Charlie Johnston: Threat or Menace?

dallas st. therese and me

Hanging with St. Therese as I passed through Dallas during my pilgrimage.

By Charlie Johnston

The National Catholic Register today published a piece on me by Patti Maguire Armstrong which pretended to be balanced while obscuring key facts and repeating silly rumors, but attributing them to others. That is the sort of pseudo-journalism I call the “Threat or Menace?” style…and today, that is what Armstrong does to me.

I started hearing from people about this piece over a month ago, that Armstrong was calling looking for information. Since she had already commissioned two pieces for her blog that badly garbled what I say in order to discredit me, I did not have high hopes about how the article would come out when she was actually writing it herself. One thing she carefully avoided was actually ever talking to me. I was disappointed that the National Catholic Register, an estimable publication, would carry it. But she is a columnist there.

The headline, itself, is deeply misleading. It says that I have continued my ministry despite being banned in Denver. (Since this article appeared, the Register has changed its headline to say “despite the Archbishop’s warning” rather than “despite being banned” One would think after over a month of work, they could have got it right the first time.) I am NOT banned in Denver; I am instructed that if I give a presentation there I must do it on non-Church property. Period. Ms. Armstrong wanted to make it appear as if I am disobedient to my Archbishop. Had she actually wanted clarity, a very simple question would have sufficed. She spoke to Denver Chancellor David Uebbing. She could have simply asked him whether I am living obedience to my Archbishop. The answer would have been an unambiguous and simple yes. Who knows? Maybe she did ask that question but did not like the answer – so she made things murkier, implying that I am defiant without actually stating and taking responsibility for it.

She also cites blogger Kevin O’Brien who, some time back, did an unhinged attack piece, in which he didn’t allow any comments. It was chock full of misinformation, including that I had never taken a pilgrimage at all and that I was raising MILLIONS (use your best Dr. Evil voice) for the Shrine through the donations button on my website. I corrected it in a comment here – (originally I wrote erroneously here that I corresponded with him for a few days) noting that I do not have and never have had a donations button on my website. Oops – he corrected it without noting any correction had been made. Old-time journalistic ethics allow for minor grammatical and spelling edits to be made without publicly acknowledging it, but require any substantive edits to be disclosed. The business on the pilgrimage was strange. There were literally thousands of contemporary witnesses who were virtually following me on my way. Over a few days, O”Brien edited and re-edited that portion of it, again without acknowledging he had made any errors in the first place. The last time I looked he concluded that I had “only” walked 1,700 miles, that it was not coast to coast, and that I accepted rides from people who offered.

It was a strange, breathless revelation on his part, for at almost every one of my presentations, I note that I always walked against traffic, never hitch-hiked, but if someone stopped and offered a lift, I figured that was God’s way of saying we ought to talk. I averaged about two rides a week, and the average distance was under 10 miles. I think of the 3,200 miles I traversed, I walked approximately 2,500 of them. As far as going coast to coast, this was not some athletic publicity stunt; the point was to throw myself on God’s providence and see what I could see, putting a premium on personal interaction. Actually, it was worse in some ways than O’Brien posited: I interrupted it three times. Twice, I gave a month to former colleagues who needed some help, as I had promised I would if needed before I left. Once, I came back home as my Mother was dying and stayed for her funeral. Of the 18 months encompassed from the beginning to the end, I only walked for 13 months, spending a total of five with family or helping those two colleagues.

My Facebook Page, Abraham’s Journey, was actually set up before I left so people could take a virtual pilgrimage along with me – and anyone who goes back to the beginning there can still chart my progress themselves. In the end, O’Brien seems reduced to arguing that if he were ever actually to mount a pilgrimage (which he has not nor announced any intentions to) it would be much holier and more impressive than the one I actually lived. Go for it.

It sometimes seems strange to me that some folks seem to obsess over discrediting me. I know that some think they have penetrated the mind of God, that they are the dungeon-masters as it were. For these, it infuriates them to think that God might act in a way they hadn’t thought of and given prior approval to. Others have been deceived by a purported mystic at some time in the past and are determined they won’t be fooled again. A few who know her have told me this is the case with Armstrong. That would explain why she does some very good work on so many things and only throws out standards of objectivity when it comes to me. But for any who come from this perspective, jettisoning reflexive credulity for reflexive cynicism does NOT make for honest discernment.  One friend once looked at me like I was stupid when I was wondering why I seem to stir up such vitriol. “Don’t you know,” he asked, “that nothing so enrages a fraud as to be confronted by the real thing?”

Look, I get legitimately cranky sometimes, but that is NOT the primary reason I kick back. For the occasional commenter who thinks an insult is an argument, if they show any vestigial signs of sincerity, I kick back mainly to force them to acknowledge my humanity. It is deadly dangerous to treat a person like a thing. I am not just a symbol of something. In some, it makes no difference; in others, it leads to a serious dialogue. For those who simply defame on websites, criticism is fine. But even if I were deluded, do you not know that when you make things up or intentionally garble your facts, you will be held to account? Judge righteous judgment, for the judgment with which any of us use is the judgment that God will hold us to account for. Strange but true: people worry more about the temporal consequences for intentional defamation than they do about eternal consequences.

