and conversations with relatives on “the other side” became increasingly more lucid-and chillingly real. She would call out the names of relatives whom I knew had been dead for years, often carrying on the most natural conversations with them.

How much of this was delusion, perhaps brought on by her illness and the many medications she was taking, is hard to say. I am sure at least some of it was probably brought on by the very real physical effects of a body and a brain that was shutting down. But there has also been an amazingly consistent pattern in the reports of all those who, like me, have watched someone die. The pattern never varies. Hearing “God” or the voices of loved ones who have gone before is almost universal. In general, there seems to be a consistent pattern of behavior in all of those who are not yet quite gone, but seem to already have “one foot on the other side.”

For sure, there was a good reason why Sankey felt that Michael’s words were cause for alarm. But I also can’t ignore the fact that I believe, during this time, Michael’s body was being literally “poisoned” from the treatment he was receiving from Murray. So it is very possible that he was having delusions.

To Me, Michael's "Gauntness" In This Is It Was Much More Accentuated In Some Segments Than Others.
To Me, Michael’s “Gauntness” In This Is It Was Much More Accentuated In Some Segments Than Others.

It is still hard for me to know exactly where to stand on this issue. I watched This Is It again the night before last (mostly because we had lucked out and found a Blu-Ray copy incredibly cheap!). I’ve seen the movie a million times (probably no exaggeration, lol!) but this time I watched with an especially keen eye those shots of his last rehearsal, both the Thriller and Earth Song segments. Despite all the reports to the contrary, Michael looked fine to me in those segments. In fact, he looked BETTER-as in healthier and more like his old self-than in many of the segments filmed from earlier rehearsals. Perhaps it was simply the Ed Hardy clothes (which masked the gaunt thinness so apparent in other scenes) or the fact that his dancing in the Thriller segment was so flawlessly “spot on” but it was, as always, hard for me to envision that this was a man who would be dead within twenty-four hours. He did look very thin in some scenes (for example, the scenes where he is wearing the shoulder pad jacket-a horrible wardrobe choice that certainly accentuated his gauntness) but not unusually thin for Michael. He was, in fact, actually the same weight as in his Thriller video. But it’s 2009, over a quarter of a century later, and at 50 Michael simply no longer had the frame of a 25-year-old dancer’s body. The autopsy lists his weight at 136 pounds-thin, yes. But gaunt, no.

Michael Rehearsing Thriller On June 24th, 2009 (Segment From 2:42 Forward).  He Had Less Than 24 Hrs To Live:

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPeFcLn_ces[/tube]

Yes, he looked as healthy and able the night before as any time ever in his career. And yet…we know how the story ends.

Perhaps, as some are testifying, he was at least in part deluded-the result of a body being slowly poisoned by toxins he was being administered at this point on a nightly basis. But then again, it’s also very possible that, just maybe, he was really being called home. Hence my rather sarcastic title, simply because I am tired of reading all the mockery. Like I said, one fact for sure is one we can’t ignore-within days, he was indeed home with God.

It's Not Inconceivable To Me That God Was Saying, Enough Is Enough.
It’s Not Inconceivable To Me That God Was Saying, Enough Is Enough.

Coincidence? Save it for the cynics and the atheists. I prefer to believe that God, who sees all and knows all, said this child of mine has endured enough. It’s time to call him home.

Was Michael hearing voices in his head-or truly heeding the call of God? We can’t  know, for whatever the truth is, it is between Michael and God.

But perhaps all the more reason to cease mocking what we can’t, or don’t, or refuse to understand.

There are simply too many unexplained things in this world for us to feel so smugly-with our technology and our innovations and our psychology and our science- that we have all the answers.

We don’t.

 

71 thoughts on “Maybe God Was Calling Him Home, People!”

  1. Thanks, Raven, and I agree with you about the fact that MJ might actually have been receiving messages from God, premonitions, and was not delusional. I did hear the story in a different light. That after Ortega said can’t you put God on hold for a while (or words similar), MJ said, you don’t understand. If I am not there to receive God’s messages, he will give them to Prince. This suggsted that the messages were creative ones, like new songs. But in the trial it is presented as if a sign of delusion and mental breakdown. It is hard to understand what MJ meant without a better context. Maybe if Ortega will testify we will have a better idea.

    I also agree with you that the clip from Thriller, esp. in the baggy clothes part, he looks fine and is moving well.

    1. I think there was a distinction made between that incident and the one in question. The article referred to a mention of that incident (when Michael said God might give his ideas to Prince)as one of the trial’s lighter moments. So judging from that, I believe the jury was made aware that this was something Michael and Kenny occasionally joked about, but that this particular time was different.

  2. Raven, I don’t think AEG is behind the Robson suit. I think Robson filed the suit to coincide with the AEG case to capitalize on the mudslinging. I think ppl have it in reverse.

    1. I am not so sure. I have heard a rumor (still unconfirmed) that more allegations are coming. https://www.facebook.com/ReflectionsOnTheDance?fref=ts If this proves true, we know that these boys (excuse me, men) didn’t just sit around and hatch up this evil scheme all of their own accord. Someone is behind this. I am not saying it IS AEG, but just stating-as many have-that the timing is sure suspicious as all get out.

      I might could buy that Robson is acting alone and using the trial simply as an opportunistic money grab, but if there are others, it’s going to make this look even more suspiciously like a major set-up. I mean, really, are these people stupid or what? Do they think no one is going to see through this?

      1. well, the supposed 2 new allegations, according to one tabloid reporting this, are people wating to see how Wade’s claims will fare in the probate court. Will they be dismissed or will Wade get some big $$. So what does this say? It says to me pretty clearly that the people who want to get $$ are lining up with their hands out. This happened in 93 and 05 too–there was some delusional guy in 05 who claimed he had a repressed memory of being abducted in MJ’s limo and abused–some guy who literally made it up and claimed his memory resurfaced during the 05 trial. The case was dismissed as a total fraud. In 93 there was a kid coached in Canada who went on TV (DD flew to Canada to ‘investigate’ lol). Again, it was a fraud. So as I see it, the same thing is happening now.

        I agree with Teva that AEG is not behind the Wade claim to the Estate. They are not that monumentally stupid–this is Wade’s effort to collect. Since a psychiatrist has filed a claim of support (and a reputable one) Wade may actually believe he was molested somehow–maybe he talked himself into it, maybe the shrink did (a la Jason Francia) or maybe he is just cynically cashing in or trying to.

        1. @iutd
          Yes, this is not just something that is thrown out there to make waves in the headlines, this is real, and WR means business. AEG could simply just send an un-sourced rumour to several tabloids to create a distraction, but I believe WR’s claim is separate n distinct. To treat it as part of AEG machination will be to miss the mark.

          1. Only a huge entity with the means to do it can find and get together 3 so called victims, convince and facilitate them to start this campaign.
            The timing is too suspicious to be a coincidence.
            NOTHING negative that happens in reference to Michael is a coincidence.
            How is it that exactly the two tabloids that Panish had accused AEG of being their mouthpiece broke the news and came with the court papers.
            Wade Robson is taking such a huge risk with this that he must either be desperate or has the assurance that he will never need to work again.Because this is like suicide.
            Just like the Arvizos were promised and got a bright future and for the rest of their lives are hostages of Zonen, Pallanker e.a.
            The pattern is the same since 1993.
            But everything will come in the open.Just like all the evidence we have now what was going on behind the scenes of This is it.

