The Rise and Fall of Craig Portwood
raig Portwood is a forty-something shortwave radio host of a periodic program called The Beacon Of Truth. His radio program was originally launched as a weekly hour in the late 1990"s on shortwave station WGTG, but he later joined the Christian Media Network which expanded his show to a daily hour. After moving to Southern Oregon from California, Craig came to work for Christian Media as a studio board operator, and became a central part of the network's operations.
As a believer in jesus christ that was acutely aware of the organized church's enormous apostasy, Craig was a welcome addition to the Christian Media lineup, and everyone that knew him greatly enjoyed his wit and his radio style. Because of the daily exposure to the shortwave radio listening audience, Portwood quickly became relatively well known to Christian Media's constituency. As the head of the network, I came to know Craig very well; and although we were like-minded in most areas, there was always a secretive, darker side of Craig that was rarely seen. It is that dark side that has resisted the work of the Holy Spirit that has proven to be his undoing.
The Hidden Things Of Dishonesty
At this point in my life, I can truthfully say that I never cease to be amazed at the level of duplicity that some "Christians" can sink to in order to further what they believe to be the will of the Lord in their lives. Although I expect to find resistance and opposition due to the ministry the Lord has given us, I am frequently astonished at the sheer audacity of some that have convinced themselves that their chosen course of action is spiritually acceptable.
The fact is, over the years, as the Christian Media ministry has been repeatedly embroiled in controversy due to our radical stance concerning the misbehavior of leaders in "ministry," we’ve encountered all sorts of illicit activity.
After having experienced the latest salvo apparently originating with one of God’s "helpers," I'm reminded of the Apostle Paul’s incredulity when he encountered particularly wicked behaviour among the church at Corinth. In that instance, he marveled that the sin that had taken root among the Corinthian believers was so far over the line that it was "not so much as named among the Gentiles" (I Corinthians 5:1).
In early 2002, a serious conflict erupted with Craig Portwood. As previously stated, Craig was a host, friend, and staffer at the Christian Media Network. Last summer, the conflict began to move towards its present dreadful state as I learned there were many late night telephone calls made from our studio being placed by Craig (who was working a night shift on the network premises) to a married female listener named Linda Kristich. The phone bill indicated some of these calls lasted 2 and 3 hours and were placed very late at night.
After querying Craig on the subject, I was told he was "counseling" the married woman who was known to us due to her previous contacts with the ministry. This did not sit right with me, and I hoped that Craig was not getting involved in something that would be spiritually destructive to all concerned.
Some weeks later, Craig informed us he would be taking a leave of absence to go to Indiana and Michigan where he would attend the Clifty Falls Fellowship event produced by another Christian Media Network host named Rick Walters. Several Christian Media hosts including Kirke Wise and Ralph Haaff (as well as Craig Portwood himself) were scheduled to speak at that event. Craig had also arranged for Linda Kristich to be a guest speaker who would give a talk related to child rearing.
A week before he left Oregon, Craig casually informed me that after the weekend event he would be staying in Linda’s home state of Michigan for an unspecified period and then he and Linda were going to come back to Oregon and set up a household together! I was aghast as I asked Craig "Isn't she a married woman?" He responded that she was getting a divorce. Realizing that a very serious problem had quietly crept in to our midst, I calmly told Craig that his present course of action would require me to sever our ministry association with him.
At about the same time Craig told me of his relationship with Mrs. Kristich, he also mentioned it to my wife Susan. She related that Craig told her the couple was planning on returning to the Jacksonville area where they would build a house somewhere in the vicinity of Christian Media. Craig provided Susan with a detailed description of a survivalist oriented structure that would be custom designed to be able to deflect the effects of the HAARP technology (a well known black budget system the government is known to be deploying) as well as other threats that are expected during the forthcoming tribulation.
When Craig also told me of the couple's plans to undertake a significant building project, I asked how they could afford such an undertaking. Portwood told me that Mrs. Kristich was "a woman of means." Susan related to me that when she also asked Craig about Linda’s marital status, he told her that Mr. Kristich was a "very sick man" that was not expected to live much longer. Craig even stated that Linda’s children were having dreams about "daddy dying in a fire" and he said that Linda had called this a "premonition."
Knowing what we now know about Mr. Portwood, we can’t be certain how many (if any) of his statements are true, as Craig Portwood has now been transformed into a thoroughly reprobate individual that is completely devoid of any presence of the Holy Spirit. In short, Craig Portwood, the host of a "Christian" radio show, CAN NO LONGER DISCERN BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG.
The Portwood Plot
We were told that Linda Kristich’s husband, a man named James Kristich, had recently inherited a substantial amount of money, and his wife Linda was attempting to gain a sizeable portion of those funds by divorcing her husband. The justification for the planned divorce was that he was an ungodly man that wanted to put the couple’s children into Catholic school. Craig sought to give the impression that James Kristich was some sort of monster and Linda was perfectly justified in divorcing the man.
I was already aware that Craig Portwood had come to the point where he held me in disdain and gave others the impression that he should be running the Christian Media Network. While the old adage "familiarity breeds contempt" is an appropriate credo, in the present application we’ve learned there are spiritual undercurrents to just about everything that happens in this ministry.
