Fact and Fantasy Compared – Forty Years of Fraud
by Roy Livesey
Introduction by Shaun Willcock
Alberto Rivera is the principal character in the “Alberto” series of picture books, published by Chick Publications in California. They claim to be based upon the life story of a man who said he was an ex-Jesuit priest converted to Christ, and on other information about Roman Catholicism and the Jesuits which he supplied. When asked to make a statement concerning the validity of his supposed life story, Rivera published a declaration that what was written by “JTC” (Jack T. Chick) was “a true and actual account.
But this was a lie. And although this lie was exposed to some extent by others before him, Roy Livesey carried out the most extensive and thorough research of all into the life and claims of Alberto Rivera. His research revealed that Rivera was never a Jesuit priest, but a fraud and a deceiver.
Sadly, although Rivera died in 1997 his false message continues to be promoted across the world, via the Chick comic books as well as via the many who believed him and continue to do so. And those who seek to expose him are branded as “Jesuit agents” or Vatican stooges, the very tactic which Rivera used, and one which the gullible are only too willing to emulate.
As Livesey writes in the preface to his short biography entitled Alberto Rivera: “Alberto” Comic Book Con Man (2005): “Surely Rivera must have been the most consistently successful deceiver the Church has known. After some forty years of deceiving readers and international audiences, Rivera died in 1997 without ever having been stopped in his tracks…. Unfortunately there have been too many undiscerning Protestants and evangelicals ready to be persuaded by our con man and agent provocateur. Alberto Rivera could only exaggerate and hinder the truth; and truth is essential if God is to be honoured and the Protestant cause not hindered.”
The following article is reprinted from Roy Livesey’s New Age Bulletin, Vol III, No 4, November 1991. It is a concise summary of his research. His booklet entitled Alberto Rivera: “Alberto” Comic Book Con Man, was published by Bury House Christian Books, Kidderminster, England, in 2005. It was based on his complete biography of Rivera, a very comprehensive and as-yet unpublished manuscript, entitled Alberto Rivera: the True Story. Perhaps this excellent exposé could yet be published.
It must be borne in mind that Roy Livesey exposes Rivera’s fantasies in the article below, but this is by no means to say that many of the things Rivera describes have not indeed occurred, or that they are not occurring still. Rivera said many true things about Rome, gleaned from various reliable sources, or he would not have been able to deceive so many for so long. But Livesey’s purpose is to show that Rivera was never a Jesuit priest, and that he fabricated many things about Rome to sensationalise his “life story”.
Also, it must be pointed out that some of those who have written exposés of Rivera in the past, and the publications in which these have appeared, are not doctrinally sound and we do not recommend them for doctrine in any way. But men may carry out good factual research regardless of their personal beliefs. Rivera branded all such researchers as Jesuit agents, and sadly many who continue to believe his message follow him in this tactic; but it does not automatically follow that every man who has exposed Rivera is an agent of Rome whose research is faulty! Evidence is evidence, and shooting the messenger just because his message is not to their liking does not make the evidence disappear.
The Alberto Rivera* Story
*** Jim Jones, Jim Bakker… Alberto Rivera.
*** Rivera pretends he was Jesuit Priest who learned Vatican secrets.
*** He teaches a false history supposedly learned in the Vatican.
*** His message reaches millions through best-selling picture books.
*** His financial frauds continue after nearly forty years.
*** He is known world-wide and living in Southern California.
*** The incredible story of money and religious fraud.
*** The fact of Rivera’s life is as extraordinary as his fantasy.
*** An epic story as extraordinary as any film or fiction?