There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.
Thu, 07 May 2020 10:00
Robert is joined again by Vic Berger to continue discussing Televangelist, Jim Bakker.
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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. So four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Rivers well I podcast is returned. Robert Evans behind the ********. Jim Baker Part 2. Vick Burger guest hello hello how are how are how are just wonderful. That's good. That's good I I am experimenting with using less words than normal. In the hopes that that will make me easier to understand. So right, how's that going for you, buddy? Yes, that works poorly. Yeah, poorly. It doesn't. Doesn't work well. But you know what was working great. In the 1980s was Jim Baker's grift *******. He's really hitting it out of the *** **** park in the 80s. Yeah. 1987 would prove to be the high point for Jim and Tammy Baker's empire of, you know, whatever you want to call it. That year opened with PTL breaking ground on the Crystal Palace Ministry Center, $100 million construction project. So that's a they have expanded quite a bit at this point now. And this is. I'm sorry, where where is this again at the time? What? Heritage USA. It's in, I think, South Carolina. South Carolina. OK, yeah, so the the Crystal Palace Ministry Center was supposed to be like. The palace itself was a gargantuan glass structure 916 feet long and 420 feet wide. It was a full scale like representation of like a Victorian era building from London. It would have a 300 seat auditorium and A5000 seat TV studio. Jim Baker bragged to everyone who listened that when complete the Crystal Palace. Maybe the largest church on Earth, so that's awesome. Wow. Yeah. By 1986, PL had more than 2500 employees and revenue of more than $125 million per year. The Heritage USA theme park was hugely popular. More than 6 million people visited it that year and again, only Disneyland and Disney World were more popular. So on the surface, it's not crazy that they would embark on $100 million construction project, right? That seems, you know, pretty easily within their means. And yet, on the very day that ground was broken for the Crystal Palace, Tammy Faye Baker suffered a calamitous mental breakdown. Now, when it came to popularity outside of the evangelical Christian bubble, Tammy Faye definitely outshone her husband. Her heavy makeup and regular crying fits that sent it running down her face were regular subjects for parity. Like Bloom County made a lot of Tammy Faye Baker jokes. But on that Jet, Phil Hartman did Phil Hartman on SNL? Yeah, yeah, he did a great Sammy fate like that. She's definitely, like the one who kind of cracked into the mainstream the most, right? But the hysterics were not like just something she did for the camera or anything like it was. She had serious emotional regulation problems, in part as a result of the stress of running a business that was constantly on the edge of collapse because of the financial crimes they were committing. That's not great for your. You it's just not great. And so on that January day, she had a mental breakdown. And as Don Hardister, the former PTL head of Security, later recalled quote, they left me in the house alone with Tammy and that's when she started hallucinating. And I couldn't believe I'm there by myself with this lady. And she'd taken her clothes off and Tammy didn't do that kind of stuff around me. We all knew she had some prescription drug problems, so she's is a bad breakdown. And two months later, Tammy's problem grew serious enough that she required treatment for chemical dependency. Has it become the norm? The bakers took to the airwaves and recorded a whole very special episode about Tammy Faye's battle with drug abuse. And again this went over well with their audience. Like the fact that Tammy had been abusing narcotics, like didn't slow the donations down at all or make them any less bluffed by their their viewers. It's just you see their their faults and you know they want and they want to help. They want to help her help her problem. Exactly. What didn't go over well with the audience was a blockbuster article in The Charlotte Observer published just days later. Revealing the sordid details of the rape that Jim Baker had committed on Jessica Hahn. So that comes out in 87 too. And while this is happening, the observer continued to tear into Baker's ministry for its flagrant misuse of funds. They published more than 600 stories in 1987 alone. So they are 600. Yeah, they are ******* tearing into this. Yeah, yeah, The Charlotte Observer. Once this stopped and they put in the ******* groundwork and they revealed this massive chain of fraudulent fundraising, fake lifetime memberships, incorrect tax exemptions based on its status as a nonprofit religious organization. It's revealed that the FCC actually launched an investigation into PTL back in 1979 over $300,000 in funds raised for missionary work overseas that was just spent on the theme park instead. And it becomes kind of clear that the theme park has been losing money for a while. Because it's just so ******* expensive, and all of these things that he keeps adding to it are so ambitious. So they're like raising money for other things and then spending them on this theme park because ******* Jim Baker loves his stupid theme park. It's pretty cool. So Jim raised huge amounts of money for overseas ministries, and his followers, you know, donated that money in the hopes that he'd send out preachers and provide humanitarian aid to impoverished areas. Instead, he rerouted millions of dollars of this money and pumped up his theme park. Yeah, so the park killed millions a year, and much of Jim's criminal behavior is dedicated to plugging that hole. In 1988, he was indicted on 8 counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud. Between this and the big reveal. The