John Wayne Todd (also known as "John Todd Collins", "Lance Collins", and "Christopher Kollyns") was a US evangelist who claimed to have been born into a 'witchcraft family' before converting to Christianity (in 1972, by some accounts).
The Family International published one of John Todd's documents, "The Illuminati & Witchcraft", and claimed it as evidence of the Antichrist's eventual rise to power. One of John Todd's supporters (and alleged former Illuminatist), Doc Marquis, was a supporter of The Family International and gave lectures at the Friendswood "home" (in Texas, Houston, USA) donated to the group by the Rev. Brother Thomas. This home has since been taken from the group and given to former member, Singin' Sam.
During the early 1970s, Todd was one of a handful of speakers making the rounds in evangelical Christian circles warning young people against the occult. Like two other of those speakers, Hershel Smith and Mike Warnke (whose claims of being an ex-Satanist have likewise been disproved ), Todd claimed to have been a Satanic high priest before his conversion. In one meeting between Todd and Warnke, the two had a backstage confrontation and Todd accused Warnke of stealing his testimony regarding the Illuminati. Todd also claimed that John F. Kennedy was still alive and that he had been Kennedy's "personal warlock." Jack Chick created a comic book, "The Broken Cross," based on Todd's allegations that Satanists were taking over America. In 1973, allegations surfaced that he had been making sexual advances toward young women at Christian meetings and Jesus Movement coffeehouses, was incorporating witchcraft teachings into his Bible studies, was carrying a 0.38 handgun into church meetings, and was using drugs. After some Christian leaders who had promoted him took steps to distance themselves, including evangelist Doug Clark denouncing him on his television show, Todd dropped out of sight from evangelical Christianity.
Mid 1970s involvement in Wicca
In 1976 he resurfaced leading a Wiccan coven, Watchers Church of Wicca, in Dayton, Ohio. Todd became the subject of an FBI investigation over reports that he was using the coven as a cover to seduce underage girls. Following an investigation of Todd's activities by neopagan leaders Isaac Bonewits and Gavin Frost, which uncovered drug use and underage sex, Frost's Church and School of Wicca revoked the charter it had granted to Todd's coven.
Allegations of vast Satanic conspiracy
John Todd resurfaced in the evangelical Christian community in late 1977, this time claiming the existence of a vast Satanic conspiracy led by an order of witches called the Illuminati and including such well-known Christian figures and organisations as C. S. Lewis, Billy Graham, Pat Robertson and the 700 Club, Jim Bakker, and PTL, Oral Roberts, Ralph Wilkerson, Demos Shakarian, Chuck Smith, Walter Martin, Gordon Lindsey, Morris Cerullo, Andrae Crouch, Pat Boone, and his daughter Debby, Evie Tornquist, Honeytree, and churches ranging from Assemblies of God to the Southern Baptist Convention. He claimed to have given, as a member of the Illuminati, $8 million to Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel to launch the Christian rock industry, which Todd claimed was a Satanic invention to entrap Christian young people in rock & roll music and its "demonic beat". He claimed that Jerry Falwell had been "bought off" by the Illuminati with a $50 million donation. He also claimed that Jimmy Carter was the Antichrist, claimed that the Ayn Rand book Atlas Shrugged was the Illuminati's blueprint for unleashing a planned Satanic takeover, and urged Christians to stockpile weapons and food in preparation for a Satanic takeover in 1979. The ministries he was making his accusations toward denounced him, but he found a niche speaking in fundamentalist Independent Baptist churches, and for a time created quite a stir.
Todd has appeared in several of Jack Chick's publications. Jack Chick first promoted John Todd's message in comic form in the comic book "The Broken Cross", which portrays a northern California town controlled by organized Satanists. In "Spellbound", another Jack Chick comic book, Todd claims that the Satanists control the rock music industry and are infiltrating churches, and urges Christians to burn their Rock & Roll records, Ouija boards and Dungeons & Dragons game sets. A third Jack Chick comic, "Angel of Light," includes a chart purporting to depict Satan's power structure, based on a similar chart authored by Todd and distributed at his speeches.