On more than one occasion, Craig stated that if I was not the founder of the network, I would be fired for ineptitude. Susan recalled that many months before the controversy began, Linda had inquired about airtime costs at the network as she indicated she was considering entering into some sort of Christian broadcasting - thus the grandiose nature of the couple’s plans began to come into focus.
Craig indicated to Susan that he had worked hard all of his life, and "it's my turn for someone else to take care of me." He seemed to give the indication that he was destined for something great like this to happen, and this was his chance at "the brass ring." As he described the big plans that he and Linda Kristich had, we were gripped with the horrifying realization that Linda’s effort at divorcing her husband was conveniently timed to coincide with the apparently substantial inheritance he had received - and all the "spiritual justifications" for the impending divorce was only window dressing to rationalize the clearly unscriptural course of action Craig and Linda were undertaking.
Although we were already aware of many deficiencies in Portwood’s character at that point in time, we were dumbfounded that he could commit such an obvious spiritual infraction as pursuing a relationship with another man’s wife. Furthermore, Craig himself is married to a woman that he has been separated from for over a year! Craig Portwood left Oregon for the Clifty Falls Conference less than a week later where he would meet with Mrs. Kristich.
Knowing that Craig already knows the truth of how he is to behave as a believer, I firmly but gently told him Christian Media could have no association with him based upon his planned course of action. I resolved to take a hands-off approach and keep my distance. A week later, I was informed by our people present at the event that Linda had met with Craig and they stayed together at a motel in the area. She brought her children to the weekend venue and Craig introduced Linda to more than one person at the event as his fiancée.
The Clifty Falls Conference
As people arrived for the weekend event, the first Friday evening (May 31st 2002) Craig and Linda went out to dinner with a number of new arrivals. The following day, at least one person present at that dinner approached Kathy Haaff (co-host of the Christian Media Ops program with her husband Ralph) and asked "What's up with Craig and Linda? He was all over her at the restaurant last night."
As no attempt was made to conceal the relationship, word of the budding "romance" quickly spread among the attendees at Clifty Falls. Event producer Rick Walters testified that on Sunday, he observed Craig and Linda repeatedly kissing as they jubilantly announced they were getting married.
Those that knew of Linda's marital status were shocked. After being privately confronted by Christian Media hosts Rick Walters and Ralph Haaff on the obviously unscriptural behaviour, Craig later claimed he was only providing emotional support for his "friend" and had not undertaken an intimate relationship with her. As he stayed in the Midwest after the Clifty Falls event, through a series of telephone and personal contacts, he began to clash with Walters and Haaff.
Portwood then called me and sought to drive a wedge between Walters and Haaff and myself claiming "they aren't helping the ministry" with their narrow-minded ways. Craig then accused me of gossiping about he and Linda in the week before the event!
As the event ended, Craig relocated to Linda's home state of Michigan, and opened a post office box address in her small town. He subsequently moved into a motel where, as of this writing, he is visited in the evenings by Linda Kristich - who was still living with the husband she was divorcing. As I had quietly dropped Craig's program from our schedule as soon as I learned of the looming scandal, Craig quickly arranged to purchase shortwave time in the hour immediately following Christian Media's broadcast sign-off - thus giving many listeners the impression that the program that had previously been on Christian Media's broadcast schedule was still on the network.
Because Craig didn't have much money when he left Oregon and producing a daily shortwave hour is a relatively expensive proposition, we can't help but presume the broadcast fees are coming from Linda as she battles her husband for his substantial inheritance monies. Linda Kristich's broadcast aspirations were confirmed as she substitute hosted for Craig Portwood's "Beacon of Truth" program on October 15th and 16th of 2002.
As Craig began to once again broadcast his shortwave radio program, it became apparent that his statements were frequently directed towards his former friends who would not condone his present behaviour. Veiled references to 'false prophets' that he used to be associated with worked their way into his broadcasts. Ironically, no one at Christian Media had any desire to publicly criticize Craig as all parties continued to hope he would reverse course. Instead, Craig began to attack Walters and Haaff claiming they were gossiping about his relationship with Linda!
Because Craig began contacting individuals known to Rick Walters and Ralph Haaff claiming that he had been wronged by them, Rick Walters, Ralph Haaff, and Kirke Wise (all hosts at the network and all present at the Clifty Falls event) privately confronted Craig in a lengthy taped telephone conference call. Although Craig "repented" during that call, his erratic behaviour continued. Indeed, sometime later he claimed in print "I would have rather been confronted privately" - inaccurately indicating that his "accusers" had gone public, and had not privately confronted him. The tape recorded private conversation indicates this claim is simply untrue.
As Craig continued to seek 'political' allies to validate his unscriptural course of action, Walters and Haaff did go 'public' and broadcast several programs seeking to gently reprove Craig Portwood for his dissimulations in the matter. The simple truth was Craig was exposed for engaging in an adulterous relationship by his own open conduct in front of many witnesses. When he was admonished as a brother, instead of repenting he chose to attack his former associates who loved him enough to stand up to him with the truth. Craig responded to this reproof by stating to 3rd parties that Walters and Haaff were attacking him in an unfair fashion.
