Tony Alamo Christian Ministries (TACM)

Spencer L. Allen

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TONY ALAMO CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES (TACM) TIMELINE

1925 (April 25):  Edith Opal Horn (aka Susan Lipowitz, aka Susan Alamo) was born in Alma, Arkansas.

1934 (September 20):  Bernie LaZar Hoffman (aka Marcus Abad, aka Tony Fortunato, aka Tony Alamo) was born in Joplin, Missouri.

1964:  Hoffman moved to Los Angeles and met Horn.

1964:  Hoffman had a vision of Christ during a business meeting.

1966 (August 19):  Bernie Hoffman and Edith Horn married. Horn changed her name to Susan Alamo (Hoffman subsequently changed his name to Tony Alamo)

1969: The Alamos began work with street youth in Hollywood and Saugus, California; the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation was founded.

1973-1982: The Alamo Christian Foundation produced and syndicated the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian television program.

1975: The Alamos bought land in Dyer, Arkansas, to serve as the main campus of the Alamo Christian Foundation.

1976:  The U.S. Dept. of Labor charged Alamo with violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act.

1980:  Tony Alamo published his book The Messiah According to Bible Prophecy.

1981:  The Alamos created and incorporated Music Square Church, which replaced the Alamo Christian Foundation as the church’s name in 1982.

1982 (April 8):  Susan Alamo died of cancer.

1985: Tony Alamo challenged the Fair Labor Standard Act up to the U.S. Supreme Court and lost; the IRS revoked the church’s tax exempt status for 1977 to 1980.

1988 (March 25):  Sheriff’s deputies raided Alamo’s Saugus, California campus to reunite three boys with fathers who had previously been excommunicated by the church.

1990:  Alamo missed court arraignment and was found guilty of embezzlement.

1991 (February):  Alamo and his fellow church members abandoned the Dyer campus, taking Susan Alamo’s corpse with them.

1991 (July):  Alamo was arrested for tax evasion and failing to file taxes.

1994 (June 8):  Alamo was convicted for tax evasion and sentenced to six years in prison.

1998 (July):  Alamo was moved from federal prison to a halfway house.

1998: Church members established a presence in Fouke, Arkansas to welcome Alamo upon his release from prison.

1998 (December 8):  Alamo was released from his halfway house in Texarkana, Texas.

1998 (July 23):  Christhiaon Coie, Susan Alamo’s daughter, won custody of her mother’s corpse.

2007 (October 22):  Tony Alamo Christian Ministries (TACM) was designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) because of Alamo’s anti-Catholic rhetoric.

2008 (September 20):  Federal agents raided the Alamo Ministries presence in Fouke on allegations of child pornography

2008 (September 25):  Alamo was arrested in Flagstaff, Arizona for several violations of the Mann Act.

2009 (July 24):  Alamo was found guilty of ten counts of trafficking underage girls across state lines for sex.

2009 (November 13):  Alamo was sentenced to 175 years in prison
for ten violations of the Mann Act.

2014 (February):  Seven of Alamo’s “child brides” were awarded $525,000,000 in damages.

2017 (May 2):  Alamo died of a blood ailment in a federal prison hospital in North Carolina.

FOUNDER/GROUP HISTORY

Tony Alamo (pronounced: uh-láh-mo) was born Bernie LaZar Hoffman on September 20, 1934, in Joplin, Missouri, the son of a Jewish father who immigrated to the Missouri Ozarks from Romania. Hoffman’s parents taught him to downplay or deny his Jewishness for fear of being labeled a Christ-killer and bullied by his classmates. Following this advice was not an issue for him because his family was “not particularly religious,” according to one of Alamo’s lengthier autobiographic tracts, “Signs of the Times” (Alamo 1984). fAs a young man and religious outsider, he recognized that “Jesus was the God of the Gentiles,” but he could not understand why his Christian cohorts blamed him directly for Christ’s execution, especially since he knew nothing about Jesus. Reflecting upon this during his early life as an adult, he failed to see any behavioral differences between himself and his Christian peers. As Alamo put it, “[My Christian peers] had the same thieving business practices I had, committed the same sins I committed, and if Jesus was their God and hadn’t done any more for them than He had done, then I didn’t need Jesus.” This inability to discern a difference between himself and these nominal Christians reinforced his lack of need or desire for religion as a young man, be it Jewish or Christian.

Hoffman left Joplin as a teen and eventually relocated to Los Angeles in theAlamo1 early 1960s (Image at right). Before changing his name to Tony Alamo, which he claimed better fit the Italian crooner persona he desired, he first took the name Marcus Abad (as well as Tony Fortunato) and tried to make it as a singer, recording the pop single “Little Yankee Girl.” Alamo would later claim the song was a hit in the 1960s, but no contemporary reference books on pop music mention the song. Singing/crooning would remain a defining aspect of Alamo’s persona, especially in the 1970s and 1980s on Alamo’s syndicated broadcasts and when he lived in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to his recording career, he claimed to have worked as a manager, producer, and/or promoter for various music acts, boasting that his services were requested by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Billie Strange, and former-Beatle drummer Pete Best, among others. Whatever the truth behind these claims, his biggest success and source of income in the early 1960s was his health club franchise in southern California, not music.

Alamo’s life changed in 1964, during a business meeting in Beverly Hills. In a room allegedly surrounded by motion picture stars, several attorneys, and his own seventeen-member entourage, Alamo was negotiating a major promotion gig when “suddenly [his] ears went completely deaf,” and he heard a voice demanding (on penalty of death) that he proclaim then and there, “Jesus Christ is coming back to earth”  (Alamo 1995:1). After initially doubting the religious nature of this experience, imaging instead that he had just experienced a psychotic breakdown, Alamo realized that he had sensed God’s “unspeakable, incredible intelligence” in a moment of divine immanence. He then made this proclamation to everyone in the room and was promptly dismissed from the meeting. This experience offered no novel insight to Christian theology or history. Rather, it simply repeated an end-times repentance message that has been popular among evangelical Christians since the latter half of the nineteenth century.

This auditory experience was one of only two religious revelations that Alamo relates in his writings. The second occurred soon after the first, as he was searching for an explanation for the first. This time, Alamo saw an entrance to hell and its tortured multitude, which was then contrasted with a pleasant and peaceful entrance to heaven. It was this experience that inspired Alamo to convert to Christianity because it reportedly gave him a moment of unprecedented peace. Notably, apart from these formative revelations early on, nowhere else in his religious literature does he claim that God continued to speak with him in either visions or auditory revelations. Instead, throughout his life and ministry, he endorsed the notion that his special relationship with the divine was manifested through his ability to interpret and use scripture. Despite his lack of continued revelation, this event purportedly changed Alamo’s interests and career path from one of secular self-interest and promotion to evangelical outreach. Indeed, he claimed that these visions prompted him to seek out religious answers for the first time in his life.

