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Larry King Live Weekend
What Do 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' See?Aired August 27, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, bestselling author Tom Clancy joins us from Washington, his new novel, "The Bear and the Dragon." From Los Angeles, bestselling author Deepak Chopra, who co-created a series of novels, the latest, "The Angel Is Near." In Charlotte, the one and only Tammy Faye Messner. She's the focus of a new documentary, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye." Plus in L.A., the famed spiritual medium James Van Praagh on healing grief. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Jam-packed show tonight. Welcome aboard.
We start with one of my favorite people, Tom Clancy. His new book is "The Bear and the Dragon." He a mega-bestselling author, businessman as well. Come a long way since 1984 with "The Hunt for Red October," when he first appeared then on my radio show. That was 16 years ago. "The Bear and the Dragon." Is that China and Russia?
TOM CLANCY, AUTHOR, "THE BEAR AND THE DRAGON": Correct, yes.
KING: And the concept of this Clancy epic is?
CLANCY: General conflict and unpleasantness in the world. You don't write about the good stuff. You write about the bad stuff.
KING: And is it true our man is president?
CLANCY: He's actually been president now for two books.
KING: How did that come about?
CLANCY: Well, in "Debt of Honor," which I published in, what was it, 1994, he was becoming an interim vice president as the country went into an election cycle, and he accepted the post. Immediately thereafter, somebody blew up the whole government, and Jack was the only one who survived, so he became president by default.
KING: And since he's been elected?
CLANCY: Yes, He's been through an election cycle himself now.
KING: Knowing jack as well as we do, you would hardly think him to be a politician.
CLANCY: Jack does not think of himself at all as a politician, Larry. He thinks of himself as a guy who got trapped into living in the White House, which he doesn't like very much, and he prostrates himself, like, God, everyday I'm hoping to get out.
KING: All your books take us into the inner depth -- by the way, on a personal note, I got to ride on a submarine, a missile-launching submarine, on the Ohio.
CLANCY: Oh Lord, one of the big ones.
KING: The Trident, and you're a big hero there, because you knew a lot about submarines without having been on one. Where do you get your stuff from?
CLANCY: I'm a spy. It's not really -- I worked for the CIA 15 years. The cover was I worked for the insurance business.
KING: You did. When I first met you, you were still selling insurance.
CLANCY: Correct. It's been a while. That's 11 books ago.
KING: But you do have a great source of information?
CLANCY: It's called the open media. America is a country with a First Amendment, and you're allowed to publish just about anything you want, as long as it's not real secret information. Of course, nobody really does that except for, you know, you guys in the media. And if you really know where to look, there's a lot in the open. There really are no important secrets.
KING: So, in other words, if you tell me something technical in a book, it is correct?
KING: You have never hidden anything so that other people could read it and learn from it?
CLANCY: Well, no. There are things I know I know about I don't write about, which I could not responsibly put into my books. Interestingly enough, though, the scariest one of those things is not classified at all. But nevertheless, I don't write about it, because it would make the world a somewhat more dangerous place.
KING: But it could be found by a child?
CLANCY: In this particular case, it could be found by anybody with a good education in the sciences.
KING: All right, let's go to "The Bear and the Dragon." All of your books become almost instant bestsellers, right? Am I right? Have you ever had a non-bestseller?
CLANCY: Well, not yet, but remember, I write novels. The public makes them bestsellers by buying them, and I don't make the public buy them. I have to turn out a quality product or they do not become bestsellers, it's that simple. KING: And you've been all over the board -- fact, fiction, co- writing with others, right? There's no way we can standardize you anymore?
CLANCY: I try to be a little bit agile, yes.
KING: Is that for your own pleasure as well?
CLANCY: Well, yes, if you do the same thing every time, you're going to be in a -- unless you're Tiger Woods and you're always hitting perfect golf shots, if you do the same thing all the time, you kind of get into a rut, and I don't want to be in a rut. I do different things.
KING: Tell me about "The Bear and Dragon," the storyline. since we don't have Cold War anymore.
CLANCY: Well, we haven't had the Cold War for, my God, over 10 years.
"Bear and the Dragon" posits a difficulty between the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation, and the United States unnecessarily gets involved, and it kinds of goes from there.
KING: And as usual, heroes and heroines. Is communism a dead issue, or is China still involved in this conflict?
CLANCY: The People's Republic of China is still a Marxist, Leninist, Maoist nation. So, you know, communism is still involved there. They haven't figured their way out of that particularly ideological box yet and that's their misfortune.
KING: With Jack Ryan as president, he can't be involved in action anymore, can he?
CLANCY: No, the Secret Service frowns upon having the president getting involved in physical danger. They don't like that very much.
KING: So Jack can't be running down the street, shooting a gun or jumping into submarines?
CLANCY: No, he's never really done much of that. Jack would just as soon sit behind a desk and watch TV and relax.
KING: So John Clark has become Mr. Adventure, right?
CLANCY: Well, you know, John is Jack's dark side. He gets to go out and play with toys and do nasty stuff.
KING: How much -- when you're getting into all that, what kind of a hoot is that for you? I mean, your plotting is generally ingenious. Are you sitting there going, they're going love this?
