The Autobiography of Norman Woodworth
As published in
The Dawn Magazine
May 1975 to July 1976
† * W. Norman Woodworth Obituary
† * Elisa Woodworth Obituary
† * Autobiography of William F. Crawford
† * Pantel Hatgis Trip to Greece
* The Dawn Film Service Report
The Drawing Power of God
THE last decade of the nineteenth century was a very important one to me, although at the time I was a mere child. It was during this period that my father came into contact with the truth, which we still so lovingly refer to as the divine plan of the ages. Although very young at the time, my fatherís faithful witnessing concerning the glorious things which he had learned from the Word of God began to make an impression on me. It was toward the close of this decade that volume 4 of Studies in the Scriptures was published. The original title of this book was The Day of Vengeance, but this was later changed to The Battle of Armageddon. Those who are acquainted with this book will know that it deals largely with world conditions in this end of the age which, as pointed out, have developed into the greatest time of trouble the world has ever seen.
My father was very interested in the biblical truths brought forth in this volume, and talked about them a great deal. As I look back upon it now and remember the impressions that were made upon my young mind-I still hadnít reached the teenage stage-I feel I can almost say that, religiously speaking, I was brought up on the time of trouble. From what I learned from my fatherís comments as he talked with others, it seemed that this great time of trouble was to reach its climax in the year 1914. It appeared to my young mind, from the way my father described it, that when this climax was reached it would mean the end of just about everything that we as humans know in connection with our way of life. I thought about this more than once, and to an extent felt sorry for myself that I was so unfortunate as to the time when I was born, for it seemed that when I reached the age when I could really enjoy the things of this world they would all be over.
Of course I had a false conception of what the foretold time of trouble would mean for mankind. Otherwise, I would have rejoiced in the thought of how the joys of the world would be so greatly increased, and so soon. This I learned as I grew older and continued to listen to my father as he bore witness to others; and he was a faithful witness for Jesus and for the Word of God.
Not a Believer
In this early period of my life I was not in reality what one could describe as a believer; I was merely a child. I was interested and impressed simply because my father was so enthusiastic about these great new things which he had learned. The only church to which my father ever belonged was the Advent Church, but there was no Advent Church in the area in which we lived in these maturing years of my life, and my father did not join any of the other churches. However, he did attend occasionally. He was a good tenor singer and for a while sang in the choir of the Methodist Church. Other than this he attended church only when something special was to take place, such as an evangelistic service, and he attended then because he hoped there would be an opportunity to bear witness to the truth. And he always seemed able to bring about the much desired opportunity. I learned to enjoy going to church on these occasions with my father because I knew that if anything in the way of a controversy arose he would always come out on top, and that I enjoyed.
My father owned and operated a sawmill, and from a very early age I worked in this mill, together with my three brothers and hired hands as they were needed. The hired hands were of the type who were not too careful of their language, and I was impressed with the erroneous thought that when I got into unexpected trouble I could talk my way out by swearing, although I never used profane language if I knew my father was around. One day I had a trying experience and, thinking that my Dad was not in the mill at the time, I tried to pour oil on the wound by swearing. That night my father planned to attend a special evangelical meeting. It was my assignment that week to milk the family cow, and after supper I asked my Dad, if I could get someone to milk the cow for me that night, could I go to meeting with him. He looked at me very understandingly and replied, ĎYes, son, you need to go to meeting."
The special item on the program for this meeting was a lecture by a noted evangelist in which he told of two dreams he had experienced. In the first of these dreams it seemed that he was taken to the edge of the great abyss of eternal fire and brimstone and saw the sufferings of the sinners, and heard their groanings. In the second dream it seemed that he had visited heaven and participated in the joys of the saved. After he finished his lecture the meeting was thrown open for testimony, and this is where my father got his chance. My father made good use of his opportunity.
Boldly and without compromise he pointed out the truth concerning hell as it is taught in the Bible. The meeting was thrown into confusion. There was no lack of further testimonies, and without exception each one in turn agreed with the evangelist. During the meeting I sat beside a clergyman-a very honest and sincere black clergyman-and his was the last testimony. He talked at considerable length, using all the scriptures he could which he thought showed the idea of eternal torture for sinners. It was a time in which tobacco chewing was not looked upon as being offensive, so all the time he was talking I was being sprinkled with tobacco juice! I was very glad when there were signs that he was reaching the end of his dissertation; but his final remark was very surprising and very revealing. He had spent some twenty or twenty-five minutes trying to prove that there is a hell of torment for sinners, but his closing remark was, "Gentlemen, I have reached the conclusion that whether there is a hell or not I will serve the Lord just the same for fear there is." I gathered from this that the good man had not even convinced himself. Years later I lectured in this same hall. The good black preacher, meanwhile, had passed away, but many came to the meeting who were present at the time my father witnessed there and the preacher objected. These still preferred to believe in the eternal torture of the wicked.
Naturally this experience gave me more confidence than ever in what my father was learning from the Bible, and while I did not do anything about it, it afforded me a certain sense of security in that I felt that at least there is something that a teenager-and I had become a teenager by this time-could hold to and feel that it was better than what most people enjoy.
By this time in the truth movement Brother Russell was attending many small conventions when invited, and the railroad companies were co-operating by giving special reduced rates to those who attended these conventions. We learned that Brother Russell was coming to a nearby city to speak at a Bible Students Convention. My mother and my fatherís sister had for a long time wanted to visit this city, so they took advantage of the reduced railroad rates to go.
They found when purchasing their tickets, however, that the reduced fare was conditional. You could purchase a one-way ticket and, by appearing at the convention and having the ticket properly validated to show that you had attended, you could get a free ride back home. They went anyway, and in order to get the free ride home were compelled to attend the convention, although up to this point they had no interest in the truth. At the convention they heard Brother Russell speak to the public, and they heard other discourses, and when they returned home they simply couldnít talk about anything except those wonderful things they had heard at the Bible Students Convention. In fact, they were so enthusiastic that I decided that I simply must learn more about the things that Dad believed.
So on the first convenient evening I hid myself away in what we called the parlor. That word is not used much these days, but in the time that I am speaking of a parlor was a room that was as well-furnished as the family could afford, but never used except on very special occasions when special guests would drop in to have a cup of tea.
But for me the parlor was the one place of seclusion in the home of a large family where I knew I could be by myself. We had no electricity, not even gas for lights, so I lighted up the oil lamp and betook myself to the parlor. I knew that my Dad was getting all these things from the Bible, so I found a Bible and took it with me to the parlor. I sat down at a table as near to the lamp as I could get and opened the Bible, and I started to read. And what I read was this, At that time shall Michael stand up, ... and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.
You can well imagine the effect that this had on me! For years I had heard my father talk about this time of trouble, and now with my own eyes I was reading about it right from the Bible itself! This brought me to my knees in a prayer of thanksgiving and of repentance, and for forgiveness. I closed the Bible and went to bed.
The next evening I decided on a similar course, only instead of reading from the Bible-knowing that my Dad was getting these truths through the instructions of the volumes of Studies in the Scriptures-I took with me volume 3. Not having the slightest idea what was in these volumes, I opened the book at random as I had opened the Bible, and there again I began reading about the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.
I kept this experience to myself, and continued to work in the mill and also on a small farm on which our home was located. I worked, and I thought, and I knew that the Lord was drawing me to himself, and that my only possible answer to his drawing power was the full surrender of my life to do his will in following in Jesusí footsteps. But I did not make up my mind on this right away. As I recall, several months elapsed before I was finally drawn to the point that the only answer of a good conscience toward God was to surrender my all to him, and I did.
