Book Review: “Changed” by Tom Cantor

If you got an unsolicited copy of the book “Changed” by Tom Cantor in the mail, you are not alone. Many months ago this 85-page, 31-chapter, exclamation mark intensive, large print autobiography of “One Man’s Journey from Lost to Defiled to Found and Cleansed” landed in my mailbox. Since a neighbor had already generously left their copy in the mailroom for anyone to take, I decided to bring the copy I received inside where it landed on a stack of Westways Magazines. I know that it seems like super-secret government documents are the current trend in bathroom reading, but I’m a traditionalist. And like many other Hollywood perverts, the word ‘defiled’ caught my attention.

Basically it’s the story of a rich Jewish kid of divorced parents in Beverly Hills who starts rebelling against whatever you got by age seven. He gets in trouble, sent to different schools, ends up in boarding school in Switzerland, and then wandered Europe. Or something like that. I’ll go light on the details in case you have a copy sitting by your toilet and are intrigued.

It was while he was in Europe that the ‘defilement’ occurred. Afterwards he ends up back in the states and goes to college in Ohio where he meets his future wife, Cheryl. Now, spoiler alert, the man who mailed out his self-published autobiography to strangers across American doesn’t come off like all that great of a guy. He’s got all this guilt and shit and he decides that Cheryl is going to cleanse what’s wrong with him. You know because marrying someone thinking they’re gonna fix all your problems always works out so well.

Tom finds out that Cheryl was raped and is pregnant with the rapist’s baby. What Tom decides to do with this horrifying information is marry Cheryl and then give up the child for adoption and then move on. Which is a rather decent thing to do if he wasn’t always going on and on about how Cheryl getting raped was interfering with his plans to get cleansed. It’s hard to read because you feel awful for her.

Now someone might think that part of cleansing one’s self starts with – yourself. He’s confessed to stealing, getting busted for being drunk and starting fights and while he seems to be wanting to move away from that he is not above lying. In fact, he thinks he’s being clever when he tricks people.

For example, when he goes to purchase a pair of wedding rings he lies to the business owner about how much money he has. They’re like a hundred bucks, which is all he has. Does he try to haggle? Does he try to appeal to the better nature of this man? Does he plan privately to repay the man later? No. He has a $100, he gives his future wife $35, and then he deceives the business man by stating he only has $65 and even shows his empty pockets to go balls deep on this deception. Dude, look at you being all clever with no compassion that the shop owner might be really needing the full price. He just lies. He wants to be clean but he doesn’t want to start with some basic human decency like telling the truth. That pretty much sets the tone for the book.

Anyway, eventually he has this revelation that Jesus was the Passover lamb and so if you accept Christ you can be cleansed. Yup. The best way I can explain it is it’s kinda like watching The Ten Commandments on ABC for the first time stoned. It’s the part where all the special effects become really creepy to show Passover and as Pharoah is making his decree it hits you – METALLICA’S “CREEPING DEATH” IS THE STORY OF PASSOVER!! And suddenly your mind is blown and you don’t know whether to feel stupid that this just hit you or so super proud of this new knowledge that you can’t wait to start dropping it. Another spoiler alert – Tom’s so ready to drop his revelation on everyone. Literally.

Now being Jewish and the Grandson of an orthodox Rabbi, this doesn’t go so well. But he has to tell everyone and he’s way into it. He has a successful business and he gets in the mindset that as long as he tells everyone about Jesus that God will take care of him and make him so wealthy he can send his books to everyone. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Basically he starts a biotech company called Scantibodies Laboratory and is building it up and then gets sued by another company and this makes it really hard to expand his business because he’s got all these legal fees and while all this stuff is happening his business makes $15 million and he believes that God took care of his business and then he wins the lawsuit. Reminded me of when a friend and I took an ill-advised look into slap fighting competitions and the competitors would talk about their fate being up to God. Because God is busy deciding the fate of slap fights and helping out biotech companies.

It’s all part of the mystery and I am not the first to try to understand why this guy is sending out the books. Because that is the crux of “Changed” – it’s not about the what, it’s about the WHY.  There’s various blogs and news sites that have written about it. Even the New York Post had an article on it. But none of them really seem to be able to find out why. They found out he’s spent millions of dollars to do it, that he bought the mailings lists, and that he’s sorry if you’re offended. And then kinda just chalk it up to ego.

Since no one in the Los Angeles media seems to have written about it, I’m gonna say that I’m ready to represent. And I ain’t gonna let you down. Well, I’m gonna make you draw your own conclusions, but I’m gonna drop some real facts on you. I’ve worked in the non-profit sector my whole career so I’m going straight to his 990s! That’s right – his taxes.

So Tom has this mission of reaching “God’s lost nation of Jewish people” and to this end he forms a church, the nonprofit organization Israel Restoration Ministries, the Life & Light Foundation, and the Shining Light Charitable Trust (which is obviously a trust). Plus, he’s got “The Creation and Earth History Museum” which is dedicated to the Biblical account of science and history, and then he’s got the “Friendship with God” radio show.

