- Wednesday, February 12, 2003
"World fame is but a breath of wind that blows now this way, and now that and changes name as it changes direction." -Dante
As a little girl in the '30s and '40s in Dallas, I lived in a very religious community. Everybody knew I was a Christian.
As I grew older, I discovered there were a lot of denominations that differed from mine. With me, it was OK, we all served the same God.
There was one group whose women wore long white dresses similar to choir robes; white covers on their heads that looked like short, flat, white sheets; white shoes; and no make-up.
The men dressed very much the same. Some wore long white robes; others wore white suits, shirts, ties, and shoes. And, all of the men wore turbans on their heads.
One of the men was obviously their leader. He not only wore white ornate suits and turbans decorated with colorful jewels and heavy gold braid, but his manicured fingers were clad with diamond rings. Around his neck were gold chains and on his wrist were gold bracelets. His followers called him Father Brown.
"Father Brown" was the pastor, divine potentate, counselor, prophet, preacher, leader, and overseer of what he called The Lighthouse Gospel Temple. According to Father Brown and his followers, they were the only folks going to heaven. They called themselves "saints" and claimed they lived completely free from sin. He taught that everyone who did not follow him was going to hell.
He further taught this gullible group that He was a form of Jesus Christ and that he would never die.
Over the radio, he would say, "Come to me and I will show you miracles." They thought it was safe to give him their money and let him manage it for them. He told them to sell their goods and give the money to him so he could give it to the poor.
His lifestyle was flamboyant and ostentatious. He was a womanizer, drug user, gambler, and God only knew what else. Throughout his life, he had loyal limousine drivers who protected his interests, but they spilled the beans on him after he died.
People were frightened by him, because he would predict that they would die. And, most of the time the prediction held true. That's how he was proving that he was Christ reincarnated.
In fact, however, he was a religious pimp who prostituted the gospel, took advantage of the ignorant, held hostage the indigent, bamboozled the seeking, and blasphemed the name of God.
All of the things he did were an abomination before God. But, I think the worst and the best thing he did was to use the Bible to validate what he was doing. Best? Yes, there were hundreds of people that God drew to Himself in spite of this misguided (and misguiding) messenger. Worst? Yes, because hundreds of people bought into the lies he preached and fell into his religious traps.
They were not heathens outside the church; they were heathens and perpetrators of false teaching and worship within the church.
This group associated with faith, but were not a part of the faithful. They did not have the Holy Spirit of God manifesting Himself in them. They were in eternal darkness. They had itching ears and listened to the perverted teachings of a dysfunctional man.
People who knew Father Brown from early in his life report that when he first started preaching, he was an anointed man of God who taught and preached an uncompromising gospel with pureness of heart and a compassion for the people.
As time progressed and he became more popular and powerful in the community, his priorities changed and his goals became distorted, which resulted in devious behavior and hundreds of misled people.
Occasionally, he would lie in a casket and fast for three days, pretending to be dead. His followers would rally around the casket 24 hours a day waiting until his "resurrection." After three days, he would "rise" from the dead and the people would rejoice with song and jubilation.
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