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Tags Don Stewart , faith healers , televangelists

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Old 22nd May 2009, 10:34 AM   #1
Questioninggeller
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Arizona Republic: Report on faith healer Don Stewart and attorney general's review

There is May 2009 exposé on Don Stewart by the The Arizona Republic. You've probably seen Stewart on late night TV offering a green handkerchief with "healing power" or if you've read Randi's The Faith Healers Stewart is mentioned in his chapter on AA Allen. As a result of the paper's reporting Arizona's attorney general is looking into the matter.

The Arizona Republic series starts with a biography:

Quote:
Don Stewart: A life in pursuit of God's reward
The Arizona Republic / AZCentral.com
by Robert Anglen
‎May 4, 2009‎

Don Stewart says God touched him even before he was born.

It was 1939, Prescott. A 41-year-old pregnant woman was rushed from a country hovel to the county hospital in fierce labor pain. With the baby in breech, doctors and nurses were convinced the mother would die.
...
Stewart presides today over a multimillion-dollar Phoenix ministry that reaches across the globe, although many Arizonans have never heard of him.

The 69-year-old televangelist conducts energetic revivals across the country - he calls them "crusades" - that often feature rapid-fire faith-healing episodes. Stewart oversees 85 churches in the Philippines, preaches to viewers through his "Power and Mercy" television show and conducts a direct-mail campaign that floods followers with requests to donate money.

Stewart also has built his ministry on charitable work and delivering aid to the world's poor and sick.

But he has been dogged by controversy. Two decades ago, he was accused by another church of committing arson for an insurance payoff. A decade before that, church officials in his own ministry accused him of embezzlement. And, in 1997, the IRS accused Stewart of using his church for personal benefit and revoked the ministry's tax-exempt status.

But Stewart has never been charged with a crime, and he dismisses the accusations as unproven, motivated by unscrupulous critics and disgruntled employees.

Stewart is not as flamboyantly recognizable as some televangelists. He does not have the extravagance of Benny Hinn, the audience of Robert Tilton or the mega-church of Robert Schuller. His ministry, the Don Stewart Association, operates out of a nondescript warehouse in an industrial park near Interstate 17.

Stewart's calling also has brought him wealth. He lives in a $2.5 million Paradise Valley home owned by his church, and the church has paid his wife and his sons hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. The church's charity also bought a Hummer, records show; it's unclear whether that was the same yellow Hummer driven by his wife, Brenda.
...
Stewart's critics describe him as a huckster with a Bible. They say he takes his cues for coaxing money and emotions out of people from an old school of televangelists and Pentecostal preachers.
...
Allen claimed he could heal the sick, turned sermons into prophecies and had a collection of bottles that he said held the evil spirits exorcised from his followers.

Stewart went from pounding tent stakes at Allen's revivals to driving a truck to preaching. He finally took over Allen's ministry.

Stewart calls Allen his spiritual father. And when Allen drank himself to death in 1970 at age 59, it was Stewart who attempted to clean up evidence of his mentor's alcoholic binge in a San Francisco hotel before the police arrived.

Stewart, who weeps when talking of Allen, says he wasn't trying to cover up anything.
He says he was protecting one of God's chosen few.

"The man changed my life, dear God," Stewart says. "God takes human, frail beings and I don't understand how, but he anoints them. And anybody that will protect the anointed . . . will be blessed."

In the wake of Allen's death, Stewart was hit with allegations of embezzlement by Allen's brother-in-law, of pocketing offerings from the revivals.

Stewart denies embezzling money, saying the accusation was part of a power struggle that ended when Allen's brother-in-law got a restraining order against him that shut down operations for 24 hours. Stewart prevailed in court, and the restraining order was lifted. No theft was ever proved. The ministry's board of directors sided with Stewart, who renamed the ministry the Don Stewart Evangelistic Association. Later it became the Don Stewart Association.
...
Flush with success and a bigger audience than ever, Stewart moved his operation to Phoenix in the early 1970s.

Miracle Valley fell into disrepair and destruction. Stewart leased the property to the Hispanic Assemblies of God for $1 a year. But when a suspicious fire burned a key building to the ground in 1982 and Stewart opted for a cash insurance settlement rather than to rebuild, church officials accused him of arson. He denied having anything to do with the fire and was never charged.

"They (Assemblies of God) felt I torched it so I could collect on the insurance," Stewart says, adding that a settlement was reached in which his ministry collected close to $1 million and the Assemblies of God got the property, "no strings attached."
...
As the 1980s approached, Stewart says he tried to adjust and considered becoming a mainstream preacher and teacher.
...
He says he initiated feeding programs through the church to address the horrific conditions and scenes of starvation that he witnessed. Charitable work became as much a part of the Stewart operation as the crusades.
...
Stewart's crusades continue today. In hotel ballrooms, churches and auditoriums from Los Angeles to New York, he leads revivals that can last more than five hours. Anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand people attend.
...
Full: The Arizona Republic / AZCentral.com

On Stewart's charities:
Quote:
Follow the cash: Charities spent bulk of it on salaries, expenses
The Arizona Republic / AZCentral.com
by Robert Anglen
May 4, 2009

...
The findings spring from The Republic's examination of a network of 22 charities with ties to a Phoenix televangelism ministry, the Don Stewart Association. Tax records and interviews show that many of the 22 charities made large donations of gifts in kind that involved transfers of ownership of goods without the charities' physically handling the items. The transactions made the charities' budgets appear larger and cash expenses appear smaller as a percentage of total revenue.

