199 thoughts on “In Memoriam”

  1. On the 3rd page, about 2/3 of the way down on the left-hand side, what does this even mean:

    “…teased with their educable-slow family members…”

    Is this some turn-of-phrase that I am not aware?

    1. It’s very old-fashioned language for people with mental disabilities.
      Needless to say, by 2001, “educable slow” had not been current terminology for at least 40 years.

      And although I am somewhat taken aback by it, it is quite revealing that his fans find it admirable that Jack Hyles enjoyed teasing people who were in no position to fight back.

      1. According to people who taught one of the classes for people with mental disabilities, the class members were quite fond of teasing and kidding around.

        1. This is an honest question. Did anyone else find that “teasing” was a way of criticising without criticising? A way Fundies say really mean stuff without giving the teased person any recourse except to look like a thin skinned person for not being able to take a joke? I am sure this isn’t strictly a Fundy thing but I wonder if others found it very prevalent amongst the Fundies?

        2. BG; so what is that I dispute that “JH enjoyed teasing people who could not fight back.” There is a good-natured kidding with people, and there can be the mean and nasty teasing. I’m willing to believe that JH did some good-natured joking around with these people.

          MiriamD: Yes, I see this “I was only kidding” or “I was only joking” used as a lot when the teasing gets out of hand or turns nasty, as if it is the offended person’s fault.

        3. OK, maybe it was good-natured joshing, but why make a point in his biography that he “teased with … educable-slow family members”?

          Is it somehow saintly that he was marginally cordial with people with disabilities? Isn’t that more like what we expect of any minimally decent human being above five years old?

        4. Miriam: That’s the Don Rickles syndrome. Mr. Rickles made a career of saying nasty, bigoted things about people, often to their faces. But it was supposedly OK because he was “only joking.”

          This kind of “humor” may be harder to get away with than it used to be, but it’s still common.

        5. I grew up subjected to it and I despise it. I think it is more about power than humour.

        6. Also, GR, I’m reading the obit in light of the Hyles sermons I’ve heard. The dude was often a mean bully, so I suspect that came out in whatever “teasing” he did.

        7. Don’t know about the biography — perhaps they were trying to paint him as a man who was at home with all kinds of people — from those with mental disabilities to “great” men… that’s often done.

          Some people are uncomfortable around those with mental disabilities, so it was another way to show the superiority of JH to “ordinary” men.

          Blech.

        8. My knowledge is secondhand, but I’m told that he was much different in “real life” that the image he crafted for himself in his preaching.

        9. I’ve seen that video before, and one of the things that struck me about it was that Linda Hyles Murphrey never seems to question that the church’s assets and real estate were her father’s personal wealth to use as he pleased. I guess that was such an accepted fact in the environment she grew up in that it even now it doesn’t occur to her that this dispensation is neither normal nor legal for a tax-exempt nonprofit organization.

  2. You know certain ‘camps’ of fundamentalism are bad when you are glad you grew up with the Bob Jones brand instead of the Hyles variety.

    I can remember reading some of his books when I was younger and being so glad our family wasn’t part of ‘that’. Not that what we were part of was all that good….but it could have been much worse.

    1. I grew up in the Bob Jones brand, but we had some transplants from the Hyles brand that showed up in positions of authority…and they did a number on me and many.

    1. Not sure about the “other people’s money” — he made a LOT of money out of “his” books. He claimed that “Hyles Publications” which sold the books was a church ministry to the IRS, so he never paid any income tax on the income from book sales. However, he never gave any accounting to anyone, and spent the money as he liked. This was likely to be a LOT of money – figure the average cost of his books, and the sycophants buying them and hawking them. This is likely the source of the funds with which he was generous.

      As has been pointed out, if he would pay his staff people a decent wage, they wouldn’t be dependent upon his generosity to take a simple vacation.

        1. He turned around and told the deacons that “Hyles Publications” was his ministry, and he had the sole oversight, and he spent the money as he saw fit.

