I was surfing the web today and came across this article. It’s on ESPN.com and is going to be in the next issue of ESPN the Magazine (here’s a link to the article). It was written by Kevin Van Valkenburg entitled “Hiding in Plain Sight”. It’s about the story of Adam Muema. He was a college football player at San Diego State University.
For those that don’t know who he is or don’t remember, he was a running back with the Aztecs and inexplicably left the NFL Combine this past February. The story was that “God told him to leave the combine and if he did he would get drafted by the Seattle Seahawks”. Back in February, I remember hearing about the story because A) Because of the circumstances of why he left and B) I’m a Seahawks fan. Besides the initial sounding weird thought, I didn’t give it much thought after that.
That was until today and Mr. Van Valkenburg’s article. There was much more to this story. It turned out that he was supposed to be at a pro day on the campus of San Diego State and he didn’t show up to the event. For those that don’t know, pro days are workout events that happen on college campuses so that scouts can see players in action. As Mr. Van Valkenburg began to dig deeper into the story of Adam’s weird behavior and apparent disapperance, there’s a rough story underneath.
It turns out that Adam had fallen into the teachings of a self proclaimed “messiah” Lord RayEl. When I read this I was like “Who?! So I did a google search and what I found made both angry and sad. Apparently, there is this guy who claims to be the second coming of Jesus and that he came back in 2011. And among some of the answers in his FAQ, he said that one of the “two witnesses” that was prophesied in Revelation was Harold Camping (the guy that said the world was ending in 2011 on the day that ironically was the day I graduated from seminary) and that people should leave their churches if their churches weren’t aligned with him. He also said that he was the Son of God among other reasons because “his striking resemblance to most artistic depictions of Christ”.
Unfortunately Adam, who didn’t have a strong male role model growing up, latched on to this guy (who’s real name is Raymond Ellwood Howard-Lear) and now is one of his followers. The article ends with the author trying to meet in person with Adam but got snubbed. Adam still has an online presence but his actual whereabouts are unknown.
This article made me both sad and angry. It made me sad because this young man is hurting and searching. He needs the love and truth that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. It made me angry because this false teacher is flat out lying and acting in such a way that is leading people astray. This article was also a reminder. It’s a reminder of the importance of discipleship and relationship. The truth needs to be taught. As followers of Jesus, we have a responsibility to share the truth with those around us. When the Gospel is shared, the true Gospel, then lies like the ones that ‘Lord RayEl” teaches are exposed. And it’s important to be in community. When we’re not connected in community with a body of believers, then perspective is lost and falsehoods can have access to creep into those who are new to the faith or those that are checking out Jesus.
I pray for Adam. I pray that real truth can be spoken into his life. That true followers of Jesus can speak into his life and show him what the Gospel really is. And for those of us who are followers of Jesus, I pray that we find those Adam’s in our lives and preach the Gospel to them so that they know the truth and can choose the real Gospel as opposed to the fake ones that are unfortunately out there.