CLANCY: Occasionally. Occasionally. There are a couple scenes in the new book I'm very pleased with, where I thought I did write particularly well, but, obviously, I can't talk about it too much. You're not supposed to toot your own horn, even if you are Tiger Woods, which I decidedly am not.
KING: You're the Tiger Woods of adventure fiction.
CLANCY: That's a very kind thing for you to say. He's a lot younger and a lot better looking than I am.
KING: We'll be right back with some more of Tom Clancy. The book, the new one, just out, "The Bear and the Dragon," his first novel in a while. He's been doing lots of things. We'll touch some of those bases as well.
This is LARRY KING LIVE. Back with Tom after this.
KING: Tom Clancy, in addition to writing terrific novels, the newest of which "The Bear and the Dragon," is into a lot of other things. He's written like novels. In fact, he's written books with generals, General Fred Hanks. He's written books with General Chuck Horner. He's also into the computers. And you're a conglomerate, aren't you?
CLANCY: I'm not quite Bill Gates, but I have more than one interest.
KING: Let's go into some of them. Red Storm Entertainment, what does that do?
CLANCY: Does computer games. For example, "Rainbow Six" was sort of a spinoff of one my books, which did pretty well. And then I have one coming out now, based on a book by a fellow writer, Ann McCaffrey, that's sort of a science fiction-role playing game. We have high hopes?
KING: Are you involved in the conception of the game?
CLANCY: I help put them together. Interestingly enough, I never play the games. I just sort of -- it's more fun for me to help formulate them than it is to play them.
KING: What is, as you see it, the attraction of, first, games and the Internet?
CLANCY: Well, Internet gaming is one thing. You can play it off a CD-ROM drive and you can play it on the Net. You know, people play games because they're interesting and they're fun. It's mental exercise, you know. You can -- it's like jogging for your brain. It's just something you do to explore different realities.
KING: Do you have any fears over this ending of boundaries in information? Anything anywhere, anything goes?
CLANCY: Larry, historically, anything that gets information to people is good for the world. The most important human being whoever lived, if you want to leave out religious figures, would be Johannes Gutenberg, the guy (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from a wine press to a printing press, and that's when the liberation of human thought happened, because people could read the thoughts of people across the world, and have thoughts of their own, and publish them and spread information around. Anything that gets information to people is good. America has prospered because we're the most information-friendly society in the world.
KING: So you can't be so overly informed that wrong information goes out, anything goes out?
CLANCY: Yes, but the average guy is smart enough to know the difference between what works and what doesn't, and if you have bad information, sooner or later, you figure it out and you get onto something else. It's really simple stuff. The average guy is pretty smart. Otherwise, America -- a Democracy like America would not have prospered as much as it has. Otherwise, the Soviet Union would still be around, because that was not a free country, where supposedly brilliant technocrats were running it and telling it people what to do, and unfortunately, it didn't work, because the average guy is better deciding what's good for himself than somebody else telling him what to do.
The average guy is fairly smart, if you give him the ability to make decisions for himself. That's the whole premise of America, and that's why America has prospered, and it prospers because if the average guy can get information, he can make his own decisions. Therefore, anything that gets information to the people is good.
KING: Well said.
You haven't shied away from controversy in your life.
CLANCY: I usually run into it with my eyes widely shut, yes.
KING: Republicans are saying that we're not militarily prepared. The joint chiefs of staff have answered that we are. What do you think?
CLANCY: Well, the joint chiefs of staff are senior officers who have to be loyal to the president, whether the president deserves their loyalty or not. That's one of the reasons Vietnam worked out as terribly as it did, is the senior officers in the military were overly loyal to President Johnson when probably President Johnson did not deserve that degree of loyalty.
The training and readiness in the military now is nowhere near as good as it was 10 years ago, that's a fact, and it should be restored somewhat. Our military has been downsized in terms of its capabilities and its equipment, but not downsized in terms of its commitments around the world, and so it's like a rubber banned that being stretched about as far as it's can go, we have to be careful the rubber band doesn't break.
KING: But hasn't that been caused by the fact there's less worry in the world?
CLANCY: If there's less worry, how come we have soldiers all over the world holding guns and keeping an eye on things? Ask yourself that one.
KING: But Americans aren't fearing nuclear war anymore, are they? I don't think it's a list of top 20 worries.
CLANCY: And properly so. I mean, you know, the Soviet union is dead and gone and replaced by the Russian Federation, which is a country we can be friends with now, thank God, and we want the Russians to prosper, and should help the Russians prosper in every way we can within reason.
So yes, we live -- 10, 15 years ago, there was this country called the Soviet union that had over 10,000 nuclear warheads pointed at us. That's not -- they're not there anymore. That's a good thing. And when people talk about how the world is more dangerous now than it was because we had these terrorists running around, my reply is, you know, a terrorists is like a buzzing mosquito. About 15 years ago, there was a great, big vampire bat; that's several orders of magnitude different from a mosquito. So the world is much safer a lot safer than it was. It's not perfectly safe, but it's a heck of a lot safer than it was.
KING: What's next?
CLANCY: For me?
CLANCY: I never talk about works in progress.
KING: That's right, you never do.
CLANCY: Yes, sorry.
KING: "The Bear and the Dragon," thanks, Tom.
CLANCY: My pleasure, sir.
