Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, shared a terrifying story this week from his youth that “opened [him] up to evil” and helped set him on course to find Jesus.
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Laurie, known for his evangelistic Harvest Crusades, wasn’t always a believer. In fact, before finding Jesus, he used drugs as a young man and got into the hippie scene.
But one scary encounter remains with him decades later — a moment that helped change his trajectory.
“After taking acid one night in my teen years, I had a ‘bad trip,'” Laurie wrote in a Facebook post. “It was an experience that really shook me up; I felt it opened me up to evil.”
In an audio clip posted to YouTube and linked in the Facebook post, Laurie explained how a friend introduced him to marijuana in the 1960s. At first, he was cautious, but after using the drug, it led him to grow an affinity for LSD.
Soon, Laurie said the “free love” message that dominated the culture at the time started to permeate his heart and mind.
“I thought, ‘Hey man, that is where it’s at. They’ve got the answer,'” he recalled.
As Laurie further explored LSD (also known as acid), he said he felt he was coming into a new dimension of sorts and seeing things through a fresher, newer light.
“I started dropping LSD, taking acid,” he said. “[I] thought I was coming into a whole new awareness of thought.”
Laurie was getting high four to six times a day at that point and had a “D” average in school, yet he had been lured in by the life he had chosen — until a shocking event shook him up.
“One day, I think the thing that probably every person who takes drugs maybe fears happened to me,” Laurie said. “I took acid one night I had a bad trip. I started to panic. I just started going wacko.”
He continued, “The room started spinning. I started seeing all these strange faces. And I kept hearing this voice yell out to me, ‘You’re going to die. You’re going to hell.’ … I started screaming.”
Listen to Laurie share the terrifying experience:
Laurie said he cried out to God for help as the situation devolved. At the time, Laurie didn’t believe in the spiritual realm, but the experience got him thinking a bit differently.
“It opened me up,” he said. “And saw that there really was an evil force.”
Laurie said he was grateful to find Jesus later on and experience true transformation before he went “too far” down a negative path.
The popular pastor has extensively shared his conversion story in the past.
“I was a 17-year-old kid,” he said in a past interview, noting that he stumbled upon a Bible study one day on the lawn of his high school, and it changed everything I was using drugs every single day. “I was going in the wrong direction in my life. I sat down close enough to eavesdrop on what was being said.”
That’s when Laurie heard someone proclaim a truth that stuck with him: “Jesus said, ‘You’re for me, or against me.’” The statement struck him, and he wondered, “Am I against Jesus?”
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