With no previous religious education, familiarity with the Bible, or interest in religion, Alamo sought out various churches and church leaders for answers and explanations for his vision. Nothing satisfied his need for an explanation, as he noted in “Signs of the Times”: “I went from one church to another, but found no one preaching the powerful message that God had given to me (Alamo 1984). However, this changed when he convinced his future wife, Edith Opal (1925-1982), aka Susan Lipowitz, to read and explain the Bible to him. Alamo admitted that they had known each other prior to his vision, but she had refused to speak with him until she was genuinely convinced of Alamo2his religious conversion and interest in Bible study. Horn would change her name to Susan Alamo when she married Tony on August 19, 1966 (Image at right), about two years after his conversion, soon after he had been released after being arrested on a weapons-related charge. However, accounts differ on when exactly he became Tony Alamo. He himself wrote about his life as though he had assumed the name prior to his conversion, during his crooner and producer days. Others report that he and Susan both took on the Alamo name after their marriage (various accounts suggest this was her third marriage and his fifth). Apart from the name chronology, if we can trust the autobiographical moments in Alamo’s religious tracts, the basics of his theology appear to be rooted in Horn’s early exposure to evangelical, especially Pentecostal, streams of Christianity in rural Arkansas and southern California.

Like Alamo, Susan was born in the Ozarks, specifically Alma in western Arkansas, and was of Jewish descent. (She would often mention their ancestry on their syndicated television broadcasts.) Also like Alamo, Susan moved to southern California in search of fame, with plans of becoming an actress. According to her daughter from a previous marriage, Christhiaon Coie, when Susan could no longer support herself through acting, the two of them earned a living in Hollywood by pretending to be a missionary-and-daughter team so that local churches would support their ministry with special offerings (Enriquez 1993). However, other accounts suggest that Susan really was an independent Pentecostal minister at this time. As he wrote in “Signs of the Times,” Alamo maintained that Susan’s early church activities and evangelical outreach to hippies started what would become known as the Jesus People Movement: “You hear a lot today of where the Jesus Movement started. I can tell you all about it. Many people have tried to take credit for the great revival that has swept the world, but believe me, there was no one else in the streets when Susan and I first went out there” (Alamo 1984). Alamo credited her efforts to feed and convert this population and noted  own resistance to her mission.

Tony and Susan Alamo would soon pair this street-based mission in Hollywood with a church setting in Saugus, California, a community that has since been incorporated into Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County and is an hour’s drive from Hollywood. The Alamo Christian Foundation campus offered communal living for the Alamos and their church members in Saugus. The church’s communal structure would remain a major Alamo3part of the Alamos’ new campuses, which were established in Dyer, Arkansas, near Alma, in 1975, and Fouke, Arkansas, near Texarkana, in 1998 (Image at right). Additional campuses or presences for the Alamo Christian Foundation or its later iterations were established in Fort Smith, Arkansas; Hollywood, California; Nashville, Tennessee; Brooklyn, New York; Chicago, Illinois; and Miami Beach, Florida (Lewis 2001:42). There was also a significant presence of church members living in Oklahoma and Texas. However, the Dyer campus remained the group’s primary campus until the 1990s.

The Alamos produced a syndicated television program from 1973 to 1982 when Susan Alamo died of cancer at the age of fifty-seven. Her death was a turning point in Alamo’s life, leaving him to spend most of his remaining years embroiled in various controversies and legal troubles. The first of these issues was the controversy surrounding Susan Alamo herself. Tony Alamo proclaimed that his wife would be resurrected and so refused to allow her body a proper burial or internment. This issue was not fully resolved until 1998. The second issue was a legal one, related to the improper tax filings of Alamo Ministries from 1977 to 1980. Central to this issue was the status of employees/volunteers/church members, their pay rate, and the effects this had on the Alamos’ personal finances. In 1985, Alamo was charged with filing falsified tax returns, and he would fail to file taxes at all in 1986, 1987, and 1988. Ultimately, Alamo would spend about four years in prison (1994-1998) for these violations (Lancaster 2017; Williams and Brantley 2007). The third issue dealt with Alamo’s history of physical and sexual abuse. In addition to the more than $30,000,000 in actual and punitive damages that Alamo was ordered to pay Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek for assault and battery, negligence, and emotional distress while they were teenagers living in the Alamo Ministries community in Fouke, Alamo was ordered in 2014 to pay more than $500,000,000 in actual and punitive damages to six women who had been former child brides between 1994 and 2005, as well as one fifteen year-old girl groomed to be Alamo’s child bride in 2006 (Lancaster 2017; Williams and Brantley 2007). Alamo had already been found guilty in July 2009 for ten violations of sex trafficking and sexual abuse and was sentenced to 175 years in federal prison after these settlements were concluded.

Alamo died at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina on May 2, 2017, from blood poisoning resulting from complications of a urinary tract infection. The Tony Alamo Christian Ministries’ (TACM) website posted a notice of his death, “Message regarding Pastor Alamo,” which described his life as “a living testament of sacrifice, love, and devotion to the Lord” and noted that “he exposed the satanic world government and the very seat of Satan in a world-wide and effective way, when no one else dared.” No successor had been named as head of TACM since his incarceration in 2009, and no successor has since been named after his death.

The Alamo Christian Foundation was more formally known as the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation through 1982, while Susan was alive. The foundation would change its name to the Holy Alamo Christian Church Consecrated and then to Music Square Church in 1982, although Music Square Church had already been incorporated in 1981 (Lewis 2001:43). The ministry was finally renamed as Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in the mid-1980s, and this name has so far survived Alamo’s death in May 2017. Despite these name changes, Alamo Ministries will be used henceforth, unless specificity is needed for clarity. TACM will be used to refer to the website and other still available materials.

DOCTRINES/BELIEFS

From its inception, the theology of the various Alamo Ministries iterations appears to have been rooted in the Pentecostal spirit-filled tradition of holiness and restoration. Susan Alamo, the ministry’s original senior pastor and preacher, was born and raised in the Ozarks, near the home of the Assemblies of God tradition that began in 1914 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and is headquartered today in Springfield, Missouri. She was also closely associated with the Jesus People Movement in California in the late 1960s, so this connection between Alamo Ministries and Pentecostal spirituality and theology is not necessarily expected but fits well. Indeed, given the Pentecostal nature of the Jesus People Movement, concerning which Tony Alamo claimed his wife started when she began ministering to individuals in the hippie and drug subcultures in southern California, the fact that the Alamos’ theology would reflect Pentecostal theology is not surprising.

Specifically, under Susan Alamo’s leadership, Alamo Ministries stressed the fallen nature of every human being and the need that everyone has for the salvation that only Christ offers. The prayer of salvation that still accompanies each TACM religious tract focuses precisely on Jesus as the Son of God and the only source of salvation. Furthermore, Alamo Ministries has always relied on the infallibility of scripture, the imminent return of Christ to this world, the reality and threat of Hell, and the use of the believers’ spiritual gifts (however, the specific gift of glossolalia does not receive any attention on the TACM website). The spirit-filled aspect of Alamo Ministries was most prominent during the thirty-minute television program that was syndicated from 1973 to 1982 when Susan Alamo interviewed members of her church, who testified how they found spiritual restoration in the form of peace and freedom from narcotics and/or drinking through Christ because of the Alamo Ministries religious community.

