KATHRYN KUHLMAN WAS MY IDOL
My interest in Kathryn Kuhlman began in 1973, after hearing about her and singing two years in a row in her Miami crusade choir. During those two years, I read 2 of her books detailing the stories of people who were healed under her ministry and I was fascinated by her ministry and hoped that some day I might be every bit as useful to God by healing people; but in 1975 I went as an observer filled with questions and doubts. Of course, luck would have it that in the year I had doubts, my friends (Manny and Danny) and I were called up to the stage to tell Kathryn and the audience that God healed my friends broken arm. We were in the audience and Danny was wondering if his arm was getting better so he performed exercises his doctors had given him for his arm. Some usher noticed him moving his arm around (it was in a sling) and before we knew it, all three of us were on stage.
After talking to Danny about his arm, Kathryn Kuhlman turned to me, asked my about my broken leg, told me it was healed, and told me to walk without my crutches. The cast I wore went from hip to toe, so I told her I was unable to walk without crutches. She told me, “When that cast comes off, you will find that your leg is healed.” Kathryn reached toward me and I went down to the ground and could not lift up my hands for some time.
Neither Danny nor I were healed that night, even though the audience was led to believe that an amazing miracle took place. After our time on stage was done, Kathryn Kuhlman ended the service and as my friends and I left, people reached out to touch us, hoping to receive some of the glory of God we received.
For the next few years, I read more about KK and about the rise of her disciple she never met or knew existed, Benny Hinn. During those years, I had questions that never found answers, at least not until I began to look at Kathryn Kuhlman and Benny Hinn with new eyes.
Some 6 or 7 years ago I began writing about healing, studying it from different angles, and in this past year, with the help of YouTube and Excel, I have been taking on a new study focusing mostly on Kathryn Kuhlman but also some on Benny Hinn. I have been looking for and finding patterns in their dialogue and behavior as people came to the front to be healed. I have also been looking for patterns in the people coming forward. I watched hundreds of examples and detailed 72 from KK and BH, breaking the testimonies down and finding the patterns. The patterns I categorized helped explain both of their successes and as well as the failures they could not or did not want to explain.
This post is a summary of my findings from my detailed studies recorded from:
-49 random examples of people claiming healing in 3 different Kathryn Kuhlman crusades, and
-23 random examples from 2 different Benny Hinn crusades.
These 72 examples are just a drop in the ocean of examples out there, so I cannot claim that they are a perfect reflection of all there is.
TIME SPENT WITH EACH PERSON
I quickly saw that the miracle services were not designed to develop the stories of people getting healed, as both Benny Hinn (BH) and Kathryn Kuhlman (KK) limited the time each person could be on stage. KK limited each person to anywhere from 4 seconds to 5 minutes. The average a person spent on stage with Kathryn Kuhlman was 105.9 seconds.
Although there are exceptions, Benny spent far less time with people on his stage than KK did, and when they were on stage there was almost no time spent telling their story. Instead, BH spent a good portion of the time waving, blowing, or pushing people down to the ground. Time on BH stage (standing and on the ground) was anywhere from 14 seconds to 3 minutes. The average time spent on stage was 44.65 seconds.
From my findings, Benny spent less than half the time with his people than Kathryn.
Called slaying in the spirit, people falling to the ground have been explained in different ways. Some magicians claim that there are ways to knock people down with their hands carefully placed on certain parts of another person’s body or face. But I think these magicians miss the point because this is not always what takes place in BH’s and KK’s crusades. KK barely touched people under their chins with the upside palm of her hand and BH has several different ways to get people on the ground, only one of which uses force.
Benny Hinn varies his techniques to slay people. Sometimes he will push people with both hands, and sometimes BH sends people to the ground with the wave of his hand or his coat and says something like, “The power of the Holy Ghost!” Or he may say, “Here comes the anointing guys, here comes the anointing,” or, “Take that!” Sometimes he will follow a routine that moves from gentle to force. When he moves through this routine, he begins with a wave of his hand but when he sees nothing happening, he will touch the person and if that doesn’t work, he gently (and in some cases, not so gently) pushes them backwards with his hand or hands. When BH senses someone is exceptionally ready to go, he will blow on the people.
