DECEMBER 2019

DECEMBER   2019
Please, Have a Merry. Please. Oh, and get rid of the Orange Jerk!

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Saturday, July 13, 2019

HAVING FAITH Chapter Eight RETREAT

I think most people in 1926 Los Angeles thought the L.A. District Attorney Asa Keyes' case rested on Lorraine Weiseman-Sielaff . It did, but few knew what an unstable  foundation it was, because the lady was unstable. She was under the care of a psychiatrist, and had spent time in a sanitarium. When no one came forward to bail her out of jail, and confronted with proof she'd been passing bad checks in L.A. during the last week of May, the very  week her affidavit swore she'd been in Carmel-by-the-Sea, nursing the mysterious “Miss X”, companion to the limping bald playboy radio engineer Kenneth Ormiston,  Lorraine changed her story. Now she claimed to have been promised $5,000 for signing the false affidavit, and perhaps more for convincing her twin sister to claim being the mysterious “Miss X” . This lady had more stories than Mother Goose.
But the prosecution had much more. than one unstable lady.  There was Walter Lambert, the owner of a shirt store on Hill Street in downtown L.A., across from the Hotel Clark, and the hotel's doorman Thomas Melville, both of whom saw Sister Aimee entering the 12 story hotel at about ten on the morning of 18, May -  the day of her drowning. She only stayed 30 minutes. Kenneth Ormiston had been staying at the hotel since leaving his wife in January -  the same time he left the Angelus Temple. In an experiment, detectives left Venice Beach at about three in the afternoon (the time of Aimee's drowning) and drove the 300 miles north to the “love nest” cottage in Carmel-by-the-Sea. They arrived at just about one-thirty the next morning, the same time Ormiston had admitted arriving there on 19 May in the company of the mysterious “Miss X”.
There were half a dozen witnesses from Carmel who had seen and/or spoken with a woman they recognized as Aimee, or said “resembled” McPherson. There was Dennis Collins and Louie Mandrillo, graveyard shift mechanics at a Salinas garage. They testified that the owner of a Studebaker sedan, left for a refuel and fluid check, had picked up his car at two on the morning of 29 May. The man signed the receipt as Kenneth Ormiston (above), and he was accompanied by a woman wearing a heavy black veil on a very dark night.
And then there was the testimony of Bernice Morris, secretary to a lawyer named Russel McKinley, who worked for Sister Aimee. Morris had not been an intimate of the full conspiracy, but she had come to suspect that the kidnapping story had actually been concocted to fool Aimee's mother. At one point in a conversation at the Angelus Temple with the two women (above), Morris had announced without warning, that her boss wanted to remind Aimee (left) one of the kidnappers had rubbed Aimee's neck to relieve a headache. In fact Morris had just made the incident up. But Sister Aimee immediately turned to her suspicious mother and said, “Why mother, I do remember that perfectly. I forgot to tell you that. You know I’m always having trouble with my neck.” Morris added she did not think Mrs. Kennedy (right) believed her daughter. A few days later, lawyer McKinley was killed in an automobile accident, and whatever plans he and Aimee had laid out were dropped. That testimony was damning.
But, to my mind, the case against Aimee McPherson rested on a single question D.A. Keyes had asked her in front of the August grand jury. He admired her watch, and then pointed out, “I seem to have observed a photo of you wearing that wrist watch which was taken in Douglas, five weeks after you went bathing on the beach. You are sure you did not have it with you?” Aimee could only reply, “I guess the watch must have been brought to me in Douglas by my mother.” A few minutes later, the hearing was interrupted when Aimee fainted. But here, in open court, Keyes would not have a chance to ask that question, because at least in this preliminary hearing, Aimee would never have to take the stand.
On the other hand there was Arthur Betts, a bell boy at the Hotel Clark who was supposed to identify Aimee as having entered Ormiston's room, but on the witness stand he suffered a total memory loss. Two of the prosecution witnesses suffered such a memory failure under oath. And there was another problem, which the defense brought up in cross-examination with all the witnesses from Carmel. If they were so certain the woman in the “love nest” had been the famous evangelist, why had none of them claimed the rewards  offered by newspapers for information on Aimee's whereabouts..
Then there was the lack of physical evidence. The Carmel “Love Nest” produced lots of fingerprints, but none belonging to Aimee Semple McPherson. And the grocery lists, recovered from the back yard, and identified as being written in Aimee's handwriting, had gone missing.  Photo-stats remained (above), but the defense never ceased in pointing out prosecution experts were now only working from copies. Besides, they had their own experts who insisted, it was not Sister Aimee's handwriting.
 
