What Was the Mike Murdock Scandal?

Televangelist Mike Murdock has been involved in several controversies, including for his affiliation with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s PTL ministry, which collapsed in 1989 following revelations of fraud. The Associated Press subsequently reported that Murdock’s own Mike Murdock Evangelistic Association spent nearly 60 percent of its funds on overhead.

The Associated Press’s 2003 findings included that Murdock’s association spent only the legal minimums of 1 to 3 percent of its resources on providing direct aid to the needy. In the same year, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram also reported that the association had given money to Murdock’s family members, who served on its board. The association refused to comment on these allegations and denied the press interviews.

In 2011, Trey Smith, a former close friend of Murdock’s son, published “Thieves in January,” describing his theft of Murdock’s home safe. According to Smith, the safe held no valuables but contained a note from Murdock saying, “You are an answer to a prayer. Thank you for your time, your efforts and your generous contribution to this ministry.” Murdock then claimed on his television program that he had been robbed of church funds, which Smith suggested was part of a plan to commit insurance fraud, as Murdock would have expected one of his son’s friends to attempt such a heist. In the book, Smith also discusses the Murdocks’ lavish lifestyle, describing Rolex watches, ancient gold coins, diamond rings and pornography collections.