As a true-crime drama miniseries we can honestly only describe as equal parts baffling, chaotic, haunting, and intriguing, HBO Max’s ‘Love & Death’ lives up to its title in every way imaginable. That’s because it carefully revisits not just the 1980 homicide of Betty Gore at the alleged hands of her Church friend Candace “Candy” Montgomery but also all the events surrounding the same. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about Pastor Ron Adams — with a specific focus on his background as well as the bond he had with the two women — we’ve got the details for you.
Is Ron Adams Based on a Real Pastor?
Yes, the character of Ron in this Lesli Linka Glatter-directed original production (played by ‘Atypical’ star Keir Gilchrist) has been entirely inspired by a real Reverend bearing the same name. The truth is, precisely like the show suggests, he’d arrived in Collins County, Texas, as a replacement for lovable pastor Jackie Ponder at the Methodist Church of Lucas following her relocation. Though the 24-year-old soon realized he was way over his head as he had to face issues regarding acceptance, new projects, and Betty’s demise within two years of his first pastoral appointment.
It was actually back in mid-December 1978 when Ron first came into the picture, according to ‘Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion & Death in the Suburbs’ by Jim Atkinson and Joe Bob Briggs. “Jackie had nothing but nice things to say about the man who had been appointed to replace her,” the 1984 book reads, but it was evident he was her opposite in every sense of the term. “He was a man, for one thing, coming into a Church run mostly by women. He was inexperienced, having served only as an assistant at First Methodist in Plano while he was completing his work at Perkins.”
Plus, the book further elucidates Ron was undeniably “younger than most of the ministers the church had had before Jackie. Everything about him seemed a regression… [and he] didn’t help his case.” After all, apart from being an admittedly bad public speaker, he was also stiff, formal, cold, distant, haughty — he didn’t try to socialize, seldom joked, and made things as serious as possible. This child sinus cancer survivor was thus “systematic, formal, and a little old-fashioned… He was, in a word, boring” despite all the pressure on him, which is exactly how ‘Love & Death‘ portrays him.
In fact, per the written source, Reverend “Ron had decided early on that some of the [Church’s] younger members, especially the ones in the choir, were ‘troublemakers’ and ‘carpetbaggers.'” So, his decision to keep their presence limited was intentional — he truly didn’t publish their newsletter on one occasion owing to a poem Candy had penned, then he stopped her husband Pat Mongemtary from using puppets in his popular children’s sermon sessions. The other reason he gave for this was that he didn’t believe their representation of Jesus through creativity was accurate, ultimately driving many, including Allan and Betty Gore, to leave.
Therefore, once Betty was found heinously slain inside her own home in June 1980, Ron genuinely worried over its implications since it was no secret they especially despised one another. Nevertheless, not only was he never considered a real suspect in the ensuing inquiries, but he also quickly managed to move on from the past because he was technically still her minister. The then-25-year-old hence conducted her memorial service, per the true-crime book, during which he was a surprisingly different man; his voice was unwavering, his words emotional, and his sentiments caring.
Moreover, when Candy was accused of having slain her once-friend over the affection of her ex-lover/the latter’s husband, Allan Gore, Ron astonishingly did not hesitate to defend her one bit. “She’s a very pleasant, very loving sort of person,” he said in an interview with Dallas Times Herald in 1980 itself. “That she would be guilty of what they say she is, is incomprehensible. She’s not capable of committing murder. The members of the church are appalled. There’s not a person out here who believes for a moment that she’s guilty.”
It thus comes as no surprise Ron tried to be there for Candy as much as possible, that is, until it was time for them to move on for good — she ultimately relocated to Georgia, whereas he continued his pastoral work. As for his current standing, there’s unfortunately no clear public information on precisely what the Southern Reverand has been up to these days, yet it appears as if the nearly 70-year-old family man is alive and well and still devoting his life to God.
Read More: Did Betty and Pat Know About Allan and Candy’s Affair?