Fat Envelopes, Big Promises
Apparently God wants me—yes me!—to be free of debt. In a rambling five-page letter, Peter Popoff tells me that God has instructed him to stop touring the nation and devote all his energy to erasing my debt.
And now God wants me to do the same.
“It’s time for you, Chris, to shift gears and enter into this whole new phase of Miracle living,” Popoff writes in his letter.
I first discovered Peter Popoff by way of Steve Rhode, a personal finance expert who calls himself the “Get Out of Debt Guy.” Back when Steve wrote about Popoff earlier this year, the televangelist was still mailing out vials of blessed holy water, and advising viewers of BET that the water had the power to erase their debt.
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“We’re anointed and appointed to get you healthy and wealthy,” Popoff said in the broadcast, which you can find saved on Rhode’s website.
“Let us send you this miracle faith tool to erase your debt. And we also want to send you this miracle faith water.”
As a guy who writes about debt for a living, I was more than a little curious to get my hands on this water. And if Popoff turned out to be a fraud, which I was pretty sure he would, then maybe I can help more people from becoming victims.
But before writing him off as a con man, first needed to give Popoff’s system an honest try. After all, if Popoff and God actually are working together to cancel debts, then presumably their system should work even for me, a preternaturally disbelieving journalist.
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So I started by going to the website for Peter Popoff Ministries. There I filled out a form requesting a “Miracle Spring Water and Debt Cancelling Kit,” giving Popoff my name and address. I also called the phone number on the website. I left messages identifying myself as a journalist and asking Popoff or one of his employees to call me back. No one did.
And then I waited. And waited. I thought perhaps my call informing the organization that I’m a journalist might have caused them to block my request for a debt cancellation kit, since they surely would suspect that a journalist would be trying to investigate them, not send them money.
But my fears were unnecessary. After about two and a half months, a fat envelope from Peter Popoff Ministries appeared in my mailbox, with the words “How to Supernaturally erase YOUR DEBT!!” written in green ink across the front.
I tore into the envelope hoping to find some spring water. I was immediately disappointed. Instead of a vial of water, I received a rambling five-page letter. It immediately became clear that this process of getting my debts “supernaturally erased” is quite complicated. The letter included a long list of instructions, which I attempted to follow. First I added up all my debts from graduate school and my credit card. I placed the tally, the bills and my checkbook in a pile.