Craig Portwood "Repents"
Craig abruptly changed tactics in a direct mailing that was mailed out in September of 2002. In that "Special Edition Newsletter" he wrote:
"I have been accused of breaking the 7th commandment (thou shalt not commit adultery). I am guilty of breaking the 10th commandment ("...thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife...") which is bad enough as it is. Initially, this was difficult to see because I had been accused of adultery instead. Even though there was no sexual motive in that covetousness, I did covet her, and desired to have a Godly wife." [emphasis in original]
The letter goes on to state that "I did tell this sister, that if God were to release her from her commitment to her unbelieving husband, I would be honored to be her husband. It was a mistake to even think along such lines, and I was foolish enough to speak of her privately as 'my future fiancée.'"
Although the letter continues with Craig writing "This was indeed wrong, and I repent of it openly," there are significant inaccuracies in the publication itself that seek to spin the circumstances favorably to Craig Portwood's Scripturally unjustifiable point of view. In short, it's clear the "repentance" was only damage control and not a genuine contrition - for Craig has not changed his course at all.
It's difficult to see, for example, how a man can covet a woman with "no sexual motive." Furthermore, Craig blatantly lied in the publication by writing "I would have rather been confronted privately, as commanded by our Savior..." when his own statements in the same newsletter plainly indicated he was confronted privately – by me as well as the previously mentioned trio of network associates.
Thus, even though the newsletter seeks to minimize the egregious nature of the transgression, in the process of 'damage control' he is compounding the problem with statements that are simply untrue. For example, in that same essay Portwood writes "As for the accusation, I forgive those who have shown that they are no more perfect than myself, and will not count as enemies, those who I attempt to admonish as brethren."
If Craig has "forgiven" those that had the courage to privately reprove his misbehaviour (even as he falsely claims he was never "confronted privately"), then I might ask why he arranged to have two fresh recruits to his cause go on the air and attack those he has "forgiven?"
To put it another way, although he has now claimed that he has repented of his sin, Craig has surreptitiously arranged to have two avowed enemies of Rick Walters substitute host for him on his shortwave program. This was clearly retaliatory. In the process, Portwood has been blatantly lying to cover his attacks. For example, in a Beacon of Truth broadcast by a substitute host named Greg Jones that was aired on October 17th 2002, Mr. Jones vehemently criticized Rick Walters by name.
The following morning, I concluded that Craig Portwood's continued misbehaviour had passed the point of private reproof and should be publicly repudiated. Craig had been privately confronted almost 2 months before, and was not only still denying physical contact with a married woman when multiple parties had provided eyewitness testimony to the contrary, he was escalating his attacks on all that stood up and told the truth. In my broadcast of October 18th 2002, I pointedly rebuked Craig (as well as Greg Jones and another recently recruited Portwood associate named Dave Wilson).
The very same day, I received an e-mail threat from Craig Portwood - stating I'm the one that needs to repent - as well as claiming the real problem is "the counsel" that I have received concerning him. This e-mail from Craig ominously stated that I was "warned months ago by telephone" concerning the matter. Craig then demanded that I "repent and recant" of my stating of the facts or else he will "attack" the ministry.
Dirty Tricks Done In The Dark
As soon as it became clear to Craig Portwood that I would be standing firmly against him as he clashed with Haaff, Walters, and Wise, a series of anonymous attacks began against me. Three days after I publicly rebuked Portwood on the air on October 18th 2002, I received a call from Rick Walters who asked me about an e-mail he had just received that was sent under my name. It seems that some unknown party had established a counterfeit e-mail account using my name, and had corresponded with Walters in a clumsy attempt to embarrass me and presumably Rick Walters as well.
The fraudulent e-mail has "me" proposing to commit a fraud upon the public by surreptitiously setting up a "marketing venture" that will operate "secretly" using an "invisible corporation." The forgery goes on to seek to seduce Rick Walters into getting involved in this "opportunity." It is signed with my name.
Rick was not deceived and forwarded the e-mail to me. The interesting fact in this sleazy effort to attack Christian Media is it was made on the Internet at the same time that Craig Portwood had just begun to use the Internet himself. Indeed, for most of his tenure with Christian Media, Craig steadfastly refused to utilize the e-mail capabilities of the Internet except on rare occasions - and then he never had an e-mail account of his own. In the entire time I've known Craig Portwood, one of the few e-mails I've ever received from him was received within hours of the imposter's e-mail that was sent to Rick Walters.
To put it another way, in that same week, Craig sent his first e-mail to me criticizing Rick Walters and Ralph Haaff, and threatened to "attack" me. At the same time, an e-mail purporting to come from me was sent to Rick Walters seeking to entrap him in some bizarre scheme. It should be obvious that actually masquerading as someone in an effort to damage a relationship is spiritually indefensible (if not criminal) behaviour.
The campaign of 'dirty tricks' against Christian Media became even more nasty in the days that followed. One of the commercial sponsors of Craig's independent radio program, a man named Dave Wilson, began telephoning my home phone number at 2 and 3 AM, belligerently challenging me to a debate. Mr. Wilson was obviously drunk. Since it is self evident to anyone speaking with Mr. Wilson that, in addition to an apparent problem associated with the consumption of liquid spirits, the man has not yet achieved a grade school proficiency in the English language. Because the scripture says "He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame" (Proverbs 9:7), I declined his "invitation" to a debate. We have no doubts here as to how he obtained my private telephone number.
