to see the televangelist Ernest Angley at the Convention Center
Auditorium in Greensboro. The man fascinated me. His fake-sounding
name, his god-awful toupee, and his faith healings combined
to promise a show I could not miss. And it was free!
people seriously claim that they have been healed at Reverend
Angley's Crusades, and I'm not in a position to dispute or
confirm that. I was attracted to the event as pure theater,
so I looked over the audience when I got there. Elderly folks
in wheelchairs were on the front row. The rest seemed to be
a generous cross-section of young, old, black and white. I
saw a few bad perms and I spotted one woman with her head
covered in Muslim fashion. That surprised me.
didn't waste much time. He got on stage and began a stream-of-consciousness
rap that would have confused a yardstick. Since confusion
is one of the cornerstones of hypnosis, some of his remarks
were particularly interesting:
is the power of the devil. I wouldn't let the power of the
devil get used on me. I'd say, 'you go get that somewhere
else!' Same for that TM and visualization. The Lord's gonna
burn up all the astrologers! (He waved a copy of his most
recent book on the deceit of Lucifer.) And that includes demonology.
I don't want to be preaching to people who are devil possessed."
waxed strong and used no visualization - but we do rely on
divine revelation. Did you ever get a lemon? Lots of people
do and wish they'd never seen that car." The audience applauded.
"What kind of shoes do you have on? Are they the shoes of
Jesus? There's a pair for everybody!"
he led the audience in a group chant of, "I believe in miracles."
And then we chanted, "I'm going to heaven."
15 minutes was a pitch for the new book on Lucifer. "Lots
of people paid $20 for it," he assured us. "Some paid $15.
But today I'm gonna give it to you for a real bargain. I'll
let you have it for $5.00. Get 2 copies. One for your married
led a sing-along during which his Lucifer book was sold around
the auditorium. He sang, "I'll Fly Away," and "At the Cross,"
in an odd falsetto that hit every note on the scale before
it found the right ones. He checked his watch during the sing-along.
was the last big war before Armageddon," he told us, because
"Gorbachev brought the peace of the anti-christ to earth.
In seven years the Rapture will take place. The anti-christ
was born about 1967 or 1968. Our nation changed then. Did
you know that?" Lots of uh-huhs and yes, lords were offered
up from the crowd.
hadn't been for God intervening, Saddam would have gotten
Israel. God intervened for Israel's sake. And we lost Vietnam
because we forgot God. I've been smuggling my literature into
Saudi Arabia for years. You know it's a miserable situation
he led the room in chanting, "One flight out!" I had no idea
what that meant, and I'm sure no one else did either, but
they chanted it vigorously.
you the ark is ready to sail and we're inside looking out.
Praise God! Shout so many hallelujahs the ones on the outside
can't stand to be around you! Let them call you a fanatic!
I'd shout Praise the Lord until they run away."
Battle of Armageddon is coming and I have come to offer a
ticket on the ark. There's still empty seats! People in our
home church are always fasting 10 and 40 days. You say - oh,
I'd die if I fasted 40 days. That's what God wants! He wants
you to die that you might live!" Tremendous applause broke
out. A black woman behind me said, "Its true!"
Ernest began asking for donations to his television tower
fund. He had lots of stories to tell to encourage generous
offerings. He started with asking for $1000.00 donations and
about 50 people went up to pledge that amount. Then the donation
requests worked down until he was asking the people who would
give $5.00 to come forward.
to do his healings. Three ushers stood by to catch each person
who passed out from the healing bolt. As he paused before
each person, he motioned for them to raise their arms, he
performed the healing and then blessed them with a palm to
the forehead. The blessing is what caused them to fall backwards,
as it concluded with a short shove backwards.
to heal a deaf man, whose arms were lifted. Ernest put a finger
into each of the man's ears and vibrated his hands, saying
"Thou foul deaf spirits, COME OUT!" Ernest yanked his hands
away from the man's head. Then he placed his right palm on
the man's forehead and gave him the blessing blast that knocked
him backwards. He was caught by the ushers and lowered to
the floor. Like him, many others had to be gently lowered
to the floor, where they rested for awhile after their healings.
Eventually they would be helped up and they returned to their
in a wheelchair could not stand up after her healing. Ernest
advised her to, "sit and let the power work." After healing
a busload of deaf people from Danville, Ernest encouraged
some of them to demonstrate their healing.
Ernest led off.
"Ah!" said the newly healed man.
"Men!" said Ernest.
"Baby!" said the man.
Ernest tried again.
"Ah!" said the newly healed man.
"Men!" said Ernest.
"Buh!" said the man.
"Kubep!" said the newly healed.
"Ah!" said Ernest.
"Ah!" said the healed.
went on for a long time.
Ernest said he saw 117 people in the audience who had a blood
condition. He wanted them to stand to receive healing. Then
he spied 56 who suffered from stomach aliment. They were to
stand for a healing. Apparently 17 people were suffering from
a "head condition." Ten people had a severe throat condition
and 3 of those had cancer, Ernest said.
had all 27 people who were deaf in one ear, who had not yet
come forward, hold up a finger. Ernest was going to empower
the finger by God. He blessed the fingers and had them all
insert the fingers into their ears. "Evil spirits of the ear,
COME OUT!" he bellowed. I wish you could have been there to
see 27 people yanking their fingers out of their own ears.
point, Ernest had been talking non-stop for 3 hours. He looked
like he could go another three, but I was exhausted. I gathered
up my pen and notebook and went home. I had seen a living
pageant of the old South.
I'm not even sure if he is still alive, but I notice he does
have a web site.
His prediction of the Rapture that day would have placed it
in 1999. Nobody I know vanished, but maybe that's just the
company I keep.