Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Mr. Fire and his new "Twin Flame": burning down the house (and everything else) -- Part 1 of 2

Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale and paramour Lisa Winston
are poised to inflict their message of "love, joy, and inspired action" on the world

Quick take: It appears that Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale has skipped out on the great love of his life, his wife and long-time partner Nerissa Oden, whom he had lauded as being an integral part of his personal and professional world for nearly two decades. The new love of his life is Lisa Winston, a New-Wage dilettante who has branded herself as a lightworker, "intuitive mindset strategist," authenticity coach, TV producer, and "gifted vocalist." B.J. (Before Joe), Lisa was apparently a serial failure who was financially floundering; her turning point came when she interviewed professed billionaire/aspiring trillionaire Joe during an online "summit" she produced in early 2017. According to Lisa, the two of them experienced a great shift and formed an immediate "deep and soulful" connection. Before long, money ops, or "daily miracles" in New-Wagespeak, began falling into Lisa's lap.

Now Joe and Lisa seem to be transmuting their fated union, which Lisa has described as a result of "Divine orchestration," into a world-wide spectacle, notwithstanding the minor detail that Joe is still married to Nerissa at the time of this publication. Their divorce, filed by Joe in Hays County TX in November of last year, is pending, and although it seems that so far Joe has not actually mentioned the "d" word in public, he has brazenly promoted his new relationship in many other ways on other public forums, both online and off. (Lisa has been a bit more open about their union.)

Why should we concern ourselves with the personal lives of two public figures? Don't people have a right to their private lives? Yes, of course they do, but it's a matter of concern in this case because Joe Vitale and Lisa Winston, both individually and as a pair, are clearly exploiting their personal relationship as a public marketing tool, while holding themselves forth as motivational and even spiritual leaders -- and by extension, as examples to be followed. But as we've discussed on these pages numerous times, it's always a smart idea to look beyond the carefully crafted, love-and-lightwashed narratives -- personal or otherwise -- of hucksters who are trying to sell you something.
~ CC, 16 July 2019

Before you begin: This post is very lengthy, even for me, as notoriously long-winded as I am. I've broken it up into sections, interspersed with graphics and even a couple of embedded videos. And to make things even easier, I'm presenting it in two parts. This is Part 1. But the essence is up above in the "quick take," and there's a portal for some marginally more concrete info under the section headed,
It really won't hurt my feelings if you don't read the whole thing. I know very well that blog posts are supposed to be short and sweet, and if I were writing a post for a client, it would be. But this is my Whirled. Welcome to it.


It has been a while since I wrote at length about hustledork and Law of Attraction luminary Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale, who was a frequent topic on this Whirled back in the day, mostly due to his involvement in that infamous paean to pseudoscience and New-Wage crapitalism, The Secret. I've mentioned Joe in passing in recent posts, such as this October 2018 piece on Transcendental (Trumpscendental) Meditation... and this September 2017 piece on the death of one of Joe's idols, New-Wage publisher and grande dame Louise Hay... and this August 2017 post that mentioned Joe's attempts to capitalize on Hurricane Harvey... but the last extensive post I'd written about him was this April 2014 offering that shed light on some of the foundational falsehoods in a proprietary version of the Hawaiian "healing" method, Ho'oponopono, that Joe had been pushing for years. 

For the most part, though, Joe has been yesterdaze news on this Whirled, and if you're a Scamworld observer yourself, maybe you have found him to be not that interesting anymore. Perhaps, like me, you've still occasionally visited his Facebook page or some of his other online venues to see if there's anything new, and have found them for the most part to be filled with inspirational pap and nonstop promotional content, with the over-arching theme that Joe is still living the good life.

You probably haven't had to strain too hard to grasp the persistent underlying message that you can easily have that good life too if you'll only allow yourself to be sucked into Joe's frauduct-and-flopportunity sales funnels, via freeviews or loss leaders that he hopes will propel you into true money-eaters such as Miracles Coaching (which got more than a passing mention in a 2012 piece in The Verge; see "Trolling Joe Vitale"), Zero Limits Mentoring, and whatnot.

In other words, your impression for the most part may have been... meh, nothing really new. And if you're like me, it's quite possible that what you did see appeared to be of considerably lesser importance in the larger scheme of things than
the current "reality show" in which Americans are participating, for the most part unwillingly, and which, I am sorry to say, has occupied all too much time and space on this blog for the past several years.

But long before Whirled Musings was a sometimes (too often) political-ish blog, it was a blog about New-Wage/McSpirituality/selfish-help/alt-health scams and scammers, and I still feel duty-bound to report on new developments in those areas when I think I see them. And though I've been, as I now see, slow to notice and even slower to report it, I have recently detected something new in the Mr. Fire scampire. Maybe you have too.

