was popularly known as Reverend Ike, and at times had audiences on radio and television numbering in the millions. He was provocative, he was controversial, he was certainly flamboyant. But one thing he never was, unlike many of the very visible other evangelists: a hypocrite.
Ike once paid me a big compliment when he introduced me to his church audience as "The white Reverend Ike." An even bigger compliment came when he used Moneylove as the text for his course Prosperity Now. In private, he was a highly intelligent, soft-spoken man. But get him up on that stage and all hell broke loose. He was a showman, he was a master phrasemaker. And he made no apologies for the fact that he liked money and loved being rich, with many houses and luxury cars. He used to say,
"My garages runneth over." Compare this with the sanctimonious preachers who would go on TV and pretend to be poverty-stricken. It's what I most admired about him, even more than his charismatic stage presence, his
ability to tell the truth.
Check out this short interview:
He also told the truth when he described himself by saying, "I was the first black man in America to preach self-image psychology to the black masses within a church setting."
I spoke at his church, located in an ornately reconstructed movie theatre in the Washington Heights section of New York City, 25 blocks uptown from the movie theatre in Harlem where he began his New York ministry. He was proud of the entrepreneurs among his parishioners, and there were many. They heeded his advice: "The best thing you can do for the poor is not be one of them."
I remember meeting one heavyset black single mother of six who had been on welfare, until she took a class with Reverend Ike. Now she was on her way to being a millionaire herself, having invented and patented a sock-like foot comforter in vivid designs. And there were many other examples of ordinary lower income folk Ike mentored and who went on to financial success and independence. The news media rarely covered these stories. Oh, he skirted the line many times, the IRS and Postal authorities kept an almost permanent investigation of his activities going. But I don't remember any reports that he ever hurt anyone, and there was plenty of evidence that he helped many.
He created a persona that people responded to and got inspired and motivated by. He taught prosperity by unabashed example, and probably had a higher success rate than most prosperity teachers. There will never be another one like him.
And by the way, you can still reserve your free preview copy of my
upcoming e-book on prosperity, which will be an appetizer for the
soon-to-be-published-online newly revised and annotated edition of
Moneylove. Just let me know you want to be on the list.