Update 2 – Jesus Camp Kids, Where Are They Now?

A long time ago I posted a couple of unsatisfyingly vague blog entries on what I could find out about where the kids from the documentary Jesus Camp are today. Based on the amount of people that get here by Googling “Jesus Camp where are they now”, this is something that a lot of you are interested in, including myself.

Personally, I was hoping to find out that the reactions to the movie made them question the beliefs they were brainwashed into. Unfortunately, today I found this video of Levi O’Brien, which shows that the camp leader Becky Fischer’s brainwashing worked, at least in his case.

EDIT: I obviously wasn’t paying close enough attention when I watched the video – this is actually Levi’s brother Luke.

If you don’t remember, Levi is the boy with the rat tail who started preaching at a young age. The video I linked to shows Levi preaching. His preaching style matches that of Becky Fischer in the movie perfectly…it even sounds like he slips into speaking in tongues at one point, though he might be scatting? Can’t be too sure…

It doesn’t say it on the video, but a bit of quick research tells me this was filmed in July, 2009 at the Kingdom of Light Conference, which I believe is put on by Kids in Ministry International. He’s 17 in the video.

In case you can’t watch the video, here’s my transcript. It was hard to hear at parts, so I tried to get it as close as possible to what he actually said:

It says in the Bible “the kingdom of God”, that’s how it starts out, and we know the kingdom of God, “God is light”, so the kingdom of God we could call it the kingdom of light. It says the kindom of light is an ever-increasing kindom.
Right? So you can get the light. You ask Jesus into your heart, you get the light, right? But then, look at this, it’s up to you. It is an ever increasing kindom, but it’s up to you how bright your light is. I want my light to be so bright. You know really I hate this line “this little light of mine”, I hate that line, it’s in Samantha’s song but then she says “it can grow” or something like that so I’m not putting that song down, I love that song, she wrote that song, isn’t that great? I love that song.
But “this little light of mine”, why I hate that song is because we can choose to have a little light. It’s up to us how bright our light shines. So this little light of mine, it’s up to me how bright my light is. I can have a little light if I want to. Just a little light, I can be saved going to heaven, but if I only want a little light you know what? That’s all God will give me. You just want a little light? I’ll give you a little light. But it’s an ever increasing kingdom, which means it never stops how bright your light can get, boys and girls. It never stops how bright your light can get. Which means it can get brighter and brighter and brighter. Just ask, just ask God I want to be brighter today than I’ve ever been before. Ever been before.
You know what lets stand up I’m getting pumped up. I’ll have Emily come play piano. I want to be brighter than I’ve ever been before, right? Isn’t that the way it is? If that’s you just get up here right now. I want to be brighter, I want to be brighter than ever before.
I gave you my light, and I say let me go! I want to be bright! And God I make a statement right now, I won’t turn back, I’ll keep getting brighter! Amen! [theaudience is repeating after him throughout this prayer]
Jesus! Thank you, just praise Jesus right now. We thank you God, we thank you God that you gave us a light, you gave us a bright light. I’m just going to pray, see what God wants us to do right now. Shoobeedoobeedoobeeshweebeedoobee…Jesus! Jesus! You know what? Just keep this in your hearts, keep this in your hearts. And tonight, tonight I believe there’s going to be an explosion tonight. It can be exploding you right now but lets wait until tonight. Keep that in your hearts. I believe God wants us to go out and pray for everybody right now. I guess it’s close to break time it’s like 12:10, but tonight it’s going to explode. We can get brighter and brighter, it’s an ever-increasing kingdom. God bless you guys, thank you.
And guess who walks up on stage at the end? None other than Becky Fischer herself.
I don’t get what he’s trying to say…God is light so the kindom of God is the kingdom of light, but he wants us to try to get a bigger and bigger light so does that mean we’re claiming more and more of God to ourselves? And if a little light will get me into heaven, why be so greedy? Why would I need more? Maybe get a little light and then stop spending time demanding more light from God? And I guess he doesn’t mean literally “light”, but what does he mean? I don’t understand…but making sense and preaching don’t generally go hand in hand.
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32 Responses to “Update 2 – Jesus Camp Kids, Where Are They Now?”


