JEFFREY ALLEN POTTER PAUL
August 23, 1958 - January 17, 2018
Because of how we conduct this ministry, we have chosen not to draw unnecessary attention to ourselves so as not to distract from the plain and open teachings of Jesus. But now that our dear brother Jeffrey has graduated on to the heavenly career, we thought we would share some personal information on this extraordinary personality. The fact is, it would take many, many, many pages to tell his story, so we are only sharing these few highlights to help you understand a little about this beloved soul.
From as far back as he could remember, Jeffrey has had a deep love and appreciation for Jesus. He was always “trying to put a smile” on someone’s face. The extent to which he showed his godly devotion seemed uncanny for such a young soul. For example, he told us that when he was about 5 years old, he learned about the great suffering Jesus underwent and his refusal to accept pain relief. This impacted little Jeffrey so much that he decided he would learn to endure pain “like Jesus.” And up until his mortal death, that was one of his most outstanding physical characteristics. His ability to endure pain is a major reason why he beat cancer the first time in 2014. And even though the treatments left him with other severe problems and significant residual affects, he never allowed the pain to stop him from carrying out “the Master’s Ministry.”
His doctors told us so many stories about how Jeffrey would undergo his cancer treatments and as soon as he could breathe on his own, he got in his wheelchair and wheeled himself around the hospital to encourage other patients, especially those with terminal illnesses. Those who have followed our ministry may have read the many emails we received in 2013 and 2014 from doctors, nurses, patients and relatives of patients who deeply appreciated Jeffrey’s kindness and personal attention, even though he was facing a terminal illness himself.
Many told us that Jeffrey had the unusual ability to make heaven come alive for those who were nearing the end of their lives, giving them a peace they had never known. His unshakeable faith in the power of Jesus’ authentic teachings, in the unfailing promises of God, and the guarantee of survival after mortal death were infectious. We, his closest friends and ministry partners, have been people of faith for most of our lives, but after our association with Jeffrey, the quality of our faith has surpassed all of our expectations.
Notwithstanding his extraordinary faith, Jeffrey’s life was often troubled. He could not reconcile the attitudes and behaviors of the people he came across in his life with the love of the Christ. He often told me that he felt he was “dropped off on the wrong planet.” His disappointment manifested itself in many ways, some were self-destructive. In one case, it led him to substance abuse and eventually becoming homeless and living on the streets of downtown Los Angeles for over 6 years. Yet during the entire 6-year period, he never lost his faith. He continued to preach the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man to everyone who would listen. And he became beloved in the homeless community.
When he decided to break free of the addiction, he checked into one of the recovery missions for help. After he got back on his feet, he reached out to me and we rekindled our love for each other and our shared desire to somehow spread the love of God and Christ Jesus based, not on doctrines, but solely on Jesus’ actual teachings. Before we lost contact, we decided that I would go to law school to become a lawyer who would fight for religious freedoms and he would get a degree in some kind of psychotherapy to help people free themselves from destructive and abusive religion. I completed my task, but his path took a detour. Yet when we reconnected, he said he could not have obtained a better education on how to help people who were abused by religion and life in general than he obtained while living on the streets. He developed a love for people of all walks of life, as well as a deep understanding of why good people sometimes make bad choices. It was humbling for sure, but he said he believed he had to go through that experience to be able to effectively carry out a ministry in the way Jesus directed. Based on the effectiveness of Jeffrey’s personal ministry, I cannot disagree.
With our combined talents, we set about finding the right way to conduct a meaningful ministry. Once we figured it out, Jeffrey’s first act was to return to the downtown missions to give back to the people he learned to love and appreciate. He started out just serving meals and doing menial chores, all the while having uplifting spiritual conversations. At the same time, we started the website ministry www.AnointedJW.org and began publishing articles on sonship with God which served as the basis for his spiritual conversations.
Eventually, Jeffrey was invited to teach a few classes on sonship at one of the missions which had an extremely positive effect on the men he taught. Some of them knew Jeffrey from his time living on the streets and had an even greater respect for him because they knew he did not teach from an “ivory tower.” He was sincere and authentic. He was someone who knew them, understood them, walked in their shoes, and who experienced much of what they experienced. And he was an example of not only how they could clean up their lives, but also how the power of faith and the acceptance of God’s love and forgiveness can move mountains. All of this made Jeffrey a compassionate listener and a wise counselor.
Over the next several months, Jeffrey watched them make real changes in their lives without any prompting. He just taught the actual teachings of Jesus, without adding dogma or end times threats, and allowed the Spirit of Truth to lead his listeners in the right direction. In short order, he became known affectionately as “Pastor J” and his ministry spread to other recovery missions throughout Los Angeles and around the globe. You can read about some of the effects of his mission ministry in these articles: The Powerful Message of Sonship and What Prevents Me?