Then I realized that one of the first things the Lord wanted me to do as a servant of his was to bear witness to the truth. We did not live in a city. You could hardly call it a town. It was a mere village of about 1,200 inhabitants. So I decided I would secure a supply of tracts sufficient to give one to each family in the community. I was not satisfied in my new zeal to merely throw these tracts on the porches. But I knocked at the door of every home, where I knew every family, and presented the tract to them with a few words of explanation as to what they could expect to find in it.
The title of this tract was, "Are You of the Hopeful or the Hopeless?" So far as I know, everyone in that village continued to be of the hopeless, but my faith and hope were increased by the effort I had made to tell the glad tidings of the kingdom to my neighbors; and from that day until now I have been similarly rewarded for every effort I have made to bear witness to the truth.
Growing in Grace
AS A result of my mother and my aunt attending the Bible Students Convention, which I have already mentioned, they became deeply interested in the truth and went on to consecration. My fatherís sister-my Aunt Clara-had two grown daughters who listened to the truth as presented to them by their mother, and they accepted the message and made a full consecration to the Lord.
Then there was a great uncle and his wife who also became interested-interested enough to open their home for a meeting.
So almost before we knew it we had the makings of a small ecclesia. We began to hold regular meetings, and used Tabernacle Shadows as a textbook. Just why we decided on Tabernacle Shadows as our initial study I will never know, except possibly because it was the first book written by Pastor Russell. We found the subject matter rather difficult, but nevertheless we received a blessing as we proceeded with each meeting.
Finally we came to the place in the Tabernacle Shadows where Brother Russell brings out the thought that sisters should wear a head covering at meetings of the consecrated people of God. This precipitated the first real trial and crisis that came into my young Christian life. All of the sisters refused to cover their heads in any way at the meetings.
Their reasoning seemed sound. They said, "We are simply sitting down in our own homes to study the Bible, and why should we go through all that formality?" But to me it was a serious matter and gave me much vexation of spirit. I argued with them, but to no avail. Working in the sawmill in the daytime there was much noise all around me, so I could even sing without anyone knowing about it and I found my favorite hymn to be, "If I in thy likeness, 0 Lord, may awake, and shine a pure image of thee, then I shall be satisfied when I can break the fetters of flesh and be free."
I was sure as a result of this great trial that had come to me for what I believed was my faithful stand for the truth and for my Lord, that I had just about made my calling and election sure and would soon be glorified. I still believe that the Lord is pleased to have the sisters cover their heads in meetings, but I realize now, as I look back upon my childish reasoning at that time, that I made a much greater issue out of this matter than should have been made. I am thankful that the Lord was patient with me and that the issue gradually receded and the class was not divided, which could have been the case had I insisted on my way just a little more rigidly.
Having formed an ecclesia, we sent in a request to the Bible House for pilgrim service, and we were blessed from time to time by visits of one or another of the pilgrims. Among them we had young Brother Walter Bundy, and we had Brother Frank Draper, and also Brother John Harrison. Brother Harrison, by the way, was the grandfather of Brothers Roy and Martin Mitchell and Sister Norma Mitchell, who were long-time members of the New York Bible Students Church, their mother before them also being a member of this congregation. Sister Norma Mitchell-the only one of these still living-is still a faithful member of the New York Church.
We also had as a visiting pilgrim, Brother Benjamin H. Barton, and how well I remember some of the details of his visits! As I already mentioned, my father had been an Adventist. Before moving to the location where I consecrated, we had lived in an area about twenty-five miles away, where there was an Advent Church, and to this he belonged. But the truth began to have its effect in this church-largely, I think, as a result of my fatherís witnessing-so that nearly all in the congregation accepted the glorious Gospel of the kingdom. The result of this was that these brethren took control of the church and held their meetings there.
Knowing that Brother Barton was a good public speaker, we decided to take him into this area, and an arrangement was made to hold a public meeting in this former Advent Church. The church was packed that night, and Brother Barton gave an eloquent discourse on the subject, "The Truth About Hell." He quoted many of the usual scriptures used in presenting this subject, explaining the meaning of sheol and hades and Gehenna, which are translated hell in the King James Version of the Bible, and then he went to some of the symbolic passages of the sacred Scriptures which are frequently used in an attempt to prove the theory of eternal torture.
Finally he turned to Re 14:9-11 and read it: "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."
Brother Barton called attention to the fact that the smoke of the torment referred to here ascended forever and ever "in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb." Thus, he said-and rightly so-the smoke of this torment arose in heaven, because this is where the holy angels and the Lamb reside. So he concluded from this, for the benefit of the audience, that if this be literally true it would mean that it would be as smoky in heaven for all eternity as it is in Pittsburgh. By way of explanation I might add that at that time Pittsburgh was considered to be one of the smokiest cities in the country, if not in the world; so his illustration made the point.
Brother Barton explained simply that we think of smoke as the evidence that there has been a fire. Here, the smoke of their torment would be the memory of their torment, and this would never be forgotten by the angels nor by the Lamb, and as a matter of fact, neither by mankind in general.
In those days there were no automobiles. One could travel by bicycle, or walk, or use a horse and buggy. My father had a three-seated buggy, which needed two horses, and he had the horses. So from time to time our little class would pile into this oversized buggy and drive to visit a neighboring ecclesia. They were small ecclesias, but there were several within twenty-five or thirty miles from where we lived. We would usually do this on the occasion of a pilgrim visit. Another pilgrim who visited us during that period was Brother Frank Draper, and what a blessing we all enjoyed in fellowship with our brethren in another ecclesia and hearing Brother Draper give his discourse!
But capping the climax of all this was a visit from Brother Russell himself. This had been arranged by Brother Ingram Margeson of Boston, Massachusetts, formerly of Nova Scotia. He arranged for Brother Russell to come to our territory, where a number of local conventions were scheduled, together with public meetings. His first stop was our little village of twelve hundred people-Berwick-and naturally we felt very honored. We secured the only auditorium in town, which seated about two hundred people.
Brother Russell traveled in a special car hitched to a regular train, and when he came into our territory there were about thirty brethren with him. We had worked hard for this convention-and it was a convention, because Brother Russell addressed the friends in the afternoon. The public meeting was to be in the evening, and a few of us in the territory had traveled up and down the country-some walking and some on bicycles-distributing the advertising matter.
We were so sure, from the reports we had read, that our little hall holding two hundred would be far too small to hold those who would want to hear him. Imagine our surprise, therefore, when we went to the hall that evening, together with the other brethren, and waited for the public to come. Our turnout of the public was exactly three people! However, Brother Russell gave his talk on the subject "To Hell and Back" with the same zest and enthusiasm as though he were addressing three thousand people, and we all felt that we had been blessed.
That night, after the public meeting, the friends who came with Brother Russell, plus some others who were joining the party, boarded the train and went along with him to his next stop. This was Halifax, and the attendance at this convention was probably as many as two hundred. Here also there was a public meeting, and well attended. And here also there was a baptismal service. Brother Russell gave the discourse on baptism, and I was one of the brethren to be baptized. Being immature in the truth I got the opinion that when I was raised up from the water I should feel some special surge of the Holy Spirit, or something that would make me realize that I had been accepted by the Lord.
But nothing like this occurred, and only after further consideration and discussion with the brethren I realized that I had been looking for something that does not occur on such occasions. I had faithfully obeyed the instructions of the Lord, and my part now was faithfully to believe that the Lord would fulfill his promises and that my consecrated life, if I continued to be faithful, would ultimately result in glory, honor, and immortality.
The convention party moved on from here to a slightly smaller city, (Truro), where there was another local convention. Brother Russell spoke to the brethren in the afternoon, and a public meeting was arranged for the evening. Here the auditorium was too small properly to hold all who attended. About forty of the brethren were selected to sit on the stage behind Brother Russell to make room for more of the public, and to my consternation I was one of those selected. I felt awkward, but at the same time was happy to be able to sit so close to where Brother Russell spoke.
