May 9, 1907|
Concordia, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||February 20, 1976
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Cause of death
|complications from open heart surgery|
|Nationality||American (of German ancestry)|
|Known for||Faith healing|
|Spouse(s)||Burroughs Allen Waltrip (Mister), October 18, 1938– ? 1948 (divorced)|
|Parents||Joseph Adolph Kuhlman and Emma Walkenhorst|
Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman was born in Concordia, Missouri, to German-American parents. She was born-again at the age of 14 in the Methodist Church of Concordia, and began preaching in the West at the age of sixteen in primarily Baptist Churches.
In 1935, Kathryn met Burroughs Waltrip, a Texas evangelist who was eight years her senior. Shortly after his visit to Denver, Waltrip divorced his wife, left his family and moved to Mason City, Iowa, where he began a revival center called Radio Chapel. Kathryn and her friend and pianist Helen Gulliford came into town to help him raise funds for his ministry. It was shortly after their arrival that the romance between Burroughs and Kathryn became publicly known.
Burroughs and Kathryn decided to wed. While discussing the matter with some friends, Kathryn had said that she could not “find the will of God in the matter.” These and other friends encouraged her not to go through with the marriage, but Kathryn justified it to herself and others by believing that Waltrip’s wife had left him, not the other way around. On October 18, 1938, Kathryn secretly married “Mister,” as she liked to call Waltrip, in Mason City. The wedding did not give her new peace about their union, however. After they checked into their hotel that night, Kathryn left and drove over to the hotel where Helen was staying with another friend. She sat with them weeping and admitted that the marriage was a mistake. No one seems to know exactly when the separation took place. In a 1952 interview with the Denver Post she (Kathryn) said, "He charged—correctly—that I refused to live with him. And I haven't seen him in eight years." That would put the separation in 1944—which is probably accurate. This means they lived together for the better part of six years." She was divorced by Burroughs Waltrip in 1948.
Kuhlman traveled extensively around the United States and in many other countries holding "healing crusades" between the 1940s and 1970s. She was one of the most well known healing ministers in the world. Kuhlman had a weekly TV program in the 1960s and 1970s called I Believe In Miracles that was aired nationally. The foundation was established in 1954, and its Canadian branch in 1970. Towards her latter years she was supportive of the nascent Jesus people movement which a groundswell of interest in Jesus among young teens formerly associated with drugs and the counter-culture.
Following a 1967 fellowship in Philadelphia, well known skeptic Dr. William A. Nolen conducted a case study of 23 people who claimed to have been cured during her services. Nolen's long term follow-ups concluded that there were no cures in those cases. One woman who was said to have been cured of spinal cancer threw away her brace and ran across the stage at Kuhlman's command; her spine collapsed the next day, according to Nolen, and she died four months later. No corroboration of his claims were ever provided.
By 1970 she moved to Los Angeles conducting faith healing for thousands of people each day as an heir to Aimee Semple McPherson. She became well known for her uncanny gift of healing despite, as she often bragged, having no theological training.
In 1975, Kuhlman was sued by Paul Bartholomew, her personal administrator, who claimed that she kept $1 million in jewelry and $1 million in fine art hidden away and sued her for $430,500 for breach of contract. Two former associates accused her in the lawsuit of diverting funds and of illegally removing records, which she denied and said the records were not private. According to Kuhlman, the lawsuit was settled prior to trial.
Death and legacy
In July 1975 her doctor diagnosed her with a minor heart flareup and she had a relapse in November while in Los Angeles. As a result, she had open heart surgery in Tulsa, Oklahoma from which she died in February 1976. Kathryn Kuhlman is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. A plaque in her honor is located in the main city park in Concordia, Missouri, a town located in central Missouri on Interstate Highway 70.
After she died, her will led to controversy. She left $267,500, the bulk of her estate, to three family members and twenty employees. Smaller bequests were given to 19 other employees. According to the Independent Press-Telegram, her employees were disappointed that "she did not leave most of her estate to the foundation as she had done under a previous 1974 will." The Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation has continued, but in 1982 it terminated its nationwide radio broadcasting.