You are cordially invited to a public whine tasting
You might have noticed, for instance,
this June 25, 2019 Facebook post, sandwiched in between all of the jovial inspirational content, in which Joe lamented:
This last year has been my worst since the 1980s. Grief. Trauma. Anguish. Mandy Evans, who has comforted and counseled me since 1985, lovingly told me yesterday, “Honey, your entire life has been gutted and cleaned.” Sigh. She’s right. I’ll be on tonight’s Clearing Call letting Harry B-Happy Bartholomew gong me clear.
Someone named Robert Clancy responded: "You and Lisa are ever present in my heart, thoughts and prayers. Sending all the love on my heart...and you know that’s a lot."

If you saw this thread, you may have asked yourself, "Wait... what... Lisa?!? Who's Lisa?
Isn't Joe's wife, and the love of his life, named Nerissa?" Which is a perfectly reasonable point to raise. And you may have also been curious about Mandy Evans' declaration that Joe's entire life had been "gutted and cleaned." It makes him sound like a big floppy fish that someone caught for dinner. Joe's statement about Mandy's statement raises the question of just what, or who, had been "cleaned" from his life? Apparently the gutting and cleaning wasn't complete, however, because Joe was still whining about... well, something. I suppose it's entirely possible that Harry B-Happy was able to gong it out of him, but if so, I have a feeling that the effects of the gonging were short-lived.

Scrolling down a bit, you might have seen a post from a few days earlier,
June 22, in which Joe wrote:
With the abuse, trauma and grief I’ve been through in the last year, it’s faith and Stoicism that have helped me survive. Besides my closest friends (they know who they are) I also thank an emperor who never imagined he’d ever be remembered: Marcus Aurelius. And if you, unknown friend reading this, are going through anything, remind yourself that it will pass. Stay the course. Stay strong. You got this.
Wow... sounds pretty serious.

Scrolling down some more through the past few months, you might have found this
April 28, 2019 post, which gave credit not to faith and Stoicism but specifically to his old friend Mandy Evans for helping him through his unspecified travails:
I want to publicly thank Mandy Evans - who I call the original Miracles Coach - for being in my corner since 1985. She’s still helping me see light on dark days. Recently it’s been through abuse, betrayal, and grief. She always helps. She has two books on Amazon: “Traveling Free” and “Emotional Options”. I recommend them. Thank you, Mandy! I love you!
At this point, perhaps you were really puzzled. Maybe you reasoned that a mention of grief and anguish would be understandable, since Joe had lost his father earlier that month, after having lost his mom in 2016. Perhaps the loss of his dad was a tad traumatic in its way for Joe, even though his father was quite aged and his death could not have been totally unexpected. I have no trouble believing that Joe felt the loss deeply, as did his wife Nerissa, who, judging by her Facebook posts, clearly loved her father-in-law; she was, after all, part of the Vitale clan for nearly two decades. I still miss my own mom and dad, and it's been nearly twelve years since my mom died and several decades since I lost my dad, whose sudden death under the wheels of a drunk driver was truly traumatic for our entire family. So quite possibly, if you 're like me, you'd be tempted to give Joe a pass on the grief and anguish claims.

But you might have still been curious about the recent "abuse" and "betrayal" that Joe claimed to have suffered. Then again, if you're at all familiar with his history, it's possible you eventually recalled that for years Joe has been almost as quick to
whine about betrayal and abuse at the hands of people he'd thought were friends as he's been to brag about his latest pricey car or other expensive toy, or about his most recent celebrity appearance in some Secret-style moviemercial, or about his latest smash interview that wowed everybody, or about the fact that he has become an international superstar who drives crowds from London to Thailand to Italy to Russia to Australia into a frenzy. In short, over the years he has whined almost as much as he has bragged. So there's that.

Still, in the context of some other content on his social media, you may have had a few questions.

A special friendship
Since Joe frequently poses with or boasts about his association with one woman or another -- generally someone with a Scamworld connection, but occasionally somebody in the performing arts -- it might have slipped under your radar that over the months there were numerous posts on Joe's Facebook timeline in which he praised or promoted a woman named
Lisa Winston, who has variously described herself as a coach, an intuitive mindset strategist, a TV host and producer, a gifted vocalist, and so much more.

And if those posts escaped your notice, you very likely didn't visit
Lisa Winston's Facebook page and see that she in turn has lavishly praised or promoted Joe on more than one occasion, one of the most recent being her joyful celebration of "Joe and Lisa Day": July 10, which is the day in 2017 that she and Joe officially became Facebook buddies. The post garnered several loving, supportive comments about this very special friendship.

Had you failed to notice these posts, you understandably may have totally missed a narrative that had actually been unfolding since early 2017, one that, legend has it, began with Lisa interviewing Joe on some New-Wage/McSpirituality online "summit," which triggered a "shift" in both of them, leading to numerous "synchronicities" and the development of a deeply soulful, loving connection between the two, which led, among many other things, some of which I don't even want to imagine, to Joe shepherding the self-publication of Lisa's first print book, Your Turning Point. Though the publication date on Amazon is listed as December 4, 2018, the book was officially launched on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, surely a date which will live in infamy and which, for the benefit of those who are keeping track, was a mere three weeks after Joe filed for divorce. Of course the book had been in the works for months before that.

