10 April 2011

Marjoe and the Religious Con trick


        Thanks to the Skepchick Rebecca Watson blogging about this movie. I remembered reading about this man "The World's Youngest Ordained Minister" Marjoe Gortner, in Hitchins "God is not Great", but I never followed it up even though I had the book on my desk.

  The movie is called "Marjoe", a 1972 Academy Award winning Documentary,  thanks to YouTube it's available for viewing here.  

 Marjoe was the son of two missionary parents, and as a child he was turned into a tiny Evangelical minister until he was about 16 and decided he had enough, and stopped. Then his father took what was remaining of the US$3Million (US$15million in 2011 money)that Marjoe had raised, and left.

The movie follows Marjoe as he makes his return to Ministry, and shows the  tricks used and events that the evangelicals use to suck cash from those taken in by these confidence tricksters.

While we are on simple con tricks, a good one is the Miracle Leg Lenghtening, it's been done in the past by AA Allen , it's currently a favourite in Denmark and in the USA. Starting with the legs slightly sideways and pulling the shoe slightly off the heel, makes one leg appear to be longer, or the other to be shorter. James Randi has exposed this trick a number of times.

"Missionaries are perfect nuisances and leave every place worse than they found it." Charles Dickens

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