After Susan Alamo’s death in 1982, Tony took over as the leader and pastor. Over the next thirty years, his theology would increasingly deviate from his wife’s more mainstream public teachings, but he would continue to present it with the same mainstream religious veneer. For example, Alamo based his legitimacy upon his biblical interpretation, which is an idea that is not too different from many evangelicals who believe that their own interpretation of the Bible should be the preferred interpretation. Essentially, Alamo’s theology could be described as Sola scriptura (“Scripture alone”), with a high Christology, in keeping with the Pentecostal theology that Susan had previously publicly proclaimed (Allen 2014:72). This description is reinforced by the footnotes and parenthetical citations that permeate his personal letters, newsletters and literature, and his 1980 book, The Messiah According to Bible Prophecy, with its 333 scriptural citations. Like many evangelicals, Tony Alamo was primarily interested in and dependent upon the Pauline corpus (both the authentic and Deutero-Pauline letters), the Pentateuch (especially the Ten Commandments), and the Gospels (especially the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ teaching on marriage). Also in keeping with several streams of evangelical American Christianity, Alamo argued that the only acceptable English Bible translation was the King James Version, more formally known as the Authorized Version. In fact, of the six articles included in TACM’s “Articles of Faith of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries,” article five is “We believe in the entire King James Version Bible, Old and New Testament. We believe it is the Word of God” (Tony Alamo Christian Ministries 2013). Moreover, in the 2010 tract, “A Letter from Tony,” Alamo proclaimed that he was “in prison for preaching the King James Version of the Bible,” essentially disregarding his criminal convictions for sexual abuse and sex trafficking (Alamo 2010a).

Although entitled, “Articles of Faith,” only one of the remaining five articles deals with faith, and it does so only tangentially. The first article states the current name of the church, “Tony Alamo Christian Ministries.” The second claims that the church’s duration is “perpetual.” The third provides the church’s Arkansas mailing address, which happens to be a post office box in Hollywood, California, while the fourth states that the church is a nonprofit entity. The sixth and final article of faith is broken down into four subunits, which resemble mission statements more than articles of faith. According to article six, the purposes of the church are: a) “to establish, conduct and maintain an Evangelistic Church; to conduct religious services; to minister to the sick and needy; to care for the fatherless; to rescue the fallen; and, generally to do those things needful for the promotion of Christian faith, virtue and charity;” b) to conduct Christian education and expand their church’s teachings throughout “different states and territories of the United States and the world;” c) “to prevent pauperism” through job training, medical assistance, and other religious charities; and finally d) “to acquire by grant, gift, purchase, devise or bequest…property as the purposes of this Church shall require in carrying out its stated purposes” (Tony Alamo Christian Ministries 2013). On the one hand, the fact that article 6d literally identifies the acquisition of property as a matter of faith for Alamo Ministries should reinforce the federal government’s contention that Alamo Ministries exists to enrich Alamo (formerly the Alamos) personally. On the other hand, however, Alamo Ministries has practiced communal living since the late 1960s when they were based at Saugus, and Christian communal living is described in Acts 4:32-37 as an ideal situation. Indeed, when a church member lives on church property, then he or she need not keep his or her own land. In this regard, the acquisition of property does, in fact, interact as a demonstration of faith, if not simply faithfulness to the ministry.

Like many other Christian denominations today, Alamo Ministries often focused on sexual sins and abortion, as demonstrated in the 2015 TACM World Newsletter feature article, “The World Counsel,” (volume 21800):

Do “you believe that GOD ordains homosexuality or lesbianism, which HE condemns? Do you believe GOD ordains abortion–homicide–which HE also condemns? Do you believe GOD ordains fornication, adultery, liars, thieves, or any sin? No”  (Alamo 2015:1)

Alamo also wrote extensively on the sinfulness of divorce, even though he himself was probably divorced no fewer than five times. In fact, in 2011 he published a tract on the TACM website entitled “Divorce Is Sin” declaring divorce a form of adultery, which both Jesus and the Ten Commandments condemn.

Further likening the teachings of Alamo Ministries to mainstream churches, Alamo always flatly denied that he ever introduced novel doctrinal truths. Prophetic references in the tract “More Than a Prophet” are said to concern Jesus, not Alamo. Alamo’s words and Alamo Ministries literature should not officially be considered continuing revelation by the faithful, but they are authoritative because Alamo claimed to understand what God intends as the Bible’s true meaning. With his claim to be a true interpreter of Scripture rather than a new voice for the divine, Alamo resembled many evangelical ministers and other evangelical Christians who believe that the Holy Spirit assists the faithful as they read the Bible, a tradition many might trace back to Martin Luther (1483-1546) or John Wesley (1703-1791) and his fellow Pietists (Alamo 2015:1).

Of course, just because Alamo denied possessing prophetic abilities does not mean that Alamo Ministries church members have never considered Alamo a prophet. Indeed, one former child bride admitted, “Everybody thinks he’s a prophet here” (Allen 2014:72). Another girl, who left the Alamo Ministries community at age eleven, contrasted her own opinion with other Alamo Ministries church members: “I didn’t think he was a prophet,” suggesting most others did. Moreover, in a series of interviews following Alamo’s arrest, one woman likened his persecution to that of the biblical prophets: “If you read the Bible, you’ll see the same thing happening over and over again to every prophet.” Alamo certainly downplayed his role as a prophet, but members of his church embraced him as one regardless.

As a pastor and biblical exegete, Alamo based his interpretive methodology on three interrelated principles, two of which fit well within mainstream Christianity: 1) Jesus proclaimed himself as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) who alone can grant salvation; and 2) Jesus came to pardon the believer and to restore the believer’s lost holiness (Allen 2014:65). The third principle is generally less acceptable to most American Christians: the New Testament believer is expected to keep the Old Testament, or Jewish, Law. For Alamo, this third principle justified his polygamous marriage and sexual relations with underage girls.

Alamo’s call for Christian polygamy would probably surprise most American Christians today, but he believed this was justified because he claimed the New Testament believer is expected to keep Old Testament Law. Alamo reinforced this principle with several proof texts, including Matthew 5:17-18 (“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled,” KJV) and Romans 3:31 (“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”) Because Jesus and Paul declared that all the Law must be fulfilled, Alamo argued that a true Christian must fulfill all the laws contained in the Old Testament to ensure salvation.

