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Out of the Mouths of BabesGirl Evangelists in the Flapper Era$
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Thomas A. Robinson and Lanette D. Ruff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199790876

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199790876.001.0001

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The Girls as Adults

The Girls as Adults

(p.90) Chapter 10 The Girls as Adults
Out of the Mouths of Babes

Thomas A. Robinson

Lanette D. Ruff

Oxford University Press

The girl evangelists were doing the same work that adult evangelists did. But one question was whether they were doing adult work or merely mimicking adult work. No one wanted to hear a little girl merely parroting an adult preacher. Many of the girls or their handlers asserted that their preaching abilities were supernatural – not just the product of a good memory. They had had a divine “call.” This was not a concern of child stars in Hollywood. Most of the girls grew up in a conservative or Fundamentalist religious environment and would have adsorbed the themes of their sermons from that context. Almost two-thirds were from Pentecostalism. Most would have had not formal theological training, though Aimee Semple McPherson had a school for children and many girl evangelists would have been influenced by her. Finally, the chapter examines both the competition and camaraderie among the girl evangelists.

Keywords:   mimicking adult behavior, divine “call”, Aimee Semple McPherson, Pentecostalism

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