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The Story of Marjoe

Marjoe was a precocious child preacher with extraordinary talents, who was immensely popular in the American South. His parents earned large sums of money off him up until the point he outgrew his novelty. Marjoe rejoined the ministry as a young adult solely as a means of earning a living, and not as a believer; he spent the next several years using his fame and status as an evangelist to defraud a small fortune out of individuals both through tent revivals and televangelism.

Eventually, Gortner suffered a crisis of conscience and decided to renounce his ways, offering the documentary film crew unrestricted access to him during his final revival tour. The film contains scenes from genuine revival meetings showing Gortner preaching and praying for people, interspersed with footage of Gortner admitting on camera that he was a non-believer and revealing the tactics used by himself and other evangelists to manipulate people.

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  1. I was a teen when this film came out. I loved it. It;s almost 50 years later and it holds up. and Marjoe was just as adorable as I remembered him; he used that appeal to bring people into the church and to raise money. :(“thank you Jesus!” as he counts the bills in his motel room) No one else on that circuit had that lbeatiful kong hair and casual good looks. Marjoe went on to a sort of B-list career as a film actor and I hope he is enjoying his retirement; he has been very quiet in the last ten years and I would LOVE to hear his perspective on these defiant pastors who insist on assembling despite the public health ban on large gatherings. Watching the old photos and film clips of his mother coaching him as a young child reminds me very much of the ways that Shirley Temple and other child stars were prepped, and exploited, by their parents. (I grew up in Hollywood and so did my mother; I am familiar with the territory.)

  2. Although Marjoe is obviously a con man. I can’t help but be on his side, in that if grown adults are willing to give money away for a “promise” of a miracle from a imaginary (in my opinion) friend, then they deserve to be conned for their stupidity.
    Also His parents really should have been held accountable at some point for screwing him up as a child.

  3. Why are all the comment pages on every doc I watch filled with people arguing and saying stupid shit?  I thought I’d encounter some reasonable, intelligent people here…

  4. Religion
    has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than
    any other single idea.
    Madalyn
    Murray O’Hair

  5. Coming from a Christian, this is just shocking… this kind of “evangelism” seems inconsistent with the Bible…

  6. Wake up America!!!God is from within u its a gift u can’t sell it?Breath of Life…..

  7. This is what happen to Human when they Reject Truth and Go with false , Look at Idol Worshiper from Greek to Modern Hidu , Christains, Jews , Athies, Budist ,sikh,, Pick any one ,99% of humanity knows There is a ONE GOD, so they make thier own gods what ever they can imagin and make thier own relgion what ever they like Even Athies have thier own Religion and own god (money-luck-fortuna)
    There is nothing Like One GOD,And HIS Perfect Relgion is Islam for Humanity .
    there is a Perfect book called Quran in which Allah(GOD) speaks to Human .Read Quran if get a chance

    • Quran is ten times worse than this Marjoe fraud. Islam is pure satanism

      • please mind your ignorant words-   you cannot group all of islam into one…   you are an idiot.  i reside in the US & Canada, and i am a former (very white) international model.  your narrow minded sour views are unappealing.  go find some happiness….  within yourself.   your pathetic views only demonstrate who you really are.

        on another note-  THIS documentary was fascinating.  wow.

        • how can u cast stones as your comment is so prejudice.. oh international model!?!? that makes your creditable, and your “very white”? are you a american or Canadian? very different as us AMERICANS do not take dual, we are PROUD AMERICANS>>ignorant is what you are, shallow..

  8. God i almost puked

  9. can you say brainwashing? b-b-b-b-b-brainwashing

  10. was that the actual end it seems to just end abruptley?

  11. um…..WTF

  12. The Bible says to beware false prophets……ask God for discernment to show you the real from the fake

    • The real do not ever ask for money, do not talk about tithing, do not call themselves christian etc. Those are the real ones.

    • its full of heeps of crap like that to try redeem its self got one word for you “DINOSAURS”
      but i guess the devil put them there to try to deceive you

  13. The things that Americans do to children

  14. That Cadillac guy is precious… Whatever purpose religion had for early man, it has clearly lost that purpose and now it is simply for suckers. For taking their money and controlling their minds…. God save us from religion.

    • God save us from ALL evil, its all over in this world, as far as im concern people that believe in good no matter if conned are on the correct heading.

  15. Freaky shit.

  16. And that is why America is messed up to this day…especially the south. Religion is a swindle. And this guy busts the whole scam wide open. People still empty their pockets for preachers though.

  17. I think Marjoe is basically a good man. I think he’s both in the business of religion for pragmatic purposes (money, job security) but also because he’s just become so involved with it. It is like a drug. It’s hard to quit and he keeps going back to it again and again.

    • No wrong, kids don’t generally became preachers at birth, or doctors are lawyers, this guy was definitely coached and pushed by Mama & Papa.

      • Umm…I watched the doc, just like you. I know he was pushed. But what I wrote is basically what he said. Maybe pay more attention to the person when they’re talking?

  18. Being this fervently religious is just a more socially accepted form of insanity.