Aimee's kidnapping story was always a problem for Aimee's lawyers. Her escape from the kidnappers was just not believable. As D.A. Asa Keyes put it, “That was 20 miles in blistering, 120-degree sun…and yet she wasn’t blistered. Her clothes weren’t soiled. She wasn’t perspiring. Her heels weren’t broken. She didn’t ask for water. Taken to a hospital in Douglas, Arizona...she wasn’t dehydrated." Author Louis Adamic argued, “The only way she can convince me that she made that... hike across the desert...is to do it all over again, and let me ride behind her in an automobile equipped...with a huge canteen of water; and if she asks me for a single drink or a lift, I’ll give it to her and then laugh right in her face. “
Still Aimee's version of events never varied by an inch or an instant, under oath or from the pulpit. When challenged Aimee (above) would always say with a beatific smile, “That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.” She repeated that line so often it was eventually used with great effect by vaudeville and movie star Mae West, whose entire career was a parody of "the world's most pulchritudinous evangelist", Sister Aimee McPherson.. 

On Wednesday, 3 November, Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Samuel Blake concluded the hearing by telling the small courtroom (above) he found ample evidence that Aimee Semple McPherson, her mother Mildred Kennedy, and Mrs. Lorraine Weiseman-Sielaff. were indeed involved in a “criminal conspiracy to commit acts injurious to public morals and to prevent and obstruct justice.” It was assumed Weisman-Sielaff would at some point plead guilty to a lesser crime, in exchange for her testimony against the other two . Aimee and Mildred were facing a possible 42 years in prison, each. In Spartenburg, South Carolina, humorist Will Rogers was traveling with Queen Marie, of Romania. Referring to the queen, Rogers wrote, “Bless her heart. America owes her a debt of gratitude for running...Aimee McPherson back among the want ads.”
And then, while the shock waves were still roiling back and forth across Los Angeles' culture, the unstable Lorraine Weisman-Sielaff (above) changed her story again.
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Friday, July 12, 2019

HAVING FAITH Chapter Seven DEFENSE


"I sat in the orchestra pit of the huge auditorium at the Angelus Temple...the crowd spilling into the aisles. Many were on crutches or in wheelchairs. Suddenly a figure with bright red hair and a flowing white gown walked out to the center of the stage. In a soft voice, almost a whisper, she said, 'Brothers and sisters, is there anyone here who wants to be cured tonight?'...One man said, 'I can't see out of one eye.' She asked. 'Do you believe, brother?' And suddenly, the man cried, 'Yes, sister, I can see, I can see!' And the audience went crazy. To a woman dragging herself across the stage on crutches she said, 'Throw away that crutch!' Suddenly, the woman threw away her crutch and ran into Aimee's open arms. I left that service exhilarated, renewed."
Actor Anthony Quinn, working as a musician in the Angeles Temple, 1925

Unlike the Grand Jury which had indicted Sister Aimee (above left), her mother Mildred Kennedy (above, right), her alleged paramour Kenneth Ormiston, and two others at the end of August 1926, the preliminary hearing before a judge to determine if there was sufficient evidence that the accused had committed a crime, would be held in public. The alleged crime, which H.L.Menken failed to recognize, was not that the lady had lied to defend her honor. She and her co-conspirators had paid others to lie under oath. McPhherson's affair was not a criminal issue, but the coverup implied that there was something of value that had been unlawfully gained, i.e. donations to the Angelus Temple. And that would be a criminal act. But Aimee realized she would be doing her fighting, not in court, but from the pulpit. As Menken predicted before the hearing even began, “...Aimee has the radio, and I believe that the radio will count most in the long run.”

