It so so easy to sit back and judge Aimee Semple Mcpherson. I made the mistake of going over to YOUTUBE to see what new insights there may have been into the age-old tale of the rise and fall of a powerful individual.
BIG MISTAKE, I forgot how EVIL and COWARDLY most Youtube commenters are.
There are even Christians that wish for her to burn in HELL for eternity, Christians that are supposed to be non-judgmental, charitable, FORGIVING.
The great Frank Capra wrote and directed a film that attempted to capture the very ESSENCE of Aimee Semple Mcpherson, a film by the name of "MIRACLE WOMAN", starring the impeccable Barbara Stanwyck.
It was a FAILURE.
Frank Capra later admitted that he botched the ending, failed to tell the tale he meant to bring to the screen.
Because he fell in love with Barbara Stanwyck, a woman that never gave less than her best when portraying a character. She actually, for all intents and purposes, BECAME Aimee Semple Mcpherson.
But, not the REAL woman.
She became the idealized, PERFECT Aimee from Frank Capra's STORY.
Frank fell in love with his own creation, ala Pygmalion and Galatea, and the film suffered for it.
And Frank broke his own heart....
EXACTLY the same thing happened to the world.
The VISION of Aimee could never match the reality. How could it? She was idolized as a veritable GODDESS walking the face of the earth.
In actuality, she was just a woman.
Just a BEAUTIFUL, sexual WOMAN at the height of Feminine Power.
She was a HOLLYWOOD level superstar with NONE of the benefits. She was not allowed to have a sex life, not even the intimation of one.
Not even an IMITATION one.
She dressed and lived like a movie star.
But she was shackled to the mores of a SAINT.
She was a Sister of the Church of the Pentecost....
In 1926, on a crowded, sunny Santa Monica beach, Aimee Semple Mcpherson was KIDNAPPED.
In 1926, on a beautiful, sunny, Santa Monica beach, Aimee Semple Mcpherson ran away with a married man.
Which statement do YOU believe?
The KIDNAPPING story?
Aimee was approached by an agitated man that sytated that he had a sick and dying child in his car that was in desperate need of a BLESSING. It was well known that Aimee NEVER refused to confer a blessing on ANYONE, so she went to the car, several men emerged, she was bound and thrown into the vehicle....
Two divers DROWNED in the turbulent waters off Santa Monica beach, searching for the BODY of a woman that all assumed had DROWNED.
Then the RANSOM notes started coming in and all the rumors started.
The Married Man tale?
Several people SWORE they spotted Aimee in Carmel, California, in an illicit love bungalow with a married church member.
THAT angle was never proven, no supporting evidence was EVER found...
One day, a month later, Aimee was found wandering a Mexican desert. She had ESCAPED from her kidnappers and was deathly ill....
The corrupt Los Angeles District Attorney, under extreme pressure from several JEALOUS religious figures and their WIVES, brought charges against Aimee, alleging false statements and other spurious charges, which were all dropped later.
But, the damage was done. She was never able to re-capture her former chaste reputation, nor was she able to re-capture the public's HEARTS.
She continued to broadcast her sermons, virtually single-handedly saving the POOR and downtrodden of Los Angeles by her herculean efforts to feed ALL during the Great depression....
Yet, the public never really got on board with her again.
She died one miserable, lonely morning in Oakland, California, at the start of a comeback BARNSTORMING tour of America.
She gave a sermon the night before in an Oakland Church that ROCKED all that attended.
She was BACK where she belonged, and she knew. She told her son later that night that she had a NEW destiny to fulfill, she had finally re-discovered her true calling, and that she could not WAIT to continue with her teachings.
If ONLY she could get some SLEEP.
Shades of Michael Jackson, eh?
She died in her sleep that night, the victim of an entirely accidental over-dose of Sleeping Pills.
Oh, and those of you who do NOT believe the kidnapping story?
Aimee Semple McPherson never regained her health after the events of Santa Monica beach, whatever may have truly happpened, BUT:
An autopsy found that she had SERIOUSLY compromised KIDNEYS, she was slowly dying of the same malady that killed Jean Harlow: UREMIC POISONING, a condition consistent with the types of drugs that were found in her system after the KIDNAPPING, definitely NOT the types of drugs anyone would use during a LOVE AFFAIR....
It was her weakened kidneys that caused the sleeping pills to have such a deadly effect on her.....
The Angelus Church is STILL open for worship EVERY Sunday. The sermons may have changed, the music is not the same, but MESSAGE remains.....
I used to drive past the Angelus Temple every morning on the way to work at UCLA...
But, on my first day in town, which may have been a Sunday, as I was attempting to locate UCLA, I became hopelessly lost in ECHO PARK, and I could not get Gary Numan's song "I Die, You Die", out of my head....
I keep driving around and around and around.
The fourth time driving past the incredible structure that is the Angelus Temple, I realized that I was hopelessly LOST, it was the music and merriment issuing forth from the Temple that kept drawing me back to the same area, again and again.
I was lost, for a time, but soon found my way.
Just like Aimee Semple Mcpherson.