Bless This Mess-ianic Prophecy
Zealots who claim to have predicted Trump and see the endtimes coming are increasingly influential QAnon figures — and they've got bigger ambitions.
It’s August, 2015, and Kim Clement is prothelyzing over the sounds of violins.
“Do not be afraid of North Korea,” he instructs his congregation. “Do not be afraid of Iran.” Through his sermon, the reverb on his microphone gets torqued all the way up, letting his voice bounce through the hall as he speaks. He stops talking, at points, to hammer on the piano in front of him, punctuating his message.
“For in 2016, everything will change, says the Lord,” Clement continues, through a faint South African accent. “There will be a sound of liberty from the White House. There will be a sound of prayer from the White House.”
Scroll through Youtube and you’ll find dozens of these videos, some with a few thousand views and others with than a million. They boast Clement’s foresight of things already gone by: Trump’s impeachments, the election of Joe Biden, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, COVID-19; to things still to come: The unification of North and South Korea, world war, volcanic eruptions, the usual stuff.
Where once Clement was just a minor preacher in the broader charismatic Pentacostal movement, the rise of Donald Trump and QAnon turned him into a religious-political celebrity.
Perhaps adding to his mystique and allure is that he wasn’t around to see much of it: He died in November, 2016, just after Trump’s upset victory. Today, his ministry continues without him, heralding him as a modern-day Nostradamus. Trump’s most ardent defenders, in QAnon, have latched onto Clement’s protheylizing as confirmation of their conspiracy theories.
Humanity has always obsessed over prophecies and predictions. It scratches our itch to know what comes next, and removes some of the unsettling mystery of life. More often than not, the forecasts of would-be prophets are just a spin on astrology. Harmless.
But the newfound fascination with Clement points to something more nefarious: The increasing prevalence of militant and zealous Christian nationalists who see Trump’s reign as not just good, but ordained by god.
While many of us see Trump for what he is: An illiberal leader, an egomaniacal charlatan, and a mediocre golfer, Clement’s legion of followers see him for something altogether different:
If you haven’t subscriber to Bug-eyed and Shameless yet, do it now: Before the end times come.
Kim Clement did have prophetic foresight.
Maybe he couldn’t see the future, but he could absolutely see where the American right-wing was headed.
Or maybe he couldn’t and I’m just seeing what I want to see. Either way.
In 2008, Clement predicted that there would be two presidents: Speaking as god (naturally) Clement ranted: "I will expose and reveal things that have been hidden, so that my nation can move into this next election and to the next phase with victory and honor and glory.” Six years later, he made another spooky ooky prediction, promising “pandemonium in the White House.”
Those phrases mean very little. But for a conspiracy-minded believer, they can be carefully assembled by decoupage into an explanation for Trump’s recent electoral woes — confirmation that the 2020 election was rigged against him. One Youtube user did exactly that, racked up 750,000 views for his effort. Another Telegram user ruminated on the two prophecies earlier this year: “To me, this shows that we are on the right track,” they wrote. (Just ignore the part in the prophecy when Clement also predicts chaos in "in Italy and Rome.” This is hardly the most chaotic period in Italian political history, and the Pope is still alive: Score one for the papists.)
There’s nothing particularly magical about Clement’s ability to see the future. Spend years rambling about the coming political strife, and you’re bound to be right eventually. But QAnon is already primed to grab every piece of data that contributes to their magical reality, and plug it into a broader narrative.
Frequently cited by Clement’s followers is a 2006 sermon, where Clement says: “Trump shall become a trumpet says the Lord.” It’s seen as a clear prediction, a decade before the fact, that Trump will become president. Yet, in the same breath, Clement also predicts that Bill Gates will “open up the gate of the financial realm for the church.” Still waiting on that.
Clement’s ministry, the House of Destiny, has not shied away from the attention. The ministry has even courted his new QAnon following. One of their Youtube videos is entitled: “Did Kim Clement see "Q" in 2012? In 2014 A New Party Rising Up Who Are One, United.”
