Of the three Ferriday cousins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, and Jimmy Swaggart, the first one to be born, Jimmy Swaggart, is the last one living.
Jimmy was was born on 3/15/35 to Willie Leon Swaggart and Minnie Belle Herron.
Willie Herron, known more by the nickname ‘Sun’ was a Hell-Warning, down-home, country preacher, and a hell of a down-home country fiddle player. Minnie Belle was a dutiful wife and mother. The two were closely related, which was not unusual in these close-knitted towns, where the ‘clan was intertwined like a big tight ball of rubber bands’.
Jimmy and his sister, Jeanette, spent much of their youth going to churches where Sun preached and played.
And in his spare time, Jimmy hung around with his cousins, Jerry Lee and Mickey, enjoying the music at the Blues club in Ferriday. Music was the big thing in the lives of those three boys and Jimmy led the way by playing piano and guitar and singing.
Jimmy married Francis Anderson whom he met at the church in Winster, La, where he would provide musical accompaniment and his rich baritone singing to Sun’s churching. Jimmy was 17 and Francis was 15. The year was 1952. And the marriage continues yet today in spite of struggles that would doom most marriages.
The early 50’s were years of poverty that found Jimmy working part time at odd jobs and preaching where ever he could. He picked up a little cash for singing hymns at various Pentecostal churches.. Mid- 50’s picked up when Jimmy was given a flat bed truck to use as a moving stage. and he preached full time, holding revivals all around the south.
In 1960, he started recording Christian music that got a lot radio play. Sam Philips, head of Sun Records, wanted to sign him as the recording company’s start in a Gospel Music division. Swaggart said no, as it would interfere with his spreading the word. In 1961, he was ordained as a minister in the Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church, preaching in a church he founded in Baton Rouge, La. He had arrived.
Now here we have one of the three cousins, there is Jimmie, the cousin that had only one wife, and is still married to her, Jimmie, the cousin that is proclaimed to be a ‘man of God’, Jimmie, the cousin that achieved fame and fortune through religion, no rocking and rolling, no running a saloon, and no booze or drug addiction. The shining star of the three cousins. Well think again!
He might have devoted his life to serving God, on the surface; but in reality, his life has been one scandal after the other. Compared to Cousin Jimmy Swaggart, Cousin Jerry Lee Lewis is a saint.
Jerry Lee Lewis was rash and reckless.
Jimmie Swaggart is cold and calculating.
Jerry Lee Lewis is a member of 2 Hall of Fames
Rock and Roll HOF & Country Music HOF.
Jimmie Swaggart is
Not a member of the
Gospel Music HOF
But if there was an Elmer Gantry
Hall of Shame
Preacher Jimmie would be inducted
on first vote.
And Jimmy’s wife, Francis, hasn’t been a long suffering woman. She been a partner in most of his scandals and a few of her own. Their son, Donnie, is also a preacher following in his father’s way to gain wealth and satisfaction. Donnie’s son, Gabriel, who heads the Swaggart Youth Ministry, continues to lead a lustful life while wearing the garb of a man of God. Dog loose in the meat market’
All four can be seen and heard on the Swaggart’s 24/7 cable TV network, Sonlife Broadcast Network, preaching, praying, pleading, while pretending to be sincere Bringers of the Holy Word, (Bringers of the Bucks), and Bringers of the Holy Life, (Bringers of the Does), they are prime examples of do-what-I-say, not-as-I do.
Originally, I had thought this bio post would run like my posts on the other two cousins. I started skimming over the sins of Swaggart with a little detail of the most prominent one. Before I knew it the bio post was over 4,000 words and still more. Not only was I surprised as I got into his life, I was also disgusted. I decided to take a different approach and use a cut-back- tact.
Jimmie Swaggart is the subject of countless news articles, magazine articles, tabloid fodder, books, documentary films, state and federal writs, court hearings, grand jury investigations. What he seems to lack, outside his books and pamphlets he sells through his Ministry, is any positive statements… except as regards his singing and playing.
Here is a very brief account of his ‘life’s work’.
Hypocritical Defamation or as he calls himself a Religious Vigilante – accusing other preachers of ‘sins’, get-rich-quick, sex outside of marriage The very same ’sins’ that are also his vices. Takes one to know one.
Financial Fraud – He never served time for fraud like Jim Bakker, another TV evangelist did, but he makes Bakker’s fraud seem penny-ante. His victims – the elderly, the poor, orphans, his followers. His frauds involve around a Children’s’ hospital, Hurricane Katrina, Swaggart University, his porno-printing company, African missions, conning money from followers’ wills, bribery and or hush money payments for his misdeeds but paid for by his Church. He did pay a million dollar plus fine out of his own pocket when the IRS hit him up. He never built a Crystal Cathedral, but he di spend church funds to have a lavish and large estate.
Sex– His first public sex scandal came about just after he go both Jim Bakker and John Gorman defrocked for sex/rape incidents.