Shortly thereafter, yet another type of e-mail fraud was attempted. Again, the target was Rick Walters. In this instance, Rick received an e-mail from a woman that represented herself as a "Martha Krebbs." She stated that she had made a substantial financial gift to Rick through Christian Media. The sender of the e-mail indicated that she had given $2,491 for Rick Walter's airtime - but also stated that the funds had gone directly to Christian Media. This was another fraudulent attempt to try to plant seeds of doubt concerning me (James Lloyd) in the mind of Rick Walters.
There was no such person in the database, and no such gift was made. The return e-mail address was also a fake. Interestingly, this tactic was almost identical to the one utilized by Genesis Communications Shortwave radio host Bill Brumbaugh a couple of years ago, when Brumbaugh had been exposed as fraudulently claiming he had produced several award winning videos. To try to divert attention from the fact that he was exposed as a common con-man, lying on the air about his non-existent credentials, Brumbaugh had claimed that an unnamed couple he refused to identify had given funds to Christian Media on his behalf. No receipt, no canceled check, and even the identity of the "donor" was withheld by Brumbaugh as everyone was asked to just 'take his word for it.'
Craig Portwood was with the network during that period, and observed the tactic first hand. In the present effort, the fraudulent "donation" was a variation on the same tactic in what appears to be an attempt to drive a wedge between Rick Walters and this ministry. As previously noted, just after the Clifty Falls event where Craig was reproved by Ralph Haaff and Rick Walters, during his first phone contact with me, he sought to drive a wedge between Rick Walters and myself.
Shortly after that episode, Christian Media experienced a lengthy power failure at the network. Although we could not connect the studio link to our Shortwave stations, we managed to contact several hosts who, in a makeshift fashion, called in to our stations and broadcast several programs directly. During this frenetic scrambling as we sought to get back on the air using generators, an unknown party telephoned a host on another network, and posed as a representative of Christian Media.
This person called Nancy Koernke, who does a program on another network. The unnamed man, identifying himself as a representative of Christian Media, suggested to Nancy that since the network was down with technical problems, she could call the Shortwave station directly and take some of Christian Media's paid broadcast time with our blessing. This was WBCQ -- the same station that Craig Portwood placed his program with upon separating from Christian Media.
Because Koernke's program was carried on WBCQ during an hour which Christian Media does not control, she was known to the station technician who was deceived and put her program on the air during one of our paid hours.
This was a deliberate theft of our airtime. Our subsequent investigation determined Nancy Koernke was innocent of any complicity and had been duped by an unknown party. However, the individual that perpetrated this criminal act (it is a federal felony to commit interstate fraud), had to be aware of our technical predicament - indicating they monitored Christian Media on a regular basis. They had to know Nancy Koernke's show was on the same station, and they had to have an intimate understanding of how network programs are 'patched' into affiliate Shortwave stations. Craig Portwood is one of only a handful of people in the entire country that fits all three criteria. Indeed, during his tenure at Christian Media, Portwood repeatedly attempted to bring Koernke's program to our network - so he knows of her and has her home telephone number.
The Threats Begin
At the same time these dirty tricks were occurring, Craig began telephoning me on my home phone number. In one of the first calls I received, he accused me of "gossiping" about his relationship with Linda Kristich - implying that my "gossip" was the reason he was in conflict with Ralph Haaff and Rick Walters. I reminded him that Haaff and Walters have both publicly stated they were completely surprised by the public disclosure of the relationship between Portwood and Kristich that occurred at the Clifty Falls conference. Craig then backed off the attempt to blame me for the choices that he has made.
The evidence now firmly indicates that while Craig was sending me emails threatening me with dire consequences if the ministry exposed his involvement with Linda Kristich, he was already planning a smear campaign against my wife Susan, myself, and others at the network. For example, the e-mail of October 18th stated "I will give you a private warning before I attack to give you an opportunity to repent and recant"(Portwood e-mail to James Lloyd, Friday October 18, 2002, 12:35 PM).
Yet almost two months before this letter, evidence exists that Portwood was already planning a slander campaign against Christian Media. On August 26th, Linda Kristich stated in a telephone threat to Kathy Haaff that "[she] would send them Christian Media info that would 'blow your minds' and 'blow your doors off.'" Craig Portwood has since announced that he is writing an inflammatory "exposé" of his experiences with Christian Media, so it is clear that part of Portwood's plan has been to gain notoriety from an 'unauthorized biography' all along. Thus, his public posturing of giving me a Scripturally mandated "private warning" before he attacks may be demonstrated to be just another lie calculated to place himself in the most favorable light.
During that August 26th telephone conversation between Linda Kristich and Kathy Haaff, Linda became very angry with Kathy as Mrs. Haaff refused to be manipulated by Kristich in regard to her threats against Christian Media. Part of Kristich's anger also seems to be related to the fact that Ralph Haaff had refused a Portwood/Kristich request for Ralph to baptize them. Apparently realizing that their efforts at gaining the Haaff's approval of their relationship had failed, on the very same day Craig Portwood came out in the open and called Rick Walters and left a message on his phone machine stating that Ralph and Kathy Haaff were liars that couldn't be trusted. In that recorded voice mail communication, Craig stated,
"We found some people lying, talking behind my back, and Linda's back as well, Ralph and Kathy - caught her in a couple of lies and some other things too." (tape recording of Craig Portwood August 26th 2002).
