the Spirit Watch
Miller’s Questionable Morality:
Discerning Immanuel Ministries
by Steven J. Hogel, Spiritwatch Ministries
Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (NIV) Ephesians 5:15-16
Larry Miller believes he satisfies God’s call for good deeds by feeding the poor and caring for widows and orphans. In fact, as we will explore in a later chapter, he believes he is saved by these acts. In addition to requiring good deeds of IM members, Miller rightly preaches the importance of living a holy life, both publicly and privately. Yet Miller, who has been married for twenty years and has three children with his wife, has had a series of intimate relationships with other women. This dark side of Miller’s life is one of his best kept secrets when relating to churches and ministries outside IM but is common knowledge among the membership of his close knit community. It speaks volumes about his true character.
Since at least the mid-1980’s, Larry Miller has exploited the trust he was given by Christian parents and churches as a youth worker and has targeted several young teenage girls for highly inappropriate conversations of a romantic nature. There was a pattern for this that became observable by these young women and others. He would identify young girls who trusted him, whom he could spend time alone with and who he freely expressed attraction for, initiating dialogue with them that touched upon in various degrees how attractive they were. If he could, he would engage in non-sexual physical contact with them, ostensibly as a “loving” youth minister. All of this occurred even though Miller was well known in Joliet youth ministry circles as a married man.
During the research portion of this project, Miller’s current adulterous relationship was by far the topic most mentioned by former members and supporters. They believe that Miller has been in an extra-marital relationship with a woman in the ministry for at least twelve years. He and his mistress make little attempt to hide their apparent attraction to one another and are so openly affectionate that she is often mistaken for his wife. They were observed by many of these same ex-members and supporters as being together constantly. On trips to area churches representing IM, the church congregation would often mistake this woman for his wife if she was not present due to the observable closeness of their relationship to one another in public settings. It is not known if they have had sexual relations with one another, but it is clear that they share a level of physical and emotional intimacy that should be reserved for a husband and wife.
In fact, one ex-member called the drive from Joliet to Lower Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago by Immanuel Ministries to feed the homeless the “Unofficial Date Night” for Larry and his mistress. The group usually took the trip in a car and a van in which the back rows of seats had been removed. There were no assigned vehicles except that Miller and his mistress would always be next to each other.
According to numerous people, if Miller and his mistress were riding in the van, they would lie next to each other in the back underneath a blanket. One person noted,
On trips back from Lower Wacker on Tuesday nights (mostly in the winter), Larry and his mistress would lay next to each other on the opposite side of the van than me… (Her feet were near my head). They would cuddle under the blankets, and I have reason to suspect they did more than just cuddle. I don't think that they were sleeping on the way back. They probably assumed that we were sleeping though. It is somewhat awkward to say, but I think that they were "intimate" in the way of improper physical touch. There were many moments when I would awake to her legs spread apart (while under the blanket) and one of her knees would bump into me. It would seem that they used their hands a lot. Whatever it was, and I don't have full visual proof, it seemed very sexual and very wrong! ( )
If Miller was in the car, his mistress would place a pillow in between both front seats so she could sit next to him.
Miller and his mistress stayed in close proximity at the IM building as well and many people recall that it was almost impossible to talk to him without his mistress being there in his office at the old Joliet headquarters. They spent generous amounts of time together as they freely walked about the building which had apartments also attached to it where IM members lived. The office door would be slightly cracked open to maintain appearances, but almost completely shut to ensure privacy. They would often kick their feet up on top of his desk and intertwine their legs.
In addition to their affectionate behavior, Miller’s mistress has spoken of her feelings for Miller. Miller has placed her in a position of authority over the women of IM. The women come to her for requests and when needed she disciplines them. Yet despite her position, she confided in a few of the women concerning her relationship with Miller. Some of these women were also ex-members who unbidden volunteered the information during interviews and provided further details to further clarify these incidents such as the following. One day Miller’s mistress and another woman were looking through donated articles of clothing that included lingerie. Miller’s mistress remarked, “Larry likes lacey things.” She also said, “Larry likes me in these tight jeans I wear.” No one other than Miller’s wife should be privy to such intimate details, especially a single woman who spends liberal amounts of time with him.
Miller’s mistress has also written him “love” notes which were discovered in the course of this investigation by a reliable source who has seen them. For example, while she was away on a mission’s trip to Mexico, she wrote him, “I think of you constantly” and “I can’t believe how much I miss you”. She has also written, “I’m praying for you” and “I love you” and “I miss you” and “I hope it goes both ways”. His present mistress has shared her feelings of guilt over her love affair. This occurred during the timeframe of October 1993 to Spring of 1994 while IM was helping out at an orphanage there. She confided to an IM member, “I am in love with a married man” and she wept remorsefully, seeming to realize that her involvement with Miller was wrong and yet today, she continues to suppress this truth.
