This older story from the Mitchell Daily Republic has been bugging us and it reminds us of a little South Dakota country church.
Noem reports a combined total of $15,833 in “salary” from 3 different sources – $6,000 from her SD legislative gig, $8,833 from something called Family Worship Center and $1,000 from Noem Family Insurance in Bryant.
There once was a little country church near Hub City called the Garfield Gospel Tabernacle. Ever hear of it? Probably not, the holy rovers were an interesting bunch where the locals said “If the coyotes didn’t yell they did.” Why does this little rural Vermillion church matter and what does it have to do with Noem? Recently it began to appear Kristi is an “owner” of it present incarnation.
During the 1920’s a of Los Angeles charismatic preacher, Aimee Semple McPherson started a church called the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel broadcasting over the new-fangled radio bringing the Gospel to the isolated Dakota farmers. This was a lively group. It was said when they had a funeral, they had to hold on to the casket so it wouldn’t roll out of the church. Well by the 1970’s the attending families had dwindled in number and the church was closed. Shortly thereafter the building was moved to Beresford and reopened to serve the worship needs of the locals eventually with a preacher, Raymond Peterson.
The little country church was for many years associated with the First Assembly organization out of Mitchell. In the late 1980’s the preacher, Raymond Peterson tried to take over the leadership of the state organization as many back to God preachers began doing at the time. When he lost the election he convinced the member / owners of the church to sign over the property to him so he could ‘grow’ their mission. Upon the turnover of the property to Peterson, the Gospel Tabernacle / First Assembly church members were ‘kicked out’ for not agreeing to the new ownership. You see Raymond decided to make it a privately owned for personal gain church
“Living Word Fellowship” under South Dakota’s corporate laws. With this building “given to him” for free (he won the lawsuits), Raymond moved to Sioux Falls using the Beresford building as collateral for a ‘church’ building in Sioux Falls (Sioux Falls FWC 1).
Raymond has tried for years to build his version of a media empire with radio broadcasting and other outreaches. His current privately owned church in Sioux Falls is now called Family Worship Center Mount of Olives Ministries.
This has created a bit of confusion with several who have confused the two churches with Raymond encouraging publicly with his adherence to Foursquare principles. She is not a part of the Sioux Falls story but the Watertown version. Noem’s part-time job was teaching young people how to roll around in the aisles like the old Garfield Gospel Tabernacle or as the attached link will demonstrate.
A few years ago we had a TeaBagger Alaskan Vice Presidential candidate who was a tongue ‘wagger’ who like to roll around in the aisles. So we South Dakotans are proud to have our own, Kristi Noem is apparently a part-time employee / owner of the Watertown Foursquare Church also known as Family Worship Center. The Watertown ‘church’ is officially a Foursquare church. Our understanding is Noem has given up her seat on the board to her sister Cindy.
We non-Foursquares find their adherence to Sister Aimee’s Southern Pentecostal beliefs humorous, yet disturbing. Sister Aimee started a church to expand her beliefs based in the post reconstruction American south where the frustrations of the poor whites needed to keep the people of other colors down. Her fear based teachings of the church meeting broadcasts out of Los Angeles met the emotional need to blame the strife of Midwestern farm life of the 1920’s on someone. Those who lived near the Garfield Gospel Tabernacle always found it interesting after some of the local revivals you would see the KKK cross burnings, being held in the middle of the night, atop nearby Spirit Mound. Nobody ever claimed the activity but it was interesting.
Is this what we are heading back to? The type of ministries we are highlighting here are not limited to them. As we learned with the half termed governor of Alaska, the churches encourage government involvement to spread their “word”. Kristi is doing her only job. Her only job is to operate in the official capacity she is elected to in order to push the “mission’ of her church. Be as likeable and charismatic as necessary to get and retain power. Their belief system requires them to force the rest of us to do as they say, but you know the rest (“not as they do”). Privately owned officially nonprofit organizations actually being used to spread their Gospel mission of far right agenda beliefs. These for-profit nonprofits are destroying the Constitution the rest of us rely on to survive, Each time we vote for these aisle rollers, we are setting the bar of sanity further from our reach.