In December of 2012, one year after starting our ministry, Jeffrey was diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer which was spreading rapidly. He had a very small chance of survival, but his faith was so powerful and so infectious that a team of doctors agreed to do their very best to help save his life. Thankfully, after several months of very painful treatments and what appeared to be divine intervention, they succeeded in eradicating the cancer. After a few set backs, he finally went into remission in mid-2014. We had high hopes that the cancer was in his past and that he could soon return to his ministry at the missions or in other venues and opportunities, speaking with people face-to-face. Until then, we continued our online ministry and eventually started the websites www.TheChristExperiment.org and www.FaithSonsofGod.org.
About that time, we invited three of our readers to join us as partners in our ministry – Don Clementin from Boston, Massachusetts, and Andy and Janet Wilson from Tasmania, Australia. Their support and encouragement was, and continues to be, invaluable. All five of us became the closest of friends although we had never met in person. We talked on the phone, emailed, texted, “Skyped” and “Zoomed,” and finally two months before Jeffrey’s death, Jeffrey and I got to meet Don face to face when he came to visit and participate in a ChristExperiment presentation. Yet Jeffrey loved all of them as if he had known them his whole life. He felt a completeness in their association that he had never experienced before. Jeffrey’s conversations with them became the inspiration for many of the articles we wrote and published on our the websites.
Even though Jeffrey was cancer-free in 2014, he continued to suffer various serious ailments that prevented him from leaving the house for more than 30 minutes at a time. But everyone who came to the house, and everyone he met on his short excursions were encouraged and uplifted by his positive attitude and obvious joy. In fact, most people who met him did not even know he was sick.
Even when he had to visit the emergency room for treatment, the fellow patients and hospital staff were all treated to his lovely sense of humor that always pointed the listener in a spiritual direction. It is no wonder that he received so many divine assurances that his life, though troubled and difficult, was well lived.
In late December 2017, it was clear that something was not well with Jeffrey, but still he never stopped teaching and sharing his insights with us and everyone he happened to meet. In hindsight, he did give us clues and subtle warnings that his time was nearing its end, but because he had overcome so many difficult odds so many times, we could not believe this time would be any different. Sadly, on January 16, 2018, he went to sleep not feeling well at all. I found his playlist of his favorite music and helped him put on his earplugs so he could rest. On the morning of January 17, 2018, I discovered that his body had finally worn out and he was gone. He still had the earplugs in his ears and the music he loved was still playing.
At first, I was shocked and saddened. But I quickly realized he was finally at peace and he had accomplished the most important goals of his life – to love God with his whole mind, heart, soul and strength, and to unconditionally love another and be loved unconditionally in return. Although our personal love story was challenging for many years, he was the love of my life. We did not have children of our own, but Jeffrey loved my two children from my first marriage and my grandson as if they were his own. We all share his faith, his beliefs and honor his ministry.
And though this is a sad development for us personally and for our ministry, we are relieved that he is no longer in pain and is finally free to find the place where he truly belongs. Jesus is seeking those with faith “the size of a mustard seed.” In Jeffrey, he found faith the size of an oak tree. We have absolute confidence that Jeffrey has gained the early resurrection and has already begun his ascent to the Father in Paradise. I am so thankful to have spent the last 6 years together doing just what we had always wanted. I am honored to have known and loved him, and I wish him Godspeed until we meet again.
Zshonette Reed Paul
His Wife, Soulmate and Ministry Partner
More About Jeffrey:
Born Jeffrey Allan Potter, he was raised as a Jehovah Witness. He learned in his late teens that his biological father was Clarence Paul, a noted songwriter and music producer. Jeffrey deeply loved Mr. Potter and always referred to him as his dad. But he found a kinship with Clarence that explained many things about himself, including his love for music, his innate kindness and a shared life philosophy to do "whatever's fair." Clarence preceded Jeffrey in death in 1995. Around that time, Jeffrey began to question the basic tenets of his religion and embarked on a quest for truth that led him to begin this ministry.
Jeffrey is survived by his loving mother who never turned her back on him during his most difficult years, as well as his step father, two sisters, a brother and three children from his first marriage. Jeffrey also had an older brother who preceded him in death. Jeffrey’s biological family will be holding a service for him soon. We, his spiritual family, give him this tribute on the forum he started and promoted and of which he was most proud.
If you wish to share any thoughts about Jeffrey please do not hesitate to write us. And let us know if you do not want your message and/or name posted to his Tribute Page. We will continue to respect the privacy of all who write to us.
Your Brothers in the Master's Ministry,