Baker had spent another $265,000 of church money bribing his rape victim. There was no way for Jim and Tammy to stay at the head of the PTL, so everything falls apart very ******* quick. So. We have found the line here, though this is where it hits, right? So that's good that there's a line. This this proves to not be something that you can like. Yeah, get on TV and be like, hey, uh, *******. This is what I did, and it's fine because I'm giving myself up to God that that there there is a line to how much you can do that, right? Yeah, or at least there was. Our old friend Jerry Falwell sailed into the gap to take over the ministry and try to write the ship. And if he thought doing this would be an easy way to turn a dime, he was very, very wrong. It quickly became clear that due to Jim's criminal mismanagement, the ministry owed nearly $100 million. Various creditors and more than $55 million in back taxes. Falwell resigned less than a year later and accused Jim Baker of being, quote, probably the greatest scab and the cancer on the face of Christianity in 2000 years of church history. Like there's some genocides in there. It's just like there's a there's a there's a good clip of Falwell just before all that where he there are like $70 million in debt. And he he raised a goal. If they wanted to get 22 million in a month, he would go down the waterfront, go down the water slide in a suit. Yeah. And they raised that money and and he went down the slide in his suit. Yeah. It's amazing. It's $22 million. Imagine asking. Yeah, people to do that. It's so, it's so good. Yeah. Good and cool. So Jim Baker was quick to tell the New York Times that without a miracle of God, we will never minister again. But it was clear to every rational observer that he and Tammy had just stepped back from the flaming wreckage of their ministry to wait out for the inherent forgiveness of the well meaning rubes who supported them. Alas for Jim, he would have to weather a massive criminal trial before this could happen. Tammy Faye escaped indictment, and there's a great debate to this day as to how much she actually knew. It's probably fair to say she was more or less an equal partner and was fully aware of the enormous. Intercontinental scam that paid for her houseboats and fur coats. But she escaped without legal consequences, and her husband was not so lucky. Their former employees rolled on him pretty much instantly. Steve Nelson, a PTL employee who was responsible for the lifetime membership program, testified in court that memberships had been deliberately oversold. The act of betraying his boss and God to a court of law was more than the old man's constitution could take, and he collapsed on the stand, as the court sketch artist later recalled when he fainted. It was this silence and a voice from the audience came up and said, oh, he's giving his life to God. And Baker's attorney called him up and said Jim Jim, as if there's going to be a miracle he can bring him back to life. Oh, sounds like a fun court case. Real good time. Nelson was not dead, though, and as the trial continued, Jim Baker had a complete mental breakdown himself. The very next day, he began hallucinating. The reporters outside the courtroom were insects. His. Yeah. Uh, his head of security recalled later that night. He was curled up underneath his attorney's couch. I think the weight of that trial and the weight of everything he had done, good and bad, just crushed him. Yeah, yeah, yeah, well. I would hope so, but yeah. What do you what do you think is gonna happen? Yeah. So Baker was committed to a psychiatric ward in the federal prison, and the trial was put on hold for six days. When things finally concluded on October 5th, 1989, Jim was found guilty on all 24 counts and sentenced to 45 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay a half, $1,000,000 fine. He appealed, but the court withheld his conviction. They did grant him a sentence reduction hearing though, and dropped those 45 years down to just eight. And he only actually served five before being paroled in 1994. So that's great. Five years? Steal millions of dollars? Rape a woman five years, right, right back in the minimum security prison, yeah. And his cellmate was Lyndon Larouche. It's so good. Ohh boy, so I'll ask for Tim. Tammy Faye was not a waiter. She filed for divorce while he was in the clink and married a guy named Roe Messner, a contractor who'd helped to build Heritage USA. Tammy knew how to pick him. In 1996, Messner was convicted to 27 months in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud. So. There we go. And weirdly, if Tammy Faye dies and I think 2007, she gets cancer, but she, her second act is actually kind of sweet, like she becomes for, purely for purely ironic reasons. She becomes a gay icon because of her, like, makeup and everything. Like, she's seen as this. Yeah, like a lot of, like, drag Queens and people like that will like once. It will like, emulate her makeup style just because it's like so garish and out there and kitchy. Yeah, my first exposure to her was when she was on that VH1 reality show the surreal. Life, yeah, remember that with Sherman Helmsley and the the guy from Smash Mouth? It's amazing, yeah. And she. You know, she'd said horrible things that has had her husband about gay people and PTL. And I don't think she ever, like, came out and just said, like, I was wrong. But she did state later in life that, like, when everything collapsed for her, the only people who were there for her was the gay community because they. Yeah. So that's interesting. Tammy, I don't know what to say about Tammy Faye Baker. She's an interesting person. So once he was out of minimum security prison, Jim Baker wound up briefly in a halfway house. Before his fall from Grace, he'd owned a 55 foot houseboat, a $55,000 Rolls Royce, and a $45,000 Mercedes-Benz, along with numerous palatial mansions all around the