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CNN Larry King Live

Tammy Faye Battles Cancer

Aired July 19, 2007 - 21:00   ET


KING: Tonight, Tammy Faye Messner, gravely ill with inoperable cancer, down to 65 pounds and facing mortality in the unforgettable interview she feels she has to do.

KING: And then, Tammy Faye's son, Jay Bakker and Deepak Chopra on her remarkable courage in the face of death.

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

It's been 16 months since our good friend and frequent guest Tammy Faye Messner appeared here on camera. She recently reached out to us, saying that talking to her public makes her feel stronger and wanting to do the interview that you're about to see, which we taped yesterday.

It may be hard to watch what inoperable cancer has done to her. It's tough for us to see Tammy Faye looking so weak.


But as you're about to see, if she's 65 pounds, it's all heart.

A great pleasure to welcome a return visit -- always to welcome a return visit with Tammy Faye Messner, the former wife of televangelist Jim Bakker, former co-host of "The ""PTL" Club"".

She's been waging a long battle with inoperable cancer.

With her is her husband, Roe Messner. He's also a builder of churches and he says he's built more than 1,700 churches since 1953.

Roe will be joining us in the third segment.

We're going to spend the earlier segments with Tammy Faye.

How are you doing, dear?

T.F. MESSNER: I'm doing pretty good considering the circumstances, Larry.

KING: You are in Kansas City, Missouri.

That's --

T.F. MESSNER: Well, I am.

KING: What are you doing there?

What's -- why there?

T.F. MESSNER: We just moved. My husband's children and grandchildren are all within a hundred mile range of the area. And I felt it would be -- it's his turn to be with his grandchildren and his children.

KING: All right. You posted a letter recently on your Web site saying that you've gained a little bit of weight and that you're craving a burger and French fries with lots of ketchup.

Can you eat that?

T.F. MESSNER: Yes. And no, I can't eat it. All I eat is chicken soup and rice pudding. But I'm looking forward to the day when I can bite into that hamburger and those fries. I've gained five pounds. Yes.

KING: You're receiving hospice care at home?

T.F. MESSNER: Yes, I am.

KING: How does that work?

T.F. MESSNER: Well, it works where the person comes to your house and brings all of the medications that you need. I have a wheelchair -- wheelchair and there are several other appliances.

KING: We have a lot of e-mails for you today, as you might imagine.

One comes from Debbie in Fredericton, Canada.

T.F. MESSNER: Hi, Debbie in Fredericton.

KING: The question is: "My prayers are you Tammy Faye. What have the doctors said to you about how much time you may have left?"

T.F. MESSNER: I asked them not to tell me. I don't want my faith level to go up or down. And so I don't fear. I'm concerned, Larry, but I don't fear.

KING: Are you in pain?

T.F. MESSNER: All the time.

KING: The pain is where?

T.F. MESSNER: It's in my back and in my tummy.

KING: The cancer is where? T.F. MESSNER: It's in my lungs.

KING: And is it staying in the lungs or has it spread from the lungs?

T.F. MESSNER: It has stayed in the lungs.

KING: Now you've always been so upbeat, the feeling of god being with you.

Does that remain?

T.F. MESSNER: That remains consistent. I talk to god every single day. And I say, god, my life is in your hands and I trust you with me.

KING: We have an e-mail from Renee in Strongsville, Ohio: "I admire you for your unshakeable faith. Do you believe when you leave this Earth, you're going to go to a better place?"

T.F. MESSNER: I believe when I leave this earth -- because I love the lord -- I am going straight to heaven.

KING: Did you ever know Ruth Graham, who recently passed away?

T.F. MESSNER: You know, I didn't. I knew Billy quite well and he said that someone that works for him said to him and Ruth told him that he prayed -- that he prayed for me every single night.

KING: Frankly, Tammy dear, we've known you so long and you've been with us so many times, are you still a little scared?

T.F. MESSNER: A little bit, for my children mostly.

KING: But it would -- it would not be for yourself?

T.F. MESSNER: For myself, I know where I'm headed. But I know the sadness, you know, that comes with those that care about you.

KING: How are your children?