          2. True, not everything is conspiracy , AEG s alledged crime (negligent hiring)and Robsons (false claim) may not be connected. However, logically the probability is almost zero that two of such unusual occurrences both connected to Michael 4 yrs after he passed , happening at exactly the same time, is a coincidence .
            AEG on trial, good chance of losing, promise of dirty fight including molestation trial then out of the blue a 20 year long defender turns on Michael , repressed memory is recovered and a creditors claim is filed. A lost case but shocking enough to distract from the AEG case. Add to it the fact that AEG and WR can be connected in many ways with and without a connection to MJ , may have common interests, there is motive and there is means , makes it far more likely that these are not isolated acts . And imo it is totally legitimate to explore possibilities if things do not add up.
            In criminal law conspiracy is defined as
            § 903. Criminal conspiracy.
            (a) Definition of conspiracy.–A person is guilty of
            conspiracy with another person or persons to commit a crime if
            with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission he:
            (1) agrees with such other person or persons that they
            or one or more of them will engage in conduct which
            constitutes such crime or an attempt or solicitation to
            commit such crime; or
            (2) agrees to aid such other person or persons in the
            planning or commission of such crime or of an attempt or
            solicitation to commit such crime.

  3. Raven, I appreciate where you’re coming from, but why do you assume that most entertainers are either atheists, or those who practice alternative religions? Most Americans in the public eye keep their religious beliefs to themselves. Even so, there are a number of big names who are overtly religious, like Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, Jim Caviziel, Martin Sheen, and a whole slew of Mormons and Jews. Black performers, like most African Americans, are not shy about proclaiming their faith – ever notice how the first words out of black award winners’ mouths are always “Thank you, Jesus!”, or “I want to thank my Lord and Savior”, etc?

    Richard Gere is a devoted adherent of Tibetan Buddhism, and I recently saw Rainn Wilson (Dwight Shrute from The Office) talking about how his faith in Baha’i enriches his life. You may consider those “alternative” religions, but they’re perfectly respectable, with millions of followers. People in entertainment are probably just as religious or non- religious as the rest of the population.

    The internet seems to free people to be mean and nasty in a manner unthinkable in real life. Who cares what they post about Michael? God knows the truth about him, and I have no doubt that he is in heaven and not at all involved in our petty concerns.

    1. Many of those, to me, fall under the heading of “alternative religions” although it is also true that much of Hollywood is made up those of Jewish faith. However, “God” has pretty much been taken out of the entertainment industry-except, of course, for pat awards speeches, where “He” is perfectly acceptable. I can’t purport to know how anyone stands with God, but it seems to me that a lot of celebs just wear their religion like the latest fad-and change it just as often. (Of course, Michael wasn’t immune to this, either; I think he spent most of the last two decades of his life searching to fill the void that had been uprooted from renouncing the JW).

      I do not exactly mean that as a criticism. I think part of it goes with being creative and intelligent-a combination that also makes one more prone to explore different ways of viewing things, and not just accepting at face value what they may have been taught growing up. I went through an atheist phase when I was younger, simply because I wanted to be “cool” and different from the rest of my family (show off my edjumacation, lol). I had to eventually come to my own acceptance of who God is and what He means-to me.

      I think that the more wordly one becomes, the more they question things and the less satisfied they are with the easy answers. I believe this is why, in particular, we see so many in creative fields like entertainment who tend to seek more enlightened paths than what they may have gotten out of their momma’s and daddy’s Baptist church while growing up.

      It is not a criticism as such, but I do believe Michael’s traditional Christian beliefs were often out of step with most of mainstream Hollywood.

      1. Well I agree that Michael’s Christian beliefs were out of step with Hollywood, because the major players in Hollywood are mostly Jewish. They also seem flummoxed about his family being JWs – the idea that there are Christians who don’t celebrate Christmas seems especially puzzling to them, judging by the comments I’ve read. Of course a lot of Jews, notably Steven Spielberg, never forgave Michael for TDCAU. The lies and hatred heaped on him by Jews in the business, like Joan Rivers and Gene Simmons, is just crazy. Of course if Michael had really been ant-Semitic, he wouldn’t have had so many Jewish friends and associates, like Shmuley Boteach (which wouldn’t have been a bad idea).

  4. Hold on, hold on, Raven and Simba.

    First of all, I’ll state that I have never believed in God, nor have I followed any religious or spiritual practice to speak of. In a word: I’m an atheist.

    I do detect a tone of criticism, Raven, when you say things like “atheists and cynics,” as if these two positions are inextricably tied together. Belief in God doesn’t necessarily exempt a person from cynicism; nor does atheism mean that someone (like me, for instance) is entirely uninterested in things that science is ill-equipped to explain, or things that we can’t apprehend with our customary epistemological instruments. We know that Michael maintained a strong belief in God throughout his years—whether or not he was a member in good standing of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He maintained a faith that was strongly tied to Christian traditions and belief, as we’re aware.

    It may well be unusual for many people in show business to mention God by name, at least as often as Michael seemed to (though it seems to be gaining in popularity these days). Still, it’s as Simba said: in the gospel tradition, for instance, which grew mainly grew out of the black church, it’s not unusual for performers to proclaim their love of Jesus; and of course the gospel tradition in many ways informs the musical genres we know as Soul and R&B, and of course informs Michael’s music. Plus, in music there are now genres like “Christian Rock” and even “Christian Punk”—which seems like a huge oxymoron to me. So it’s not true that all of show business (or even Hollywood) has totally expunged God from its worldview.

    As for his being deluded (or delusional), I can share that my own experience has been touched by mental illness in the shape of major depression: and in that state of mind, I couldn’t be sure what I was saying. Like drug addiction or dependency (as you mentioned in an earlier post, Raven), people who suffer from any form of mental illness deserve our empathy and compassion—not ridicule and judgment.

  5. I believe there’s a serious problem with statements like, “Well I agree that Michael’s Christian beliefs were out of step with Hollywood, because the major players in Hollywood are mostly Jewish” (Simba), and “….there are a number of big names who are overtly religious, like Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, Jim Caviziel, Martin Sheen, and a whole slew of Mormons and Jews” (Simba).

    And also:

    “Many of those, to me, fall under the heading of “alternative religions” although it is also true that much of Hollywood is made up those of Jewish faith. However, “God” has pretty much been taken out of the entertainment industry….” (Raven)

    Raven, just to clarify, a distinction should be made between religious Jews—who engage with Jewish beliefs and religious practices, including a belief in God, to whom they pray—-and secular Jews who don’t necessarily subscribe to any “faith,” but are instead are tied to Jewish identity through certain cultural traditions. It’s important not to conflate the two.

    Simba says: “Well I agree that Michael’s Christian beliefs were out of step with Hollywood, because the major players in Hollywood are mostly Jewish. ….. Of course a lot of Jews, notably Steven Spielberg, never forgave Michael for TDCAU. The lies and hatred heaped on him by Jews in the business, like Joan Rivers and Gene Simmons, is just crazy. Of course if Michael had really been ant-Semitic, he wouldn’t have had so many Jewish friends and associates, like Shmuley Boteach (which wouldn’t have been a bad idea).”

    (Sigh.) I feel as if I’ve already had this discussion before with other MJ discussions online. But if nobody else comes forward to challenge this nonsense, I suppose I must.

    Simba, just how you have arrived at this tangled (and indeed anti-Semitic) set of assumptions? Firstly, what do you mean by “a lot of Jews”? Who else besides Steven Spielberg “never forgave him” for his allegedly anti-Semitic lyrics in “They Don’t Care About Us”? Do you believe that throughout Michael’s life he was PARTICULARLY targeted by Jews (including executives like Walter Yetnikoff, and even his childhood tutor, Rose Fine, and numerous others who helped him)? What has led you to believe that? Sure, Michael became the butt of a lot of comics’ jokes over the years (including Eddie Murphy and Jay Leno), but why do you single out Gene Simmons and Joan Rivers as particularly vitriolic examples of this kind of ridicule?