Inconsistencies in Todd's testimony
Todd claimed to have served as a Green Beret in the Vietnam War; in fact, his discharge papers list him as a general clerk/typist and do not record him having been in Vietnam. Army medical reports referred to "emotional instability with pseudologica phantastica" (compulsive lying), difficulty in telling reality from fantasy, homicidal threats he had made on another, false suicide reports, and a severe personality disturbance. Todd also claimed in his testimony to have murdered an officer in Germany and to have escaped prison with the help of the Illuminati, but his records show no such things occurred.
In 1979 Todd was arrested and later convicted for statutory rape and transporting a minor across a state line.
Todd's speaking engagements during 1978 and 1979 generated controversy and sometimes hysteria at the churches he spoke at. Frequently, there were claims by Todd of gunshots in the parking lot or attacks on Todd's life after the services, but there were no witnesses to confirm his claims.
While Todd claimed to have left witchcraft in 1972 and converted to fundamentalist Christianity, accounts have him being baptized into a Oneness Pentecostal church in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968, and leading a Wiccan group in Ohio in 1976. When confronted with the latter by Christian evangelists, Todd said that he had gone through a period of "backsliding" during that time. However, when a number of other inconsistencies in Todd's story were reported in the evangelical Christian media, and Todd began denouncing many Christian leaders as part of the Satanic conspiracy or the Illuminati, most evangelists denounced Todd and cut off any further association; Jack Chick was the only influential evangelist to continue to defend Todd. Another person who continued to defend Todd was Curtis B. Dall of Liberty Lobby, a political far-right group.
Several evangelical Christian ministries investigated Todd's claims, found them ludicrous, and published articles documenting their findings; these include Cornerstone magazine, the Christian Research Institute, Christianity Today magazine, and the book The Todd Phenomenon by Darryl E. Hicks (with an introduction by Mike Warnke). Independent Baptist churches withdrew their speaking invitations and cut off contact.
Tapes from Todd circa 1979 just prior to dropping out of sight indicate that he had returned to teaching Oneness Pentecostal (aka, "Jesus Only") theology.
Todd dropped out of sight again after 1979, reportedly moving to rural Montana after issuing warnings that the Satanic takeover had begun, then to the Seattle, Washington area.
Todd's stories about the Illuminati were published as the comic book The Illuminati and Witchcraft in 1980 by Jacob Sailor. His claims partially became the basis for a different book, Witchcraft and the Illuminati published in the early 1980s by The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord, a Christian Identity group, and reprinted in 1999 by the Christian Patriot Association (ISBN 0-944379-18-4). This book repeated many of Todd's claims verbatim, including the alleged power structure of the Illuminati and the bit about Atlas Shrugged being the Illuminati's secret blueprint, but added Identity beliefs derogatory toward Jews and African-Americans on top of those.
Todd was arrested in the 1980s in South Carolina for the rape of several college students. Prior to his arrest, he was referred to locally as the USC (University of South Carolina) Rapist. Todd also is alleged to have molested several young girls in South Carolina when he was a karate instructor. Todd is currently residing in a maximum security prison for the treatment of high risk sex offenders.
As of 2006, Jack Chick continues to publish the comics which were based on Todd's stories, and the comics continue to identify him as an "ex-Grand Druid high priest."
- Front Men of The Illuminati. ISBN 978-1877858116
- The Illuminati's Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion 2000 (The American Focus on Satanic Crime, Volume 13). ISBN 978-1877858789
- Secrets of the Illuminati. ISBN 978-1877858666
- Trott J, Hertenstein M (1992). "Selling Satan: The Tragic History of Mike Warnke". Cornerstone, 21(98)
- Christianity Today 1979-02-02. The Legend(s) of John Todd. Cited at http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/todd00.htm .
- Metz G. The John Todd Story". Cornerstone, 48.
- Selling Satan by Mike Hertenstein and John Trott (1993) (ISBN 0-940895-07-2)
- The Todd Phenomenon: Ex-Grand Druid vs. the Illuminati, Fact or Phantasy? by Darryl E. Hicks (1979) (ISBN 0-89221-061-3)
- Cornerstone Magazine discussion of Todd's claims (via Internet Archive)
- Cornerstone Magazine's confrontation with Todd at a Chicago speech (via Internet Archive)
- 1979 Christianity Today article on Todd
- John Todd fan site with life updates
- Report on Todd by the Christian Research Institute
- Report on Todd and other purported ex-Satanists from a Wiccan perspective
- Transcript of 1977 John Todd speech: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5