In the TACM religious tract “The Many Wives of the Holy Men of God (Polygamy),” Alamo argued that if polygamy was contrary to Christian belief and practice, New Testament texts would have openly condemned it: “polygamy was never even mentioned once as being negative, illegal, unlawful, or changed, with the exception of the bishops and deacons in Greece and Rome by Paul” (in 1 Timothy 3; Alamo 2010b). Because both Jesus and Paul call for their followers to maintain Old Testament Law, the so-called levirate-marriage law in Deuteronomy 25:5-10 could have potentially required an already-married Christian man to marry a second wife if his brother died leaving behind a childless widow. Deuteronomy 25 provides a ritual for the surviving brother to avoid marrying his sister-in-law, but Alamo condemned the unwilling brother along with any modern Christian man who would refuse to take a second or more wives, claiming that an “ungodly man who will not perform polygamy” will “surely spend eternity in Hell” (in 1 Timothy 3; Alamo 2010b). Moreover, the fact that so many Old Testament laws allow for or assume polygamous marriages meant for Alamo that New Testament Christian men should be polygamous.

To complicate matters and further remove Alamo’s teachings from mainstream American Christianity, Alamo’s call for Christian polygamy was not limited to consenting adult women and their one husband. Rather, he interpreted scripture and cited other religious traditions to argue that (pre-)pubescent girls should be counted among a true Christian’s multiple brides. As with his polygamy arguments, in general, Alamo’s interpretive interest in pubescent girls was likely a means to justify his own illegal sexual abuses. To justify the adult male’s sexual union with an underage girl, Alamo invoked yet another Old Testament law as evidence for (polygamous) marriages involving pubescent girls, God’s first commandment to humankind in Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful and multiply.” Following this verse up with a simple appeal to logic, Alamo said it is easier for a man to multiply when he has multiple wives. Moreover, women have more time to be fruitful if they start multiplying at an earlier age, which is to say, before they are eighteen or at the onset of menarche.

To reinforce the importance of marrying women while they are still girls, Alamo further noted the New Testament statement that women will be saved through childbearing (1 Timothy 2:15). Thus, the earlier girls wed, the earlier they attain salvation. Additionally, he argued that Abraham took his third wife, Keturah (Genesis 25:1-6) when she was between nine and thirteen years- old, although he provided no proof text or ancient tradition to back up her nuptial age. There is also a lack of evidence regarding Alamo’s claim that David’s relationship with Abishag in 1 Kings 1:1-4 began when she was nine or ten years-old. Alamo did provide extra-biblical evidence for his claim that the forty year-old Isaac married Rebecca (Genesis 25:2) when she was ten years old, but he cited the Book of Jashar 25:40, a nineteenth-century forgery purporting to be an ancient text. Few Christians today would accept this as evidence (Allen 2014:67). Regardless of his lack of evidence for the ages of these biblical women when they first became sexually active, Alamo argued that God must have approved of these types of marriages for today. Had God not approved then and now, they would not have been included in an infallible text. Therefore, said Alamo, for the Christian man to maintain his holiness and salvation, he must follow these exemplars of the faith and marry many wives, some of whom might be young girls.

Mention should also be made of Alamo’s strict anti-Catholic rhetoric. Already in the mid-1980s, TACM religious tracts focused on government conspiracy theories against him. According to reporter Sam Enriquez, Alamo once seriously declared that the government would assassinate him if they proved unable to incarcerate him. In 1985, Alamo wrote a tract entitled, “Jesus Said (That Satan Would have a Church and Government).” In it, he asserted that the U.S. government, the Roman Catholic church, and Satan, along with all his demonic forces, were in league to stop Alamo and TACM’s outreach efforts:

“The gestapo I.R.S. is busy taking away all tax-exempt status from churches alien to Satan’s church and government. For years the I.R.S. has also been busy giving pro-Satan church organizations tax exemptions, such as all witchcraft churches and covens” (Alamo 1985).

This tract is still available at the TACM website, along with several others fostering this anti-Catholic rhetoric.

Later, while he was in prison between 2009 and 2016, new protestations of his complete innocence (regarding both the earlier tax evasion charges and his more recent sexual abuse charges) were often uploaded to the TACM website. Most of Alamo’s more recent writings were uploaded to a page designated “Unpublished Literature,” where hundreds of tracts that never appeared in a hard-copy medium are located, or were placed in the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries World Newsletter. For example, in 2009, Alamo wrote an unpublished article entitled “They (The World Government and Media of Rome) are Doing Everything in their Power to Convince You that My Church and I are Not Only Kooks but a Very Dangerous Cult;” in 2012, he wrote, “Mystery Babylon is Rome’s U.N.-Satan’s Government;” and in 2011, he wrote, “Catholics Need to Know!” More recently, in “Why I’m Slandered,” the feature article in 2016’s TACM World Newsletter, volume 23500, Alamo complained, “The devil, Satan, uses his left-wing liberal media in a cunning way to defame those who are of the LORD,” with “those who are of the LORD” undoubtedly serving as a reference to himself and other TACM church members (Alamo 2016).  In this same lengthy sentence, he maintained, “these Roman UN government liberals have crazily taken over industry, banks, mortgage companies, and are supporting deadbeats who won’t work.” When discussing the government or Catholicism, Alamo wrote with as much contempt as he could. Other blatantly anti-Catholic tracts include “Evil International Roman Catholic Government Agents are Claiming to be United States of America Government Agents,” which was originally written in 2003 and reissued in 2015 and 2016, and “The Pope’s Secrets” (1983), which was used as the script for a seventy-six minute documentary uploaded to the TACM website in 2015. Numerous other tracts contain anti-Catholic rhetoric, even if this is limited to a single reference to Rome’s one-world government.

If not already apparent from the title of the published tract “Mystery Babylon is Rome’s U.N.-Satan’s Government” mentioned above, much of Alamo’s fascination with Rome as a satanic entity is based on his reading of John of Patmos’ Revelation (Alamo 2012). In chapter seventeen, Babylon is equated with the “Beast,” which is Jesus’ apocalyptic opponent. For this reason, Alamo, like most other New Testament readers, recognized that Babylon is a code word for Rome. Unlike most other readers, however, Alamo reinterpreted Rome, not as the pagan city that imprisoned John of Patmos and destroyed the holy city of Jerusalem, but as the seat of the Roman Catholic church today. Notably, Alamo’s interest in Revelation, along with its anticipation of Christ’s return, fits well with his 1964 prophetic experience in which God told him, “Jesus Christ is coming back to earth.”

RITUALS/PRACTICES

Outreach has always been a major component in Alamo Ministries. In 1969, when Alamo Ministries was founded, Susan Alamo insisted on ministering to hippies and drug addicts on Hollywood Boulevard. Tony Alamo was initially hesitant about direct contact with these populations, but she insisted. Whatever missionary reluctance Alamo had in 1969, his 1964 vision that precipitated his conversion already stressed the importance of outreach because in that moment God told him to proclaim publicly, “Jesus Christ is coming back to earth.”

