Jovan Jones - Critic Of Ammachi
Jovan Jones was a “psycho, moody and bizarre” (Jones’ words) devotee of Mata Amritanandamayi and lived and traveled with the Guru in India and abroad from 1995 - 1997. After becoming pregnant (while devoted to the Guru), Jovan Jones had a mental breakdown and turned her life over to Jesus Christ and decided to write a fictitious autobiography that is “about 90% true” about Ammachi entitled “Chasing The Avatar”. The reason why Jovan Jones considers her book to be “90% true” is because she claimed that God spoke to her and told her that her Amma journals “did not honor him”, so she burned them. Therefore, her accounts are related by memory, ten years after the fact and the reader does not know which 10% of her book is fictitious (i.e., untrue).
On amazon.com, the following descriptions were given for Jovan Jones Anti-Amma book, “Chasing The Avatar”:
Maya is a young woman with extraordinary prospects drowning in intense discontent. In the midst of this discontent, she meets Cha Ma, a guru. Immediately, she comes to believe that Cha Ma is an avatara human incarnationof the goddess Kali, the most malevolent, destructive of all Hindu deities. Spellbound, Maya runs off to India to live in Cha Mas ashram as a Hindu. Her choice hurls her parents, Paul and Marie, into a battle far beyond their wildest imagination for they must fight for their daughters life, and even her soul, as she teeters on the edge.
About the Author
From 1995 to 1997, Jovan Jones lived in a South Indian ashram and traveled around with a Hindu guru. She earned her MA in Political Science from Harvard in 1998. Soon thereafter, she moved to North Carolina in order to be near her parents, Ryven and Brenda, and to raise her son, Isaiah. She taught Social Studies and Language Arts in Cumberland Countys public schools, where she was chosen to be the countys Teacher of the Year and NCs Southeast Regional Teacher of the Year Runner-Up. Presently, she serves as the Mentor Facilitator in the large public school system, working with mentors and beginning teachers to increase teacher retention and efficacy.
In Jovan Jones’ book, “Chasing The Avatar”, she used the name “Maya” to describe herself and used the name “Cha Ma” to describe Amma.
Jovan Jones’ Christian Agenda Against Amma
It was quickly discovered that Jovan Jones is an Evangelical Christian with a religious agenda and a religious sales pitch against Amma the “Hugging Saint”. For example, on Jovan Jones’ website, she openly solicits her church, Covenant Love Family Church with Pastor Al And Tava Brice. What exactly does the Covenant Love Family Church believe? Let us take a look at their statement of faith:
Covenant Love Family Church - Statement Of Faith:
We believe the entire Bible is the infallible Word of God. The Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, without error and the authority by which we base our faith, doctrine, and conduct.
-(2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, I Corinthians 2:13)
We believe there is one God, existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
-(Matthew 28:19, Colossians 2:9)
We believe man is created in the image of God and was created good and upright, but by voluntary disobedience, was separated from God.
-(Genesis 1:26-31; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-18; 6:23)
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. As a result of man’s disobedience and sin, Jesus came to this earth as Savior of the world.
-(Luke 1:26-35, John 1:18; 3:16, Isaiah 9:6)
We believe that Jesus’ death on the cross has provided salvation, or deliverance from everlasting death, to those who choose to accept Him as Lord and Savior. By admitting that we have sinned and accepting Jesus as Lord, we can have a personal relationship with God now and spend eternity with God in Heaven. Salvation is not a result of what we do, but is a free gift from God through faith.
-(Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 5:11; 10:8-13, 1 John 5:10-13, Hebrews 9:15)
We believe water baptism, as taught and demonstrated by Jesus, is symbolic of the cleansing power of the blood of Christ and a testimony to our faith in Jesus.
-(Matthew 28:19, Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:11-12)
We believe the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues is a gift from God. The Holy Spirit empowers the believer to develop the character of Christ and live every day in God’s will.
-(John14:26-27; 16:8, Acts 2:1-4; 2:38; 8:14; 10:44-46, Romans 8:26-27)
We believe in the regular taking of Communion as an act of remembering the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
We believe every believer should grow in their relationship with God through obedience to God’s Word, following the example of Jesus, and an active prayer life.