          I’m not defending him at all — I’m just saying that he told the IRS one thing, and told the church members who inquired another thing. Asking “THE PASTOR” a question was always a risky thing because it would look like someone was daring to question “THE GREAT LEADER”.

        2. You speak the truth GR. It was definitely a cash cow because when Jack died David Hyles tried to take ownership of Hyles Publications claiming that it was a family owned enterprise. FBC was able to maintain control of it because of its tax exempt status as a “ministry”.

      1. “As has been pointed out, if he would pay his staff people a decent wage, they wouldn’t be dependent upon his generosity to take a simple vacation.”

        That would mean three things: first, he would have not made as much money as he did because his salary would have been shared with other staff.

        Secondly, how would he look generous if he didn’t force people to rely on his giving them a vacation….if they had not taken a vacation a while….

        Thirdly, how is he going to make people dependent upon him if he wasn’t making so much more than everyone else?

  3. For perspective everyone should have a look at Hyle’s daughter (Linda Murphrey’s) youtube video detailing life in the Hyle’s home….

    Jack Hyles is “really” the embodiment of what I consider “caustic” fundamentalism!

  4. From the last page pictured:

    “Brother Hyles accepted the engagement ring (from the cheating guy’s fiancee) until he could give it to a deserving pastoral student who could not buy an engagement ring for his fiancee. In counseling with the young lady … Brother Hyles phoned the young lady’s parents to include them in the decision-making.”

    Ladies, wouldn’t you just LOVE to wear that ring?

    Bonus question: Wouldn’t you love to be “counseled” by someone who has no concept of confidentiality at all?

    1. Yeah, that story made me question a lot…..first, what is the point of telling that story? It really doesn’t show any great counseling skill. And he took the engagement ring another man bought from this girl to give to someone else….what a jerk! I am sure the woman could have sold the ring . I would never accept the ring, ask for the ring, etc. Again, making him look like he is a generous and benevolent pastor….giving out an engagement ring.

  5. You know, if these people were working real jobs for real pay, maybe they could have taken vacations and paid for them on their own.

    Maybe he gave male kawlij stoodints money, but the female kawlij stoodints had to slave away for some so-called donor’s generous gift to pay their bills. I don’t think there was ever a donor, but color me two score and ten hues of skeptical.

  6. Matt. 7:21   “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

      1. It does tell you what the people & leadership of FBCH look for when it comes to preferred virtues of leadership. We already know the vices they are willing to overlook to attain the perceived virtues.

        1. Honestly from my standpoint, I find the what they consider vices and virtues hard to tell apart.

  7. More statistics:
    Membership of over 100,000:
    This would make First Baptist larger than the biggest local churchs in the U.S. by a factor of 5 to 10. Anybody believe this?

    10,000 baptisms per year (nearly 200 per week, all year):
    OK, do we even need to talk about the credibility of this claim?

        1. Fooled the demon, lol. That made me laugh. I wonder if the bus kids felt as much enthusiasm for the “dipping” as those animals did.

        2. Jay, I hope all that wasn’t part of the FBCH baptism routine, but I wouldn’t rule out the cult of Hyles using any mechanism of control the leaders can get their hands on.

    1. Membership is not attendance. A lot of churches have “members” on their rolls that haven’t set foot in church in decades, and I’m sure that FBCH was just like that. Plus, every kid they baptized was added to the rolls as well, even if they never returned. Thus, I can readily believe the membership number.

      And the baptism number is believable, too — only a few were baptized in the church building — there were separate tanks for the bus kids. These were often baptized en masse – an entire busload. They were geared and pushed to come up with numbers like this – (honesty wasn’t as important, so no one ever checked the numbers). Remember too, that in a year, several children would get baptized multiple times, and they counted each time.

      1. Guilt Ridden, I agree with what you say here.
        Where we disagree is that I think you have explained why these figures are enormously inflated, NOT why they are credible.

