The strange custom of ancestor worship was initiated by the Chinese at least a few generations before my parents' time. The idea is that by worshiping ancestors, mainly passed-away fathers and grandparents, the dead will provide blessing and power to grant the grandchildren or whoever is worshiping them good results, good fortune, materialism, wealth, happiness, pleasure, etc. (This includes asking for some things which are mortal sins that we, Catholics, avoid!) The belief is also related to the adoption of the Chinese-influenced dogma of Buddhism, which is a corrupted form of the original Tibetan Dalai Lama's southern Buddhism.
One of the main requirements to become a member of this strange religion is for the person to have a Buddhist-appointed name so the monks can grant them access to the religion. In this way they are placed into the hand of Buddha and end up in certain beautiful realms, avoiding hell. If the souls are in a good state, they can be reincarnated into a better life. Otherwise they could first suffer in hel,l then be reincarnated into an animal form in their next life.
I grew up in this environment of false worship. The majority of my extended family are still holding strong to this belief system which was inherited from the previous generations, particularly my dad as he is the eldest son of the family line.
Most of the members only know to say certain words, eg “Buddha bless me”, and there is no requirement that they understand or pray Buddhist prayers to be able to lift themselves to a level of meditation and deeper spiritual connection. They tend to gather at certain festival events and make financial contributions to the development of temples which they believe will help them retain their faith and have some assurance of being saved after death!
The practice of false worship
I grew up in this environment of false worship. The majority of my extended family are still holding strong to this belief system which was inherited from the previous generations, particularly my dad as he is the eldest son of the family line. Others tend to not believe in any God or religion and default themselves to true atheism and choose to believe in themselves rather than God.
As the eldest son in a family of 10 children, I was entrusted to continue the legacy of family worship. I was trained in both belief and practice to ensure that I could perform all the duties correctly, just like my dad. My other older or younger siblings practice the so-called “faith to our ancestors” in this way as well. Some of the practices include making offerings of fruit, food or incense to a deceased family member, especially on the anniversary of their death; invoking the souls of the dead to bless the family; burning paper models of the material goods being prayed for, eg cars and houses. I tried to teach this to my children but they were not interested - that may have been a blessing for us!
The uneasy feeling
From 2018, before my wife came back to the Faith, an uneasy feeling about ancestor worship started to come upon me.
I began to ask myself questions around how our ancestors could have the power to grant wishes and if they had been reincarnated into the next life already. How could we call upon the souls of the dead: to wake them up and summon them at ceremonies of worship? Was this just a routine superstition from our people and why could no one give a solid answer when someone popped the question? What is the base of belief or religion that this kind of “faith” relied on? Is it Buddhism, Deism, Polytheism or Taoism or something else?
There were external factors that helped me to realise that something very evil was happening around me as well. I was paying close attention to the political movements around Vietnam, monitoring the domination of the Chinese Communist Party across our region and most importantly, watching how that was impacting the Australian way of life and seeing political instability inside our government itself.
On the same night that I read the Bible for the first time in my life, I had a bad nightmare.
There was also the Trump factor and the false election in the US which outlined the evil madness that has been happening in the world. We could see with our eyes even though large numbers didn’t see it! I watched the Covid-19 situation and the ramping up of lockdowns, wondering how this could happen to our own country of freedom and democracy, Australia. Our own government seemed unable to control the situation and was allowing the Global Elite with its factions of communism and socialism to control us. These were my wake-up calls to go and search for the truth.
Amongst the fake news I began to look for the real news on the Internet. I started to follow some Youtubers and online forums, realising that something very wrong was happening across the world. Most major events seemed to be driven by some sort of agenda. One of the good Youtubers kept mentioning a final battle beyond human knowledge between God, Angels and evil forces. I started to venture more into learning about spiritual battle and demon’s warfare.
Via many Youtubers’ videos, I started to tap into religious moral teaching and the separation between what is good and what is sinful. The mention of God and our Lord Jesus had been popping up many times in these videos. I knew that I wanted to find out more about the faith that these Youtubers were mentioning. Most of these videos were hosted by Protestant Christians and there was no mention of our Lady in these. I knew that there was something different about this as Mother Mary had been mentioned to me by my wife a few times. I had thought all Christians were the same, worshipping our Lord Jesus.
One of my favourite Youtubers at that time was Gary Wayne, the author of Nephilim, Demons and Angels. His advice, as a prerequisite of before reading his book, was to read into the Bible’s Genesis first few chapters, especially chapter 6 of Genesis on the matter.
The trigger and the terrifying dreams
I was reluctant to step into Bible reading at first! My only experience of the Holy Bible was that copies were placed in almost all motel or hotel rooms in the old days and I never read them! However, one day, I bought a very old, thick Bible from a garage sale, although I didn’t understand why I did that. My wife laughed and asked me if I knew how to read it. I said I only wanted to read chapter 6 of Genesis.
The reading was fascinating and matched up with what Gary mentioned in his book. I wandered my way across Chapter 1 to Chapter 6 to look for references about Nephilim and the Falling Angels.