Other members have recognized this relationship is wrong and numerous people have confronted Miller about it, but to no avail. On one occasion in January, 2001, three members, Rich, Brooks and Bill approached Miller to discuss Larry Peters’ role as an elder at Immanuel Ministries. This meeting took place at the ministry’s headquarters in Joliet. They believed Peters was verbally abusive, demeaning, and unfit for Christian service and leadership. Miller tried to downplay Peters’ shortcomings by saying that he (Miller) also did not meet the criteria for eldership because he was “a man of more than one wife”. This admission was unexpected, but it is proof of Miller’s adulterous affair.
Rich, who had been very close to Miller for years, confronted him on several other occasions. Miller never denied the relationship. In fact, he defended his actions by saying that his wife doesn’t give him any affection and that he tries to get it from his mistress. Miller assured Rich that he would “work on it.”
Eventually all three men and their families left Immanuel Ministries in April of that same year. One of the reasons Rich left was Miller’s adulterous relationship. Later that year in the fall, one of Rich’s friends confronted Miller with him and Brooks as witnesses. Rich’s friend asked Miller if he loved his mistress more than his wife. Miller then replied, “I love my wife.” He asked him again, “Do you love your mistress more than your wife?” Larry again replied, “I love my wife.” The friend pressed him and asked, “Larry, do you love your wife?” And Miller answered “I love my mistress (he said her name).” This exchange is significant for it indicates that by his own admission, Miller was in love with another woman.
Another family confronted Miller about his adulterous relationship. These men, a father and his two sons, told Miller his relationship with this other woman was inappropriate. One man suggested that Miller should build some hedges around his life to protect his marriage. Miller replied, “I’ll pray about my hedges not being adequate.”
On another occasion, one of these men and his wife confronted Miller about his inappropriate relationship. Miller was very defensive and admitted no wrong doing. It is their opinion that Miller thinks there is nothing wrong with the relationship he has with his mistress.
Miller and his mistress have also legally guardianship of several children who live in the IM commune. They call the mistress “mom” and Miller “dad”. Miller’s true wife stayed at home caring for their children and is not active in the ministry. Considering the circumstances, it is easy to understand why she is not seen at IM. Who would want to see the woman you know your husband is having an illicit relationship with?
Miller’s relationship with his current mistress is not his first indiscretion. As has been noted, he has an established history of pursuing younger women as a married man. Women have testified of Miller’s flirtatious ways and inappropriate touching and comments. One significant encounter was his first known encounter was with a 17 year old girl at a youth camp in Joliet where he was employed in the late 1980s. Miller was about 27 and had a son. The girl use to baby-sit for Miller and his wife during that timeframe. During a series of private encounters, he began to seduce this teenage girl using the same kinds of overtures he used on other women. He flirted with her, told her that he would definitely date her if he was her age and unmarried and began sharing personal information with her.
They would often seclude themselves in his office or a prayer room in intimate conversation until the late hours of the night. He told her that he had a dream (prophecy) in which God had informed him that his wife, who was pregnant with their second child at the time, was going to die giving birth to a son and that this girl would then become his wife. The dream became an excuse to let the relationship turn physical. The physical relationship included long hugs and hand holding. Miller was careful not to go further before she turned eighteen: after her birthday, their relationship intensified to kissing and more inappropriate touching.
Larry’s wife later that year gave birth to a baby girl and returned home from the hospital healthy. The young girl stepped away from the relationship after realizing that Miller was a false prophet when his prophecy about his wife’s death and a birth of a son failed. Unfortunately, Miller’s seductions began again when the two encountered one another at a Joliet youth camp a couple of months later. In a moment of total indiscretion, Miller pinched one of her buttocks and observed that she had a “cute butt.” Such coarse language and inappropriate behavior continued as he flirted openly with her and soon after that, he told her God was still going to work something out for them to be together but he wasn’t sure how it was going to happen.
He certainly didn't mind trying to give God opportunities to "work something out" however. Throughout the rest of that summer, he would meet with this young woman at a youth camp there in Joliet where he maintained an office. The camp had a prayer room and basement where he continued to meet privately with her and even in his own home while his wife was away. He would speak in their conversations of loving his wife, taking her on weekly dates while the young woman took care of his children. Yet he also claimed to love her, declaring that he could not imagine his life without her. At the end of the summer, she prepared to go away to college. And she would recall that when she informed him that she was leaving, he laid his head in her lap and wept.
