Friday, November 1, 1974 HOPE (ARKJSTAR Former preacher says he likes acting better By Dick Kleiner HOLLYWOOD - (NBA) There is something about his eyes — suddenly you understand. How could a small boy have become such a wonder as Marjoe was when he was billed as "The World's Youngest Evangelist?" They called him "Miracle Child/' too, in those days in the early '50s when he spread the gospel throughout the South. It s. in his eyes, even now, even after he's given up religious work to become an actor. Those bright blue eyes hold you, smile at you, beckon you. And you cannot help but respond. You can imagine how it must have been, 20 years ago, when the blond hair was carefully arranged in ap pealing ringlets, when the pudgy little fingers clasped' the Bible, when those eyes looked out of the angelic young face and the childish voice spouted those carefully-rehearsed sermons. "Oh, I saved some souls in those days," Marjoe Gortner says today, smiling "at 'the memory, shaking his head with sadness or wonder or perhaps a little of both. "And I did some healing, too." Then he hastens to explain his current feeling, that the healing was not miraculous, merely another example of. the power of suggestion, the power of the mind. His current .fueling about religion is worth examining. Since he has abandoned preaching and evangelism the belief has spread that he has also abandoned religion. Untrue. "It is wrong to say that I have lost'all religion," Marjoe says. "I still believe in God. I am not an atheist. "But I believe that God is within us. God is in man. I don't believe in any organized church any more. And I don't go to any church any more.' Even as a child, he recognized the falseness of the evangelical approach, at least as it was bejng practiced by his family. He was supposed to be delivering his sermons extemporaneously but he had to learn them, word for word. At 7, he knew that the whole structure of his life and "the 'evangelism ;was phony. He knew it was just a con job. But, at 7, he did what his mother and father told him to do. When he was a teen-ager, he could rebel — and he did. For some years, he kicked around, doing nothing or very little. In the late '60s, he even tried to go back on the preaching trail but it was too late. Then a movie was made of his life, of his preaching both as a boy and as a young man. The movie, "Marjoe," was a huge hit and so was the man who starred in it. He knew, then, that he had come home. Acting before the camera was easy. He had been acting most of his life. He had been projecting a message, playing a part. He would be an actor. His career has been a growing one in Hollywood. His latest tilm is Universal's big "Earthquake," in which he plays a schizophrenic soldier. At the moment, he s shooting a pilot about two gamblers. He says it's a TV version of "The Sting, basically. "I'm in acting for good, he says. He waited a long time, after "Marjoe," because all the offers he got were to play preachers and he didn t want to be typed when his career was so new. He took the first part that gave him a chance to play something completely different - he played a junkie in "The Marcus- MARJOE: have it. The eyes still Nelson Murders," the TV movie that led to the Kojak series. When he renounced preaching he expected that his emotional followers would turn from loving him to hating him. He was surprised to find that he did not get the flood of hate mail he had anticipated. "They don't hate me, for deserting them," he says. "Instead, they are all praying for my soul." His father is also praying for him. His father, who has remained in religious work, is now with another evangelist, Kathryn Kuhlmann. "He's praying for my soul," Marjoe says, "because he still hopes I'll go back to religious work." His mother, he says, is completely out of religion now, after divorcing his father and remarrying. At the moment, though, the odds of his retracing his religious steps are exceedingly slim. Currently, he is dating a Jewish girl and, he says, her father is very anxious for him to convert to Judaism. He isn't saying how seriously he is entertaining that suggestion. All he knows is that he is happy with his new career. I have really always acted," he says. "I preached from age four to 14. That was pure acting. I memorized all my sermons and I knew they were lies. 1 talked about my visions — I never had a vision. My parents made them up." The closest he comes to preaching today is his lecturing. He gives lectures on how to motivate and influence audiences. It's something he knows thoroughly because he's done it. MORE SCRIPTURE TRANSLATIONS LONDON (AP) - Bible societies around the world are presently concerned with 617 scripture translation projects, an increase of 46 since 1972, says the British and Foreign Bible Society. The great majority of the projects are in the Asia, Pacific and Africa regions. First translations account for 358, or 58 per cent, of the projects. Hope youth wins 2nd in judging contests MAGNOLIA,. Ark. — Southern State College's livestock judging team won first place in the Louisiana Livestock Show judging contests at Shreveport, amassing a total of 3,339 points to outscore six other teams in the judging events for junior intercollegiate teams, made up of freshmen and sophomores. Three teams were entered by Southern State, with their top team winning the sweepstakes honors. Two members of the second SSC team placed in the top 12 contestants to join 5 members of the first team who all placed in the top eight. Danny Joyce, Hope, was the top SSC scorer with a second place finish. Hilton BeU, Cove, placed fourth; followed by Pete Newton, Lake Hamilton, sixth; James Hornsby, DeQueen, seventh; and Homer Featherstone, Lewisville. eighth Blake Phillips, Lonoke, and Dale Stemple, DeQueen, tied for eleventh in the competition. College which participated in the judging events were: Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, La.; Louisiana State University Shreveport, Shreveport, La.; Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas; Connors State College, Warner, Oklahoma; Sam Houston State College, Huntsville, Texas; and Panola Junior College, Carthage, Texas. SHOP HOWARD'S AND SAVE! S JJOP__MOVVARD'S AND SAVE! SHOP HOWARD'S AND SA-VE! SHOP HOWARD'S AND SAVF DISCOUNT CiNTER WWRl YOU U FIND WHAT YOU Rf IOOKING FOR fOR IESS! HIGH QUALITY-LOW PRICED DEER HUNTER'S 'BIG BUCK' VALUE EVERYTHING YOU'LL NEED WHEN YOU GO AFTER THIS YEAR'S TROPHY! THE DIFFERENCE IS THE SPECIAL PRICES EFFECTIVE THRU SATURDAY! 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