Based on an interview I conducted with my longtime friend Mike Marinacci in early 2105, I was contacted by a representative from Ronin Press about him possibly writing a book consisting of the entries from his Caifia’s Children blog. Fast forward to 2017, and the wonderful California Jesus has just been released.
We spoke about this genesis and the weird characters who have arrived in California over the past couple of centuries to peddle their brands of Christianity, which have ranged from the simply strange to the downright frightening and even illegal. William Monéy, the man who published the first English language book in Los Angeles (with a Spanish translation alongside the text) also performed such stunts as having himself buried alive to prove his faith and religious authority. (He screamed immediately to be let out as the dirt fell on top of the box he was in.)
We also examined the birth of the modern Pentecostal movement in a small house near present-day downtown L.A., Bebe and Thomas Patten, upon whom later televangelists modeled their acts (Thomas berated parishoners for large donations and then said that the Almighty wanted him and his wife to have a big house and shiny new cars) and even the scandal-ridden life of Thomas Jeffers, who was involved with white supremacist groups, weird (for the time) sex scandals, and who spent his life in and out of jail cells.