31 Oct 2016

Faith fraud: the story of Arthur Worthington

From Black Sheep, 2:15 pm on 31 October 2016
Arthur Worthington

Arthur Worthington Photo: Canterbury Museum

Arthur Worthington was a con artist who travelled the USA, marrying rich women then abandoning them and stealing all their money.

With private detectives hot on his tail in 1890, he jumped on a ship bound for Christchurch where he set up his own religion and his own church, the famous Temple of Truth.

But when his history in the United States caught up with him Worthington had to face the music in an angry confrontation.

It got so out of hand that for the first time ever time in New Zealand the Riot Act had to be read to disperse the crowds.

In a new Black Sheep podcast, William Ray speaks to religious history professor Peter Lineham, who asks why Worthington did it. Was he a common crook? Was he psychopathic? Was he a true believer?