If someone does not go down even after BH tries different ways to put them down, I have seen him do one of three things. First, he will move on to someone else already on the ground, have the ushers pick him/her up and put him/her down again with a wave of his hand – BH knows these people are easy to slay because they have gone down already and are already half under the bag. A second way he deals with people who don’t go down is to question whether or not they are Christian, but if a person is obviously praising God and worshiping like a Christian, but not going to the ground, he has on one occasion told the ushers to remove her from his stage because she was grieving the Holy Ghost.
When one person was slain in KK’s service, KK moved on to another person. KK never put people down more than once. BH on the other hand, has ushers bring the slain back up to be slain over and over, up to 5 times.
BH tried to slay every person who came on to his stage without an exception. KK only tried slaying people 74% of the time.
22% of the people did not go down with KK, but only 9% of the people were able to withstand Benny Hinn’s powerful touch. Obviously, BH places a much higher value in slaying people on stage than KK. In fact, I began to see BH as a slayer of people rather than a healer.
Finally, there was one interesting point I did notice…if people did not hear, see or feel Benny trying to slay them, he or she didn’t go down. There was no exception to this rule I have seen during hundreds of viewings. This and other phenomena tell me that the source of power is not in Benny but in the people’s minds. If the power derived from Benny or God through Benny, it would not be necessary to see, to hear, or to be touched. Closing one’s eyes would not make any difference whatsoever. I didn’t notice this with Kathryn, but then I wasn’t looking for this when I studied her stages.
CONTROLLING THE AUDIENCE
Both KK and BH were brought up in Pentecostal backgrounds, but they had two completely different approaches to the excesses of Pentecostalism. Kathryn did not allow tongues to be publicly spoken during her services, whereby Benny publicly prays in tongues and encourages the congregations to “pray in the Spirit,” which is the Pentecostal way to tell the audience to pray out loud in tongues.
Benny also allows strange groaning, cryings, shaking, and screeches coming from people on the stage or in the audience. Kathryn was uncomfortable with such distractions and discouraged them, sometimes stopping her service to quiet someone down.
Both KK and BH love the organ playing to emphasize the drama of what they are doing. When KK started, the organ music was very 1950s, and stood out like some radio drama from the 1930s. But as she grew and times changed, the music style tended to be more and more in the background and less and less standing out. The organ emphasizes each testimony and plays to each slaying. Along with the organ, BH loves a choir singing in the background of his healing time. KK kept the choir for before healing time and for preparation.
Both of them like the audience to sing worship music during healing time, but BH far exceeds KK in this, often times leading the congregation with his poorly pitched voice.
Both KK and BH completely controlled their stages in different ways. When people talked, KK interrupted a lot, especially when they veered from what she wanted them to say, when they got a little long winded, or if KK was impatient with them. 49% of the people coming on stage were interrupted by KK.
BH occasionally interrupted people in part because many of them had no chance to say much. But there were several times he cut people off if they were not going in the direction he wanted.
Kathryn Kuhlman was usually very sweet to people coming up on stage, to her helpers, and to her audiences. Benny was oftentimes rude with these people. KK demanded complete attention on the stage, told people this or that, but she was never rude. On the other hand, BH was and is constantly telling his ushers to quickly do something such as come to him, pick up people, take people here or there, tells people to shush, tells them to be quiet, “Shush, don’t tell me,” and barks out orders as if he were some controlling dictator on the stage. He barks out orders to his musicians to quit playing, start playing, play louder, or play softer. All of his demands are quick and sharp. Sometimes his commands seemed normal, but in some of his crusades, I felt like he was impatient with everyone around him and filled with self-importance. He definitely showed his moods.
When people are on stage he questions their faith if they don’t get slain. He told a woman that she was grieving the Holy Ghost when she remained standing (she was teetering) and didn’t go down when she should have, and on three occasions literally scolded and yelled at Africans coming on the stage, “Don’t get that close to me!” He also sharply scolded his Nigerian audience in a side comment saying, “You better pray or you’ll be in trouble.”
DEMONSTRATIONS OF HEALING
On stage, KK had people jump up and down, walk, lift up their legs, stretch their hands, or run to demonstrate healing. 75% of the people coming on stage were told to demonstrate their healing in some form or another. BH only used demonstrations like KK’s 2 times out of 22, or 9% of the time. BH preferred slaying people to the ground.
