Mike Savage was convicted of 89 counts of money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud and sentenced to 17 and a half years in federal prison. He's a former radio personality, television news anchor, and has been described as a criminal mastermind. These days he's an adjunct professor teaching Bible Theology and Psychology, and co-hosts A Savage Perspective podcast with his wife Cynthia, Mike authored the book, A Prisoner's Perspective: Redemption of a Criminal Mastermind.

 

 

 

Website: https://www.mikesavagebooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikesavagebooks/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mcsavage89/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikesav78418

 

 

 

(Transcript is a guide only and may not be 100% correct.)

 

Emily Olsen

Wherever there are shadows, there are people ready to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight. This is Bleeding Daylight with your host Rodney Olsen.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Welcome to Bleeding Daylight. Just a quick reminder that you can find Bleeding Daylight wherever you listen to podcasts, and you can connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

Today’s guest was convicted of 89 counts of money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud and sentenced to 17 and a half years in federal prison.

 

His remarkable story of life transformation and a wife who stood by him throughout everything is inspiring.

 

Mike Savage was jailed for his beliefs. His beliefs were that he could get away with his crimes without getting caught. He's a former radio personality, television news anchor, and has been described as a criminal mastermind. These days he's an adjunct professor teaching Bible Theology and Psychology, and co hosts A Savage Perspective podcast with his wife Cynthia, Mike authored the book, A Prisoner's Perspective: Redemption of a Criminal Mastermind. Today, we get to explore his colorful life on Bleeding Daylight. Mike, thank you so much for your time.

 

Mike Savage 

Well, it's a pleasure to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I know that the question on everyone's mind is what did he do to get sent to prison? Tell me about the days before you were caught.

 

Mike Savage 

The best way to put it I try not to go into too much detail for two reasons. One, I don't want to glorify my sin and second, I don't want to give anybody any ideas of what to do to make extra money. I was a radio talk show host I was making very little money doing that in the 1980s when I was approached to do some work overseas which had to do with transferring large sums of money. It could be cash, sometimes other types of wire transfers, that sort of thing. Well, I made a little money to begin with and then suddenly discovered, you know, there's a lot more that could be made. So I got involved with doing that and so it was international money laundering. And then, in the United States, there's two there were two forms of money laundering. One was just general money laundering, and the other was international money laundering. I was convicted of both 89 counts of money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud and so the sentence was 17 and a half years in federal prison.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And I'm wondering now, about those people who knew you at the time, I imagine they didn't even know that this was going on. So this would have been a real surprise, especially for those people who were used to listening to Mike on the radio. He's a good guy, and suddenly you sent off to prison.

 

Mike Savage 

Right? Well, no one knew what I was doing. My family didn't know the people that I was working with the time did not No, I had two lives. I had one the the family man, the working guy was working in Napa, California at the time on a radio station there. And no one had any idea. None whatsoever. I mean, I kept it totally away from them. The other side was the criminal side, which was an entirely as a Jekyll Hyde type of personality. The nice guy, the funny guy who was on the radio, the controversial guy on the radio suddenly became an entirely different person when it came to running a crime business and, and necessarily, so you can't be a nice guy when you're criminal, and being around other criminals. And so there was two different distinct Mike Savages at that time. Both liars, both cheating doing things that he shouldn't have been doing. I want to make this clear I accept responsibility for my crime I went to trial was proven guilty. I was guilty, I am guilty. I take responsibility. I don't want to downplay any of that, like, I was a nice guy to get caught up and stuff. That wasn't the case at all. I was not that people try to pay Oh, it wasn't a pretty nice guys. No, I was a liar. I was a liar. And I was really, really good at it. And until the Lord broke me down, I probably would have stayed on that path and ended up dead. But the amazing thing through all of this was that my wife, Cynthia, who had no idea what was going on, until the federal government, organized crime, Task Force, FBI, IRS, US Postal Service. Everybody came busting into our house, and she was six months pregnant at the time. And they took her away from it to reduce the stress. They told me that until you talk with us, we're not bringing her back. Well, they actually took her to breakfast, you know, they're being hard guys. And so my choice at that point was to I could have confessed and gotten much Last time, but instead I became the tough guy. And so this thing drew out and dragged out for over two years before we actually went to trial.