-(Ephesians 5:8, 2 Corinthians 6:14; 7:1)
We believe that divine physical, emotional, and mental healing and restoration is active today through the power of Jesus, our Healer.
-(Acts 4:30; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 12:9; James 5:14; Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24; Mark 16:17-20)
We believe Jesus will return and take all who have accepted Him as Lord and Savior to Heaven for eternity. We believe in the existence and personality of Satan. The Bible describes Hell as a real place of suffering and permanent separation from God for unbelievers. God sent Jesus to redeem us so that no one would have to endure this punishment.
-(Job 1:7, 2 Corinthians 11:14, Ephesians 4:27, James 4:7, Mark 9:43-58; 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Revelation 20:10-15, John 3:18)
Jovan Jones’ book “Chasing The Avatar” was published by Destiny Image Publishers, Inc, whose motto is: “Speaking to the Purposes of God for This Generation and for the Generations to Come”. Jovan Jones dedicated her book to her “Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” whom she called her “Knight in Shining Armor”. The forward to the book was written by Dr. James A Brice Jr, the senior pastor at the Covenant Love Family Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In the first chapter of “Chasing The Avatar”, Jovan Jones said she wrote her Anti-Amma book for Jesus Christ, gave various assurances that Jesus Christ was watching over us and hoped that her God-Inspired book would set others on the road to freedom through Jesus Christ (PDF Ref - First Chapter To “Chasing The Avatar”).
What exactly did Jovan Jones hope her readers would get out of “Chasing The Avatar”?
Jovan Jones: “The way I know Him is marvelous and crazy! Wild and passionate! Intense and utterly male! He’s not always soft and sweet with me. The Christ I know isn’t the ‘beatific, harmless guy holding a little lamb.’ No, my Christ is altogether different. I pray that everyone who reads this book gets a revelation of Him in all His greatness, even if it’s just an inkling! Not the namby-pamby Jesus that we often want to make him out to be; but the dedicated, focused, assured and powerful God of the Universe who can reach into anyone’s world, anywhere at any time and snatch them out of their chaos and madness, their sin and despair. That is what He is to me.” (Reference)
Although Jovan Jones has a religious agenda against Amma, Amma does not have any type of agenda against Christians or Christianity. Amma has numerous devotees who are Christians who feel they have become better Christians by following her example of unconditional love, selfless service and constant remembrance of God through devotional singing, prayer and spiritual disciplines. Amma has said “My Religion is Love” and she does not discriminate against anyone because of his/her religious beliefs.
Jovan Jones - Coming To & Leaving Amma
While working for her doctorate at Harvard, Jovan Jones said she suffered a spiritual crisis and was “insanely discontented and a crazy risk-taker to boot”. As a result, she began experimenting with different religions by first exploring African religions and their off-shoots (Santeria, Voodoo, Candomble, Obeah, etc.). Jovan Jones gave up on these tribal religions because she “never really wanted to worship anything that was moodier and meaner” than herself . Jovan Jones then claimed she had a vision of a blue sphere of light that exploded and suffused her in a “tremendous warmth and peace”. As a result of this experience, Jovan Jones began looking into Hinduism and Buddhism and then began looking for a Guru, which eventually led to Mata Amritanandamayi .
Ammachi never instructed or implied that Jovan Jones should give up her life and follow her. Rather, Jovan Jones said she was “so greedy for spiritual experiences” that in two days time she “absolutely HAD to go to India” and that is when she left everything behind and traveled to India to be with Amma. Admittedly, Jovan Jones claimed that as she became more involved with ashram life, the “crazier and more unstable” she became. Jovan Jones claimed that while she was at the ashram, she was “psycho”, suicidal on almost a daily basis and that her moods “swung around pendulously from soaring mountaintop happiness to abject despondency and despair” . Jovan Jones said that she loved all the people at the ashram because they were just as “psycho and bizarre and on the edge” as herself. Jovan Jones said “The guru had gathered a group of crazies around her, no doubt.” Of course, one those “crazies” was herself! For reasons yet undisclosed (you have to wait for her second book) Jovan Jones was forced to leave India and return to the USA .