There will be more “Threat or Menace” pieces about me that both mock and mimic balance before all is said and done. And yet, I have been prepared for these times and I am truly sent by God to give you heart through these times, to assure you that He is close to you and has a plan, a plan to prosper you, not to destroy you, and that you are called to help prepare the way for the Rescue God is preparing for us all. I am surprised at how many people want to reprise the role Vincent Price once played. An homage, I suppose.



About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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624 Responses to Charlie Johnston: Threat or Menace?

  1. barbmiller says:

    I didn’t know about you until Spirit Daily posted the link to the article in question. So, whether you were the real deal or a fraud, I had no opinion. Now, I know which is is due to what you wrote. You say you see your guardian angel, Mary has spoken to you, and Jesus(?).

    People who receive the *constant* privileges of visions/appearances are practically saints on earth. I’m currently reading lives of the saints and they all seem to have one thing in common: humbleness. I know you don’t claim to be a saint, but someone who is blessed with constant divine appearances and visions are usually “pre-saints”. You sir are not humble. It is the prideful man who retaliates to defend his earthly pride, which is Satan’s favorite sin since that’s the sin that was his downfall. Pride is the opposite of Our Lord’s humbleness. Did He rebuke those who accused Him?

    Why do you do this then? I don’t know, maybe you actually think you’re doing good and giving hope to people, but I really don’t care. You’re a fraud.

    Pride cometh before the fall.

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Barb, you apparently are completely unaware then of say, St. Padre Pio, St. Joan of Arc, St. Teresa of Avila or a whole host of Old Testament prophets, who were notably tart-tongued and combative. Whether you think I am a fraud or not, you really should get beyond your monochromatic view of what a holy person should look like. Even Our Lord, Himself, until it came time for the fulfillment of His earthly mission, was notably combative with His critics and on one occasion, physically violent. If you think that God only uses one type of personality to accomplish His work, you will miss many who are authentic – and you are engaged with your preconceptions of what God must be like rather than with the much bigger reality of how God uses all personality types in his service. You might want to read this article on Mary and the Saints.

      Liked by 7 people

      • audiemarie2014 says:

        I find it interesting that all the people who write such notes to let you, Charlie, know that you are a fraud (tee hee) sound like the same one bitter person. Seriously, they all sound alike. Wouldn’t it be great if there was that much love expressed instead?

        Liked by 3 people

        • charliej373 says:

          I have gotten about seven of them that I have not cleared here…there just is no sense roiling the waters with insults masquerading as arguments. But I had to laugh at one I had responded to. The person wrote back that I always have a response, but she knows I am a fraud and I ought to admit it and go away. She didn’t deal with my comments at all, but in essence just stated she knew what she knew and I should not confuse her with facts. This kerfuffle will bring some of that out. As always, I am open to serious and courteous comments, but I will not open the board up to a mere food fight.

          Liked by 3 people

      • bthanntrm says:

        Charlie sorry I’ve been gone for awhile, my mom got worse for awhile, but I wanted to tell you and everyone that wants to listen why all the discrediting they want to do is silly. I and some friends were conned by a “priest” and one of the reasons some of us left that group was because of the division and anger that was caused by the priest trying to make peace. I realized that evils intent is to cause hate and division. When I came to this site I did not look at the prophecy. I read what you wrote and the replies that you received. I realized from reading the blog that this was a good site. Yes there are some disagreements but the love and the peace in this blog speaks for itself. If this was a con then there would be a lot more anger and hate, instead it is love and caring. I’m sorry this happened but if you were not attacked you would not be doing you job. Bringing Peace and Hope to a very weary people. I for one thank you for this blog.

        Liked by 5 people

        • charliej373 says:

          Why thank you, bth. You have nicely described what is at the heart of this site – and I appreciate it.

          Liked by 4 people

        • Beckita says:

          Yes, Beth! So true:” I realized that evils intent is to cause hate and division.” and “Yes there are some disagreements but the love and the peace in this blog speaks for itself.” and ” I’m sorry this happened but if you were not attacked you would not be doing you job.”

          No one is immune to the onslaught of hate-filled, divisive dialogue in these days. We are blessed here as the role of the moderator on a site is critical to maintaining a safe, positive place where people build each other up while remaining open to hearing opposing views. I continue to be amazed at the response of prayer offered for those expressing their needs.

          Sorry to hear your mom has had difficulties. Praying for her, Beth, for you and your family.

          Liked by 3 people

        • Snowy Owl says:

          Amen, Beth. I’m glad Charlie keeps them away too. I giggle every time I see the title to this post- “threat or menace” haha! Charlie is about as threatening as cherished 🐻 teddy bear! (don’t worry Charlie, I know you’re tough as nails when needed) I mean look at his picture up there…these people are nuts, blind or both!