  1. 1 Nadine May 26, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Well, that just sucks. When I watched this movie I couldn’t stop thinking about how obviously smart Levi and Rachel were, and how sad it was that their parents would probably shield them from critical thinking as much as possible. I’d hoped there would be someone in their lives to teach them that skill.

  2. 2 Ani Sharmin May 26, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    The most I’ve seen of Jesus Camp was a few minutes in a video on youtube. I think it was the trailer. I’ve been wanting to watch the whole thing.

    I also hope that people who grew up in that kind of environment realize that they were being deceived, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always turn out that way.

    I wonder sometimes which preachers actually believe what they are saying and which ones don’t. I wonder if Levi actually believed all the things that were being said in Jesus Camp at the time, if he started believing it later, or if he’s ever had doubt.

    If I recall from the small part I watched, there was one kid talking about how difficult it was to believe in God. I wonder what happened to him.

    Thanks for posting.

    -Sharmin

  3. 3 Global Villager June 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Videos like this never cease to amaze and frighten me. The whole thing is just so absurd with the people standing in this dank room with their arms raised in praise. All the time listening to a disturbed kid who is obviously a member of the Burger King kids club judging by his hat.

    Scary weird.

  4. 4 Lostbyondthevoid June 9, 2010 at 6:01 am

    The doc made me cringe at the brainwashing those parents/adults did. I was wondering what happened to these kids. Now I know things didn’t turn out so well. Hopefully later on in their lives the kids can think for themselves for a change.

  5. 5 Strelnieks June 15, 2010 at 3:35 am

    When I saw Jesus Camp, I thought Levi might of been having doubts, since he so obviously noticed when Ted Haggard insulted hime. Apparently, that is not the case. Either way, the kids don’t deserve to be scrutinized for the rest of their lives over this.

    And: The scrutiny will only reinforce their beliefs. There is a strong psychological mechanism at work here. When you have committed publically to a position, it is not only hard to retract, but contradictory views and even contradictory evidence tend to have the _opposite_ effect.(1) So if you want Levi or the other kids to “snap out of it,” it is best to leave them alone.

    (1) See Batson, C. Daniel: Rational Processing or Rationalization? The effect of disconfirming information on a stated religious belief. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1975, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 176-184.

  6. 6 EnlightningLinZ June 18, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Hi Strelnieks,

    This…

    “And: The scrutiny will only reinforce their beliefs. There is a strong psychological mechanism at work here. When you have committed publically to a position, it is not only hard to retract, but contradictory views and even contradictory evidence tend to have the _opposite_ effect.(1) So if you want Levi or the other kids to “snap out of it,” it is best to leave them alone.”

    …is a good point. But I don’t think it’s likely that he’ll be reading my blog…especially since they won’t even read Harry Potter!

  7. 7 Amanda July 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Hi! I have long wondered what happened to these kids. I would love to see more.
    I think the kid in the video is Levi’s younger brother, Luke. I was having a hard time figuring out why is face was familiar, yet not quite right as Levi. When you watch the video, it labels him as Luke.
    I was also reading a description of the family from a few years ago here http://SearchWarp.com/swa293448.htm and the writer mentioned Luke’s long hair.
    I would LOVE to find the other kids. Maybe there is still hope!!

  8. 8 M July 18, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Maybe his speech had something to do with explaining the end of Lost? At least it makes more sense to me now…

  9. 9 dufus03 August 11, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    That video is Luke and not Levi…For people wondering they are both doing great. Levi is a high school graduate and is still active in ministry and church. I noticed that many of you don’t want to know how the kids are doing so much as just harp on about things you don’t understand and are not willing to even try to.

  10. 10 Eri September 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I was hoping to find out What happened to the kids since the film. How they are doing, what they thought of the film itself if they saw it, if their beliefs are the same, stronger or completely different. I’m curious!

    Enlightning LinZ: In your last long-ago post about the Jesus Camp kids, the excerpt mentioned that Luke and Levi were allowed to read Harry Potter. Also, as dufus03 noted, this video is of Levi’s brother, Luke.