Brother Russellís topic for that evening was, "A Thief in Paradise, A Rich Man in Hell, and Lazarus in Abrahamís Bosom." I never have been disappointed in Brother Russell, although in my long association with him sometimes I was surprised, and this was one of those occasions. Brother Russell talked for at least an hour and a half, presenting the plan of God without even mentioning his subject, but when he got around to it he spent sufficient time on each item of his subject to explain it beautifully. Meanwhile, of course, many of the public had left the auditorium, but Brother Russell did not seem concerned with this. He had given the majority of them a good witness to the truth of the divine plan, and to him that was all that mattered.
Having spent these three days in close association with Brother Russell, the thought began crystallizing in my mind that I must spend more time in the service of the Lord. I realized now as never before that, unless there are circumstances which make it impossible, oneís consecration means full-time service of the Lord, and I began thinking along that line. About the only full-time service then available was the colporteur work, and I decided to enter this work as soon as possible
The Colporteur Work
WHAT was and is known as the colporteur work is the selling of truth literature on a door-to-door basis. Brother W.H. Deming of Ohio, was the first one to engage in this work. In a General Convention at Chautauqua, Ohio, Brother Deming told of some of his experiences in the colporteur work and also told of a public meeting for which he arranged while in this work. He chose as his subject for the meeting, "The United States to Have a King." He told the brethren that the auditorium was crowded.
From the time I made up my mind that I would enter this phase of service I began to be fearful of how well I could do it. I am not what one would call an "outgoing" person by nature, and it is very difficult for me to converse with strangers, especially if I have to lead in the conversation and keep it moving. So I wondered how a person like this would really make out in the colporteur work.
It was a few weeks after reaching the decision to enter this service before I actually got started, and I never will forget my experience in making my first call. A lady met me at the door and invited me into her home. But I soon came out, and I came out utterly amazed, for, believe it or not, I sold a book! I do not know how it happened. All I know is that it gave me the courage to continue on.
This particular colporteur trip was not to be a long one. I soon found that I needed some funds on hand to carry on this work as it was conducted in those days. We took orders for the books and delivered them usually the following Monday, and one had to have sufficient funds to pay for a room and food during the week. And sometimes the collections on the delivery of books on Monday were not sufficient to carry one through the remainder of the week, so I decided to return home, which was nearby, and work in my fatherís sawmill until spring. I knew that there I could earn a dollar a day, and I figured that by working through the winter at this scale I would have enough funds to carry me through the following summer, which I did.
Brother Arthur Marchant-a colporteur who introduced the truth to my father-went with me on this short trip and, through a sister who lived on a farm nearby, arranged for a public meeting to be held on the following Sunday evening. We drove to the schoolhouse in which the meeting was to be held, with a horse and buggy loaned to us by a relative. As we came within about fifteen minutes of the schoolhouse, Brother Marchant made the startling announcement that I was to give the lecture that night.
I had never given a lecture and I decided that Brother Marchant was overdoing things just a little. But he insisted, and when the meeting started there I was on the platform. I had learned, through correspondence, that there was a very young brother at Bethel at that time, (W.F. Hudgings) who was giving public lectures and being billed as "the boy preacher." And though I knew that I was more of a boy than he could possibly be, this gave me a little courage, and while waiting for the opening hymn to be sung I began to think about my subject.
No formal topic had been announced, so I decided to speak on the subject of restitution, using Ac 3:19-21 as my text. From the time that I began my real interest in the truth I made it a point to memorize as many scriptures as I could, and fortunately I had memorized many from the Old Testament, which gave me a background for what I wanted to present to the audience-and we had a good audience; the schoolhouse was filled. The only way I have of knowing how that discourse was received was by the fact that nobody left the auditorium until I was through.
However, my aunt-fatherís sister-criticized me very severely for even undertaking it, and I knew from her attitude that she felt that it was not right for one so young to be participating in this type of service. And she was probably right, from the standpoint that it might go to my head, so to speak; and I prayed earnestly that this might not be the case. Anyway, it was many months before I had another such opportunity.
The Winter Passed
The winter passed, and my little nest egg of finances built up to some extent, so I was ready to go out again. A brother living in Digby County, Nova Scotia, which was east from my home, wanted to go with me that spring, and he preferred to work in the province of New Brunswick. St. John, New Brunswick, was just across the Bay of Fundy from where he lived, so I joined him there for the trip across the bay. Ordinarily one makes that trip by passenger boat, which plies from Digby to St. John, but this young brother-whose name was Walter Boutelier-and his father owned and operated a general store in the town of Digby and owned a boat about as large as a medium sized tugboat with which to convey his merchandise from New Brunswick to Digby, so Walter and I decided that we would cross the bay in his fatherís boat. We took off at night and arrived in St. John in the morning. Since Walter wished to work in the country, we provided ourselves with bicycles for this undertaking.
Reaching St. John we went immediately to a home in that city which had become the haven of many transient Bible students, especially colporteurs. It was the home of a sea captain and his wife who loved the truth and were anxious to do all they could to assist the Bible Students, especially the colporteurs, in their efforts to serve the Lord. This dear old sea captain made a sort of profession of forecasting the weather each morning to let everybody know what to expect during the day. Many times he recognized that he had no idea what the weather would be; so his forecast on such occasions would be, "There will be no change as long as present conditions exist."
As expected, we found a number of brethren staying in this home, but none of them planned to do colporteur work. So Walter and I remained for but a few hours and then we started out on our bicycles, which we had loaded with books. Probably each one of us was carrying as many as one hundred and fifty volumes. We started on the main highway, the post road leading to Moncton, New Brunswick, the distance to which was probably in the neighborhood of one hundred miles. There were no paved highways in those days, or at least very few, because automobiles, while occasionally one had put in an appearance, were not generally used.
We rode the bicycles on the dirt road and called at every house as we went along. The homes were occupied mostly by farmers. Our sale of books was fair. On this trip we did not take orders, but sold outright. When nighttime approached we began inquiring for a place to stay. We finally found a farmhouse lady who was glad to take us in, but she explained that we might not get much for breakfast, as she had just sold all her eggs.
We were more interested at the moment in a place to sleep than in breakfast, so we accepted her offer. We slept well that night and wakened early. Walter was awake a little before I was. He awakened me with a punch in the ribs and said, "Cheer up! Weíll have breakfast." And as I opened my eyes I heard a hen cackling. So we had breakfast, and the woman accepted a first volume in return for it. Then we went on our way.
Nothing exciting happened as we went along, and finally we arrived in Moncton, where we stayed overnight at the home of a Sister Mullen, the only Bible student in the town. From Moncton we traveled north for about fifty miles, and by this time Walter decided that he had better go home. He never explained it to me, but I think he had decided that the colporteur work was not for him. So we returned to St. John, and instead of waiting for his fatherís boat to come and pick us up we traveled to Digby on a passenger boat.
He went home, but I didnít. I decided that I would go alone to the south shore of Nova Scotia. I gave up my bicycle and went by train. On that trip I had some unusual experiences. I worked in a number of places following the south shoreline of Nova Scotia, and one of these areas was known as Tancook Islands. There was Big Tancook and Little Tancook. There was no way to reach these islands except by motorboat, and these made the trip very infrequently. They were, in reality, owned mostly by the people who lived on the island and came in just for supplies. I went first to Big Tancook. No colporteur had ever been there before, so it was virgin territory, but that was about the best you could say for it.
There were no roads on the island, just footpaths from one house to another, and the houses for the most part were merely shacks. There were two industries on the island. One was fishing and the other was boat-building. Ninety per cent of the fishermen were unable to read and write. The boat builders were better off in this respect, although there was a large percentage of illiteracy among these also.
