Retired firefighter Mark Taylor was snoozing in front of a Donald Trump appearance on Fox News one afternoon in 2011 when he started to hear a voice coming from the TV.
But the sound wasn’t coming from the real estate mogul, Taylor would claim later. It was coming from God.
“I have chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this,” Taylor claims the voice told him. “For as Benjamin Netanyahu is to Israel, so shall this man be to the United States of America!”
Taylor became convinced that he had received a divine prophecy that Trump would become president. He felt sure after hearing the voice that Trump would run against Barack Obama and win the White House in 2012.
Trump didn’t end up running for president in 2012, and Obama won reelection. But in 2015, after Trump launched his presidential bid, Taylor circled back to his old vision: maybe his prophecy was right all along.
God had only let Obama win, Taylor would claim later, so that Americans would build up a “righteous anger” for Trump’s eventual presidential bid.
Taylor’s prophecy caught fire during the 2016 election with a certain segment of the GOP’s evangelical base. Now it’s been turned into a new movie, The Trump Prophecy, which promotes the idea that Trump is God’s anointed candidate while also sanding some of the crazier edges off of Taylor and his prophecies.
The movie, which was available in theaters for just two days last year, was produced with students and faculty from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. But the film was even contentious at the ultra-conservative school, where students worried that working on a “heretical” movie about a modern-day prophet would damage their careers circulated a petition against it.
Despite the controversy over Taylor’s prophetic claims, the film has been promoted through outlets like Fox News Radio and Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, and embraced by evangelical leaders like Jim Bakker.
The movie’s plot tracks closely to The Trump Prophecies, Taylor’s book about receiving what he calls the “Commander-in-Chief Prophecy.” Suffering from PTSD from his firefighting job, Taylor struggled with nightmares—the movie repeatedly shows Taylor wrestling with fire-breathing demons—before receiving the message about Trump.
Taylor meets Don and Mary Colbert, two well-connected evangelical leaders who decide to promote Taylor’s claims nationally. Mary Colbert starts a “prayer chain” of Christians praying for Trump’s presidential bid, with the climactic scene showing hundreds of prophecy-believers blowing Jewish shofar horns on Election Day to usher Trump into the White House.
But The Trump Prophecy elides on some of the wilder parts of Taylor’s story. A big part of his book, for example, centers on Taylor’s struggle to rid his family of a supposed generational curse. Eventually, Taylor figures out that he must be being punished because one of his ancestors belonged to the Freemasons. Only through a strenuous round of prayer can Taylor free his family from the ancient masonic curse.
A surprising number of Taylor’s prophecies center on racehorses. Mary Colbert, for example, cheers when a horse named Creator wins a big race, seeing it as proof that God—“The Creator”—is on Trump’s sign. After another race, Taylor learns that a racehorse named after Obama had to be put down, and sees it as a great sign for Trump.
But the movie also omits some of Taylor’s more dubious prophecies. Taylor claims in the book that he received another prophecy promising that Russia and the United States would team up to fight the Illuminati, which Taylor insists was behind both the rise of ISIS and Adolf Hitler.
Taylor’s pronouncements have gotten even more outlandish as his star has risen on the right. He’s claimed that God made Megyn Kelly ill during the presidential campaign as a “warning shot” to the rest of the media about attacking Turmp. In October, Taylor claimed that Hurricane Florence was created by deep-state operatives with weather control machines to destroy evidence of North Carolina voter fraud.
He also regularly worries that the Illuminati and Masons have access to DNA-changing technology. Last year, Taylor claimed that Americans opposed Trump because shadowy groups had changed their DNA to make them hate the president.
Taylor, who also claims God told him the southern border is a “demonic” gate that could only be stopped with Trump’s border wall, is not hearing from God in rhymes.
“OPEC, OPEC, take a hike; for I am tired of your evil energy spikes,” Taylor claims God told him at one point, in a prophecy about gas prices.
Both Taylor’s book and the movie mostly elide Trump’s personal morality, as well as any specific policies. But both efforts are dedicated to promoting a hyper-patriotic, pro-Trump view of Christianity.
Taylor devotes a long portion of his book` to denouncing federal tax laws that prevent churches from endorsing politicians. Meanwhile, The Trump Prophecy ends with Trump’s reelection—and then flips without explanation to a patriotic music video where people hold up pictures of family members in the military. Then it changes again to a lengthy segment with right-wing pundits like former Rep. Michele Bachmann and Retired. Lt. Gen Jerry Boykin—who has called Islam “evil”—talking about Trump’s importance to Israel.
Kyle Mantyla, a senior fellow at People For the American Way who has followed Taylor’s rise in conservative Christian circles, says it’s hard to say how popular the Trump prophecies are. Still, he points out that Taylor enjoys access to high-ranking evangelical figures like the Colberts and Bakker, who has visited the White House.
“It’s popular enough that they made a movie about it,” Mantyla said.