  11. 11 Just Me. November 13, 2010 at 8:51 am

    I was going to say… I thought Luke was the kid who asked his mom if she thought another boy looked like Harry Potter in the documentary- which suggested to me that the kids were permitted to read it.

    I’m curious about what became of everyone, too… especially Levi, Tory, and the questioning boy, who struck me as very bright kids. No harping here. I will admit, however, that I hope that, as they grow and experience life out in the world, they’re spurred to really think about some of what they’ve been exposed to.

    I’m not talking about their faith itself, rather the extremity of some of the views those around them espouse. Becky Fischer’s exclusionary, militaristic, loveless brand of Christianity is downright disturbing… particularly when she talks about radicals of other faiths essentially sending their children off to what basically amount to terrorist training camps as if this is some sort of positive thing that American Christians ought to aspire to. Um… no.

  12. 12 EnlightningLinZ November 13, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Just Me – I often wonder that when I’m watching 19 Kids and Counting too – these fundamentalist Christians are essentially raised in a bubble, but once they’re out on their own as adults what happens when they find out the world isn’t what their parents taught them.

  13. 13 Jerry G. November 30, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I feel really bad for those kids. I don’t know how those adults can just knowingly ruin childrens lives like that…. But one thing I do know is that marijuana is a natural substance that was found on planet earth. Everyone of those people that firmly believes in creation has to believe that god put everything on this earth. God put cows on earth, not hamburgers and milk, cows he created for us to use to benefit and maximize any and all value we can get from them. Therefore, growing marijuana plant and picks it’s buds and drying them and smoking them like a cigarette to ease pain or to feel good, is no different than milking a cow and cooking it’s meat for food. God created both of them on this earth and anyone who believes in creation and drinks milk should not be opposed to smoking weed….. I wonder if Becky agrees?

  14. 14 ventralrami December 10, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    I think this is Levi’s facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000843611044
    I just searched for his name in facebook, so I assume he doesn’t mind if people find his limited profile. He seems like pretty normal religious kid. Because he has facebook I assume he has access to all the online resources we atheists would share with him.

    I do wonder if he’s seen the documentary “Marjoe.”

  15. 16 Joebob21 February 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Lindsay,
    The light he speaks of is not lightlike from a light bulb, the light inside of a Christian is the love of God and when you spread the “light” you’re telling people of God’s love. He doesn’t hate mor is He a military general. I watched Jesus camp last night and the fact is that half of it is true and the other half is a very extreme militaristic view of Jesus. The children in the movie were learning about things that were for an older audience preferably at the grade level of 7th or 8th. Christianianity is not about “training” or fighting a war. It’s about loving everyone just as Jesus did and does now. So all in all it’s important for light in us to shine in a sense, to be able to have a lifestyle that glorifies God and a lifestyle that when seen by others living in the world that don’t believe they say “what’s so different about that guy? Why is he so happy, when we live in such a violent world?”. The reason we can be happy is that God is infinite so having joy or happiness and peace from Him will be infinite.

  16. 17 No February 11, 2011 at 5:44 am

    Please stop the madness.

  17. 18 No February 11, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Here’s the thing: All Christians (and all religious people of any religion) should ask themselves… what IF nothing exists?

    Ok, ok, I know you’re sure it DOES exist, and you have reasons for it in those very old books (and we should always trust old books), but just as an exercise. Imagine if you stopped and just really considered WHAT IF… what if all of the things you believe were imaginary? What if all we had is what we can see? What if the stories in those very old books were fiction?

    IF that was true, and this is only a thought exercise don’t freak out, IF it was true, then all of these things you preach, and say are very silly. Imagine if you replace “God” or “Jesus” with “Santa Claus”. Imagine it for a minute. Can you imagine a “Santa Claus Camp”? Of course not. But they’re both stories, and both require that you believe.

    What IF you don’t go anywhere when you die? What IF this is the only life you have? What IF there was no magical old guy on the cloud watching you? It’s an interesting thought if you really think about it.