        1. I’m confused about your use of “credible” – doesn’t it just mean believable?

          As I explained, I find both of the number “credible”, but not representative of that church.

        2. The numbers that they claim as members are not truly indicative of the number of people who consider FBCH to be their home church. The church is claiming everyone who ever had anything to do with them is a member. I’ve heard stories of people who were angry at the church after being hurt, and who specifically asked to be removed from membership, and they kept them on the roll. There are also stories of bus kids getting baptised multiple times because they had to get the numbers up.

          So yeah. They might not have just pulled the number out of their arse, but they are being deceitful by publishing these numbers as being accurate of church membership.

        3. Membership at most churches involves far more participation and commitment than just having walked in the doors once or twice.
          And most churches remove people from their membership rolls who are no longer active, or who have joined another church, or who have died.
          Baptists and evangelicals are famous for adding anyone to the membership list who has ever visited once, and never, never purging the rolls of ex-members. They do this for a very specific reason: to brag about how big their membership is.

          So by credible membership numbers, I mean numbers of people who currently attend at least a few times a year and participate in church programs and donate money and would say they are current members of FBCH if you asked them. In most churches, those would also be people who had taken vows of membership.

          By credible numbers of baptisms, I mean the numbers of people who were baptised vountarily and with at least some understanding of what baptism means. Going to Coney Island on a hot day and shouting “I baptise thee” to the crowd of bathers does not count as 200,000 baptisms. And only one baptism per person– no church that I know of says that a second or third or fifty-ninth baptism is valid. And only people baptised by the church count– not all those baptised by anyone who ever had any association with HAC or FBCH or attended a conference there or something like that.

          That’s what I mean by credible, because that’s how about 95% of churches count membership and baptisms.

          We could talk about other membership metrics, like the following one, but that’s sort of out there:
          *”According to its founder, over 250,000 people worldwide have ‘received’ Summum instruction. As the organization does not keep formal membership records, this figure is based on the number of bottles of wine it has distributed.”

          *Source:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summum

        4. We’re an agreement, then. While I believe that their membership rolls may be at 100000, I complete agree that the real or representative membership is shown by those who attend Wed night (assuming the church has a Wed night service).

          Ditto for baptism — I believe that most people “baptized” in these kind of IFB churches don’t really have any idea of what it means or what is happening… everything is new & strange, and they are pushed into this ritual at the insistence of their new acquaintances.

          I would say that their claims are credible, but not representative, but your explanation is fine.

      2. I was there at HAC the last 5 years of his ministry ’til he died….still have the original of this funeral program; they had 2 separate funerals, one for the church members and the others for the college students and pastors school delegates.

        Just to clarify, from my experience, all were baptized on the church property in the main baptisteries (the only different one was in the Spanish church building), they were just baptized at different times (there were 4 times for Sunday Schools; “H” Sunday School at 3pm for the housing project buses). Only one time do I remember having people baptized in different locations……the Jubilee Sunday……where 5000 people were baptized in one day. That day began my deprogramming from that place; it was the height of making the church a circus. With people in the church services, there would normally be some sort of quick sales-pitch explanation of baptism (just like with the soul winning plan), but with the bus kids, and especially on “big days,” the routine was “did you raise your hand, well let’s pray, and then you line up over here.”

        1. Was that their ‘biblical separation’?

          Keep the Mexicans separate from The Chosen?

          /sarcasm/

    2. I thought I was the only one whom that stuck out to (the Wikipedia FBCH article mentions a peak attendance of 20,000 in 1990). The only mega-church with 6 figures in the attendance I was familiar with was Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea (David Yonggi Cho’s place); and I would guess that number MIGHT be a typo considering the multi-site campus concept was just starting to become popular when Hyles died (not that he’d have supported it, I’d guess); I can’t picture any way FBCH would have gotten that large considering the scandals that became public the last decade plus of Hyles’ life and then of Jack Schaap.