KING: Always good seeing you. Tom Clancy, megaselling -- everything he touches turns to gold. That's an original line. Let's put that in a book.
Deepak Chopra is next. Don't go away.
KING: It's always a great pleasure to welcome Deepak Chopra to LARRY KING LIVE. He's the co-creator of the new novel in paperback, "The Angel is Near." He's the CEO and founder as well of Chopra Center for Well Being, and "Time" selected him as one of the hundred icons and heroes of the 20th century.
DEEPAK CHOPRA, CO-CREATOR, "THE ANGEL IS NEAR": It's a way to express your innermost self. I've always believed actually fiction is a greater way of telling the truth than non-fiction, because in non- fiction, you're always worrying about who is looking over your shoulder, whether your facts are there or not. In fiction, you can reveal your fantasies.
KING: In fact, someone once said, if you want to learn the history of a culture, read the novels.
CHOPRA: Read the novelists, read the mythologies, and don't trust the historians, because they're journalists, and you never trust...
KING: Is this a series of books? Explain what this is.
CHOPRA: It's a series of books about...
KING: You read one already?
CHOPRA: Yes, it's was called "Lords of Light." It based on the Jewish Kaballah and the teachings of the Kaballah. This one is an extension of that. It's called "The Angel is Near," and it's about higher states of consciousness, about intuition and creativity and vision, and also about making choices, the idea that every moment is a moment of immense power, because every moment is a moment of infinite possibilities.
KING: Do we have heroes, heroines, villains?
CHOPRA: Oh yes, we have heroes, we have villains, we have a murder, in fact.
KING: Do we have sex?
CHOPRA: We have intimacy, close to sex.
KING: And now there's a movie coming?
CHOPRA: Well, there is a script, a screenplay, that Julia Ormond and I are doing together, and she read the novel, she called me, she said, this would make a great movie. I said, well, help me with the screenplay.
KING: Now what do we mean made by created by Chopra and Martin Greenberg? Two people wrote this book?
CHOPRA: I wrote the book. He packaged the book and did the research on it.
KING: This is like the Clancy package idea?
CHOPRA: Yes, in fact, Martin Greenberg is Tom Clancy's packager as well.
KING: I knew there was a hook to that.
So the package idea, I new one comes outs every?
CHOPRA: Every six months. KING: Every six months, And it's usually continuances?
CHOPRA: Yes, it's a series, like "Star Trek."
KING: How do you enjoy this concept?
CHOPRA: I love it, Larry, because it gives me a new way to express myself. It also gives me liberty that I've never had. So throughout this book, I have the angels voice sprinkled. The angel is an aspect of our higher self. If you look at any religious tradition, you'll find reference to angels. You know, Mohammed got his instruction from the angel Gabriel. The angel Gabriel appears in the Old Testament and the New Testament. In Eastern traditions, there's the concept of devas. So you find angels in eastern religions. You find them in Judaism. You find them in Christianity. You find them in Islam. And angels are symbolic of metaphorical expressions of state's of awareness that we're all capable of.
KING: But there are no angels then, you're saying?
CHOPRA: Oh, there are angels.
KING: But you just said they're symbolic.
CHOPRA: Well, everything is a symbolic expression of ourselves. All reality, what you see out there, the physical world, is a symbolic expression of who you are and where you are at this moment in your evolution. So even though we think there's an external reality independent of us, it's not. What exists out there, physicists will tell you, is a racially ambiguous and ceaselessly flowing quantum soup. The magic is inside us. All of reality is a selective act of interpretation and a tension.
There are forms of energy out there and information, as James Van Praagh will tell you in the next interview, that we don't have access to in our normal sensory apparatus, that even our scientific senses, which are extensions of our senses, cannot get at. So how do we know they exists? Well, there are mathematical hypotheses that support those realities, just like quantum physics and relativity predicted black holes, for example.
KING: But we haven't proven angels.
CHOPRA: We haven't, theoretically, proven even black holes, for that matter. They are mathematical concepts.
KING: Yes but we've seen electricity.
CHOPRA: We haven't seen electricity, or gravity or the subatomic forces for that matter. It's easy to define all these forces of nature by what they do. So you know, we know electricity...
KING: We know all the sound waves are going through us right now.
CHOPRA: We know that. KING: But we don't see them?
CHOPRA: We don't see them.
KING: In fact, this program that people are watching right now, these are waves in the energy field that are going through people's bodies, and traffic and walls, and flying through everything.
KING: Twenty-three thousand miles.
CHOPRA: That's Right.
KING: Back with more of Deepak Chopra. The new one is "The Angel is Near."
Don't go away.
KING: The new book in paperback from Deepak Chopra is "The Angel is Near."
You ever seen one?
CHOPRA: I'm listening to one right now.
KING: Present company excepted, have you ever had an angel in your life?
CHOPRA: Yes, I have actually. You know, just like we hear voices, we can see visions, and these visions can take physical form. So I would say, yes. In fact, I attribute all my creativity to these states of awareness where I find myself spontaneously tapping into something.
KING: Can you help someone do it as well?
CHOPRA: Yes, through mediation, through stealing the internal dialog, through going beyond the turbulence of your emotional mind to go past the secret passages and the dark alleys of your mind, and you go beyond the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and you find the light of consciousness where you can tap into these energies.