In addition to the face-to-face mission work practiced by the Alamos and their fellow church members in the streets of southern California, New York, and everywhere else the church grew, Alamo Ministries focused attention on the distribution of religious tracts and on an active television presence. The Alamos wanted everyone to read, see, or hear their words of salvation and testimonies of transformation. Decades after Susan’s death, TACM religious tracts could still be found under windshield wipers in parking lots throughout western Arkansas and neighboring regions, even in cities located two hours away from Alamo Ministries’ Fort Smith and Dyer campuses. In addition to articles and testimonies intended to proselytize, tracts provided contact information and stated that Alamo’s music, sermons, and book could be obtained through TACM. Moreover, despite Alamo’s 2009 incarceration, church members maintained the TACM website that contains his literature, his newly published essays, church member testimonies, and newsletters. In May 2017, notice of Alamo’s death was accompanied by Bible verses, and the notice concludes with statements of continued commitments toward by church members: “We are rejoicing with you, our beloved Pastor Tony. And we will continue in winning the lost and preaching the full truth to the world as you taught us so well by your example” (Tony Alamo Christian Ministries n.d.a.). The TACM website also provides access to several dozen episodes of their syndicated television programs, news releases, photographs of the Alamos and of celebrities wearing Alamo Western Wear denim jackets, audio files for streaming sermons and music (including “Tony Alamo’s unreleased Beatles album”), and access to an online King James Bible. This is all maintained under the auspices of outreach.

Alamo4

The third form of Alamo Ministries’ outreach was their nationally syndicated television show that ran from 1973 to 1982 (Image at right). The program began production in Hollywood when their main campus was in Saugus, and after they established campuses in Dyer and Nashville, production moved to these newer locations. Several of the later episodes were recorded in the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The broadcast was a thirty-minute program that included gospel singing, testimonies, and a “spirit filled message,” and most episodes followed the same format: singing, testimony, and preaching (Tony Alamo Christian Ministries n.d.b). The choir and orchestra opened the service, and they often accompanied Tony Alamo on his subsequent solo performance. When produced in California, the choir comprised several hundred people, representing multiple ethnic groups.  Most members of the choir donnedAlamo5blue jumpsuits with an “Alamo Christian Foundation” patch over the left breast.  [Image at right] This uniform might reflect the communal lifestyle of the Saugus campus where residents were provided not only housing but also food, clothing, medical attention, and education. The orchestra was comprised of about two dozen performers, who wore matching suits with patches and ties. Those choir members who lacked a jumpsuit wore outfits and ties that matched the orchestra.

When production moved to Dyer, the number of musicians was dramatically reduced, and the choir began wearing traditional choir robes. About this time, Alamo’s performances were often accompanied by the backing band the Stamps, with whom Alamo also recorded his albums. When produced at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, the choir was replaced by a country music ensemble. The fewer participants in the broadcasts from Dyer and Nashville probably reflect the fact that these communities were smaller than the one in Saugus had been. Following the musical performances, Susan Alamo often interviewed church members soAlamo6that they could testify to the new full lives they had in Christ while living at and serving Alamo Ministries. For example, in program one, Gail affirmed the drug-filled lifestyle she had experienced as a Jew in New York and that she could not be satisfied with the religions or philosophies she had sought in school (Image at right) (Tony Alamo Christian Ministries n.d.b). It was not until she heard the Alamos’ message that she found spiritual restoration in the form of peace and freedom. Early in her testimony, Gail said that she had lived at the Alamo Ministries Saugus campus for the past four years, and she can be seen wearing the communal blue jumpsuit. After the interview, Susan Alamo concluded the service with her message. Another iteration of their television show was the “Susan Alamo Speaks Out,” which took the form of a thirty-minute talk show. This program usually opened with an ensemble performance and concluded with a seated Susan conducting a lengthy interview with several guests.

As previously mentioned, Alamo Ministries encouraged their church members to join the church and live a communal life with them. This began at Saugus, where potential initiates (usually in their late teens and twenties) had the opportunity to participate in a worship service and receive a meal. As recently as May 2017, TACM literature stated that the campuses at Santa Clarita (Saugus), Arkansas, and elsewhere still have daily worship services, and as of 2016, they still provided a free meal afterward.  In contrast, the New York City campus only has one service on Tuesday evenings, and as of 2015, they still provided a free meal afterward.

Those who wished to join the community and live in the commune were taught the Bible and trained as lay ministers whose mission was outreach. Community members took a vow of poverty and agreed to give the church their property. In return, Alamo Ministries provided them a place to live, food, clothing (e.g. jumpsuits), and the education needed to proselytize or participate in the television programs. In this way, the Alamo community was made to resemble the early church, as described in the Acts of the Apostles 4:34-35: no believers were in need because each of them sold all they had and laid the proceeds at the apostles’ feet.

After Alamo Ministries relocated its main campus to Dyer, the church’s focus modified its outreach strategy and would eventually run as many as twenty-nine different businesses. According to James Lewis, approximately half of the hundreds of Alamos Ministries members lived at the Dyer campus (Lewis 2001:43).  While many were responsible for distributing religious tracts, most were employed in the various Alamo Ministries business ventures. However, because Alamo Ministries was theoretically modeled upon the communal life of the Apostolic church, members who worked in Alamo Ministries’ businesses were usually not paid much (below minimum wage) for their time, or they were treated as volunteers. Moreover, much of what earnings they did make were expected to be donated back to the church (Francke n.d.). These payroll practices in western Arkansas between 1977 and 1980 led to Alamo’s 1985 trial for tax evasion, during which he maintained that his employees were either fairly compensated or that they were really volunteers (Lancaster 2017). Whatever the fiscal or governmental explanation, the work that the employees/volunteers completed was understood by Alamo and his church as devotion to Alamo Ministries.

ORGANIZATION/LEADERSHIP

The Alamo Ministries leadership was officially comprised of a three-member oversight board, with the senior pastor serving as one of the members (Lewis 2001:42). Originally, Susan Alamo served on the board as the senior pastor, and Tony Alamo replaced her after her death, taking the title of “World Pastor.” According to several reports, current and former church members described Susan as a “charismatic leader,” and she was effective in promoting her agenda for Alamo Ministries while on the board (Enriquez 1993). Tony, it has been reported, in contrast, could only rule through intimidation, and he often resorted to physical abuse, employing at least one enforcer to enact the punishments that Alamo demanded. Other, non-physical abuses were also employed so that Alamo could maintain full control over the church members, both when he was in residence at the Alamo Ministries commune and when he was in federal prison.

After the Dyer campus was abandoned, and while Alamo was incarcerated in Texarkana, church members bought up several pieces of land fifteen miles away outside of Fouke, Arkansas, to be closer to Alamo. In 1998, Fouke was a town of about 800 residents, (Williams and Brantley 2007) and members purchased several trailers, about twenty duplexes, and a storefront to serve as the church’s worship space, creating an unofficial Alamo Ministries presence and establishing themselves as a significant minority in the area (The Alamo community in Fouke likely included no more than a couple hundred people, but more precise estimates have proven difficult to find in either TACM literature or news reports.).This Alamo Ministries presence was unofficial because no government or any other official paperwork can demonstrate that any of the residences or other buildings associated with Alamo Ministries church members or their activities were owned either by Alamo or by Alamo Ministries (Allen 2014:62). According to the titles, as court filings maintained, the Fouke properties belonged to private citizens not formally recognized as TACM representatives. This ownership strategy was likely employed to avoid new entanglements with the IRS after Alamo had been released from prison.

