A former White Knight’s imperial wizard believes he is building a bridge of racial reconciliation and making history at the same time.

Johnny Lee Clary was ordained last month as a minister in what is one of the nation’s largest black churches - San Diego’s Church of God in Christ.

The 50-year-old Miami man learned to hate at a very young age.

He was raised in a family filled with racism, anger, and bigotry. As a young teenager, after his father committed suicide and his mother abandoned him, Johnny found himself alone and looking for someplace to belong.

At 14 he was seduced by the teachings of the notorious David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan, and he joined the organization. As an impressionable young man, Johnny became so enthralled with the sense of belonging and a need for “family” that he participated in KKK events as a security enforcer and bodyguard to David Duke.

Johnny continued to advance in the organization, reveling in the feeling of finally fitting in. He went on to spend 16 years in the Klan.

As the Klan’s national leader, it was hoped by the KKK that Johnny could change the image of the Klan, by attracting new members through his many appearances on such television programs as The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Morton Downey, Jr. Show, and others, Johnny advocated, supported, and defended racism and violence. But then, the destructive mindset and lifestyle he had lived for so many years began to take its toll. Riddled with torment, angered over a false arrest in Tennessee on a weapons charge, disgusted with internal bickering between the various white supremacist organizations, and the discovery that his girlfriend was an informant for the FBI, Johnny Lee left the Klan.

Disillusioned, Clary reached for the Bible.

“The Word set me free,” Clary said.

Clary soon began preaching to anyone who would listen. Television shows picked up his story, prompting him to appear on talk shows such as "The Phil Donahue Show," ”Geraldo," ”The 700 Club" and "Sally Jesse Raphael." In recent years, he has traveled the nation evangelizing and has made annual trips to Australia.

Clary said his recent ordainment ceremony shared some ritualistic acts of a long-ago Klan ceremony. Yet, the two events now stand as the darkest and greatest moments in his life.

“The worst thing I ever did was swear an allegiance to the KKK, vowing to hate all Jews and blacks and people of other races,” Clary said. “I knelt before the Klan leaders as they sprinkled me with water. I then swore an oath to the KKK and the god of the KKK. But they can call their god anything they want Jesus Christ or whatever. It doesn't matter. Because their god is not the God of the Bible - their god is Satan.”

Along the way he crossed paths with Bishop George McKinney, pastor of St. Stephen's Cathedral Church of God in Christ in San Diego and one of the church's 12 elders. The two met more than 15 years ago at a Christian event in Montgomery, Ala.

"Bishop McKinney and I became friends," Clary said. "One day he told me he would ordain me as a minister because the time was needed for racial reconciliation. … Finally, after years of being sidetracked, I agreed the time was right. My mission is to bring people of all races together.

"The Bible says there is one church, one Lord, one baptism, and so there should be one people."

McKinney said Clary's dramatic turnaround is a testament that the Holy Spirit can even bring a heart filled with hatred, prejudice and destruction under control.

"I'm thankful to God that there is still ongoing evidence of His grace, forgiveness and power to redeem," McKinney said.

While he was in San Diego, McKinney said, Clary's presence and his story of evangelism and racial reconciliation were warmly received by the predominantly black congregation.

"And he's certainly qualified to speak on either because of his own background and journey," the bishop said.

Clary is now waiting to hear from Bishop McKinney where his travel schedule will take him. Eventually, he hopes to oversee his own Church of God in Christ congregation.

Locally, Clary is most recognized as pro-wrestler, Johnny Angel, who had success in the 1980s in the National Wrestling Federation.

Among many disruptions during his NWF career, Johnny Angel was credited for starting a riot right here in Miami, with several hundred people in attendance when he used brass knucks to try and defeat hometown hero, Oklahoma Outlaw.

Johnny was booed everywhere he went, but the fans turned out in droves just to jeer him.

“Those boo's were like cheers to me at the time,” said Clary. “I loved being a heel.”

Johnny retired as Heavyweight Champion and from the Wrestling ring, July 30, 1988, in Grove, after winning a 10 man Battle Royal. He still remains the real Arkansas Heavyweight Champion.

His retirement came after it was discovered that he was the head of the White knights of the Ku Klux Klan. and was rejected by most Pro Wrestling corporations.

Today, Clary and his wife - former professional wrestling manager “Becky Starr” Clary - live quietly in Miami.

Clary is now waiting to hear from Bishop McKinney where his travel schedule will take him. Eventually, he hopes to oversee his own Church of God in Christ congregation.

"Looking back now at my days in the Klan, I regret not saying anything when I knew someone's property was going to be destroyed or people were going to be terrorized or beaten up," Clary said. "Instead, I stood by and said nothing. … Not anymore."