My first need was to find a place to stay. I found one of the shacks where the only place they had for me to sleep was in a small attic not high enough to stand erect. It was necessary to furnish me with a ladder each night so I could crawl up through the floor to my "bedroom," and there I had the privilege of sleeping on a pile of straw. In the morning the ladder would be put up to the hole and I would come down for breakfast, which usually consisted of fish. I appreciated all this, because I knew I was in the service of the Lord.
While there were many illiterate people on these islands, they seemed glad to buy the books. My hope was that at least the next generation might find something in the homes of the parents which they could read and be enlightened. In delivering the books I came to one man who could read, and he immediately opened the first volume of Studies in the Scriptures and turned to the beginning of the third chapter, which deals with the Bible as a divine revelation. In the opening paragraph of the chapter Brother Russell suggests that the reader lay aside the Bible for the time being and just base his thoughts on the reasonable conclusions which could be reached to prove that the Bible is the Word of God.
But this man took too much for granted. All that he read was the suggestion to temporarily lay aside the Bible, and that was too much for him. He did not take time, nor was he interested, to find out the real point the author was making. Since then I have often thought of that attitude on the part of this good man and have observed how many there are in the world, and sometimes Christians, who are not good listeners. They go through life with a scanty knowledge of the truth, or whatever they may be specially interested in, simply because they do not listen sufficiently to learn more. Talking with these people one discovers that instead of listening to what is said to them they are deciding what they will say to you. This is unfortunate, and I have been very thankful to the Lord that my shyness of nature has caused me to be a good listener.
From the Tancook Islands I moved on to another field of colporteur service. I was invited to join some other brethren. One was Brother Henry Holmes, who "got" the truth while he was a warden in a prison. Another was Brother Taylor, who "got" the truth from Brother Holmes while he was a prisoner in that prison. The other was Brother Murdock of Boston, Massachusetts.
Two of these three brethren had one very tragic thing in common. Together with their wives they had attended a convention in Norfolk, Virginia, and while at this convention the two wives mentioned were killed by a railway train on an open crossing. The two brethren were now devoting their lives to the spreading of the glorious Gospel of the kingdom, and I was happy indeed to be invited to join them. Our experiences while working together were not especially outstanding. They were experiences, rather, which one encounters in a regular way in pursuing this type of service.
However, there was one day I did have an unusual experience. I had taken the train to another town about twenty miles away, with the plan to colporteur there and come back to home base on the last train of the evening. But, whatever the reason, I missed that train. I didnít have enough money to go to a hotel, so the only thing I could do was to walk back to my own room. I didnít even know the way by road, so I walked along the ties of the railroad. I knew that if I followed the railroad long enough it would lead me where I wanted to go, and it did. I donít recall the hour when I arrived at my room, because naturally I was tired and fell asleep right away; but Brother Holmes told me the next morning that he heard me come in, came into my room, and while I was sleeping sang softly, "One more dayís work for Jesus, One less of toil for thee."
Another New Field
Again the winter was approaching. Meanwhile, Brother J.A. Meggison, well-known since as a pilgrim, joined us, but the other three brethren decided to return home for the winter. Brother Meggison and I talked it over and decided that we would move on into the state of Maine to work through the winter-which, by the way, is one of the coldest states in America. We packed the books we had on hand-several hundred of them-and shipped them by freight, collect, to Bangor, Maine.
But there was one point we overlooked. It took all the money we had to buy our railroad tickets, and when we got to Bangor we found that we didnít even have a book available to use as a sample, and no money to pay the freight on the box of books that had already arrived. We were very proud, but there was nothing else to do but to inform Brother W. S. Marshall of Bangor of our predicament. He promptly paid the freight on our books and invited us into his home to live. We didnít want to be a burden on others, so as soon as we sold our first lot of books and got paid for them we rented a room.
It was hard going in Bangor that winter. Brother Meggison and I always had something to eat, but for breakfast we found that while we could have a dish of oatmeal porridge we didnít have the money to buy milk or sugar for the porridge. Brother Marshall learned about the hard time we were having, so he communicated with a brother about twenty-five miles up the river from Bangor, a brother who was a farmer, and we received an invitation from him to come and make our home with him for the winter. There wasnít much else to do but accept this invitation.
We had no means of transportation to get to the brotherís home, so we decided to walk, and canvass the homes along the highway. We walked all one day and canvassed-had a pretty successful day, as a matter of fact-but nighttime came on and we were unable to find a place to sleep. On the other side of the river there was another highway-we could tell from the lights. So we came to a bridge, crossed the river, and also failed to find a home that would take us in. We kept walking back toward Bangor till we came to the end of a suburban electric line. We boarded the last car, went into the city, and arrived in Bangor about one oíclock in the morning, and showed up at Brother Marshallís home. Naturally he was surprised to see us, but also glad that we had returned to him if only for the night.
The next day we started out again and walked directly to where we had left off canvassing the day before. We had a road map to tell us approximately where Brother Wiley lived, and late in the afternoon we reached that general area, having sold quite a few books during the day. But this time a heavy fall of snow was piling down upon us, and it was windy. At times we could hardly see where we were going, but we forged ahead the best we could, looking at the names on the mailboxes and finally, as we were examining the name on a mailbox we heard a voice up ahead from the house to which the mailbox belonged shouting to us, "Right this way, brothers. You have reached home!" And we had, for the Wiley family made us a lovely home for the winter.
There were Brother and Sister Wiley and their daughter, Ruth. We worked out from their home selling the books. Each day, weather permitting, Brother Wiley let us have a horse and sleigh. They gave us sandwiches for our lunch and twenty-five cents to buy a dinner for the horse. We went canvassing in this manner if the weather was not too cold. If it was only twenty degrees below zero, we went out colpor-teuring; if it was thirty degrees we stayed home.
I well remember an experience one day when we were out, following a heavy snow storm. The people had not yet got the footpaths shoveled out, so in order to get to the homes we more or less had to make our own paths. Brother Meggison took one side of the road and I took the other. On my side of the road there was a good-looking home, but there were no tracks to the house, indicating that no one had been outside since the storm. But I plowed my way through the snow to the side door.
The man of the house came to the door and I canvassed him, endeavoring to sell him the set of six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures. When I got through he shook his head no. Then I offered him the first three volumes for ninety-eight cents, which was then the colporteur price. Again he shook his head no. Then I offered him the first volumes for thirty-five cents. Again he shook his head. Then I offered him what was at that time called the ZA, a paperbound edition of the first volume which we sold for five cents. Again, no. Then I asked the man if he would like to have some free tracts. He made a pun on this word "tracts," and said, ĎYes, I would like to see some tracks with the heels toward my door." I did no more colporteur work that day.
A Pilgrim Visit
While we were at the Wiley home pilgrim Brother A.H. MacMillan came through the area. We found that he could stop over one night with us; so we decided to hold a public meeting in the village-a village which consisted of perhaps two hundred people. We engaged a hall which would easily seat two hundred people, and advertised the meeting. When we arrived at the meeting and opening time came, there were Brother and Sister Wiley and Ruth, Brother Meggison and I, Brother MacMillan and three of the public.
It was decided that Brother Meggison should serve as the chairman of the meeting, and it was also decided that I should play the piano, and we both agreed to serve. Brother MacMillan gave his usual enthusiastic message, and when the meeting was over he turned to me and started to laugh. I didnít know what there was to laugh at, but he remarked that he thought I intended to play the piano with my feet. His reference was to the awkward way I climbed onto the piano stool.
Finally, spring came. Brother Meggison moved on to his home state of Maine, and I again went home to spend a little more time in the sawmill at a dollar a day. From that winterís service one person came into the truth-the lady from whom we rented the room in Bangor. After we had left she read mottoes we had left on the wall and literature we left on the table, and she accepted the truth.