Because of such transfers, which are legal, it is hard for a donor to tell how a charity uses its real, tangible resources.

The 22 charities reported $154 million in total revenue over three years. About four-fifths of that was in the form of gifts in kind.

At least $80 million involved goods the charities never handled.

...
Charity watchdog groups say the best way to see how a charity uses its money is to strip away the gifts in kind and look only at cash.

In the case of the 22 charities tied to the Don Stewart Association, more than half of their total cash revenue of $29 million from tax years 2003 to 2005 was used for expenses. The largest expenses were for salaries and other compensation, program development, education supplies, travel, vehicles and occupancy or rent.

Seventeen percent was donated to other charities in the same 22-charity network, and 10 percent went to unidentified recipients.
...
Full: The Arizona Republic

More on Stewart's funds:
Quote:
Questions raised on Phoenix ministry funds
Annual government fundraising drive allows some charities' questionable practices to continue, watchdogs say
by Robert Anglen - May. 5, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

An Arizona Republic investigation has identified loopholes in the Combined Federal Campaign that allow charities to make transfers of cash and ownership of goods to improve their financial profile and help attract more donations.

The operations of the network of charities tied to the Don Stewart Association, a revival ministry, show how non-profits can reap donations and report low operating expenses while doing less hands-on charitable work than the numbers suggest. Charities within the network use 76 percent of their donated cash on salaries and other expenses or give cash to other charities in the same network that are operated by fellow employees, relatives or associates.
...
But even a good rating may not tell the whole story.

Two of the 22 charities tied to the Don Stewart Association were rated by Charity Navigator: Children's Relief Mission in St. Louis received a good rating, and Feeding America's Hungry Children in Peoria received an exceptional rating.

A Republic investigation found that both charities regularly transfer ownership of goods to other groups and take credit on tax forms for donations they have not physically handled. Both charities transfer goods and cash to other charities in the network.
...
Full: The Arizona Republic


Most recently after the series:
Quote:
Attorney general reviewing charities' practices
KSWT-TV
‎May 10, 2009‎

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona's attorney general's office is reviewing the practices of a network of charities tied to a Phoenix televangelist to decide whether any action should be taken.

The review comes following a series of news articles by The Arizona Republic last week.

The articles were the result of a yearlong investigation by the newspaper that revealed how 22 charities reap millions of dollars in donations every year and use most of it for salaries and other expenses or to donate to other charities operated by relatives and other associates.

Attorney General Terry Goddard says the Republic stories raise "important questions" about multiple charities taking credit for one donation.

A lawyer for the Don Stewart Association, the Phoenix ministry linked to the 22-charity network, says he welcomes the chance to work with the Attorney General's Office.

Here is a video clip of Don Stewart in action:
YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
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Last edited by Questioninggeller; 22nd May 2009 at 10:37 AM. Reason: youtube video of stewart
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Old 22nd May 2009, 12:30 PM   #2
Erigena
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Televangelism, my favorite! Isn’t one of the rules in the bible to give up your possessions? Whatever happened to leading by example? It doesn’t look like Stewart practices what he preaches, not unlike other televangelists. Maybe he’ll appear on an episode of MTV Cribs.
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Old 11th June 2009, 09:25 AM   #3
Questioninggeller
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Here's Stewart's reply on his website:

Quote:
Arizona’s Felix and Oscar: Local Televangelist and Major Food Bank Operator Hires Former County Attorney Rick Romley
May 2009

PARADISE VALLEY, ARIZONA — It’s an odd pairing, like Felix and Oscar. Don Stewart and Rick Romley are working side-by-side.

Stewart is a 69-year old televangelist, born in Jerome, AZ, who now lives in Paradise Valley. Romley is a Vietnam War hero who served for sixteen years as the Maricopa County Attorney.

The charitable arm of Stewart’s ministry, Feed My People Children’s Charities, owns two of the largest food banks in Arizona: Northern Arizona Food Bank in Flagstaff and Borderland Food Bank in Nogales. Stewart founded Northern Arizona Food Bank in 1987 to help better serve Native American communities. Borderland was acquired two years ago after it nearly went out of business.
...
Romley said he has been asked by the ministry, its food bank operations and other charitable endeavors to review policies and procedures.

“Any business or charitable endeavor can improve its operations. In this case where I can help improve or ratify various activities I think it will ultimately provide an important public service that this televangelist is taking extraordinary steps to do the right thing. On a national level it would be like Joel Osteen hiring Rudy Giuliani,” Romley said.
...
Besides the food banks in Arizona, Feed My People’s Children’s Charities conducts many national and international operations, including rescuing produce at the Mexican border for distribution around the U.S. and operating more than two dozen feeding centers and child care facilities in the Philippines.
Source
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Old 11th June 2009, 09:27 AM   #4
Questioninggeller
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Originally Posted by Questioninggeller View Post
Here is a video clip of Don Stewart in action:
YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
Apparently Stewart's group had that video exposing his tricks taken down. When you click on that video is says:

Quote:
This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Don Stewart Assocoation.
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Old 11th June 2009, 10:27 AM   #5
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YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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