Religion: Now It's Jimmy's Turn

The sins of Swaggart send another shock through the world of TV evangelism

It was, without question, the most dramatic sermon ever aired on television. There stood Jimmy Swaggart, 52, the king of evangelistic video, ready to confront the ugly rumors that were encircling his busy, buzzing gospel conglomerate. As he approached the pulpit, the octagonal Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge, La., was packed for the occasion with 8,000 worshipers, 1,000 of them standees, while followers nationwide watched the weekly telecast. This day there was to be none of Swaggart's trademark piano riffing or gospel singing, none of his jig stepping, strutting or shouting. Clad in a severe suit, the TV evangelist waited...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!