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Faith healer’s past draws crowds, skeptics in Knoxville

WATE
Mar. 22, 2004
Teresa Smith
www.wate.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday March 24, 2004

KNOXVILLE (WATE) — For months, a Texas minister who claims he heals people with God’s help, has been packing them in at a Knoxville church. But what people may not know about is his past tax conviction.

Rev. W.V. Grant has been convicted of misuse of church funds.

He’s been holding revivals five nights a week at Faith Home Missionary Church in north Knoxville. People flock to his services because they’ve heard he has the power to heal.

In fact, Grant has crossed the country performing similar feats. He’s also collected lots of money and drawn the attention of lots of sceptics.

Tony Lawson said he left the Knoxville service with more questions then answers. “Well, I like his message in his sermon and everything. And then he actually got into taking up money and everything and he said that he knew there were two or three people that could give this certain amount.”

Lawson said Rev. Grant asked for everything from a few dollars to $1,000. So Lawson got online to find out more about the reverend.

“As I went through them, I found out that there was a conviction in Dallas on him for, I believe, it was income tax evasion was the actual charge,” Lawson said, “where he had taken $100,000 out of his church funds paid toward the expenses of purchasing a house.”

When asked how people should perceive his prior conviction, Rev. Grant said, “Jesus went to prison. Over half of the New Testament was written from prison cells. Paul was in prison. And I was in the ministry way over 20 years before I went. It was on a tax charge. I felt someone falsely accused me and had it in for me.”

While 6 News taped him, Rev. Grant’s film crew taped us. Grant said previous exposes accused him of bad money practices and false healing. “Well there were skeptics in Jesus’ day, you know the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Bible says that Jesus heals the sick.”

But Tony Lawson hopes no one is being taken for a ride. “Everybody can change. He could’ve prayed about this and been forgiven by God. But I still thank the people have the right to know what’s the possibility of what’s going on. And like I said, the money concerns me in a way. But it’s more or less what it can do to people spiritually and mentally.”

Rev. Grant served 16 months in a federal prison for his 1996 conviction and paid about $60,000 in fines. His wife was also charged with the same crime but was acquitted.

As for any recent money Rev. Grant has collected, he said it’s legitimate and he has an accountant who oversees the books.

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