 

Rodney Olsen 

So that day, this is the time that your wife finds out of what's been going on, you say that you weren't prepared to admit it to the authorities who came busting down your door. What did you say to your wife?

 

Mike Savage 

I told her it was a mistake. They had the wrong person. I lied. I was a liar. I was unsaved. I was I was trying to cover my tracks trying to figure a way out of this and so I lied, and because she loves me so much, and she stayed with me through the entire incarceration. She's with me today in the other room, right? We're still together. And I got out in 2007. She loved me so much. She went along with with what I was saying she she would believe and that was it. It wasn't until much later that I would confess anything to her. That's after I'd been in prison for over two years.

 

Rodney Olsen 

So at that stage, she believes that an innocent man has been sent to prison. She has no idea at this point that you were absolutely guilty.

 

Mike Savage 

Yeah, that's right. And she was raising our children at the same time and sacrificing to come see me visit me in prison every other weekend. six hour drive each way six and a half hour drive from where she was living in the in the Napa area to Lompoc, California. So yeah, I was I was a rotten guy, truly a rotten guy.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And what did that do to the trust in your relationship? When finally you admitted that over those two years of getting to trial, and then a couple of years into the sentence, all these years of continuing that lie? And you suddenly say, Well, actually, I did it. What happened to the trust between the two of you?

 

Mike Savage 

It grew, it grew because she has always been trustworthy. To me and our relationship always been trustworthy, even though when I was trying to come up with reasons we should divorce While I was in prison, all this type of thing, she wouldn't have any of that at all. This is the the book honestly started out as an homage to her, and quickly morphed into oh my gosh, this is all about God. Only God could do this. Only God could bring a woman into my life before I got caught. Stay with me after I got caught through all the lies through all the stuff, stay faithful to me. And when I finally told her, she forgave me, she forgave me. Rodney of all of all the things I expected forgiveness was not one of them. But that was what came absolutely, totally, completely. And our relationship grew from from then on even further. If it could, I mean, it just it it mushroomed after that the idea of being able to just confess and say yeah, you know, look, I was I was bad. I got caught up and stuff. I had no business getting caught up in And I mean, the title of the book, the whole thing of the criminal mastermind is irony in the 1980s, and in the United States, they had this war on drugs and so forth. And I was convicted under drug statutes, even though drugs weren't part of the crime and every person that had more than one person working for them, was considered a criminal mastermind in the indictments. It was a it was like a template that was filled out if there was a kid on the street slinging drugs to and he had two or three people that work for him. He was a criminal mastermind it was the is the irony that everybody's a criminal mastermind at that particular time. I wasn't a criminal mastermind, I'd never been in trouble in my life. I just got greedy, and I fell for it and it was exactly the wrong thing to do. But it was a decision that I made willingly. I wasn't tricked, or duped into it. And then once I found out I was pretty good at it, then I expanded the enterprise and went from there. So that was, you know, that's just the way it is. I mean, I saw somebody say something about, you know, Mike never takes acceptance of response, but I did read the book, you know, I, I'm thinking I'm losing everything, including my wife and instead, God gave me the greatest gift, you know, eternal life and returned me to my wife. We've just continued to grow since then.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And I imagine that label of criminal mastermind is really a masterstroke by the police because as soon as you're labeled, that you're going into court and assumed to be guilty if you're being called at a criminal mastermind, and still, they have to prove the guilt and, and obviously, as you've said, that was there but that's a great way to put the jury on your side right from the start,

 

Mike Savage 

Right? This this type of crime will never have to we have to stand up to that stop. It'll never happen again. I mean, come on. I was before Bernie Madoff or any of these other people are doing anything and and it didn't stop or slow down. Anything people are going to send because they're centers, there's gonna be crime because there's criminals. You're not going to make an example. I mean, here in the US, and I'm not sure about Australia, we have the capital punishment or that sort of thing. But in the United States, certain states do. And there's even a federal law that allows under certain circumstances, but people are still killing people. Even though there's there's the capital punishment. So it speaks to the inherent evilness of man's heart. Mine in particular. I mean, it was a dark dark place, Rodney, it wasn't a again, I don't come across as Oh, I was a nice guy. I really was not a nice guy. There's a lot of things I wouldn't tell you about because I don't think the audience would be ready to hear that. When God reached down he had to come down a long way to grab hold of Mike Savage.

