How God Used Jim Bakker in Prison to Help Inmates Quit Smoking

(Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie on Unsplash)

Most of you are familiar with Jim Bakker and his powerful ministry, Morningside. And you probably also know about the scandal many years ago that caused him to lose the PTL Satellite Network and spend five years in prison. But what you probably have never heard is how God used Jim during his time in prison to help his fellow inmates get free from smoking.

While in federal prison, he developed a program with one of his cellmates, a medical doctor named Dr. Tom Hoshour. Recently, Jim invited Dr. Hoshour and me on The Jim Bakker Show, where we discussed his no-smoking class. Click here to listen to a clip of that discussion on my "Strang Report" podcast, or listen in this article.

Dr. Hoshour, who has been out of prison for many years now, says he is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Those addictions were what got him into prison in the first place, but he has now walked in freedom for 17 years. That freedom didn't come easily, though. He had to apply the biblical principles he and Jim taught their fellow inmates in how to overcome their addictions, especially smoking.

Perhaps some people don't see smoking as a huge moral issue, but it's actually one of the most devastating and widespread addictions in the U.S. today. The CDC reports that 34.3 million Americans smoke, and more than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease. Even people who know the horrible effects smoking has on their bodies can't seem to give up the habit.

The interesting thing is that Jim wasn't necessarily looking to start a no-smoking class out of his own initiative. He says the prison's psychiatrist actually chose him to help start the course.

"So [Dr. Ruth Westrick] asked [Dr. Hoshour] and me, and I don't know why she picked us both," Jim says. At that point in the show, Jim looked over at Dr. Hoshour and asked if Dr. Westrick had ever told him why she picked the two of them to lead the no-smoking course.

"She was so intelligent," Dr. Hoshour responded. "She knew that your background and my background could probably provide a magic. But what's the probability that with 2 million people being in prison for the two guys to be in the same room to teach a course like this? I mean, it was hard to believe that they could find two people, and we got along anyway."

Jim went on to describe how he and Dr. Hoshour used a room in the hospital building in the prison to teach their course.

While teaching the class, Jim and Dr. Hoshour found the principles in the no-smoking class so helpful for those who took them seriously that they are now considering creating a video series on the topic.

Jim tells me that he's going to do one of videos live there at Morningside in southern Missouri. He and Dr. Hoshour will actually teach a seminar and then videotape it and make it available through their ministry.

I found the interplay between Dr. Hoshour's and Jim's personalities so interesting that I'm excited to see them co-teach this video seminar. I think you will too. If you're interested in this upcoming series on how to quit smoking, visit Jim's website at and let him know!

Be sure to listen to the clip of our discussion by clicking here or scrolling to the top of this article. And next time you go on Facebook, be sure to share this article with your friends. You never know who needs to hear that there is hope for freedom from addiction.

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