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Piers Morgan Live

Remembering Sandy Hook; Interview with Rick Warren

Aired December 04, 2013 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Tonight, exclusive, Adam Lanza's aunt, on the day the 911 calls from Sandy Hook are released.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is 911, what's the location of the emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sandy Hook school. I think there's somebody shooting in here. Sandy Hook school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, what makes you think that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because somebody's got a gun. I saw a glimpse of somebody there running down the hallway. They're still running, they're still shooting. Sandy Hook school, please.


MORGAN: Marsha Lanza, the first member of the family to speak out publicly and gives her reaction to the 911 calls released. Plus, the grieving father of a 6-year-old who tried to save his classmates. Neil Heslin also joins me. And Pastor Rick Warren. His message for the parents of Sandy Hook.


RICK WARREN, AMERICAN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN PASTOR AND AUTHOR: A lot of people try to make it sound like well, everything that happens is God's will. That's nonsense. God allows everything but God does not choose everything.


MORGAN: Only give it our big story, the release of the Sandy Hook 911 tapes just days before the first anniversary of that horrific tragedy. Joining me now exclusively its Adam Lanza's aunt speaking out about the shooter's family. Marsha Lanza thank you for joining me, I'm aware that you're the first member of the Lanza Family to speak publicly since this appalling shooting. First of all, let me get your reaction to the release of this 911 tapes, have you heard them yourself and what do you feel about the release today?

MARSHA LANZA, ADAM LANZA'S AUNT: I've heard a portion of the tapes, I don't think the timing is right for them to be released. I think emotions are very raw and too soon. I really believe they need to wait.

MORGAN: You're married to the brother of Adam Lanza's father, you didn't see Adam Lanza from I think, from when he was three years old but you stayed in contact with his mother Nancy and there are many obviously unanswered questions about what happened here. As a member of the family, as a Lanza, have you been able to work out in your mind what on earth happened to turn Adam Lanza into this mass killer?

MARSHA LANZA: It's been very trying, as a family that's been shaken to the core. Yes we all have questions as well that will neither have answers to, as to why. Was he a troubled child? Did he get the help that he needed? Did he get enough help? Who knows, I mean if we look at that the footsteps that were taken and Nancy did the best she could with what she had and money was not the object to hold her back from getting him the help that he needed, but as a parent did she step back and look at the reality of where she was in her parenting skills? I don't know.

MORGAN: You spoke to Nancy Lanza I believe in the week leading up to the shooting. How did she seem to you then, did she mention any problems that she was having with her son?

MARSHA LANZA: No she did not, she said her boys were fine and she was looking into the education -- further education for Adam into Washington, you know, they were waiting to hear back. No inclination that anything was wrong or not right.

MORGAN: I mean obviously it was a tragedy for you as a family that she lost her life as well that day but nothing can quite compare to the appalling horror suffered by all the other families. What are you as a member of the Lanza Family would you say to the families who lost their children that day and indeed the six adults who were also killed?

MARSHA LANZA: My heart goes out to each and every family that has lost a child. Personally I have lost two sons, I know what you feel, I know what you're feeling five years from now, 10 years from now and it's getting to that point of moving on from day to day one foot in front of the other knowing that you will make it, you'll become stronger because of it and we will never know why but you can't dwell on the bad times following the good times and you will get through you will endure. And if you can reach out and help someone else in any way that's part of the healing process and the ability to talk about it, if you don't talk you won't heal you can't stuff it.

MORGAN: Your husband I believe has been in contact with Adam Lanza's father. Does he give any insight into he's been coping with what happened?

MARSHA LANZA: Like any of us it's been a real trial, my heart goes out to Peter, I can only imagine what he is enduring, it was his son. I can't imagine it being one of my boys I would be devastated. His life is changed forever, he will never be the same and I'm sure whatever actions Peter goes he's good person, he is a good man, he's a survivor he will do all right, it's just going to take time.

MORGAN: Let me take you back to that awful day. Where were you when you heard the news? How did you hear the news and what was your reaction to when you discovered it was one of your own family who had perpetrated this terrible crime?