Most of these demonstrations proved nothing at all. For example, with the microphone on, KK whispered to the right, in the back and to the left of people healed. The demonstration was clearly bad in that with the microphone on. Benny was better and whispered with the microphone a bit away from him, yet it was still loud enough for the audience to hear, so I found it to be a poor demonstration.
Another bad demonstration was to have someone walk who was not accustomed to walking without some sort of aide. Most of those people did a poor job of walking, wobbled and came close to falling. In the most obviously bad cases, both KK and BH reverted to saying one of two things; either, “He hasn’t used his legs for a long time, he needs to get used to them!” Or, “He’s drunk in the Holy Ghost!”
The vast majority of demonstrations only revealed that people were not feeling pain while on stage. When arthritis pain goes away, the sufferer can walk, jump, stretch, and do things he/she could not do before. The same is true with a lot of other pain related medical issues. Of course, the lack of pain does not equal a healing. It just means that pain temporarily disappeared – I will get into that below.
Around 80% of the people going on stage do so because they confess that pain has temporarily gone away or they felt something.
FALSE CLAIMS OF HEALING
It is hard to catch people who say they are healed, but are only saying it and not really experiencing anything. There are people who believe that in order to receive or maintain healing, they must publicly confess healing before or shortly after the healing happens. Two forms of these confessions are popular.
The first form comes from writers and teachers who believe our words create healing or solidify disease. What we say is what will take place. Among these people there are those who believe the words are all we need to create healing. For these people, it is important to say, “I am healed,” even if I have not yet experienced anything, for if I confess health, health will happen.
The second group of confessors are those who believe that they need to confess their healing publicly in order to keep healing from going away. Benny Hinn teaches this from his pulpit, telling his audience that if they don’t come up to tell the world they were healed, their healing will go away.
One of KK’s fans came forward and told her that his sinuses were healed 20 year ago, but he lived with the symptoms ever since because he needed to come forward at one of her crusades to testify and seal the deal, and he didn’t do so 20 years previously. The entire time he spoke, KK tried to butt in to redirect what he was saying and keep control of the stage – she obviously did not like where he was going with his testimony. The end result was confusing to the audience and viewers of the video, and took many viewings for me to understand what the guy was trying to say.
Occasionally, KK or BH used misdirection to help the audience believe something was happening that really wasn’t. In KK’s crusade, one young woman with polio came up and this is the dialogue that took place:
Testifier: “I thought it was healed a few months ago.”
KK – In the legs?
Testifier: “Well, I don’t know.”
KK – Go on down.
Speaker: “She is running, Miss Kuhlman.”
What was missing in this? We don’t know how advanced the polio was, so the running meant nothing. We don’t know if she was healed that night or just coming on stage looking for help. These kind of questions popped up in several cases as people with different issues came forward.
Many people think they might be getting healed but are not sure. In my studies I have seen several people come up and tell KK or BH that they had already had an operation, were recovering, but felt something in the arena and were pretty sure God did something. These people remind me of my own experience with KK when Danny was not quite sure anything was happening. KK and BH make all of these cases bigger than they really are.
No one will ever know how many are going up on stage and confessing healing that never happened. Neither are we going to discern how many people exaggerate their issues and their healing.
EXAGGERATIONS BY THOSE ON STAGE
From time to time I could see KK exaggerating the stories. As the people came up on stage, she retold their stories and occasionally gave the stories a little flourish that was not given to her from the person on stage. I can see when KK exaggerates on film, but cannot tell when the people exaggerate, nevertheless both KK and BH (as well as other healers) have admitted that people habitually exaggerate their issues and their stories.
I am sure that a lot of people come on stage with all sorts of wacky claims, but most of them are able to sound legitimate or in line with most other claims. However, one person was obviously making up a story. In one of Benny Hinn’s crusades a lady claimed to be delivered from a demon of witchcraft that caused her to fly from house to house so she could visit her children and advance witchcraft.
Exaggerations on part of the healer and the healed only help the healer to look all the more powerful and/or used by God; but the wacky ones will not be believed by very many (at least, I would like to think so).