    Shmuley himself posted an article (I think it was in the HuffPost) declaring that Michael’s alleged anti-Semitism (on the basis of those lyrics) was just a scurillous attack on his character. Nevertheless, what Shmuley didn’t mention—and perhaps he didn’t know about it—- is that there IS a recording of Michael saying that he believed Jews were “leeches” who were out to get his (and others’) money. This recording dates from 2005, I think. You can find the clip on YouTube—he made this statement probably in an unguarded moment, and it was left as a phone message, it’s believed, for Dieter Weisner. Despite his humanitarianism and all-inclusive rhetoric, Michael wasn’t always the model of temperate behavior.

    But my feeling is: *so what”? Will sensitive Jews forever bear Michael Jackson a grudge for this statement? They shouldn’t. Just as sensitive Michael Jackson fans shouldn’t hold Jews, or any particular minoritarian group, responsible for Michael’s suffering. Bigotry works in all different directions, you know.

    1. “Michael wasn’t always the model of temperate behavior…”

      Nina, I would certainly never argue against that statement. Michael was human, and not above some of the same mistakes and misjudgments as anyone else. I believe that tape was recorded during a time when he was feeling especially paranoid and vulnerable-he felt like HE was being persecuted by a lot of these people (whether his feelings were entirely justified I can’t say). I am not excusing it, but the portion of the tape that we hear was taken out of the context of the entire conversation that had preceded. That is still not an excuse, as obviously he said what he said.

      I do think that as someone of a different faith from the biggest majority of Hollywood and the entertainment industry, it somewhat put him at odds.

      One of the few things I believed to be true in LaToya’s first book was when she spoke of her parents’ anti-Semitic views. Of course, she went out of her way to distance herself and Michael from those beliefs, making her and Michael out to be the lone sheep of the family who did not hold to those views and would often argue with their parents at the table. However, I can certainly see Michael in every sense as that child and young man she described-very idealistic; truly believing in a world where all races can come together, and where all bigotry should be abolished. I do believe sincerely that was an ideal he set for himself, and one he tried to live up to for most of his life. But I also think that when certain beliefs and prejudices are ingrained in you as a child, that tiny seed is still there, no matter how much one might try to suppress it. I know that Michael would not have been proud of the person he heard on that tape; it went against the grain of everything he sincerely believed-about the world, about humanity, and about himself.

      Many of the Jewish community in Hollywood did turn against him after TDCAU, but I think their judgments were unfounded if you listen to the song in its entire context. Here was a post I did on TDCAU and its resulting controversy, which you may have seen, but I’ll put the link here for any newcomers who have not:

      http://www.allforloveblog.com/?p=6477

    2. Michael evidently believed he was particularly targeted by Jews, like the Chandlers, and Harvey Levin and Gloria Allred. Joan Rivers and Gene Simmons attacked him viciously, they didn’t tell bad jokes. Michael wasn’t anti-Semitic, (and neither am I) but he did notice the fact that many of his detractors were Jewish. Even Rabbi Boteach, who claimed to be his spiritual advisor, sold him out.

      But Raven’s point was that Hollywood lacked an awareness of Christian religious vaues, and Jews, whether they are religious Jews or cultural Jews who are not religious, don’t come from the Christian tradition. It’s understandable if they found it strange when Michael said that God spoke to him.

  6. Thanks for this post Raven. I am soooooo glad that I don’t live in USA and have to see all the crap in the media!!! It is turning out just how we suspected before the trial began – that, it is not AEG on trial, but Michael all over again. Sigh!!!

    We all know from what is written by many people, and Michael himself in many of his poems in Dancing The Dream, that he was a deeply religious and spirital man (I make a distinction because there is one), and so often in his acceptance speeches he thanked God “with whom all things are possible”. He admitted time and time again that God dropped music and lyrics “into his lap” or when he sat in his Giving Tree, so we know that he ‘heard’ Gods voice many many times, as does anyone who has such a deep belief and connection. Also Michael meditated for many years, and surely that is one clear way to hear Gods voice – Quakers do it in their Meetings for Worship. Michael investigated many religions over the years, and took some aspects of them into his life i.e. meditation, Hindu symbolism in his hand gestures when dancing etc.

    I am not sure about Michael knowing that he was going to die and being called in that way? Yes it is entirely possible, but is that what Michael meant in the statement Sankey heard? We don’t know of course, but we do know that Michael ‘conversed’ with God and there is nothing delusional in that in my book. Just a wonderful human/divine being acknowledging that there was something bigger than him – typical Michael humility I would say.

    1. No, of course, neither I nor anyone else can say with certainty what Michael meant by that statement. But considering that he WAS dead within days of making it, one does have to wonder. I think what has really struck me most regarding the comments and reactions I have seen to Sankey’s testimony is the apparent disconnect that our society (speaking as a whole) seems to how now in regards to God. In the old days, our ancestors often spoke of being called home by God. These days, the first thing anyone immediatly thinks is, “Oh, this person must be mentally ill.”

      Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that hearing voices and having delusions of God speaking to one certainly can be a sign of illness. But far too many are, I believe, misconstruing this statement without knowing the full context of when it was said, how it was said, and under what circumstances. Of course, either way, it was certainly an alarm bell and a cry for help, which evidently Sankey understood. But either way, it bothers me somewhat to see it used for sensationalism in this way.

  7. Raven, I believe that everything happens for a reason, both good–that special job you’ve dreamed of, a great accomplishment, finding your soulmate, and bad–horrible accidents, tragedies, natural disasters….they aren’t just random happenings but part of Earth and mankind’s dance with life. I was raised in a Christran family and do believe that God and Jesus are one and that God came to Earth in the flesh so He could experience being human, and allow us, to experience him as a man. Over the years I’ve become quite disillusioned with those who profess to be Christian but do not demonstrate Christ’s teachings in their everyday lives. I can’t speak for others, but I’ve had supernatural experiences that left me convinced that our steps are guided and numbered, and our destiny is planned before we breath that first breath of life. I firmly believe that June 25, 2009 was Michael’s appointed time to ascend to the Father. That’s not to say that the truly senseless and shocking manner in which he died is easy to accept. I still ask, Why? But I’ve also come to the conclusion after researching his life that perhaps God did feel, as you said, “enough is enough.” It’s time you come home to your eternal rest. There’s no question that Michael Jackson was a rare gift from God. I often picture God beaming with happiness as he watched his son perform, and how pleasing his sweet voice was to Him. How it must have moved the Father to watch Michael give his time and love to children throughout the world and, of course, to see him become the loving, caring father of his three children. I can only imagine, too, that it must have caused enormous pain in God’s heart to see the dark side of mankind in how badly they treated him. I read Karen Faye’s testimony and when she emotionally stated she didn’t know how he did it, getting on stage and performing when he was hurting so, both physically and mentally, I cried for several minutes. I don’t know how he stood it all those years. I can’t adequately express how outraged and hurt I am to read the hateful, ignorant comments lately to various articles. Some of them the dialogue is so recognizable that one is lead to believe it’s from the same person, over and over again. Even if I didn’t feel the way I do about Michael Jackson, I still would never post such ugly, unkind and UNTRUE drivel. None of those who comment so hatefullly know him personally, or anyone close to him. They’ve never taken a moment to do some serious research. They just don’t care. They never will. They’re locked into a mindset of jealousy and hatred and unless they eventually catch a vision of how damaging their behavior is, they will go to their graves believing lies.

    I’m sure God was speaking to Michael. I sometimes wish that he would have told the angels, No, and he could have stayed and we could have witnessed him moving on to the next brilliant chapter of his life.

    P.S. You want to read a delightful, but all-too-brief book, get a copy of Private Conversations in Neverland with Michael Jackson by William B. Van Valin, II, MD. No pictures, no dirt. Just honest, funny and lovely memories this man and his family have of Michael.