  8. My first, and main, reaction to the memorial pamphlet:
    Some people are remembered for their accomplishments, some for their personalities, some for their acts of kindness, some for their great thoughts, but some are remembered for their comb-overs and weird glasses.

      1. I’d like to know the stats on Binaca sales. All the preechir boyz used it because Jacky used it.

        I should probably use my favorite search engine to find out Binaca sales stats.

        1. Didn’t find out so far, but I got a really funny link when I searched.

  9. “He gave himself to constant bible study…”

    Remembering that fundys are literalists, how did he give himself to constant bible study and still have time for all these other activities?
    Unless…as the walking, talking word of God he just had to study and promote himself…

  10. Really…did any of you ever meet Jack Hyles, hear him preach, or even pray for him?

    Sorry, I didn’t see any screeching Fundies in the comment feed and thought I would help out…

    1. I know you’re joking but I did meet him on a high school choir tour. While he was friendly toward us, he struck me (even at my young age and from-birth fundy exposure) as very manipulative. I think he gave each of us $100 (this was a long time ago) and there were probably at least 30 of us. I gladly spent the money but wondered how he could be so “generous.” It really felt like he was trying to buy our favor. And the tour of the “college” was absolutely terrifying.

        1. The secret to being truly bad is to be good when it counts. It counts when people see you. It counts to be good when you can use that as advertising. It counts when you can take credit for what other people do. Do enough good and a lot of people will be willing to overlook the bad.

          Politicians do a lot of small favors for their constituents. That along with the big money that they are able to command from their big donors gives them lots of good press which they control. They can be as crooked as a split-rail fence and look like a saint.

          Jules was among the best, that way. Awful to live with. Deceitful. Dishonest. Generous with other people’s money when it benefited him, stingy when it didn’t.

          He has a whitewashed sepulcher. It was all about him in life. It was all about him in death. He won’t be comfortable in heaven where it won’t be about him at all.

    2. I think I’ve told this story at SFL before, but it seems appropriate here. In 1973, my dad interviewed with Jack Hyles for a professor position at Hyles Anderson. Both my parents were present at the interview. Afterward they agreed that if a job was offered my Dad would turn it down. Dad says Hyles came across as a self absorbed jerk. That’s how close I came to being raised at ground zero of fundistan.

      the Admiral

    1. exactly….if someone offered me their engagement ring, I am not sure I would take it….I would tell the lady to go, sell it, and treat herself to something wonderful. But that would not be the fundamentalist’s way…no enjoyment in this life….

        1. What I also think is weird and creepy is that the pamphlet highlights the fact that he decided to include the parents in the decision making. As if this is an honorable thing to do? Wtf! Of course you include the parents … He shouldn’t have been counseling her without their knowledge anyways.

        2. Outside of fundydom, if an engagement breaks down, the ring belongs to the woman, since it was given to her. Since women have no rights within fundydom, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was told she could not keep it.

        3. I thought the tradition was to return it to the man. I think there have even been IS court cases confirming this.

        4. (Sigh) *US* court cases. “IS” is those other guys.

          Hail George! (bangs head, makes Sign of George)

        5. “Of course you include the parents … He shouldn’t have been counseling her without their knowledge anyways.”

          I couldn’t tell if you were kidding here. Personally, I believe if one is old enough to get married then their parents don’t need to know anything that she doesn’t want them to know. She is not a child. She is old enough to smoke, vote, and die for her country.

          Now is it wise to get counseling from a total douche bag? No.

          That is what is wrong with these perpetual 20 something year old children in Fundistan. Guess what. Parents don’t send kids to college. Young adults choose to enroll. and drop out as they see fit. Granted, in Fundistan, the lines are blurred and kids have been so sheltered, they don’t know what else to do except go to college where Dad says, work where he says, and marry who he approves.