 

Rodney Olsen 

You said that you had to eventually admit your guilt to your wife. Was there a part of you that found it difficult to even admit that to yourself? Were you kidding yourself to some degree and thinking, well, this is all justified, I need to make a living and this is my way to do it? Or did you just know straight out, I'm absolutely guilty?

 

Mike Savage 

No, I lied to myself. I felt like I was caught up in something that I couldn't get out of. I'll be honest with you I prayed even when I was an unbeliever I remember praying the last couple of years before I got caught caught please get me out of this. This this is let me just get out of this. This is this is killing me this double life is I got to get out of this and the answer the prayer because I got I got arrested and put in prison. I was out of it. And I'm not making a joke there. I'm serious. I mean, that was that was an answered prayer. I see it now as an answered prayer. But at the time. My whole thought process was justification. I'm justifying this. This is what I do. If it was against the law, I would have been caught or I would know that it was against the law. All the justification in the world I would pour into my, but knowing deep down inside you know, that's a lie Mike. But going against that, no, no, no, I got to keep going. Gotta keep going. Gotta keep going. And I had people dependent on me, not just my family. But the crime people that I was they were dependent on me. So trying to stop wasn't really an option. I needed someone to help and God did help. I mean, there was that's a thorough cut when you go to prison. That's it. There's no coming back on this type of thing for me. I don't know what had been happened would have happened if I hadn't been saved in prison. I don't know what would have happened when I got out, or if I would have gotten out, you know, because it was just it was a dark, dark time where there's just no hope whatsoever of change. But initially, it was all justification. This is what I do. This is who I am. It's gonna be fine. I can handle this. All the lies you tell when you're trying to justify sin.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And as for the money that you are making, through your, your job as a criminal mastermind. All this money. How much did you make and how did you hide that away from the people that knew you?

 

Mike Savage 

in the 80s it really wasn't that much of a problem. Remember? There's no cell phones, there was no internet, the most advanced technology was faxing things from from one place to another. So moving money around was extremely easy transferring from one bank to a bank overseas or bank overseas to places in the United States. It wasn't a difficulty at all. I mean, that there weren't these limits on how much you can transfer now without reporting it to the Internal Revenue Service here in the US. So those laws and those things weren't in effect at that time. The amount that I was convicted of was $2 million, which back then was was quite, I mean, still quite a bit. Now. What am I saying? But I mean, back then it was even it was meant even more, but there was considerably more than that. That was moved around and that I got commissions on being able to do stuff. And the government traced virtually every penny of it and any property that we had that I had at the time, was seized and forfeited to the federal government. The banks overseas they talk about they have all the secrecy, you know, They rolled over instantly when the federal government asked them for the information. So they were able to track it, but it was they they got all the money that was left at the time of things that I hadn't bought or, or given to others or that sort of thing. It was it was millions of dollars. And it was it was very easy to do back.

 

Rodney Olsen 

You mentioned that you had an encounter with God whilst you were in prison, that he did answer the prayer that you prayed even before knowing if he was real or not and so often I find that that's the way that we pray for an answer, and we get the answer we didn't expect, but that is the answer that God brings.

 

Mike Savage 

Right.

 

Rodney Olsen 

How far into your jail term did that actually happen?

 