Lisa Winston and Joe Vitale working on her book and giggling a bunch, May 2018

Though hailed by some of the usual suspects as an astounding, one-of-a-kind work that will truly change your life (you know, just like every other work in that genre), Your Turning Point is in essence a means for the author to leverage her own dilettantism and dramatically dysfunctional journey in order to make a few bucks by serving up the expected swill of promises regarding "daily miracles, where things just fall into your lap and you're left in disbelief..." Yup. We've heard it all before.

Perusing Joe's Foreword to the book, or Lisa's words about Joe on the Acknowledgments page and in her Introduction (in the latter she describes Joe as her "beautiful soulmate, friend and mentor") -- all of which are viewable via Amazon's "Look inside the book" feature -- you wouldn't even have to do much reading between the lines to speculate that something more than a business partnership might be going on, even though I think it should be mentioned again that while this lovely friendship was developing, Joe was presumably a happily married man; at least that was the picture he was presenting to the public.

In the book Lisa tells a dramatic tale of how her relationship with Joe blossomed amidst the chaos that her life had become, and how he was the wind beneath her wings as she dealt with the collapse of her "coaching" businesses, the death of her mother, and the upheaval of relocating from California to Pennsylvania and, finally, to Texas.
But if you can't access all of the material in Amazon's search feature and you don't want to buy the book, no worries: she tells much the same story
on an August 22, 2018 blog post. A snippet:
I stayed in PA through the sale of mom’s house. I continued to process my emotions, write and produce the show. Through the months, my friendship with Joe evolved and we were inspired to collaborate on many new projects. I flew to Austin a few times to work with him, but that was becoming costly and inconvenient. Through conversations with Joe and asking and carefully listening to my inner guidance, I was led to drive back to CA, pick up my stuff and move to Texas to be close to him in order to move forward with our ideas.

So, here I sit, writing from my little townhouse in the Austin area.
Or little love nest, as the case may be.

But, on the other hand, if you did see all of that, you would have also noticed that despite the unfolding miracle of her friendship with Joe, it wasn't all sunshine and roses for Lisa either. Guilty conscience, maybe? Or just the aggravation of fielding other peoples' disapproval, or the annoyance of knowing that there was a wife at home in Wimberley? Who knows? We can only read between the lines, but like Joe, Lisa has written numerous posts over the past few months indicating that she has been going through hell but has been staying strong and stalwart. You might also have seen that there are several posts where her comments remain but the attached content is, for one reason or another, "no longer available," which raises even more questions.

Some of her posts contain videos, such as this one on May 6, which she describes as a "transparent share."

In the video and accompanying description, Lisa says she is an "empathic sensitive" (though from my perspective, it seems to be a selective empathy... just saying). In the description and in the video she describes the "very tough, very tough" crises and strange illnesses and terrible experiences she's been going through -- the human suffering, the experience of being knocked to her knees, the feeling that it was finally the end of the road for her or perhaps even time for her to leave the planet, and so forth. (Spoiler alert: she has decided to stay on the planet and continue her lightwork.) She assures her viewers that all of the horror of her transition has just been part of Something Greater And Much More Important, part of some huge shift that is being experienced of late by all lightworkers and conscious souls.

In a previous post,
published on April 14, Lisa shares a post from someone named Jenny Mannion, who asks if others have felt "this intensity that 2019 came in with." It's just the Universe shaking you by the shoulders and telling you to get with the program, says Jenny (I'm paraphrasing; you can read the message yourself if you follow the link). Of Jenny's message Lisa writes:
I just have to share this with you. This has been the most difficult 5 months of my life. And it continues. I am learning more about how extremely sensitive I am and as an empath, how imperative it is for me to ground, protect and live from a much different space daily. Light workers, we aren’t in Kansas anymore. These miraculous, intensely challenging energetic times are calling us to a much deeper commitment to our calling as well as going within for a time for self-reflection and extreme self-care. I won’t be posting as much for a while as I’m in my own period of challenge and growth.
Another spoiler alert: Lisa didn't actually keep her promise to take a break from posting on Facebook. She was right back at it the next day, and the next, and the next. And several of the posts were about these intensely challenging, energetic times we are now living through. For example, check out this April 8 video, where, fresh from a month-long jaunt in Italy with Joe, she speaks about the tough season, about being pummeled by negative energies, and so on, and how much harder these challenges are for "extremely sensitive empaths such as myself."

But she urges her fellow empaths and lightworkers to hang in there because this is an exciting era, a time of ascension. Talk about protesting too much, or trying to convince oneself... When I think of people such as Lisa, I don't think of the word "empath," but it's definitely a word that ends in "path."

I think you get the idea. Lisa has been having a tough time of it, but that's because people like her are being called to greater challenges. But ya know, we've been hearing this same kind of stuff about these exciting and miraculous times, this great shift, the coming ascension, etc. from the love-and-light crowd for at least 40 years -- considerably longer if you count the "Age of Aquarius" celebrations as popularized in the tribal love-rock musical Hair in the late 1960s, and much longer than that if you count the spiritualists in the late 19th century. The New Age is actually old hat by now.