          Liked by 4 people

    • janet333 says:

      “Pride cometh before the fall.”

      Yes well Barb.. maybe you need to step down off that pedestal. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

    • Beckita says:

      This is incredible, Barb. You reveal your lack of knowledge in your own words, “…didn’t know about you until Spirit Daily posted the link to the article in question…” Hmmm… In these short number of days since discovering Charlie, how could you possibly have had time to honestly read the material here to fairly and thoughtfully consider what Charlie is doing before passing a judgement such as: “You sir are not humble. It is the prideful man who retaliates to defend his earthly pride..”

      Several corrections are in order: Speaking truth is not synonymous with retaliating. Humility is truth. Speaking truth is love.

      Liked by 5 people

    • crystalctm says:

      Barbmiller, Please reconsider your quick judgement without knowing the fullness of the message. You are missing the hope and joy that comes from knowing that we are all safely in God’s hands. Charlie is not a fraud, and reading more than a few posts will confirm that. May God be merciful to us all!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Barb,

      One of my favorite stories is of St. Louis De Montfort, I believe it was this saint who had quite a temper and in one of the stories of his life, there was a bar across from his Church. One day during mass they drunk were making a lot of noise. St. Louis got really ticked off and left the altar, walked out of the front door of the church, across the street, into the bar and punched several of the guys out of the bar window. Where he calmly walked back over and finished saying mass in peace and quiet.

      I don’t know Charlie or his story, I found this via spiritdaily as well.. but I do know this.. you can’t judge the man’s heart and call him a fraud. Leave the judging to God and pray for Charlie.. as I am sure.. he will pray for you.. and hopefully me.. I need all the prayers I can get! =)

      Liked by 3 people

  2. If Barb actually took the time to read a few of Charlie’s posts, or watch even just one of his videos, she would see that he is very humble. To read one article about someone and call them a fraud is pretty judgemental. Lord have mercy on you, Barb, bc the measure of judgement by which you judge others will be the same one that the Lord uses to judge you.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Lou Lou says:

    We are told to pray for discernment. I think we all need to pull up our bootstraps and get right with God. I am a sinner saved by grace…I am weak… But with Our Lord I will persevere. Start fasting on Wednesday’s and Friday’s like Our Lady has asked us to do….pray..pray…pray! Go receive the Sacraments of the Church. We need to put on the Amour of God. We are to pray for one another and stop cutting people down. May God Bless each and everyone of you on your journey of life!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mary says:

    Had can anyone read the story of St Paul (Saul) and think there is one mold God uses to accomplish His Work?
    God Bless you Charlie 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Rahn Heart says:

    Well Aric, just a couple of cents on that matter. I think it should be rather obvious that we are all unique creations of the Mother and Father and as such we all have our special gifts, talents and personalities which have ended up spawning all this myriad of belief systems and churches and priests and visionaries and such all around the world. And that is all OK. And why you might single out Paul over Peter or John, or Thomas ….or,……? each of who were also unique in their personalities and the way that might have ministered – could be another question. And from my understanding there were some rather heated arguments amoungst all of them about what should and shouldn’t be done in the “Ministry”. Perhaps even they forgot the words of Jesus on the matter – who said. ” Those who are not against us – are for us”. (Sometimes I have to wonder about all of those “self righteous ones” out there condemning others in “the faith” if they have even read the Bible – especially the parts about what Jesus said) :). But, I will also add that I have also had many visions of the Mother, Father and Jesus and I have found virtually no one on this planet that is able to accept the fact that this can actually happen to another human being – that anyone should be so blessed so to speak – nor are they able to comprehend the ramifications of being able to do this – meaning that the higher you go – the more you will be tested. But, on the other hand if you have the courage to actually stand before the Father and know his protection – you also know that all of this – His Creation – is Perfect and Amazing in the way we children are “taught” to learn and grow and become inspired to continue to do so. And most everyone I have met who might be faced with some level of “TRUTH” about these things will react in some kind of “insane” manner – mostly out of Fear – The fear of having to deal with the Reality of a Living Father rather than something born out of their imagination that they can deal with. Blessings and keep up the Good Work Charlie!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. CrewDog says:

    Speaking of Threats ….. Get a load of this $%?#!!
    “Harvard Law Professor Says Treat Conservative Christians Like Nazis”
    PS: Not to early to be stockin’ up on those favorite Christmas Stocking Stuffers … Ya Know!!?? .. Spam, Bullets-n-Beans!! ;-(

    Liked by 4 people

  7. CrewDog says:

    Hey Charlie!….. Ya seeing an Up-Tick in Trolls lately? … Threat …… Something to be On-Alert for!
    “Pro-Hillary PAC Spending $1 Million to Hire Online Trolls”

    I’m guessing that Conservatives, Christian or otherwise, will see a BIG increase in, dare I say satanic, trolls in the next year. The smart Trolls will initially sound legit but over a short time will attempt to confuse, distract and “steer” the site/viewers to the Dark Side ;-(



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