world. Afterwards, he wound up living in a rented farmhouse in North Carolina. There, Jim began to execute an epic plan to rebuild his empire. It started with the publication of his second autobiography, titled I Was Wrong. Which is at least a better title than if I did it. Hmm, yeah, that's true. Yeah. In it, he seemed to repudiate the prosperity gospel beliefs that had dominated his first ministry, he wrote. I was appalled that I could have been so wrong, and I was deeply grateful that God had not struck me dead as a false prophet. So. That's interesting, and the book was step one. But if Jim was going to achieve his goal, which was to just do the same thing he'd done before a second time, he knew he was going to need to sell himself to a new community, a community open minded enough to forgive someone like him. He found this community in Los Angeles, CA at a place called the International Dream Center, and according to the Washington Post quote there he lived in a cramped and crumbling room with a son, Jamie, 22, and received visiting reporters eager to chronicle his recovery. All the glowing articles about the new Jim Baker mentioned his rough life in the ghetto, including the cramped room and. Yeah, so Jim throws himself on the mercy of the black evangelical Christian community. Like, that's who he goes to when his chips are down. And as surprising as it might seem, they took him in. Some of this had to do with the fact that, as I stated, PTL had been very popular with the black community, and the bakers had always been relatively good on racial issues. So many of the folks that he reached out to in LA remembered him from their childhood. But as the posts reporting continues, that's not the only reason he was accepted. Baker's story of temptation, collapse, prison. And loss resonated with many poor black folks in LA. You know, this is obviously Jim's actual experience of of crime in prison has no similarity, but yeah, he was good at spinning it. They they at one point, like when he was doing this sort of revival tour, they interviewed a number of the folks who were in line to buy his book in LA and I want to quote from that now. One of them is his former cellmate at Jessup, Nathaniel Mathis, 32, now working at a telephone company, who showed up to wish his friend well. I can relate so much to him. While he was stripped of everything, Mathis says. Like Jim, I lost everything 110%. But the Lord works in the lowest valleys. Lawrence, Drew and his friends are all black men in their 20s, just out of prison on drug related or similar charges and four hours they have to show up at a janitorial job for manpower for Jesus. They're halfway house alternative. All are hopeful that their lives will soon change, and they look to backer for inspiration. Oh sure, all of us can relate to him, says Drew, who has just paid $25 for Baker's book and is waiting patiently to have it signed. He's the underdog, and that's what we are, underdogs. He's real. He's very real. And now, by which he means after the prison term, I think he can be more powerful than he ever was. Oh yeah, that's that's not what you'd guess, right, right, right. What what is going on there? What is like that mindset to. I don't. I don't get it. Yeah, it's people was like, yeah. Just like just ignoring exactly what what he did is. I mean just like obviously it's like like the MAGA folks today are just exactly. It's the same mindset like at whatever, you know he's he's fighting for us. I guess. I don't. I don't know. I don't understand it. Yeah, I it's hard to understand. Some of it is just that like as a general rule the the the Black Christian community is considered to be is is is extremely forgiving. Right. And like it like, a number of prominent figures in the American history have, like, after doing something bad, like, shown up at like a black church and giving a speech or something and like, you know, done the, the Mia Copa there because it's kind of a good place to do it. And there's a lot of complex reasons for that that I don't feel competent to get into. But it's like it is a trend, particularly for like, white people who do something really bad, like, I'm going to wipe this away by. Yeah. I don't know. It's it's a thing that happens. Yeah. So that's good. That's fun. Yeah. Now, one of the things, ironically, that helped Jim Baker in crafting his act, too, was the fact that he'd never been a very good preacher in the theological sense. All of his sermons and ideas were just cribbed from more original thinkers, people like Oral Roberts. It was hard for him to come up with much on his own because Jim had dropped out of Bible college and never quite finished reading the Bible. And it it would seem to me that this would be a bad thing to reveal after you've spent 30 years as like. An expert on Christianity. But Baker leaned into this successfully, and he flipped it into a positive, because now he could start claiming that he'd learned the Bible in prison and that, like that, taught him more about his faith than than Bible College. And this is how he starts to claim like this is how he learns prosperity gospels wrong as well. He's in prison. He gets to really focus on the Bible for the first time. It's an amazing grift. It's an amazing grift. From the Washington Post quote he learned above all that the meek shall inherit the earth, that his 40 room mansion and air conditioned doghouse and 12 cars were part of an ungodly arrogant lifestyle, a realization he came to a few months after he was initially denied parole. I believe the Bible said above all, God wants you to prosper. Well, when I went to prison I began to study the Bible and I realized that Jesus Christ didn't have anything good to say about money, he says in his sermon he called money the deceitfulness of riches. He said, woe unto the rich. And this plays really well to a crowd of poor black people in LA and it's just, it's amazing that this is