The video is a supercut of Clement’s sermons over the years — he claims god showed him the letter Q, he predicts that America will be led by a “giant” who will “throttle the enemies of Israel,” and opponents of this man will yell “impeach! Impeach!” but that they will fail. That certainly cemented his role for many Q followers as a divine messenger.
Of course, that requires ignoring that Clement actually says the letter A will be instrumental to this world-changing event, as will a connection between Russia and Pakistan. He, mid-sermon, claims to hear from god, who tells him: “In the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, two shall step down for the embarrassment of what shall take place.”
The House of Destiny is no small shop. They have their own TV show. They’ve got an iPad app in the app store. They have their own Roku channel. They accept donations of all kind: Through an Amazon referral code, you can donate by text, via Bitcoin, stock donations, and through their Boots on the Ground partnership to “minister to the most desperate and vulnerable souls in our world.” (The Kim Clement Center, which handles donations for the ministry, has tax-exempt status from the IRS, but hasn’t filed any returns.) One of Clement’s books even had a foreword from famous televangelist Oral Roberts.
Before his death, Clement was joined onstage by Keith and Mary Hudson, who run the evangelical Keith Hudson Ministries. The Hudsons raise about $200,000 a year in tax-free income — most is spent on lavish retreats and fashion that would make Ed Hardy explode.
Keith and Mary are notable for another reason: Their daughter is singer Katy Perry.
More than just attracting the parents of the I Kissed A Girl singer, the Clement brand’s fusing with QAnon has given it a much larger stage — alongside some of the titans of the American right-wing.
Clement’s daughter, Donne, has been a featured speaker at the Reawaken America Tour — a who’s who of America’s biggest brainworm hosts. In February, she delivered an hour set on the mainstage, explaining how her father had not only predicted January 6, but that it was preordained by god. Joining her at the conference was Ivermectin booster Vladimir Zelenko (who I wrote about in dispatch #11), anti-vaxxer Robert F Kennedy Jr., Alex Jones, Roger Stone, Mike Lindell, General Mike Flynn, Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Eric Trump.
Clement is far from the only self-proclaimed prophet in this movement today.
Tom Hughes, a California minister who also has tax-exempt status, uploads multiple Youtube videos a week: Mixing supposed indicators for the coming rapture with hysterical readings of far-right misinformation about the “satanic” World Economic Forum and the globalist plot to commit genocide.
Praying Medic, a major QAnon influencer, has pivoted his online persona into delivering messages from god: “Today's dream: Politicians panic after multiple attempts to hide the truth from normies fail.”
It’s not just a Christian game, either: Jonathan Kahn is a messianic Jewish preacher who claims he predicted Trump’s election. In 2019, the New York Times followed him as he hawked books at Mar-a-Lago.
It should be no great surprise that these figures have gained standing in QAnon — after all, the movement has plenty of pseudo-religious trappings. What’s disconcerting is the way this once-fringe and radical theology have begun to infect the broader American conservative movement.
The American right is increasingly identifying with, as Marjorie Taylor Greene called it recently, Christian nationalism.
On the streets of Ottawa earlier this year, during the anti-vaccine occupation, I heard hard-line religious figures promise a religious takeover of our government.
Certainly there have been many religious charlatans who have sought to use religion to dominate politics. But they have never been back by the kind of fervour that QAnon and the pro-Trump crowd can provide. These prophecies offer incredibly motivating, compelling, and purposeful fire to their cause.
It’s just a bite-sized Bug-eyed and Shameless this week, because I’ve been travelling this week for some interviews.
I do have to give a shout-out to the best prophecy-related pun Twitter offered up as I was preparing this post:
Simple, eloquent, effective.
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JASOM: Just another snake oil merchant. They aren't crazy or deluded. They're shrewd.
Scary stuff really. A book to read that illuminates end of world prophecies is The Delusions of Crowds: Why people go mad in groups. By William Bernstein.