This was her home turf. Reverend Shelton Bissel, an Episcopalian minister from Boise, Idaho, and author of the book “Unofficial Christianity”, described Aimee's usual services as “ A sensuous debauch served up in the name of religion.” In his article entitled “Vaudeville at Angelus Temple”, Bissel paid a Sunday night visit to Aimee's Church. He reported, “At 6:15 the doors swing open.... Within fifteen minutes the huge (5,500 seat) auditorium with its two flaring balconies is completely filled...Suddenly through a door far up on the wall...appears Mrs. McPherson. She is clad in white, with a dark cloak thrown loosely around her shoulders; her rich auburn hair, with its flowing permanent wave, is heaped high on her head....on her face is the characteristic expansive, radiant McPherson smile. She is a beautiful woman, seen from the auditorium...Assisted to her "throne," she gracefully seats herself, turns to her audience—and her microphone—and is ready to begin.”

Once she began speaking, said Bissel, the lady was transformed. “Without one moment's intermission, she would talk from an hour to an hour and a half, holding her audience spellbound.” Another observer added that her speech “... was hopeless as a sermon, but it was consummate preaching....She knew what she was after, and she got it.….She moves the microphone from time to time. She rests her hand lovingly upon it. She never shifts her position one step away from it. All her climaxes are enhanced to the listening thousands throughout southern California and near-by States who regularly "tune-in" on Sunday nights. Radio KFSG is as dear to her as the five thousand and more in Angelus Temple.”
But as Sarah Comstock wrote in Harper's at the time: “It is in what she terms 'illustrations' that she gives full vent to her showman's genius. These are her master effort, a novel and highly original use that she makes of properties, lights, stage noises, and mechanical devices to point her message. Heaven and Hell, sinner and saint, Satan, the fleshpots of Egypt, angels of Paradise and temptations of a bejazzed World are made visual by actors, costumes, and theatrical tricks of any and every sort that may occur to her ingenious mind - a mind which must work twenty-four hours to the day to pave the way for the lady's activities.”
And that mind was busy, writing 13 of her illustrated sermons, 175 hymns and even operas. In one “illustration” titled "The Green Light is On," Aimee rode down the temple aisle on a motorcycle dressed as a policeman (above). In a raging thunderstorm a dozen maidens held onto the Rock of Ages while sailors pulled them to safety in her dramatic sermon, “Throw Out a Life Line”. In another production, a live camel plodded onto the stage of her church as an analogy of overworked parishioners. She was, wrote a critic, “playwright, producer, director, and star performer in one...a complete vaudeville program, entirely new each week, brimful of surprises for the eager who are willing to battle in the throng for entrance.” And at the center of it all was Sister Aimee. When Wendell St. Clair was entrusted with leading a small portion of one “illustration”, he noticed the light on the pulpit intercom was blinking. “I picked up the phone and all I heard was, "Pep it up! Pep it up, pep it up!" I was so humiliated because there was no mistaking the voice... Aimee Semple McPherson."
When charged by cross- town evangelical competitor Methodist Robert Schuler with demeaning Christianity, Aimee replied, “Show me a better way to persuade willing people to come to church and I’ll be happy to try your method. But please . . . don’t ask me to preach to empty seats. Let’s not waste our time quarreling over methods. God has use for all of us. Remember the recipe in the old adage for rabbit stew? It began, “first catch your rabbit.” And as the trial began, Aimee had a new rabbit to catch