KING: Isn't that the hardest thing to do?
CHOPRA: But like anything else, it's a learned phenomenon. You know, you think riding a bicycle is very hard, but when you take doing it, you take training, you practice, and then get there.
KING: What about, is there a conflict in a highly technical world? We just spoke to Mr. Clancy about that. And spirituality?
CHOPRA: I think the highly technical world, in fact, warrants that we seek our spirituality with even more urgency, because the highly technical world is alienating us from the most important things in our life -- meaning, purpose, insight, imagination, understanding, knowingness, intuition, creativity -- these are the things that we live for, that we exists for, and the highly technical world can, in fact, aide us in getting to these places.
KING: In the religious area, what do you make of a Jewish individual on a national ticket?
CHOPRA: I just love it. I think it's time for us, and we can say very proudly as a nation that we are getting out of our adolescence, we are getting out of our puberty into a real maturity that we are now ready to really express our freedom as we should have. We are beyond the days of slavery and ethnocentricism, and bigotry, and hatred and prejudice. America is leading the way with this.
KING: Do you think, though, there's still a lot of that?
CHOPRA: I think there's a lot of that, and I think it's a great thing that Mr. Gore has done. He's made a statement.
KING: Not whether you support him politically or not.
CHOPRA: It doesn't matter. It's a great statement, It's a great statement for America.
KING: And the fact that it's not your religion, that's not important to you?
CHOPRA: I think spirituality is a domain of awareness which is universal, the truths of the Kaballah, the truth of Judaism, the truth in Christianity, in Buddhism, ultimately, if you go beyond the superficial differences. They are all about a domain of awareness where we experience ourselves as one being.
KING: What do you make of two conflicts going on at the same time. We're certainly appear to be getting more spiritual -- spiritual books, spiritual programs, guess like this. We're also getting more violent.
CHOPRA: I think, Larry, when there is a phased transition in society, like when water comes to a boiling point, there's a lot of turbulence, and I personally feel that we are in the midst of reaching a phase of transition in our society where a critical mass of people are saying, we're done with ethnic cleansing, we're done with bigotry, we're done with racism, and then you spontaneously unleash the negative forces that spark off evolution. The evolution goes through periods of creativity, and periods of entropy, and periods decay, and there's always a tension between these things.
KING: So there's always a step back in the evolution? There could be another Hitler?
CHOPRA: I don't think there could ever be another about Hitler, by the way. The world wouldn't allow that.
KING: Because of communications.
CHOPRA: Because of communications. Because now we -- there are no secrets left.
KING: There's also, in that, a loss of innocence?
CHOPRA: There is a loss of innocence, and that's why I think it's so important that we restore it back. That's why I, for one, am very, very glad at the success of the sorcerer novels, you know, what are they?
KING: Yes, Harry Potter.
CHOPRA: Harry Potter. They're bringing innocence back to our children. And that's the realm from where all creativity comes.
KING: And they love it.
CHOPRA: And they love it, and they're reading for a change.
KING: Well, maybe they'll get this one, too.
CHOPRA: Thanks, Larry.
KING: Deepak Chopra, the new one in paperback, "The Angel is Near."
We're a very diverse show. We're going to prove that. Tammy Faye Messner, one of you're favorite people, who's next. Don't go away.
KING: There's an extraordinary documentary out. It's gotten tremendous reviews from tough critics. Its subject is our guest. The documentary is "The Eyes of Tammy Faye." And the guest is Tammy Faye Messner. We first discussed this with her about a year ago, way before it came out, and now it's out.
Whose idea was this?
TAMMY FAYE MESSNER, DOCUMENTARY SUBJECT, "THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE": Well, it was the idea of Cinemax actually, and they went to a producer, The World of Wonder, and asked them if they would do a documentary. They came to me, and I said no, I don't want to go back there, I don't want to put my family through the hurt again, and I said you can't go forward looking in the rearview mirror, no, I'm not interested. And finally they talked me into it, and I thank God every day now that they did, Larry.
MESSNER: Because I believe it's finally giving people a chance to look at both sides. You know, we in America sometimes are sort of one-sided, we will look at one side and make up our mind on that, and there's always two sides to every story. And I'm really great full that this movie is showing both sides, for the first time I think. KING: Did you have control over its final content?
MESSNER: Absolutely nothing. I did not -- they told me I would have no control over it, I would have no editing rights. They told me that right up front, and they said I wouldn't see it until everybody else did, which I got the movie three days before the Sundance Film Festival, and I wouldn't watch it. I was so nervous, I thought I was going to die, and I -- we had it there for two days before I'd even watch it, and finally my husband, Roe, said: "We have to watch this. You can't go to the Sundance Festival and not have watched your own movie."
And so he tied my hands behind my back and sat me down, and I watched it. And I realized after the first five minutes, Larry, that it was going to be OK, because I had no idea whether if they were going take the high road or the low road or no road at all. I didn't know where they were going to go with it.
KING: So -- but every critic thus far said it's extraordinarily very fair.
MESSNER: I think it's -- I think it's extremely fair. I think the greatest compliment that can be given to the movie was that my son enjoyed it. He loved it, although it made him very sick. He cried through the whole thing. He said, "Mother, I've to got to run and throw up." It was such an emotional time for him to see his life.
