Monday, October 7, 2013

Father Divine - God or early Cult Leader?

Father Divine - Wide World of Photos - Aug 9, 1938

Father Divine (c. 1876 – September 10, 1965), also known as Reverend M. J. Divine, was an African American spiritual leader from about 1907 until his death. His full self-given name was Reverend Major Jealous Divine, and he was also known as "the Messenger" early in his life. He founded the International Peace Mission movement, formulated its doctrine, and oversaw its growth from a small and predominantly black congregation into a multiracial and international church.
Father Divine claimed to be God. Some contemporary critics also claimed he was a charlatan, and some suppose him to be one of the first modern cult leaders. However, Father Divine made numerous contributions toward his followers' economic independence and racial equality. Father Divine was a contemporary of other religious leaders at that time such as Daddy GraceCharles Harrison MasonNoble Drew Ali and James F. Jones, also known as Prophet Jones. Another minister by the name of Jones would play a significant part in a brief struggle to gain control of the Peace Mission following Divine's death - Jim Jones, leader of the 'apostolic socialist' movement Peoples Temple.
Source: Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Divine )
Seen here, Father Divine and his Harlem "Angels" take formal possession of their new 500 acre "Heaven" in Krum Elbow New York. The original photo caption called attention to two misspellings on the sign (Crum and tresspassing)

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