"Thomas Papania,". Often erroneously referred to as Tom Papanier, due
to an error in spelling which occurred during his family's immigration via New
York's Staten Immigration entry point. Papania's life Testimony can be seen in
Castellano succeeded Carlo Gambino as head of the Gambino crime family, then one of New York's largest Mafia families. In early 1985, he was one of many Mafia bosses arrested on charges of racketeering, which was to result in the Mafia Commission Trial; in December of that year, while out on bail, Castellano and an associate were shot to death outside Sparks Steak House in Manhattan on the alleged orders of John Gotti. Papania claims he had a On the road to Damascus experience, and surrendered his life to Christ, closely following a suicide contemplation. Papania was sent to the Atlanta federal penitentiary to await trial. The trial was one of Atlanta's longest, lasting 11 months During another trial in the 1980s, Papania lied and swore under oath that he had no mob connections. He has since admitted and explained why he had to lie, and expressed his regret in several interviews and public speaking engagements. Papania has preached in over 25 countries, such as Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, even at the invitation of the leader of Fiji, Ratu Epili in 2003.
Papania attends church near Atlanta Georgia.
has a ministry for prisoners and their families and shares his story around
the world. God's Saving Grace ministries claims that
it leads thousands of incarcerated men into a lifestyle that rehabilitates
and transforms the men. Papania appeared on James Dobson's Focus on the Family
Radio show, after a thorough investigation which James Dobson commissioned
and found Papania to be the real thing. The Radio show was the most highly
requested show in all of the radio show's history and hundred of thousands
of tapes were ordered through Focus on the family. Papania has been
featured on national TV and radio shows such as The 700 Club, Life Outreach,
Billy Graham's radio broadcast, TBN,
local Christian television stations and radio stations in Charisma
magazine, and on Focus On The Family. On
the second day of broadcasting on Focus, in December of 1996, Dr. Dobson commented
that Tom Papania's story was almost too good to be true and Focus did a lengthy
background investigation of Tom's references and everything Tom stated in
his testimony was found to be true .
As typical with biographies of this nature, his testimony has been challenged by a few individuals such as Rocky Scarfone, an alleged mafioso, and Brian Karjala , a self-professed "minister of discernment"
Joseph Baffa (in 1953), allegedly claims Papania copied his testimony and
book, titled House
of cards. The novel is filled with sexually graphic descriptions of his
days as a petty criminal, and drug user/trafficker. The novel was rejected
by all Christian and mainstream publishers, and self-published. In the book
Baffa claims he was both petty drug dealer and part of the Mafia, an apparent
contradiction, since the NY Mafia enforces its "no-drugs" policy
with lethal force. Joe Baffa allegedly deals with young girls and boys as
part of his "youth ministry". Baffa is the brother of alleged child
sexual predator, 
Baffa. Baffa, a resident of Lawrenceville, GA, was arrested April 9 and
is in the Gwinnett County Jail, charged with raping two teen girls, aged 13
and 19. While local
Atlanta media has referenced "two separate incidents," Baffa's
charge sheet, available
online as of April 17 2008, apparently shows multiple charges. They include
aggravated sexual battery, aggravated child molestation, and rape.
Karjala was fired from his employment at Focus on the Family due to alleged behavioral issues, after allegedly being counseled for depression and other psychological issues. After his termination, Karjala allegedly picketed the offices of his former employer Focus on the Family, wearing a halloween-type devil costume, whilst shouting accusations at passers by.
His supervisor was also fired for alleged embezzlement and sentenced to 12 years in prison for that crime. Karjala allegedly claims he had no knowledge of the crimes whilst working for him. Karjala claims he was not fired from Focus on the Family and did not have "behavioral issues", nor was he counseled for depression and "other psychological issues".
He admits he had a brief meeting with the Focus counseling director allegedly to determine the cause of his claimed self-termination.
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Tom Papania with Dr. James Dobson at Focus on the Family offices in Colorado