A Slight Change
I was soon on the go again. I went to a convention in Maine and there three colporteur sisters contacted me and wanted me to help them in work they were doing in the southern part of Maine. At that time good public speakers were well advertised for their Sunday meetings. The names the interested were asked for, and the colporteurs called on these names and, if possible, sold them Studies in the Scriptures. These three sisters were engaged in this phase of colporteur work but were getting behind with their names and wanted me to help them for a while, which I agreed to do.
In due course we finished all the names on hand and no more public meetings were scheduled for the area, so the three sisters decided to return to Brooklyn and to Bethel. They learned that I had never been to Bethel and they invited me to go with them. It was an overnight trip by boat. I explained several times, when this invitation was pressed, that I could not afford it, but on the morning they were to leave they brought up the subject again and said I just had to go, that there was no excuse because they had bought a ticket for me.
On the boat that night these sisters apparently wondered what I would think of their insisting on my coming, so to clear the matter up they explained that all three of them had taken a vow never to get married. It was only a few months after this that they were all married! But that is the way I got to Bethel and got into an entirely different phase of the service-an avenue of the service which had not in reality even begun at that time.
Preparation for the Photo Drama
THE boat on which the three colporteur sisters and I traveled from Portland, Maine, to New York arrived the next morning in time for us to reach Bethel for breakfast. After breakfast was served I was shown to my room-a room which I was to share with three others, and one of these was just getting up, having missed breakfast in the dining room. He was a congenial man, and we had a long conversation. He asked me if I would like to work at Bethel.
My reply was that I hadnít given it any thought, but if the opportunity opened I might consider it. He then advised me to see Brother Russell at the midday meal. He explained that Brother Russell remained in the dining room each mealtime long enough to interview those who wanted to see him. This young man, who in reality was Brother Henry Drey, said if I had an interview with Brother Russell and he asked me what I had worked at, to be sure to tell him. I had already told Brother Drey that I was brought up in a sawmill, which he construed to be something mechanical, and he thought that Brother Russell probably would like to know of this background.
I went down to the dining room for lunch with more or less fear and trembling. When I finally got to Brother Russell I told him why I was there and was wondering if there was any opening for an additional helper. As Brother Drey predicted, the first question he asked me was, "What can you do?ĒWhen I told him that I was brought up in a sawmill he seemed very interested and proceeded to give me an assignment. But before giving me the assignment he cautioned me not to say a word about it to anyone; that what I would be doing was strictly confidential. Then he outlined the assignment.
He told me to cross the Hudson River to Jersey City and there get myself a job of some kind that would give me the opportunity of being in a motion picture booth. He explained that it would not be possible to get such a job in New York because no one was allowed in a motion picture booth in New York unless he was a licensed operator. Then he asked me how I was fixed for money. I explained that I was very low indeed; that I had been a colporteur, etc. He reached in his pocket and gave me $10.00 and told me to report back to him in three weeks. And then I was dismissed.
By this time my head was swimming I didnít even know how to get across the Hudson River. I didnít know where Jersey City was located. However, I went back to my room and Brother Drey was still there. He had been down to lunch and knew that I was being interviewed by Brother Russell, so he asked me how I made out. I at once thought of those restrictions that had been placed upon me to keep this assignment confidential. I told him this, and he said, "Oh, thatís all right. I know what you are doing, for I am doing the same thing." This, of course, accounted for his irregular hours, his coming in late at night, etc. Besides this, he offered to take me with him to Jersey City and help me secure a job, for which I was very thankful. Before the day was over I was working in a motion picture booth, although I was concerned about how I would find my way back to Brooklyn that night. But somehow I made it, and my getting around the big city and its environs did not present such a problem from then on.
At the conclusion of the first three weeks I went back to Brother Russell to report. In answer to his question about how I was getting along I told him that Brother Drey and I had been working together, and that this proved a great help. He was pleased to learn this, gave me another $10.00, and told me to continue on.
I learned from Brother Drey that to obtain a license to operate a motion picture machine in New York, and many other cities, it required a certain knowledge of electrical wiring in addition to a knowledge of the machine. Neither one of us had been electricians, so this presented somewhat of a problem. This information finally got to Brother Russell, and he appointed Brother Drey and me to acquire the necessary textbooks to write a book of instructions covering the essential requirements concerning electrical wiring, etc., which we preceeded to do. When these instructions were completed Brother Russell asked us to open a motion picture operatorsí school in the basement of Bethel. This, too, was a top secret. There were about twenty-five ready to enter this school, and from then until the time we were sent out on the road as actual operators that school was continued.
In due course Brother Drey and I passed our examination to be motion picture machine operators in New York City. Others also passed as time went on, and of course with this we were very happy, but we were ahead of the other preparatory work. We had a number of sisters painting slides, for one thing, and the motion picture part of the drama had not all been assembled. Brother Russell had brethren assigned to look up what they thought might be suitable motion pictures to go with the slides, and occasionally one of these would bring a film into Bethel just before the evening meal, and then Brother Russell would go down into the basement after dinner and view the picture. It was my job to precede him into the basement and get the film ready to project. The only one that I remember his definitely accepting while I had this assignment was the story of the Flood.
While we were waiting for this preparatory work to be finished Brother Russell suggested that the operators who had received licenses go out and get jobs as operators in New York theaters-not to keep them, but to run a machine a week or two, or whatever worked out best, in order to get experience on that particular make of machine. Then we were to go to an employment agency and get a job where a different make of machine was being used. Brother Russell, on his part, visited the theaters and placed himself close to the projection booth with his ear against the outside wall to hear how much noise the machine made. He reasoned, and correctly so, that the less noise we had in the theater the better. He finally found one where he could not hear the machine at all. He inquired concerning the make of this machine and learned that it was known as the Simplex projection machine, and he bought as many of these as he thought would be needed. Meanwhile we operators continued getting experience.
About the same time I had been chosen to do week-end pilgrim service, and I received an appointment for the following Sunday in Wilmington, Delaware. This meant that I would have to quit my motion picture job Saturday night, which I did, but it was late Saturday night. I took my tools with me-a pair of pliers, two or three screw drivers-and boarded the elevated train to go back to Brooklyn. Boarding the same train was a man who was intoxicated. He sat down beside me, glanced at my tools which I had laid on the seat, and commented that he was puzzled to know whether I was a dentist or a burglar.
In preparation for my talk the next day I was reading the fifth volume-the chapter on "The Witness of the Spirit." The intoxicated man looked over his shoulder and made some remark about how he wished he could have that witness of the Spirit. However, he finally got off and so did I, and I went to Wilmington the next day according to schedule.
Then another strange thing happened in connection with our training course in operating different machines. The brother who was then serving as office manager under Brother Russell sent us all a note explaining that the money we were earning really belonged to the Society, and instructed us to turn it in. None of the young brothers who were engaged in this operation were at all happy with this and, as often was true, they appointed me to be their representative to see Brother Russell. So, obediently, I went to Brother Russell, showed him the note we had received, and explained that during the entire period we were studying the motion picture operation we had not received any regular allowance and we were all getting very low in funds. He put on his glasses and, in his customary way, looked at the note, and turning to me he tore the note into shreds and said simply, "Forget it." I never did hear how the office manager liked that when the word got through to him.
Winning the Argument
At† that time the country was far from having a standardized current of electricity. In some places there was alternating current and in some direct current. In some places where there was direct current the voltage was too high, so we knew that when we went out on the road we had to be prepared for all these situations. When one wishes to reduce the voltage of the current, what is known as a rheostat is used. This rheostat was not an expensive piece of equipment-the average price not more than $35.00 each.
But $35.00 was $35.00 to Brother Russell, and someone had informed him that a rheostat wasnít necessary; that all you needed was a pail of water and then run the main line of your circuit through that pail of water. This would reduce the current and you could regulate the amount it would be reduced by the amount of water you used. This Brother Russell realized at once would be inexpensive, and he was all for it. He told me about it, and rescinded his order for rheostats. With this, I engaged Brother Russell in argument, told him the danger involved-that someone could become electrocuted, etc. He countered with what he thought he knew, and we went back and forth, probably for an hour. Finally he turned to me and said, "Well, go have it your way." And I did. I won the argument.