        6. You’re right, I got it wrong. If the marriage breaks up, she can keep her rings, because she did fulfil the conditions of the original gift. I got confused.

        7. Larry, I agree…if one is getting married, for the most part they should be adults. The entire–including the parents in the counseling is evidence of the oppression of women….The lady he was counseling—was not considered to be capable of making her own decisions or to be an individual. As a single person, she would have been considered under her father’s authority until the wedding. Because she was breaking the engagement, she had to get her father’s opinion…as well as the mog approval.
          Disgusting how they look at women as second class citizens and less than fully human…

        8. No I wasn’t kidding. For some reason though I was thinking that it was a teenage girl that he was counseling without the parent’s knowledge. I guess I just equate teenage girls with Hyles’/Schaap’s office. I wonder why that is ….

          Anyhow, I agree that if a girl is old enough to be engaged to be married than she can be counseled without her parents. I’m not into the mindset of girls being attached to their fathers until they’re married. That’s just weird.

      1. Joshua, if the girl who handed over the engagement ring was over the age of 18, the parents didn’t have to be involved unless the girl gave consent for this.

        1. You’re right, but girls over 18 have no rights within fundydom. They are their father’s property until they are their husband’s.

  11. At the age of four he brought his neighbors’ cat back to life. Shortly thereafter he singlehandedly brought la cosa nostra to it’s knees wielding only the KJB and a rumpled copy of The Sword of the Lord that he found on the back of his toilet. He went soul winning in purgatory, and parted the Red Sea so he could get to the Persian Gulf – which he walked across to share the gospel with the Maharincess of Franistan. He is the most interesting Pastor in the world. Stay thirsty, my friends.

  12. I heard about Hyles because of some scandal printed in the paper in the early 70s (I don’t remember which one it was). i was a new Christian, but I put Hyles in the whackadoodle branch of Christianity. Though my church was Fundy, they identified more with PCC and BJU. That said, it always pains me when obituaries are so over the top. If this guy ever had any humility or servant spirit, it was long gone by the time he died.

  13. Three things immediately stand out to me: 1. The writing reminds me of a schoolkid’s 2. No mention of God doing anything (was He in that church at all?) 3. It looks like Hyles made sure the left hand knew what the right hand was doing.

  14. 2 things.
    1. Did he do all those nice things? Yes.
    2. Did it make up for his sleaze, womanizing, torturing scripture, bullying, hypocrisy, and general enslavement of his people to the work of promoting himself and developing narcissism and libido dominandi in his proteges? hmmmm.

        1. I can’t believe you of all people would come up with such an answer, Dr F.

      1. Oh the typical stuff. Tell the lady to stay with the man because it’s her spiritual duty and how he treats you or his children doesn’t change that. Super fun stuff.

        1. Sounds a lot like radical Islam…

          I was raised in a similar household it would seem.

          I’m sorry, Rebecca.

        2. From a PB perspective. My older sister married a man who turned out to be very abusive. At one point he even told her that she was supposed to obey him as if he were God.

          When my sister complained to my parents, my mother told her, “You made your bed. Now lie in it. You married him. That’s forever.”

          She endured him for 13 years. When she finally filed for divorce, the church where they were attending at the time embraced him and turned their backs on her, despite the evidence of his abuse. She decided that if the “people of God” were that way, she had no use for their God.

          When I had my break with my Dad, Mom, and sister (the other one), this sister was the only one who stood by me and validated me. As far as I am concerned, she is a lot more “righteous” than the rest of the family.

  15. “For many years the church has been acclaimed [by us alone] to have ‘The Worlds Largest Sunday School’ [as if sunday school attendance was the desired end].

    Just needed to edit that a little bit. By the way, the way those letters are capitalized makes me wonder if it is a given title not necessarily actually descriptive. Kind of like in the olden days when 2-man teams of traveling salesman knocked on your door early Saturday mornings offering you “Dr. JF Hyles Amazing Instant Cure-All Snake Oil”.

