Biography of Famous Preacher Father Divine Part 2
About the famous American preacher and religious character Father Divine, biography and history of the church evangelical.
FATHER DIVINE (c. 1864-1965)
Father Divine began building the financial base for his empire by putting his followers "out to work in the service," which meant placing them in jobs from which his movement received a kickback. Soon he was able to open his 1st "Heaven," a communal dwelling which he established in 1919 at Sayville, Long Island. But it was the philosophy and organization of the Kingdom of Peace movement that made it so popular--and so well endowed. For example, Father Divine preached that those who joined his kingdom entered a new life, and that they could never die while they believed in him. In fact, no one associated with him ever did die--for as soon as someone came down with an illness likely to be fatal, he'd be turned out of Heaven and dropped in a nearby flat, thus enabling the preacher to say truthfully, "No one dies in My House."
The Heavens also provided rooms for as little as $5 a week, meals at about 35 cent (5 cent during the Depression), and indigent followers ate and slept free. The spiritual observances accompanying this mass cooperative or primitive communism were based on the Last Supper, and while there were songs and impromptu sermons, there were no formal services. Disciples rich and poor, black and white, male and female, ate from a banquet table often laden with as many as 50 different dishes. In accord with Father Divine's teachings, they adopted names like Positive Love, Miss Charity, and Holy Quietness, discarding their family names.
Father Divine preached purity of the body and mind, which included sexual abstinence, and he forbade his followers to drink, smoke, swear, use cosmetics, go to the movies, or accept gifts or tips. "Peace" became the standard greeting and farewell of all members because "Hello" began with a swear word. Despite its shortcomings, the Kingdom attracted millions who wanted peace, who wanted to believe that life was wonderful and that they could be virtuous, honest, reliable, and clean. The movement gained a worldwide membership, attracting even millionaires (one man left Father Divine an estate worth $10 million), and the Heavens eventually numbered 75 or more. All were united behind the motto "Father Will Provide."
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