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Bob Larson (born May 28, 1944) is an American radio and television evangelist, and a pastor of Spiritual Freedom Church in Phoenix, Arizona. Larson has authored numerous books critical of rock music and Satanism.
|Residence||Scottsdale, Arizona, US|
Life and career
Larson plays guitar; he has claimed his early experiences as a musician led to his concerns about occult and destructive influences in rock music. He would later incorporate his guitar playing into some of his sermons. In the 1960s, the focus of Larson's preaching centered mainly on the leftist political ideology, sexually suggestive lyrics, Eastern religious mysticism, and antisocial behavior of many of the era's rock musicians.
Debates with Satanists
During the late 1980s and into the 1990s, Bob Larson repeatedly debated, interviewed, and confronted Satanists, during the period known as the Satanic panic. On two separate occasions he hosted Nikolas Schreck (a gothic rock musician) and Zeena LaVey (once the spokesperson for the Church of Satan and later a priestess in the Temple of Set). During their first encounter the pair defended Satanism, while in 1997, during their second appearance, they defended Setianism. Larson debated the pair, and at times attempted to convert them without success.[verification needed]
"Talk Back" with Bob Larson
In 1982, Larson launched "Talk Back", a two-hour weekday call-in show geared mainly toward teenagers and frequently focused on teen-oriented topics such as role-playing games and rock music. By this time Larson had come to embrace contemporary Christian music, including styles such as heavy metal and rap, and actively promoted the music and artists on his show.
By the late 1980s, in what would come to define his later ministry, Larson was often heard performing exorcisms of callers on the air. The subjects of Satanism and Satanic ritual abuse were frequent topics of discussion. Death metal performer Glen Benton of Deicide became a regular caller, as did Bob Guccione Jr., eldest son of Penthouse founder Bob Guccione and founder of the music magazine Spin. At one point during the 1980s, Guccione Jr. paid Bob Larson to go on tour with American thrash metal band Slayer and write about it.
Larson tried his hand at writing fiction: Dead Air (1991) was largely ghost-written by Lori Boespflug and Muriel Olson. His later novels Abaddon (1993) and The Senator's Agenda both linked Satanic ritual abuse to political corruption; the latter was largely written by Larson and his second wife. However, a former vice president of BLM (Bob Larson Ministries), Lori Boespflug, claimed that much of Dead Air, though presented as Larson's work, is actually her own. Supporting these claims is a letter from Larson's lawyer that warns Larson of his "potential liability to Lori", anticipating that "the role Lori has played" would lead her to "demand recognition and/or profit participation" in respect to Dead Air and its sequels.
In 2004, Larson returned to the radio airwaves after a two-year absence with a daily talk show heard on a network of radio stations and simulcast and archived on the Internet.
Today, Larson remains active. His ministry professes to offer an alternative counseling outlet to people who have problems with violence, self-mutilation, multiple personality disorders, Satanic ritual abuse, or molestation.
In 2013 Vice magazine taped a video of Larson's visit in several small towns in Ukraine where he performed exorcisms together with three young women - his 18-year-old daughter Brynne Larson and her friends Tess and Savannah Sherkenback (18 and 21 respectively, collectively known as The Teenage Exorcists). The Teenage Exorcists consequently published a reply to Vice Media's video stating that they "question the journalistic integrity of this Vice Media story and are disappointed by how we were falsely portrayed."
As of 2014[update] Larson offered to perform exorcisms over Skype (for a donation of $295). His Skype exorcisms were featured in a segment on the satirical program The Daily Show in 2014, in which he told correspondent Jessica Williams, “Skype is a great technology to stare down the Devil, to go after him and to kick him back to hell.” Later in the same segment, however, he indicated that "tweeting an exorcism would be ridiculous."
- Rock & Roll: The Devil's Diversion (Creation House, 1967)
- Hippies, Hindus, and Rock & Roll (Creation House, 1969)
- Rock & the Church (Creation House, 1971)
- The Day Music Died (Creation House, 1972) ISBN 0-88419-030-7
- Hell on Earth (Creation House, 1974) ISBN 0-88419-072-2
- Babylon Reborn (Creation House, 1976) ISBN 0-88419-006-4
- Rock, Practical Help for Those Who Listen to the Words and Don't like What They Hear (Tyndale, 1980) ISBN 0-8423-5685-1
- Larson's Book of Cults (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Ill, 1982) ISBN 0-8423-2104-7
- Larson's Book of Family Issues (Tyndale, 1986) ISBN 0-8423-2459-3
- Strange Cults in America (Tyndale, 1986) ISBN 0-8423-6675-X
- Larson's Book of Rock (Tyndale, 1987) ISBN 0-8423-5687-8
- Your Kids and Rock (Tyndale, 1988) ISBN 0-8423-8611-4
- Satanism: the Seduction of America's Youth (Lightning Source, 1989) ISBN 0-8407-3034-9
- Straight Answers on the New Age (Thomas Nelson, 1989) ISBN 0-8407-3032-2
- Tough Talk About Tough Issues (Tyndale, 1989) ISBN 0-8423-7297-0
- Larson's New Book of Cults (Tyndale, 1989) ISBN 0-8423-2860-2
- Dead Air: A Novel (Thomas Nelson, 1991) ISBN 0-8407-7638-1
- Abaddon: A Novel (Thomas Nelson, 1993) ISBN 0-8407-7796-5
- The Senator's Agenda (Thomas Nelson, 1995) ISBN 0-7852-7879-6
- In The Name of Satan: How the Forces of Evil Work and What You Can Do to Defeat Them (Thomas Nelson, 1996) ISBN 0-7852-7881-8
- UFO's and the Alien Agenda (Thomas Nelson, 1997) ISBN 0-7852-7182-1
- Extreme Evil: Kids Killing Kids (Nelson Reference, 1999) ISBN 0-7852-6870-7
- Larson's Book of Spiritual Warfare (Nelson, 1999) ISBN 0-7852-6985-1
- Shock Talk: The Exorcist Files (WestBow, 2001) ISBN 0-7852-7009-4
- Melton, J. Gordon (1999). Religious leaders of America: a biographical guide to founders and leaders of religious bodies, churches, and spiritual groups in North America. Gale Research. p. 321. ISBN 0-8103-8878-2.
- "Personals". McCook Daily Gazette. 1998-01-13. p. 4. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
- Jon Trott (1993). "Bob Larson's Ministry Under Scrutiny". Cornerstone. 21 (100): 18, 37, 41–42. ISSN 0275-2743. Archived from the original on 2006-06-10. Retrieved 2006-06-08.
- ""The First Family of Satanism"". Denver Colorado. 1989. Missing or empty
- Bialik, Kristen (26 May 2012). "The Church of Satan Interviewed by Televangelist Bob Larson: Not the Conversation You Think It Is". Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- "Talk Back: First Family of Satanism". YouTube. 1989. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- ""Showdown with Satanism"". Anchorage Alaska. 1997. Missing or empty
- Kelefa, Sanneh (18 Jan 2019). "Record Deal with the Devil". This American Life podcast. Retrieved 29 Jan 2019.
- Stollznow, Karen (2013). God Bless America. Pitchstone Publishing. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-939578-00-6.
- Charlet Duboc. "Teenage Exorcists". Vice. Archived from the original on 3 August 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- "Teenage Exorcists Respond to Vice Media Report". Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- Gupta, Prachi. ""The Daily Show's" Jessica Williams gets an exorcism via Skype". Salon. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- ""The Daily Show's" Jessica Williams gets an exorcism via Skype". Comedy Central. Retrieved 26 March 2018.