It was this activity that triggered the lengthy 'Matthew 18' conference call in which Rick Walters, Ralph and Kathy Haaff, and Kirke Wise (all Christian Media Network hosts) privately confronted Craig Portwood.
This was the Matthew 18 mandated private conference call rebuke, which was taped with the consent of all parties, that Craig Portwood has publicly claimed never occurred! This tape has already been heard by several interested observers seeking to check the veracity of these statements. Incredibly, in spite of the fact that there is a dated recording of the interaction, in print Craig Portwood has plainly indicated that he was not privately confronted before the conflict ended up on the airwaves!
Writing in a newsletter that he oxymoronically referred to as a "repentance issue," Craig blatantly lied in print and claimed the "Matthew 18 council" [sic] he had previously claimed that he never received was done publicly "using the international shortwave bands" (Special Edition, Beacon Of Truth Newsletter/Repentance Issue - no date given). Thus, the concept of repentance would seem to be nullified if, in the process of "repenting," one continues to escalate the original offense.
As the patchwork quilt of Craig Portwood's lies began to unravel and his relationship with a married woman became more widely known, Craig sought to blame me for the disclosure of his relationship with Linda Kristich. By October of 2002, Craig had refused all reproof and continued making veiled allusions to the "false prophets" he had previously been associated with. After I publicly rebuked him on the air on October 18th 2002, Craig's threats began in earnest.
Within two hours of my broadcast denunciation, Craig emailed me and wrote "...you were warned months ago by telephone, about whom and what you are dealing with." In that same e-mail, he stated that if I did not recant and repent of my statements, he would "attack." The next couple of days, Craig left several voice mail messages that all had the same precise statement: "Dude, what were you thinking?"
Three days later, Craig e-mailed me with multiple threats indicating he would expose every perceived "sin" at Christian Media if I did not "repent" of my rebuke of his behaviour. "Breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord"(Acts 9:1), in that e-mail, Craig wrote:
"You can be certain you will have no secrets after I am finished...you can expect more than you bargained for. You have been duped by the likes of Ralph the Haaff wit and that mental giant Rick Walters. You have no discernment of the Spirit...you have had no obvious discernment of the truth of right and wrong for some time now. What were you thinking. Your pride, for which you are renowned, must have blinded you to the eventualities."
By late October, Craig had begun to sing the familiar refrain that he would bring 'alphabet agencies' from the government down on the Christian Media ministry. Revealingly, although he has always sought to characterize himself as a 'patriot' radio host and anti-government figure, in this regard he apparently reverted to his true nature and threatened he would bring the FBI and the IRS against Christian Media. After threatening to somehow try and link me with "Al Quaida" in an slimy effort to bring anti-terrorist military agencies down on me, Craig Portwood actually indicated he would assist the IRS in an effort to destroy Christian Media. In a personal e-mail to me, Craig wrote "...expect me to cooperate with the IRS." He then boasted that he would "...notify them of where you do your banking...." (Craig Portwood e-mail to James Lloyd, October 21, 2002).
This is, of course, the classic pattern of the Antichrist religious spirit providing spiritual justification for the Beast government's persecutions of the Saints. In just another reiteration of a pattern that goes all the way back to ancient Egypt, it's important that all parties recognize who is in which role.
By November, Portwood went on the air and announced that he was suing me, and Linda Kristich was suing my wife Susan! As Craig slammed Susan and I on the air, Rick Walters and Ralph Haaff were also being slandered for their refusal to condone the Portwood affair. The railing accusations brought by Portwood against all things Christian Media continued to escalate as Portwood ominously announced that my wife Susan "...ought to be sick over this," (Portwood e-mail 10/21/02) as he would slander her mercilessly. By January of 2003, on his Shortwave broadcast, Portwood announced that he had taken a job as a chef in a restaurant, and he hoped that Ralph Haaff would come that particular restaurant so he could get even.
On that particular program, Portwood brayed the following at Ralph Haaff:
"I'll tell you this, I guess Ralph goes by here, I'll tell you what pal, don't show up at the Outback steak house cause somebody might drop your piece of meat on the floor, you'd never know it. Uh, I guess they don't tell you whose meat it is when they uh order it huh? anyway, heh heh, we'll see..." (Portwood Broadcast on WBCQ, 01/03/03)
In that bizarre episode, Craig claimed he was working as a chef at an Outback Steak House restaurant. After Ralph Haaff inquired at the restaurant in question, he was informed by the manager that Craig Portwood had never worked at any Outback Restaurant - and he was outraged that any individual would make such an irresponsible claim in a national broadcast. The Haaffs were treated to a free dinner at a fine establishment for their diligence.
By late January 2003, associates of Craig Portwood had apparently placed flyers on the street where Rick Walter's mother lives, giving specifics concerning the vulnerabilities of the house! The latter move amounts to an implied threat of violence against Mr. Walter's elderly mother. Clearly, Craig Portwood's cowardly actions indicate that he has been given "over to a reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28) and obviously is not "abiding" in Christ as his present activities demonstrate.
