Who was Franklin Graham?
Franklin Graham is Christian evangelist and missionary. He is the president and CEO of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and the international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse. The fourth of five children of evangelist Billy Graham and wife Ruth Bell Graham, Franklin Graham was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. As a teenager, Graham attended The Stony Brook School, a Christian private school on Long Island, New York, and finished high school in North Carolina.
In 1971, he attended LeTourneau College in Longview, Texas, and was expelled from the school for keeping a female classmate out past curfew. He graduated from Montreat-Anderson College (now Montreat College) with an A.S. and Appalachian State University with a B.A. In 1974, 22-year-old Graham became a Christian in a hotel room while on a trip to Jerusalem. He married Jane Austin Cunningham, of Smithfield, North Carolina, later that year. They have four children: William Franklin Graham IV (Will), born in 1975, Roy Austin Graham (1977), Edward Bell Graham (1979) and Jane Austin Graham Lynch (Cissie) (1986).
As a young man, Graham was actively mentored by two senior members of the Billy Graham Team; Roy Gustafson and John Wesley White. These men worked alongside Billy Graham and had a desire to positively affect the life and ministry of the eldest son of their longtime friend and colleague. Franklin began conducting events for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1989 and became the CEO in 2000 and its president in 2002.
Each year, he conducts at least five Graham Festivals around the world as an evangelist associated with the BGEA. Since 1989, he has preached to more than three million people in 126 evangelistic events. He went to Hong Kong from November 29, 2007, to December 2, 2007, to host the Hong Kong Franklin Graham Festival, the first major evangelistic rally in Hong Kong since its 1997 transfer of sovereignty, which drew more than 420,000 attendees. Graham spoke at the 1999 Columbine High School memorial, and he also gave the opening prayer at the 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush.
Shortly after becoming a Christian, Graham joined Bob Pierce, founder of the organization "Samaritan's Purse," on a six-week mission to Asia. It was during this trip that Graham decided to focus on world relief. In 1979, after the death of Pierce, he became the president of "Samaritan's Purse." Graham now also serves as the organization’s CEO, and heads efforts on behalf of the organization in more than 100 countries, including programs such as "Operation Christmas Child" and the "Children’s Heart Project," among others.
According to public records filed with the Internal Revenue Service, Graham was compensated $409,851 per year for a forty hour work week as Chairman of the Samaritan's Purse and also received an additional $156,566 for an additional forty hour work week from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and related organizations.
In October 2012, Billy Graham publicly endorsed the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Shortly after, references to Mormonism as a cult were removed from Graham's website.
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