Just when we thought religious TV was getting rather tame, Leroy Jenkins, a healing evangelist popular back in the 1960s and 1970s is back on the BET Network. In the old days, he was probably best known for his supposed miracle ministry, and he used what he called “miracle water” as the method. In 2003, while operating out of Ohio, Jenkins was fined $200 after his “miracle water” was discovered to contain coliform bacteria. Since his glory days, Jenkins has had more than his share of personal and legal problems.
For instance, in 1979, he served five years in jail for conspiracy to commit assault and arson. Mysteriously, he was later pardoned. In 1994, he was arrested for grand theft but the charges were dropped when he agreed to pay restitution. But wait – things get even more weird. Years ago, he married one of his followers, a 77-year-old widow, who just happened – surprise? – to be a $20 million lottery winner. Jenkins took her to Las Vegas for the ceremony, but a judge later granted an annulment at the request of her legal guardian.
But like all the great flamboyant evangelists of that era, his loyal followers have stuck by him. As this Inside Edition showed, “I know that he’s a man of God, and that God uses him tremendously,” said one follower. Another added, “I think he’s a true man of God, a true man of God.”
I understand he’s now living in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 2002, a movie was actually released about his life, entitled “The Calling.” Try to catch him if you can. He dresses from either the golden age of country music or a lounge lizard in Las Vegas. I can’t decide which.