So... Yawn. Naturally I have snarked numerous times on this Whirled about the wonderful new era that is supposedly imminent, or, alternatively, is happening now, depending upon who's doing the telling and what they are selling. In the New-Wage/McSpirituality world, the Great Shift or transition is as ubiquitous as the End Times are in the realm of the religious right. It's always just around the corner, or already upon us, and the person who's trying to convince you of that is almost always trying to also convince you that they have just the roadmap(s) for sale that will help you not only survive, but thrive and break on through.

At any rate, the majority of Lisa's Facebook posts are upbeat and love-and-light-y, not to mention self-promote-y. Perhaps you saw the posts where Lisa boasted about her first magazine cover, the magazine in question being the first 2019 issue of a recently launched, sporadically published mag for the conspicuously enlightened called Global Voice.
Here's a direct link to the spreads that contain the cover story. (You can download the issue if you wish.) An excerpt:
Denise [Interviewer]: When we listen to our heart, our gut and yes, our head, we see a situation more clearly. In this specific journey over the last 18 months, your journey led you to reconnect with someone very special. This person has supported you immensely and through this reconnection, you have shared even more of yourself, your gifts and talents with the world. Discuss how reconnecting with a like-minded Soul, has impacted your life.

Lisa: The Universe had been conspiring all along, I just didn’t know how much. Dr. Joe Vitale and I met when I interviewed him for a summit I produced in early 2017. We had a very deep and immediate energetic connection; we also experienced huge “shifts” during our time together. We both left the interview (at present, our Transform your Money Story interview has gotten over 92 thousand hits on You Tube) knowing something important had happened, but not sure exactly what. We started following each other (you can read about it in the foreword to my book) and through a series of crazy synchronicities, we ended up having dinner together almost one year later.

That meeting has changed my life in ways I can’t even speak into right now. When we physically met for the first time, we had no idea why we both felt led to meet. As a matter of fact, at dinner Joe said, “I’m not even sure why we’re doing this.” But over time and through Divine orchestration, it became clear he was a very important part of my life and journey, and is now my best friend and soulful partner. He mentored and guided me in writing my book, which was a dream come true. He supported me every day through my mother's illness and death.
All righty, then.

Had you done a little more Googling, you might have stumbled upon Lisa Winston's LinkedIn profile, which, among other things, informs us that...
Lisa has co-authored two best-selling books and her own book, "Your Turning Point," went #1 international bestseller in November 2018. She just returned from Italy where she sealed a book deal to have her book published in Italian by the end of 2019. She was recently featured on her first magazine cover for The Global Voice magazine and co-produced her own live event called "Own the Stage" with her life partner, Dr. Joe Vitale. She and Joe are planning a European speaking tour early 2020. Lisa is here to empower lightworkers with a mission, to reach that incredibly important goal.
Lisa is a two-time bestselling co-author and at present, her latest book entitled Your Turning Point (yourturningpointbook.com) recently became a #1 international bestseller. Lisa’s life partner, Dr. Joe Vitale, wrote her wonderful foreword.
Life partner?!? Lisa might want to take note of the fact that for Joe, "life partner" might not literally mean "for life."

But if you dig a little deeper into Lisa's book, Your Turning Point, you might infer that Lisa considers Joe to be more than just a life partner; he is also, if I am reading this correctly, her Twin Flame, and she is his. (Some people opine that
there is a difference between a "life partner" and a "Twin Flame," but apparently in Joe-and-Lisa's world, it's possible to be both at once.) On pages 95-96 of the print version of Your Turning Point Lisa waxes profound about the challenges and rewards of being a lightworker who is called to a "true Twin Flame relationship."
I have one final reminder for you if you are a lightworker, space-holder, energy worker, teacher, or someone called to do the Divine's work. You cannot be a light or your most powerful self if you're stagnant in life or any other situation. You cannot expand to BE the most powerful, effective version of yourself if you don't take risks and go where most won't, if you're called there. We are called to shed the old concepts, beliefs, and ways of being no longer aligned with the New Earth. We are called to be leaders; examples of what souls on the leading edge look like. If we want people to follow us, if we want to make Spirit's greatest impact, we must be out there, doing what's risky, doing the opposite of what the world does in every area of life. If you're called to a true Twin Flame relationship like I am, you must be willing to leave everything the world says is true, behind, to reunite with your soul, move forward in the Divine partnership you were created for, one that has a massive impact on the world and one that's in the highest and best good for all. However, why would you want to show up less than in this miracle space, doing the work you're destined for, with the beloved you're destined to do it with?

What would you do if you were called to a difficult decision like mine?... How would you handle the reprimands and negative demands from others or from your ego/mind? How would you honor yourself while doing your best to honor others?...
How, indeed, would you handle it if -- and we're just speaking in hypotheticals here, of course -- you had sunk your fangs into the shiny pate of a moneyed and very married man (a man whom you absolutely knew the Universe had chosen for you, and vice versa), and yet you were faced with "reprimands and negative chatter" from a world that clearly failed to understand the Divinity of your vampirism? Think about it, lightworkers. It may come up on a pop test someday.