coming from this ******* guy's mouth, but it it works. It's it's something else. I don't. I don't understand. I don't know that I ever will. If guys like Jim Baker are grifting on easy mode, or if he's like the ******* if he's just that good, it's impossible for me to really tell. But it works, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So Jim reinvents himself as a humbled man, preaching the word of God from the position of a Sinner. He talked about the little log cabin where he lived now, which was really a 17,000 square foot home lent to him by a wealthy follower. And he met a new wife, too, Lori Beth Graham. She was a preacher as well, with a harrowing history of abortion and drug abuse to give her the kind of Arc that really sells to the evangelical crowd. But her real main qualification, in Jim's eyes, was the fact that she was the spitting image of his ex-wife, Tammy, only she was 17 years younger. Exactly. And it's worth noting that like his first wife, Tammy, second wife Laurie, that's not for nothing, right. There's something going on there. Yes. And you know where else there's something going on, Vic, where's that? The products and services that support this podcast. Let's hear about that. Oh yeah. Yes. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying one or for a family. And it meant. Family start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. 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Option it's convenient, accessible, affordable, and it is entirely online. You can get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey, and if the therapist that you get matched with doesn't wind up working out, you can switch therapists at any time. When you want to be a better problem solver, therapy can get you there. Visit betterhelp.com behind today to get 10% off your first month. That's better helpp.com/behind betterhelp.com/behind. This fall on revisionist history, is there anything that we haven't talked about, or I should have asked you or you'd like to add that seems relevant? You should have asked me why I'm missing fingers on my left hand. A story about sacrifice. I think his suffering drove him to try to alleviate suffering. And the shocking discovery I made where I faced the consequences of writing a book I thought would help people? Isn't that funny? It's not funny at all. It's depressing. Very depressing. Revisionist history is back with more. Listen to revisionist history on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. I've never seen less enthusiasm for a great idea in my life. Wow, those were great. Products pretty good services, better products and services, I have to say. But that's a matter of interpretation, much like the Bible. So, uh. With a stable base of supporters in California, Jim began to tour the nation once more. He built up his time in a cushy minimum security prison for massive fraud into a journey through the eye of the needle. Washington Post reported on one sermon he gave in Jericho City. He describes the exact moment of his epiphany, a story he calls his day. In the pit of hell. Speaking as if in a fugue state, he recalls vague and spooky details. A door open, a madman singing La La La La la. At some point he looked down into the possessed eyes and the door locked behind him. He was either in the insane asylum or in solitary confinement. A man was dying. In the next cell, a toilet was overflowing. I had lost the will to live, he tells the crowd. I had slipped into a corner of hell. As I was going insane, I've always cried out. At the split second I was leaving the world, it cried. Jim. I love you. At first he saw no one. Then a vision appeared at the door, a man with brown skin and brown eyes. I didn't know angels are black, he says. I didn't know. That's his first thought. Not that they're Angel there, but the color of his skin. They're black, yeah. Didn't call that one. *******. Amazing, yeah. Amazing that this place. Not long after that speech, a wealthy follower swept in and donated $25 million so that Jim and his new wife Laurie, could build a new compound to film their show from. The bakers instantly abandoned the flock they've cultivated in Los Angeles, and but they were sure to use the story of those people's generosity to reinforce the narrative of their own awesomeness. During his tour of America, Jim sometime would regularly refer to his Los Angeles ministry as the inner city. That was how we were supposed to, but he would generally slip and just call it the ghetto, saying things like I found healing in the ghetto. Those people love me so much. My God, those people. Lori also had a number of choice lines in that vein, telling one reporter this is probably not PC, but out of all the races, white, Hispanic, Afro, American, the people of the Black race have been by far the kindness to Jim. Out of all the races. A tip from me is if you're starting a sentence with out of all the races, stop the sentence, right? Let's stop the sentence. Whatever, whatever you're saying, don't. Oh Jesus Christ. Unreal. In 2003, the bakers moved back to the South. A wealthy supporter from Missouri who claimed Jim had saved his marriage paid for them to get up and running in the Studio City Cafe in Branson. I love Branson, by the way. It's it's the city where this happens. And. And yeah, Branson is like, it's like, it is like for, for this group of people like Las Vegas and like Las Vegas, like LA's filled with all these, like stars who are past their prime. And so they get right, like, that's what Jim Baker's doing. Yeah, exactly. He's he's doing his, like show in Branson. And so, like, they do that for a few years. And eventually they they're their backer uses his millions to construct a new compound for them called Morningside, which is basically the same as their old. Compound, but somewhat more modest. It is not as big and grand, but it includes like a fake Mainstreet USA and like basically