I swear, I can’t go more than a day or two without seeing “Author/Financial Teacher” “Dr” Todd Coontz. Of course, that may be because my cable company has a crapload of religious channels, and “Dr” Todd is on most of them, begging the righteous to send him money. Heck, he’s even on Twitter. And, as I’ve written about before, there’s his semi-literate web site.
Last night while flipping through the channels I stumbled across a different RockWealth Ministries video from the one I was familiar with. It was the same Toddster, this time sporting a pinstriped suit and designer glasses (for some reason, he looks to me like the love-child of Jimmy Swaggart and Walter Sobchak). In his new video, he did something I’ve seen other religious charlatans do before: he said that he wasn’t asking just anyone for money, but he was speaking only to those who “reckuhnahzz” God’s spirit and know that He wants Todd to upgrade from an S-Class to a Bentley (OK, I made that last part up). But it’s an appeal to a sort of spiritual vanity: you are one of the special, chosen people who “gets” it, who knows and trusts God. And, of course, what does God want from His chosen few? He wants money for Todd. Skepticism is for chumps; only the most righteous will get out their Visa cards.
This isn’t too far off from something I’ve heard argued in behalf of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. The prophet taught that whatever God commands is right, no matter what it is. It is up to us to overcome our own pride and hesitation and do what He wants for us. When Joseph said this, he was, unlike Brother Coontz, not asking for money; no, he was propositioning nineteen-year-old Nancy Rigdon to be one of his plural wives. Of course, he expected her to keep their relationship a secret so that wicked people (such as his legal wife, Emma) would not thwart the plans of the Almighty. For some Mormon apologists, this is the ultimate test God has for us: conquer our consciences and do what we are told. If we can do this, we will have proven ourselves true disciples of God.
At this point in my life, I see a common thread between Dr. Todd and Brother Joseph: God wants you to give His servants the things they want, such as money and sex. Coming out and saying, “I would like more money” or “I’d like to have sex with more than one woman” is not as effective as suggesting that those who help them get sex and money are somehow more spiritual, more righteous, more deserving of blessings than the unwashed masses. It’s a seductive message, and it seems to work. It doesn’t hurt that Todd is promising “supernatural wealth transfer” to those who give to him: plant a seed, and you’ll reap financial rewards.
He seems to like this “seed” metaphor, and there are some unintentional sexual double-entendres going on around his web site. For example, he calls 2011 “The year of releasing!” I suppose that Joseph Smith could have called 1842 or 1843 years of releasing, as he managed to sow his seed with more than a few women. Of course, one difference is that Todd believes sowing seeds will “conceive” whereas Joseph Smith is known only to have conceived three children with his plural wives (though only one is well-documented).
One more thing that struck me in visiting the Toddinator’s web site. Check out these different levels of seed-giving:
Is it just me, or do these look awfully similar to these?
They say that the lottery is a tax on people who can’t do math. Maybe “Dr” Todd’s ministry is a lottery for the gullible. Only, if it were a real lottery, someone might actually win once in a while. Come to think of it, “Dr” Todd wins every time.