Mike Savage 

It was it was about two and a half years in. So the first I was first sent to the penitentiary in Lompoc, California. You know, it was classified as white collar criminal, all this kind of stuff, a civilian organized crime. They never proved any of that but I mean, they sent me to accidentally sent me to the penitentiary that they had misclassified my level of security supposed to be sent to a correctional institution which is a low, but I was sent to a very high level prison. So I was there for a short time till that got changed. And that I was transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution in Lompoc, which is right across the street from penitentiary. And I was assigned to the kitchen duty where I quickly ingratiated myself with some people there and began making alcohol for sale to the other prisoners. It's called pruno. And it was made with bread and yeast and sugar and I won't give the recipe out someone by trying it and going blind. But we would make that and so I had a little side hustle going on doing that I was also one of the guys making book, you know, for taking bets on football games and baseball games, basketball games, all that kind of stuff. So I fell right back into a criminal lifestyle. So I got into prison. So that was I was it was great. You know, it was where I got this. Now I can do this for the next you know, few years. But then about 18 months in I get transferred out of the kitchen where I was doing all this stuff to the chapels office the chaplains office and I became the lead chapel clerk. And I I didn't ask for the transfer obviously and and I went in and asked the chaplain, Why are you transferring me in here? Because I saw you on the on the compound he says, you know, Holy Spirit spoke to me about you and so I'm I wanted you to come work for me. And I said I look I don't know God I don't know any other stuff. You know, I've got time to do I'm not trying to sit around with a bunch of Bible thumpers or you know, Quran thumpers because like 13 different religious groups there you know from Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Jehovah Witness, Wiccans, all these Catholics, everything that you can think of right? So I don't want to be around people. Come on. He says now just give it a try. So I'm there and I know you gave me the responsibility for being in service. And then after the services are over with making sure everything was straightened out, everything was sorted, everything's cleaned out, ready for the next group ready for whatever was going to be coming in. And so over a period of six months, I'm going to all these different services, right? And not just Protestant service, I'm going to all of them and thinking this is the worst job in the world. Everybody thinks they're right. Everybody's got away to God, and we got to do this. You got to do that. Come on, come on. So the thing that I hated most was going to Protestant services. Because there was always this altar call at the end, where you know, you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, come forward, say this prayer, you'll be saved and I'm like, okay, right. I'm sitting in the back. And it was it had been a particularly rugged week for me. I'd argued with Cynthia, I wanted to divorce or over the phone and so I want to divorce now you're not going to divorce me? She was she's just adamant, there's not gonna be a divorce. So I'm miserable. I've got, you know, a million years left on my sentence. I mean, this is 1990s I don't get out until 2007. And I'm thinking, you know, that's Buck Rogers time back since 2000. Oh, that's far, far away. And I'm miserable and depressed and angry because I can't make the pruno anymore. I'm upset about not being able to involve the gambling and do any of this stuff at all. And I sat through so many of these Protestant services, I probably could have given the sinner's prayer, even being an unbeliever. It's just and so this particular night, I'm angry, I'm depressed, frustrated, I'm sitting in the back waiting for these guys, just the volunteers that come in and, you know, volunteers before come in and see me and let me pray for you. They put their hands on, oh, God tells me you're not going to do any more of your sentence. You're going to go home soon. And you know, truly rockin it every single day of my sentence, so none of their prophesizing work but I didn't know at the time I was just irritated. Just Just a miserable person. As I'm sitting In the back and vice of rotten week, I said, You know what, God, I'll tell you what if you're real, if you really are real, and all this stuff I've been hearing for these months is true. Show me something. Just show me something. And the guy's going into the sinner's prayer at the same time, and I'm just seeing it together. Show me something. Because I don't. This is his last chance. Show me something. And Rodney, I started crying. I don't cry. I'm not a crier. Never been a crier. But I start crying not not like crying, but like, weeping. And all I can describe, and I don't expect everybody to go through this. I don't expect a lot of people necessarily gonna believe me when I say this, but suddenly it's like a synapse in my brain that had been dormant fired and all those sermons I sat through, and all those things teaching seminars that I sat through and all the stuff that I was so miserable having to do. I suddenly understood, I got it. I understood and I, and I believed. It made sense to me for some reason, while I'm weeping like a baby, this, I'm a big guy, I'm 6'3" at the time, I was like, 280, now I'm 220 Thank You, Jesus. But this big old guy weeping in the back, and actually believing for the first time, not only in God, that God loved me. And I just, that's how I that's how I got saved. As I don't everybody goes through that I'm just this is just what happened to me. It's just what happened to me. And it was at synapse firing. All that stuff filtered through. I could understand what was being said. I wanted a closer relationship with with this person, who when I asked him to prove something to me, made me cry. You know, I've just kept my head down, waiting for everybody to leave. Now, usually the volunteers come and we say something. Nobody said he left. And so I finished up cleaning up the thing left with back to the, to the to the cell, and just laid there quietly, trying to figure this stuff out. A couple of days later had to go back to work. I go in and see the chaplain, I say, Look, let me tell you what happened. So I told him, he said, I've been waiting for that. Like, it's just, I've been waiting for this, Mike, this is this is great news don't. And I said, Well, that's, that's great news for you. But I have no idea what to do. I said, I am I supposed to go to every Bible study? I'm supposed to go every service one, what am I supposed to do? And he said, Just be patient. This is let's let's let's pray together. And we did. And let's see what God would have you do. About a week later, I was enrolled in seminary because I wanted to know If, like in the first chapter of John, when it says that, that Jesus is God, I remembered from the Jehovah Witnesses when they read it so that Jesus was a god. So the first thing I wanted to do was see in the Greek what it actually said, he says, we're gonna need to go to seminary. I said, Yeah, give me the Strong's Concordance, and let's go through this. And so when I saw, I said, Okay, then I was in, then I, all I wanted to do was learn. And I was 30 something years old. And all I wanted to do was learn about God. And so over the next, you know, what was 13 years? That's all I did was I learned, I went to seminary. I got my degrees. I'm trying to figure out okay, when I get out what am I called to do? And the chaplain was gone by then other chaplains are talking, Oh, God, I'll show you that. But you're called to be a Pastor Mike. And I was saying, that's cool. You know, that's great. I only have to work on what Wednesday to do a Bible study. And then Sunday, I preach and I'm rest of the week mine pretty much, right? So I had obviously, I had no clue as to what a pastor did. But I became a teacher. And I began teaching the other inmates and stuff that I was learning. And, you know, I would preach, got to the point when I transferred Finally, when my custody dropped far enough down, I was transferred to a camp in Taft, California. And we put together a choir, and we would go out and sing in the local churches, and I would preach, and it was, so it Okay, well, you know, I'm not, I'm an okay, preacher, I don't know. But I'm really a teacher and a counselor because I was counseling guys and doing things like that. And so it was it was a metamorphosis, you know, over the over the period of time from from this cocoon of prison to where coming out, you know, what am I going to be? Am I going to be, you know, an ugly duck might be a butterfly, you know, what's this and you shouldn't be the person I want you to be like, and so that's kind of in a nutshell, from you just asked me about salvation, but I kind of felt like you need to see the whole story of how it played out. It wasn't a Oh, I've got this now. My life has changed. This is a road to Damascus thing. There was no road to Damascus God had me do every single day of my time. And my wife waited for me every single day of that time, and suffered greatly by doing so. But she stayed nonetheless. And I mean, that's kind of tell you, I mean, it's amazing that our youngest child became a police officer a year and a half ago. How's that? People say God doesn't have a sense of humor. How's that for a sense of humor, but I mean, it's just been kind of a that type of a metamorphosis is taking place.