like, it's basically like a weird fake, like that chunk of Disney World that Jim Baker has creates for himself with this recording studio, right? Right. It's probably not as cool. Not at nearly as cool. There's probably no churros. No, definitely not chiros. So they move in there in 2008. They've been there ever since. And it's worth noting that this millionaire backer, Jerry Crawford, actually owns the prop most of the property at Morningside, presumably because Jim Baker can't really own property anymore because he still owes millions of dollars in back taxes. So there's like some sketchy ****. Given his felon status, it's also unlikely that Jim Baker could have convinced the IRS to grant tax exempt status to another one of his organizations. That is probably not going to happen a second time around, right? You know, fool me once, shame on me. Told me twice. I'm not gonna make you tax exempt again. This is probably why he had to discard all of the prosperity gospel nonsense from his first rise to power. He can't ask people to blindly send him money anymore, or at least not the same way. Now, I'm not an expert in taxes, but I do know that generally, money you receive as a gift is treated very differently from money that you receive in the sale of a product. And you don't normally need to pay taxes on a gift, right? Like, that's kind of a basic rule. Now stick with me, Vic, because this is where the grift gets really complicated. This is. This is the pivot that he makes, and it's kind of, it's objectively brilliant. So the main theological shift that Jim Baker undergoes during his prison metamorphosis is to drop the prosperity gospel ******** and pick up apocalyptic rapture ********. And it's the kind of art that makes narrative sense so people don't question it. You know? Like, I thought that it was all about money and all about, like, bringing that in, but then I realized that, like, it's all about God, and he's coming back and the world is ending, so wealth doesn't even matter anymore because he can't. So he can't promise people to make them rich by donating money to him anymore. So why would you focus on wealth? So the question then is though, why does he start focusing on the apocalypse? What is the grift in the apocalypse? Well, obsessing over the apocalypse allows Jim Baker to hawk an endless line of survival equipment, primarily Baker buckets, which are are dried food storage buckets for preppers, and we'll talk more about those in a minute. Now, selling a **** load of survival equipment would normally mean you have to hand over a lot of that money to the state and taxes, right? Like that's how a business. But this is not a business. See, if you know Jim Baker, you know the last ****** ******* thing he's ever going to do is pay a *** **** diamond taxes. So he works out a way to not do that. And here's how BuzzFeed describes the grift. In Morningside lingo, these traded supplies or offerings are called love gifts. Technically, the ministry isn't selling these items. Instead, the organization's business model requires that the ministry function on donations. And those donations are a lot easier to get if people get something in return, be it a mug or be it a bucket of food for the apocalypse. So there's no purchasing happening. A gift to the ministry. It's awesome. Yeah. That is such a good grift. Unreal. And it's it's this is where you really you really see Jim elevated in my mind to like the ranks of truly great grifters, because before I feel like he's on easy mode. Like, there's there's no artifice in in just saying give me money, it'll make you rich. This is a legitimately brilliant Griff, and he's and he's one that can like adapt so easily. Yeah, just like find out what the next path. Is, you know, and he's been doing this since, like, 2008. Yeah. So he's he and he, you know, Barack Obama was a huge boon to his business. He claimed almost immediately that Barack Obama was probably the Antichrist and the end was nigh. And yeah and you might think that his boy Trump getting elected would have like actually done some damage to his bottom line because he really supported Donald Trump. But he was able to flip almost immediately into freaking out about a black president to freaking out about all the different natural disasters that we're going to batter the that were battering the US yeah. And then also saying that you know, if you're against Trump that's God wanted Trump in there, then you're you're for the devil. You're saying that devil appointed devil. You know? Yeah it's so good. It's just awesome. So. In 2015, NPR did a deep dive into his survival buckets, which the prepper community tends to refer to as Baker buckets. And they are not well regarded amongst the kinds of people who keep a lot of survival food in their houses. They're not. They're not considered good like sawdust. Yeah, they you you've done so many videos there, just like focused deep pans on like these ******* buckets, like normal survival food you'll like, you'll like, you'll pour out like a little. Freeze dried packet of what is basically and you'll pour in water and you'll stir it together. It's like, look, you got Mac and cheese or whatever, right? Baker like fills up like a chicken fillet, 20 gallon bucket, massive tubs of this like dried cheese, cheesy broccoli soup. Slowly stirring this like mash of what looks and has to smell like vomit, and it's just no, they'll stick, it'll fill his ladle and just eat right from the ladle. Horrifying. What kind of church is this? What is yeah, like what is going on? Yeah, the Jim Baker's ads. We'll, we'll play some audio from one of them later. His ads for food buckets are I I find them existentially horrifying. Yeah, they are. They are. So it was a clock ticking down. Yeah. It's unlike anything else I've ever seen. But I I wanna read first before you drop into one of those videos I want to read first from a 2015 uh NPR deep dive on his