Thursday, 5 April 2007

Barry Smith

Back in my AOG days, there was one End-Times preacher who was both well-known and well able to draw sizable crowds to his meetings whenever he visited Australia. He was a New Zealand AOG preacher named Barry Smith. Most of us had either read one of Smith's books, watched his video tapes or been to a meeting.

While I never immersed myself in Smith's teachings, though many did, his stuff had enough of an impact on me to warrant a post here. In fact, back around 1991 or 1992 I watched one of his videos which predicted 'the Lord' might return by 1996. Of course Smith was careful to word this prediction right so as not to make it sound like he knew 'the day or hour'. Nevertheless, my friend and I both commented that there was no point living as if this world had long to go. In other words, it effected the way we lived and planned for the future. There is no doubt that his End-Times nonsense instilled some irrational fear in me that had to be later dealt with.

Well everyone has 20/20 vision in hindsight and I now realise that Smith was full of shit. He was, quite simply, a religious conspiracy theorist. I don't believe Smith was a con-man or anything. I think Smith really believed what he preached which makes it worse really as it means he was simply a nutter. One person summed up Barry and one of his last books as 'a hotchpotch and steaming mish-mash of paranoiac confusion'.

I seriously considered buying his books and going through them to see how many of his prophecies fell flat or how much of his material is based on paranoid conspiracy nonsense. I may still do this, but for now I will just post some of the chapter headings of his books and a few comments along the way. That post can be found here.

By the way, Barry Smith is dead. Yes, even he didn't live to see the imminent return of Jesus. "He's coming soon." Not soon enough for Barry it seems.