As I grew up I became  a very good performer when it came to preaching a message, sharing my testimony, or revealing an insight from the “holy spirit.”

Do you want to see just how early indoctrination, training, and exposure to the mannerisms, cultures, and languages of religion starts? Check this out:

Wow, what do you think? Also check out an ABC News piece on the child preacher phenomenon.

Children are amazing imitators–frighteningly so. Notice how culturally-specific these emotional, “spirit-filled” sermons are? It’s a performance. That’s what preaching and prophesying and praying aloud in public are all about. Who could honestly say that while they are in front of a group they didn’t care at all about if the audience liked it or if they did a good job? I tried not to think about those things as a Christian, but I couldn’t help it–especially as a young person who most wants love, attention, and affirmation.

What most recognizable in the videos are the styles of preaching, but what’s even more important is the content of what they say. Do you think children teach Bible lessons that don’t conform to the beliefs of their own church or group? I doubt it. Do you think these kids can understand the serious doctrines and theologies they’re shouting about? I doubt many adults actually understand what they preach, much less a child who hasn’t developed critical thinking nor been educated.

Sigh.

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25 thoughts on “Child Preachers”

Matt Warren · May 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I saw a few in my childhood within the Evangelical movement. I didn’t know what to make of it *then*, but I know how it makes me feel *now*.

Very unfortunate and quite creepy.
.-= Matt Warren’s last blog ..We’re All Making Derivative Works =-.

The God Critic · May 5, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I wonder how these children turned out when they became adults. I did get a chance to watch the documentary about Marjoe Gortner (the first kid in the video) and he got away from the religious life.

I also have doubts that these kids really understand the theology behind what they’re preaching. I think at that age it’s more about performing and being the center of attention.
.-= The God Critic’s last blog ..The Pope, The Shroud, And Suffering =-.

Amber, theAmberShow · May 5, 2010 at 12:37 pm

The affectedness and insincerity of preaching and prayer was one one of the first things I noticed as a kid (around age 11, 12) that started making me uncomfortable with Christianity. If you really believe it to be true, why scream it to elicit an emotional response? If it’s real, speaking plainly should be more than enough to get the message across and change lives.

The conclusion
.-= Amber, theAmberShow’s last blog ..The Bright Side of Bad Coffee =-.

    Godless Girl · May 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I like your take on it. As a kid I took something else from it entirely! I thought that the more sincere the emotion seemed, and the conviction with which a point was said, gave that point weight or validity.

    Clearly I wasn’t an active participant in rational thought 😉

      Jeremiah · May 6, 2010 at 8:02 pm

      I hate affectedness and insincerity, but it does seem that to some degree if people actually believe what they are saying that they are going to say it with some pathos. I think it’s often faked and used for manipulation though.
      .-= Jeremiah’s last blog ..My Life: An Epic Tale =-.

    True believer · December 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    You are right Amber. That’s the problem with the charismaniac movement. It isn’t Godly or Biblical. It’s a show. People are being entertained. They become inculturated to it & may think it’s real or normal, but it isn’t. It isn’t real christianity. However, there are many good Christ loving, Bible believing churches out there that aren’t led by whack jobs & weirdo’s.

    As a rule I tend to stay away from anything connected to the pentecostal, assembly of god, or unaffiliated charismania movements.

      Godless Girl · December 7, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      Do you see the labels “true believer” and “real christianity” to be as subjective as they actually are? What if charismatic denominations have it “right” and you do not?

Not Guilty · May 5, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Wow. The whole video was scary but that last one was jaw-dropping.

Vlad · May 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm

I totally agree about the last clip in that video, you have to be scared about the mentality of parents who would let their child get involved in that.

    Godless Girl · May 6, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    The lil’ dude’s basically telling people not to kill their kids. I sure hope no murderers were hanging around there…

WayPastDueToo · May 6, 2010 at 5:31 am

Gosh! Another video that touches a nerve with me!

In my charismatic days, we had a little guy in our church who would get up on the tables in the nursery and ‘preach’ to the babies in there. We all thought it was God and the little boy’s destiny to be a preacher for Jesus. We encouraged his behavior and in many ways, he was revered!

How could I be sooooooooo blind??????? Ugh.
.-= WayPastDueToo’s last blog ..I Just Go By The Bible =-.

Jeremiah · May 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm

*Puke*
.-= Jeremiah’s last blog ..My Life: An Epic Tale =-.

Holytape · May 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm

I would like to know what some of this kids were saying. The audio wasn’t that good. Some of the kids look too young to even form complete sentences, more less actually preach.

