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Jim Bakker Age: Tammy Faye Bakker. Doug Batchelor Age: Doug Batchelor is an evangelist and the author of several books including The Richest Caveman, Juanita Bynum Age: Juanita Bynum is an American Pentecostal televangelist, author, actress and gospel singer Harold Camping Dec.
Morris Cerullo Age: Morris Cerullo born October 2, is an American pentecostal evangelist. He has traveled Todd Coontz. Kenneth Copeland Age: Kenneth Max Copeland born December 6, is an American televangelist and author John Corapi. Charles Coughlin Dec. Paul Crouch Dec. Billy Joe Daugherty Dec.
Creflo A. Dollar, Jr. Age: Creflo Augustus Dollar, Jr. Richard Dortch Dec. Richard W. Jesse Duplantis Age: Jesse Duplantis born July 9, is a prosperity gospel preacher from the Christian According to his autobiographical materials, Tilton had a conversion experience to evangelical Christianity the following year  and began his ministry in , taking his family on the road to, in his words, "preach this gospel of Jesus.
Tilton's young church was growing steadily, but Daystar failed to expand beyond the Dallas area until Tilton traveled to Hawaii — his self-described version of Jesus's forty days in the wilderness  — and came upon an increasingly popular new form of television programming: the late-night infomercial. Tilton was particularly influenced by Dave Del Dotto , a real estate promoter who hosted hour-long infomercials showing his glamorous life in Hawaii, as well as on-camera testimonials lauding his " get rich quick " books.
On Success-N-Life , Tilton regularly taught that all of life's trials, especially poverty, were a result of sin. His message consisted mainly of impressing upon viewers the importance of making "vows"—financial commitments to Tilton's ministry. When a person made a vow to Tilton, he preached that God would recognize the vow and reward the donor with vast material riches. Grant and Don Stewart. As a result of Tilton's television success, Word of Faith Family Church grew to become a megachurch , with 8, members at its height.
Most of his books were published in the s and distributed via promotion on Success-N-Life and through the many mailings Tilton's ministry sent his followers. The books were republished in the late s to be used as centerpieces of his infomercial series and are now promoted on his current as of [update] daily live internet broadcast. Anthony, a Christian minister whose organization works with the homeless and the poor on the east side of Dallas, first took an interest in Tilton's ministry in the late s after encountering needy people who told him they had lost all of their money making donations to high-profile televangelists, especially Tilton.
Curious about the pervasiveness of the problem, the Trinity Foundation got on the mailing lists of several televangelists, including Tilton, and started keeping records of the many types of solicitations they received almost daily from various ministries. Former Coca-Cola executive Harry Guetzlaff came to Trinity after he had been turned away from Tilton's church when he found himself on hard times following a divorce.
Guetzlaff's experience, combined with the sheer magnitude of mailings from Tilton's ministry, spurred Anthony, a former Air Force intelligence officer and licensed private investigator , to start a full investigation of Tilton's ministry. Guetzlaff joined Anthony in the task of gathering details on Tilton's operation and later did much of the legwork in uncovering the paper trail for the ABC News investigation.
In a November 21, , promotional appearance on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee , Sawyer said that she had incidentally watched several televangelist programs, including Success-N-Life , and was both "fascinated" and "disturbed" by them. Stressing the public's sensitivity to reporters questioning religion, Sawyer said that she spoke with other journalists, and then eventually to ABC producers, who then decided to conduct their own investigation into Grant, Lea, and Tilton.
After comparing their accumulated notes, data and details, the two groups decided to pool their efforts and began planning the undercover portion of the story. Anthony agreed to portray himself as a Dallas-based minister with a small church looking into the ways TV ministries could grow so quickly, and the ABC producers would pose as Anthony's "media consultants.
The team, armed with hidden cameras and microphones, arrived for a meeting at Response Media, the Tulsa -based marketing firm handling Tilton's mass mailings, to discuss a proposal sent by Anthony to Response Media about fundraising for a religious-based TV talk show. The director of Response Media, Jim Moore, described for Anthony and the hidden cameras concealed in the undercover Primetime Live producers' glasses and handbags many techniques used by Tilton to raise funds for his ministry.
Moore also said that Tilton was doing "far better than anyone knows" and described the main strategy Tilton employed for such a high return rate on his mailings—that is, send the recipient a "gimmick" that compelled the recipient to mail something back in return, and most recipients would include some money along with it. Moore declined to disclose how much Response Media was paid for its services or how much money the mailings were generating for the Tilton ministry. However, as part of his sales pitch to Anthony, Moore disclosed that the response letters generated by the fundraising mailings Response Media sends out for its clients were never delivered to the client; instead, they were sent unopened to the client's financial institution or other institutions of choice.
One of the ABC producers asked whether this was a standard practice—"So the mail goes straight to the bank? We just get the paper with the person's name and how much they gave. Trinity members, acting on this information, started digging through dumpsters outside Tilton's many banks in the Tulsa area as well as dumpsters outside the office of Tilton's lawyer, J. Joyce also based in Tulsa. Over the next thirty days, Trinity's "garbologists", as Anthony dubbed them,  found tens of thousands of discarded prayer requests, bank statements, computer printouts containing the coding for how Tilton's "personalized" letters were generated, and more, all of which were shown in detail on the Tilton segment within the Primetime Live broadcast, titled "The Apple of God's Eye".
Tilton vehemently denied the allegations and took to the airwaves on November 22, on a special episode of Success-N-Life entitled "Primetime Lies", to air his side of the story. He asserted that the prayer requests found in garbage bags shown on Primetime Live were stolen from the ministry and planted in the dumpster for a sensational camera shot, and that he prayed over every prayer request received, to the point that he "laid on top of those prayer requests so much that 'the chemicals actually got into [his] bloodstream, and Tilton also claimed that he needed plastic surgery to repair capillary damage to his lower eyelids from ink that seeped into his skin from the prayer requests.
