Review of Ascent from Darkness

This was an interesting read, particularly for those interested in the occult, satanism, or spiritual things.  If you are a relatively new Christian, I would avoid this type of literature--spiritual things should not be toyed with.  

Have a great Friday,
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Available at
Ascent from Darkness: How Satan's Soldier Became God's Warrior [Paperback]
By Michael Leehan
272 pages, $15.99
ISBN-13: 978-0849947032
Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd

In Ascent from Darkness Leehan writes a compelling autobiography about his involvement in the sordid world of Satanism and his eventual surrender to Jesus Christ, as his Lord and Savior. Leehan writes in a very compelling style—which was hard to put down and could have been read easily in a two-day reading fest.  As a spiritual treatise it gets two things right:
§  It reminds people of the reality of the spiritual world
§  If affirms that no one is beyond God’s salvific reach.

We bibliophiles who cut our teeth on works such as Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness have been ingrained to appreciate the lore which amplifies any nuances of spiritual reality. Such writing, albeit in Peretti’s case aimed at fiction, provides a ready reminder that our warfare is truly against spiritual forces and is not merely a flesh and blood struggle. Dabbling in such reading can give an imbalanced power to “the other side,” and newer Christians should be warned to avoid occultist principle until a proper foundation in the faith is established.  As for Mike Leehan, his testimony is that he went boldly into the dark side and was on a satanically appointed pathway to his demise—a day he knew that he would kill himself. Fortunately for Leehan, the interventions of his friends, fellow church attendees of LifeChurch.TV, and his girlfriend would snag him from the pit of despair one day shy of his date with destiny.

The informed reader will approach this book with skepticism, however.  The same crew who received Peretti’s works with aplomb, possibly remember the bold claims of Mike Warnke in his Schemes of Satan (or his even earlier The Satan Seller…)  When this book was released in the summer of ’91, it helped to energize a sleepy church into a discussion about spiritual realities.  Warnke alluded to having been a satanic “high priest” and having undergone a mock crucifixion when he accepted Jesus—such testimony only amplified his vilification when Cornerstone debunked his testimony a few years later.

Of course, anyone could write anything in a book – to Leehan’s credit he provides, sans contact information, testimony from friends and/or associates at the end of his book to corroborate his story.  His rendition of walking on the dark side does not become creepy, since demons are usually cast as wearing dark suits with red ties.  This seems a little cinematic but the reader must make his own judgment as to the veracity of Leehan’s claims.  The preponderance of the book amplifies issues on the sinister side with only a minor portion of the book attributed to his newfound faith in Christ.

One bothersome aspect of this book is the gentle glorification Leehan gives to his sexual conquests while working as a minion of Satan.  It is always couched in verbiage which, at first glance, suggests Leehan is merely retelling historical events.  It seemed unnecessary for the narrative of the story to include phrases akin to, “…she woke me up wearing a white negligee, and did not care a wall separated us from her husband.”  While it could be factual…it seemed oddly self aggrandizing.

Please do not misunderstand – this review does not attempt to judge Mike Leehan, it is merely reaction to the book as a whole.  Rather, this writer affirms what Jesus told a group of Pharisees and experts in the Law when he said, “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.” [Luke 15:10, NET Bible].  No one who ever finds God does so because that person deserves it---if that were the case, the word grace would be woefully out of context with salvation. God’s love is a free gift—given because of what Jesus accomplished, not the good or bad of the recipient.  Ascent from Darkness upholds a central belief of Christianity: no one is too bad or could ever move so far away from God that he cannot reel them in.

It is alleged that currently Mike Leehan is involved in a tremendous deliverance style ministry, if that is the case, this writer is glad.  If you want to read the powerful testimony of a changed man—this book is for you.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


  1. Very interesting review. I appreciated your honest and even appraisal of the the positives and the one negative-also the warning to newer Christians.

  2. Thank you, Sharon. It was an interesting book. I'm a little jaded having been drawn in by the Warnke mess years ago.



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