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Father Divine’s Organization Continues to Thrive

Nov. 17, 1962 - The worldwide Kingdom of Peace founded by Father Divine continues today to grow and prosper. “Father will provide” is the byword of the organization. At his suburban Philadelphia retreat, which he calls the Mount of the House of the Lord, Father Divine presides over his followers (pictured), to whom he is a supernatural being who could one day depart the earth in bodily form while leaving his divine spirit behind. They say he arrived just as mysteriously. Most of the members are Negroes, but there are many whites in the movement as well. Followers often take such names as Angel Flash, Love Love Love, Prodigal Son, and Job Patience. Father Divine’s church has a strict code of ethics. Followers are not permitted to go to the theater or to movies. They may not smoke, drink, or use cosmetics. Obscenity is forbidden, and there is no undue mixing of the sexes. At the missions, meals cost about 35 cents, although people may eat for free if they wish. Today in Philadelphia, there are more than 20 missions and schools serving 5,000 meals a day. Nonbelievers who have investigated court and prison files in New York, where Father Divine spent most of the 1920s and ‘30s, say he came into life as George Baker, son of a sharecropper, born near the Savannah River on a Georgia rice plantation about 1880.

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