Granted, Lisa does not specifically mention Joe Vitale by name in this passage, nor in the passage on page 38 of the book, where she also uses the term "twin flame," though it is not capitalized there. In the context of everything she has said about Joe in the pages of this book and everywhere else she has mentioned him, however, it doesn't take much effort at dot-connecting to conclude that she is most likely referencing her relationship with Joe. Of course anyone who knows differently is welcome to write to me privately or publicly, and I will certainly be glad to make corrections or additions as necessary.

One of the points I'm driving at here is that if you had seen any or all of the above content from Lisa Winston -- particularly the "life partner" bit, but also the "deep and immediate connection" tales, and the "Twin Flame" references, and so on -- you surely must have wondered, at some point, what Joe's wife Nerissa thought about it. I mean, there's some pretty gushy, mushy stuff that seems to go considerably beyond the usual fame-by-association online blather for which Joe is so well known.

You might get some clues by reading Nerissa's Facebook posts, in which she clearly seems to be documenting her own struggles and attempts to stay strong.

But even after reading this and other posts, you still wouldn't have the whole story, because it appears that Nerissa is being much more discreet than her husband and his new squeeze. If, however, you were inordinately curious, you might have done further research and may have eventually stumbled across another clue to the mystery in the Hays County, Texas public records, in Civil, Family & Probate Case Records, case number 18-2637. There you would find a timeline regarding:
207th District Court
Divorce No Children

Were you to follow the link to the case details -- and more than likely you will actually have to go to the site, choose "Civil, Family & Probate Case Records" and type in the case number to access the information, because that direct link does not seem to function properly -- you would see that Joe is the petitioner, i.e., the party who filed for divorce, and Nerissa is the respondent. Joe filed on November 14, 2018, a mere eight days before Thanksgiving. What a way to kick off the holidays.

As of this writing I have not seen any court documents or transcripts of hearings in the case of Vitale and Oden. I have, however, seen the Register of Actions, which is easily accessible online.
Here is that link again, and as I noted above, you may have to click on "Civil, Family & Probate Case Records," and type in the case number (18-2637) in order to access the info). If you want further information beyond what is easily accessible online, you can call the Hays County Clerk at 1-512-393-7738.
According to social media timelines and other public accounts, very shortly after Joe filed for divorce, and presumably presented Nerissa with the papers (I am assuming he informed her of the divorce before he left the country), he was off to Thailand with Lisa Winston.

So what's really happening in the background?
Despite the ongoing story that is visible on social media and other online and print platforms, clearly there is a lot that isn't being said, which is understandable, since I have a feeling that the divorce is far from final. Accordingly at this point Joe and Lisa are still blithely dancing around, but not yet completely indulging in, an unabashed public celebration of their great romance. Joe in particular is being somewhat circumspect, and to my knowledge hasn't yet publicly named Lisa as his "life partner." And as of this writing,
his Wikipedia page, updated on 13 April 2019, still lists Nerissa Oden as his wife, which legally she is.

But he seems to be in the process of wiping Nerissa from his public slate; some of the more recent "About the Author" blurbs describe him as "living outside of Austin with his pets," instead of with his wife Nerissa and pets. And in
a May 5, 2019 appearance at Unity Church in Wimberley, Joe probably came as close to a public declaration of his new union as he'd yet come without actually mentioning Lisa's name in that specific context. He simply noted in passing that he was in "a new relationship" -- you have to listen carefully or you'll miss it -- and then he proceeded to go on and on about a wonderful trip he'd taken to Italy with his "partner."

Listening to that speech, you might feel that you're in a time warp: that it's 2006 or 2007 again, and the selfish-help world, still high on the fumes of The Secret, is all agog and abuzz about "vision boards," for you will hear Joe go into some detail about how he and his "new relationship" decided they wanted to go to Italy, so they visited bookstores and bought glossy travel mags and expensive books about Italy, cut out the pictures that wowed them, and pasted them on a wall that served as their vision board. And one thing led to another, and then to another, and before long they were gallivanting around Italy on a month-long holiday, at least partially subsidized by others, according to Joe. As with pretty much every story Joe tells, though, I'd take all of that "manifesting" stuff with a grain of salt if I were you.

Manifestation tales aside, it's that whole "new relationship" thing, which begins at about 6:35, that seems so brazen. Towards the end of the speech, Joe tries to temper the bragfest by assuring the audience that despite all of the miracles and magic going on in his life, he is also going through some really tough experiences that would shock his listeners and make them wonder how it is that he hasn't simply collapsed under the weight of it all. But he ends on an upbeat note, advising the folks to go out and co-create the life of their dreams. If you're interested, here you go, though I warn you it's 19-plus minutes you'll never get back.

