“Evil may find shelter beneath the cloak of a priest, but true righteousness will always shine through, exposing its disguise.”
Robert Tilton, a televangelist gained attention during the 1980s and 1990s. He was born on June 7 1946 in Texas. Began his preaching journey, at a church in Farmers Branch, a suburb of Dallas. However it was through his television presence that he truly became famous.
Tilton utilized the power of television to spread his message to an audience. In the 1970s he started hosting a TV program called “Success N Life” where he preached about the “Prosperity Gospel.” This particular gospel suggests that material wealth and financial success serve as indications of ones well being and faith in God.
One of Tiltons practices was his well known “1$ mail scam.” During his televised broadcasts he encouraged viewers seeking intervention to send him their prayer requests via mail. He promised that by doing people would receive blessings and miracles in return. However it came to light that the true motivation, behind this practice was gain.
Upon receiving these letters Tiltons ministry team meticulously sorted through them to separate prayer requests from any accompanying donations. The letters containing money were treated differently; they were. The cash inside would be removed.
The contents that remained were discarded, including the prayer requests themselves. This unethical practice allowed Tilton to allegedly amass millions of dollars from individuals who sought guidance.
Additionally Tiltons ministry employed a network of prayer partners who were instructed to send written letters in response, to the received letters. These generic letters would make promises while urging people to send money. Although some individuals received personalized letters closer examination revealed that they contained written responses lacking genuine connection or empathy.
Tiltons. The exposure of his practices led to widespread anger and criticism. Investigations were initiated into his ministrys practices resulting in lawsuits and legal battles. Tiltons reputation suffered a blow ultimately leading to the cancellation of his TV show. Over time his influence and popularity considerably waned.
Today Tilton remains a figure in the realm of televangelism. While his ministry and the mail scam have undoubtedly negatively impacted perceptions of faith based fundraising they have also served as a tale against power abuse and manipulation, within organizations.