Who is Lori Bakker?
Lori Bakker is an American televangelist, author, and motivational speaker. She is the wife of televangelist and former minister of the 'Assemblies of God' Jim Bakker. Lori has dedicated a major part of her life in spreading positivity. She had a troubled childhood, and her life was later plagued with drugs, sex, and an abusive marriage. Lori has had five abortions in the past. Her last abortion was a complicated case that left her unable to bear a child for the rest of her life. Lori restored positivity in her life after she surrendered herself to the 'Phoenix First Assembly of God.' Since then, she has been working toward the spiritual upliftment of distressed people, especially women. Lori is the founder and president of an organization named ‘Lori’s House’ that provides spiritual and other forms of assistance to pregnant women and to those who have undergone the pain of abortion. Lori and her husband also host 'The Jim Bakker Show.'
Childhood & Early Life
Lori was born Lori Beth Graham, on August 30, 1957. She was raised in a middle-class family in Phoenix, Arizona. Her family had firm religious beliefs and would regularly go to church. Lori, too, was a child of the 'Nazarene' church. Her life took an unexpected turn when she hit her teens. She turned away from God and faith and stepped into a world that led her to utter devastation.
By the time Lori was a teenager, she had started consuming drugs. Her entire life revolved around partying, drugs, and sex.
At the age of 17, Lori started a relationship with a man whom she later married. Unfortunately, it was an abusive relationship. Lori was repeatedly beaten and brutally abused. She was physically abused by her would-be husband the day before her wedding. In her wedding pictures, her bruises were clearly visible. To add to her misery, Lori had to terminate her pregnancy five times, and by the age of 22, Lori had a total hysterectomy. To escape all the pain, Lori resorted to drugs again. Thus, she was trapped in a vicious circle.
By 1985, Lori ended the 10-year marriage that had caused her immense trauma. To seek peace, she joined the 'Phoenix First Assembly of God,' where she experienced a spiritual and personal growth.
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A New Life
On Easter Sunday, in the year 1989, Lori made a life-altering decision. She went to the 'Phoenix First Assembly of God' and accepted Jesus Christ as her personal "Lord and Savior." In 1991, Lori received her ministerial credentials. She later attended the 'Master’s Commission' discipleship program and worked with the program for almost a decade.
Additionally, Lori gained significant training and experience at various 'Phoenix First Assembly of God' programs and volunteered at several ministry outreaches, including the inner-city bus ministry, the nursing home ministry, the youth ministry, the prison ministry, and a women’s ministry known as 'Fashion Share.' She also actively participated in many of the church’s musical productions, illustrated sermons, and human videos.
As a 'Master’s Commission’s volunteer, Lori visited El Salvador and Mexico. This was her first international trip.
In 1994, Lori established the organization 'Mourning to Joy Ministry.' The organization is part of the church’s ministry that provides assistance and motivation to women dealing with post-abortion pain and trauma and other critical issues. The department has been featured in several noted journals, such as 'Charisma,' for its exceptional memorial services for unborn children and their mothers.
For her dedicated service to the Lord through the church, Lori received an honorary invitation to speak and minister at the ‘Los Angeles International Church,’ also known as 'The Dream Center.' There, she met her future husband, Jim Bakker, who added immense positivity to her life.
Other Notable Works
Lori later founded 'Lori’s House,' an initiative that offers a safe, supportive home for pregnant women in difficult situations. Her own devastating experiences of repeated abortions and the mental trauma she had gone through during those days help her motivate women who are in similar situations. She serves as the president of the foundation.
As part of her services to the ministry of women, Lori shares her life story in churches across the country. She says that her troubled teenage years were a consequence of her father's infidelity and her parents' divorce. Lori has chronicled her adventurous life story in her book 'More Than I Could Ever Ask.' The book was released by 'Thomas Nelson Publishers' in 2000. Lori’s exceptional contributions to the lives of Christian women have been acknowledged in the book 'Women of Destiny Bible: Women Mentoring Women through the Scriptures.' Lori has shared her words and thoughts in the book. Lori has also authored the book 'Happily Ever After: Experiencing the Desires of Your Heart.'
Lori has been featured on several TV shows, such as 'Larry King Live,' 'Good Morning America,' 'The Today Show,' and ' Life Today with James Robison.' She has also hosted many notable broadcasts.
Married Life with Jim
Lori met Jim for the first time on July 16, 1998, at the 'The Dream Center.' Jim was then a member of the center’s inner-city outreach. However, Lori had first seen Jim in February 1995, when he was preaching at her church in Phoenix. Jim had then completed his 5-year sentence for a case of fraudulence.
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Lori, who had searched for love and stability at all the wrong places in the past, finally found her soulmate. Shortly after their first meet, Lori and Jim began dating. Like Lori, Jim, too, had a lot of emotional baggage from the past. He was earlier married to Tammy Faye Messner, a Christian singer, evangelist, entrepreneur, author, talk-show host, and TV personality. They had two children: Tammy Sue "Sissy" Bakker Chapman (born March 2, 1970) and Jamie Charles "Jay" Bakker (born December 18, 1975). Jim and Tamara divorced on March 13, 1992.
After just 50 days of their first meeting, on September 4, 1998, Jim and Lori got married in front of 250 guests. The wedding took place at the Burbank (California) home of their friends John and Joyce Caruso. The ceremony was conducted by four pastors. On her wedding day, Lori wore a wedding gown borrowed from one of her friends. After the ceremony, everything, including Jim’s tuxedo, was donated.
In 2002, Lori and Jim adopted five beautiful children, namely, Kelli, Nicks, Morgan, Nina, and Michelle Murillo, from the inner-city area of Phoenix. Lori is also the stepmother of Jim’s children from his previous marriage.
The Jim Bakker Show
While Lori and Jim were ministering at the ‘Camp of Hope’ in Florida, they were offered the opportunity to start a show that would provide prophetic and Biblical revelations to a wide range of audience. They loved the concept of the show and moved to Branson, Missouri, to begin 'The Jim Bakker Show.'
In 2003, Lori and Jim shifted the entire staff from the ‘Camp of Hope’ in Florida to Branson. Thus, they built the crew of their upcoming show. The project was backed by the 'PTL ("Praise the Lord," or "People That Love") TV Network,’ a South Carolina-based global evangelical Christian TV network founded by Jim and Tammy in 1974. With the help of ‘PTL’ partners Jerry and Dee Crawford, Jim and Lori converted a restaurant into a café/TV studio and named it the 'Studio City Café.'
In January 2008, Lori and Jim moved the ministry and the show to a place called ‘Morningside,’ located in Blue Eye, Missouri.
Lori and Jim became the hosts of 'The Jim Bakker Show.' The show consists of an hour-long daily broadcast that features prophetic and Biblical revelations. Shot in a studio located at ‘Morningside,’ in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, ‘The Jim Bakker Show’ is aired on 'DirecTV,' 'Dish Network,' and other worldwide satellite channels.
Lori and Jim are also associated with the 'MorningStar Fellowship,' a Pentecostal ministry that promotes audio and videotapes of their speeches.
Jim and Lori now live in the southern part of Charlotte, a major city of North Carolina. They share a house with Lori's mother and other staff of their ministry.