But still it was not time for the drama to be put on the road. The building later known as the New York City Temple was being renovated, and Brother Russell was very desirous that the first public showing of the drama be in this temple. The final work on the temple was, of course, painting, and several of us young operators were put to work helping to paint the temple, under the direction of a trained painter.
We knew from the start that it would be well-nigh impossible to get the job finished by the deadline Brother Russell had set, but we did the best we could. We worked overtime, sometimes all night long, and that was particularly true the night we finished the work. It was Saturday night, of course, and there were just odds and ends to be done here and there, so we stayed there and worked until daylight. We wanted desperately to be at the opening of the drama, particularly because Brother Russell was to speak that day, and instead of going home to bed we went to a Turkish bath-a Turkish bath which furnished couches on which to sleep. We had our Turkish bath, rested about three hours on the couches, and appeared at the temple fresh and ready for the day.
The Drama Goes on the Road
NOW that the Photo Drama of Creation was duly launched in New York City, arrangements went into effect to send it out on the road. There were twenty complete sets, each set consisting of between three and four hundred glass slides, many reels of motion pictures, a projection machine, two phonographs, and phonograph records. The slides were hand-colored, 31/4" x 4".
The slides were packed in a hard fiber case of suitable size, and this one item alone made quite a heavy load. It was decided that each operator would take one part with him on the road-the entire drama consisting of four parts-and that he would present this one part every day for a week in the various localities to which he was assigned. I was given part four, and my original assignment was in the state of Ohio. Among other cities, I presented the drama in Columbus, Cleveland, and Toledo.
I then received instructions to proceed at once to Chicago and report to the local supervisor of the drama work there, leaving the section of the Photo Drama which I was using in Ohio. Arriving in Chicago, I discovered that they had a rather unique situation there. They had just started to present part one of the drama in what was known as the auditorium. It was in the early days of unionism, and the stagehands in the auditorium all belonged to the union. They had agreed to allow one nonunion worker to come in and project the pictures.
The brother who had been assigned to this position found that he had to leave the service; therefore a new operator was required. Rather than take the chance of sending in too many individual operators (the drama was to operate there for four weeks), they decided to assign me the job for all four weeks and thus avoid as far as possible any controversy with the union.
The auditorium, together with all its appointments, was up-to-date and beautiful. It seated 3,500 people. The projection booth was located on the first balcony. A complete signal system had been installed for communicating with the workers on the stage. It was the most complete and elaborate setup that I had the privilege of enjoying during all my experience with the drama. The slides and the motion pictures alternated, and the operator needed contact not only with the stagehands but also with those who were operating the phonograph in the orchestra pit just in front of the stage, and in this installation everything was complete.
As one entered the auditorium and occupied a seat, all he saw in front of him was a large red plush curtain. This covered a white curtain behind it, on which the pictures were to be projected. As the "show" started the operator flashed a cross and crown projection of a slide onto this plush curtain, the stagehands raised the curtain, and there the cross and crown appeared on the white curtain. It was somewhat a blot against the skill of the operator if he allowed that white curtain to be seen during the progress of the picture.
Those operating the phonograph, or the talking part of the drama, waited for their signal from the picture projectionist before starting their machine. At certain intervals a gong would sound from the record and this was the signal for the operator to change slides. The operator, of course, had a complete list of the slides, each one having a number, and he followed this list in keeping synchronized with the phonograph.
I was there well ahead of time on the first day and observed the incoming people as I waited for the hour when the afternoon program was to start. To my great surprise, on a weekday afternoon at least 1,500 people showed up to see the pictures. That evening the auditorium was filled to capacity with 3,500 people, and this was repeated every day for four weeks in succession. One of the great thrills of all my Christian experience was to observe the people pouring into that great auditorium, because I knew that they would receive a good witness to the truth.
At the conclusion of the showing of the drama in each city, there would be what was called the grand finale. This was the appearance of one of the better public speakers, who would give two discourses, these being illustrated by selections from the drama. Brother A.H. MacMillan was the one assigned to give the grand finale discourses in Chicago.
One of the motion pictures of the drama was known as "The Shunammiteís Son." This picture showed the death of the Shunammiteís son and also his resurrection. In the grand finale this picture would be used. It would be shown down to the point where the boy dies on his motherís lap. This we did in Chicago, and I gave the signal and the big plush curtain came down over the picture while the boy was dying. Then it was time for Brother MacMillan to continue his discourse, but no Brother MacMillan was in sight. The audience waited uneasily, and finally Brother MacMillan crawled out from underneath the big curtain. He had been standing too far back on the stage and was caught behind it! A big laugh went up from the audience. Brother MacMillan cracked a joke over the incident, and the show went on. Later, I was running the drama in Toronto, Ontario, when Brother Russell was the grand finale speaker, but he didnít get caught behind the curtain. The auditorium in Chicago was packed to capacity for both of the grand finale discourses.
On the Road Again
My assignment being completed in Chicago, I was put back on the road, this time not as an operator of part four but as an installer of equipment. My first assignment was at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I later learned that the attendance at the drama was exceptionally good. Many, many years later I talked with a brother who at that time was an elder in the Milwaukee class (he has since finished his course in death), and I asked him what the results of the drama showing in Milwaukee turned out to be. He told me that so far as he knew he was the only one out of the thousands who attended who became interested in the truth. But the result was much better in many other places than in Milwaukee.
From Milwaukee I went to a location midway between St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and installed the equipment there. I did not remain for the showing of the drama, but I understand they also had a good attendance. Then I moved on to Winnipeg, Manitoba. There the city provided only alternating current, but there was a piece of equipment on the market which converted alternating current to direct current, and since direct current projected a better picture, a brother in Winnipeg who was in the electrical business said he would furnish this piece of equipment. It was called a mercury arc rectifier.
On the Sunday morning when the drama was to open in the afternoon, all those concerned were at the theater early to install the equipment, including the electrician brother who came with his mercury arc rectifier and proceeded to set it up back stage. He was doing the necessary wiring, and I was doing mine in the projection booth. We had no communication between us and, unfortunately, I threw a switch, and the current from the building got through to him, seizing him so tightly by the hands that not until I heard his hollering for help and shut off the electricity did he fall to the floor and start to laugh. In any case, the show went on as scheduled that afternoon, with the mercury arc rectifier doing its called-for work. I learned later that the attendance in Winnipeg was excellent, for which I rejoiced. At Winnipeg I received a telegram from headquarters in Brooklyn to return there at once.
There were no airplanes in those days, so I was faced with a long train ride-a ride which today would seem deplorable to the younger generation. I rode from Winnipeg to Brooklyn by way of Toronto and Niagara Falls. At Niagara Falls, New York, the train was held up for immigration inspection. The inspector who came into the car in which I was riding asked the usual questions, finally getting to the one, "What is your employment?" I explained to him that I was a home missionary worker employed by the Watchtower Society in Brooklyn, New York.
That aroused the inspectorís curiosity, and probably even doubts. For weeks I had been handling motion picture equipment and my hands, and face too, probably, were far from clean. And in addition to this I had been on the train for four days and the clothing I was wearing was disheveled and probably showed signs of wear. You could almost read the question that passed through his mind, "Is it possible that a man like this is a home missionary worker?" But we continued talking, and despite my dirty hands and face they finally decided that I should be permitted to cross the border into the United States.
Arriving at Brooklyn the next day, I inquired of Brother C.J. Woodworth, who was managing the film operation of the Photo Drama, as to why he had brought me from Winnipeg back to New York. He explained that they had made arrangements to send the Photo Drama of Creation into my old home territory, which was Nova Scotia, and that he thought I would be glad to serve as the picture operator on that assignment. I expressed my appreciation and told him I would be glad to do so.