A quarter before ten that Monday morning, 27 September, outside the courtroom of Municipal Judge Samuel R. Blake, “A barrage of flash... "booms" in the corridor announced the entry of the famous religious leader and her mother ...All in black Mrs. McPherson looked fresh and apparently prepared for what the day might bring...A wide rimmed black hat...hid the wealth of bronze colored hair...cameramen sought positions on Judge Blake's bench from which to "shoot" the evangelist and her mother, flanked by attorneys as they sat at the counsel table. Smiling sunnily, Mrs. McPherson talked with her mother and the attorneys. Though she appeared in her usual happy mood, a close look seemed to disclose a suggestion of worry lines about her eyes.”
That first day Agnes Callihan, a maid at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, testified that while the Angelus Temple was under construction Aimee Semple McPherson had stayed at the hotel. And on one occasion Agnes had seen Kenneth Ormiston entering the preacher's room. In response, that evening, Aimee debuted a new radio program,  what she called her “daily bulletin”. It would be heard by 200,000 listeners across Southern California, parts of Arizona and Utah. She denounced the maid's testimony as “ dirty filthy, innuendo.”
“The vile insinuations which fell from the lips of Mr. Keyes during his examination today, “ began Aimee, “could not, in my opinion, exist in the mind of any pure man! He has subjected me today to the most exquisite cruelty and suffering that the human mind can conjure up. Asa Keyes—if you are listening in, you are a dirty, lecherous libertine!I urge every single taxpayer listening to my voice to contact your office and demand immediately an accounting of the money—thousands upon thousands of dollars—that you have been squandering...for what we are supposed to believe are investigations into my integrity.”
By weeks end the press had heard testimony from five witnesses found by Assistant District Attorney Ryan in Carmel, each of whom put her in a seaside resort during her “kidnapping ”. In her daily bulletin Aimee now took the gloves off. “Everybody knows that Asa has his hands pretty tight around my throat just now,” she told her listeners, “and wants to squeeze a little tighter every day until he chokes the life out of me...This is what is called a preliminary examination...Mr. Keyes’s office boys usually attend to such things. And I ask now...upon what theory does he need two able assistants to prosecute poor me in this preliminary hearing.” Behind the scenes Aimee had hired her own private detectives to investigate her opponent, telling them, according to one witness, “Get something on him that’ll stick”’ She signed a deal to syndicate a series of newspaper columns titled, “Saint or Sinner? Did I Go from Pulpit to Paramour?” Her own answer, of course, was no.
In her sermon that Sunday night, Aimee pointed out she had once considered District Attorney Keyes a friend - that she had allowed him to address her congregation - and that she had even endorsed his election in 1924. Why had he now become her enemy? She asked the 5,500 in the temple, and the hundreds of thousands listening in on the radio, “Did the overlords of the underworld who are fighting me, and who are heavily interested in Los Angeles, have anything to do with it?” Having reached the conclusion that they were, she continued, “Mr. Keyes means to do a-plenty to me right away! He has already blasted my name with trumpets across the world...if his word is the Gospel—that I am the worst ever.”
In the hearing, that was exactly what Asa Keys was trying to prove. As if that mattered.