MARSHA LANZA: I was at home, I had the TV on only for noise I really wasn't watching it and I caught glimpse that there had been a school shooting and I thought, "Oh no not another one." And I went into the living room to hear and I thought, they said Newtown Connecticut and that didn't hit me because the address that I had said Sandy Hook not Newtown. And then when I heard the names I thought, "OK," Ryan Lanza, yes I have a nephew by the name of Ryan but the age didn't fit and I really wasn't sure about Newtown either.

Well then they came in a little bit later and they said it was Adam Lanza and his age and that's when I picked up the phone and I called my husband and said, "You heard the news?" and he hadn't heard a thing. I said, "Well you need to go listen, call me back later," and he did. And then we put the whole thing together and it was like, it just, it has shaken the family to the core.

MORGAN: I mean it must be very difficult to just have your surname in America, to be a Lanza it's an unusual name and you get people instantly identifying you as a family member, how do people treat you? How do people treat the family generally?

MARSHA LANZA: For the most part people have been very kind to me. You know, you don't realize how much you use your name everyday until you live the day where you do use it and they look at you like "whoah" and you can see the writing all over their face with some say, something and some don't.

MORGAN: Many people Marsha Lanza have been very critical of Nancy Lanza as a mother and as a parent here because, she knew her son had Asperger's Syndrome and you, you had a former mental illness but didn't seem to deal with it properly. The house was laden with guns, over six guns were found there. She took this boy who was obviously deeply troubled, regularly to shooting ranges and so on. Do you think she deserves her criticism? You knew her, what do you think?

MARSHA LANZA: No I don't believe she deserves the criticism that she's gotten and why do I say that because, until you walked in her shoes as a parent with a special needs child you don't know what she endured, you don't know what she dealt with on a daily basis. You don't know what kind of help she received. Was it the right thing to do to take him to the shooting range? I really don't know and I say that for the reason being that why does anybody do anything that they do? I mean she may have taken him there thinking she could connect with him, not realizing how bad things were.

Is it something that a light switch went off and he just lost it? I really don't know, I'm not a doctor, I'm only a parent but if you have a special needs child I guess things should have been better stored or locked or whatever.

MORGAN: You I believe had contact with Nancy Lanza on the very day of the atrocity via e-mail is that right?


MORGAN: What did you say to it?

MARSHA LANZA: We were chatting about the boys and he going to Washington looking into some possible school.

MORGAN: So she was really even then trying to deal with his problems you believe?

MARSHA LANZA: She didn't relay how bad things were or if they were that bad.

MORGAN: What kind of a woman was she, Nancy Lanza?

MARSHA LANZA: Well Nancy was a very gentle spirit, a very kind, very giving, very compassionate person, very generous, I always liked Nancy she was a good mom. Really in tuned to her kids, very thoughtful of others.

MORGAN: You said that the picture that your painting is one that many of her friends have said before but the criticism comes particularly on that point, you just said about her being in tune with her kids that she seemed to be completely unaware of the building tension and drama that was clearly playing out in Adam's head which was compelling him in his own mind to do this terrible thing. Why do you think she was not able to spot that?

MARSHA LANZA: I guess my whole thoughts on the whole thing is let's back up to when he was in school and he was labeled to special needs. At what point in time did she feel she was not getting the services he needed and what avenues did she go to get him the services he needed, you know, a kid, you can talk in front of a kid but he will always remember how you made him feel. How did he feel at that very young age being labeled something he didn't know he was? Because at that age, though young enough they can't comprehend it all, her mom did the best she could with what she had as did his father and so as a child moves up in the ranks of age and he's not getting the services he needs because nobody really knows which way to go, what can you do? You do the best you have with what you have.

MORGAN: Obviously for the families who lost their loved ones that day at the hands of what Adam Lanza did, it's going to be an incredibly difficult week coming up, the anniversary with the whole world's attention focused back on there. I'm about to interview one of those families a man called Neil Heslin, lost his only son that day. What would you say on behalf of the Lanza family to people like Neil Heslin and the others as they still try and come to terms of what happened?