T.F. MESSNER: They're doing great. Jamie is still in the youth ministry and Tammy Sue works for Roe.

KING: Concerning that, we have an e-mail from Jeremy in Bulina (ph) -- Mulino, Oregon. "What do you think about Jay and his ministry? Two years ago, I heard him preach in an L.A. Nightclub, where supposedly normal people wouldn't want to be. He changed people's lives that night. May god bless you and him."

What do you think about what he's doing?

T.F. MESSNER: I think it's wonderful. I don't think god cares what you put in your body or on your body. And he is just doing fantastic.

KING: The last time you were on, Tammy, you said that you'd been skirting the issue of planning for your death.

Have you been thinking about it, what kind of service you'd like, what kind of epitaph?

What do you want?

T.F. MESSNER: Well, I still would like to be cremated and I want -- I don't want bugs to eat me.


KING: Why do you want to be cremated?

T.F. MESSNER: That's why. I don't want the bugs eating on me.

KING: Do you have any problem with that, Roe?

ROE MESSNER, TAMMY FAYE'S HUSBAND: No, not really, Larry. It's Tammy's choice.

KING: OK, we have a question from Laurel in Leonardtown, Maryland: "Have you been able to stay in touch with any of your castmates from 'The Surreal Life?' You seem to have such a genuine maternal relationship with some of them.

T.F. MESSNER: I do. I talk to them quite often. In fact, they send me flowers. They send me cookies. They send me candy. They send me everything. And I talk to them on the phone a lot -- a lot.

KING: Are you bedridden most of the time?

T.F. MESSNER: Most of the time, yes.

KING: Is the pain constant?

T.F. MESSNER: Yes. Yes, it is. My back hurts so bad and then my stomach -- I have a hard time swallowing food. That's the reason that I have lost so much weight now.

KING: What do they give you for the pain?

T.F. MESSNER: They give me --

R. MESSNER: Morphine.

T.F. MESSNER: Morphine.

KING: Yes.

And do you ever get where you become immune to it?


T.F. MESSNER: No, thank god. And thank god I haven't.

KING: So it always works? T.F. MESSNER: It takes about a half hour to kick in and once it kicks in, it stays for a long time.

KING: Have you heard from Jim Bakker?

T.F. MESSNER: Jim -- not Jim, but I've heard -- I've heard through his children -- his children -- his children.

KING: We're going to take a break and come back with more of Tammy Faye.

And then Roe Messner will join us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Don't go away.


T.F. MESSNER (SINGING): Never give up what he says he will do. Our god's not through blessing you.



T.F. MESSNER: Four months ago we left. And I have not walked in my house, have not seen my puppies and my kittens and all those things, and my dear friends that we love so much. And, also, the people at home -- we love you, we miss you --

R. MESSNER: Yes. And we hope all of the people we love so much will forgive us.



KING: Our guest is Tammy Faye, known -- known around the world, isn't she?

"If you could have people" -- an e-mail from Jane in Ashburn, Virginia, Tammy Faye -- "If you could have people remember you for one thing, what would it be?"

T.F. MESSNER: Well, my eyelashes.




KING: You've still got that humor.

T.F. MESSNER: Well, I walk with the lord. I think people need to know that there's great peace and joy in knowing the lord -- the lord Jesus Christ as your savior. I have a prayer partner. Her name is Deb -- Deborah Keener (ph). And she's with me right now. And she's doing the hospice work. And we pray together constantly. We pray for you. We pray for your family. And we pray for many other people.

KING: Give Deborah my best. I haven't seen her in a long time.

T.F. MESSNER: Oh. OK, sure.

KING: She's a Los Angeles girl.

T.F. MESSNER: She is.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Tina in Forestville, California: "If you go back -- if you could go back and change one thing in your colorful, eventful life, what would it be?"

T.F. MESSNER: Well, I don't think about that, Larry, because that's just a waste of good brain space.

KING: Well, you might forget the ""PTL" Club".

T.F. MESSNER: Well, I am -- I have gotten over that, thank god. That was a terrible, horribly bad experience.

KING: So many people who are watching and listening care about you so much.

