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"I said I'd never set foot in one of those again," Vivian says. "I thought they were crazy."
He left Kansas City in 1967 and enlisted with the U.S. Army. He did two tours in Vietnam, working as an air-traffic controller, before returning to the States.
Back home, he had a hard time sticking to a job or a relationship. He worked as an orderly in a psych ward, as a truck driver, as a clerk for the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Postal Service, never staying at one job too long. He married and divorced five times, had five biological children and five stepchildren.
He heard his calling on March 17, 1982, shortly after midnight. It was the night of his 33rd birthday, a few hours after the last guest had left his party. He was renting a room in a house at Ninth Street and Park, working for decent money at the post office. He'd just ended his third marriage, to a woman named Lillian with whom he'd had two children. She'd caught him stepping out on her.
He was lying in his bed watching television, feeling a little boozy but in good spirits. The televangelist Jim Bakker came on, and Vivian was too tired to change the channel.
Man, I really don't want to watch this, he thought.
Vivian doesn't remember what Bakker said, but he does remember getting on his knees, crying and praying to God for forgiveness.
"That's when God spoke to me," Vivian says. "He said, 'You promised to serve me, and you haven't.' That was the end of that. I said, 'Lord, you don't have to come down and hurt me. I heard what happens to people who don't answer the call. I'll preach.'"
In the morning, Vivian walked to the Church of the Holy Temple Pentecostal across the street from his house. This time, the Pentecostals didn't seem so crazy. He spent the next three days reading the Bible.
For years, Vivian kept going from church to church, meeting preachers and trying to figure out how to answer his call. One Sunday, he ended up at the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ at 800 East Meyer Boulevard.
Vivian was late to the service. When he arrived, a woman was trapped between the pews and the altar. Three men stood around her, keeping her in place. Bishop Daniel Jordan was waving a Bible at her.
"I told you I don't need anything," she said. "Let me go or I'm calling the police."
If they aren't letting her go, I'm calling the police, too, Vivian thought.
Jordan advanced on her with his Bible raised. Vivian would have run to the nearest pay phone if it hadn't been for the way she screamed.
"It was a scream like a man's voice, and when I heard that, I knew there was something different going on," he says.
After an hour, the woman seemed drained but happy. That was when Vivian knew the type of preacher he was supposed to be.
He spent the next 10 years pastoring at Pentecostal churches and expelling demons. He didn't meet Larson until 2000, when Larson did a revival service in Des Moines.
Vivian saw several people exorcised that day on the stage. When he got the chance, he paid $149 per course for five Bob Larson Ministries seminars on exorcism in Phoenix. By 2001, he'd learned enough that Larson trusted him to perform his own exorcisms. He still takes two refresher courses a year, just to stay in shape and swap stories with fellow practitioners.