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

HAVING FAITH Chapter Six TESTING

I can say only one thing with certainty about the mystery of Aimee Semple McPherson, and that is that the evangelist’s rumored romantic partner, radio engineer Kenneth Ormiston, was having no trouble locating sexual partners. When he first talked to the cops in early June of 1926, Ormiston denied having run off with Sister Aimee. Yes, he admitted sharing various hotel rooms with an attractive young woman during a holiday drive up the California coast, beginning in Santa Barbara. But that woman, he insisted, was not Sister Aimee. But, he added before he disappeared again, chivalry prevented him from identifying his companion by name. The press wasted little time tagging the mystery woman with the sobriquet of “Miss X”, which inspired a whit to say, “What made the McPherson case so interesting was its “X” appeal”.
Listen, Christ,
You did alright in your day, I reckon-
But that day’s gone now.
As the newspapers recounted the salacious details uncovered in Carmel, Aimee's Antics became the grist for vaudeville comedians across the nation. A “swell” would sidle up to a chorus girl and say, “ “I'm a radio man. Are you Aimee-able?”. Aimee's sermons at her Four Square Gospel tabernacle in Echo Park, were said to have “sects appeal”. The general populace was even getting into the spirit of the thing. One morning the empty “love nest” cottage on Scenic Drive was discovered to have a sign planted in the front lawn, that read, “Aimee Slept Here.” It had not been up long before it was modified to read, “Aimee Slipped Here.”
They ghosted you up a swell story, too,
Called it Bible-
But it’s dead now,
The popes and the preachers’ve
Made too much money from it.
About the only person not laughing, was Sister Aimee's mother, Mildred “Sister Minnie” Kennedy (above, left). From the beginning of their ministry, this Salvation Army warrior had scheduled her daughter's revivals from the back seat of their 1912 Packard “Gospel Car”. And during the six years of hand to mouth existence Sister Minnie had handled what little money there was. And now, just when it looked as if “Sister Minnie” and Sister Aimee were finally standing on solid financial ground, a tide of bad press was threatening to wash it all away. That is why I think it was Mildred who asked the criminal lawyer Roland R. Wooley to plug the hole in her dike.
“They’ve sold you to too many
Kings, generals, robbers, and killers-
Even to the Tzar and the Cossacks,
Even to Rockefeller’s Church,
Even to THE SATURDAY EVENING POST.
You ain’t no good no more.”
Ideally, Wooly would have merely gotten a sworn deposition from Kenneth Ormiston (above) to answer more questions, but after his statement in early June the radio engineer had disappeared again, and the police, the District Attorney's office, not even the mob of newspaper reporters swarming over the case, could find him. So Wooley invented the witness he needed, by reaching out to an old college classmate from Salt Lake City, Mrs. Lorraine Wiseman-Sielaff.
“They’ve pawned you
Till you’ve done wore out.
Goodbye,
Christ Jesus Lord God Jehova,
Beat it on away from here now.”
Lorraine had fallen on hard times, and been reduced to working as a seamstress. She had even spent a few weeks in a sanitarium. At a meeting on 15 August, at the law offices of a friend in Salinas, and for the promise of $5,000 in cash, Lorraine agreed to say she had been the private nurse to “Miss X”, Ormiston's shy companion. Lorraine was even willing to hint that “Miss X” might have been her own twin sister, who was willing to play along for her own payoff. The ruse would be helped because, the twins  (below) resembled Aimee Semple McPherson. And that was the way, her story was presented in late August to the headline hungry newspapers, who gobbled it up.
“Make way for a new guy with no religion at all-
A real guy named
Marx Communist Lenin Peasant Stalin Worker ME-
I said, ME!
Go ahead on now,
You’re getting in the way of things, Lord.”
It might have worked, except that a few days later, Lorraine (above) was arrested in Los Angeles for bouncing checks. And when payments from Sister Minnie Kennedy dried up after just a couple of $50 "donations", and "Sister Annie” refused to pay Lorraine's $1,500 bail on her bad check charge, the seamstress called the District Attorney. And on 13 September, she reversed her story. Now, Lorraine told about the meeting in Salinas, and blew up the entire fantasy, meant to distract the newspapers. And worse, by confessing her play acting, Lorraine now provided the one thing the District Attorney's office had been unable to find before: intent
“And please take Saint Gandhi with you when you go,
And Saint Pope Pius,
And Saint Aimee McPherson,
And big black Saint Becton
Of the Consecrated Dime.”\
District Attorney Asa Keyes now indicted for conspiracy Lorraine Wiseman-Sielaff , her twin sister, Sister Aimee, her mother Mildred Kennedy, and Kenneth Ormiston. Also indicted were the two unknown kidnappers, identified as “Richard Roe and Sarah Moe” - just in case there had actually been a staged kidnapping. The criminal code provided the same punishment as, “provided for the punishment of the commission of the said felony or act.” In other words, by successfully covering up their crime, the conspirators were now subject to the punishment they had avoided. Said one magazine, “Like the melodramas of old, or the slam - bang movie serials of today, the McPherson case, puzzling an avid public' month after month, burst into new and startling climaxes whenever there seemed a possibility of the story fizzling out.” .
“And step on the gas, Christ!
Move!
Don’t be so slow about movin?
The world is mine from now on-
And nobody’s gonna sell ME
To a king, or a general,
Or a millionaire.”
Langston Huges
Published in “Negro Worker” (Nov.-Dec. 1932)
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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