MARSHA LANZA: Oh, I want to say here on behalf of the Lanza family. We are so sorry but please don't judge the rest of us because of one. What he did was wrong, it was evil, and not only his Maker with judge him, not the rest of us, it's not our place to, as far as the families go. Don't lose your faith because that's what will keep you going. MORGAN: I know this has been difficult for you Marsha Lanza and I -- thank you for coming out and speaking publicly. The first member of the Lanza family to do it, it's not an easy thing to do. So obviously, you know, pretty horrendous time you and your family to not as horrendous as the poor families who lost their lives that day but I do appreciate you coming on and speaking to me. Thank you.

MARSHA LANZA: You're welcome.

MORGAN: When we comeback. Her father, his 6-year-old son died at Sandy Hook. Neil Heslin joins me, and also, Pastor Rick Warren, who knows all too well what it was like to deal with a family tragedy in the public eye. His message for the parents of Sandy Hook.


MORGAN: Neil has the list of the tragedy at Sandy Hook everyday. His 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis died trying to help his classmates since that tragedy. Neil's made it his mission to lobby the street with gun laws and Neil Heslin joins me now.

Neil, first of all, your reaction to that interview with Marsha Lanza, the first member of the family of the shooter to come out and speak in public. What do you make of it?

NEIL HESLIN, FATHER OF JESSE LEWIS, VICTIM OF THE SANDY HOOK SHOOTING: I respect her for her coming forth and speaking. I personally don't hold the family responsible for Adam's actions. My heart goes out to the family the same as with us the other victim's families -- I had the opportunity this past year to speak with Mr. Lanza.

MORGAN: Yeah, with Adam Lanza's father. What was that meeting like for you?

HESLIN: It was -- if felt good after I met with him spoke with him. It was just -- and I thought it was something I wanted to do. I needed to do -- it wasn't any answer to why it happened or what could have been done to prevent it but he's a father that lost a son as I did and I said that last year. He's carrying a heavier across or a bigger burden than I am.

You know, our loved ones will be honored and remembered as, for the tragedy and as a victim. His son will be remembered as a massacre killer.

But Mr. Peter Lanza was a very nice, very caring, very respectful person, it was clear that he was somebody who loved his son and cared about his son very much.

MORGAN: You think he knew that his son had deep problems in his life.

HESLIN: What I understood, you know, it was clear he had some problems. He was stated that, you know, that was what had happened or what Adam had done was something he could have never expected in his wildest dreams as with any of us. Now looking at the report that was released a week or two ago. I don't think that Adam's mother was afraid of him or felt threatened by him, but what have it interpreted by report was, you know, Adam ruled the roost (ph) there. What Adam wanted, Adam got.

MORGAN: Have you've been able Neil to listen to any of the tapes that have come out today. Do you have any intention of listening to it?

HESLIN: I was aware of what was on most of the tapes or a lot of the tapes. I have listened to parts of the tapes or the majority of the tapes and the recordings. You know, I wish it weren't released, it's just a sad reminder of what happened and clearly that the day is etched in my mind December 14th, you know, the time that I left Jesse to until a time we buried him. It's etched in my mind.

Then the picture is there, it's at a very rough time, a very hard time. It's one year anniversary coming up and aside from that. We have Christmas which is -- now it's very difficult time for many.

MORGAN: How will you deal with Christmas this year? Has it gone for you that something that you could possibly enjoy?

HESLIN: I have to deal with it the same way as I dealt with it last year, you know, it's -- you can only try to imagine what it is, it's like to lose a child and unless you -- you've lost a child. You can't imagine. I guess the best description I could give is it's like losing a leg and an arm. And not being able to hold yourself up or support yourself.

I -- along with thinking about the tragedy and the massacre, what happened on December 14th everyday and hundreds of times a day, I think about all the memories I was blessed to have which Jessie and the time. It's -- as for what I'm going to do this Christmas. I really don't know. I probably take the Christmas tree down that I never took down from last year.