You know, I thank God, Larry, that life happens in segments and you can't see your whole life flash before you, or I don't think any of us could take it.
KING: What kicked it over for you? You must have been wary.
MESSNER: You know, what kicked it over for me: the honesty of the people who produced it, telling me right up front that I was going to have no rights at all in the editing of the movie, and they were going to come to my house, tear my house up, sit with me for hours, take me on airplane rides, which I hated. We were going to travel all over, we were going to do all this stuff.
Usually, when they're trying to talk you into something, they lie a little bit...
KING: I know.
MESSNER: ... but they didn't lie.
KING: So you appreciated that honesty.
MESSNER: I did. I appreciated the honesty.
KING: What was the toughest part for you in watching it?
MESSNER: The toughest part for me watching it, well, one tough part was going back to Heritage USA. That was very sad for me. I had not been back there, and it was very sad: the quietness and stillness of Heritage USA after being there when there were 6 million people that had come over the last year we were there to Heritage USA.
It was such a lively, wonderful, fun, going, being, doing place with families, and then to go in and just -- you could just hear the quietness. It was really a hard time for me to go back to Heritage.
And one other hard time for me was, of course, when my husband was sent to prison. That was extremely hard for me.
KING: There's a lot of the young Tammy Faye in this.
KING: Was it kind of interesting to look back?
MESSNER: Yes. Did you finally see me without my makeup?
KING: Was it interesting for you to look back?
MESSNER: It was very interesting, because I -- they took it way back to when Jamie was first born, and I walked on -- on television with Jamie for the first time. And so it was, wow, I couldn't believe.
And folks, I had no makeup on, so if you want to see me without my makeup, see "The Eyes of Tammy Faye." She didn't have any eyes then.
KING: What -- why do you think the public is still so fascinated with you?
MESSNER: Is it the eyelashes, Larry?
KING: No, it has to be more than that.
MESSNER: I have absolutely...
KING: What do you think it is?
MESSNER: I don't know. I think it's just my blunt honesty. I don't hold back. If you want to know what I think, ask me and I'll tell you.
The PTL singers used to laugh and say -- they used to laugh and say, well, at least we know what she thinks. And when the movie, the guys who did the movie, they told the papers, they said: We thought when we did it we would see behind the eyes of Tammy Faye. We'd see that behind that makeup, behind that facade. They said when we looked behind it, all there was, was Tammy Faye.
KING: Yes. And also not only -- you've been involved in scandal?
MESSNER: Oh, yes.
KING: You've had your personal life ripped apart.
MESSNER: I have.
KING: Your husband cheated on you and the world knew it.
MESSNER: Yes, yes. The whole world.
KING: And yet this intense interest remains.
MESSNER: It's very interesting. I think I'm a survivor, Larry. I think anyone who has been through as much as I have, and still alive, still kicking, still laughing, and still enjoying life, in spite of it, I think people look at that and say, if she can do it, so can I. And that's my message to people today, is you can make it. You know, get yourself up, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.
KING: The ever-optimistic Tammy Faye. We'll be back with some more moments with Tammy Faye Messner, the former Tammy Faye Bakker, and she is the subject of the documentary film now out "The Eyes of Tammy Faye."
In a little while, James Van Praagh. More of Tammy Faye, right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE")
MESSNER: Jim would have never allowed a chair like this to sit at Heritage USA. It would have been painted. He never allowed a light bulb to be out. He never allowed a dirty restroom. He never allowed grass to grow uncut. And he would have never allowed this. When I look at this chair, rusted away, that's sort of what's happened to Heritage USA, and how I would love to put a fresh coat of paint on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you'd never done pictures without those eyelashes?
MESSNER: No, and I never will, because that's my trademark...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
MESSNER: And if I take my trademark away, then it's not me. And so I hold onto that. I...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if you...
MESSNER: No. They're going to stay just where they are. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. All right.
MESSNER: You can do anything else, but my eyelashes are going to stay where they are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I'm going to start by taking some off. I'm going to take your foundation off...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take your lips off.
Do you want a little (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
MESSNER: They're permanently lined.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh.
MESSNER: And my (UNINTELLIGIBLE) are permanently lined. My eyebrows are permanently lined. So there's not a whole lot you can do with that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My goodness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE")
MESSNER: I get so sick of this Hollywood crap. I like real.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree.
MESSNER: I'm an old farm girl and I like real.
So I'm wearing all these wigs!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Tammy Faye Messner, the subject of the documentary "The Eyes of Tammy Faye." How do you explain the fact that you've become an icon in America's gay community?
MESSNER: Well, Larry, I've been made fun of, I've been put down, I've been misjudged, all of these things that's happened in my life. And I think that's the same thing that has happened in their lives, and I feel that they can -- I'm a safe person that they can love. They know I'm not going to put them down. They know I'm not going to judge them. I've been judged so harshly myself so many times that I'm certainly not going to judge anybody else. I want my life to be a hospital, not a courtroom, where I'm poking my finger at people and judging them.
And I think that's just the Christ-like thing to do. That's not, oh, wonderful Tammy at all. It's just the Christ-like thing to do that's part of living the life of a Christian.
KING: What do you make of some religious leaders, televangelists especially, who are blatantly anti-gay in not the person, but in the act and calling them sinners and degradation and...