Recognizing that Portwood was obviously the prime suspect behind the outrageous threats to his aged mother, Rick Walters publicly went after Craig Portwood on an internet bulletin board. This is a "Christian" bulletin board where Portwood has been giving others scriptural advice! (See Luke 6:39 for details). After being confronted by Walters over the perceived threats to his aged mother, Portwood wrote the following derogatory statements that sadly demonstrate Craig is quickly losing ground in his irrational crusade to build an independent radio "ministry" in the midst of an extramarital relationship. Mocking Mr. Walter's pronounced country drawl, Portwood wrote the following:
"Hey Genius: Yew otta sea Whut iz bean sed bout yew on the BB! Yew shur shot yerself inna foot dintya? Keep shutin! Let me 'splain' so you can git it. Th' more you keep doin' whut yer doin', th' more ya keep gettin' what ya got. Lemme no ifn this is too hard fer ya to unnerstan, an I'll draw ya a pikshure." (Craig Portwood e-mails to Rick Walters 1/6/2002)
Back To The Beginning
To fully appreciate what caused this remarkable departure from the relative stability previously enjoyed by the formerly respected Christian radio host, we must go back to the period when Craig was still associated with Christian Media.
During Craig's tenure at Christian Media, he repeatedly clashed with another show host named Chris Blodgett. When Blodgett left the ministry, he stole approximately 5,000 pounds of stored dehydrated food from a storage facility. He also 'liberated' a number of items from the network's studio - in addition to waging a vicious campaign of slander against Christian Media and myself that, in retrospect, is eerily similar to that which has occurred with Portwood. Oddly enough, Portwood and Blodgett both had ties to the same small town before they came to Christian Media.
These seemingly endless controversies have convinced me that Christian Media is very close to ground zero in the explosive spiritual combat that we continue to experience. Incidentally, the story of Chris Blodgett is recounted in the book Liars For The Lord: The Charade Of Chris & Sharon Blodgett.
After Blodgett was removed from the network, Chris Blodgett repeatedly accused Craig Portwood of smoking marijuana. This was incidental to the Blodgett departure as he was discharged from the network for financial improprieties and his part in surreptitious and manipulative efforts to undermine the ministry - not for his publicly announced hatred of Craig Portwood, nor the accusations he made against him. However, at the time I went to Craig and asked him if there was any truth to the allegations of substance abuse. Portwood pointedly told me that he was not smoking pot and that he had never been "stoned" during his involvement in broadcasting with us. I took him at his word.
During Craig's time with Christian Media, he had married a listener named Leslie Flory. In what would prove to be the beginning of a pattern, the "romance" started via the telephone - lengthy late night calls at that. After getting married, they rented a house in the vicinity and Craig commuted to the network to do his program and certain studio operations tasks. After a very brief period, the new Mrs. Portwood left Craig and fled back to her native California. She then wrote a letter that accused Craig of smoking marijuana openly in her presence. Because Leslie had just had her marriage to Craig collapse and she had come under the influence of Chris Blodgett, whom we had already proven to be a pathological liar, at the time I doubted the accusations made against Craig by Leslie. There is a lengthy examination of Leslie Flory Portwood's association with Chris Blodgett in the book Liars For The Lord.
In retrospect, it is now clear that at least some of the marijuana accusations had some basis in fact. Although Craig directly denied the drug abuse to me, there were some indicators that I chose to overlook. I wanted Craig to be telling the truth - partly because I needed him in the studio, as Blodgett had been removed for his unconscionable behaviour, and partly because I sincerely liked Craig. We do indeed reap what we sow, don't we?
Thus, in retrospect, I now see that not only did Craig Portwood directly lie to me in this matter, he also harbored some serious jealousies towards me personally. As previously stated, after Craig's wife left him, Chris Blodgett vindictively sought to use Leslie Flory Portwood's collapsed marriage as a cheap opportunity to embarrass me. I found his willingness to manipulate an emotionally vulnerable woman to be despicable, and sought to treat Leslie somewhat gingerly in the inevitable confrontation with Blodgett. Nevertheless, Leslie's letter is relevant to the present inquiry. Of Craig Portwood, she wrote the following:
"The last few months have been bad...When Craig came to my apartment January 1st, he brought some of that pot in a bag with him. He told me it was 4 ounces. Within 2 weeks or so he had smoked it all then he began scraping out his pipe after all his pot was gone." (Leslie Flory Portwood letter to Steve Quayle, read on-air on the Q Files, 12/21/01)
Even after Leslie's accusations were made public, Craig continued to deny any substance abuse. Once again, I wanted to believe him, and since I had no direct evidence to corroborate Leslie's accusations, I foolishly continued my association with Craig Portwood. But clearly things were not right in paradise.
Craig's behaviour became more erratic, and he clashed with just about everybody. I managed to recruit Doug Hudson, the author of a patriot book to broadcast with Christian Media and cover some tasks in the studio. Craig was immediately suspicious of Hudson and even sought to convince us that Doug had not even written his book "How Government's Disarm Citizens." Craig suggested that Hudson was a government plant, who was placed here to spy on us. In addition to his obvious paranoia, Craig's jealousy of Doug Hudson's achievements was very transparent.