  8. raven
    i dont know if you’ve heard this story from Jerkins saying MJ met with Andrae Crouch 3 wks before he died and ask him to play “It Won’t Be Long”

    1. Yes, I have but thank you for sharing it again! I believe, based on everything I have heard (the conversations Michael was having with his children; this story from Jerkins, Sankey’s testimony, etc) that he was attuned to the fact that his time was drawing near. From all I have gathered, it is a very weird and stressing state because the person really doesn’t know what is going to happen to them, or when (or exactly how much time they have); it is just an oppressive, overpowering feeling that death is imminent. I have heard that Abraham Lincoln went through such a phase, in the weeks leading up to his assassination. (He also had dreams that portended his death). All in all, it really makes me better understand and appreciate the duress that Michael was working under throughout his TII rehearsals.

  9. Thank you for this article.
    In my view, point is not to find out whether God was talking to him or not (whatever God means to people) the point is that he was already on his way to another part of dimension so that he was able to hear God talking…delusion or not, he was hearing God talking and that was his way to say I’m leaving away…
    Looking at the Thriller rehearsal, looking at his face it is Obvious that he was not in good health, too thin for a 50 years old man, his face looks like a wax face, I would say a dead face..he managed to do the rehearsal like a puppet not like “Michael Jackson”.
    May be, in this video, he seems in good health to many people but, in comparison, when looking at him back on previous shows or interviews it is obvious that his great and Magic energy is gone..and it is frightening that almost nobody among the professional environnement noticed it or did not want to notice it…and let him die.

    1. Not to mention that film optically adds weight to the subject so in reality he must have looked even thinner. They were constantly adjusting his clothes because he was loosing weight rapidly. According to Lou Ferrigno he ate one meal a day. That could be because of the anesthesia combined with stress. Some overeat, some choke on eating under stress.
      I think the people who were nearest to him who saw him undressed, his designer,dressers and stylists will know better than anyone how he looked.

    2. I thought that he looked good in the Thriller and Earth Song segments, much moreso than some other performances from the film (ironic considering those were from “The Last Night”). I also thought he looked great in the Black or White performance, and in the scenes where he is wearing the black jacket and Popeye shirt. But in the Human Nature and I Just Can’t Stop Loving You segments (in fact, anything where he was wearing that hideous, pointy-shouldered jacket, lol) he did look very skeletal.

      But while different outfits may have accentuated or hid his thinness better than others, it IS quite obvious that he was underweight, or at the very least, needed to build more muscle mass. Actually, being a dancer and having a desire to keep a dancer’s physique, I would say it was the increased muscle mass he needed, rather than more pounds. But I’m sure that was part of the goal of his workouts with Lou Ferrigno.

      One thing I have noticed many times in TII is just how HUGE his hands looked in many of the sequences, and since Michael tended to use hand gestures a lot in his performances, the eye can’t help being drawn to them. Of course, Michael always had really big hands, but for some reason, they just seemed to call more attention to themselves in this film. It finally dawned on me the other night why that is. His huge hands were simply no longer in proportion with such a thin body.

      Interestingly enough, I was reading an article just last night about how Mick Jagger trains for a tour and manages to stay in such fit shape at almost seventy years old. I thought this was interesting because Mick Jagger, going into this current tour with the Stones, is twenty years older than Michael was in TII, and every bit as thin. His body weight is roughly the same as Michael’s was in TII (considering the autopsy report listed Michael as weighing 136 pounds, and Jagger’s weight is a reported 140-only a slight difference of about four pounds) and his concert routines every bit as physically strenuous as Michael’s-plus with twenty extra years on him, to boot. But just look at his workout routine!

      http://tomfaranda.typepad.com/folly/2012/12/mick-jagger-approaching-age-70.html

      http://www.celebritydiagnosis.com/2011/08/want-the-moves-like-jagger-7-things-mick-does-to-keepthem/

      This is the sort of rigorous training program that Michael really needed to get back into his ultimate performing mode. Mick Jagger is certainly living proof that age need not be a factor in one’s ability to perform at peak capacity. But, obviously, he works his butt off to maintain that optimal condition. I just don’t think that Michael, at that point in his life, had the motivation (who could blame him with all he had endured?). Perhaps in time, he might have, but that’s just one of those sad “what if” things we will never know for sure.

      1. Michael worked out with Lou Ferrigno for months to prepare for This Is It. Before Murray came on board, he was in tip top shape. He even showed off his “six pack” to an old friend he ran into in Klein’s office and she recalled how good he looked. (I think her name was Horowitz.) Kai Chase also mentioned that he was in excellent condition the first time she worked for him. It was Murray who destroyed his health.

        1. I knew he was working out with Lou Ferrigno, but from some of Ferrigno’s comments, I got the idea that he wasn’t particularly dedicated. However, I DO recall that story about the friend in Klein’s office, and it is true that many reported he seemed to be in great shape up until about April, 2009-not coincidentally, about the same time that Murray started treating him.

          For the record, throughout the years Michael had always been in much greater shape than most realized (there is a general misconception of him as this skinny, frail guy) but all anyone has to do is look at him at any of his concerts from his peak years to see that the guy was in INCREDIBLE shape (obviously, he had to have been to do what he did!). I have heard at least one other person (a very lucky young woman!) talk about how surprised she was to discover what a six pack he had. That, of course, was in the late 70’s but yes, I do believe the stories and that, prior to April 2009 he was at least certainly in good, if not tip top, shape.

  10. I believe that people who are near the end of their human form know it, whether they are religious or not, consciously or subconsciously .
    I dont think it had to do with the propofol because that is metabolised and out of the system within hours. It could be his feeling of well being in general combined with the side effect of benzo’s, but that does not exclude the spiritual experience.
    I have seen it with 3 people I lost and have been close to in their last months and days.
    What I also noticed is that they seem to revive shortly before passing. As if they regain strength and will seemingly overcome the disease. Maybe that is what happened to Michael in the last rehearsal why people were so shocked that he died within hours.

    There are many signs that Michael was aware of something.
    He went to his parents 6oth anniversary while they were not expecting him. He said goodbye to all the people in Kleins office one by one, hugging them, though he was not yet leaving for London and was not used to greet them that way .
    He went to visit the Crouch family , prayed with them and asked them to pray for him. But he also told them he didn’t feel right about the shows. This is what he said. Interesting interview.

    “ It still amazes me because at the rehearsal before he passed, he stood right there in the middle of us all and talked about the tour and how the stage was going to be built and what it would look like. But in the same breath he said, “I don’t wanna go on this tour, I just don’t feel right about it”. That’s what he said. He kinda knew that something was going on but he didn’t know what. I know he is with the Lord because he was so ready. When we did the song “Man in the mirror”, we would do a warm up song called “It won’t be long” and every time we got together he told me that he always would sing that song to himself and he asked if we could sing that song for him and I said “Sure”. He loved that song and he was so gentle and I praise God for the work that he did in his life before he went to be with the Lord.

    http://rootmagazineonline.com/featured-content/1970/

    1. Absolutely. I also believe it is possible that the person may not even be entirely conscious of WHY they are being prone to do these things; they just know that they are.

      I also noticed something unusual in TII at the end of the Jackson 5 medley. He always took that time to acknowledge his brothers, but this was the first time he also acknowledged his parents. “Joseph and Katherine, I love you, God bless.” That scene always gets me, every time.

  11. Gel, thank you for this. I was going to post this story when I got to the end of the comments but your YT is even better. When I learned of this shortly after Michael died I was so moved by it that I’ve never forgotten it. He was so ready, Crouch said. It haunted me and still brings tears. I also remember a story about Michael chastising Prince & Paris when they were spatting one day and telling them they shouldn’t fight, that they should be good to each other, and that Paris (who he always said was the strong one)would someday need to take care of her brothers because “I won’t always be here.” and it wasn’t said like the event would be decades away.