THE PROPS – WHEELCHAIRS AND CANES
KK developed a love for wheelchairs, canes, Oxygen tanks, and any medical prop that made her stage look medically important. Many people who walked up to the stage, were followed by some usher bringing their wheelchairs. It is said that KK rented chairs to give to older people and people who could use a break from walking as they entered her crusades, so that during the service, if they were healed of anything, the wheelchairs could add something visual to the testimony. No doubt KK assumed many of these people who were given wheelchairs at the doors of entry would be relieved of some pain or feel some blessing, assume they were healed, and come up to the stage.
Visual is louder than audio.
Videos do show that ushers regularly pointed out to Kathryn that the person she was talking to had a wheelchair. Sometimes the ushers would introduce people to Kathryn as, “This is a wheelchair.” Even if a person had some medical problems unrelated to a wheelchair, such as chest issues, the story on stage became one of a person able to get out of the wheelchair for the first time in a long time and Kathryn would have the person walk or run across the stage.
KK received one person’s cane, then gave it to an usher while she talked to the lady, slay her to the ground, took back the cane and asked the usher, “Is this her cane?” She emphasized canes, wheelchairs, and props, sometimes repeating several times the fact there was a wheelchair involved.
Many times KK pointed to wheelchairs and asked people, “Is that your wheelchair?” “Well, you won’t need it now.” Several times people left the chairs on the stage, thus demonstrating to the observant that the healed people never owned the wheelchairs in the first place and could care less about the cost of returning or selling them.
I assume that KK developed this trick in her later years as her earlier video had far fewer props and far less emphasis on the props than in her later years. The stage in KK’s later videos were often filled with wheelchairs of people on stage or of those who left the stage. 50% of the healed people in her later years had props, whereas in her early video she only had under 4% of the people come up with some sort of prop.
As much as KK grew to love props, BH liked to slay people to the floor. His stages were occasionally filled with wheelchairs, and in some of his meetings he brought over a dozen wheelchairs on stage and lined them up in front of the audience, even though no one from the audience owned or used the chairs. But in the end, many of his crusades focused more on the slaying than on other props.
Kathryn Kuhlman didn’t call people by name, but by their medical issue. They were called Wheelchair, Arthritis, Broken Back, Fractured Ankle, and A Ruptured Disc. As people came on stage, she would ask the usher, “What is this?” rather than “Who is this?” The ushers responded with such things as, “Here is another wheelchair,” (remember, wheelchairs were important props for KK) or “Here is the ankle, a fractured ankle.” Kathryn’s focus was not on the people, but on their medical issue. Even so, people loved her and they loved her stage personality.
Benny seemed more personal, but had his moments as well. Likewise, his ushers often introduced the next person with something like, “Another wheelchair.”
Kathryn Kuhlman asked 45% of the people on her stage about where they lived or where they went to church. On the surface, this looks like she really took interest in these people, but she was actually fishing for certain types of people who would provide entertainment for the audience as well as for Kathryn. She took delight in people who belonged to mainline or liberal denominations, and people with status. She loved to tease Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Catholics who were on her stage, saying such things as, “Your church will never be the same.” On one occasion a Mormon husband and wife came up to the stage and I believe that KK was a little taken back and had very little to say so as to entertain the audience.
The best entertainment came from denominational pastors, doctors, lawyers, and anyone with an job that demanded a higher level of education. She loved to point out to the audience, “A doctor has been healed…now that’s God!”
On the other hand, Benny Hinn only cared to ask people about their churches if and when they didn’t go to the ground when he waved or pushed them. When a man would not go down, BH asked him if he were a Christian. When the man told BH that he was, BH asked him what church he went to. He was probably expecting that the man went to a liberal church. As I mention elsewhere in this post, when a woman swooned and teetered but didn’t go down, he told the ushers to get her off the stage because she was grieving the Holy Ghost. The more people resisted his powers, the more BH considered them ungodly.
RETELLING THEIR STORY
In the 22 examples I looked at from Benny Hinn, he only repeated stories 2 times. Neither of them were eventful or telling. On the other hand, Kathryn Kuhlman habitually retold the stories of people on her stage as those stories related to being healed, but as she retold them, she sometimes exaggerated details or completely redesigned the story to be bigger and better.
When one lady came up and said she had already had surgery but was convinced that she had advanced in the healing process during the meeting that night, KK made it sound like the lady was completely unable to walk until minutes ago.
