Rich Peterson and I enjoyed a wonderful friendship and information exchange relationship with brilliant author and business consultant, Lee Penn. Rich called me this morning with sad news that Lee died a week ago. He learned of it from Lee's sister posting to Lee's Facebook page. Dorothy Margraf over the years had enjoyed a good working relationship with Lee as well.
Lee wrote many wonderful articles about the New Age Movement in a variety of publications, including Spiritual Counterfeit Project and New Oxford Review.
Lee told me he had once been a Marxist and an atheist. He had a wonderful conversion to Christianity and used his immense talents to do God's work. His leading book, FALSE DAWN is nearly encyclopedic in the scope of his coverage on various New Age personalities such as Barbara Marx Hubbard and the United Religions Initiative.
The last time I talked at length with Lee was during the time I became ill for a protracted period myself. I'm still not fully out of the woods on that score. Lee had suffered from debilitating effects, as I recall, of Cerebral Palsy. Nevertheless, although his body was weakened his mind remained very sharp.
Lee was brilliant and very highly educated. He graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1976. Thereafter, he received master's degrees in busines and public health from the University of California (Berkeley) in 1986. He was listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.
From his Author's Biography, I will shamelessly cut and paste:
Lee Penn is a health care information systems consultant and a journalist. He received a BA cum laude from Harvard in 1976, and master's degrees in business and in public health from the University of California at Berkeley in 1986. Since then, he has worked in finance and health care information systems - mostly as a consultant, assisting hospitals, health maintenance
organizations, and other health care providers with automation and business planning. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as an undergraduate, and is listed in Who's Who in America (56th-59th editions) and Who's Who in the World (20th-22nd editions). He is a member of the American College of Health Care Executives and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
As a journalist, he has written about the United Religions Initiative, cults, and the New Age movement since 1998, and has been published in various confessions' orthodox and conservative magazines:
• The Christian Challenge (Anglican) — 19 by-lined stories from 1999 through 2004 on the URI, the New Age movement in the Episcopal Church, Anglican/Catholic relations, and pro-life issues.
• Foundations (Anglican) — 2 articles on the URI: “The Globalism Blues” (September 1999) and “Amen, Swami: The URI Gets a Charter, But Not a Whole Lot Else” (August 2000).
• HLI Reports (Human Life International, a Catholic pro-life organization) — “The Case Against the United Religions Initiative,” February 2001.
• New Oxford Review (Catholic) — 4 feature stories between 1998 and 2000, including “The United Religions Initiative: A Bridge Back to Gnosticism” (December 1998) and “Beware! The New Age Movement is More Than Self-Indulgent Silliness” (July/August 2000).
• The Journal of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project (SCP), a front-line Reformed/Evangelical Protestant ministry whose mission is "confronting the occult, the cults, and the New Age movement." He has had 10 feature articles in the Journal since 1999: a 4-part series on the URI, globalism, and the New Age movement, a science fiction story ("The World Church of 2017"), a 3-part series on the history and beliefs of mainstream and fringe Freemasonry, and - in 2004 - a 2-part series on the emerging police state. In addition, Penn co-authored "Neale Donald Walsch: Conversations With Myself " with Tal Brooke, the President of SCP. In 2004, this article won a "First Place" award in the "Critical Review" category from the Evangelical Press Association. (There were 500 contestants for this award.)
• World Net Daily (secular conservative) — Co-author, with SCP’s Tal Brooke, of 2 articles in 2002: “How the State Confiscates Rights” (February 27, 2002) and “State Surveillance: Abolishing Freedom” (March 25, 2002).
• The Wanderer (Catholic) — Paul Likoudis’ “United Religious Initiative Launched in Pittsburgh” (July 6, 2000) quoted extensively from my articles, as did several “From the Mail” columns: “Unscrambling the Labyrinth” (July 8, 1999), “The Transforming Power of the Labyrinth” (March 1, 2001), “The Endless Labyrinth” (April 12, 2001), and “Mapping the Scandals” (June 6, 2002).
• Touchstone (orthodox Christian, from all confessions) — “Midwives of a Common God: The Myriad Friends of the United Religions Initiative” (June 2000).
• The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, which acts as a pro-life advocate to the UN and other international bodies, published “The United Religions Initiative: An Organization Seeking to Undermine Traditional Religious Faith and Evangelization,” in February 2005.
With this book, Penn hopes to speak to a wider audience, to liberals as well as to conservatives, since the current and pending threats to liberty and to traditional religious belief come from both political extremes.
Lee Penn was raised as an Episcopalian, but became atheist while in college. After a six-year detour into Marxism (as a member of the New American Movement, a "democratic-socialist" descendant of the Students for a Democratic Society), he returned to Christ in 1978. From 1979 to 1983, he was a member of a Methodist congregation in Oregon; from 1983 to 1995, he was an active member of the Episcopal Church in Bishop Swing's diocese, including serving on a San Francisco parish's Vestry, heading its Finance Committee, and participating in its Search Committee for a new rector in 1994.
Lee Penn left the Episcopal Church in 1995 - pushed away by Bishop Swing's establishment of the United Religions Initiative, Swing's 1994 acceptance of Matthew Fox as an Episcopal priest, and the pro-abortion stance of the Episcopal Church. The last straw was when they started calling God "she" at Penn's Episcopal parish; by the next Sunday, Lee was seeking a new spiritual home, and began by worshiping at a Russian Orthodox parish. That year, he explored Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy - and was received into an Eastern Catholic parish that is in communion with Rome but worships, fasts, feasts, and prays in the Eastern Orthodox fashion. Lee's spiritual home since 1995 has been the Christian East. He says that his "history is evidence that God is merciful to sinners, and shows that the writer of 'Amazing Grace' was telling the truth."
Lee is certainly missed here, but I am looking forward to seeing him THERE!