As Craig's attitude became more and more antagonistic, he also grew more and more melancholy. He broke his previously warm friendship with Francis Steffan, another host at the network, over seemingly petty issues. Craig began to make casual comments about me to Susan, and when I came to him to see if there was a problem, he would claim it was all a misunderstanding. He became more and more unmanageable.
As the various controversies with declared enemies of the ministry continued, Craig would make suggestions of things that could be done to harass our opponents. These "suggestions" were phrased in a humorous fashion, but there was always the hint that he might actually do something that was clearly over the line. Thus, when the 'dirty tricks' campaign against us erupted, the various tactics bore the fingerprints of Craig Portwood.
Because we've always been in the position of having great difficulty getting help, due to our remote location and narrow spiritual perspective, the network desperately needed Craig just to stay operational. Doug Hudson was only able to help part-time, and Susan was already overwhelmed with the order processing, her own radio show, and the livestock. I began to seek the Lord for a way out of our dilemma.
In late summer of 2001, I reluctantly embarked on another national speaking tour, thereby leaving Susan, Craig and Doug in control of the network for about a month. Traveling at a whirlwind pace, I spoke in 25 cities in just over one month. I later learned that during my absence, Craig became decidedly more arrogant towards Susan, and openly walked around the premises smoking marijuana with a pipe that is known as a "bong."
Craig knew that Susan had struggled with the temptation to smoke for many years, and that the Lord had given her the victory in this personal struggle. This activity on the part of Craig Portwood was a treacherous and intentional act that was carefully calculated to seek to entice her to secretly partake of the noxious weed. During this period, the largest forest fire in the history of the state of Oregon threatened our home and studio - all while I was 1,500 miles away.
As this horrible fire threatened our entire ministry for weeks on end, Susan pleaded with the Lord to preserve our home and forest. Fearful that this would destroy everything while I was away, she experienced a wonderful renewal of spiritual power during the ongoing threat of being completely burned out by a firestorm that quickly became the largest fire in the United States - a fire that burned so closely to our premises that Susan, Craig and Doug could see the flames directly across the road, and feel the heat of the flames, as ashes fell like snow on the studio and our small cabin.
During all of this intense activity, Craig was brazenly smoking marijuana openly at the Christian Media Network. In my absence, truly a serpent had slithered into the garden and was no longer hiding in the grass.
On my return to Oregon, before Susan could tell me about the disrespect being dished out by Portwood, the Lord made it clear to me that He would help us find a way to continue without Craig Portwood. Craig went back to his secrecy as he continued to hide his habit from me. Eventually he began justifying marijuana intoxication as not being prohibited by the Scriptures. Although Craig reverted to a low profile nature in this aberrant behavior, I became very unhappy with Craig on the premises, due to the darkness that had clearly gained a stronghold in all of our lives.
Over the next few months, I began aggressively looking for a replacement for Craig. He continued with us because the simple fact is, I can not run the radio network, the studio, the newspaper & newsletter, and Internet projects single-handedly - and I was unwilling to discontinue any aspect of the ministry because of my discomfort with Portwood. Something had to give, and after a couple of recruiting efforts of individuals that couldn't do the work, circumstances enabled Doug Hudson to commit to more hours at the network. With me adding a couple more hours to my already crushing daily schedule, it became clear that by dropping the live evening broadcasts, we could keep the network on the air without Craig Portwood.
At the same time, Craig announced that he would be taking a leave of absence to go to the Clifty Falls Conference in Rick Walter's home town of Madison, Indiana. He stated that he would be staying in the Midwest for an indeterminate period, and I realized this was the hand of God in diplomatically moving Craig out. As I did not want any more turmoil, and hoped to gracefully sever our association with Portwood, I decided to wait for Craig's departure for the Midwest rather than hurriedly eject him from the ministry. As previously stated, the last week before the event, Craig told me he would be meeting Linda Kristich and how they planned to return to Oregon together at some point after the event.
Knowing the spiritual condition of Craig Portwood, I wrestled with what to do about his appearance at Clifty Falls. The Bible says the Lord knows how "...to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" (II Peter 2:9). I came to see that Craig's choice to engage in the illicit relationship with a married woman while he was still married to Leslie was the Lord's way of catching Craig Portwood in the snare that he himself had constructed.
The LORD placed a peace in my heart that HE would reveal Craig's inner condition to all that had eyes to see, and I was to let the matter unfold with minimal interference. Without dealing in any specifics, I telephoned Ralph Haaff who was scheduled to be in attendance, and simply told him to be aware that things were not right with Craig. I did not provide any specifics about Linda or the substance abuse - only that some things were about to bring Craig into some serious changes in his life. The first day that Craig Portwood was gone, Susan and I both felt as though an enormous oppression had been lifted from the ministry.
Multitudes, Multitudes In The Valley Of Decision
The Bible tells us that if we are filled with the Spirit of truth, "...we have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth [we should be] commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God: (II Corinthians 4:2). Note how we’re not only to resist partaking in the "hidden things of dishonesty, but we are to renounce them.
The scriptures indicate that as the spiritual power that drives each of us becomes more overtly manifested due to the rising intensity of the struggle, the Lord "will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts." (I Corinthians 4:5). This means that "Everyman’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try everyman’s work of what sort it is: (I Corinthians 3:13).
