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Aimee Semple McPherson

1890-1944. Canadian-born evangelist. She was converted through the ministry of Robert J. Semple, later married him, then went with him to China in 1908 as a missionary. He died of malaria after three months, and she came home with their baby. A second marriage to Harold McPherson brought the birth of a son, Rolf. Ill-health with two major operations ended with the adoption of an evangelistic career and a later divorce. She and her mother between 1918 and 1923 crossed the continent eight times. By 1922 she had built the 5,000-seat Angelus Temple in Los Angeles and developed her “foursquare gospel” of Christ as Savior and Healer, the baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues, and the Second Coming. She broadcast what was claimed as the first radio sermon (1922). In 1927 she incorporated her International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (see Pentecostal Churches) and sent students from her Bible school to preach that gospel. She disappeared for a time in 1926. The Los Angeles grand jury challenged her story of kidnaping, but finally dismissed the case. She died of a heart attack shortly after trips to the Holy Land and the British Isles.