I explained further that I had become engaged to a sister who was one of the phonograph operators and one of the special group whom Brother Russell had appointed to select the music for the Photo Drama. I said that I would appreciate it if we could get married and she could accompany me; but I did not want that, nor did she, if it would disrupt the work. He replied that it would work out just fine; that a phonograph operator had to go along anyway, and it might as well be one of my own preference.
At the time there was one of the General Conventions of the Watchtower being held at Asbury Park, New Jersey; so we attended the remainder of that convention and then arranged to be married before we went away on our trip. Ordinarily we would have asked Brother Russell to perform the ceremony for us, but he was away, so we asked Brother Henry Clay Rockwell. It was a private wedding, and almost as soon as it was over we boarded a train for the first stop on our new schedule, which was London, Ontario.
I served as operator and setup man on this entire trip. Our next stop was Toronto, Ontario, then Bellville, Ontario, and from there we went directly to my home town in Nova Scotia, which was Berwick.
Berwick was a small village, and probably still is today. My fatherís sawmill was there, and he had a dream that one day he would be able to furnish electric lights to all the people in Berwick. With this end in view, on setting up the mill he arranged for an extra large power unit which consisted of a fifty horsepower steam engine. My fatherís dream never came true, largely probably because the citizens of the village were reluctant to spend their money to wire their homes, but when we got there with the drama we realized that if there was to be a showing of the drama, we had to have electricity.
Brother Samuel Baker accompanied me, and together we thought of the power plant in the sawmill. We made some investigations and found that we could secure temporarily the necessary equipment which we could hook to that plant and supply ourselves the needed electric current, which we did, including enough wire to run across the fields to the auditorium which, as one sister expressed it, was "only a biscuit throw away."
The drama went on according to schedule and we moved on to other towns in Nova Scotia and traveled all the way to the eastern-most part, which was Cape Breton Island. There we had a very successful showing of the Drama, both from the standpoint of attendance at the time and also from the standpoint of sustained interest.
From Cape Breton Island we went back to London, Ontario, the starting point of this schedule, and there found, to our great joy, that in the few months which had elapsed since we were there the first time, new interest had developed in the truth, and we were entertained in the home of brethren who had received the truth on our first visit to London.
We then returned to Brooklyn, and about the first morning at the breakfast table Brother Russell announced the dismissal of seventy workers, the reason being lack of funds to keep the work going. He asked Sister Woodworth and me to stay, however, and afterward explained that he would like to have us experiment with various ways of making the drama support itself. We did this, but failed all along the line.
And while Brother Russell still wanted us to remain in the service at Brooklyn, with Sister Woodworthís failing health we felt it better not to do so. Our last showing of the drama in the experimental arrangements was at Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. From there we went to Wilmington, Delaware, where we set up housekeeping and I got a job. Brother Samuel Baker came and lived with us for a time.
Waiting on the Lord
AFTER several years of activity in the Lordís vineyard, it was difficult to settle down with the thought that never again would we have the privilege of full-time service for the Lord; so there began a period of watchful waiting, endeavoring all the while to discern the Lordís providences in all of our experiences. During this period of waiting on the Lord we did have some outstanding experiences. One of these was attending the funeral service of our Brother Benjamin H. Barton. This would have been a privilege in itself, but it was doubly rewarding to us because Brother Russell conducted that service. It was good to see Brother Russell again and also encouraging to note the way he presented the truth and applied its principles to the faithfulness of our dear Brother Barton.
Brother Barton had very poor physical vision. It was difficult for him even to read the Bible when he was giving his lectures. Brother Russell referred to this and compared it to the spiritual vision of this faithful man of God. In doing this he used a text from the Bible-Isa 33:17. This is a reference to some of the blessings enjoyed by the righteous, and in that particular verse we read that their "eyes shall see the King in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off." Brother Russell referred eloquently to Brother Bartonís great spiritual vision. Through the truth he did, indeed, see the King in his beauty, and he saw that glorious new earth, made new through the kingdom of Christ. This is a blessing which all the truly consecrated and faithful servants of the Lord have the privilege of enjoying.
That new land of glory in the kingdom is not now so far off as it was when Brother Barton saw it by the eye of faith, and we rejoice today to realize that the time is indeed short when together we will enjoy association with the King in his beauty and have the privilege of living and reigning with him a thousand years.
Brother Russellís Service
During those days of waiting we also had the privilege of attending Brother Russellís funeral service in the New York City Temple. And how we rejoiced in his keen spiritual vision and his ability to make known to us what he saw! Little had I realized when I was assisting in the work of decorating the New York City Temple that within two years I would be sitting in that auditorium attending the funeral service of that great man of God who had the vision and the faith to have that structure prepared in which so many faithful witnesses were given for Jesus and for the Word of God.
There was also a funeral service for Brother Russell in Pittsburgh, and this is where his mortal remains were laid to rest.
During the days of waiting in Wilmington, a somewhat startling development occurred in truth circles. The directors of the work at that time-at least seven of them-were arraigned, tried for disloyalty to the United States Government, and imprisoned in a federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia. Shortly after this, what remained of the Watchtower work was moved to Pittsburgh.
Looking at this entire situation only as we could through human eyes, it seemed to us that the Lordís harvest work in the earth had just about come to a close. We rejoiced as we looked back upon the opportunities that had been ours, but now we were reminded of the feelings of the Jewish people when taken captive to Babylon. We read of them that they wept when they remembered Zion.
True, in Wilmington at the time there was a medium-sized group of Bible students with whom we fellowshipped when we could, and we were encouraged by the fact that while we were with them several new ones came into the class. This rejoiced our hearts but made us long all the more for the good old days when we enjoyed wider fields of service.
Exit to Freedom
IN THE year 1923 I accepted an invitation to re-enter the service as it was then managed from Brooklyn, New York. The brethren who had been put in prison for supposed disloyalty to the government were now released, and the headquarters of the work re-established in Brooklyn. Having become a machinist while in Wilmington, my first assignment at Brooklyn was the upkeep of the machinery which was used in printing the Societyís literature. But as matters worked out, I did not occupy that position very long.
Just before I left Wilmington one of the brethren took me to the home of one of his friends who had acquired a radio set. I was there long enough to hear a radio program from Gimbel Brothers Department Store in Philadelphia. Soon after I arrived in Brooklyn the Society became interested in this new method of communication and began construction of the necessary buildings, including a home from which to operate it. It wasnít long before the first program went on the air. Music became an important feature of programming, and the Society decided to form an orchestra to participate in this.
At home as a boy and teenager I joined in the music as we could make it as a family. My mother played an old foot-pumped organ and, together with my sisters and father, sang. We brothers all learned to play instruments of one kind or another, and as a rule we spent our Sunday evenings singing and playing hymns. At that time I chose the trumpet; so when I learned that an orchestra was to be formed at Bethel, I volunteered as a trumpet player.
Our orchestra, when completed, consisted of eighteen pieces. We had more trumpets than we needed, so I volunteered to learn to play the slide trombone. I well remember one evening when we were playing over the radio station that the leading trumpet player, who was sitting beside me, was struggling with a difficult piece of music. I knew that a certain note was a difficult one to produce properly, and when he neared that note I offered up a prayer to God to help him do it correctly. (He made it!) I mention this merely to indicate that all the brethren participating in this effort to serve the Lord were doing it sincerely and with a desire to glorify the Lord.