Stinko de Mayo: Mr. Fire regales a captive audience
at Unity Church in Wimberley, Texas on May 5, 2019.

Incidentally, that talk, which I notice didn't actually match the description on the Unity blurb accompanying the video, was a freebie, and played to an apparently packed sanctuary. But word is that Joe's not-free workshop that followed had only a half dozen or so attendees. (I'm a past Unitic myself, and still have friends in Unity, and word gets around.)

But we're still talking about public stuff here. As our Twin Flames continue to joyfully develop their narrative as a couple, sometimes brazenly and sometimes more subtly, other stories are surely unfolding as well, and I suspect that they are anything but joyful. As I noted above, I've not yet seen actual court documents, beyond the easily accessible Register of Actions. But just reading between the lines on that register -- and knowing what I know of past histories, and what I know about similar cases -- I can speculate as to what is happening. Any or all of the parties involved are welcome to fill in the details and correct me if I'm wrong.

The Register of Actions simply lists the events and the dates on which the events occurred, beginning with the original petition for divorce on November 14, 2018. Respondent Nerissa's original answer and counter petition were entered on January 3 of this year. There are also several notices of unavailability of Joe's lawyer -- he must be a busy man -- a few miscellaneous motions and amendments, a couple of cancellations of hearings, and so forth.

What interested me the most were the several mentions of confidentiality orders, which could be anything. I initially wondered if perhaps "confidentiality" referred to personal matters that Joe didn't want discussed in public. He's a popular celebrity, after all, as he is fond of reminding us, and he might not want people prying into his personal life and mucking up the story he presents to his public. I speculated that he might be like one of the most famous celebrities of all, Donald Trump,
who had his own wives sign confidentiality/nondisclosure agreements, and has a long history of doing that with his employees, including White House staff. Trump, according to many who know him, is notoriously obsessed with controlling the narrative around himself, and I have a feeling that Joe is similarly obsessed. He doesn't mind talking about himself and his personal life in public, but he wants to control the story.

According to rudimentary research I did online, though, confidentiality in divorce proceedings most often has to do with mundane financial matters, which I suppose is perfectly understandable. But that in itself could be interesting, at least to a forensic accountant. Years ago my husband Ron, not a forensic accountant but very skilled in IT matters, had a side gig performing deep computer searches for a client and friend who was a private investigator specializing in uncovering hidden assets, including those in rich-person divorce cases. Guys -- usually they were guys -- had all sorts of creative ways of disguising their wealth in the service of trying to convince the courts that they were much poorer than they actually were and that they had few assets to award to the wives they were leaving. At the same time, they were tooling around in pricey sports cars, dining in four-star restaurants, jetting all over the world with their new lovers, and not really trying very hard to hide their lifestyle. Ron said it was a very interesting gig.

For that matter, I've seen the same dynamic at work in the Scamworld criminal cases that I've followed and written about over the years. I've seen people like
James Arthur "Death" Ray and Kevin Trudeau boast about their enormous wealth out of one side of their mouths in order to pull more victims into their net, while continuing to live their bon vivant lifestyles, and at the same time they were pleading poverty out of the other side of their mouths in order to convince the prosecution (in Trudeau's case, the US government), that they were practically paupers. Funny how that works.

At any rate, the Register of Actions can only tell us so much. I have a feeling that a perusal of some of the documents produced from the actions might provide a clue as to some of the more dramatic Facebook posts I mentioned above. There seems to have been a lot of activity in June, for example, around the time Joe was throwing his whine-tasting party on Facebook.

Controlling the narrative is easier when the other person(s) can't speak for themselves
I imagine that sooner or later, Joe will start talking publicly about his split with Nerissa, telling the story from his perspective. If he stays true to form, he will try to assume as much control of the narrative as he possibly can, putting a spin on it that makes him look good, and if he can find a way to use his divorce story for marketing, he'll probably do that too. I would advise you to view or listen to his version of the story with a particularly skeptical eye or ear. He has been known, to put it charitably, to stretch the facts.

More to the point here, the story that Joe told publicly about his split with his first wife, Marian, was very much at odds with private accounts from some other folks who were close to Marian. In a couple of his books -- the revised edition of Spiritual Marketing and the expanded version of that book, which was published as The Attractor Factor (originally published in 2005) -- Joe seemed quite breezy about the whole thing, writing:

When I first wrote this book, I was still married to Marian, whom I had been with for more than 20 years. Since then we decided we had grown apart. There was nothing negative about the experience or the decision at all. Marian decided she preferred being alone. I decided to look for another partner. I found one, too, in Nerissa, who I am deeply in love with. I'm still friends with Marian, and both are now in my heart. I'm a lucky man. Major changes in life can truly be easy and effortless.
In the second edition of The Attractor Factor (2008), Joe left that copy mostly as is but did acknowledge Marian's death.