MORGAN: You're messing up the whole ...

HESLIN: We never decorated it. Jesse and I set it up after Thanksgiving and we were planning on decorating it that weekend. And he and wanted to get a collection of ornaments that him and I had that were on our own. And that was our plan for the weekend and we never were able to do that.

MORGAN: As the President of United States came down to Newtown, seeing after what happened and he promised that he would get action done on guns. As we seat here, he failed. Absolutely nothing has been done to change any federal gun law in light of what happened.

How do you feel as one of the parents about that?

HESLIN: I don't think he failed. He's been very supportive along with the vice president towards the families in Newtown.

MORGAN: You know, are words enough from the leader of your country. I mean, do you not want to see some legacy come out of this which actually goes someway to try to prevent it happening again?

HESLIN: I do. It's not just a gun issue. There's many things that have to change to make this change happen and to make this country a safer country.

The people have said it's not a gun issue. It's not gun violence. It's mental health issue. It's kind of violence it happened with a gun. And mental health is a big part of it. It's all -- there's many aspects that have to be addressed even right down to the school security. And looking at the report that came out from the States Attorney, you know, Adam was clearly somebody who had problems.

How could you have identified him? How could he have gotten in more help? And the way he lived. The way his room was described and shown and it's the mother -- his mother should have picked up on that and realized that there were issues underlying problems there.

And for him to insist that she wasn't allowed in his room and for her to respect that I think there's a lack of discipline there. As for taking him to the gun range, I think it was a poor, poor choice, poor judgment. She clearly didn't feel threaten by him. But he clearly had access to the weapons. There was no forced entry into the gun safe. So, I feel that was a poor judgment.

You know, I feel in time there will be changes that come through the background check. I feel confident at one point that will come to be a reality. And I feel in sheath of the mental health is being addressed. School security has already changed. Something that should have been in effect long before this tragedy happened.

MORGAN: Well, Neil it's good to see you again, it's going to be a very tough week for you I know and all the families, and a very tough Christmas I'm sure. I wish you all the very best with you...

HESLIN: Thank you.

MORGAN: ... and your family. And I hope to talk to you again soon.

HESLIN: Thank you very much and I wish you a very happy Christmas too.

MORGAN: Thank you.

Coming next, someone who is no strangers in tragedy but does have a perspective on how to deal with it that inspires millions, Pastor Rick Warren's message to the parents of Sandy Hook, he joins me as I bring in the studio audience.


MORGAN: Welcome my studio audience and my special guest Pastor Rick Warren who knows all too well, the pain of dealing with a family tragedy within the public eye.

Warren's son Matthew killed himself in April after a life long struggle with mental illness. It was a trauma that let him to question God's plan.

And tonight he has a message for the grieving parents at Sandy Hook within a year after the tragedy.

Rick, it's great to see.

RICK WARREN, FOUNDER, SADDLEBACK CHURCH: Thanks Piers. It's good to be back.

MORGAN: Let me first of all get your reaction to the release of these tapes on the Sandy Hook massacre. Obviously the 911 call is extremely emotive and caused a lot of controversy down there in Newtown. What is your reaction to the fact the tapes have been released and what do you feel for the families who'd have to go through this, you yourself, have had to go through a terrible tragedy involving the death of your son in the gun in the last year.

WARREN: Anybody who's heard these tapes, has to identify with the emotions. It takes this whole issue out of simply a sterile news issue to the heart rending, gut wrenching feeling of what would I do if as a parent I heard that my child had just been shot, supposedly, in a safe place in a school like that.

And particularly during the holidays everybody is more sensitive in the holidays. My heart goes out to those parents. My heart goes out to the people that had to receive the calls, to the first responders. All of those people that terrible crises it just brings a fresh again a year later.

How -- this was as you know the second biggest shooting, single shooting in American history next to Virginia Tech. And my first, when I hear these things is I pray for the families and I pray that God will give them the same kind of comfort in the season that I'm expecting God to give me comfort in the loss of my own son.