T.F. MESSNER: Thank you, Larry.

KING: What would you like to say to them?

T.F. MESSNER: I'd like to say that I genuinely love you and I genuinely care and I genuinely want to see you in heaven some day. I want you to find peace. I want you to find joy.

KING: Wonderfully said.

We have an e-mail question from Jimmy, Sherman Oaks, California: "Unlike many of your Christian contemporaries, you have been a very positive influence in the gay community. Why do you think you found it in your heart to love and accept us?"

T.F. MESSNER: Well, you know when I went -- we lost everything -- it was the gay people that came to my rescue and I will always love them for that.

KING: An e-mail from Craig in Sulphur Springs, Texas: "What's your current relationship with your former husband, Jim Bakker?"

T.F. MESSNER: It's just fine. Well, with -- with Roe and me, we have a very good relationship.

KING: An e-mail from Kirk in Kirkwood, Missouri: "Who are the five people you're most looking forward to meeting in heaven?"

T.F. MESSNER: Billy Graham -- KING: He's not there yet.


T.F. MESSNER: Well, he'll be there.

KING: He'll be there.

T.F. MESSNER: And his wife. I'd like to meet her. And some of the famous evangelists that have gone on before us.

KING: And one more e-mail from Jaime in Houston, Texas: "What's your favorite bible verse for gaining peace and getting through hard times?"

T.F. MESSNER: My favorite one is -- is --

R. MESSNER: Romans 8:28.

T.F. MESSNER: Romans 8:28. "For we know that all things work together for good to those who love god and those that are called according to his purpose."

KING: Tammy Faye, what, in your opinion, is the best way to deal with cancer?

T.F. MESSNER: With -- with -- accept it -- that you have it, and do whatever you can to help get rid of it. But most of all, trust the lord. I don't have any date written on me anywhere that says I'm going to die at any certain time and so I just give it to the lord.

KING: And you firmly believe that you're going to heaven?

T.F. MESSNER: I know for sure. I'm positive.

KING: And having that belief reduces fear -- it makes -- it should eliminate fear.

T.F. MESSNER: It does, Larry, to a certain extent. I would say 99 - to 100 percent.

KING: We'll take a break.

And when we come back in our remaining moments, Tammy Faye will be joined by her loyal husband Roe, her husband and the builder of churches. He's built so many of them, by the way, since 1953.

And we'll share some more moments with the Messners, right after this.


T.F. MESSNER: Cancer is a very is a very -- is a very lonely disease, because nobody can go inside your head and nobody can fight it for you.

Thank god for my husband, who is just -- keeps me just above it all.

R. MESSNER: I'm going to lay down with you.

T.F. MESSNER: OK, baby.





T.F. MESSNER: If I died right now, I would consider myself one of the most fortunate women in the world to have lived and been able to do the kinds of things that I have been able to do in my life. And I'm very grateful to the lord for taking a little girl who had nothing to give but was willing to try.


KING: We're back in Kansas City, Missouri, as Tammy Faye Messner, former wife of televangelist Jim Bakker, long-time battle with inoperable cancer. With her is her husband Roe Messner, the builder of churches. He's built more than 1,700 churches since 1953.

By the way --

T.F. MESSNER: Isn't he -- isn't he cute?

KING: He's very cute, yes.


KING: By the way, do you still have prostate cancer, Roe?

R. MESSNER: Yes, I do, Larry. I've been very fortunate that the prostate cancer has stayed within the prostate. And, you know, the doctor told me years ago -- 10 years ago, as a matter of fact, when I was diagnosed with it, that I'd probably never die from prostate cancer. I'd die from a stroke or heart disease or something else.

And I've been very fortunate it has stayed contained in the prostate.

KING: You'll die with it, not of it.

R. MESSNER: That's it.

KING: Tammy Faye, I forgot to ask, how much do you weigh now?

T.F. MESSNER: I weigh -- I just weighed and I weigh 65 pounds.

KING: So that's a five pound gain from the last time we see --

T.F. MESSNER: Yes. Two-and-a-half, three pounds, yes. KING: That's terrific.

How, Roe, are you dealing with this illness of your wife?