 

Rodney Olsen 

So you were able to undertake those seminary courses whilst you're in prison. I guess that's one way of making sure that you have the time to study.

 

Mike Savage 

Yeah, you know, I'm I don't know how many people you know, who have read all of Calvin's Institute's who've read most of the Pentecostal literature on preaching worship, teaching that story. thing, read through most of the word biblical commentaries, I went through all those. When I wasn't in the chapel. I was either at the weight pile, or I was in myself reading books. And if I could get away with reading books while I was on duty at the chapel, I did that too. I mean, I, I read every commentary I could get my hands on. I read different versions of the Bible. I learned the the Greek and the Hebrew writings, I can't pronounce it people laugh at me when I try and read it out loud because I didn't have anybody teaching me how to save the words. But that and I did some time with a priest and he was walking me through the Latin rights and Latin masses and, and going through those things. And so I had this this opportunity to get a world class education doing that. I was just amazed. You know, what I look back now. I'm amazed. But it was it was a rare opportunity. And I'm really glad I took that time to be able to read rather than you know, just In the stuff that I was starting out doing,

 

Rodney Olsen 

it certainly has been a big change around. And you mentioned that initial chaplain who saw you out there and just felt the Holy Spirit saying, There's something about this guy, you need some sort of connection. Do you ever get a chance to catch up with him once you left prison?

 

Mike Savage 

Thank goodness for Facebook, right? He found me. He knew when I was getting out, and we weren't allowed to communicate while I was in prison, but he had retired. And when I got out, he contacted me. So we have been in contact. This is just a wonderful, wonderful man of God. And there was there's another chaplain that I met at Taft that I'm still in contact with also he's retired as well. Just wonderful men of God that were instrumental in keeping me on the right path when I got to Taft, that there were some extreme rough edges because I'd been at higher level institutions and going into a camp it was entirely different. I had higher level institutions swearing is de rigueur, you know, it's part of the the process. So he, he had to work on my swearing, I had a tendency to, I felt like there were certain times where only a certain word would do you know, and I know that sounds strange for Christians but I have saved in prison I was educated in prison. So the the rough and he he worked as hard as he could to get those rough edges off of me and and I have to give him a lot of credit for, for having a lot of patience. There was times I would just I was amazed at some of the stuff that people would say that were the lower level institution. I mean, it's as low as it was no fence around it, not the walk off if you wanted to. But I mean, the people who come in were just straight from the streets where I've been in prison for over a decade. So if there was some some fisticuffs and other things that occurred just kind of leave it at that, but he I'm telling you, Rodney was the the Mike Savage of today is entirely different than the one that made it into that prison camp at the end for the final two years of a sense of Oh man, so that it's a It was a process and God always put the right people there to take care of that.