At no time was Jovan Jones held against her will, intimidated or threatened for leaving Amma. Jovan Jones left Amma as freely and as easily as she joined Amma.
As late as July 1998, Jovan Jones was a devotee of Amma. Jovan Jones and her parents were even interviewed by the Washington Post:
By DeNeen L. Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 5, 1998; Page B03
As more people heard about her, her following grew. Jovan Jones, 28, of Boston, sat in line with her mother and father, Brenda and Ryven Jones, and friend Al Busbee. Jovan Jones said she met Amma four years ago in Boston.
“A friend of mine told me that I should go see a saint who gives great hugs,” she recalled. “I thought I would go for a couple of minutes, get my hug and go.” “I entered her presence, and for the first time in my life, whatever I was feeling inside . . . this was the answer,” said Jones, who left a graduate program at Harvard and moved to India for two years to volunteer with Amma.
Jones’ parents said they wanted to experience what had changed their daughter’s life. “I’m trying to find out what she has that draws so many people here,” said Ryven Jones, a military retiree. “I feel real sad,” said Brenda Jones, gazing at the crowd before Amma. “I look around here, and I see a lot of hurt and a lot of pain. I’m sad that people have to wait years for someone to give them a loving touch. Because it is right here in our hearts.”
Since Jovan Jones got her MA in Political Science from Harvard in 1998 (and was still devoted to Amma in July 1998), she apparently did not “give everything up” for the Guru as she claimed on YouTube and elsewhere.
Anti-Amma Critic’s Embarrassing Conundrum
What would author & Christian Jovan Jones think of Michelle Walsh (a self-professed psychic, witch, spell caster, clairvoyant, seller of haunted objects, devotee of Mother Kali and webmaster for the “Cult Of The Hugging Saint” domain), Bronte Baxter (a person who believes that Jesus is a psychic vampire and an astral entity from the fourth dimension who sucks our energies, an Illuminati conspiracist and a believer in shape-shifting reptilian aliens from the Draco constellation) and Jody Radzik (a self-professed realized master, a fanatic devotee & “sex slave” of Mother Kali and a promoter and endorser of illegal psychedelic drugs)?
- Jovan Jones’ Christian beliefs invalidates those of Bronte Baxter, Michelle Walsh and Jody Radzik.
- Michelle Walsh’s Wiccan beliefs invalidates those of Jovan Jones and Bronte Baxter.
- Bronte Baxter’s Illuminati beliefs invalidates those of Michelle Walsh, Jody Radzik and Jovan Jones.
- Jody Radzik’s Advaitic & Pseudo-Rationalistic beliefs invalidates those of Jovan Jones, Michelle Walsh and Bronte Baxter.
What more can one do but laugh out loud at this cadre of fools who are attempting to criticize Ammachi? These critics (who are all cited on the “Cult Of The Hugging Saint” domain) all cite each other as credible voices against Ammachi even though their personal beliefs undermine each other’s arguments against the guru!
As a matter of fact, Guruphiliac Jody Radzik was quick to pick up on Jovan Jones’ religious views and said about her:
Jody Radzik: “The fact that she ‘turned’ gives her an ideological motivation to bash Ammachi. Jesus is the only way, ya know. ;)
Her various achievements could just as easily be the result of neurosis as it is excellence.
But please fill us in if you read the book.” (Reference)
“Cult Of The Hugging Saint”: Final Thoughts
The “Cult Of The Hugging Saint” website is so desperate to smear Amma, they apparently need to reference Jovan Jones, an Evangelical Christian with a religious agenda against Hinduism and Gurus. As a matter of fact, the “Cult Of The Hugging Saint” website omitted any & all references to Jovan Jones’ religious views and associations. Why does the “Cult Of The Hugging Saint” website criticize Ammachi yet purposely withholds relevant information about her critics?
Relevant Links About Jovan Jones:
- Jovan Jones Official Website
- Jovan Jones On Twitter
- Jovan Jones On Facebook
- Jovan Jones On YouTube