As this story illustrates, it’s not always easy or simple to react in a Scriptural fashion to the Devil’s challenges. Hindsight is always 20/20, and I see some of the mistakes that I made in not trusting God earlier and moving more decisively towards following the Scriptural mandates. To anyone that has been spiritually damaged as a result of our presumed approval of Mr. Portwood’s counterfeit spiritual output, I am deeply sorry. Susan and I both ask you to please forgive us. Although we’re veterans of the spiritual warfare that continues to rage, that "spiritual wickedness in high places: has a way of coming at us in a fashion that we least expect.
A vessel of honor does not use deceit as his weapon. A person that is walking in the light of the glorious Gospel does not twist and distort facts or scriptures to suit his or her personal agenda, aspirations, or carnal desires. A servant of the living God does not seek to masquerade as another person in order to achieve the Lord’s will.
Jesus said "every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them: (Matthew 7:17, 19, 20).
The Word of God is very clear on the subject of how we are to respond to those that are exposed as partaking in dark behaviour without a genuine repentance:
"Be not ye therefore partakers with them, For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light; (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light: (Ephesians 5:7-13).
I believe this written account is a step in the right spiritual direction.
- James Lloyd
NOTE: In June of 2004, Christian Media filed suit against Craig Portwood for Libel, Defamation, and Interruption of trade relations.
After the above Christian Media Research article on Craig Portwood ("The Rise And Fall Of Craig Portwood") was posted on our site, his contempt for me escalated into personal attacks on those the LORD has placed under my spiritual leadership. After over a year of enduring this, in November 2003, I sent Craig an email asking him to make peace and to simply stop his attacks. Having long ago conducted a `Matthew 18' scriptural confrontation, I warned him we would be forced to legally confront him if the false accusations continued. His libelous statements continue to the present day.
On June 14th 2004, I filed suit in the Circuit Court for the state of Oregon against Craig Portwood and John Does 1 - 4 alleging Libel, Defamation, and Intentional Interference with Economic Relations, with an associated motion seeking financial damages and injunctive relief. After the suit was filed, having been criticized for suing a "brother" in the Lord, I placed a second more updated essay on Craig Portwood on this website. That article was entitled The Wrath Of Mr. Wormwood.
Once the suit was filed, we began taking depositions -- a process known as discovery. We have now learned that a couple of small portions of the 2nd essay were inaccurate in certain details -- a series of conversations took place in winter, not summer; a key meeting was a week after the Clifty Falls event, not a week before, etc.
We've also learned that almost all of our original information was accurate. For example, we had asserted that Craig Portwood had told us Linda was going to come into a substantial sum of money through her divorce and that he would benefit from this. Even though Portwood has been pleading poverty and claiming the "giant" ministry in Jacksonville is trying to `silence the truth' through the lawsuit, we now know that Linda Kristich received well over $150,000 (in addition to a tidy monthly sum) from her divorce and has provided handsomely for Craig Portwood. The rent at the house that Craig and Linda are living in is $1,980 per month.
On April 18th 2005, a Circuit court judged ruled that Craig Portwood "defamed" Kristin Lenox, the sister-in-law of CM leader James Lloyd without cause. The decision does not end the multiple lawsuits in the case, but in what is called a summary judgment, part of a larger suit may be adjudicated before the main trial. In yesterday's ruling, the judge found that Craig Portwood had no basis whatsoever for claiming that Lenox was a "suicidal Prozac addict" on one of his websites.
Although Portwood has repeatedly boasted that he can prove his long running accusations against Christian Media, he offered no evidence related to the statements at all, and the court ruled that he had no basis whatsoever for his claim. Under direct questioning from the judge at the hearing, Portwood admitted he wrote the false accusation because he was "angry" at James Lloyd because he considers Lloyd to be a "false prophet," so he decided to attack one of Lloyd's relatives.
Although Kristin Lenox had no involvement whatsoever in the clash, Portwood's website carried the false accusation against her for many months. Although damages have not been established at this juncture, in a second stage of the victory, the court also awarded attorney's fees to Christian Media for that aspect of the case.
This ruling affects but one count out of the 98 counts of libel in the Portwood related suits. Christian Media has filed a second suit against Linda Kristich, the woman Mr. Portwood shares a house with, who has been identified as Mr. Portwood's former fiancè. That action alleges that Linda Kristich has slandered, libeled, and defamed James Lloyd during radio broadcasts which she hosted for Portwood's now defunct shortwave program. It's likely that additional defendants will be named in the now 3 year long controversy.
In the meantime, anonymous malicious internet attacks against Christian Media continue. Various Internet forums are being forwarded selected pages from Mr. Portwood's websites, with no mention of the fact that Mr. Portwood has already been ruled to have fabricated at least a portion of the accusations. On the last 5 episodes of this practice, Christian Media has traced the postings back to different rapture oriented "Christians" who, when confronted concerning the unscriptural activity, have indicated they are unconcerned with accuracy as long as they can damage Christian Media.
Other attacks also continue from unknown sources. For instance, someone is now sending people computer viruses under James Lloyd email account names. Thus, individual e-mail purporting to come from James Lloyd, from any e-mail address other than James@ChristianMediaNetwork.com, originating on the Direcway satellite Internet server, or the Starband satellite, must be considered suspect. If you have received such correspondence, please forward it to the above e-mail address.