 

Rodney Olsen 

There is a thought for some people that once you come to meet with God, you accept Jesus. There's that salvation that we talk about in Christian circles, that life gets pretty sweet after that. But you're saying that that's not quite the case. You still had to serve out that sentence. And that goes against the way that some people would like to believe.

 

Mike Savage 

 I had guys tell me, you just need to claim your way out of here. You just need to claim your way out Mike because God loves you. I said, show me one person that's claimed their way out of prison. Just one. I said, let's take a look at the scriptures. You know, where did Paul end up? Where did Peter end up? In prison. As if there's anybody that could have walked out? It's those two but they chose to stay. Why? Because their faith in God. I have faith in God that he's going to make now there weren't times that I wasn't still talking to Father and saying, hey, look, you know, this is this is good to go. I'm ready to go. But the thing is that the books that I read one of them was the practice of his presence by Brother Lawrence. Are you familiar with that book?

 

Rodney Olsen 

I've certainly heard of it. Yes.

 

Mike Savage 

Oh, that's the only way I pray anymore is this constant conversation I mean, whether I'm, you know, scooping dog poop in the backyard, or whether I'm cooking dinner, or whether the Bible open in front of me, He and I are in a conversation. When I teach prayer. When I teach the theology of prayer, one of the first things I tell the students is, from here on out for this for this semester, when you finish praying to God, do not say amen. Unless you're praying over food, because we don't want the food to get cold but other than that, we're forbidden from saying amen, because that's like hanging up the phone. You're done. Maybe he's not. And so would you be in conversation? And the first time I said that, I got reported to the Academic Dean who calls me to his office, I'm teaching heresy. I explained to him what I said, and he says I've never thought of that. That's a good point. And so the first lesson is for them. I want you to sit there for one minute, close your eyes and think about nothing but God just just got for one minute. Everything else is gone. Close your eyes. I'm timing. And of course, I'm a big guy. So these students are intimidating in prison. So they are their best right? At the end of one minute, okay, who was able to keep their mind on God for one minute without any intrusive thoughts, and whoever raises their hand, I'm going to call a liar, because there was no way you could do that. It takes practice. It takes effort. It takes building a relationship where you can be in conversation, and I learned that from Brother Lawrence. And Brother Lawrence said that even when he would forget when he would get caught up in the mundane things of life, God would call him back and we've got did call him back by the Lord's didn't have to fall down and apologize, guys, I know how you're from. Let's just continue where you left off. And they would have that communication. The same way Jesus did with his disciples when they were walking to me that was prayer. They're walking and talking to me, you're talking to God, that's perfect. He's talking back. That's the best form of prayer. So Those types of books made a big difference in my life. I didn't learn that in seminary. I just found the book and read it. It happened to be in the prison library. And it was it was a life changer for me. I mean, I walk around the backyard talking to God out loud. And occasionally some of the neighbors say you're talking to me. I know. Sorry. I was just thinking out loud cuz I don't tell him talking to God because I don't want him to think I'm crazy, right? But I do. Talk to him just like that every day. Walk around the house, my dogs will look at me. They know he's talking to God. He's not talking to us. My wife puts up with it, which is brilliant. I don't even realize I'm talking out loud to God but he brought me through so much. Why am I gonna give up on him now? Why? Why wouldn't I keep praying that way? Is our life terrific? Yeah. Because we're together. Doesn't mean we have millions of dollars or any of that type of thing. Sometimes it's tough to find a job, you know, for an ex con, who's a professor, an adjunct professor, rather than being a tenured professor. Sometimes it's tough, but he's never let us down. We went through hurricane Harvey a few years ago had bunch of stuff destroyed. God built it right back up. Went through another hurricane a couple of months ago. God was right there with his to do it again. And so it's kind of hard to doubt him. After all I've been through over the time being in prison and looking back and seeing what He did, it is hard to doubt that He's not going to do the right thing moving forward. So I mean, why would I doubt that will be the reason for that. He's never let me down before Why would he suddenly do that?