MESSNER: Well -- well, the Bible -- the Bible says he -- let he who is without sin cast the first stone, and we all ought to carry a little stone around with us to remind us. None of us is without sin, Larry, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We were all made out of the same old dirt and we're all going back to the same old dirt.
And so what happens in between is a choice that we have to make.
KING: Is this new thinking for you? Would you have said the same thing about the gays 15 years ago?
MESSNER: I would have said the same thing, because I see them as people. I see them as people that God loves just as much as he loves Billy Graham, just as much as he loves Oral Roberts. Just as much as he loves anyone else, he loves the gay community, too, because we're all just people.
KING: What do you think of the candidacy of a Jewish man on a major ticket?
MESSNER: I think it's wonderful because why are they so worried about religion in the White House. You know, they never -- they never practice it anyway.
KING: God is going to be in this campaign a lot. Is that OK with you?
MESSNER: Why is that?
KING: That God is going to be in this campaign.
MESSNER: Oh, I think it's wonderful. I just think it's wonderful that God is going to be in this campaign, but I do wish they would practice him a little bit more in the White House.
KING: And how is your husband's health? We know, the last time we saw him, he has prostate cancer.
MESSNER: My husband has prostate cancer. He's doing watchful waiting and he feels wonderful. He's in great health. I'm in great health. I will be cancer free March 6th for five years, for which I thank God. KING: Now watchful waiting is rolling the dice a little, though, isn't it?
MESSNER: Well, it is, but when you're with God, the dice always roll the right way, and he's trusting God.
And you know, Larry, you can trust God with you, you can trust God with your family. Roe trusts God with him and I trust God with him.
KING: Now, what are you going to do, Tammy Faye, after this is a hit, this documentary? It might get nominated for some awards. Do you want to come back to the business?
MESSNER: Well, Larry, it all depends on what would open up for me. If something that I felt could be helpful, something where I could help people and be a real -- something that could change this hurting world, I would definitely consider going back if someone were interested in having me.
KING: And give me a concept of what would interest you, a sample of "Boy, this is something I'd like to do."
MESSNER: Well, I've always been a talker, as you know. You can't shut me up.
I would love to do a talk show with young people. Young people today are -- I feel are falling by the wayside. They're committing suicide at a greater rate than ever, and I would really like to get into the middle of a young person's mind and just go with it, and find out what makes young people tick today, and what world are they looking forward to do in the future: what are their dreams, what are their hopes, what are their visions. And then help them accomplish it.
KING: Have you talked to people about it?
MESSNER: Well, no. Well, one person, and it was -- it's on my documentary, and it's a very uncomfortable moment for me, because he looks at me like I'm crazy to even think I could do such a thing. And it sort of -- if you weren't careful, it could undermine your confidence quite a bit.
KING: So what do you do? What do you do every day?
MESSNER: What do I do every day? Well, you know I have a Web site now, and this is. TammyFaye.com. I'm wearing it around my neck. My friend Joe Spot (ph) says, you always forget to do that, so I'm going to have you a necklace made up. So he had me a little 14 carat gold necklace made up with a little diamond for the dot. Now, it's that cute.
We're selling products on the network.
Did you get yours, Larry?
KING: I did.
MESSNER: You got your recovery? We're selling products on the network.
KING: So you have a business?
MESSNER: Well, we're just starting. We're just now starting. We're just selling shampoo, conditioner and bubble bath at this time. And it's very good stuff. I love it, and it's called "recovery," because at the end of a hard day, it helps you recover and relax.
KING: And we know you've come into a very nice friendship with your ex-husband.
KING: We had you on together during the millennium with both your new spouses.
KING: The children are well?
MESSNER: The children are well. I've been babysitting the grandkids for a week, picking up wet towels all over the house, and trying to figure out why one kid wants regular spaghetti sauce on his spaghetti, and the other one only one wants cheese melted and butter on it. How do you figure that?
KING: There's only one Tammy Faye. Thanks, Tammy. Always great seeing you.
MESSNER: Bye-bye, Larry.
KING: Tammy Faye Messner, the former Tammy Faye Bakker, the subject of "The Eyes of Tammy Faye."
James Van Praagh has a new book out. We'll talk with him right after this.
KING: Quite an array of guests tonight, and what a way to wind it up, James Van Praagh, the bestselling author who communicates with those that have departed. His new back is "Healing Grief" -- it's been out since May -- "Reclaiming Life After Any Loss." It's been a bestseller.
How -- what brings you as an expert on grief, since I know you talk to dead people, but that doesn't mean you're an expert on grief.
JAMES VAN PRAAGH, AUTHOR, "HEALING GRIEF": Well, really based upon my 20 years or so of doing this work. How this book came about really was people came to me and they said after these readings, which were incredible and they really got a lot out of them, "How can I move on with my life? What can do with making..." KING: Loss.
PRAAGH: Yes, how to deal with loss, and I had no answers for them. So what I did is I wrote this book on how to get through loss. And the book, really, I researched hundreds and hundreds of books from around the world, plus based upon the spiritual messages that have come though to me over the years on various aspects of grief and loss. And I've used them in order to put this book together.
KING: Isn't that the hardest thing to deal with in daily life?
PRAAGH: You bet.
PRAAGH: And it happens on a daily loss -- daily basis.