MORGAN: I was told by somebody down at Newtown that your wife has actually been invited to speak on the anniversary of Sandy Hook, is that true?


MORGAN: How do you feel as a family about that?

WARREN: Yes, it is true and actually I'm praying for Kay, who I know I talked to her earlier today and she's studying for that. And she just could not say no.

There was a mom who's lost a son and to be invited to speak to -- there's a Bible study there that last year I guess they, as it was mentioned in the news they studied her book Choose Joy. They were studying that book I guess during that time. And so, she's been asked to come to speak to them this year.

MORGAN: What you say Rick to any of those families? I've interviewed many of the families from Sandy Hook who lost their children that day in particular and indeed the six adults who died as well. What do you say to them from a religious faith point of view, to try and bring any kind of comfort, because it's clear to me when I speak to some of them now that time has not been a healer yet?

WARREN: I think the first thing that we need to say is that God is grieving too. A lot of people try to make it sound like, well, everything that happens is God's will. That's non sense. God allows everything but God does not choose everything. If I choose to sin, God didn't -- God didn't make me do that. God didn't cause Matthew to take his life. Matthew took his life. And so everybody's going to either -- in a crisis whether it's a tornado or hurricane, shooting or anything we're either going to run to God or were going to run away from God and probably about half as many do either. OK?

I have found that running away from God doesn't bring comfort. When we look for explanations in the tragedies of life we never find them. People are going to say, well, a year later, are you over it? You're never going to get over it. You never going to -- I have cried everyday since Matthew died, every single day of my life. That's actually a good thing. It's not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of strength. It's a sign of love. It's a sign that I care and the death of my own son has made me more sensitive. It has made me more compassionate. I can tear up pretty easily when I hear about somebody else going through and so my heart goes out to this people.

MORGAN: Rick it's been a few months since we last sat down. It was an incredibly heart rending interview I did with you and your wife Kay, an extraordinary reaction I know that you did too. It touched a nerve with so many people because to have somebody whose job on a daily basis is comforting everybody else to suddenly have this awful tragedy of the suicide of your son hit you as a family.


MORGAN: I think we're you already resonated with people. How are you coping since I last spoke to you as a family?

WARREN: Well, I'm doing the same things that we talked about in that interview. I'm spending a lot of time not just with friends who support me but also in solitude, in prayer, in thinking, in grieving and when I feel an emotion I let it come out. If you -- if you shake up a coke bottle and you don't let it out it's eventually going to come out side ways and grief is actually a good thing. It helps us get through the transitions of life. It helps us make through the difficulties and so what I've actually been spending a lot of time doing lately is helping other people, because when we did that interview people who either had a family member who is mentally ill or have family member whose taken their life came out of the woodwork. And either follow on me on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or e-mails all of a sudden both Kay and I have received and I'm not exaggerating tens of thousands of letters, calls and notes from I get it I know what you're going through and many times I don't have an answer for these people just I understand. I understand. I understand what you're going through.

MORGAN: Let me just play a clip. This is when Kay talking during the interview that we did together. This is about Matthew and about the issue guns and mental illness.



MORGAN: When did he finally get this gun?

K. WARREN: A month before he took his life.

MORGAN: And do you know how he got -- who he got it from?

K. WARREN: He told me that he -- he told me everything and he told me that he have found somebody finally on the internet who would sell it to him and it had to be super encrypted and it had to be, you know, this cool process and he begged me help him because he couldn't figure out the process and again there are so many -- so many moments of terrible choices with mental illness.


MORGAN: I mean even since then we've seen other incidents, the Naval Yard shooting --

R. WARREN: Yeah.

MORGAN: -- the suicide of --

R. WARREN: Yeah.

MORGAN: -- the Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds and so on. A lot of incidence always comeback it seems to this lethal cocktail of mental illness and ready availability of guns.

No one seems to be tackling this right? What is the answer? How do we get to grips with this?