R. MESSNER: Well, it's very difficult, Larry. But I have strong faith in the lord and I know that all things work together for good. And we just continue to praise the lord and believe that he knows what's best for our lives.

KING: Despite that faith, isn't it very hard, Roe, to live with it?

R. MESSNER: I think the caregiver is -- has a very difficult time during something like this.

But we make it good, don't we, honey?

T.F. MESSNER: Yes. I keep him awake every night because I have to get up about two or three times a night for medication. And so he has to get up and help me with my medication.

KING: Now, Roe, I know you knew Ruth Graham, didn't you?

R. MESSNER: Yes, I did, Larry. As a matter of fact, I visited in their home there in Montreat, North Carolina up on the mountain. And I've -- I've done some design work for Billy. And they're just a great, great people.

KING: They are great.

She was some lady.

R. MESSNER: Yes, she was.


KING: And, of course, Billy is incredible.

You know Billy well, Tammy?

T.F. MESSNER: Yes, I do. He's come to ""PTL"" many times and he's an awesome, awesome man.

R. MESSNER: Larry, I built Billy's home out there at "PTL," his childhood home.

KING: Wow!

R. MESSNER: We brought it out at Heritage USA and reassembled it. And that was a very interesting thing to do.

KING: Roe, what keeps her going?

R. MESSNER: Strong faith in the lord and a very positive attitude.

KING: And she -- does she have down times?

R. MESSNER: Not really. She's very positive all the time, Larry, even in all this pain and everything that's going on. She's -- she's unbelievable really.

T.F. MESSNER: Isn't that loveable?

He's so (INAUDIBLE).

R. MESSNER: I don't know how she does it.

KING: How do you do it, Tammy?

T.F. MESSNER: Well, again, faith in the lord. I just -- I just trust him with me.

KING: You keep that smile going, don't you?

T.F. MESSNER: I hope so.

KING: Does she wake up with a smile, Roe?

T.F. MESSNER: Always, Larry. She's very positive.

KING: Well, you're amazing people.

Tammy Faye, I wish you the best. I wish you all you wish yourself.

T.F. MESSNER: Thank you, Larry.

KING: I hope things go very well for you. And --

T.F. MESSNER: Thank you so much.

KING: -- when and if the end comes, no one will approach it better than you.

R. MESSNER: You know, Larry, we get hundreds of e-mails every day and letters. People are always asking Tammy about all these different questions, you know, about Heritage USA and Jim and Jerry Falwell, everybody. And, you know, she wrote a book that tells all about that. And if, you know, a lot of people would be interested in knowing about that -- it was a book she wrote called "Telling It My Way". And it answers all the questions of all the e-mails and the cards and letters that we get every day.

KING: Is it still available?

R. MESSNER: Still available.

KING: "Telling It My Way."

R. MESSNER: "Telling It My Way."

KING: She did that tonight. Thank you, Roe.

R. MESSNER: You bet.

KING: Tammy Faye, god bless.

T.F. MESSNER: God bless you, Larry.

KING: The one and only Tammy Faye.

Once again, she reached out to us wanting to do that interview. And from the incredible amount of e-mails that we get for her, we know she has a lot of fans out there. And all of us can only wonder at Tammy Faye's unique grace and spirit as she faces the fact of her mortality.

Tammy Faye's son, Jay Bakker, joins us when LARRY KING LIVE returns right after this.


KING: Joining us now from New York is Jay Bakker, Tammy Faye's son. He's the pastor with the Revolution Church. The Web site, by the way, for his ministry is

How are you dealing with your mom's illness, Jay?

JAY BAKKER, TAMMY FAYE'S SON, PASTOR, REVOLUTION CHURCH: It's been really tough. It's, you know, kind of one day at a time. I'm surrounding myself with friends, lots of prayer. I try to talk to mom on a regular basis. Sometimes, you know, you just go into denial and get yourself full of work, you know?

I just work a lot sometimes and try not to think about it.

But the best thing to do is spend time with her. And I'm really grateful for as much time as I had to be with her.

KING: Were you surprised at the strength she showed tonight?