Despite the democratic ownership of these properties in Fouke, Alamo allegedly maintained strict control over the properties and over the people living in them. The properties belonging to the church members were formally incorporated by Fouke in 2005, and soon after Alamo and his church members became more isolated as he maintained more and stricter control over them. In 2006, under Alamo’s instruction, the church members blocked the roads that went through the unofficial Alamo Ministries properties. In addition to placing “no trespassing” signs, Alamo hired security guards to keep the public away from his church’s presence, and church members were not permitted to interact with outsiders unless they were actively evangelizing (Williams and Brantley 2007).

Alamo also limited the children’s exposure to the larger Fouke community. Just as it has proven difficult to determine how many Alamo Ministries members lived in Fouke, it proved difficult to provide estimates for children who lived in the community. Documents presented by the Department of Human Services listed more than 120 children who were supposed to be removed from parental custody in Fouke at the time of the federal raid in September 2008. Most of these children were simply listed as unknown juveniles, with only forty identified and taken into protective custody later in 2008 (Allen 2014:76, n.6).

Regardless of how many children lived among the Alamo Ministries presence in Fouke, they were not permitted to attend public school. Education had already been a part of the Alamo Ministries campus in Dyer, and this was not limited to adult education or lay training but included a K-12 curriculum (Lewis 2001:43). Alamo Ministries children’s education and instruction included teaching children to fear police. For example, if they were ever questioned by workers with the Arkansas Department of Human Services, they were taught to give pre-determined answers. Alamo and his alleged enforcer John E. Kolbek (d. 2011) sometimes used physical punishment (whether ordered by Alamo or requested by the parents themselves) to discipline troublesome children (Allen 2014:74). Disciplinary actions included “diesel therapy,” which entailed making a child ride with an Alamo Ministries trucker for weeks at a time, and forcing a child to fast for three to seven days. Alamo would also punish his own child brides by demoting them from his living residence to the “green house,” or “house of scorn.” If Alamo wanted to punish an entire family, he could allegedly determine where individual families lived, or he could break up families all together by assigning them to different houses or excommunicating individual members. Not only did these forms of punishment and isolation from the larger Fouke community maintain Alamo’s position as leader of the community, but they helped him shield his illegal activities, including polygamy, sexual abuse, rape, sex trafficking, and physical abuse from the government.

In addition to the imposed isolation, physical and sexual abuses, and determining who lived where, Alamo also maintained control through the church doctrine that members’ salvation depended upon the status of their relationship with him and Alamo Ministries. In the wake of the 2008 raid on Alamo Ministries presence in Fouke, numerous statements revealed that church members believed that their salvation hung upon Alamo’s judgments. For instance, former child-bride-to-be Nicole Farr observed that other girls believed that becoming Alamo’s bride would serve as “their way into heaven,” suggesting a works-based salvation rather than the faith-based salvation Alamo espoused in his literature and that is common to mainstream American Christianity (Allen 2014:86). Farr’s statement also suggests that other church members, including adults of either sex, believed it was Alamo himself who determined which of them would be rewarded with salvation. After all, if he could determine where they lived during this life in Fouke, then perhaps he could also determine where they would live during the next life. Moreover, a works-based, or Alamo-determined, salvation seemed to have been an underlying concern of individuals who remained faithful to Alamo and Alamo Ministries after his 2009 incarceration. Several parents whose children were taken into state custody as a result of the raid sued the state to regain custody (Allen 2014:87). Several were told by the courts that they would have to sever all ties to Alamo Ministries to regain custody. Two fathers claimed that if they severed ties they would be jeopardizing their chances at salvation. They believed that the courts and the state were forcing them to choose between reuniting their families and realizing their eternal destinies. Although Alamo would have never admitted this in his literature or in public (and it decidedly does not fit within Pentecostal or other evangelical Christian traditions) if he knew that church members recognized him as a prophet and thought he could determine their salvation (and he likely did know), this would certainly have helped him maintain his leadership position throughout his life and while in prison.

ISSUES/CHALLENGES

Upon establishing its religious presence in Arkansas, Alamo Ministries developed its business presence. According to Lancaster, Alamo Ministries owned twenty-nine businesses in the area, including Alamo Discount Grocery, Alamo Western Wear, and Alamo Restaurant, as well as a trucking company, gas stations, an auto shop, a construction company, a candy company, a nursery, a landscaping business, and a hog farm (Lancaster 2017; Enriquez 1993). Alamo was always especially proud of this Alamo Western Wear, and the TACM website maintains a page with celebrities wearing or browsing his famous Alamo7sequined-denim coats. In addition to country and rock stars from the 1980s, photos of Alicia Keys, Miley Cyrus, [Image at right] and Nicki Minaj are offered as evidence of their appeal and popularity. In keeping with the communal lifestyle begun in Saugus that involved a vow of poverty, about half of Alamo’s church lived on the commune in Dyer and donated their property to Alamo’s ministry. Moreover, they agreed to work or volunteer for the Alamo Ministries, usually at one of its many businesses. Ultimately, hiring church members for cheap or free labor caught the attention of the U.S Department of Labor, when some frustrated employees/volunteers complained that they made less than minimum wage. Charges were initially brought against Alamo for violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act in 1976. He contested the charges, and the case eventually was accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1985. Also in 1985, the IRS revoked the church’s tax-exempt status for 1977 to 1980, a period during which Alamo Ministries collected $9,000,000 million in revenue but paid no taxes. Alamo also failed to file taxes for the years 1986, 1987, and 1988. According to Special Trial Judge Larry L. Nameroff, Alamo Ministries and its business holdings were not a religious organization but an entity that “operated for Tony’s and Susan’s private benefit” (Lancaster 2017). Alamo Ministries lands were seized and sold by the government to compensate for his unpaid taxes, and Alamo was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1994 to pay these back taxes along with an additional $5,000,000 to the employees/volunteers for their labor. Alamo was sentenced to six years in prison for tax evasion in September 1994. He would serve four years before his release in July 1998 to a halfway house in Texarkana, and he was released from the halfway house that December. As noted above, tax evasion was not Alamo’s first brush with the law, but these charges and the associated years-long trials had their toll on him.

In the mid-1980s, Alamo’s messages in his religious tracts began to focus on government conspiracy theories against him. These anti-government tracts also contained strong anti-Catholic rhetoric. His 1985 tract, “Jesus Said That Satan Would have a Church and Government,” claimed that the U.S. government, the Roman Catholic church, and Satan were trying to destroy Alamo and Alamo Ministries. Taking on the role of Christ the innocent martyr, Alamo proclaimed his own innocence to all charges: “We have affidavits from many people (including an F.B.I. agent who was converted to Christ in our church) that substantiate that the F.B.I., the I.R.S., the Department of Labor, and all federal and state gestapo agencies are Catholic; and they have offered to pay drug users, alcoholics, thieves, and the like, money (American tax dollars) to bear false witness against our church and myself” (Alamo 1985)    His anti-Catholic and anti-government (and anti-United Nations) tirades continued throughout his life, and in October 2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center designated TACM a hate group because of Alamo’s continued and increasingly anti-Catholic rhetoric (Williams and Brantley 2007).