But a couple of friends who were very close to Marian told me a different story. It was not all "easy and effortless" for Marian by any means -- quite the contrary. It's not appropriate for me to go into details here, but it is a profoundly sad story. What makes it particularly sad for me is that I knew Marian too; we were friends, but I never knew her as well as I knew Joe. She would show up at some of his book signings, and we'd talk, and she and I also exchanged emails and talked on the phone on occasion. Marian was a sweet, beautiful, fragile lady with a gorgeous smile, and I liked her very much. Unfortunately by the time Joe and Marian split up, Ron's and my friendship with Joe had dwindled, and in fact we didn't actually find out about the split until after Joe had moved from Houston to the Texas Hill Country. I was concerned about Marian and tried on several occasions to contact her, but my phone calls and emails went unanswered. When I asked Joe if Marian's contact info had changed, he tersely replied that it was the same as it had always been, and that was that. I tried several more times to reach her, but to no avail.

Time passed, and I was shocked when I learned (again, considerably after the fact) of Marian's death. I found out about it when I was reading a newsletter from the Houston pet rescue organization through which Ron and I had adopted one of our dogs. On the donations page there was a list of recent donations made to the organization on behalf of, and in memory of, people and pets. One item under the "people" section caught my eye: a donation that had been made "in memory of Marian Vitale." I went straight to the Internet to see if I could find any details. What I found was
a tribute of sorts, written by Joe shortly after Marian's funeral. I emailed Joe and expressed my very belated sympathy, but never saw a reply.

But an arguably more significant issue with Joe's narrative about Marian involved a lecherous "guru" and "healer" whom Joe called "Jonathan" in Spiritual Marketing and in The Attractor Factor. (He'd used "Jonathan's" real name numerous times in previous books and interviews.) In Spiritual Marketing, Joe had nothing but wonderful things to say about Jonathan, but cryptically noted at the end that Jonathan was "no longer available" to do his magic. But in The Attractor Factor there is a chapter called, "The Shocking True Story of Jonathan." Jonathan was a gifted healer, according to Joe, but his downfall began when he started having sex with female clients/patients. Joe said one of the victims was Marian, though in the first edition of The Attractor Factor, Joe didn't actually mention Marian by name. He just described her as a woman who had been a very close friend of his. Joe recounted how the experience led the un-named woman into a downward spiral, until ultimately she could only find peace in death in October 2004. Joe also managed to frame the story as a betrayal of him; his guru, he lamented, had left him "stabbed and bleeding."

I speculate that Joe was taken to task about the fudging of details -- some folks were able to connect the dots -- and in the second edition of The Attractor Factor Joe mentioned in passing that the woman in question was his wife (although technically, at the time she passed away in October 2004, Marian and Joe had been divorced for more than three years). Still, there was some confusion about the timelines of the "shocking" story. Joe wrote that at one point "Jonathan" was fired from a clinic where he was working because of inappropriate behavior with female clients. That was bad enough, but then Jonathan's dad died. Jonathan became depressed, suicidal, but Joe stuck with him because he was Joe's friend, and eventually "Jonathan" got past that crisis and started to see clients again. "But he was still stuck in his self," Joe wrote. "He again seduced his female clients...The turning point for me came when one day Jonathan manipulated and then molested the friend closest to me in my life at that time..."

That friend, as we finally learn in the second edition of The Attractor Factor, was Marian. Some years ago I received an email from a person who had written a comment on Joe's blog, asking him why he didn't try to prevent Marian from going to Jonathan, since Joe knew that Jonathan had a history as a predator. This person told me that Joe didn't publish the comment but instead replied privately, via email:

I saw your comment on my blog and rather than posting it and embarrassing you, I thought I'd personally reply to you.

First, no one knew the friend/therapist was a sexual predator. Do you really think I and hundreds of others would have gone to him for well over ten years HAD we known? Do you really think I would have let my beloved wife go had I known so? Surely you know better. Everything was discovered AFTER the fact. And you can't imagine how it destroyed me to learn of what happened to my sweet Marian. She never even told me till weeks after the event.

Second, the complete truth about Marian is in the revised second edition of The Attractor Factor. After she passed on, I felt I could tell the whole story, warts and all. I did. You apparently haven't read it.

I have forgiven Marian, the "predator" and all others involved.

You might do the same.

All the best to you and yours.

Dr. Vitale
Wow. Nice of Joe to make an effort to avoid "embarrassing" the person who was asking him tough questions. And that passive-aggressive "Blessings"... My correspondent told me he had read the "truth about Marian," in both editions of the book, and that both were nearly identical, with the exception that in the second edition, Joe made the passing mention that the woman in question "was my wife," and that he expanded a little on the phrase that followed the confession. In the original edition, Joe had written, "Meanwhile, my adventures continue." In the second edition Joe took a moment to make it clear that Marian's death really devastated him. So maybe he was called on the original flippancy too.

More importantly, Joe's timeline in the email to our mutual correspondent seems to be at odds with the timeline of the story that Joe himself told in the very pages of his best-selling book. I guess we'll never know the whole truth about what happened. Joe is an unreliable witness, Marian can't speak for herself, and "Jonathan," if he's even still alive, is in the wind.