  18. 19 wes_line February 21, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    IF the what IF is the case then good deal, we all die, dissapear and are forgotten – no harm, no foul. But what IF the what IF is really true, what IF God does exist, what IF it really is about love, what IF he really did die so you’d be made perfect?

  19. 20 LivedInABubble March 4, 2011 at 12:41 am

    I watched Jesus Camp tonight for the first time. I am FUMING*** This is EXACTLY how I grew up. Now, nearly thirty, I am struggling to find my beliefs.

    EnlightningLinZ made the comment about these kids living “life in a bubble”, and how would they adjust to the real world? This is one of my two main concerns when I watch this, the other concern is the blatant misuse of power- where these adult are brainwashing and brow beating these kids through fear and reenforcement.

    *And any “good charismatic, evangelical Christian” reading this will have a plethora of responses about the “brainwashing and brow beating these kids….” Bring on your excuse for this behavior- I’ve heard them all. Like I said- this is EXACTLY how I was raised, except I went to Camp Agape, I traveled throughout the country and overseas “winning souls for the Lord” all before the age of 15. I was homeschooled for a portion of my education- and went to private, Christian school the rest of the time. My family attended Bill Gothard Seminars, and followed “Growing Kids God’s Way” programs. I was encircled by adults, baptized in the spirit, who were going to “pray me through”… Bleh… even thinking about all of this makes me angry and sick.

    I am now studying and considering all of these things, trying to reason and find peace with my upbringing. Your comment,EnlightningLinZ, about life in a bubble, is the reason I decided to write. (I’ve read everything on all of the pages you’ve posted thus far). I am reading a book right now called What Good Is God by Philip Yancey- and there is a chapter in his book called “Life in a Bubble”. I found this chapter in particular to strike a chord with me. I also found his writings to be refreshing, since I was raised with extremely conservative, fundamentalist Christians.

    I know dozen and dozens of kids just like the kids in this movie.
    Strelnieks has a point- by drawing so much public scrutiny to these kids, they are less likely to break out of this and challenge their beliefs. In the case of my church group, one is still somewhat aligned, but certainly not as extreme as we were raised. Another actually went to seminary, in desperation to learn what exactly the Bible really does mean. Another has become a national political figure for the Democratic party, and he quietly represents his beliefs. He is a respected Christian man, although he doesn’t resemble the “Christian” profile that we were raised to emulate. (YES! A Democratic Christian… because abortion is not the only issue in our country). And the rest of us are basically embittered and keeping religion at arms length.

    Just wanted to give my .02 Super spun up after watching this film. I hate to see any other children going through this.

  20. 21 Dennis May 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Jesus said of Love:
    Love your neighbour as you would love yourself

    Jesus said of forgiveness:
    Forgive and you shall be forgiven

    Jesus said of hate:
    Hate NOT those who persecute you for my name’s sake. Pray for them; love them; and help them when they are in need. In this, you fulfill the whole law.

    Jesus said of Judging others:
    Do NOT judge those around you, for as much as you judge the same will be measured back to you. I do not judge any, but by my words they shall be judged.

    Jesus said of vengence:
    Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    Thank-you to the producers and editors of “Jesus Camp” -

  21. 22 Hunt May 13, 2011 at 2:18 am

    I watched the film. I saw a lot of people with good intentions but the methods and goals of the camp were very suspect. I heard a lot about sin and repentance and judgment and fighting satan and taking back America for God. However I did not hear about the love of God in Christ, nor about the love for mankind demonstrated in the self-sacrifice of innocent Lord Jesus to settle our insurmountable debt to God for sin. That is the central message of the Gospel. Making war against the enemy is secondary to having the love of God in our hearts, and is guaranteed to fail without His love.

    See John 3:16, also 1 Cor. 13:

    If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

    2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

    3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

    4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,

    5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

    6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

    7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.

    9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;

    10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.

    Thankfully, God knows the intentions of our hearts and He will honor and uphold those who sincerely seek to serve Him in Spirit and in Truth.