After Trinity members spent weeks poring over the details of the documents they and ABC had uncovered, sorting and scrutinizing each prayer request, bank statement, and computer printout dealing with the codes Tilton's banks and legal staff used when categorizing the returned items, Anthony called a press conference in December to present what he described as Tilton's "Wheel of Fortune", using a large display covered in actual prayer requests, copies of receipts for document disposition, and other information which demonstrated what happened to money and prayer requests which the average viewer of Tilton's television program sent him.
Joyce reacted to the news by claiming the items Anthony was displaying had somehow been stolen by "an insider", Anthony responded in a subsequent interview that "Joyce was our mole—a lot of this stuff came from the dumpster outside his office. Primetime Live ' s original investigation and subsequent updates included interviews with several former Tilton employees and acquaintances. In the original investigation, one of Tilton's former prayer hotline operators claimed the ministry cared little for desperate followers who called for prayer, saying Tilton had a computer installed in July to make sure the operators talked to no caller for longer than seven minutes.
Also in the original report, a former friend of Tilton's from college who remained anonymous and was shown in silhouette claimed both he and Tilton would attend tent revival meetings as a "sport" and would claim to be anointed and healed at the meetings. He added the two had often discussed the notion that after graduation they would set up their own roving revival ministry "and drive around the country and get rich.
In the same interview, Tilton's former secretary came forward and claimed Tilton lifted excerpts from "get rich quick" books and used them in his sermons, and she never saw him perform normal pastoral duties such as visiting with the sick and praying with members. Despite Tilton's repeated denials of misconduct, the State of Texas and the federal government became involved in subsequent investigations, finding more causes for concern about Tilton's financial status with each new revelation.
After nearly 10, pounds of prayer requests and letters to the Tilton ministry were found in a disposal bin at a Tulsa area recycling firm in February , along with itemized receipts of their delivery from Tilton's main mail-handling service in Tulsa rather than from the church offices in Farmers Branch, Tilton admitted in a deposition given to the Texas Attorney General 's office that he often prayed over computerized lists of prayer requests instead of the actual prayer requests themselves, and that prayer requests were in fact routinely thrown away after categorization.
As each revelation became increasingly more damaging, viewership and donations declined dramatically. The last episode of Success-N-Life aired nationally on October 30, In , Tilton sued ABC for libel because of its investigation and report, but the case was dismissed in Federal Judge Thomas Rutherford Brett , in his July 16, , dismissal of the case, stated that information in Trinity's logs on prayer requests reportedly found in dumpsters on September 11, , "could not have been found then because the postmark date was after September 11, ", but also noted that Anthony had recanted the erroneous entries in a subsequent affidavit.
Anthony could not be trusted and was obsessed with his crusade against [Tilton]. Supreme Court in , but the court refused to hear the case. Several donors to Tilton's television ministry sued Tilton in —, charging various forms of fraud. As part of the defense strategy to the fraud cases, Tilton sued Anthony, Guetzlaff and four plaintiff's lawyers who had filed the fraud cases against him in federal court in Tulsa.
Tilton claimed that the individuals conspired to violate his First Amendment rights under a federal statute designed to protect black citizens from the Ku Klux Klan. On appeal, in Tilton v. Richardson , 6 F. The fraud cases continued until the Texas Supreme Court eventually ruled that the plaintiffs could not prove damages because they could not show that, if Tilton had actually prayed over the prayer requests, the prayers would have been answered.
Dallas lawyer Gary Richardson, who represented many of the parties suing Tilton for fraud, attempted to intervene in the Tiltons' divorce, citing the potential for the divorce settlement to be used to hide financial assets that were currently part of the many fraud cases; Richardson's petition to have the divorce action put on hold until after the fraud cases were settled was denied.
Under Texas law, property accumulated during a marriage is considered community property and thus subject to division between the parties in a divorce. The jury eventually ruled against the request. Lexington Academy was a small private Christian school in Farmers Branch that was founded in the early s by Robert and Marte Tilton.
The name "Lexington" was chosen in honor of the Battle of Lexington ; the school mascot was the Patriots. Tilton returned to television in with a new program called Pastor Tilton , a show with an emphasis on "demon blasting" exorcism practices, usually involving Tilton shouting as loudly as possible at demons supposedly possessing people suffering from pain and illness.
However, this program was far less successful than its predecessor, and was cancelled by the end of the year. After moving to Fort Lauderdale , Florida in , Tilton returned to the airwaves in with a new version of Success-N-Life , buying airtime on independent television stations primarily serving inner city areas.
The new version of Success-N-Life returned to Tilton's previous message of asking for "vows of faith" from viewers instead of exorcisms. Though Tilton was still listed as the church's senior pastor, he had not preached at the church since March 16, , when he named Chattanooga , Tennessee minister Bob Wright as senior associate pastor,  and its membership had declined to less than The church had already existed for some time under the pastorship of former televangelist David Epley.
Tilton's new church, now called "Christ the Good Shepherd Worldwide Church", had approximately members in On May 13, , the church moved into a new location in Miami and was officially renamed "Word of Faith Church", much like the original church in Dallas. It has also been officially renamed "Word of Faith Church". The Las Vegas church's resident pastor is Natalie Vafai. When Tilton returned to television in , he established his ministry's headquarters in Tulsa, where his lawyer J.
Joyce's offices were located, and set up a post office box as its mailing address.