Bishop Samuel M. Shelton was, perhaps, the most controversiaol, charismatic, and flamboyant preacher that ever lived. Having pastored Apostolic Square Temple for the past thirty-plus years, he was loved and hated by his congregation. Most of those that hated him left to form their own churches while those that loved him stayed to tolerate him. He was known as “his holy blessedness” and made no secret of his unique lifestyle. Didre Perry, an investigative reporter with one of the local papers, did a feature story on him and here’s what she found out;
“Bishop Shelton is probbly the only minister to openly use explicit, profane language while preaching from the pulpit,” she said. “I once sat in on a service and he said things you wouldn’t even say to your mother.”
“He said anything he was big enough to say,” said Bishop E.W. Tookes, a former associate of Shelton’s.
Shelton often paced the pulpit while preaching. A heavy, light-skinned, black man with straightened hair and a beard, he looked like a cross between Osama Bin Laden and Sadam Hussein, and was known to make lewd remarks about figures from the Bible such as the Prophet Jeremiah saying “Ol’ Jeremiah gon’ get him some pussy…..” Because he sounded femenine, many suspected he was homosexual, which turned out to be true and he also had a fondness for young guys, though not minors, having six to eight of them living with him whom he called “adopted sons. What happened was when the chosen turned eighteen, he’d take them under his wing and showered them with money, gifts, jewelry, cars, etc., and were always the best dressed.
Shelton engaged in sexual actrivity with his adopted sons and took them places, even paying for their college education or entrepreneural dreams, and they were diciplined. He was also known to have them in his bed doing any and every sexual act you can imagine, minus the very illegal ones, and had wild parties and orgies, especially on holidays and special occasions, and they all lived in his big, beautiful, spacious house in the western suburbs. No females were ever involved even though he did like women. Shelton was never involved in prostitution and always practiced safe sex. Some people suspected him of abusing his “sons” but that was never proven, for they were of legal age and they could do what they wanted. Perry also discovered that he used explicit language over radio broadcasts when she stumbled across one while relaxing at home, and he pretty much got away with it until the FCC cracked down, and believe it or not, the profanity-filled sermons were a big hit; boosting ratings for the three stations that carried his broadcasts. One time while preaching, he grabbed, and scratched his crotch, in front of the congregation saying “Something is biting me.”
Shelton always syllabicated every word, especially while preaching. For example, he’d say as-ses instead of asses.
His adopted sons always sat at the front of the church below the pulpit where he could see their “pretty faces” as he put it. One long-time member, sister Eilen Carey, who bitterly opposed Shelton’s rise to the pulpit, having been a member his predecessor Bishop S.C. Johnson, threatened to blow the whistle on Shelton and his sons but was “well taken care of,” and Shelton had enough juice to buy off people seen as a threat to him, including the IRS. Between 1971 and 1982 he advertgised upcoming services on TV, inviting people to come, and with such a large congregation, sought out prospective adopted sons inot his “harem.”
Several years ago, his condo, once on the parkway, was broken into and valuables were taken while he was away on a revival crusade.
“Those stink-ing bitches,” he exclaimed at a news conference. A month later, he moved into his current residence. He never married and at 56, had no biological children and his adopted sons were the only family he had. He died in October 1991.
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