 

Rodney Olsen 

At the end of your sentence, you're released and even though your wife Cynthia has stood by you all this time, was it like studying a new relationship coming out and having to set boundaries again and, and just begin again, from a new point?

 

Mike Savage 

To a degree. Now understand when I left to go to prison, there was no cell phones, internet. Starbucks was just kind of starting type of stuff in California. When I get out, she hands me a cell phone. As I don't need his cell phone. I need to call anybody No, for 15 years you had to call me I wouldn't be able to call you. Okay. All right, I'm cell phone. I thought the internet was like a big library that everything was true on it. You can look stuff up. So I was anxious to to try that. But my behavior in prison. I'll give you an example. I got home shortly before Thanksgiving. And on Thanksgiving, the whole family came over right there stand in the house and I was talking all this. Well, 10 o'clock at night, you know, I was tired. So I went to bed. And Rodney when I say went to bed. I just got up and left and went to the bedroom, went to bed. And I got up the next morning. And Cynthia says, Are you mad? I said mad, what would I be mad about? I'm happy. I'm home. You know, this is great. I'm happy to be with you. You went to bed last night. You didn't say good night to anyone. Well in prison, you don't go around. Okay, night night, everybody. I didn't even dawn on me and I suddenly realize That that, you know, they talk about being institutionalized the idea that you become used to routines and institutions so you carry them with you. That's exactly what it happened. And so I had to learn to do those sort of things. Another example of that a few weeks later, Cynthia and our youngest son, we're going to the grocery store, get out the car, walk in a parking lot. This lady comes running up to Cynthia with a clipboard, asking if she registered to vote. And Cynthia is very polite, very elegant woman professional. She's director of case management for three hospitals here in Corpus Christi. Just a terrific lady. She goes, Yes, I have. Thank you. Okay. And so Jessie and I are beginning to talk. I mean, he's, he's a teenager. And so we were kind of struggling to establish a rapport. Me being there all the time. So we're talking about sports, we're talking about American football. And so we're going back and forth about football. We're still talking or walking up the street. There. All of a sudden ladies in front of me says, Did you register to vote? I just walked around or continue talking to Jesse. And we kept going. She comes around a second time gets right in front of me. I said, Did you register to vote? And I just walk around again, still talking to Jesse, third time, almost to the store. She She comes around, answer me, did you register to vote, but you don't point at people in prison like that you don't get in their face like that. I mean, it's just not something that's done unless you're looking for a fight. And so I informed her loudly that I was an ex con, I wasn't going to be able to vote, and that I just had 15 years in prison and the she needed to not stand in front of it. Only I used a lot of swear words to do it loudly and I'm a Christian at the time. Okay. But this is I'm acting, I'm acting out, you know, like, and so she kind of withers and goes away. I see Cynthia pull up the hood on her jacket and go into the store quickly. Jesse is my youngest son just beaming. He's, he's so happy. smiling. His old man just, you know, swore at this lady. I, you know, there's a little bit of the Holy Spirit convicting me. But sometimes the Holy Spirit wouldn't convict me until there was a lesson that had to be learned in the right lesson, the right person that we learned that lesson was there. Excuse me. Well, when I walk in, Cynthia's got her hood up. Got the grocery cart, trying to speed away, Hey, where are you going? Come here, come here. Let me let me push that for you. And it's what's wrong? And she said, you just you realize that you just very loudly swore at this lady and told everyone in hearing range that you're an ex con. Yeah. She said, there's nothing wrong with that, other than the swearing and being loud is nothing wrong being an ex con. But she says the people who heard you, they don't know what you did to go to prison. So they might think they're in the presence of a murderer or rapist or child abuser or something like that. You might consider that in the future beforehand. And that's when the Holy Spirit came said, Yeah, like, come on. Settle down. trust in me. Let me guide you a little. I had to learn that lesson that way. So there were a couple of times that I can remember right off the top of my head. That things did not go well. Yeah, I was a Christian. Yeah, I was saved. Yes, I believe all of those things, but I still had to change coming out of prison. So Cynthia and I, my relationship was great. She would support me through anything. But the children were kind of like, Who is this guy? Now? Well, Jessie loved the idea of the tough guy, ex con dad coming out. Daughter, not as much, oldest son not as much. So I had to learn to readapt into society. At the same time, be true to God, and be true to who he made me, which is sometimes I can be maybe a little loud or sometimes I can be a little, you know, demonstrative and in how I talk and I don't mean swearing, but I mean, I get close. Stop. I hardly ever do it from the pulpit anymore, right? No, I'm just kidding. I've. But it's one of those things I had to get back into me. Because I was a guy from the 80s coming out in 2007. You know, I it was rough inside prison. I mean, it's not I've been through riots. I've been through solitary confinement more times than I can count, but I never went to solitary confinement until after I was a Christian. Because I was always under suspicion for something because with the stuff that I used to do, I wasn't doing more so he must be doing something worse. So there was a change and things had to occur and I had to grow as a person as God wanted me to be outside of prison. And and that's that's been an ongoing process.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Tell me a little of what life is like now. Very different to those prison days. And I'm sure that God is still teaching you lessons. But what does life look like for you today?