Although I have not previously written at length about these matters in a post on this blog, there have been discussions on this forum, including the one following an October 2007 post. The discussion
begins here.

But all of that is water under the bridge, and as Mr. Fire faces yet another divorce, many questions remain unanswered. For example, we still don't know exactly what type of "abuse" and "betrayal" Joe has suffered this past year. Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe it has something to do with the divorce proceedings, maybe not. Remember, Joe is a serial abuse and betrayal sufferer, according to his own accounts, so it could be anything. But surely the divorce must be weighing heavily on him, if for no other reason than that it might compel him to part with some of his cars or his money. At any rate, from what I can see, reading between the lines and knowing what I do of past history, I'd be willing to bet that if there has been any abuse and betrayal around case number 18-2637 in Hays County, Texas, Joe is not the one who has been abused and betrayed.

(Update on 21 July, 2019): 
Yesterday Joe uncorked yet another bottle of whine on Facebook, posting a brief video showcasing a very subdued Mr. Fire (or perhaps "Mr. Embers" or "Mr. Ashes" would be a better moniker for this Joe). In this video he looked a bit shaken, and it appeared that he was still in (the) bed (he made) and having some trouble getting up. He began by saying, "You know, right now I am going through the most excruciatingly painful time of my life -- everything from trauma to grief to more..." Then he went on to acknowledge that he knows his viewers have problems too, but the big issue is how we respond and react to problems, which is important, because once one problem is solved, another one will pop up in its place. Buddha said that life is suffering, after all, but it's really all about mindset, and "we got this," Mr. Ashes reassured his audience.

Naturally, the faithful clustered around him to give him virtual hugs and pats on the head, and to tell him that this was exactly what they needed to hear, and to express great concern, and to tell him that they were there if he needed to talk. A couple of people even asked him what was going on that was so excruciatingly painful (he didn't answer).
#InstantKarma #HeMadeHisBed

But a little later in the day, Joe put the whine aside and served up some firewater instead, in the form of yet another video "on a more positive note," in which he shared "a morning hack to improve the day." The fire did indeed seem to be back, in the form of fierceness and a note of hostility. At the very least he was smoldering as he advised that when you wake up in the morning, "do not reach for your phone, do not turn on your computer, do not check social MEDIA." (The word MEDIA was said emphatically and, it seemed, a bit wrathfully.) Instead of "looking for confirmation for your likes and loves on the outside," Smolderin' Joe recommended that you close your eyes and set your own tone or rudder for the day. Think about what you want to have, do, or be for the day. Then and only then can you go ahead and check social media, and "you'll be IMMUNE to whatever is there."
Looking and sounding a little defensive there, Mr. Fierce. Maybe you need Harry B-Happy to gong you out of it again, or Mandy Evans to help you gut and clean your life some more.

So you haven't had enough? There's more in the next post.

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1 comment:

Cosmic Connie said...

Some people have approached (or reproached) me privately, demanding to know if I had tried to contact any of the parties I wrote about to get their comments, as a good investigative journalist is supposed to do. And the answer is no, I have not done so, and in fact I do not normally do that on this blog, which, while it may be journalism, is not hard investigative journalism, and never has been. Rather, the vast majority of my posts -- and this 2-part one is no exception -- are essentially commentary and opinion, based upon the public words and actions of the subjects, as well as other publicly available material.

Certainly any and all of the parties mentioned here are welcome to add their input, either publicly or privately. This has always been my policy with all of my posts. People are welcome to send in corrections or clarifications, and I will publish them if requested. I find, however, that my subjects are not inclined to want to communicate with me, though over the years some of their minions have done so, sometimes civilly, more often in a hostile manner, and most often anonymously.

One person who called me out for alleged inaccuracy, and did so under his own name, was a former associate of Joe Vitale named Pat O'Bryan. This was years ago; I don't think Pat associates with Joe any more, and he has wiped his web sites and blogs pretty clean of any reference to the days when he was part of the "Wimberley Mafia." Pat is actually a talented musician, photographer, and writer (and politically progressive, so that's a plus), but back in the day, he and I got toe to toe a few times.

On more than one occasion he invited me to contact him for clarification about various matters that I wrote about regarding Joe and his activities before I published my posts, and he said he would answer all of my questions honestly (though "honest" is a relative term in Scamworld). Pat claimed that my blog was filled with inaccuracies; in fact, he said I was wrong more often than I was right. (He also claimed I was illogical and inconsistent; he once called me a "first-rate writer with a second-rate mind.") When I asked him specifically to give me just a couple of examples of those so-called inaccuracies, and asked him why he didn't send me corrections so I could amend my posts, he said he wasn't going to do my job for me.

But again, the vast majority of my posts are opinion pieces and speculation, based upon public words and actions of my subjects. And I fully acknowledge that sometimes my speculations can miss the mark. That's why I ask those who are more informed than I to send me their input so I can make my opinions even more informed ones.

But if you are interested in digging more deeply than I have, you are certainly welcome to go for it. These posts are just a starting point.