KING: Loss of job, lost of -- it's not just loss of life.
PRAAGH: That's right.
PRAAGH: The most obvious...
KING: You deal with all kinds of grief?
PRAAGH: Sure, the most obvious...
KING: Loss of a home?
PRAAGH: Loss of a home. Loss of age. Your youth.
PRAAGH: That's a big one that everyone goes through, and we're not taught how to deal with these things, we're not given the tools in how to handle them, how to resolve them.
So part of the reason with the book was to help people to go through these things, to go through the process, to recognize a loss: not just a death, but different types of loss and how to get through them.
KING: Is one of the ways to take a loss and look at it as "I'm better for it, I can gain from it"?
PRAAGH: Yes. Any time there is a loss -- I'm not talking just about death -- it's an opportunity for growth. So you look at it and you assess it, and you say, OK, what have I learned from this situation? What has it taught me about myself, and how will this change my life for the better? What can I do differently now to move onto the future?
KING: The toughest is death, though, is it not?
PRAAGH: The toughest is death.
KING: It's permanent, and it's all there -- we even know we know it's going to happen. It always hurts even if your mother is 99.
PRAAGH: That's right. It's a physical loss is what it is.
KING: And some say that what you do is bring relief to these people by telling them they're not gone.
PRAAGH: That's right. That's right. I bring a closure to people and a realization that we're just spirits. First and foremost, we're spiritual beings have a physical experience, and then when you look at things from that perspective, you see what you're here to learn and why you're here.
KING: So you're saying death isn't an end.
PRAAGH: It's a beginning actually. It's a beginning to the higher life.
KING: When did this first happen to you?
PRAAGH: You know, I never believed in this sort of thing. I really was sort of skeptical.
When I was a little boy around the age of 8 or 9. I used to see things around people. I used to see colors around people. I'd see shapes around people.
KING: Where was this? Growing up where?
PRAAGH: Growing up in New York, and you can see many things in New York. But -- and I would see faces, and I would tell people what I was seeing and it made sense to them. I shut off about age 9 or 10.
Like most kids, we're very open psychically, and they usually close down 9, 10, 11 years of age and begin to rationalize, right?
Well, then it opened up again in my early 20s when I began to meditate.
KING: You stopped seeing the faces during your teens?
PRAAGH: Stopped seeing the faces, lived a normal life, but then in my early 20s I began to meditate, and I would say within three or four months after beginning to meditate and getting into a silence...
KING: Those are the first contacts you had that you knew there was something after?
PRAAGH: The first contact I had was actually someone standing right next to me, and I was speaking to this girl. It was a friend of a friend. And I kept getting this impression of this woman coming up to me and saying, Idaho, I live in Idaho. And then I saw in my mind's eye a house, a white house with yellow shutters. And I explained to this girl what I was seeing, and she said that's my grandmother's house and she lived in Idaho. And then more details came through, and that was a quite a while ago now, 20 years.
KING: Now, that had to be scary.
PRAAGH: Not really.
PRAAGH: It was -- quite the opposite. It was an exhilaration, a feeling of exhilaration and peace, because when she came through with the thoughts and the impressions, accompanying them was this incredible amount of peace and love, if you will.
KING: So to help those grieving, where do the departed go? What happens?
PRAAGH: Well, the departed -- see, we have to look at it from beyond the physical. The spiritual dimension is all around us, so we're just looking at it with the physical limitations that we have, our physical sense. But the spirit is beyond physical, so spiritual dimensions are around us and interacting between us. Just because we're not aware of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
KING: When does it leave the body? Leaves it at death? I mean, what happens when you die?
PRAAGH: The spirit leaves the body every single night you go to sleep. What happens the spirit body will leave the physical body during sleep, and you will go to spiritual dimensions. And some people talk about seeing loved ones then, having dreams, experiences where it seems very, very real to them.
KING: None of this provable?
PRAAGH: Well, none is proved until we all pass over ourselves, really what happens. So then, what happens at the time of death is the consciousness, the conscious comes out of the body, and you have total awareness of these spiritual dimensions, of this part of yourself, if you will, because there is -- there are many parts to us, to the human body, or to the body, the human body, but "the body." There are many bodies of man, and we become in touch with them, in tune with them when we pass out of the physical.
KING: Do you get in touch with your own departed?
PRAAGH: No, I don't. I can't for myself personally, because I can't be objective, because it might be me personally having a desire trying to get through to someone. I can't be objective.
But if I read a family member, then that's a different story.
KING: Grief over death then is more grief for ourselves. The dead person ain't hurting. We're hurting for missing them, right?
PRAAGH: Exactly right.
KING: If you're dead you're dead. PRAAGH: Exactly right. And what the -- you know, we have this detachment when someone passes over or...
KING: But it's our loss. It's kind of selfish in a way.
PRAAGH: It's our selfish. In a way, it is. But it also validates that person's life in ours, you know, that relationship that we had.
KING: More with James Van Praagh, author of "Healing Grief: Reclaiming Life After Any Loss," right after this.
KING: You have some good tips, guidelines for healing. Celebrate memories, you say?
PRAAGH: Oh, yes. That's exactly right. I say to people, when someone passes over, celebrate their life. Do something that they've always wanted to accomplish in their life but they weren't able to do because they're passing.