    There was so much pain in Michael’s life over so many decades. Even the strongest among us can only take so much. I grieve daily over what he endured and that we lost him – among other things – to such cruelty and lack of compassion for that pain. When Michael said that God was talking to him, I never once thought that it was anything but – IMO – what it was. God loved Michael and it was time to end the agony – physical, emotional and psychological. I just wish someone had been with Michael to hold him when the end came.

    1. Thank you for telling this wonderful story about Prince and Paris. I remember after Michael died that Paris was seen as the motherly figure to Blanket and even Prince, and that Prince would often defer to her (Raven you’ve also said this). Even before Michael died, Paris would pretend to be the mother figure when playing games with her brothers, when she was really little (I’m not sure how old she was though). Do you have a link to this by any chance? Thank you again!! 🙂

      1. You can definitely tell she is the “take charge” figure of the three kids. I witnessed this myself in Gary, and many others have seen and commented on it as well. It is still especially true of Blanket. Prince, I think, is getting a little older and more independent, but in public, he still mostly hangs back and defers to Paris as the leader.

  12. I only want to address the matter of Michael hearing God. I do not think its unusual to hear the voice of God.Actually, everybody does at some time or another, but some just don’t believe it. I have heard the voice of God, and it has always been a matter of life. People meditate themselves into oblivion just to hear the voice of God. Michael said in Murreys taped conversation that he wanted to build a hospital for children…”God wants me to do it”. By the way, if Murrey had been listening to the voice of God (instead of his 4 baby mamas), perhaps Michael would still be here. The following link a clip from the Color Purple. The son is God is Trying to Tell You Something It is all about a life changing experience, a better life not death. I think for them to twist his words as they did is pretty shameful.

  13. Oh man, talk about criminal negligence! If it been anybody else they would have called the ambulance. But there was an investment at stake and no one was going to be responsible, so called a board meeting instead. How do these people live with themselves? Hmmm, corporate governance must be fascistoid: AEG handled the “befehl ist befehl” policy and bullied everyone around MJ into that modus operandi. It didn’t fly after WWII, I hope it won’t fly now.

  14. I loved this post. Thank God and you Raven for being spiritually sensitive. I too would like to know the context in which Michael spoke to God. I wish I knew what was said between them. I am just so glad and elated that Michael has “gone on to glory” and is probably moonwalking on those golden paved streets with all his relatives, like Brandon and the child that he and Debbie miscarried in the mid-90s. Thank Jehovah God for this! Have you guys heard about Prince and Paris not wanting to preach the message of the Jehovah’s Witnesses anymore? I hope that they continuously seek after God and learn the truth about him. I loved the story about Paris sneaking candy in her purse, it’s so sweet!

    1. The kids will have to find their own path, Just as most of the Jackson kids have done. Michael and most of his siblings followed the religion closely as children (Michael and LaToya remained Witnesses longer than any of the others, except for Rebbie who to my knowledge is still an active Witness) but as adults, began to question the faith and eventually, broke away from it. All the same, I think having any religious anchor in youth is important for children, and I think this has been a good experience for Paris. She has gotten a taste for the religion that her father was raised in, which no doubt may give her a better sense of what shaped him into the adult he became. Now, just as her father did, she may choose the ultimate path she wants to take. I never believed the kids would adhere faithfully to being Jehovah’s Witnesses. Being minor children under their grandmother’s roof, and living under her rule, it was understandable that they would go along with it for a little while, but I always figured that once they were old enough, they would make their own decision. Katherine, from all I have gathered, is very devout in her religion, but has never really pushed it on any of her kids if they made it clear that was not what they wanted. I am sure she isn’t happy about the kids’ choice, but she seems open enough to accept it. I don’t think she’s ever been as strict as some people say, because she has made all kinds of allowances throughout the years for things that went against her beliefs (for example, allowing the boys to record an album of Christmas songs, etc). I think she has tried to remain AS faithful to her beliefs as possible, given her role as the matriarch of a show business family, but I’m sure it hasn’t been an easy path.

      Paris is still rebelling and searching right now, so it’s too early to tell, ultimately, what she will do with her life. I think she has a good and solid spiritual foundation, based on what her father and grandmother have taught her. But the rest will be up to her. By sheer nature of her upbringing and who she is, she will always be exposed to a lot more different views than many kids her age. I suppose that can be a good or bad thing-it can lead to more confusion, but on the plus side, it can lead to a more open and accepting view of God. She’s had the best of both worlds in many regards, but interestingly, it is the exact reverse of her father’s experience. As a small child, she grew up knowing what it was to celebrate Christmas and birthdays, etc. She was being raised by a father determined to give his own kids all of the freedoms to experience those things which he had never had. But then suddenly, at age eleven, she was thrust into the strict and disciplined world of her father’s childhood religion. I don’t think it was “forced” on her, but I’m sure that Katherine felt it was her duty as a faithful servant to teach them of Jehovah. Of course, she cannot control what they choose to do as adults, or even as independent thinking teenagers. If something has “stuck” they may well return to the faith at a later time. If not, I don’t think Katherine’s Jehovah will hold it against her for at least trying.

      But I do think that, with the combination of what they have been taught by their father and grandmother, they certainly have a solid foundation from which to choose their ultimate path, whatever it may be.

  15. Interestingly, who directed “The Color Purple”? Steven Spielberg. About whom Simba says,

    “Of course a lot of Jews, notably Steven Spielberg, never forgave Michael for TDCAU. The lies and hatred heaped on him by Jews in the business, like Joan Rivers and Gene Simmons, is just crazy.” Hmmmm…. so, judging by this excerpt from the film, maybe all those secular Jews in Hollywood aren’t so *irreligious* after all!

    But I’m curious: beyond the obvious “message” (people heading to the church in droves, presumably to be “saved”), is there anything else this clip can tell us—about Michael (or any of us, for that matter) being able to hear the voice of God, especially when we are close to dying?

    1. In all fairness, Spielberg as the director of The Color Purple is really irrelevant. All he is doing, as an artist, is remaining faithful to the overall theme of Alice Walker’s novel (not to mention Menno Meygas’s screenplay). I don’t think it has bearing on HIS personal beliefs one way or another. The job and goal of any director is simply to interpret the material they are given. If they are good at what they do-and undeniably Speilberg is a master-then they do not allow their own views and biases to get in the way of the work or “the vision.” I’m not claiming to know anything about where Spielberg stands spiritually-for the record, I certainly wasn’t singling him out when I spoke of the beliefs of most mainstream Hollywood and the entertainment industry. I really could care less what happened personally between Spielberg and MJ. That doesn’t mean I have any less appreciation for Spielberg as an artist (almost all of his movies are at the top of my favorites list, and that isn’t going to change just because he and Michael had their differences).

      That entire segment of The Color Purple was basically a condensed way of driving home the message of Alice Walker’s novel that we are all living on borrowed time, and that whatever amends we need to make; whatever redemption we need to seek; whatever loose ends we have not tied up in our lives, we had best do it now, while that voice is shouting it in our heads and hearts. THAT is the message I take from it. All of the characters had issues of forgiveness they needed to resolve, and correction of past mistakes-Mister especially. It isn’t so much about dying per se, but it IS about hearing the voice of God, so I suppose in that sense it is relevant to the discussion.

      1. Raven, I’m sorry if I seem argumentative here (and I don’t want to get too much off topic) but I don’t know how you’ve arrived at the conclusion that a film director’s job is to remain faithful to the original material. It’s simply not true.

        To the chagrin and resentment of many a screenwriter, who of course have a tremendous role, film is almost universally considered a director’s medium—not a writer’s, and not an actor’s. You and I could be given the exact same script—and indeed, the exact same actors—-and yet we would make ENTIRELY different films. Otherwise, how can we have so many remakes of a particular story/text throughout the years (but made in different decades by different directors), and have them be COMPLETELY different movies? “The Great Gatsby,” adapted for the screen several times (currently by Baz Luhrman) is one striking example.

