Birth and Early Life
Joyce Meyer (Pauline Joyce Hutchison) was born June 4, 1943 in south St. Louis. She has stated that her father sexually abused her during her childhood as early as age 9 and speaks openly about it in her conference speeches and many books. Despite her difficulties, she graduated O'Fallon Technical High School and married shortly after. This marriage, to a part-time car salesman, lasted five years, during which she was coerced into employer theft by her husband. The stolen money was used to travel to California in an elaborate vacation. She also states her husband cheated on her. At 21, Meyer suffered a miscarriage before giving birth to her first son. Within months of his birth, Meyer decided to leave her husband and moved back in with her parents. Soon after the divorce, Meyer began spending much of her time in local bars. She met her current husband, Dave Meyer, washing a car outside of her mother's home, and they were married on January 7, 1967 after only five dates.
She is quoted as saying "... I didn't have any knowledge. I didn't go to church. And I had a lot of problems, and I needed somebody to kind of help me along. And I think sometimes even people who want to serve God, if they have got so many problems, they almost need somebody to take them by the hand and help lead them through the early years..." in her May 19, 2005 interview with Larry King.
"I'm not telling you this to feel sorry for me", she says. "I'm telling it to you to show you that people have awful things happen to them." "But I know my life is more powerful because of what happened to me than it ever would have been if it wouldn't have happened."
A Rebirth and New Life
While driving to work in 1976, Meyer reports that she heard God call her name while she was praying. She began leading early-morning Bible class and later became associate pastor for Life Christian Center. The church became one of the most prominent charistmatic churches, partially due to Meyer's passionate teaching. She began a St. Louis radio program, and in 1985 began airing her show on six other stations located from Chicago, Illinois to Kansas City, Missouri. She resigned as an associate pastor and founded her own ministry called "Life in the World."
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