Whine – He cried teary eyed on live TV and asked for forgiveness. He was forgiven but two months deemed insincere and was defrocked as a Pentecostal minister. Didn’t lose any followers though. What he did lose was the shackles of the Pentecostal Church. When he got caught in a sex scandal the second time, he didn’t cry and whine. He just told how God talked to him and told him to just say it’s none of anybody’s business but his own. And he still lives by those words.
Mayhem – quick tempered, threats of violence, many carried out either by Jimmie or ‘persons unknown’.
Murder – He and and some his church officials were put for trial for the beating death of an elderly lay just a few days after she willed everything to Swaggart Ministries. The jury absolved Swaggart and ruled that some of the officials were involved. A payment to the woman’s son by Swaggart Ministries to help the poor lad get over his grief was made and the matter forgotten by the courts.
Two of Jimmie’s favorite prostitutes disappeared after telling people that they feared for their lives after Jimmie made threats to them. They have never been heard of since. Swaggart Ministries gave monies to the families to soften their grief.
Witness Intimidation – Bribery – Hush Money – Countless times. The most prominent one concerned the prostitute in the motel scandal. She was easily identified in the pictures. Then she disappeared…for good. Not wanting to be linked with the disappearing, he paid another prostitute to sell her ‘story’ of being in the motel with Jimmie. She got money from the tabloids and money from Swaggart Ministries. She failed the lie detector tests but never veered from the story over all these years.
Her mouthy brother was given some hush money as a compensation for his sins of calling his sister a liar, along with the promise any slander in the future could be unhealthy.
Women – Sex – And More Women – Jimmie Swaggart’s sex exploits are the stuff that sell tabloid news and tell-all books. Over the years he has accumulated long time mistresses and long and short time prostitutes. They all seem to agree on his preferences…kinky and weird and young. His favorite place, his Lincoln Town Car, parked or moving. His favorite foreplay, haggling over the price. One of his regulars said she went along with his all demands… except when he wanted a three-some. The third participant being the prostitutes nine year old daughter. Since God spoke to him, Jimmie has no comment when quizzed about his hobby.
And Francis Swaggart shares the same vices as the men in the family. Several times, Jimmie has said in public, that because of his infidelities, Francis has severed any sex with him, years ago; and she has taken many lovers…all women.
Song – And now to give the devil his due, we go to the one positive aspect of Jimmie Swaggart…his singing voice and musical talent. Even though these achievements are backed by many followers trying to kill two birds with one stone, namely buying a closer walk with God via enjoying good gospel music, the results are startling.
In just the decades of the 70’s and 80’s, Jimmy Swaggart sold 17 million LP albums of his musical talent. He remains a top seller of gospel music even today at age 84…even today though his rich baritone voice is heard for free on countless radio and TV shows 24/7…even today when his scandals should have, but never did, destroyed his career.
Of the three cousins
I worked The Killer once
I worked The Urban Cowboy twice
I worked The Preacher many times
At the apex of his popularity
I also had some personal dealings with another TV evangelist
At the apex of his popularity
Stay tuned for TV Preachers Live
I am horrified by the so-called preacher’s long string of crimes. But I’m not surprised by the audacity with which he carries on and manages to overlook his vices: sometimes it seems that the Devil rewards his followers well
I agree, Luisa. The devil seems to reward his followers.
Have a lovely weekend, dear Don 🌹
Al fascinating read….thank you so much:)
Glad you found it fascinating, Janet. thanks for the comment.
You are most welcome:)
You wrote a helluva post today, Don. What you wrote about the Preacher is how I view many of the televangelists with Billy Graham being the exception to the best of my knowledge. Fascinating sequel to the Cousins. Looking forward to the next post. Did you write that good poem?
Thank you, Pat. Your take on Billy Graham is identical of my respect for the man nd the minister. I never had any personal dealings with him, but I do have a story of how his Crusade affected a couple back n the day. It will be in my next post.
The answer is yes if you are referring to the HOF bit.
Dearie, dearie, dearie me … I’m flabbergasted. Speechless, even (for once).
And I am speechless that you are speechless. But writing about that piece of manure left me speechless also.
hehe. We could go on and on in this line…
Wow! WOW!! And you were ‘there’. Why do people get sucked into evil? That’s not really a question, just a comment. A great read, Don!
Thanks you, Jennie. The evil of the Shepard and the gullibility of his flock.
Don, it’s amazing what you can get away with if you link your liaisons with your prayers and preaching. How tragic it is that one of those gospel singers and sex fiends included a 9 year old. Shame on him….Tom
In my research I kept thinking I have seen the worse but the next bit kept topping the previous…except the one bout the little girl.
I have never been a religious person. The mainstream churches are tainted by gangster corruption, fascist political associations, paedophilia, and other sexual abuse. The gospel preachers are tainted by money and sex combined. None of them have a singe ‘Christian’ cell in their bodies. Your excellent post just confirms what I already knew as fact, or suspected to be so.
Best wishes, Pete.
I agree, Pete. So many using religion to hide their crimes.
Geeez … WoW.
Well I surely confess to being a Jerry Lee fan despite his many misbehaving’s. Never knew the crimes of Swaggart though. But like they say, ‘if you’re rich and famous’ you can actually get away with murder.