Christchurch's Temple of Truth: Religion, Sex and Fraud in the 1890s

Ministry for Culture and Heritage Seminar:

Please join us on Wednesday 3 April, 12.15pm (just after Easter) at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, L4 ASB House, 101 The Terrace, to hear
Professor Geoff Rice on:

Christchurch's Temple of Truth:
Religion, Sex and Fraud in the 1890s.
Christchurch in the 1890s was visited by the extraordinary phenomenon of a much-married American evangelist, Arthur Bently Worthington, who proceeded to set up a new cult of revivalist Christianity. He gathered a large and enthusiastic following, whose liberal donations enabled him to build an impressive ‘Temple of Truth’ on Latimer Square. However, opposition from the established churches and rumours of sexual scandals, together with a controversial change of ‘wives’, made him flee to Tasmania. Amazingly, he returned and tried to make a comeback, but only caused public disorder and the only time the Riot Act has been read in Christchurch. This illustrated talk is a preview of one chapter from Professor Geoff Rice’s next book, Christchurch Crimes and Scandals, 1875-1900 due to be published in 2013.

Book cover of Christchurch Crimes (2012)

Professor Rice retired from the History Department at the University of Canterbury in 2012. His previous publications include Black November: the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in New Zealand and illustrated histories of Christchurch and Lyttelton. His whimsical tribute to a numerous group of heritage losses in the Christchurch earthquakes, All Fall Down: Christchurch’s Lost Chimneys, appeared in 2011 and last year his Christchurch Crimes : Scandal and Skulduggery in Port and Town, 1850-1875 was published by Canterbury University Press.

Venue: L4, ASB House, 101 The Terrace, Wellington at 12.15pm.
Everyone is welcome - talks are for approximately one hour.


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