        I’d have to revisit both Walker’s text and Spielberg’s film, and compare the two through a close reading of each of the scenes. But I can pretty much swear (because I read the book and saw the movie in the 1980s) that Walker’s and Speilberg’s visions of the story were entirely separate entities.

        Aside from the fact that some directors have written, directed and starred in their own films (Woody Allen comes immediately to mind), directors often choose the material they want to work with PRECISELY because they are drawn to the story, and feel they have an something interesting and unique to contribute to it. In other words, if a director has attained enough power in the industry to pick and choose their projects (as Spielberg definitely had in the 1980s), then their choice will almost always depend on how they can place their artistic interpretation—THEIR OWN SPIN—on the existing story. And even if they are given no choice in what they are assigned to direct, a decent director will STILL bring a tremendous amount of their own artistic discretion to the process, which will inevitably show up in the product, in a multitude of ways.

        So, the director’s tremendous—indeed, defining— role in the creative outcome of any film production has been almost universally accepted as a given by both scholars and practitioners in the field, starting with the medium’s beginnings in the late 19th century.

        1. But in this case, the spiritual element WAS central to the theme of the story, and Spielberg was faithful to the novel and the spirit of it. It is to his CREDIT that he did not deviate from it, bur remained faithful to Walker’s vision. It is true that directors often seem to have the final creative say in films, but I believe that any director worth his salt-if he respects the original source-will try to retain as much of the author’s vision as possible.

    2. Just want to insert here – Michael had been angry at Spielberg for years before then, because Michael was up for the part of Peter Pan in Spielberg’s remake. Because of the 1993 allegations, the part was given to Robin Williams instead of Michael. Mike had worked with Spielberg on ET and George Lucas on Captain EO. He wanted to do films but he found this not accessible to him anymore.

      However, They Don’t Care About Us was not about being angry at Jews – in 2005 he did leave a voice mail saying he hated Jews. And well he may have by then – the parents of his accusers were Jewish, and Schmuley Boteach his supposed “rabbi” had betrayed him publicly. I’m personally impressed that it took Michael so long to hate ANYONE.

      1. Dee says,
        “….in 2005 he did leave a voice mail saying he hated Jews. And well he may have by then – the parents of his accusers were Jewish, and Schmuley Boteach his supposed “rabbi” had betrayed him publicly. I’m personally impressed that it took Michael so long to hate ANYONE.”

        Dee: you’re kidding, right? And because I’ve had some bad run-ins with white Christians who’ve betrayed my trust, I guess I’m entitled to condemn white Christians, eh?

        We need to be VERY clear about this, I think. When you say “ANYONE,” I’d agree that it took a lot of needling before Michael expressed how angry and upset he was — on any number of fronts. But are we talking about hating certain individuals here (who happen to be Jewish), or an entire group of people–namely, Jews as a whole?

        Another important detail: on that 2005 tape he didn’t say that he “hated” Jews—just that he thought they were “leeches,” and he stated the reasons why he felt that way. (I’m forgetting his exact words now; the clip is on YouTube.) While on an emotional level we might be able to understand what prompted this angry outburst, we DO NOT have to condone what Michael said—nor, in my view, should we. The reality is that it was a stupid, bigoted, and ill-advised thing for Michael to say, even if we can sympathize with the emotions that prompted it (as Raven mentioned above). I just wanted to make that clear.

        Suppose Michael had initiated a series of business ventures with Native Americans that went wrong? Would he be correct in condemning ALL Native Americans as incompetent alcoholics? Or what if, if after some unpleasant dealings with African American business people, he had excoriated them for being “lazy, shiftless good-for-nothings”? What if he had characterized Latinos with whom he had worked–based on a negative experience with several—as intellectually deficient? Would he have been justified in doing that?

        The unfortunate reality is that Michael was trafficking in a VERY long-standing cultural stereotype: that of the money-grubbing Jew. I’m extremely disappointed to see these stereotypes perpetuated here, where people should know better.

        Simba, you wrote,
        “Of course if Michael had really been ant-Semitic, he wouldn’t have had so many Jewish friends and associates, like Shmuley Boteach (which wouldn’t have been a bad idea).”

        Well, let’s remember the old saw: “I’m not racist! In fact, some of my best friends are black!” Or, how about this one: “Of course, if were really racist, I wouldn’t have so many black friends and associates, like [name your own here]. And I wouldn’t love Michael Jackson, after all.”

  16. gel, thanks so much for that clip of Rodney Jerkins; I hadn’t seen it before. What’s astonishing to me is Jerkins’s story that Michael asked him to go out and get a “new sound,” a new instrument—which moved Jerkins to explore junkyards! It’s mind-boggling.

    It’s interesting that Quincy Jones wrote the score for “The Color Purple,” as everyone here probably knows; and Andrae and Sandra Crouch are listed (by IMDB.com) as music arrangers and conductors for the Christ Memoiral Church of God in Christ Choir, which is, I think, the excerpt that Catherine Gross posted. Small world!

    ____________________________________
    The theme of this clip (from “The Color Purple”) has some strong historical precedents in earlier films that feature all-black cast, especially in the ways the two different musical genres—gospel and jazz— become emblematic of “good” and “bad” ways of life. Starting with the music, and ending up with a kind of conversion experience, the musical styles are metaphorically linked so that they are seen as essentially MORAL choices, rather than as simple matters of taste or preference.

    In “Cabin in the Sky” (directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1941), “good” and “evil” forces are exemplified by a church at one end of town, where the righteous townspeople who form its congregation sing hymns—and the site of a speakeasy at the other end of town. This place, by contrast, is shown as den of iniquity, replete with dancing, drinking, and the music of Duke Ellington and his Orchestra! Again, there’s that theme of the gospel choir (singing “God’s music”) vs. jazz, which presumably appeals more to the base sexual appetites of the populace—who are being led astray from the proper path, and must somehow be convinced to return to the fold of righteousness.

    On a much lower-budget end of the filmic spectrum, Spencer Williams’s “The Blood of Jesus” (1941) has the same kind of plotline. A woman is accidentally shot by her husband (who was cleaning his gun), and he invites church members from their rural community to pray with him at her bedside. What unfolds is a beautifully cinematic, almost hallucinatory, story of the woman’s temptation by the devil, and an equally persuasive angelic influence who convinces her to stay on the path of righteousness.

    Both of these films are fascinating…. I highly recommend them!

    But no matter how we read the “message” in this clip from “The Color Purple,” we know that as a musician, Michael himself was every bit as much rooted in secularized forms like disco, funk, rock’n’roll and jazz, as he was in the church-gospel tradition. He drew from ALL different kinds of music, including show tunes fin Broadway musicals, later transformed into Hollywood films.

    1. That’s a great analysis. I’ve always been fascinated, for example, at how closely linked the blues and gospel are, even though the genres seem to be at polar opposites (the one as “the devil’s music” and the other as “god’s music”). Yet they are not that fundamentally different. Artists have been successfully melding these genres for decades, as we have seen time and again (our Michael was a master of it). Most works that fall into the genre of Southern Gothic also seem to draw quite heavily on this dichotomy of “good vs. evil” and “light vs. darkness” as represented by the melding of musical genres. “Black Snake Moan” is a recent example that comes to mind, in which the characters literally find salvation and redemption through the blues. Blues music is used, in fact, as kind of catharsis-a means to purge evil, rather than inducing it.