BAKKER: Yes, I really was. She's -- she's been through a lot. I was surprised that she had the energy to do the interview. I still don't get over it when I see her sick. It's kind of a shock to see her so -- so skinny. But --

KING: It was a shock to me, too.

BAKKER: Yes, it's just, you know, it's really tough.

KING: Let's go back to your mom's interview when she answered a viewer e-mail question about you and your ministry.



KING: What do you think about Jay and his ministry?

What do you think about what he's doing?

T.F. MESSNER: I think it's wonderful. I don't think god cares what you put in your body or on your body. And he is just doing fantastic.


KING: Your thoughts?


BAKKER: Well, I mean it's nice to have your mom who is proud of you. Even though there's been times where we might have agreed to disagree on certain things, she's always really stood by me. And I always know that. You know, that's not a surprising thing to hear is -- she always tells me how proud she is of me.

And how awesome is that to have a mom like that who keeps encouraging you?

KING: How often do you get to see her?

BAKKER: I see her -- I at least see her like three or four times a month, you know?

I'll go for a week or so, you know, and spend some time with her.

KING: How is your sister, Tammy Sue, doing?

BAKKER: Well, Sue has really been a primary caregiver. She has been there constantly. And it's really tough on her. You know, it's hard when you're the one who is constantly there.

But, you know, she's strong but, you know, she's having a hard time, too. I mean watching a loved one who has so much power and so much strength and is just, you know, so alive with life and watching their body turn on them is very devastating and very hard to handle mentally.

KING: How is your dad, Jim, doing?

BAKKER: Dad's doing good. You know he's adopted five kids and lives in Branson, Missouri. We have been playing phone tag the past couple days. But he always tells me how much he's praying for mom and thinking about her. And you know, he -- he's a good guy.

KING: She described it tonight as lung cancer, but wasn't the initial diagnosis colon cancer?

BAKKER: Yes, it started in her colon and it has spread into her lungs and also her spine.

KING: She doesn't want to know how much time she has left. Do the doctors tell you? BAKKER: The doctors have told us in the past and she's outlived all of their guesses. You know I mean I've had -- a year ago they said she would be dead in two weeks. And you know, she's a fighter and I guess, like she said she has no expiration date. She just -- her soul and her spirit are stronger than her body.

KING: When parents are very ill, children often think about what kind of children they've been. Do you think about that?

BAKKER: Yes, I think about it sometimes. You know there are some regrets I have for when I was younger and drinking and carousing and doing all of those things. But at the same time, I've been able to, you know, make peace with mom and sit down and talk. And we're best friends. So I don't know if I was the best child in the world but she would probably say I was, you know.

KING: What kind of mother was she or what kind of mother is she? I'm sorry.

BAKKER: Well, she's a great mom. Growing up, you know, I knew if I came home too late there would be little Tammy Faye sitting in the dark in the corner being like "where have you been," you know. And she did the best she could. We always loved to go eat together, and shop together, and do all sorts of fun stuff. She's just a great mom. She's fun to pal around with.

You know we have an understanding. We go out and hang out and then we both want to come back to her house. I'll go in the guest room. She'll go in her room and watch TV. You know, we just have a great relationship. And she's a really great mother and a great grandmother.

KING: Do you learn a lot from her?

BAKKER: I've learned a ton from my mom. She stood up for people when it wasn't popular. She had one of the first people in the early '80s on Christian Television with AIDS. I mean Reagan didn't even mention the word AIDS during the '80s and here my mom was talking about it on Christian Television.

She had one of the first MCC pastors, which is the first gay denomination. She did an interview with them and always that she might not have agreed on everything with them, she loved them and built a bridge. And I just had a huge conference for MCC and hundreds of people just said, your mom built the bridge between Christianity and homosexuality and we love her and pray for her every day.

And, to me, that's -- you know, she will not be forgotten not just by the gay community but all communities. The people really have loved her because she's never changed when people tried to make her change. And she always stood up for the underdog and for those who were hurting.

KING: We'll take a break. And when we come back, Jay Bakker will be joined by Deepak Chopra, author of best-sellers like "Life After Death." That's when we come back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T.F. MESSNER: I'd like to say that I genuinely love you, and I genuinely care, and I genuinely want to see you in heaven some day. I want you to find peace. I want you to find joy.