Shining Light Charitable Trust has $6,361,842 million in assets according to their 2020 990s. Charitable money is public money and it has to be used for public good, you can’t just hoard wealth. *cough* So 5% of that, or $318,092, has to have a purpose. There are some operating expenses and around $150,000 in charitable distributions. Most of these are $500 and $1000 payments to a bunch of places like the New Tribes Missions in Florida for outreach and of course he donated to his own nonprofit the Israel Restorative Ministries (IRM). The main money goes to the West Coast Baptist College to the tune of over a 100 grand. They’re a religious organization so no 990s, but I went to their website and they offer a 1-hour sermon by Tom Cantor on reaching Jewish people. He also did their podcast. This trust did not distribute anything according to their prior 990s available so no idea if that was a regular grant.

While Tom’s Shining Light Charitable Trust gave $1,000 (lol) to Tom’s nonprofit organization IRM, according to its 2020 990s the real money IRM received was basically two donations: $6,460,000 from Scantibodies and $405,500 from Tom himself. They have around $3.4 million in expenses and the majority of their expenses go to their ministry “courier program” and “radio broadcast” but they also give $12,000 to an orphanage in Tecate, MX and $505.201 to… Tom’s foundation! (Did you guess that? Hi-5!)

And that would lead us to the Life & Light Foundation, and this is where Tom gets paid to the tune of $1,080,297 for 5 hours a week. The organization’s mission is to educate the people about creationism, operate a museum on creationism, and foster understanding of… creationism! So now I’m hella confused, because this is where Tom gets paid and I only see him preaching to Jews about Jesus. Not to mention but don’t people who start biotech companies, I don’t know – believe in science?!? The manufacturers of First Response Pregnancy Tests are anti-science? Chef’s kiss!

The foundation also has around $170,000 in salaries for people who I’m gonna go out on a limb and say are working more than 5 hours a week. And then there is John Van Duzer who made $574,765 also for 5 hours a week. Pretty nice side gig, especially since he’s also been the Director of operations at Scantibodies Laboratory for 16 years.

Now I could comb thru this shit for days, but you get the point. So what. Another wealthy guy who donates to charity to get a tax-deduction but he happens to be in charge of that charity and then it gives to another charity and then another and then one of the charities pays him? We don’t even know what’s going on with his church. I’m sure Tom is completely honest about everything and it’s all legal. If it isn’t it’s kinda hard to tell because the reality is the IRS has been so defunded over the years that they do not have the capacity to go after those who are really exploiting our country.

Now this pisses me off. Because if he’s not paying his fair share of taxes, who is? His employees, the public, me? He relies on the infrastructure our taxes pay for, but he doesn’t pay his fair share. It reminds me of the saying of Libertarians being like housecats. They claim to be fiercely independent yet rely on a system they don’t want to understand and refuse to support.

I have a personal mission to help the most vulnerable, so I get upset when people exploit nonprofits for their own personal gain. It reflects badly on the ultimate purpose of nonprofits, to help people, and it contributes to wealth hoarding which is literally killing people. But what if he’s using program expenses to make money for himself if he really believes this book will save people. If it’s all legal, why make moral judgement on the dude?

I tell you why. There’s news footage from ABC10 in San Diego of a woman in Tecate, Mexico who can have a shack without running water and a cooler for a fridge and a toilet with no plumbing because Tom pays her over minimum wage. (Mexico’s general minimum wage is like 12 bucks A DAY.) And he’s proud of it. So proud.

This woman is hauling water around trying to survive and then there’s Tom talking about humanity helping humanity. He also boasts for only $1 a day, employees at his Scantibodies Laboratory in Mexico can eat 3 meals a day. A real Mother Teresa I tell ya. I found some reviews of what it’s like to work for Scantibodies and religious cult came up more than once.

Now I remember I got to google the net worth of Scantibodies. Oh dear. This is what I get: After extensive research and analysis, Zippia’s data science team found the following key financial metrics. Scantibodies Laboratory peak revenue was $290.0M in 2022. Scantibodies Laboratory has 620 employees, and the revenue per employee ratio is $467,741.

Which means that lady in a shack with no running water in Tecate, Mexico earned Tom almost half a million dollars last year. Jesus.

The book ends with the story of Tom’s bud Larry Rust dying unsaved because he didn’t listen to Tom. Really. There’s even a video online of Tom talking about Larry being on his death bed rejecting Tom about accepting Jesus and then Tom comes back the next day and the nurse reports that man’s last words were pleading for Tom to come back. Told ya so, Lar–ry!

But before that there’s a solid six pages of Tom comparing himself to Simon Wasserman. So basically, he thinks he is like Simon Wasserman warning Jewish people about Hitler and how Wasserman was forced to leave Germany without his family who were all murdered. Tom believes he was “broken to be rebuilt as a Simon Wasserman to see others saved, cost what it will.” So there you have it, and I will indeed leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions. Mine is that when people refer to the confidence of a mediocre white man, they are talking about this guy.

“Changed” is available on Amazon, has 495 ratings, 70% are 1-star. Now some of those are worth reading.

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