What I know about Aimee - Aimee with Children at parsonage
Aimee Semple McPherson at the parsonage

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the May 8, 1929, issue of Foursquare Crusader magazine. It has been adapted from its original form for length and minor editorial or typographical corrections. The author, Mollie Glenn, was a news writer and editor in Canada in the early- to mid-1920s.

Women have asked me this question so many times: What is Aimee Semple McPherson like outside evangelistic circles? Is she interesting? What does she do to fill in the time between her duty hours? Women want to know if Aimee Semple McPherson is like other women, and this to my mind is a most pleasing form of flattery.

First of all, I have known Sister McPherson for a long, long time and have watched the evolution of a timid, self-conscious girl to the finished product of the woman of today, with the poise of a queen and the charm of a siren. She is always happy, and I do not mean sometimes. I have stood beside her and marveled at her, in moments when, if I were in her shoes, I would be ready to jump off the roof. As well as I know Aimee Semple McPherson, I have never been able to make her say an unkind thing about her traducers.

I have met busy men and women in my career as a newspaper reporter, men and women who could scarcely spare the time to be interviewed, but living close to Sister McPherson has demonstrated to me that those other workers over whom I marveled moved as snails compared with Sister’s pace.

Angelus Temple is the product of Aimee Semple McPherson’s brain. And the Temple works like a huge machine—every department a unit within itself, with Sister McPherson the chief engineer. Just to give you an idea of what this little woman keeps in touch with each day between the wails of her Temple, and what she advises on, on the outside of the Temple, I will give you a list of the departments and will enumerate in a general way the many divisions of Temple work.

“The only line of endeavor that absorbs me is the saving of souls and the salvation of the youth of today. It may seem strange to the average woman that I can find pleasure in so absorbing myself in the spiritual welfare of others, but I do.” —Aimee Semple McPherson

We will begin at the basement, where the Commissary is housed, and where the construction department and employment offices are located. On this floor are the Temple printing press and the mailing department. Every day, either by phone or by personal visit, Sister directs activities. Many times, when there is a mother with small children in the Commissary, looking for food, furniture or clothing, Sister will run over from her house and encourage the poor mother. Sister adores children, and her heart goes out to the afflicted. She neither asks their creed nor weighs on color. This to me as a newspaper woman made a big hit. There is no charge for the clothing, nor the furniture, nor the food. And there is no proselyting for membership in the Temple. Aimee Semple McPherson is really from my own viewpoint the only real Good Samaritan I have ever met. She gives food, clothing and furniture to the needy, and follows them up and places them on their feet—All free. Can you beat it?

People have asked me if she is sincere. Well, let us take the Commissary, for instance. She collects from the rich, and she gives to the poor, and she not only hands these unfortunate people food and raiment, but she gives herself with her gifts. How many purveyors of charity do any more than provide the requirements? She is truly a ministering angel, and she has an organization in Angelus Temple of man- and woman-power that reflects her sane, practical religion.

It is hard to make the world believe that because Mrs. McPherson has a building In Los Angeles facing beautiful Echo Park valued at $1.5 million that she is not indulging herself and her family in all the luxuries money can provide. It may be hard to believe that she is not, but it is nevertheless true. Her home is alongside the Temple, and I have spent many happy hours there. She lives a simple life, and her home radiates that peace that passeth understanding.

The thing that strikes me with the greatest force at Angelus Temple is the number of young boys and girls who have become Christian. Now this is the age when the average minister is working overtime to plan ways and means, tea parties, socials and garden parties, in order to rouse the interest of the young people in church work. In Angelus Temple, you couldn’t find a cup of tea or coffee in the place. But what you will find is 1,000 young men and women flying up and down in the elevators and flitting from classroom to classroom with a Bible under their arms, and scribbling pads full of notes—all laughing, playing practical jokes on one another, all merry and bright. When Sister passes through the building and calls a pleasant greeting to her young charges, the tedious work of grasping the teachings of the Bible is forgotten, and the hope rises in each young heart that a simple cheery nature like Sister McPherson’s may be developed by them.

Aimee Semple McPherson at LIFE
Aimee Semple McPherson at LIFE

I have often been asked what Sister does in her spare time. Well, it seems to be Sister never has any spare time. Every hour of every day is filled to the brim and running over. She never accepts invitations to teas or dinners, but she entertains in her own beautiful home quite frequently at simple little dinners. And speaking of her home, which is one of the most artistic in Los Angeles, I was surprised to learn how seldom she is in it. Calls come from all over the United States and Canada for revival campaigns, and as there are only 12 months in the year, these campaigns take up a surprising number of weeks, and the period she is permitted to enjoy her home and her children is cut up considerably. But she never complains.

I said to her one day a short time ago, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” and she replied in her merriest of moods: “But, my dear, I am so happy working, I see the sunshine of God’s smile in all my work, and what more do I want?” Truly a marvelous woman. No desires outside her work. The average woman would say, “What a dull life!” The funny part of it, it is not dull to Sister. She is absolutely absorbed in it, body and soul.

“Most women have a fad.” Sister said to me. “They play golf, are bridge fiends or keen motorists or aviators; well then, you may tell the world that I watch and follow in the papers their careers, their gains and their losses, and am keenly interested in the efforts of my sex along every line of endeavor, but the only line of endeavor that absorbs me is the saving of souls and the salvation of the youth of today. It may seem strange to the average woman that I can find pleasure in so absorbing myself in the spiritual welfare of others, but I do. Mind you, I am a keen skater, I love horseback riding, swimming, motoring, and I am more thrilled over aviation than any woman in the world, and I snatch time to indulge in these pleasures every day if it is only for an hour, and when I return to my work, I am exhilarated beyond description. The secret of a happy woman is occupation. If every hour of the day is filled with constructive employment, neither man nor woman will find time to pick to pieces or jab holes in the texture of their lives.”

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