 

Mike Savage 

When I turned 60, which was a year and a half ago. I thought, Okay, that's it. I'm done. You know, that's it. It's 60 that's old. You're finished. You know, we're going to, okay, I'm going to retire, and then slowly fade away. But it's, it's it hasn't been that way at all. I wrote the memoir. I've written a novel that I'm working on now. I finished up a dissertation for my doctorate in psychology over the last few years. And so today I'm an adjunct professor, I teach online, occasionally I go into the classroom. I enjoy being in the classroom. I enjoy teaching students and and challenging them and having fun with them. But I enjoy the time alone with God. I can see what was so appealing to to Francis Merton and his writings a Roman Catholic monk, a Trappist monk, about that this solitude of being God. And so there are days when I have contact with them. No one but Cynthia, and I can, I'm content with that. There are other days that I'll have me doing interviews, or we'll be interviewing people have classes, and I'm busy going back and forth. And it's fine. But any problems that arise, I always put into the perspective of what I've been through in the past and how God was faithful with that. And I've been in prison riots where, you know, things got ugly in a hurry, and he still protected me. And so, I always give the example of this way in prison when they say that brother is gonna stab you in the back. They mean it literally. It's not like it's not a metaphor of, he's going to say something bad about you. So there's this perspective that I've been that I've been given by God, that it's okay to be alone. Because you're not alone because you're with God. It's okay if if people don't always remember your name or they're not struck by this interview or by reading one of your books are. That's okay. That's okay. And so my life is one of pleasant solitude at times of pleasant action at times, but of trying my best to be led by God and whatever he wants me to do it and sometimes that's moment to moment because sometimes I can get a little restless, I'll admit. And that's time of Okay, we'll pick up the guitar. You know, let's just talk Mike why you play your little chords, or, you know, let's let's write some more. Let's edit some more. This is a quiet more contemplative time and I've described it to Cynthia as being in solitary confinement, with privileges. But I mean, it's a good life. Our children are all grown. We have five grand sons. It's an enjoyable life because I see it through how God wants me to see it in times that I get restless. I realize I'm just being kind of a knucklehead and just to settle down.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I'm going to put some links to your website in the show notes at bleeding daylight dotnet. But for anyone listening, what's the easiest way for them to get in touch with you? They want to pick up a copy of your book and delve further into your story or listen to the podcast. Where should they go?

 

Mike Savage 

Well, I made it pretty simple. If they want to buy the book, it's on Amazon. It's called a prisoner's perspective, the redemption of a criminal mastermind. So it's right there on Amazon. If you're interested in finding out more about me or for whatever reason that may be, you can go to MikeSavageBooks.com. That's, that's the website and I'm also on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. And I'm not a master of any of those, but I am capable of returning messages. So if I can at least do that, but the that's the best way to get in touch. I appreciate your you're putting those out there. Thank you, Rodney very much,

 

Rodney Olsen 

Mike. It has been a delight hearing your story to hear where you've come from and where God has you headed and I'm sure that the story is not over yet but thank you so much for your time today on Bleeding Daylight.

 

Mike Savage 

Thank you very much.

 

Emily Olsen

Thank you for listening to Bleeding Daylight. Please help us to shine more light into the darkness by sharing this episode with others. For further details and more episodes, please visit BleedingDaylight.net

 

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