Pay to pray? A self-proclaimed 'prophet' preying on the faithful

A self-proclaimed "prophet," who lives a lavish lifestyle in million dollar Florida homes, is telling his followers, including the faithful in Charlotte, that they will receive a "financial reward" - if they give him money. 

Truck driver Eric Elmore, who frequently drives through Charlotte, donated more than $3000 to Manasseh Jordan Ministries after receiving a robo-call. He thought the money would bring him blessings.

"I just thought it would improve my quality of life and my current situation," said Elmore. "It did not."

Prophet Yakim Manasseh Jordan has engaged in what some call a "pay to pray scam." Robo-calls obtained by FOX 46, connected to Jordan, offer prayers from the non-existent "Saint Mary's Prayer Center" in exchange for money. Several churches with the name "Saint Mary" have had to issue alerts that they are not affiliated with the scheme. 

Jordan, who has claimed to raise the dead, and heal the sick, promises riches and rewards to those who give him "seed" money. 

"There has been some money that has been delayed," a robo-call recording on Jordan's behalf says. "In other words, you were supposed to receive it by now."

To receive God's "financial reward," people are urged to donate a "victory" or "releasing seed" to Jordan.

"I want you to move quickly with a victory seed of $43, or $143, $243 seed," the robo-call says. "The $1,043 seed."

The robo-calls, promising rewards and riches, are now preying on Charlotte's faith community. They are the same robo-calls that got Jordan in trouble with the Federal Communications Commission in 2016

In North Carolina, there have been 20 complaints filed against Jordan between 2013-2017 for robo-call violations, according to Attorney General Josh Stein's office. 

"It was like all the things that were terrible in my life would come to an end," said one woman, who only wanted to give her first name, Debbie. 

Debbie also gave Jordan money - and then was hit up for more the next day.

"The next day, yeah," she said. "Every day. Every day. Every day."

Jordan says his "calling is to touch the people." He did not respond to FOX 46's multiple requests for comment over several weeks. 

He has been sued at least 20 times in federal court since 2013, according to court records. One case accuses Jordan's robo-calls of calling one man 300 times.

"It doesn't stop," said Andrew Notaro, a science teacher, who filed a complaint with the FCC. "It's no fun when I'm sitting there at work and I get a phone call and it's another number again. It changes every time that they call."

At Christ Church in Charlotte, Pastor Howard Brown preaches faith is free.
"It makes me sad that people will continue to make faith a commodity that can be sold for personal benefit," said Brown. "It's part of a bigger problem, a kind of false belief that you have to earn God's favor. That God has to be paid something, or do a certain work, or certain good thing, in order for God to be good to you."

It is unclear how much money Prophet Manasseh is raking in. However, records show he lives a luxury lifestyle. He recently owned at least two waterfront properties in Florida worth over a million dollars each. 

As for Elmore, the only thing he was rewarded with was regret. After giving money to Manasseh, he was in an accident. Then he lost his job. 

"I do feel like I've been cheated," said Elmore. 

The money he gave, he now wishes he could get back.

"The good Lord will judge him."