Title: Oral History Interview with John Thomas Moore, October 18, 2000. Interview R-0142.
Interviewer: Weber, Christopher
Interviewee: Moore, John Thomas
Abstract: Bishop John Thomas Moore Jr. says that Jesus began speaking to him when he was still in high school. His peers did not understand him, but his faith gave him the strength to endure their puzzlement, and he entered the ministry in 1957, just after he graduated. He had an active career, much of it in Durham, North Carolina, where he eventually founded the New Gospel Horizon Resurrection Holy Church, Inc. Moore's father died in a hospital when Moore was young, the victim of a brutal beating and an unsuccessful amputation. His father's death may have inspired Moore to use his faith to heal his congregants, laying hands upon them, and to bring his religious devotion to elder care facilities, a practice he stopped shortly before this interview because of his own health problems. Moore is fiercely devoted to God and believes that God and the devil are at work in his daily life. This conviction drives this interview, as Moore recalls his career in the ministry and his struggle with diabetes, an ordeal that, according to Moore, pitted God and the devil against one another on the battlefield of Moore's body. This belief gives Moore a split worldview, one that sees the glorious potential of God's love, but also the insidious influence of the devil and a steady decline toward the apocalypse described in the book of Revelation. His struggles—including a troubled marriage and his efforts to uplift the black community—and his successes all inspire him to further devotion. This interview provides a detailed portrait of the role of religion in one man's life and his efforts to use his devotion to shape the world around him.