WARREN: I think one of the reasons why it's being hard to tackle is because there are so many guns out there in the first place there are almost as many guns in America as our people. You know, about 300 million or something plus guns. I don't -- I can't see any foreseeable future where we're going to be able to pull all those back from law abiding citizens. First place the Constitution allows them to have it. But while I may not be able to do everything, what can we do to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people? I don't care whether you're conservative or your liberal or anywhere in between. Everybody is going to grief. Guns do not belong on the hands of mentally ill people.

MORGAN: What does it say though about a great country like America, the greatest super power of the world that here we are a year after 20 elementary school children were literary blown to pieces in their classrooms and the President stood their a few days later and said I will take action and here we are a year later and absolutely nothing has been done.

WARREN: Yeah. MORGAN: Nothing. No background checks put in. No ban on assault weapons, no ban on high capacity magazines. Nobody in Washington has done anything to try and prevent this happening again. What does that tell you about the state of the debate about this everything else?

WARREN: Yeah. I don't know. I don't know how they're going to attack politically. I do know that as a pastor I have to attack it anyway I can and one of the ways that I can do it is deal with the mental illness area. Why are there so many people mentally ill out there not getting the help they need? We have, since the Reagan Administration the number of facilities the beds for mentally ill people has dropped. We can get the statistic but it's tenfold easily.

MORGAN: Which is scandalous.

WARREN: Well, it is. And so we're hearing less and less. If you care about homeless people you have to care about mental illness. If you care about police people dealing with the people on the streets then you got to care about mental illness because they'll tell you a lot of those crimes (inaudible) mental ill. If you care about vets returning home from war you've got to care about mental illness because a sizable number of veterans are dealing with post traumatic stress syndrome. So, mental illness touches into far more areas than simply that person is crazy. And right now who's caring for them are the families and we've talked about the support. There is not enough support for families of mentally ill because the pendulum swung the other way to care for the individual rights of privacy. I had a son who -- my son gave me permission to talk to the doctors about his mental illness and gave Kay permission and the doctors wouldn't talk to us for fear of law suits and I'm going, now that's just wrong.

MORGAN: Let's take a break. Let's comeback and talk about your new book and how you say saved your life.


MORGAN: Back now with my studio audience and my special guest it's Pastor Rick Warren who and joining the conversation Tweet me at Pears Morgan. Millions of people follow the steps to a purpose driven life, now he's setting his sights on America's obesity problems, his new book the Daniel Plan, 40 days to a healthier life. Also joining is his co-authors Dr. Mark Hyman, and Dr. Daniel Amen, welcome to you gentleman.


MORGAN: A trilogy here, coming at me from one of the fronts.


MORGAN: A trilogy, a trilogy, all the (inaudible) -- so Rick Warren what is this all about? What is the Daniel Plan, how are you going to get me healthier in 40 days?

WARREN: Most diet plans are pretty simplistic 'cause they only deal with food and fitness. Human beings are far more complex than this, it's not always just what you eat, it's what eats you, that can affect your health and so we took a much larger approach of what we call the five Fs. Faith and that is what's my motivation behind getting healthy. Focus and that is how do I need to think in order to be healthy, Friends which is I -- I don't get healthy on my own, I need other people. Then Food, eating correctly and then Fitness, and so we added in what we've called the secret sauce, which is -- is adding in the issues of your motivation and your -- your community that's helping you and -- and how you think about it. Changing your way in all three of these areas.

MORGAN: See - the four I (inaudible) to say, is I pray every week to loose weight and nothing ever happens so -- so I'm not sure if God is listening to me, I mean in other words, out of interest how many ...

WARREN: Let's get on our knees right now again together.

MORGAN: How many people in the audience have tried to diet? OK, and of those, how many have been completely successful in keeping the weight down after the diet? OK, a lot fewer hands, congratulations to those, I think saw a hand back here. It's incredibly difficult, I mean Rick I, you know, I told you about this before, you -- yoyo'd in weight ...

WARREN: (Inaudible).

MORGAN: ... in particularly, I mean it's interesting talking to you before we started that you we're hit by the big issues this year which hit many people which cause weight increase, you know, you had back injury.

