Traveling prophet wows audience

Hearing Prophet Tom Stamman speak at the Illini Union Sunday afternoon got personal for Kevin Wernis, a freshman in LAS who was chosen from an audience to listen to his prophecy.

Stamman described Wernis' personality and situation - how he is a loyal person who has a family member struggling with something in his or her life - and told Wernis about the type of woman he was going to marry.

"I have definitely been described as loyal a lot," Wernis said in response to Stamman comments. Wernis also said almost everything else Stamman prophesized was true.

International prophet Tom Stamman was brought to the University to speak to audience members during a three-day event this past weekend by the International House of Prayer, a registered student organization.

Stamman, a Roman Catholic who lives in Minnesota, has claimed to prophesize more than 100,000 people with extremely high accuracy. Stamman, who has traveled to places like Malaysia, Israel and Chile, is serious about what he does and differs from the typical sideshow fortuneteller who predicts people's futures for entertainment. He has written several books about his abilities and said he is not doing it for the money.

"I love this, this is exciting," said Stamman of his trip to the University. This coming fall, he will travel to five more universities throughout the United States.

Stamman said he first discovered his abilities in 1996, when he was at a church in Iowa and found that he knew things he should not have known. He also said he is not alone in his ability to prophesize and has taught about 500,000 people through workshops.

Stamman said he tells people secrets of their heart, things about their past, events to happen in the future, and wisdom and warnings. Others have even experienced miracles of healing through his prayer, he said.

"I just listen to the voice of God," said Stamman, describing himself as a postman who delivers messages to people. But he said the power of prophecy is not a gift.

"If you don't use it, you lose it," Stamman said.

He said there are four types of people: believers, skeptics, the belligerent who refuse to believe and those who are open and will believe only if convinced.

"If I were you, I wouldn't believe either," Stamman said of his skeptics. "Sometimes I prophesize things I don't even believe. But I don't know everything. If I knew everything, I'd sign up for the lottery. Duh."

Moe Vilceus, a resident of Savoy, Ill., experienced a situation similar to Wernis' during Sunday's event.

Stamman prophesized that Vilceus is an affluent intellectual who will be making big changes overseas, possibly in politics. He added that Vilceus might even pursue a career as a professor. Vilceus said he will in fact be going to Haiti soon and, with his advanced degrees, has the capabilities and desire to teach at the college level.

"I wasn't surprised," Vilceus said. "Everything he said was just dead-on."

Others who did not hear personal messages from Stamman during his hour-long speech were encouraged to sign up and speak with him one-on-one afterwards.

"I've just heard that he's a prophetic man and that he's really accurate," said RaeAnne Warren, a staff member for the University Speech and Hearing Science Department. Warren also attended a prayer and worship event on Saturday at the Union.

Lisa Walker, a kindergarten teacher from Philo, Ill., who is Warren's roommate, said she came because Warren had received an e-mail about Stamman's appearance at the University. Walker said she thought it would be interesting because she had never heard anyone speak about people's lives on such a personal level.

Stamman said that although most people are really excited to come listen to him, he occasionally does get death threats. But he said the hostility motivates him to prove himself to the doubters.

"I like skeptical people," Stamman said. "I think people should come out (to prophetic events) and see for themselves if it's real."

"He's a prophet of God," said Kornell Lloyd, a leader with the Get Free Ministry (GFM) and local Web-design business owner. Lloyd, who has seen Stamman speak before, said some people cry after hearing what he has to tell them. "They're like, 'How did he know that?'" Lloyd said.