T.F. MESSNER: I talk to God every single day. And I say, "God, my life is in your hands and I trust you with me." I believe when I leave this earth, because I love the Lord, I am going straight to heaven.


KING: Jay Bakker remains with us from New York, Tammy Faye's son, pastor with the Revolution Church. And joining us here in Los Angeles is Deepak Chopra, the "New York Times" best-selling author and spiritual leader. Among his many books, "Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment" and "Life After Death: The Burden of Proof." He's also founder of the Chopra Center for Well-being.

What did you make of Tammy Faye tonight?

DEEPAK CHOPRA, SPIRITUAL TEACHER & AUTHOR: I think it was extremely inspiring to see her. As a physician I've seen people die in the emergency room and they at first go through denial, then anger, then resentment, and then a desperate hopelessness. There's no peace. When we saw her, we saw peace because she has a relationship with that mystery that we call God. And that somehow gives her the strength to step into the unknown with that kind of peace and that inspiration.

KING: In your book "Life After Death," you wrote that "death deserves to be called miraculous because it's a doorway to a far more important event." What do you mean?

CHOPRA: Well, our consciousness, our soul, every spiritual tradition says is eternal, that it has no beginning in time. It transcends space, time, and causality. Different traditions have different interpretations of that. And in modern science, there's a controversy: does consciousness produce the physical world or is consciousness an expression of the physical world? More and more scientists are starting to lean towards the idea that consciousness conceives (UNINTELLIGIBLE) becomes what we call physical reality.

KING: Jay, do you think your mother is going somewhere?

BAKKER: Definitely. I believe she'll be in heaven.

KING: What do you think heaven is?

BAKKER: It's where God lives. It's where we have no more pain and suffering. And we're able to be with the creator.

KING: Why do you think -- and obviously she doesn't look good, Deepak?

CHOPRA: But even though she's in extreme pain, you can see that she doesn't have that thing we call suffering, which is in the mind, which is unconsciousness because she has found a relationship with that mystery we call God and also she has the ability to give and receive love. You know when people have that ability to give and receive love, they feel safe. They feel closer to God.

KING: I asked Tammy Faye if she was scared of dying and here's what she said.


KING: Are you still a little scared?

T.F. MESSNER: A little bit for my children mostly.

KING: But it would not be for yourself?

T.F. MESSNER: For myself I know where I'm heading, but I know the sadness that comes with those that care about you.


KING: What do you make of that, Deepak?

CHOPRA: Well, again, she's connected. She's connected to her relatives. She's connected to her children. She's connected to actually her fans even at this moment. And she has the ability to crack a joke. You know that's an extraordinary ability to have humor in the face of stepping out into the unknown at this moment.

KING: Jay, do you fear your own death?

BAKKER: Not really. I don't think about it much. I think we all have that percentage of doubt of "what if we're wrong?" But for the most part I don't fear death, no. I mean it's a mystery.

KING: Deepak, do you?

CHOPRA: No, I don't fear death. And I think about it. You know I think about the fact death is stalking me. And every time I look behind, it's a little closer. So in a way we're all on death row. The only uncertainty is the method of execution and the length of reprieve. And I admire her that, you know, in the face of this severe sickness she can be so peaceful and so full of humor as well.

KING: Has this ending, coming ending, changed her, Jay?

BAKKER: Well, it's where the rubber has hit the road. You know she has always talked about you can make it and you know God's not through using you, all this kind of encouragement. And what it's done is it's caused her to put it into effect. And she's taken all this positive -- I mean I can't believe it. I can't believe how positive she stays.

She's had a few moments here and there where she said she was scared or she was worried. But really she's just like, we've got to keep living, keep going, and she's really -- you know, if anything has changed about her, it's just her wanting to know how much she loves people and that's why she came on this show is because she wanted people to know how much she loves her fans and all those people, too, and how much she loves you, Larry.