      Southern rock, also, is a genre that often blends the spiritualism of gospel with the “baser” elements of rock and roll, but in so doing, achieves a profound effect upon the listener. It reminds me of that old saying, “It is always darkest before the dawn.” The songs remind me of someone who may be falling down drunk on Saturday night; someone who has spiritually sunk as low and as black as it can get; someone who awakes with a horrible hangover, struggling out of bed, on a beautiful, blue Sunday morning, and realizes there is still light, and hope-a chance for redemption, and a new beginning. Those songs, to me, are very beautiful and haunting because they remind me of a soul struggling in darkness to find their way to that light which everyone, deep down, wants and is seeking. I even categorized those songs into their own sub-genre, and coined my own phrase for them. I call it “Southern Gospel Rock.”

      The Allman Brother’s “Dreams” and The Black Crowes’ “Soul Singing” are probably two of the best examples:

      http://youtu.be/rK_5cJpM06k

      http://youtu.be/hWuSrc53QL4

      1. Raven, if you want to know more about the fusion of gospel music, jazz and the blues, you should watch the documentary Say Amen, Somebody, which explores the life of Thomas Dorsey, the father of modern gospel. Dorsey, formerly known as Barrelhouse Tommy, was a bluesman who turned to Christian music after tragedy in his life. Many black churches in the early days banned his music. He wrote Precious Lord, MLK’s favorite hymn, which was sung at King’s funeral.

      2. That’s a really interesting point about Southern rock, Raven, and the fusion of all these musical forms. And thanks for mentioning “Say Amen, Somebody,” Simba. Sounds like a fascinating documentary; I’ll be sure to look it up.

  17. I appreciate what you say – and yes I do believe that some people who are desperately ill do have a sense of the end drawing near – but to say that Michael was called home by God suggests his death had little to do with Murrays actions and in effect let’s him off the hook. As already stated the coroner gave cause of death as Propofol poisoning – lethal injection by another – and not by misadventure, accident or natural causes – or in other words not by Gods hand. Michael was being systematically poisoned by his doctor as he administered a plethora of drugs mixed with anaesthesia over a period of several weeks but his death was as a result of the cocktail of sedatives mixed with a lethal amount of Prpofol given to Michael on 25 June 2009. What went on before was history (pardon the pun). While the thought of the Good Lord taking his lamb into his care by design is both romantic and somewhat comforting, I do not see God playing any role in Murrays actions which were the cause of Michaels demise. With Love and Respect x

    1. I don’t think it lets Murray off the hook at all. I think it is simply that, for whatever His reasons are, God does not always intervene with what is fated to happen. Going back to the example I used of my teacher, Jenita Smith, she seemed to have a sense of foreboding that clung to her for the last several months of her life. I believe this was, essentially, God’s way of letting her know to prepare for what was ahead. But it does not in any way absolve the county or the Alabama Highway Department, who should have installed a turning lane on that dangerous stretch of Highway 72 years before (my teacher wasn’t the only casualty of that dangerous stretch of road; it took over 33 deaths for something to finally be done).

      My analogy is to prove the point that being “called home”-in whatever way one believes it occurs, whether through the voice of God or not-isn’t the same as absolving the party responsible for the death. If a murder victim receives warning from God that something terrible is about to happen and their life on earth may end soon, it still doesn’t excuse the person who pulls the trigger. If Trayvon Martin, for example, had heard the voice of God talking to him as he was walking home that day, it still has nothing to do with the fact that George Zimmerman killed him. Murder is murder (and manslaughter is still manslaughter).

      In other words, while I may believe Michael was being called home, that doesn’t mean Murray isn’t still guilty as stinking sin.

      1. Thanks for the reply. As I see it if God calls someone home, it implies their imminent death inevitable – because as you suggested enough suffering has been borne. Perhaps you are right… Michael had suffered enough and had not that lethal injection been given that night, the effects of the almost constant use of anesthesia for the previous 6 weeks might have taken its toll on another occasion further down the line. I guess only God and Michael know the answer to that. With Love and Respect x

  18. Hello Raven,

    I agree with you concerning Michael hearing God speaking to him. I am a Christian and walking with the Lord, I, too hear His Voice. Not in an audible form, but in many other ways. I hear him through a friend that confirms what He has been laying on my heart, or a sermon that goes directly to the very heart of me, or a song that God puts in my heart, leading me in the way that He knows is the best for me, or a book that contains the insights and ways of looking at a situation that I never thought of. God is a creative God in the many different ways He chooses to communicate with each one of us, if we will open our hearts and hear Him. He knows just what it will take for us to listen to Him, and how to reach us right where we are at that moment in our lives. He will guide us with a still small voice, until it finally dawns on us that He is trying to tell us something, and we really need to pay attention…more than just a coincidence…it is God communicating with us. God bless You.

  19. Raven, thank you for being me!!! Your thoughts are my thoughts and I feel happy that you write all the things I am feeling… When I read Michael’s words: “God keeps talking to me” I couldn’t stand and cried. Because I understood immediately what it was about. Michael was so close to God, so spiritual… Enough is enough – was my first thinking when he was gone. And , Raven, we REALLY don’t have all the answers!

  20. Raven,

    I am the person who posted the “weak argument” comments on Alan Duke’s CNN.com article.

    My purpose was simply to put some context around the language that Michael used when speaking of his creativity, to introduce the possibility that the wording did not have be the sensationalized, Michael-is-crazy fest it was becoming. When I see articles on Michael that are not fair or balanced, I always try to present a reasonable alternative way of seeing, in the hopes that some of the other commenters will stop and think. There is a lot of work to be done to undo the media damage due to unfair coverage in the past. All I can do is be one small voice trying to change that.

    So, I felt that explaining Michael’s previous references to God and creativity were a good antidote to the headline. The comeback to Ortega about Prince was NOT in the trial – I read this in one of the earliest articles published after his death. I wanted to include that also because I thought that it gave posaitive context to Michael’s character.

    When I am commenting on mass media articles (where support for Michael among commenters is 50/50 at best) I try not to be overly pro-Michael; but instead just a reasonable person who thinks for herself. It is counterproductive to the trolls to do otherwise. Coming off as a rabid Michael fan would just cause haters to dismiss me. So I tailor my message to the audience and edit myself – hoping one person may stop and think – but I write differently when I am sure I am among friends.

    I do agree with you that Michael probably did have a strong sense that his time was coming. He was very sensitive and tuned into these things…I am sure that he knew on some level. In fact, another early article from 2009-2010 stated that Michael had said about going to LA to rehearse: “If I go back there I’ll die.” (My impression is this was a reference to Klein and Rowe).

    So I do take your point; but I think mine just as valid, with no disrespect intended to the seriousness of the situation by including Michael’s joke. I wonder if you posted your thoughts on the CNN comments as well as here.

    1. Dee, I think my phrasing there was a poor choice of words, actually, and I should correct that. I do believe absolutely it is a valid argument to make, and as I stated, to fully understand what Michael meant by that comment means fully understanding the context of his lifelong religious beliefs. Of course, my point was really against those going for the “mentally delusional” angle. But I was only trying to make the point that I did not believe-in this particular instance-that he was referring to creativity. I believe if Sankey had understood his words to have been taken in that context, she would not have been so alarmed. But I do respect your point as an equally valid argument, and one that is not really that far divorced from my own.

      Yes, in hindsight, I think that was in a comment that someone mentioned the joking comment Michael made about “God giving all my ideas to Prince.” Sometimes, with the sheer onslaught of information I’m reading and receiving, it is easy to have some confusion. As always, corrections are mucho appreciated.

  21. Raven…just wanted to give you an example of someone sensing that their death was near. A few days before my grandparents left for a brief vacation, my grandmother insisted that I go to her house so she could teach me how to cook a few things. We were extremely close and although I said that she had plenty of time to teach me, she kept insisting. She was not under a doctor’s care for any medical condition. Well I went to the house and she was just not herself. There was a sense of urgency that had never existed before. She said it was important that I learn these dishes because my mother (her daughter) had no interest in keeping these recipes in the family. I, on the other hand loved cooking. Well, you can pretty much guess what happened. She died suddenly of a massive heart attack while on vacation. No one will ever convince me that she did not have some type of premonition.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story. I am absolutely certain, too, that your grandmother knew what was coming. Or at the very least, she was sensing a strong urgency to pass the recipes along so that they would not die with her. I don’t think it’s as graphic as that the person can actually see/envision their end (unless they are psychic). But I think it may well come in the form of inexplicable depression or elated mood, or an overpowering compulsion/urgency to do or say certain things, or to spend time with certain people.