HAVING FAITH Chapter Five IMAGE

I believe the outcome was preordained, in a secular sense. Conventional wisdom said that Asa "Ace" Keyes had all the power. He was male, and as District Attorney he could play the legal system like a musician played a tune. And he was willing to do whatever the law allowed to convict those who violated the law. But the truth was the uneducated Sister Aimee Semple McPherson held a winning hand, if she played her cards right.. She was willing to do what ever was required to defend her favorite child, her church. And she had one advantage that she had the disadvantage of being a woman. It was the professional cynic from Baltimore, H.L. Mencken, who most succinctly described her ultimate weapon, when he surprised his readers by writing in her defense, "What she is charged with, in essence, is perjury...uttered in defense of her honor."  And in 1926, that was not only a justification for perjury, it was a requirement.
“Before the God in Whom I have every faith and utter belief in, every word I have uttered about my kidnapping is true.”
Aimee Semple McPherson 1926
It was a former USC classmate who offered the kindest description of the 28th District Attorney of Los Angeles. In his daily column "The Lancer" Harry Carr observed that during a 20 year career in the department "Ace" Keyes (above) proved to be "a careful slow minded trial lawyer". He was also honest and fair. Appointed in late 1923 to replace his ill predecessor, in 1924, Asa ran for the top job. He was even praised from the pulpit by Sister Aimee.
And oil magnate Courtney Chauncey "C.C." Julian (above) called Keyes the "squarest District Attorney’ that ever held that office”. As soon as he was elected Keyes replaced most of his staff, while cutting the length of the average felony trial from 120 days to just 51. But by the end of his only term, the corrupt dealers in city of Angles had found Keyes' weak spot and cracked him wide open..
"What brought about District Attorney Keyes’s change of belief? Did the overlords of the underworld who are fighting me, and who are heavily interested in Los Angeles, have anything to do with it?”
Aimee Semple McPherson September 1926
The roaring twenties, described by Franklin Roosevelt as "a decade of debauchery and of group selfishness", found the weak points in a lot of people, especially in Los Angeles . Just as the post war population boom produced a rush to subdivide the Los Angeles basin for new homes, as much as 10 billion barrels of oil was discovered under that very same land. One oil man observed, "They ruined a perfectly good oil field by building a city on top of it.” Brand new houses were bought and leveled to erect drilling derricks, as the locals went "stark, staring, oil mad." Some, like Edward Doheny, hit a gusher and got stinking oil rich. But the high fever of greed made it easy for the confidence men like C.C. Julian and Sheridan C. Lewis to fleece the vast majority.
“You may call it a ‘Fight the Devil Fund’ if you wish, because that’s what it will be used for....I am here to say that when I am proved innocent he will certainly have to go.”
Aimee Semple McPherson September 1926
At the top of The Julian Petroleum Company pyramid was a "Bankers Pool" of wealthy "preferred stock" holders, millionaires like movie mogul C.B. Demille, mine owners and recent oil men like Edward Doheny, and businessmen like Harry M. Haldeman, grandfather to Watergate conspirator H.R. Halderman. For a $1 million investment, they each made as much as 19% annual return by selling 4 million watered down general shares to 43,000 dreamers. 
After taking over "Julian Pete" in 1924, by 1927, Sheridan Lewis (above) had printed up and sold general shares equal to 3,614% of the company's worth. Lewis secretly unloaded his own shares, but retrained control and his generous salary by simply not telling anyone he no longer held the stock. He even used his now non-existent worthless stock as collateral to borrow millions from the biggest banks in Los Angeles, avoiding any questions by agreeing to interest rates so high they were illegal.