survival buckets quote. Among the freeze dried products available on his website is a 50 day survival food sampler bucket containing 154 meals. It will cost you $135.00, but the idea is you'll be prepared when food shortage is hit. Imagine the world is dying and you're having a breakfast for kings, the food for us. We got our hands on a version of this bucket which contains a variety of hearty dishes including buttermilk pancakes, vegetable chicken soup, creamy stroganoff, black bean burgers, fettuccine Alfredo, and mashed potatoes in October. Three hour long segments were devoted to Baker's assertion that we are the generation that will experience Rapture. Followers must be prepared to survive and continue preaching the gospel, he says. And why not, as Baker urges, buy food today so that you can have parties when the world's coming apart, save for the pudding. The dishes were extremely salty and odd, lingering aftertastes we couldn't agree on. Which was worse, the thick potato soup that felt like eating wet cement, the strong chemical overtones and the chocolate pudding, or the disturbing radioactive orange of the macaroni and cheese? Ohh Christ. And do you have a segment you wanna play about the Baker buckets before we move on? Because that's yeah, there is. You talking to me like, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. There's, I mean, there's like, the cheesy broccoli rice is just so, like, offensive to watch. And it's it's horrible to hear the plops of, you know, the broccoli drop it into the soup. Yeah. Just like this bright yellow, like neon yellow. That should orange. You should not. No. Food should be that color. Yeah. It's almost Lovecraftian and it's. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's unsettling, this and I I don't know. Yeah. You can't see them. So it's it's hard to. Yeah. Oh my God. OK, look at this. Look, look at this boy. What? I love to put my hands in it, but it's hot. This is cheesy broccoli, right? Look at the broccoli in there. Wow. Look at the broccoli. You want that on the top of a pizza? If I went gross you out, everyone, I would eat right out of this shovel. Wow. Let let's dump this in with the rice. There it goes. We're dumping 22 gallons into the right. There we go into the right. Now I have 44 gallons. What if you have to survive for two years or three years? You're going to need some more food. But. Oh my. And it just looks like it looks almost like powdered protein. It's just like, right, like I've, I've, I eat a lot of dried food, I go camping. I do like some survivor. He's just eating. It's so good. It's so good. I. I've never like no one else sells. I'm very familiar with how people sell survival food. No one does this. Yeah. The the best is that he's like, he must have had like extra buckets. Yeah. So now he started selling buckets filled with Bibles, which is insane. And and they recommend bearing the Bibles with the bucket for when they need it down the line. Completely insane. It's unbelievable. I don't. It's amazing. It's amazing. He's selling a 28 bucket sampler there for $2500 donation or more. PO Box, Branson, MO *********. Real dude. I I'll never understand how this works, but it does. I don't know. Lawyers on his side. You know, I I I don't even know if anyone's tried. Like, there's this is just the way the law works and it shouldn't, right? It shouldn't not. But you shouldn't just be able to say it's a donation. Here's your product. Right. But I guess it's fine. Yeah, yeah, we've all agreed not to stop this, right? Ohm it's pretty cool and good and I I have to know, one of the surreal things about watching modern Jim Baker's ads is that he looks like David Cross in a costume. Yeah, that's definitely part of it. He like he, you know, emerged from prison and then he kinda had a, you know, he's, he's wearing a cap now and he's got this, like, beard. Yeah. Yeah. He's like, you've reinvented himself a little bit, you know, his look. Yeah, you have to when you do this. Yeah. So, Vic. I'm going to start selling. Buckets of slop. I mean no taking donations. If you donate $2500 to me, I will make sure 44 gallons of something liquid and hot arrives at your door. I'll I'll find a way. So let's send the money over and in the meantime, check out these ads for products that are not donation based and function within the regular economy and have to pay taxes. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for. None of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. 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And the shocking discovery I made where I faced the consequences of writing a book I thought would help people. Isn't that funny? That's not funny at all. It's depressing. Very depressing. Religious history is back with more. Listen to revisionist history on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. I've never seen less enthusiasm for a great idea in my life. Yeah, Jim Baker wound up on Donald Trump's side of the 2016 election and his political stances over the last few years won't really surprise anyone. In August, he said this. Hillary Clinton is a very wicked and unchristian woman. She supports gay rights and abortion. I would say she is a bride of Satan. If America elects her, it could lead to Armageddon. Cool. So she would have been so much better of a candidate if she was married to the devil like. Less problematic than Bill? Umm, yeah. But alas, initially it looked like Trump's election would be bad for Jim's business. Like I said, the whole President, Hillary means Armageddon line. I think he was really gearing up for Hillary Clinton as president. He would have sold the **** out of food and Bible buckets. You gotta have this whole thing about, like, you know, they're gonna ban the Bible. You gotta bury your Bibles, you gotta bury your food. Bury it. All right? Now you're the best is like his live feed of the of when the results are coming in, you