      I go back to the story that Paris told of the talk her dad had with her just a few days before. He seemed to be sensing the urgency of passing those words onto her, for whatever reason.

      1. Michael did confirm in the Diane Sawyer interview after Lady Di’s car accident that he was psychic becasue he had felt there was another one and then Mother Theresa died.

        1. Hi Sina,

          I saw that interview and as I recall he expressed a fear of ‘being next’ which, considering the way the press haunded him was not unfounded. After all if they were reckless enough to chase her in her car, who’s to say they would not do the same to him at any given moment. That was a real fear and risk he was dealing with on a daily basix. Then he goes on to express he finds solace in meeting Mother Theresa on another plane. Now, for me being a pagan Druid that sounds perfectly plausible. It only takes tuning in, and Michael seems to have been very tuned in. He doesn’t say he’s psychic. Diane Sawyer asks him if he is saying he is and he says “I’ve done it before”.

          1. Sorry it was Barbera Walters not DS. I watched it again and this is what he says
            ” ………
            the message and the fact that I knew her personally . And on top of that one I said there is another one soon, I feel it coming, there s another one and I pray its not me please dont let it be me. Then mother Theresa came”
            BW: Are you psychic, is that what youre saying?
            MJ :I dont want to say that, BUT Ive done it before
            BW : And you thought it might be you ?
            MJ: yes

          2. I think it is possible for people to sense these things. Everyone around Michael has pretty much said that he had premonitions of an early (and often violent) death. In Frank Cascio’s book, he said Michael was convinced he would die from a shot. He meant a gunshot, but it’s ironic that he did, in fact, die from a shot-of another kind.

            It was said that after the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, which occurred less than a month apart, Jim Morrison would say to his friends, “You’re drinking with Number Three.” Less than nine months later, he was indeed Number Three.

  22. I see things unfolding differently. The way I see it regardless of the AEG trial WR would have made these allegations. If he is to be believed he suffered his breakdown in March, and sometime after that his suppressed memories surfaced. What if his memories are false and he believes them to be real, and files a late creditor’s claim. His attorneys know the AEG trial is coming up, and sensibly files their case to coincide with that trial for maximum impact for their client.

    I see things differently from the majority of the fanbase because to me the AEG trial is the sideshow, and WR’s claim is the real meat and bones. Wade was not some street kid from Mississauga accusing MJ of molestation; he was Michael’s most ardent defender. He defended Michael more than Culkin, Barnes, Webster and even Michael’s own family. The only person I would say that did more interviews than Robson on Michael’s innocence was TMez. So for me Robson’s claims can never be a distraction from the AEG trial, it is too significant.

    I don’t know if it is a lost case, the law allows for victims of molestation to file late claims base on the repress memory syndrome, so I am not dismissing it as lost.

    In addition I do believe AEG and Robson may have had some dealings in the past that is not a stretch – it is HOLLYWOOD they are all connected. WR is a choreographer and AEG is a concert promoter, he may have designed shows for artists that worked with AEG, so what. AEG were the promoters for the Jackson’s summer tour too. Everyone knows everyone in Hollywood.

    For the record I do not believe in any of the conspiracies: Fake Will or Fake songs.

    1. I’m not much on conspiracy theories, either, as you probably well know. I can also agree that, perhaps, too much is being made of Robson’s connections to AEG. As you say, it would be probably be very hard to find any artist who has NOT worked for AEG at some time or another.

      But the timing is what everyone keeps coming back to, even Mesereau who is normally a very level headed guy. And now the report of these other possible allegations makes it look even more suspicious. I could buy that Wade, acting alone, decided to use the timing to his advantage. But three people? That is the obvious result of some pre-meditated plotting (provided, as so many are quick to caution, that what the Daily Star has reported even has any basis in fact).

      I just believe something stinks here to high heaven. Whether it is AEG’s doing or not I can’t say.

  23. I have not yet read this blog, but just wanted to say that when I read that Michael had said that God kept talking to him, I immediately nodded my head and said to my husband, “God was calling him home.” I felt immensely sad but calm.

  24. If Michael said he is innocent, I believe him, and his word is good enough for me. There is a sweet, purity in him that cannot be tainted by evil that is unleashed and that seeks to devour. God always reveals the darkness what what it really is, and I believe that He will vindicate Michael. Do I REALLY believe in him?…YES, I REALLY DO.

  25. Thank you Raven for posting this.I personally believe that Michael was hearing from God and He was preparing him to leave this earth. As it has been said many times, Michael was deeply rooted in his beliefs regardless of the fact that he had vulnerabilities and weaknesses as we all do. God looks at the heart. I also believe that God does speak to people in some fashion before they are actually taken from this earth. They may or may not know that it is him or choose to believe that is Him speaking to them. But without getting all biblical, I wanted to share the story of how my own grandmother died in 1984.

    I was almost 16 years old. She had rededicated her life back to Christ about four before. She suffered from an enlarged heart and she would have to put this paste medicine on this special paper and then place it on her arm to absorb through her skin. I don’t remember what it was called. She had an irregular heartbeat and you could see it through her clothing. The week that she died, she suddenly got a lot of energy to do things she hadn’t done in a while. She went to go see people that she had not visited in years like she was telling them good bye. On the day that she died (it was on a Saturday afternoon) she laid down early on the bed and called for me and my older sister. She had a long talk with us because we were not getting along and she made us promise that we would try to get along better. Then she wanted some ice cream and my sister went to get it and I went to my room. My mother was in the room with her. I heard my grandmother start to clap her hands, rejoicing and saying that she was “so happy.” Suddenly my mother yelled for us that something was wrong with her and we ran in to see my grandmother having a heart attack with no warning. They had trained us to do CPR in school. I got her to the floor while my sister called 911. She was very slim so it wasn’t very hard to move her. I felt no pulse and she did not appear to be breathing when I tilted her head to check, so I had to start mouth to mouth with chest compressions. She died right before me. She suddenly drew one last breath and blew it in my face. When the ambulance arrived to check her, they told me I did a good job but nothing would have saved her because she had a massive heart attack. Then we had to wait for the coroner to come and declare her dead before she could be moved. I still felt bad that I couldn’t save her and I thought that I would never stop crying. I can still remember the sound and feel of her dying.

    I don’t want to keep running on but yes, I do believe that God talks to people before they die to prepare them, especially if they have had a relationship with him. Michael always talked to and heard from God all his life and I don’t think that the ending would be any different. I would never want Michael dead, but I am glad that he is not here to witness all the mess that has been going on since he died. I sure he has finally found the peace that he could never have on this earth.

  26. We have to remember… WR is the side show. He only gets top billing if we give it to him. He was not on TV or anywhere, until the shows looked to see what interested us. This is social Media.Our news actually comes off of Twitter most of the time, as well as FB. Now, AEG gets away Scott free because WR has taken over the trial. That is because WE are the ones seeking sensationalism. Katherine and the kids had a winning case, but instead of pushing her we are pushing Wade. I ask you, what has Michael’s relationship with Wade got to do with AEG hiring a doctor that they knew would kill him? Should we be focused on sex, or life and death. I choose the latter. The world loves Michael. It is time to stop reliving yesterdays nightmare and move into what we all know is true. No doctor hooks his patient up, then goes to talk to four women on the phone. He killed Michael….because of his value in death. Michael is making so much money that I would be shocked if the estate let WR have his way.

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