I’ve had Baptist and Jehovah’s witness kids come preaching to my door. In both cases their parents were with them, but they were standing at the entrance to the building. It was just kind of pathetic. You don’t want to be the jackass who argues with children, but on the other hand the adults in this situation are using the kids. I kindly told them that there was no supernatural causation in the universe. They asked me what I meant by that, and I told them to ask their parents. It got them away from my door.
.-= Holytape’s last blog ..The Virgin Birth – A Sasquatch Christmas. =-.

okfine · May 6, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Wow you have a knack for finding the creepiest videos! I’m still recovering from game-show-host-kissing-little-girls and now this.

    Godless Girl · May 6, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    I like to show off some of the nutty goodness of this delicious world that’s part of a balanced breakfast!

Joshua Zelinsky · May 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Wow. That is disturbing at many different levels. And the vast majority of these kids will likely never escape their brainwashing. Even if they have the data when they get older, it must be terribly hard to admit that you were that wrong and that you were more or less betrayed by your family (even if accidentally). How sad.
.-= Joshua Zelinsky’s last blog ..A Short Rant on Religious Freedom and the Courts =-.

Travis Morgan · May 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm


Vlad:

you have to be scared about the mentality of parents who would let their child get involved in that.

….”who would ‘let’ their child get involved in that?” It’s not like the child is that way on their own and the parents are just ‘letting’ them be that way. No, these children’s parents are the ones that brainwashed their kids into behaving this way. It’s more like “you have to be scared about the mentality of parents who brainwash their own kids to promote their own agenda to evangelize. These kids are far too young to have critically thought about any religion, let alone being a preacher for a particular religion. These kids are being mistreated the same way that some parents dress up their female children with makeup and costumes and put them on a catwalk exposing them to the media. They are not dolls for adults to dress up and assign tasks to. But that is what these parents are doing. They are not simply “letting” something happen on its own, they are the ones programming their children to behave this way.

As Richard Dawkins stated, this is child abuse. There are no Muslim children, Christian children, Buddhist children, etc… there are only “children” of Christian parents, Muslim parents, parents that belong to a particular faith. To label children this way is ludicrous.
.-= Travis Morgan’s last blog ..Darwin’s Finches – Butterfly =-.

Roof Woofer · May 8, 2010 at 10:03 am

From a Christian perspective, I think it’s creepy too. Just saying. I feel the same way about child beauty queens – won’t someone please shake some sense into their parents?
.-= Roof Woofer’s last blog ..RoofWoofer: @lousycanuck Don’t worry. I was accused of being a Xn because it helped me feel ‘included’. Not evrybdy knows what theyr talking about. =-.

The Godless Monster · May 14, 2010 at 9:51 am

One light push away from becoming killers or being killed.
Reminds me of the little Iranian boys who were indoctrinated, drugged and directed to march unarmed en masse across mine fields in the Iran-Iraq war in order to clear the way for armed contingents.
.-= The Godless Monster’s last blog ..*VIDEO*Feeding the Trolls 2 from The Thinking Atheist =-.

Joshua Zelinsky · May 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Also, minor note, it looks like the first preacher may be Marjoe Gortner who when he grew up kept preaching until he may a documentary in the early 1970s about how much the entire thing was a con initially run by his parents. The documentary won a number of awards. Gortner completely left the evangelical movement.
.-= Joshua Zelinsky’s last blog ..A Quick Note on the Mojave Cross =-.

    Jim Jones · December 11, 2011 at 1:28 am

    The documentary is on DVD although hard to find now. “The Simpsons” had Bart doing the same act which impressed Homer but not Lisa!

wildmonky · January 14, 2011 at 11:56 pm

It is SO mimicry. And You know they aren’t teaching anything new. No new way of looking at things. Kids are great mimics and great parrots. I tend to go a different route tho when it comes to thinking they’re too young to understand the doctrine and concepts. At their core the concepts of a faith are so simple a child can teach it. Which says something about the doctrine!

Xanthe Wyse · September 4, 2011 at 9:28 pm

totally creepy. They’re just imitating the brainwashed garbage they’re immersed in (and what I used to be immersed in)

Paul · December 10, 2011 at 9:06 pm

In the midst of this present total chaos & confusion age, one thing for sure is that: Christ is coming back. That’s why through churches, the devil is acting. But no matter what it is, christ is coming back. There is so much to say….; but let me say it like this: among millions that came out of with “Moises” only “Two Of Them” made it. They are: Jashua Caleb.

Paul · December 10, 2011 at 9:11 pm

In the midst of this present total chaos & confusion age, one thing for sure is that: Christ is coming back. That’s why through churches, the devil is acting. But no matter what it is, christ is coming back. There is so much to say….; but let me say it like this: among millions that came out of Egypt with “Moises” only “Two Of Them” made it. They are: Jashua & Caleb.

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