If Alamo’s tax evasion trials and subsequent arrest were one issue that helped shape the conspiracy theories that he would espouse from the mid-1980s until his death in 2017 (and thus shape his interests and public perception), the other primary issue that shaped his public perception for decades involved the controversy surrounding Susan Alamo’s remains. By all accounts, Alamo was deeply in love with his wife. In 1981, he released an LP entitled Susan: I Love You So Much It Hurts Me, and the album’s liner notes boasted that she had survived cancer’s “death verdict” (Oermann 2017). His subsequent 1982 LP was titled Love Songs for Sue and You. Susan’s presence in Tony’s life seems to have been a positive influence, ensuring that he and their gospel message stayed within an acceptable space within mainstream American Christianity. Indeed, she benefited from and likely shared responsibility for the tax evasion scheme that took place in the late 1970s, but she died three years before the charges were adjudicated.

On April 8, 1982, Susan Alamo died of cancer at the age of fifty-seven. Alamo did not respond well to her death. He quickly declared that she would be resurrected and asked his followers to pray to ensure that it took place soon. Moreover, after her body was embalmed, Susan was left on display in a glass-topped coffin at the Dyer campus for six months before being interred in a mausoleum. (According to Brigitta Gyllenhammer, who married Alamo on June 23, 1984, Alamo wanted her to undergo plastic surgery to look like Susan Lancaster 2017). In February 1991, as federal agents prepared to raid the Dyer campus for matters related to the ongoing tax-evasion case, Alamo and the other church members fled the Dyer campus, taking Susan’s body with them and severely damaging the mausoleum in the process (Williams and Brantley 2007). Alamo was still in possession of her body in 1995 when Coie filed a custody suit for her mother’s remains. A chancery court judge ordered Alamo to surrender the body, and Coie finally won custody of Susan’s remains on July 23, 1998, and had the body re-interred that August in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Although his public image in Arkansas had been plagued by tax evasion and the drama over Susan’s corpse for decades, the more recent sexual abuse and child bride scandals now define Alamo’s and Alamo Ministries’ legacy. In fact, not only did the these more recent scandals influence his legacy, they also greatly influenced Alamo’s own scriptural exegesis. This new exegetical take is most prominently attested in the 2010 TACM religious tract, “The Many Wives of the Holy Men of God (The Polygamists): Every Jew and Every Arab that has Ever Lived, Including the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Comes from Polygamist Parents: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Twelve Tribes of Israel,” which was published to the TACM website after he began serving his 175 year-long prison sentence. However, the tract had been written prior to the federal trial that took place in Texarkana in July 2009. Alamo’s purpose behind “The Many Wives of the Holy Men of God (The Polygamists)” was two-fold. The first purpose is revealed within the title itself: Alamo was making a general call for Christian polygamy. He presented his perspective by both noting the various Old Testament characters and heroes who had multiple wives (e.g., Abraham, Jacob, and David) and quoting New Testament passages that declare that the Old Testament Law (i.e., the legal material located in the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) was still mandated for Christians (e.g. Matthew 5:17 and Romans 3:31). The second purpose behind this tract was to argue that marriage between an adult male and prepubescent girls was biblically sanctioned, if not actually demanded.

After Susan’s death in 1982, Tony and Gyllenhammer married in 1984. The two divorced in 1986 (Lancaster 2017). However, Alamo admitted in federal court in 1994 that he might have married Elizabeth Caldwell in 1986 before divorcing Gyllenhammer. Furthermore, before divorcing Caldwell in 1990, he had already married Elena Williams. While being questioned by Justice Department lawyer Christopher Belcher about this overlap of marriages during his trial for tax evasion, Alamo replied, “It’s possible…I don’t recall. In my mind I was divorced” (Conly 1994). Belcher also asked if Alamo had as many as seven wives and one time between 1992 and 1994, and Alamo pleaded the Fifth Amendment on the advice of his attorney.

One of these seven wives from the mid-1990s is now known to have been a fifteen year-old who exchanged wedding vows with Alamo in 1994. However, knowledge of Alamo’s child brides was not publically revealed until 2007 when Nicole Farr, then a sixteen year-old girl being groomed as a future wife, became the first named victim to step forward. She fled from the Fouke campus in 2006 and moved to Florida to be with her aunt. Investigators at the F.B.I. credit her as making their case against Alamo for sexual and physical abuse (Davis 2009:8A).

Acting on evidence that they had collected between 2006 and 2008, more than one hundred federal agents conducted a raid on the Alamo Ministries presence in Fouke on September 20, 2008, Alamo’s seventy-fourth birthday. Alamo was not present when the raid occurred, but he was arrested three days later on September 23 in Flagstaff, Arizona. The immediate justification for the raid revolved around allegations of child pornography, but these charges were never filed filed (Allen 2014:75n4). Instead, Alamo was charged with ten counts of violating the Mann Act (a federal criminal statue enacted in 1910 to reduce interstate sex trafficking) because he had taken five underage girls across state lines to marry already married, adult men between March 1994 and October 2005. In 2009, when Alamo was found guilty on all ten counts and sentenced to 175 years in federal prison, the five victims listed in the case ranged in ages from seventeen to thirty (Davis 2009:1A).

In February 2014, four of the five victims were each awarded $29,000,000 in actual damages and $58,000,000 in punitive damages (LaRowe 2014). The fifth victim was awarded $22,000,000 in actual damages and $44,000,000 in punitive damages. A sixth victim, who was married to Alamo at age twelve in 1999, but was not listed as a victim during his federal investigation, was awarded $27,000,000 in actual damages and $54,000,000 in punitive damages. She did not leave Alamo until after his conviction in 2010. The seventh victim, Nicole Farr, who escaped to Florida before she was forced to marry him and was not listed as a victim during the criminal trial, was awarded $10,000,000 million in actual damages and $54,000,000 in punitive damages. Including legal fees, the total judgment topped $500,000,000, making it Arkansas’ largest personal-injury judgment. Despite the judgment’s incredibly high dollar total, Alamo Ministries are said to hold water rights in Santa Clarita (i.e., Saugus) worth billions of dollars so the women can expect to receive their stipulated judgments.

IMAGES
Image #1: Photograph of Tony Alamo as a young man.
Image #2: Photograph of the Alamos on their wedding day (August 19, 1966).
Image #3: Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in Fouke, Arkansas.
Image #4: Tony and Susan Alamo on their Alamo Christian Foundation television program.
Image #5: The Choir and Orchestra in Saugus, California for the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation television program.
Image #6: Gail gives her testimony in Saugus, California on the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation television program.
Image #7: Miley Cyrus wearing Alamo Western Wear Denim Jacket.