WARREN: Exactly.

MORGAN: You had terrible loss in your family.

WARREN: I didn't sleep for six months when Matthew died, and then people were bringing us food everyday for months.

MORGAN: Right.

WARREN: I actually on the Daniel Plan, lost 65 toward my goal of 90, then actually after Matthew died all of that period and actually being unable to exercise too, because of my back I was in the hospital. I gained about 35 back, I've learned I lost 30 of that I will prove twice that this plan works. You know, it -- it all started I've written, I only did about a book out of decade. And in the '90s I wrote a book called ...

MORGAN: And each one sells about 3 billion copies ...

WARREN: A lot.

MORGAN: ... so that's impressive doesn't it?

WARREN: This one is actually on physical health and -- and actually the reason why is that I discovered that a lot people want to change, make changes in their life but they don't have the energy to make changes. They go -- yes, I'd like to work in my marriage, I'd like do work in my finances, I'd to work in my career, I'd to work in all these things. But I come home at night, I'm worn out, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired, I lay down on the couch and I don't have any energy to change. So thought, if I could only get the energy level up then maybe we could work on some of things many things too.

MORGAN: Now I'm going to Mr. Skeptic here, Dr. Mark Hyman, you're a family physician. Why should spirituality, the power of prayer, any of that stuff have any effect of my ability to be fit or lose weight?

MARK HYMAN, CO AUTHOR, THE DANIEL PLAN: You know what's extraordinary Piers is that people change together in community. When you look at the science of behavior change, people change together, we get better together. Science of change in Biology, how to get healthy, it's easy, you eat the right food, you exercise, you take care of your self, but how do you get people to change their behavior? That's the secret here, how, it's a social power of our social networks, you're more likely to be overweight if your friend's friend, friend is over weight, than if your parents are over weight. The social threads that connect us are far more important than the genetic prints.

MORGAN: Let me bring you Dr. Daniel Amen, now you're a psychiatrist, so really, we're now getting into your world here. How are you going to convince people in their heads, never mind anything else, to come and do this because if this is the master plan you got to persuade them?

AMEN: So there are a 140 studies now, that say as your weight goes up, the actual physical size, and function of your brain goes down.

WARREN That scared me more than a heart attack.

MORGAN: Is that true?

AMEN: That's true.

MORGAN: When the brain smaller as you get fatter?

AMEN: Yes.


AMEN: I published two of those studies ...

HYMAN: Big belly is bad.

AMEN: Because fat produces something called ...

MORGAN: There's something in my stomach (inaudible).

AMEN: And that's what -- what Rick said (inaudible) hooked him wasn't getting healthy for heart not to live longer because he's going to heaven, to be sexier, look at him he's already sexy but -- but what do you understood is that his influence comes from the health of his brain and if -- and 70 percent of Americans are over weight. This is the biggest brain drain in the history of the United States as we're unhealthy we're not going to be making good decisions.

MORGAN: OK let's take a short break, let's come back I want to know how you're going to in 40 days, how much weight I could realistically, if I stick rigidly to the trilogy of experts here, how much I'm going to lose?


MORGAN: Back now with my studio audience. My special guest Pastor Rick Warren, his new book is The Daniel Plan, 40 Days To Healthier Life. Also with us his co-authors Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Daniel Amen. I want to start the question here. This is actually from Richard, one of the members of our audience. Richard where are you? Over there, what's your question.

RICHARD: I'm a nurse practitioner I was wondering if I should advice my patients to wait until after the holidays, it's like their 40 days.

AMEN: Absolutely not, you know, loose weight through the holidays.

MORGAN: How? I just want to drink, eat and be merry. How am I going to eat, drink and be merry with Scrooge sitting here? Saying oh no, get down to gym.

AMEN: So who has more fun? The person with the good brain or the person with the bad brain?

MORGAN: The person with the good bottle of Jack Daniels.


WARREN: There's a difference between deprivation and making good decisions, let's talk about that.

