Pastor Frank Benson
I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and my
family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas while I was an infant. My father provided
for the family by being a bootlegger, gambler, and owner of a night club, and
some of my earliest memories are of the street life and the people who lived
that life in what was considered the sinful part of Little Rock. I completed my
elementary school education in Little Rock, and I also completed 7th grade at
the Dunbar High School in Little Rock. I moved back to Kansas City to live with
my grandmother, and while in Kansas City, I attended R.T. Coles Jr. High School
and Lincoln High School until I completed my junior year. I completed my senior
year and graduated from the De La Salle Military Academy. After graduating from
high school, I worked at a variety of jobs, and trained as an amateur boxer. I
won 2nd place in my division in the Midwestern United States competition of the
Golden Gloves, and as a result of my success as an amateur boxer, I told my
boxing coach, "Bubbles" Klice, that I wanted to become a professional boxer, and
he suggested that I enlist in the Air Force and get more experience as an
amateur before becoming a professional.
I entered the U.S. Air Force, and I was trained to be an operating room assistant. I was assigned to Hunter Air Force Base in Savannah, Georgia, where I worked as a surgical technician and in ob/gyn helping to deliver babies. I was never given the opportunity to compete as a boxer in the Air Force, so I got married and started a family. Actually, I started a family and then got married before my first child was born. I became dissatisfied with my rate of promotions as an enlisted airman, so I applied for and was accepted into Officer Candidate School and earned my commission as an officer in 1960. I later entered and successfully completed Air Force pilot training in 1962.
I served as a pilot and flight instructor in Vietnam where I also did some temporary work as a flight instructor for a top-secret project, the First Flight Detachment SOG. While I was in Vietnam, I read quite a bit about the civil rights movement, and I decided that my fight was not in Vietnam, but back in the States. I separated from the military about a year after my return from Vietnam, and I was hired as a pilot by United Airlines. I was among the first ten Black Americans to be hired by the scheduled airlines, and as a result I was listed for several years in "Who's Who Among Black Americans." About two years after I started working for the airlines, I joined the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California and rose from being a rank-and-file street Panther to becoming the Deputy Minister of Information and managing editor of the Black Panther Newspaper. During my tenure as the managing editor, the circulation of the paper increased from approximately 5,000 copies per issue to 50,000 copies per week, and it was also during my tenure that the paper finally became a weekly publication. I was also assigned to the Central Committee, the policy making group for the entire BPP.
I was a panther and an airline pilot simultaneously. At that time in my life, I could not subscribe to nonviolent resistance after having been taught to fight for my freedom in the military. As a result of my activities as a Black Panther, I was subpoenaed and forced to testify before a grand jury in San Francisco and before the House of Representative's Committee on Un-American Activities in Washington, D.C. I was never found guilty of anything, and I left the Black Panthers when their emphasis changed from fighting racism to fighting capitalism.
After I left the Panthers, I continued working for the airlines, and on my days off, I worked as a volunteer field representative for a community service group which was part of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). I submitted a report to the administrators of the group stating that too much of the government money was going to the administrators of the OEO and not enough to the people who needed it, and after that I was no longer welcomed as a volunteer, so I stopped working as a field representative/community organizer. Because I admired the work that had been done by Malcolm X, I decided to give some consideration to becoming a Muslim, so I went on a missionary trip to Guyana, South America with a Muslim group from Pakistan, and while on that trip, I decided to become a Muslim and was given the name of Faryd Aslum which I was told means "the unique one who has found peace."
Being a Muslim did not give me the peace that I was seeking, so I stopped practicing Islam and began living a very worldly life. I lived a lifestyle that lead some of my friends and associates to start calling me "Frankie B" and "Midnight." I moved from northern California to Los Angeles where I had hoped some of my old Panther associates might be able to connect me with someone who wanted drugs smuggled into the U.S. via airplane. I knew that the work I had done for the First Flight Detachment in Vietnam had prepared me to make clandestine flights to and from the mainland. Before I made contact with the Los Angeles Panthers, a lady promised me that she would go on a date with me if I would first got to church with her, so with lots of reservations, I went to church.
I was still looking a way to help my fellow Black Americans, but it was not until I was invited to attend church and started going to church regularly that I realized that the real answer for all people could be found in Christianity; "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36) I began a very diligent study of the Bible and Christianity, including a study of the Greek and Hebrew languages, and after much prayer, I accepted my calling into the ministry, and I began a part-time Bible teaching ministry.
I was medically retired from my work as a pilot because of a stomach disorder which now is basically under control. After my retirement, I entered college and earned my bachelor degree in political science from California State University at Dominguez Hills in 1995. For a while I have worked as a paralegal for the Compton public defenders office and as a computer consultant for CSU Dominguez Hills, but I now give full time to my ministerial work as the pastor of Pentecostal Temple Church in Compton, California. I have a special desire to see young people accept salvation, get more education, and prepare themselves to become productive Christian citizens. I am appalled at how our young people are destroying their lives and having their lives destroyed by the gangster, thug life movement. There is not enough emphasis being put on a motto I coined for the youth in my congregation, "salvation, education and economic participation." And even though I am appalled, I am not dismayed. I can't stop trying to do something to remedy the situation, and since I know that Jesus is the answer, I continue to preach Jesus.
Just as I was disappointed with the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Muslim religion, and the Black Panther Party; I am now disappointed with many of my fellow ministers of the Gospel. It seems that the primary reason for many to enter the Christian ministry is to become wealthy, and the acquisition of wealth appears to have become more important to them than the saving of souls and the assisting of the poor and needy. I have written a book entitled $top the Pro$perity Preacher$ to expose some of the ungodly methods being used by preachers to exploit God's people and to cheat the U.S. Government. In my book I also offer some suggestions about how the U.S. government should make some changes in the laws to make it more difficult for preachers to exploit their congregations and to make sure that rich preachers pay their fair share of taxes.
Because of what God has done for me, and how He has protected me and brought me out of some very dangerous situations and blessed me with salvation, I love Him "with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind." (Matt 22:37) My service to Him comes before everything and everyone. I have written the above, so you will know how I was and from where God has brought me. I am not the same because "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17), and I thank God for calling me "out of darkness into His marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9)
In Jesus Name,
Pastor Frank Benson Jones