One lady to KK’s right came on stage and KK said, “Here comes an empty wheelchair.” The lady began telling KK that her doctor sent her, but before we could find out why, KK interrupted her and told her to walk, which the lady did. After a very fine walk, KK tried to slay her, but she didn’t go down. When the lady left the stage, she left her wheelchair on the stage, thus telling me she never owned the wheelchair and whatever problem she did have was unrelated to the wheelchair (IE: Kathryn Kuhlman rented it).
IS ANYONE HEALED?
In order to understand what goes on in a mass healing, it is vital to understand that there is a difference between a disease and the symptom of that disease. There is a difference between a broken bone and the pain that is the result of that broken bone. There is a difference between cancer or arthritis and the pain they create. Even though pain is the center of our attention, relieving pain does not equal healing of the cancer, arthritis, broken bone, or most other medical issues.
People in the audience or on stage do not diferenciate between the root of a problem and the symptoms such as pain, so when pain disappears during a miracle service, most assume they are being healed to the core.
For 80% of KK’s and 83% of BH’s encounters with the healed, there was at least one admission from either the healer or the healed that there was a feeling or a lack of pain that indicated healing took place.
BH told people in all of his meetings to expect some sort of feeling to be the sign of their healing. BH told his followers that healing could manifest itself in different ways such as heat, a burning sensation, the lack of pain, a tingling, or the presence of the Holy Ghost. People are also told by BH to “move their limbs until they feel it.”
This differentiation between the root of the issue verses the symptom explains why so many people believe they are healed on stage and in the service, but find out later that all the symptoms return. There are many books that make a lot of money telling people that they need to find ways to keep the healing they received; but none of those books understand that most of these people on stage were never healed to begin with. In the middle of an awesome service, filled with emotion and expectation, their symptoms temporarily went away, or they felt something. But all of this was the result a lot of worship, of people’s expectations and hopes, the words of the one they deemed to be an authority, and the desire to be healed. In the medical community, these same dynamics help create the placebo effect which, likewise, is usually temporary.
71 of the 72 miracles I recorded, and every other miracle I saw before or after I began recording patterns (around 300) could not be visibly verified one way or another by the person or by the doctors on stage.
The only person who could verify one way or another was a young man who ran barefoot up to the stage of Kathryn Kuhlman. He was so happy his flat feet were healed that he took off his shoes in his seat to look at the miracle. On the stage he beamed with excitement even though he admitted that he could see that his feet were still flat. The only real thing that happened was his pain disappeared for the moment and he assumed, like most of the audience, that the lack of pain meant healing. But he was not healed (everyone could see could see that he was not healed because he admitted that his feet were still flat), and neither are most of the people who go on the stage and claim their cancer disappeared or their arthritis is gone.
Demonstrations of jumping and running mean almost nothing, because in most cases, when pain goes away people can move around, run, jump, walk or stretch without problem. Running, jumping, and moving limbs on stage does not equal healing. At best, it only means that pain is temporarily gone.
Follow up studies of people who were supposedly healed on stage – names given by Benny Hinn and Kathryn Kuhlman – reveal that no person was permanently cured from the sicknesses and diseases they mentioned on stage.
WHAT IS MISSING ON STAGE?
If you broke your back and damaged nerves so that you are now paralyzed, you will not be on the stage with Kathryn Kuhlman or with Benny Hinn. They deal in temporary lack of pain and and they deal in temporary feelings. A rule of thumb that I look for and believe in is this: If a placebo can’t fix something, your chances of getting healed in a large crusade, even temporarily, are almost 0%.
I believe God heals, and I have seen miracles; but all I see on YouTube is a mishmash of exaggerations, props, misleading, entertainment, and temporary euphoria.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
I like this article, but…so you really did get slain in the spirit? And, if so, could it be that in the beginning, these people had the Holy Spirit, and then developed a spirit of pride?
I did get slain and could not move… but I now understand that it is a trick the brain plays on us. The exact thing happens with hypnotists. I used to think hypnotists had demonic powers, but now realize that they trick our brains using our own trust in the authority (hypnotist or healer) and expectation. Both hypnotists and healers have a hard time slaying people or “putting them under the influence” when the victims don’t believe it will happen.