know, they're just like preparing for Trump to lose and to and to start their grift again. And yeah, like the same thing with Alex Jones. Yeah, they had to think on their feet quick. Like, yeah, how do we get through this now? How do we get through this now? It was disastrous for Alex Jones in the end. It wasn't disastrous for Jim Baker. I and I I I don't really know why other than that like Alex Jones is. Uh, violent and and uh commits a ton of crimes, and I I think Jim Baker's been pretty careful about committing crimes since all of the crimes he committed sent him to prison. I guess that's. I guess that's just it. And I at kind of the end of this here, I'm left trying to wonder what Jim's followers see in him. Like when you like you find, and I think most people find these videos from a show so profoundly unsettling that you were, you've spent dozens of hours of your life editing them into the horror shows that they they really are to try to like, highlight that because, I mean, I guess can you, can you tell me about the first time you ever came across? One of these videos, like what it was like realizing this was all going on. There had to be a time before you knew Jim Baker was doing this. Yeah, I mean, I thought I came across the the the Baker bucket, like when he was making the cheesy bread with the rice and the massive tubs. My friend Tim Heidecker found it. He says you got to do something with this because it seems like it's like it's like a skit or something. It just doesn't seem real, you know? And like, I don't know what's up with the people that that I don't know how anybody can just watch that and not, like, be offended. Like, wow, like, why is this happening? How why would you give this guy any money? But I think, I think it's a lot of because he still has a lot of older people that, you know, grew up with him in the 70s and 80s. And and he's just cultural icon in a way. And, you know, it's there's a little bit of the cult mentality too there because, like, even you can actually, like, buy rooms in his studio so you can be, like, live. They live in the studio. Yeah. So all old ladies? Pretty much, yeah. Yeah. But I've noticed recently, even before the coronavirus outbreak, like the the the crowd has been pretty slim. It's like they've been trying to fill the. The Rose with like statues and stuff to make it, you know, fill the room up a little bit. But yeah, I'd be curious to know how they're doing. Yeah, they're it's interesting. They're. So this is like, you do have to say, it's his. His current digs are much more, much less ambitious than his original ones. And like, I think his studio has about a 60 seat audience. Oh yeah, that. Yeah, they're kind of all older women. And yeah, it does seem like there have been less of them lately for obvious reasons. But he did. He did slip with the, with pushing the silver solution. Yeah, he did. He got in trouble for that. He's. Yeah, he's being sued by like, the Missouri AG, I think. Yeah, I think New York, too. Like, yeah, some New York. Yeah. We'll see what kind of damage that does. It's interesting because I think he kind of backed off on the silver stuff once he got sued. I may be a little wrong on that, but I know. Oh yeah, I know. Alex did not. Alex Jones has just been like, I think he's just kind of being like, **** it, let's see what they do. What are you going to do? Yeah, come and get me and like, yeah, Jim Baker's whole life is testament to the fact that, like, they don't do that much. Like, yeah, you have to commit 10s of millions of dollars in fraud and violent rape. And like, the rape didn't have any impact on the sentencing. He wasn't charged for it. But I do think it kind of played into the fact that, like something happened to him. Like, I think if he just committed to financial crimes, I doubt he would have spent more like a year in prison. But. Yeah, it's quite a quite a thing. Anyways, I wanted to kind of end by trying to get into the heads a little bit of the people who watch this and love this and find him inspiring because I will never really understand them, but we should try to a little bit because it's important. So I found a BuzzFeed article that that interviews a woman who's a big fan of Jim Bakers, an older lady named Day's Green as her her last name quote. I watched this show because I can connect with Jim and Laurie. They seem to be such everyday people, she says. The stuff they talk. The right away, like, yeah, yeah, right even there. Like what? Like I grew up in the South. I know the rural parts of this country. I don't know anyone. Like Jim Baker. Like, what the **** are you talking about? Umm. Jesus, the stuff they talk about the show, it's stuff that we everyday people struggle with. And I guess that part is true because they do talk very, you know, candidly about that. It's helped me to be a better person. So that part I get days Green is worried about many things. The Leviathan spirit, natural disasters, pestilence, bird flu, swine flu, Palestine. The second coming of Christ, ISIS, blasphemy and immigration, which is the amazing list of like, yeah, you should be worried about, you know, diseases and natural disasters, Palestine. Wait, no, no, no, no. Yeah. Immigration. Right? Over the course of our conversation, she expresses fear that the world is crumbling before her, that people are falling further and further away from God. I am awake days, Green says. People say that I am crazy, but I am not crazy. Jim Baker is not crazy. We know that something is happening and we are trying to do something. Mostly days, Green says she has been called crazy by the church she used to attend. She asked the church to preach on the Book of Revelation to reveal the truth of the Bible that she believes people need to know because it's happening now. She uses a verse from Hebrews 512 in our conversation, which chastises young Christians for their dependence on easily digested topics of faith