    1. Around here, school bands and the like often sell “World’s Finest Chocolate” as a fundraiser.
      Whether or no you like the chocolate, you can’t deny that it is the World’s Finest. It says so right there on the label.

    1. mysteriously missing, isn’t He?

      Outside of the Lord helping him grow Miller Baptist church, the Almighty seemed to leave Hyles alone…..guess he could do it all on his own.

  16. Might be apocryphal but it is certainly my favorite Hyles story:

    My aunt and uncle went to HAC. One of their fellow student’s wife went to The One for counseling. He told her to kill herself because she had a good husband and that way her husband could find a good wife.

    Classy guy.

    1. I thought the Apostle Jack told that story about himself. Whether or not it actually happened is irrelevant since that was the image he wanted to portray. He wanted to say it whether or not he had the stones to do it.

  17. When I was first a believer, I visited there, drank the koolaide, bought all his books, and started worshiping at the altar of Hyles. However, it only took me a short while till I recognized that every time I went to church there, certain verses about Pharisees and Scribes came to mind. And God slowly and excruciatingly drew me out of that cult. And I can say without hesitation that it is a cult. In about 1993, a main Detroit, MI news station did a news expose on Jack Hyles called “Preying rom the Pulpit” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preying_from_the_Pulpit
    It was devastating. The bible college I attended in 1992 removed him from the approved speaker’s list. It created an atmosphere of distrust. In 1989, Evangelist Robert Sumner did an expose in “The Biblical Evangelist” about Jack Hyles continuing relationship with his secretary.
    http://www.biblicalevangelist.org/jack_hyles_chapter5.php
    That was probably the end of his relationship with any evangelicals who could have overlooked his minor eccentricities.

    He was an ungodly man who ruined thousands of lives.

    1. “He was an ungodly man who ruined thousands of lives.”

      Amen.

      (and, I might add, continues to ruin lives today as pastors follow his un-Biblical methods of running a church)

  18. I felt like that story should have ended with how Jack bedded the young fiancée he was counseling but then I realized that was his son-in-law that got caught and is serving time. Jack 1 managed to skate by, Jack 2 got caught.

  19. Ugh,

    I just finished watching Linda Murphrey’s video. That poor woman. WOW!!!!

    My parents often went to listen to Jack when he was a guest speaker at a local church. My dad always looked up to him, read some of this books, read the “Sword of the Lord” etc.

    He often said things like “Jack Hyles would say or do things like this in his household, etc” and would try to model or enforce something Jack would say he did in his household (that never worked with me). Of course being the IFB rebel boy I was back in the 70’s and 80’s I would counter attack with “Yeah but your not him”

    I also remember when Jack said things like “I never heard any discord between my children” or “Fasting is a way of life in our household. Often my girls would come to the table and not eat but just sit there. We would never question what she was doing as we knew she was praying”.

    Now after hearing Mrs Murphrey’s courageous story I can see why. Two words; Fear and Depression.

    Daryl, THANK YOU for keeping this site ongoing and the information your provide. We stand with you.

    1. I drove by a IFB church…its name was ridiculously long—something to the effect : Independent Fundamental KJV only, Pre-Trib, Free will, (there were a couple more doctrines listed), Baptist Church.
      Perhaps there is not a lot of churches named 5th Baptist Church or 79th….because once you start splitting over doctrines, you want to let people know each reason you split from first and second baptist churches…..Need to define yourself.

  20. This is a very late response, haven’t caught up with all the posts. I just have to say, after learning the not so surprising truth about JH from his daughter’s TED talk, anything out of his mouth or penned by him is not worth giving the time of day. Even as a naïve kid I felt nauseated by his books my parents had in the house, couldn’t read through any of them. It has also been my observation that the more abusive and controlling the person in question, the more over-the-top glowing tribute they get from the sheep who drank the koolaid.

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