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Demos Shakarian (21 July 1913 – 23 July 1993) was a Christian businessman of Armenian origin from Los Angeles who founded the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International (FGBMFI). His story and the story of FGBMFI is the subject of the book The Happiest People on Earth, written by John and Elizabeth Sherrill (Guideposts Magazine) and published in 1975.
Demos was named after his grandfather, who left Kara Kala in Armenia for America due to the 1855 prophecy of the Russian "Boy Prophet", Efim Gerasemovitch Klubniken, that an unspeakable tragedy was to soon come upon Armenia, and he was part of a large group of Pentecostal Christian Armenians who moved to Los Angeles years before the Azusa Street Revival. Demos Snr died while working on the construction of railroads in Nevada, and his young son Isaac became the head of the family. Isaac married Zarouhi Yessayian, and he became a prosperous dairy farmer. Demos Jnr entered the family business and their milk herd grew to become the largest in the world at the time. He married Rose Gabrielian in 1933.
Shakarian used his organizational abilities to facilitate evangelistic campaigns, in particularly working with Charles S. Price. Other evangelists at his events included Tommy Hicks and William Branham.
The Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International
Shakarian noted that his tent campaigns mainly attracted women, and Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International was established to encourage more participation by men by providing a platform for businessmen to give religious testimonies. The plan was supported by Oral Roberts, and under his leadership, the FGBMFI had chapters in 132 countries. Richard Shakarian is now international president of FGBMFI.
Shakarian was a third-generation Pentecostal, and he believed in the "Full Gospel", that all the supernatural events in the New Testament should be understood literally, and could also occur today. In particular, he believed that God healed the sick and injured (including on one occasion his own cattle herd from tuberculosis), and that Christians filled with the Holy Spirit received visions and promptings from God, including direct messages.
Shakarian considered that although God sometimes prompted him to pray for healings, he was primarily to be a "helper", as defined by I Corinthians 12:28.
- Sherrill, John and Elisabeth, The Happiest People on Earth, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1975, p. 19.