Once she was in school and separated from him, the girl realized the relationship was wrong and she broke it off. In subsequent discussions with her, Miller told her that she could end things but that she would never be able to remove his memories and he could call them to mind any time he chose. His comments were very sexual and demeaning. A couple weeks later, she met him in his home after he had returned from a missions trip to have “one last talk.” She testified that he apologized for his comments and stated that he was just upset and that he never meant to hurt her. He admitted what happened between them was wrong, that he repented of his behavior and that he was going to tell his wife. To this day, it is unknown whether he told his wife of the affair, but it is clear that his behavior has not changed since the young woman broke up with him. For it was after this relationship ended that Miller started another physical relationship with another young woman. This relationship lasted about 12 months until she broke it off. And the ongoing relationship with his current mistress started sometime after and continues to this present day.
Although Miller shows little restraint when it comes to other women, he and Peters imposed strict rules regarding mixed company. The rules were intended to protect the men and women from sexual temptation. A man and a woman, who were not married to each other, could not be alone in a room for any significant period of time. Some suggested that meant any time more than 30 seconds. Neither were they allowed to be in a car together unless another person accompanied them, but Miller and his mistress routinely violated these rules.
Yet despite his blatant and unrepentant sexual immorality, Miller preaches holy living and good deeds. For example he says,
“In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) According to Jesus, the way to let our light shine was through good deeds.
He goes on to explain,
Peter writes in I Peter 2:12, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.” Living such good lives among the pagans! They will see in a true disciple the love of Jesus for those in need, reflected in good deeds. Live good lives among the pagans – then the world will be able to glorify God on the day He visits us… What is the pagan world saying about us? Is not their indictments (sic) that we only want their money, or that our lives are filled with hypocrisy? We should be causing them to stand and take notice of how we are spending ourselves on behalf of others. If we do not want this generation to perish – they need to see our good deeds, especially those in our own homes. (Emphasis mine)
Miller correctly comments on Matthew 5:15,
Jesus even gave us the method for reaching our own families for Christ. Matthew 5:15 “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” We not only need to question what the pagan world is saying about us, but what our own children believe to be the outcome of our faith.
Although he does not follow his own teachings, Miller is correct in teaching that Christians should strive to live holy lives. Much of the New Testament focuses on how disciples of Christ should live out their daily lives. John warns us against worldliness in 1st John and the book of James encourages faith in conjunction with works. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul exhorts the believers to live holy lives pleasing to our Lord Jesus and in 1st Corinthians, he goes so far as to compare the bodies of believers with the Jewish Temple. He states,
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (NIV) 1 Co. 3:16-17.
The Bible also has much to say about sexual purity that should not be dismissed or taken lightly.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (NIV) 1 Co. 6:18-20
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. (NIV) Matthew 15:19
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (NIV) Romans 13:13-14
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (NIV) Galatians 5:19-21
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (NIV) Eph. 5:3;5
While no one has followed Miller into his private bedroom to watch what he does behind closed doors, it is abundantly clear that he has exhibited enough publicly observable behavior which calls his morality into serious question. He demonstrates that he suffers a profound spiritual blindness to the Scriptures above that mandate blameless purity for the Christian life. For all of his Bible study, Miller appears to have totally and perhaps willfully ignored His Messiah's teaching as he systematically preyed upon and coarsely, seductively conversed with teenage girls. The words of the Lord Jesus Himself make clear that physical sexual contact doesn’t have to be consummated to render oneself sexually impure:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
(NIV) Matthew 5:27-30.
The Bible’s message is clear. Adultery and sexual immorality are appalling sins. Many men (and women) have lost all credibility over such gross sins, even though otherwise they were rendering good service. A leader cannot claim integrity and virtue in his public life when he is unrepentant of the grave sins he is committing in his private life. Larry Miller's emotionally manipulative and openly sensual attraction toward minors noted throughout his ministerial years are a reality that simply cannot be dismissed no matter what his carefully feigned and even cultivated public image seems to display.
For Larry Miller continues to live a sinful and adulterous lifestyle and shows no sign of stopping. His behavior is inexcusable and unacceptable, especially when he claims to be a minister of the Christian Gospel. Instead of good deeds and righteous living, Miller has betrayed his family and dishonored the name of Christ. He is unfit for Christian service and should not be supported by the Christian community.
The admonition of George Verwer, a well known Christian discipleship and missions leader, would be well remembered at this point, in his address to the Urbana 1987 conference:
Billy Graham in 1957 said that if you don't win the battle against impurity, you lose the battle of the Christian life. I have been saying the same thing now for twenty years, especially in this country. Sexual impurity is an epidemic in the church of Jesus Christ today, and I tell you it scares me far more than AIDS. 
 Ex member e-mail on file
 Miller, “In Defense of the Poor”, p75
 Miller, p78
 Notice that Jesus places murder in the same sentence with adultery and sexual immorality.
Comments and Questions may be e-mailed directly to
Steve Hogel at email@example.com