While reading the Bible, the word of God started to bring me into the fascinating world of creation. Through its words the beautiful visions started to come to my mind …. The creation of the water, the earth, the firmament, the air by God from the emptiness of darkness … then came Adam and Eve … then the Garden of Eden and the appearance of the serpent ... then the Fall … and then the first sin committed by Cain against Abel. There were wow factors, one after the other.
In my bad dream on that night, demons came from high up in the sky as I held on to the Bible. They had four legs and wide spanned wings, angry faces and long arms.
On the same night that I read the Bible for the first time in my life, I had a bad nightmare. I wondered if the images in that dream were prompted by the pictures of demons and nephilim from Gary Wayne’s book, however they were not the same.
In my bad dream on that night, demons came from high up in the sky as I held on to the Bible. They had four legs and wide spanned wings, angry faces and long arms. One held on to my hair, one held on to my arms and one was attempting to pull the shirt off my chest, while screaming in anger, “Why did you do that? Why did you want to move away from us? We thought you were one of us ... you will die in agony!”
I screamed hard, trying to escape and next thing I knew I was sweating all over as my wife woke me up and calmed me down. I worried about what the demons had said. However, instead of backing down I started to venture more into reading the Bible. My wife even installed the Holy Bible app on my phone so I could listen continuously if need be. It was a great app to control my fear.
For the next few nights, the bad dreams were still there … Once my dad and my grandma appeared in my dream and looked angry, advising me to let go of what I had been doing. They reminded me of the family vow to stay away from Catholics.
The slow conversion ahead
The timing of this almost lined up with my wife’s conversion as she started to pray Rosary on Youtube with Fr. Pirelli. This was around the time of the first lockdown, roughly September 2020, so there was limited access to the churches and to the sacraments.
I asked my wife if I could join in to pray the Rosary to see if these bad dreams would go away. My journey to the Catholic faith officially started at this point.
I asked my wife if I could join in to pray the Rosary to see if these bad dreams would go away. My journey to the Catholic faith officially started at this point. My wife and I started praying together, reading from a book and watching Youtube videos. In a way, Fr Pirelli was our first Rosary teacher; he taught us how to pray.
After the first few Rosaries, it was interesting that I didn’t have any more bad dreams ... I kept the same habit going and didn’t want to miss saying my Rosary. The bad dreams never came back. It was a miracle for me!
Initially, I didn’t appreciate or understand fully what was meant in repeating the Our Father and Hail Mary on the beads. But I knew the power was in those prayers and the beads somehow worked a treat for me.
So instead of venturing along with Protestant ministers or priests, I started to venture into Catholics streams online, particularly in relation to the Rosary, our Lord Jesus, our Holy Mother Mary, the Saints and God the Father.
One night I had a beautiful dream ... this time an old person dressed in a white robe with his staff. He was tall with a gentle smile on his face, with white hair and a long beard. He came to us as my wife and I sat on a bench in a park. He sat next to me and with a smile on his face, told me, “You’re doing a fine job and keep doing it and don’t give up”.
He then stood up and disappeared while we were left with surprise still on our faces. I woke up and told my wife about this. He reminded me of St. Benedict.
The journey of finding faith and a traditional parish
My wife started her full reversion to the Faith after seeking out a traditional parish that might also offer Latin Mass. She was overwhelmed by the sacredness and holiness from both the Mass itself and the priest who conducted the Masses. The rest is history.
Praying Rosary in both English and Latin have become most important factors to strengthen my faith and spirit
From the online seminars and homilies by Exorcists and theologians, I was encouraged to adopt the Latin Rosary prayers in order to bolster my faith and to give even more effective spiritual protection and healing. Since my involvement with Catholic faith and my first ever Rosary prayer, I never have missed one Rosary prayer a day. Usually, I pray Latin Rosary in the morning and English Rosary at night at the least. The prayer has been attached as part of my spiritual life and I cannot pass through one day without praying one.
By reading through many references and observing the method to pray the Rosary, I slowly contemplated the holiness and the importance of praying the Rosary for Catholics who practise strongly in the faith.
It was an interesting journey because I started praying Rosary with help to avoid the bad dreams, then continued on the voyage of prayer with full understanding of each bead, each decade, each Mystery, each Hail Mary, each Our Father and Glory Be.
My conversion journey has been like coming back as a lost child to find true love and charity in the family of Catholic faithful, to experience and obtain the grace and loving care of God, the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit and the Lord have given me too much in my life. It’s time to offer all I have gained so far to the glory of our God.
I consecrate myself and my family to God and our Holy Mother with the help and intercession from St. Joseph, the Apostles, all the Angels and Saints. The journey to find salvation and to find myself a foothold in some corner of our Heavenly Father’s home will be a reality one day, I hope.
Faith, Hope, Love and Charity have been my new goals as a baptised person. If I can bring my loved ones who have not been baptised yet, to our Lord, this would fulfill my life on earth as a sinful creature. The promise of worldly matters is so tasteless and meaningless for us as faithful Catholics.
Anthony Joseph Nguyen – baptised Holy Saturday, April 2022