In 1981 David Byrne and Brian Eno sampled one of Kuhlman's sermons in their album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. The track was entitled "The Spirit Womb," a mis-hearing of Kuhlman's actual utterance "the spirit world." When Kuhlman's estate refused to license the use of her voice, the track was re-recorded as "The Jezebel Spirit" with an unidentified exorcist's vocal replacing Kuhlman's. The original Kuhlman-vocal has been released on a bootleg but not officially.
Many accounts of healings were published in her books, which were "ghost-written" by author Jamie Buckingham of Florida, including her autobiography, which was dictated at a hotel in Las Vegas. Buckingham also wrote his own Kuhlman biography that presented an unvarnished account of her life.
For several decades there has been serious debate regarding the authenticity of Kathryn Kuhlman's ministry. Some would suggest that she was a modern day prophet exercising the power of God, whereas others would suggest that she was a false prophet, exercising a "spirit" that masqueraded as God. The debate continues today with many believers upholding Kuhlman as an important forerunner (including proponents of the "Prosperity Theology" & "Faith Healing" movement, such as Benny Hinn), and with some Christian cessationist apologists, such as Hank Hanegraaff of the Christian Research Institute, considering Kuhlman to be an influential forerunner of a false Christianity that robs people of their money and propagates a distorted substitute of true Christian teachings.
- Konsta Jylhä
- Counterfeit Revival
- Christian Research Institute
- Benny Hinn
- Aimee Semple McPherson
- Hank Hanegraaff
- Kobus Van Rensburg
- Settle, /Gary (February 22, 1976). "Kathryn Kuhlman, Evangelist And Faith Healer, Dies in Tulsa". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- Buckingham, J. (1976) Daughter of destiny: Kathryn Kuhlman...Her story. Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International, p. 82 ISBN 0-88270-784-1
- "Psychic Healing? Investigator declares no". The Greenville News. August 16, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12. Also see: William Nolen, Healing: a doctor in search of a miracle. New York: Random House ISBN 0-394-49095-9
- "Dr Nolen Looks at Faith Healing". The San Mateo Times. March 7, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- Michaelson, Michael (February 2, 1975). "Men of medicine and a medicine man". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- "Extra-Dispensary Perceptions". Time. March 17, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- "Inside Religion: Kuhlman Tested By MD's Probe". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 8, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- "A follow-up study of 23 patients 'cured' in a Kathryn Kuhlman service". St. Petersburg Times. November 2, 1974. Retrieved 2007-11-12.[dead link]
- Randi, James (1989). The Faith Healers. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-535-0 p. 228.
- "Aimee Macpherson has a Dazzling Successor". Pasadena Star-News. July 4, 1970. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- "Evangelist Sued By a Former Aide". Washington Post. July 18, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- Chandler, Russell (July 3, 1975). "Ex-Aides Sue Kathryn Kuhlman". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- "Kathryn Kuhlman Sued By Former Associates". St. Petersburg Times. July 12, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12.[dead link]
- "Kathryn Kuhlman Is Dead". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Fuary 21, 1976. Retrieved 2007-11-12. [dead link]
- "Kuhlman Bequests Listed". Independent Press-Telegram. April 17, 1976. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- Nickell, Joe (May–June 2002). "Benny Hinn: Healer or Hypnotist?". Skeptical Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- Kembrew McLeod and Peter DiCola (14 March 2011). Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling. Duke University Press. p. 167. ISBN 9780822348757. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
- Buckingham, J. (1976) Daughter of destiny: Kathryn Kuhlman...Her story. Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International, p 167 ISBN 0-88270-784-1
- Buckingham, J. (1976) Daughter of destiny: Kathryn Kuhlman...Her story. Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International ISBN 0-88270-784-1
- Counterfeit Revival Hannegraaff, Hank (1997) Word Publishing ISBN 0-8499-1182-6
Books by Kuhlman
- Kathryn Kuhlman, I Believe in Miracles Bridge-Logos Publishers; Rev Upd edition (October 1992) ISBN 0-88270-657-8
- Kathryn Kuhlman, Never Too Late Bridge-Logos Publishers (August 1995) ISBN 0-88270-720-5
- Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation - Official website
- Find A Grave Entry
- Joan Gieson with Kathryn Kuhlman
- Song/Ministry links
- Christian Research Institute: "Because Truth matters"