Back in April of 2006 I found myself flipping through early morning television shows. I often stop when I come across television preachers because I find many of them equally entertaining and appalling at the same time. It was a late April day when I discovered Rev. Peter Popoff of People United For Christ, Inc. Ministries. He was on every other day on Channel 61 on my cable system (this channel is significant… bear with me).
Rev. Popoff was different. Unlike the other television preachers, he wasn’t yelling about doom and gloom. Nor was he promising eternal salvation. This guy was promising money — big bucks — to those who called his 800-number and asked for his miracle spring water. The 30-minute segment on Channel 61 was full of people who… how can I put this politely… didn’t seem overly articulate or educated by the way they were talking… saying things to the good Reverend like, “I don’t know how it happened, but one day there was $15,000 in my checking account.” “Halleluiah!” Popoff would shout in response.
“My wife and I just bought a brand-new Cadillac, and just six months ago I didn’t know how we were gonna pay our rent,” said another witness. “Amen!” Popoff would reply.
Once in a while during this infomercial, Popoff would perform the obligatory faith healing. He’d through an old woman’s crutches away, he’d lay his hands on the head of another gentleman and claim that he cured him of AIDS, and other theatrics, but the main focus was money. The green stuff. You don’t need to earn, he didn’t even say you had to pray for it, just call the 800 number, get the miracle spring water, and do exactly what he says to do. So I called.
Less than a week later the spring water arrives in a little plastic packet — almost the size of those ketchup packets fast food restaurants give you with your fries. The instructions were complex and very specific:
Place the unopened envelope containing the spring water under my pillow.
In the morning, take 7 sips of water from a bedside glass in Jesus’ name.
In the morning, open the envelope, open the holy water, and anoint my hands.
Next, I need to send him a “Holy Consecrated Seed of Great Harvest Offering” of $17.00. He goes on to write, “NO, I don’t want you to send $37 or $77…”
So I sent the $17 to the good Reverend, because his letter said he foresaw a miracle money windfall of between $1,700 and $17,000 coming my way from some unexpected source. Who couldn’t use $17,000, right?
What is the significance of the miracle spring water you may ask? He doesn’t tell you this in the infomercial, but it’s in the letter. This miracle spring water comes from a natural spring near Chernobyl in Russia. Everyone who drank from this spring immediately after the meltdown disaster didn’t die (which makes sense because it probably takes a little time for the radiation to seep into the ground and contaminate the water supply). The Chernobyl disaster happened in 1986. By 2006 I’m sure the radiation is thoroughly in the ground water now — and I rubbed that water all over my hands — all for $17,000 dollars.
What is the significance of Channel 61 you may ask? Channel 61 on my cable system is also Comedy Central. They don’t have 24 hours of programming so they sell their early morning time.
Since sending in the $17.00 back in May, I’ve received dozens of other letters from “Prophet” Peter Popoff. In coming Blogs, I’ll share some of the many other rituals he’s asked me to perform to get my miracle money. From chewing mystical bubble gum to rubbing holy oil, he leaves nothing to chance. The letters and pleas get more insane as they go. Stay tuned…
If you’d like to see his Web site, you can visit it at: http://www.peterpopoff.org/