instead of trying to tackle more meaty ones. Revelation, in her opinion, is the meat. I guess I got thrown into the fanatical group, she says, because her church asked her to leave days. Green's faith is tightly bound together with her politics. She says she is a Donald Trump supporter. She wants the swamp in Washington DC cleared out, and she wants America to return to the Americas she lived in during her childhood. There's a lot of it there, and that's why Main Street USA is the theme of his current, like compound sort of church thing. Yeah, they want to go back in time and they're very open about that. And continuing the article, because I think this is important. Her biggest personal cause is immigration. She wants her governor, Greg Abbott, to get rid of the sanctuary cities in Texas. In fact, Abbott recently signed legislation banning them. It used to be a little shelf in the grocery store that had a few little Mexican things on it, but now there's a whole section of the store that's written in Spanish, she explains. They are supposed to assimilate. It went from like 5 Mexican families to like around us to like 20. There are Muslim people living in Graham, a nearby town. They took over the convenience stores. She pauses. I don't want to have to physically fight those people here on our own. Homeland for a Christian American values, but I will they're an invading Forsyth feel. There you go. Yeah. Good. Yeah. And it's it's it's. Yeah, that's what. That's that's something, though. I mean, because he doesn't I think he does have like Muslim guests on his show. You know, I I think he I could be wrong. But yeah, I yeah. I I don't know enough about that, but that's at least what this lady takes. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. It's it's pretty wild. And the the language that Baker used around Donald Trump is pretty wild, like in the run up to like during the election. He said at one point, I'm not supposed to tell you this, but I have eyewitnesses. Donald Trump is a very tender man and he weeps. He wants to please God more than anything else. He wants to be president of the United States and make things right in this country because he loves God Almighty, then with his eyes shining, Baker declared. God has called, I believe, Donald Trump. So yeah, and Baker says Trump called him to thank him after his election. Uh and and they were invited to the inauguration, which they attended. They were invited to the the Inaugural Prayer Breakfast and Inaugural Ball. Uh, so, yeah, that's you get this guy walking around the White House. That's normal. Typical stuff. Yeah, this is good. Good, good, good for America. Good for America. I mean. In terms of the rapists in the White House, he's one of them. Yeah, he's he is among them. He's on the list, yeah. Yep, that's our episode, Nick. Lifting. Yeah. How's everybody feeling? God, I need a bath. Yeah, a bath in one of those giant buckets full of cheesy broccoli. Exactly. Ohh my Christ. So. How? How we doing? Doing alright. Yeah. Yep. Yep. Robert, you're frozen. I know, yeah, we're all frozen. Frozen, frozen in awe of the grifting talents of Jim Baker. ******* incredible. Well, Vic, you want to plug your plegables? Do you sell gigantic 44 gallon buckets of slop? I don't at the moment, but I'm working on it. Yeah, yeah. If you gonna get my dusty food together so you can mix it with a little water and you can you can feed your family the good, as a general rule, the good dried food like that, you open the packs and you can tell it's food, right? It looks like freeze dried and like shrunken, you know, desiccated. But it looks like what it is and like some of it, you can actually just eat dry. It's not bad. Like Mountain House, you can eat that **** dry and it's pretty good. Bakersfield, yeah. Just looks like sawdust. It is, yeah. It's just slop. It's like, yeah, pig should be eating it. Don't know how he used to put a trough out there. And that's ******* incredible, right? ******* incredible. Oh yeah, but you can if you want to see my reedits of Jim Baker videos, you can head to my YouTube Vic Berger. There's a number of them on there. There's a lot of a lot of stuff there. A lot of a lot of fun stuff. You can, yeah, check me out on Twitter Facebook, type in Vic Berger. And there I am. Yeah, there he is. I am also on the Internet. He's I I write OK on Twitter, we're at ******** pot on Twitter and Instagram. We have a tea public store where you can buy merch. Robert also hosts the podcast called The Women's War. You should check it out. And I haven't verified any of this information, so check up on it on your own. Yeah, yeah, he said. Thanks for what you guys do. You guys are doing important work documenting all this. Seriously. Thank you as well. Please, please continue doing. I don't really know how to describe what you do, but it's important. It's important documentation. I consider it a form of journalism, Vic. And I'll tell you why. Wow. It's because the, the, the actual, the baseline reality of these these videos doesn't do enough to convey emotionally what happens to a human being who watches them in the time in which they're concurrent. And I I think what you do provides that by by setting the tone. That is important. Thank you. Yeah. Because, I mean, because Jim is like, he's doing, you know, 5-6 hours a week. He's like, you know, these shows are long. And so, yeah, I I try to whittle it down to the most horrifying moments. Yeah, it's pretty cool and good. So awesome. We're all going to go wash our hands, wash our hands, cry. Right. Pray maybe I don't pray. Pray about crying, cry about prayer. Yeah, it's gonna be it's gonna be good. Alright, alright, well thanks. Thanks for being on, Vic. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's breaker handle the hosting. Creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. For four, oh, months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.