CHOPRA: I think there is some very interesting material in the "Scientific American," the last issue, about cancer. And it says cancer becomes very aggressive in the face of inflammation, that when there's inflammatory cells in the body and they're thinking to use anti-inflammatory drugs so the cancer remains a little less aggressive low grade and people can live for a longer time.

Now we watched her and she's outlived her prognosis. You know they gave her 15 days over a year. And you know somehow I feel that inflammation in the mind, unconsciousness, transforms to inflammation in the body and because she's so peaceful, her body has actually used that peace to create a less inflammatory response in her body.

KING: Do you think, Deepak, people will learn from her?

CHOPRA: I hope so. I mean, you know, these are role models that we all need to feel safe ourselves.

KING: Jay, do you think she'll go when she feels it's time to go?

BAKKER: Well, yes.

KING: She'll make the decision?

BAKKER: Well, to a certain extent, yes. I think when she ready, she'll go. But you know her body is pushing, pushing pretty hard against her. So, you know, I think when it pushes hard enough, I think she'll know that it's time to go home.

KING: Why doesn't she blame God, Jay?

BAKKER: Well, I mean, I'm sure that there's been times in her quiet moments where she's asked God why. We all do. We all like to blame God for things. But we also know we live in a fallen world and a world that's full of disease and all sorts of things, and that's just part of humanity. So it's so easy to blame God for everything. But instead of blaming God, we just try to trust God, you know.

KING: Do you think she's going somewhere, Deepak?

CHOPRA: I think consciousness projects its own reality, yes. And our faiths, and our beliefs, and our expectations determine what we project into the future just like we do here. What is so remarkable about her is that she has surrendered. And that's very different from resignation. You know resignation is hopelessness and surrender is the faith that she has which allows her to step into the mystery of the unknown.

KING: So you would imagine she's helped a lot of people tonight?

CHOPRA: I think she has helped millions of people tonight and I think we're all inspired. You know we don't even have to have the same religion to see that this is the way to go.

KING: Thank you, as always, Deepak.

CHOPRA: We all have to go one day.

KING: Thanks for joining us.

CHOPRA: Thank you.

KING: Jay Bakker, thank you so much, continue being the great son you are...

BAKKER: Thank you.

KING: ...and wonderful pastor. Jay Bakker and Deepak Chopra.

KING: By the way, concerning cancer, Elizabeth Edwards will be a guest tomorrow night.

Up next, he had to go through his daughter's death twice, in a way, and as a result three top officials at her school have been forced out of their jobs. It's a tragic story when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No foul play. The university stuck to that story for more than two months. But, in fact, campus police were investigating Laura's death as a murder even though no one told Bob and Deb Dickinson or students still on campus. What they didn't know was that Laura had been found on the floor of her room naked from the waist down, legs spread, a pillow over her face, semen on her leg.


KING: A tragic story. Bob Dickinson is with us in Lansing, Michigan. His daughter Laura's body found at Eastern Michigan University in her dorm. At the time, officials said she died of natural causes. Then in late February, another EMU student is arrested for her murder. This week three EMU officials, including the school's presidents, were ousted from their jobs.

I'm so sorry to hear about this, Bob. How did you learn much of Laura's death?

BOB DICKINSON, FATHER OF LAURA DICKINSON: On Wednesday she was killed. On Friday, the 15th of December, Jim Vick called us -- called me at my coffee shop and told us that she had been found dead in her dorm room.

KING: And said it was of natural causes?

DICKINSON: Later that night, we received a call from a county medical examiner saying that there was no foul play...

KING: And that was all part of a cover-up, Bob?

DICKINSON: That's what's starting to get unraveled, now, yes. From sometime that Friday afternoon until February 23, we were led to believe nothing else had happened except some -- nothing foul play but natural causes.

KING: And what happens in February?

DICKINSON: February 23 we were met with a couple of police lieutenants and Gregory Peoples, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of Eastern. And we were given the news that they had arrested Orange Taylor for the murder and rape of Laura.

KING: And in all fairness, he has pled not guilty, right?

DICKINSON: Correct, he has.

KING: But she definitely was murdered, right?

DICKINSON: Yes. The autopsy report is written and the death certificate states that it was a homicide.