“Everybody knows that Asa has his hands pretty tight around my throat just now and wants to squeeze a little tighter every day until he chokes the life out of me.”
Aimee Semple McPherson 1926
Eventually it began to be whispered that there was far more "Julian Pete "stock on the market than was supposed to exists. In response to these rumors, Lewis (above) publicly formed a new "Millionaires' Pool" supposedly to save the company. In fact it merely extended the scam until the total fraud reached $150 million ($2 billion today). As Lewis reassured one of his nervous "Bankers' Pool", "You have made more money out of this Julian play than any other living man." And they all had. Until it turned out they were broke. 
“The vile insinuations which fell from the lips of Mr. Keyes during his examination today could not, in my opinion, exist in the mind of any pure man! He has subjected me today to the most exquisite cruelty and suffering that the human mind can conjure up.”
Aimee Semple McPherson 1926
Into this den of thieves stepped the "careful slow minded" Asa Keyes. Tempted by the enormous bribes offered for seemingly minor compromises, District Attorney Keyes began drinking and gambling, which is another way of saying he went into debt.  Debt made him plastic. And by 1926 those in the know, knew the District Attorney was for sale, the price depending more on "Ace's" losses at the gaming tables than on the moral compromise he was being asked to make.
“Mr. Keyes means to do a-plenty to me right away! He has already blasted my name with trumpets with trumpets across the world—settling it for everybody—if his word is the Gospel—that I am the worst ever.”
Aimee Semple McPherson 1926
In mid-September,Asa Keyes announced his indictment of Aimee, her mother, Kenneth Ormiston and two others. At the press conference Keyes assured the reporters, “Mrs. McPherson is not and never has been a victim of persecution in so far as the law-enforcement agencies of this city are concerned...This office has its duty to perform and must do it regardless of who is hurt. I am sorry for Mrs. McPherson, but that cannot influence my sworn duty.” After her arraignment on the charges, Aimee's mother, Mildred Kennedy, told the courthouse reporters, “Jesus distinctly taught that His church should have persecution. As far as we know we are the only church in the world today to have this honor.” And in her next Sunday sermon broadcast, Aimee added, “ The sole purpose of this dastardly attack was to persecute me and besmirch my character, and possibly to destroy this temple. To my mind this is itself evidence of a hidden motive.”
“Asa Keyes—if you are listening in, you are a dirty, lecherous libertine! I urge every single taxpayer listening to my voice to contact your office and demand immediately an accounting of the money—thousands upon thousands of dollars—that you have been squandering—you and your wife and your assistants and their wives—on trips to vacation resorts in Carmel, Douglas, Arizona, and Mexico for what we are supposed to believe are investigations into my integrity.”
Aimee Semple McPherson 1926
Just as the charges were being filed against Aimee, Reuban F. McClellan, Chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, swore under oath that Keyes had misused county funds in his investigation of Aimee.   McClellan, a retired mining engineer, was running for Governor, and he was depending on Aimee's Four Square congregation to support him. But by mid-October the court proceedings were over and although they produced a few headlines, the charges were proven to be empty. And then McClellan lost in the Republican primary, finishing him as a political force. But it was clear that Aimee was now using every weapon she could lay her hands on, and in a far more sophisticated way than ever before.
"Whether you like it or not, you're an actress."
Charlie Chapman speaking to Aimee Semple McPherson
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