7 Broken Men: Alexander Dowie

7 Broken Men: Alexander Dowie

My 7 Broken Men series continues. Check out the other entries in the blog section of this site to see the previous inductees into my hall of shame. Our fourth entry is nothing if not the most flamboyant of our seven, the Scottish-born Australian evangelist, Alexander Dowie. If God can use a character as colorful as Alexander Dowie, he can use anyone!   Raised in Adelaide, Australia, Dowie became a theatrically eccentric but popular evangelist in Sydney and Melbourne in the 1870s and 80s. However in 1888, while heavily in debt, Dowie’s church was burnt down in a suspicious arson attack. Dowie claimed the insurance money and skipped to the USA, where there were bigger fish to fry. Setting himself up in San Francisco, Dowie launched the International Divine Healing Association, through which he guaranteed healing to those who sent requests (and payments) by mail or telegram. It was a huge commercial success. Never one to do things by halves, Dowie then invested the ill-gotten gains in securities of bankrupt companies and defrauded his flock by selling them off to unsuspecting devotees. In case you missed it, that’s using defrauded money to defraud people.   Things got a bit too hot for him in San Francisco as various legal suits started to mount up, so he cashed in his chips and fled

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