HYMAN: That's right, I think it's really key. This is about abundant it's about delicious food. It's not about giving up about what you love, it's about giving up the stuff that's not creating wellness and health for you and you can have a fabulous meal, fabulous food with fabulous flavor, well I'm going to give up anything and that's the whole point of--

MORGAN: Every six weeks I feel an inherent craving to march to McDonalds to have a Big Mac and large fries, I'd do it religiously no offense Rick. What are you going to do about? Does it matter?

AMEN: So start reading the labels, so get on the internet--

MORGAN: But I wanted to eat it, I like it.

AMEN: Of course because--

MORGAN: Even though I know it's terrible--

AMEN: They have food scientist that combine fat, sugar and salt and the preservatives to work on, it's called the nucleus accumbens, little pleasure center in your brain to get you addicted. MORGAN: So this book, is it -- it's not really a conventional diet book is it? It is more about the psychology. So tell me what are you hoping, well these audience said, many of them have tried and failed with diets through their lives what is the key take away here from this book that can change things?

HYMAN: I mean it's very simple. First eat real food, if it was made by a man in a factory it's probably not good for you. If it was created by nature or God it's probably good for you.

MORGAN: Plant food?

HYMAN: Yeah, plant food, nuts, seeds, beans, whole of grains--

WARREN: It grows on a plant eat it, if it's made in a plant--


HYMAN: Simple as that, and then it's also--

MORGAN: What about meat? Can you eat as much wings as you like?

HYMAN: Me chicken, fish, all of those things are foods.

MORGAN: What are the biggest no no's?

HYMAN: Sugar, flour, processed foods, factory foods,(inaudible), corn syrup, trans fats, MSG all these things that are -- the abundant things in our diet that are driving addiction--

MORGAN: I see all these faces behind you go, oh no I love donuts and I love--

HYMAN: That's not love that's addiction, that's not love.

MORGAN: What do you think has been the most effective thing for you in terms of loosing weight?

WARREN: Well there are three things. One I got in a group. We have six, actually 7,000 small groups at Saddleback Church that everyone we put a health champion in each group to help people through the Daniel Plan, those who want to do it. By doing it in community it's like having your accountability and support group, that's one. Second I changed the motivation, because the motivation it was never enough motivation on I want to look good and I want to feel good. I take this from a spiritual viewpoint. The Bible says, God created my body, Jesus died for my body, the spirit lives in my body so he better expect me to take care of it.

Actually is when Daniel began to talk about the influence of poor health on your brain that's something I cared about.

MORGAN: See that was -- I don't want my brain shrinking.

WARREN: Yeah, yeah me neither. And so, it's not enough simply to do food and fitness, you got to do focus, that's to change the way you think. You got to do friends, you got to get support group and you got to do faith and that is what's your motivation bigger than simply I want to look good.

MORGAN: It's fascinating stuff gentlemen, I think it's going to be a big hit, The Daniel Plan, 40 Days To A Healthier Life, Rick Warren, Daniel Amen and Mark Hyman. Thank you all very much indeed. I think, the audience are you ready for this The Daniel Plan? And Rick just a final question for you, obviously you said, the most difficult year of your life, how will you be spending Christmas this year as a family?

WARREN: You know, Christmas, there's three purposes of Christmas. The three things that the angel said, I bring you good news of great joy for unto you is born this day a savior and peace on earth goodwill toward men. So I try to do a Christmas to those three things. Celebration, salvation and reconciliation that's how I spend Christmas.

MORGAN: Rick it's great to see you. A little surprise to the audience, look under your seat you'll see copies of both of Rick's books. We'll be right back.


MORGAN: ... my studio audience and my guest Pastor Rick Warren and his co-authors Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Daniel Amen, they're new book is The Daniel Plan 40 Days To A Healthier Life. Friday night here the ever controversial Glenn Beck and don't miss the new late night here on CNN at 11, Don Lemon hosting the 11th Hour that's followed at 11:30 by Brooke Baldwin with In Case You Missed It. AC360 Later starts right now.