  22. 23 Cupcake June 2, 2011 at 3:34 am

    I’ve never actually watched the film Jesus Camp, but do intend to in the near future. But I can say that I personally know both Luke and Levi as well as their parents. As a Christian who shares their same beliefs, I don’t feel deceived at all. Once someone truly experiences the power of God and the reality of His Kingdom, there isn’t a lifestyle that can compare to the way that those two boys live. To be honest, I’m actually a lot closer to Luke than I am Levi. Of all people that I know, Luke lives his life fuller than anyone else I have ever met or heard of. And yes, the rat tail is gone along with Luke’s long hair. Oh, and people have already pointed out that the video is Luke, not Levi.

  23. 24 Greygower August 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    The thing I noticed with Levi was that, along with being intelligent, he liked the power when he had the pulpit. It’s for this reason I never thought he would change his position. It’s scary enough that so many kids are indoctrinated into this foolishness, but when the smart ones see it as a way to “lead” others, that’s when things can get real creepy real fast!

  24. 25 Alice November 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I’m not sure if you’ve seen this, but it’s actually Levi (not Luke) being interviewed by Morgan Spurlock.

  25. 26 Coomom9 January 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Of course Becky walked out on the stage–it was at one of her camps. She asked them to come and minister to the younger kids, now that they were older. Why is this a surprise?

  26. 27 Chelsea March 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I also found this on Levi.. Glad to see it looks like hes still a smart and sweet guy.
    http://current.com/50docs/93391192_morgan-spurlock-meets-levi-obrien-jesus-camp.htm

    But i do have to say the documentary freaked me out! I just kept thinking…what gives those people the right to preach like that to kids and make them feel like they are constantly doing something wrong. Its just not right..there are better ways to preach I am sure!
    It was sad to watch. Made me feel sick.

  27. 28 Mr. Moonlight May 29, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Why would anyone be bothered by the outcome? He is not in jail or doing drugs or getting into trouble. So, why get upset? Just because the people at Jesus camp don’t think like you, it means they are brainwashed? Sorry but as long as they are healthy and not harming anyone, let them be.

  28. 29 anna logan July 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    to the selfish person, they are unable to understand these things and they sound like madness to the unspiritual person. The unspiritual person is unable to understand because they are known only by the Holy Spirit which the unbeliever does not have. That is why you mock what you are unable to understand. These kids were not brainwashed, but you have been by the foolishness of the world and it’s beliefs.

  29. 30 Created July 21, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I am almost 32 now, but when I was a kid about 4 years old I remember looking down at my hands and saying, “Wow, I am really real.” I then wondered if the other people around me were really real or if they were robots put there just for me. I thought they had to be real because nothing seemed to make me different than them except the fact that I was me and they were them. It was a very weird experience that I still think about, obviously, but at that realization I somehow knew I wasn’t a mistake that someone made me and they were watching me. Believing in God became second nature, no one had to brainwash me.

  30. 31 nene August 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    wow- i was told to watch this by my boss & it really is HORRIFYING that these people who do this to our poor innocent children are walking around freely while someone who stole a tv sits in prison. the moment i heard them say about how in some countries, they “brainwash children with guns in their hand” so what- it makes it ok to brainwash other children with things you get FROM the bible?? the whole time i was looking for a sign to see if this lady and i use that term loosely, had any clue what she is doing is wrong or right- at the end came my answer, when the radio guy (sorry i forget his name) said “how can you do this? children can be influenced so easily and influenced by saying ANYTHING, it doesnt mean it is right” & all she says is “im not even getting into it” what i took from that is, if you feel you are morally correct, nothing you are doing is wrong, than you will stand firm on your beliefs. Not saying she should sit there & argue w/ anyone but she will surely go up to a child & tell him/her that they are soldiers of God and that they are fighting the devil and so many other DISGUSTING LIES but cannot even say one thing to that??? its heart breaking and i will continue to hope someone anyone can save these children! ahh its so scary to me that this even happens let alone, it happens and ITS LIKE OK


  1. 1 Tales from the Tubes — 30/​05/​10 | Young Australian Skeptics Trackback on May 30, 2010 at 3:47 am

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