KING: Well, what now are your feelings about Eastern Michigan University and its officials? And why did they do this?

DICKINSON: Why they did it is the big unknown. Feelings towards Eastern, they've begun turning around and setting new policies and plans to correct what they did wrong. And basically what they did wrong is not follow federal law as stated in the Cleary Act about informing the public and informing everybody what's happened and when. They're taking care of business on their own. And dismissing the president, vice president, and the chief of police is part of that process.

KING: The fear they had was what do you think? I mean, what would have been terrible to tell you your daughter was murdered? Aside from the tragedy of that, what would have been -- on their part, what was the worry?

DICKINSON: The worry is unknown. Speculation is an image issue with the university. It's really hard to say exactly why anyone would do that. But there is a decision that was made that Friday and we're not sure who or why.

DICKINSON: How are you dealing with it?

DICKINSON: Right now, we're still getting through all of the -- oh, hearing about it twice and now getting ready for the trial in October, just keeping strong. We have a very lovely community that's just blessed us to death. And they're praying for us every day. There's hundreds of people just supporting us. And that's what is keeping us. That's what's taking us and getting us through it.

KING: Do you have other children?

DICKINSON: We have two sons, an older and a younger son than Laura, Josh and Kevin.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Bob Dickinson on the tragic death of Laura and the legacy that might come out of it in our remaining moments with her dad when we come back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The school's Board of Regents ordered an investigation. It found the school violated law because it failed to timely and properly warn the campus community. It also found both the university and campus police may have made a conscious decision to label the investigation as a death investigation not a homicide.

JOHN FALLUN, FORMER EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: I feel pretty good about the way the university handled this given all constraints and considerations.



KING: We're back with Bob Dickinson. That school is about a two-hour drive from the hometown. Did you have any trepidation about her going there?

DICKINSON: There was some initial. She had a passion to be there, though. She was taking up dietics and nutrition. And she felt comfortable there and soon met a lot of really close friends with the row team. And she was happy. We were content with her being there. Even though it was two hours away, it wasn't the ideal thing for a parent to experience, but it was -- she was OK there.

KING: You told a local TV interview that you don't hold grudges and don't hold feelings, hard feelings, against anyone at the school. Why not?

DICKINSON: Well, that would be a daily issue of forgiveness towards them and to live with that kind of a bitterness each day would be really pretty rough on me. It's just like I said it's a process they are going through. I didn't ask for anybody to be fired or let go or for Fallun allowing them to do their report.

Eastern is taking care of their own business and that's what needs to happen. Every university needs to look at their own businesses and see if they've got their plans and everything together, too.

KING: Have they formally apologized to you?

DICKINSGON: President Fallun and his wife did come to the coffee shop in Hastings with me. And we sat and talked for about an hour and he did apologize personally to Deb and myself.

KING: Is that a coffee shop you own?

DICKINSON: Yes, it is.

KING: Have you heard from fellow students?

DICKINSON: Just some of the close friends from the row team that knew Laura very well and the rowing coach.

KING: Are you -- do you plan to attend the trial of the man accused?

DICKINSON: Yes. Deb and I both will be there and as many family and friends as can make it will be there.

KING: You think -- it's hard to say, but do you think any good can come of this?

DICKINSON: The only thing good that we can think of now is if other universities do find problems with their plans and make the changes so that another set of parents like Deb and I don't go through this or a security change where another student may not happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's just unfortunate that a single event like that happened. But there's things that can be used to prevent the post event happenings.

KING: That's brave. Thank you, Bob. Thank you very much. You have our condolences.

DICKINSON: Thank you, Larry.

KING: The best to the rest of the family too.

DICKINSON: Thank you.

KING: Bob Dickinson.

I am holding my iPod, which can only mean one thing. Our new podcast is available for downloading head on. Head to or iTunes and get our latest podcast, Criss Angel. Criss the illusionist mindfreak that everybody is talking about. He's an incredible talent and it was a great interview. It's a podcast you won't want to miss. It's available at or on iTunes.

Our special guest tomorrow night is Elizabeth Edwards, wife of the former senator running for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

Now let's turn it over to Anderson Cooper and "AC 360."