KING: You (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to acknowledge your feelings. It's OK to cry.
PRAAGH: The No. 1 way is to express your grief: talk to family members, talk to friends, write letters. But the most important thing is to get it out, because if you don't get that grief out, it will sit and fester within you, and it will come out later in other physical ailments.
KING: The Jewish concept of sitting shiva for a week, where people come, family members, and you just sit and think about -- a good idea?
PRAAGH: I think it's a very good idea, because I think you are expressing your grief in that respect.
KING: Do you also try to continue the life of the department? In other way, there's a way of keeping him alive, talk about him a lot or her a lot.
PRAAGH: Sure, sure. I think that's a very important thing to do, because it was a very important part of your life.
KING: But you're telling them that person is there with them anyway?
PRAAGH: They are. They are.
KING: So you see how people -- when you die, you see your own funeral.
PRAAGH: You bet, many, many times. And many times, I've had people come through in readings and they discuss their funeral: details about the songs, about the prayers, about what people said. And it's very interesting, because you can attend your own funeral. You bet.
KING: Deepak Chopra believes in it. He was here earlier. Do you believe in reincarnation?
PRAAGH: Oh, very much so.
KING: How do you explain that? If you're dead and going on, why would you come back?
PRAAGH: Well, you're looking at it as just linear. It's not just this who you are here. There's more to your personality than just what is in this physical body. And you're also looking at it from a time limit, because there's no such thing in time (UNINTELLIGIBLE) time and spirit. They're outside of time.
So you can be several places at once when you're in the spirit world, and you can come back in a certain amount of time, which would be different from our physical time, our knowledge of time here.
KING: You seem to have a complexity here. I asked Deepak about it.
We have a growing amount of violence, violent films, get it done, move it on, rap music, et cetera. We also have search for spiritual meaning. That seems a dichotomy. How do you explain it?
PRAAGH: Well, I listened to what he said. It's very true. I agreed with him very much so.
I think that there's always an evolution of consciousness, and I think that's what's happening. We're having evolution of consciousness of our spiritual selves. We're becoming aware of our true natures, if you will. And I think when you bring in all that light and you open yourself up, you also equal it out with the dark. And I think that one has to be in balance with the other. And I think that in life all things must be in balance, and I think that's what you're seeing, is you're seeing as you're bringing in the light, the darkness is coming through.
KING: Do you have any thoughts on grief when it's a shock as opposed to your father has cancer and he has 6 months to live or here's an auto accident that happened? That's two different kinds of grief: shock?
PRAAGH: True. Shock is actually a part of the process of the grief process. Shock actually happens in any single death, because even though it's an automobile accident or it's a cancer, which people expect, even when that person passes it's still a shock, because...
KING: But not as big a shock as...
KING: ... your son die?
PRAAGH: That's something unexpected. KING: Or a young person die?
PRAAGH: That's very true. It's a different type of shock. But shock is part of the process, which you go through, and it's very normal to feel that, by the way.
KING: Isn't the most difficult death the death of a child?
PRAAGH: I think so. Oh, yes. I think so. And I've worked with thousands and thousands of parents, and you bet, there's nothing like that, death of a child.
KING: Now, when a child, let's say an infant, a year-old person, passes on, how can they communicate with you, since they couldn't talk?
PRAAGH: They couldn't talk physically, but mentally they can send thoughts out. But also I've had -- I've had that happen. I've had people come through who helped them to come through: caretakers, if you will, relatives who bring them through as well. I've had that happen many times.
KING: Does it frighten you, all this kind of thing that you have?
PRAAGH: Just the opposite -- it's a reassurance. And I mean, when I see how these lives have been affected and changed, when people realize there's no such thing as death, they begin to really assess their lives, and they see how they can move on, and how this has really helped them as far as their own spirituality, as far as what they're doing their lives, their priorities. They can what is important and what is not, and how it will help them in their life.
So no, just the opposite.
PRAAGH: And the amount of healing that takes place is incredible.
KING: The dead have emotions?
PRAAGH: You bet. Of course, it's part of who we are.
KING: So Holocaust victims, would they be angry?
PRAAGH: You know, I don't know if they'd be angry, because how do we know that they didn't choose that situation before they came back on this Earth in order to teach human kind about these sorts of things?
KING: So this is a continual learning process?
PRAAGH: You bet. This is our school room. We're here to learn. We go through all these experiences in order to learn. All these situations, which some times seem horrible and terrible, and "How could God do this to us?" these are incredible experiences to learn by.
KING: Has it increased your faith in God or lessened it?
PRAAGH: Oh, increased my faith in God, you bet, more and more, more so. I see God in everything. I see God in all people. I see God in every thing. Every day, I see God: in a smile, in eyes, in a flower. That's how I see God.
I don't see God as a figure, as a person. I see God as everything.
KING: Always great seeing you, James.
PRAAGH: Thanks, Larry. You, too.
KING: James Van Praagh, the bestselling author. The new one, "Healing Grief: Reclaiming Life After Any Loss."
Deepak Chopra, Tom Clancy and our friend Tammy Faye were the guests earlier. We thank you for joining us. We'll be back on Monday night with another edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
For all of our guests and our crew here in Los Angeles, have a great rest of the weekend and good night.
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