REFERENCES

Alamo, Tony. 2016. “Why I’m Slandered.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries World Newsletter, vol. 23500:1-4. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/Newsletters/23500.pdf on 1 June 2017.

Alamo, Tony. 2015. “The World Counsel.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries World Newsletter, vol. 21800:1-4. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/Newsletters/21800.pdf on 1 June 2017.

Alamo, Tony. 2012. “Mystery Babylon in Rome’s U.N.-Satan’s Government.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/content/english/Literature//mysterybabylonisrome.html on 1 June 2017.

Alamo, Tony. 2010a. ‘‘A Letter from Tony.’’ Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from www.alamoministries.com/content/english/Gospel_literature/letterfromtony.html on 6 June 2017.

Alamo, Tony. 2010b. “The Many Wives of the Holy Men of God (The Polygamists): Every Jew and Every Arab that has Ever Lived, Including the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Comes from Polygamist Parents: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Twelve Tribes of Israel.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/content/english/Gospel_literature/manywives.html on 1 June 2017.

Alamo, Tony. 2009.“They (The World Government and Media of Rome) are Doing Everything in their Power to Convince You that My Church and I are Not Only Kooks but a Very Dangerous Cult.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/content/english/Literature/theytheworldgov.html on 1 June 2017.

Alamo, Tony. 2003. “Evil International Roman Catholic Government Agents are Claiming to be United States of America Government Agents: The Confession of a Former FBA, BATF, DEA, and Federal Bureau Task Force UnderCover Agent.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/content/english/Gospel_literature/evilinternational.html on 1 June 2017.

Alamo, Tony. 1995. “Dry Bones.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries World Newsletter, vol. 06000: 1-3 and 8. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/Newsletters/21800.pdf on 1 June 2017.

Alamo, Toy. 1985. “Jesus Said That Satan Would Have a Church and Government.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/content/english/Antichrist/jesus_said.html on 1 June 2017.

Alamo, Tony. 1984. “Signs of the Times.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/content/english/testimonytracts/signsofthetimes.html on 1 June 2017.

Alamo, Tony. 1983. “The Pope’s Secrets.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://alamoministries.com/content/english/antichrist/popes_secrets.html on 1 June 2017.

Allen, Spencer. 2014. “The Anomaly of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries: A New Testament-based Call for Christian Polygamy.” Nova Religio 17:61-82.

Bowden, Bill. 2017. “Blood Ailment Fatal to Alamo.” Arkansas Democrat Gazette [Lowell, Arkansas] 20 5 2017:1B, 10B.

Conly, Chris. 1994. “Bigamy and Polygamy questions repeatedly bring 5th Amendment from Alamo.” The Commercial Appeal [Memphis, Tennessee], June 3. Accessed from http://www.tonyalamonews.com/229/bigamy-and-polygamy-questions-repeatedly-bring-fifth-amendment-from-alamo.php on 1 June 2017

Davis, Andy. 2009. “Alamo Guilty, Hears ‘Bye, Bye’ Outside Court: He says He’s Another Prophet Going ‘to Jail for the Gospel’.” Arkansas Democrat Gazette [Lowell, Arkansas] 25 7 2009: 1A.

Enriquez, Sam. 1993. “Alamo Christian Ministries: Is He a Prophet, Promoter, or Profiteer?” Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles, California], July 11. Accessed from http://www.religionnewsblog.com/8506 on 1 June 2017.

Franke, Eric W. n.d. “A Brief History of the Alamo Christian Foundation.” New England Institute of Religious Research. Accessed from http://neirr.org/alamohist.htm on 1 June 2017.

Lancaster, Guy. 2017. “Tony Alamo (1934-2017): aka: Tony Alamo Christian Ministries.” The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Accessed from http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=4224 on 1 June 2017.

LaRowe, Lynn. 2014. “Alamo ‘Wives’ Win Big Lawsuit. Evangelist Must Pay More Than Half a Billion Dollars.” Texarkana Gazette [Texarkana, Arkansas], March 21. Accessed from http://www.tonyalamonews.com/5966/3212014-tg-alamo-wives-win-big-lawsuit-evangelist-must-pay-more-than-half-a-billion-dollars.php on 6 June 2017.

Lewis, James R. 2001. “Alamo Christian Foundation.” Pp. 42-43 in The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religious Movements. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

Oermann, Robert K. “LifeNotes: Evangelist, Costumer, Record Maker Tony Alamo Dies.” MusicRow: Nashville’s Music Industry Publication. Accessed from https://musicrow.com/2017/05/lifenotes-evangelist-costumer-record-maker-tony-alamo-dies/ on 1 June 2017.

Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. 2013. “Articles of Faith of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/content/english/newsreleases/articles_of_faith.html on 1 June 2017.

Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. n.d.a. “Message Regarding Pastor Alamo.” Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/content/english/messages/PastorAlamo.html on 1 June 2017.

Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. n.d.b. “Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Television Program.” Moving Image Archive. Accessed from https://archive.org/details/TonyAndSusanAlamoChristianTelevisionProgram on 1 June 2017.

Williams, John and Fritz Brantley. 2007. “Alamo Ministry Resurrected: Fouke Residents Worry about Notorious Evangelist in their Midst.” Arkansas Times, November 29. Accessed from https://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/alamo-ministry-resurrected/Content?oid=864346 on 1 June 2017.

SUPPLEMENTARY RESOURCES

Alamo, Tony. 2011. “Catholics Need to Know!” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/content/english/Literature/catholicsneedtoknow.html on 1 June 2017.

Alamo, Tony. 1995. “Susan Alamo’s Wedding Dress.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/content/english/Gospel_literature/susans_wedding_dress.html on 1 June 2017.

Alamo, Tony. 1983. “The Pope’s Secrets.” Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://alamoministries.com/content/english/antichrist/popes_secrets.html on 1 June 2017.

Bowden, Bill. 2017. “If Walls Could Talk, These Could Tell a Tale: Photos: Tony Alamo Mansion in Disrepair, Entered Now on a Dare.” ArkansasOnline, April 8. Accessed from http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2017/apr/09/alamo-mansion-in-disrepair-entered-now-/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark on 1 June 2017.

“Disgraced Preacher Convicted of Sexually Abusing Young Girls Who He ‘Married’ in Secret Ceremonies Dies in a Prison Hospital, Aged 82.” 2017. DailyMail.com, May 4. Accessed from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4473638/Disgraced-preacher-child-sex-abuser-Tony-Alamo-dies.html on 1 June 2017.

Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. 2015. Video of the Pope’s Secrets. Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Accessed from http://64.182.75.243/popes_secrets/ThePopesSecrets2015_06_19.mp4 on 1 June 2017.

Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. n.d. “Susan Alamo Speaks Out TV Shows.” Moving Image Archive. Accessed from https://archive.org/details/SusanAlamoSpeaksOut on 1 June 2017.

Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. n.d. “Unpublished Literature, Articles of Faith of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries.” Accessed from http://www.alamoministries.com/content/english/newsreleases/articles_of_faith.html on 1 June 2017.

Post Date:
5 June 2017

 

 

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