But the work in the orchestra was only a beginning so far as the radio was concerned. The government assigned our station four hours a day for six days a week to be on the air. That was twenty-four hours a week, and that called for much more than had been anticipated. It was then that the "Frank and Ernest" method of presenting the message was developed. Brethren were called upon to give short discourses, there were news broadcasts, etc. It was not long before a number of us were transferred to the radio station, and we put in full time in that branch of the service. I remember that I did announcing, gave short addresses and news broadcasts in addition to participating in the "Frank and Ernest" programs, and of course besides all this was the work in the orchestra. It was a pleasant assignment, and one which I felt was being used to further the interests of the truth through the preaching of the glorious Gospel of the kingdom.
Ere long, however, clouds appeared on the horizon. New views of the truth began to be proclaimed, and I was censured because I did not keep up to date with the "Frank and Ernest" program. I argued with the "powers that be" that the "Frank and Ernest" programs were bringing good results and I saw no reason to change. Then I was given a green light to go ahead and do it my own way. If this permission had not been forthcoming, I would not have continued my work under these auspices.
To start with, the radio work was located on Staten Island, New York, but in due time an elaborate studio was constructed in connection with the new home that was built in Brooklyn. There also was installed an expensive pipe organ, which was designed to take the place of the orchestra. However, I was asked to stay on and work in the new studio, and this I consented to do, even though reluctantly.
It wasnít long before the brother who was working with me (John Dawson) decided to make a change. I was asked to select a substitute, but when I hesitated they granted John the privilege of coming in once a week to continue his part, seeing that he expected to remain in the Brooklyn area. But this continued for only a short time. Brother Dawson obtained employment with a radio station upstate owned by a brother in the truth, and he left the Brooklyn area.
Then I was asked again to select a substitute. I explained that I thought it would be better to get two new brethren, but this was not acceptable.
Meanwhile, the day that Brother Dawson actually quit the service we talked matters over and decided to visit some brethren who had left the Society soon after Brother Russellís death. I did this with the certain knowledge that it would lead to embarrassment and trouble when it became known in headquarters, and it did. One morning I found a note on my desk instructing me to appear in Brother Rutherfordís office at once. I did so. He asked me if it was true that I had made this certain visit, and I acknowledged the truth. He told me to be back at his office in an hour, and when I returned, I was confronted by the board of directors.
When asked if I believed that the Lord had an organization and that the Watchtower was that organization, my reply was that I did not believe that any man or any group of men had a monopoly on Godís truth. That settled it. I was glad then that I had stayed on until this clear-cut opportunity of presenting the real reason for leaving came to me. There was no doubt then that to remain in the service with this group meant that one had to obey them rather than God.
One of the fundamental points of truth which I had learned in the beginning from the teachings of Brother Russell-and it was drilled into me by both word and example by my father -was that the Bible alone, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, is the only true channel of truth. The whole idea of exclusive human channelism was repugnant to me. And now that I had found out for sure that believing in this sort of thing was the only condition under which I could continue with the group with which I was serving, I rejoiced in the opportunity of becoming free from such a system of man-made bondage.
I was warned by Brother Rutherford that most of those who had left the Society had engaged in nothing but slandering and misrepresenting him. I assured him that while I had no idea of what I would do, I knew I would have something more important to occupy my time than to talk about him. This was about midmorning, and I was denied the privilege of even remaining there for lunch. He told me that he would announce to the brethren that I was a traitor and issue orders that none of them were to speak to me under any circumstances or have any dealings with me.
In this connection, I well remember a time later when in Brooklyn that I met a group of my former friends as they were walking home for lunch, and as we passed they kept their faces set like flint straight ahead. For some reason, after they had gone by and I continued on my course, I just turned around to look at them, and then I noticed that one of the brothers was putting his hand out behind him waving to me. I knew then that they, too, were feeling the bondage.
At home in New Jersey that evening I received a call from a brother in one of the New Jersey ecclesias asking me if I could take a funeral service next day. He had not heard what had happened. I told him I would be glad to take the service, and I did. And this was an encouragement to me because I realized that while this brother did not know what had happened, the Lord did, and he was saying in this wonderful way, "I want to continue to use you as a servant and a son."
Comes The Dawn
FOR a time after the separation from old associations I did not attend meetings. This was the year of the popularity of miniature golf, and I opened a miniature golf field and did real well while the season lasted. But for me the season was short, because it was nearly over before I got into the field. By the next spring the public had lost interest in miniature golf.
Meanwhile, responding to the urge within me, I had sought out some brethren-the Associated Bible Students of Brooklyn, to be exact-and I started attending meetings with them. They knew of my comparatively recent association, and many of them were familiar with the "Frank and Ernest" broadcasts; so it wasnít long before the question arose as to why we could not sponsor those broadcasts under our own auspices.
I explained that there was no reason why we could not, except that they would cost a lot of money if we used a good station. But the brethren were determined. They appointed the board of elders of the ecclesia as a radio committee to investigate what could be done. The result of this was that arrangements were finally made to put the program on one of New Yorkís largest radio stations, and the various ecclesias up and down the Atlantic coast offered to help pay the cost.
We had put on only two or three broadcasts when we received a letter from Brother Clayton J. Woodworth, who is best known for his work on the Comment Bible. It was a kindly letter. He recognized that what he had heard of our program was the truth, and he urged us to return to our former association and to continue our work there rather than to work with those he considered to be disloyal brethren.
We replied to this letter with an open letter which, in the Lordís providence, we were able to circulate very widely throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. The response to this was immediate and favorable. Brethren in many parts of the world had been longing for someone with whom they could co-operate, and now they thought they had found someone. Many of them asked for literature which they could use in their witness work.
We had found, ourselves, that literature is very important in connection with bearing witness to the truth. For example, we were essentially ready to go on the air with the radio before we realized that we did not have any proper printed matter to offer in connection with the program. It wasnít too difficult to overcome this point, in a measure at least, and we started publishing what was known as the Radio Echo. Really this was not any more than a medium-sized four-page tract. But each week it gave a summary of what was heard on the radio, and it worked out very well.
It was not very long, however, before we realized that we could not continue the radio programs, because we were running out of money. We actually did have to cancel our contract, and this left us publishing the Radio Echo when there were no radio programs to echo. However, we did manage to make a few extra copies of a number of the programs, and later these were used by the brethren in Los Angeles, Chicago, and other places. So there we were with a dilemma on our hands, and what should we do about it?
Meanwhile, more and more friends from various parts of the world were writing, asking for literature. We did the best we could to respond to these requests. The brethren on the radio committee gave much thought to this situation and decided that under the circumstances the best thing to do was to enlarge the size of the Radio Echo into a magazine. This we did, and we called that magazine The Dawn. The first issue of the Dawn contained a reprint of Brother Russellís booklet on hell. The second issue of The Dawn contained the volume, but of course in magazine form. We printed many extra copies of these, feeling that the friends would be happy to get them, and they were.
Our response from the public to this magazine edition of the first volume when it was distributed by the friends was very small indeed. We wondered if perhaps it was too much reading matter for a person not knowing the truth to get through all at once. Then we started publishing booklets so that a shorter message would be available. The first booklet† published was "God and Reason." The friends received this booklet with enthusiasm and it began to have a very wide circulation. The booklet, in turn, began to reach some who had never heard the truth, and they responded and accepted the message. These were located in various parts of the world. So we felt that we had hit upon a method of distributing the printed message which was good.
As time went on we published other booklets, one of them the chapter from the first volume known as "The Day of Jehovah." When we sensed that some aspect of truth needed to be covered more particularly, we got out a booklet for that purpose; so our list of booklets grew, and the encouraging part of this was that as the people read these booklets and became interested, they wrote in for further information, which they could get from the first volume of Studies in the Scriptures. In other words, we had not given up the publication of the first volume but simply introduced it to the public in a different way.
Meanwhile, we continued publishing the monthly issues of The Dawn magazine, endeavoring to cover as wide a field of select matter as possible-both that which would be especially appropriate for the brethren and that which would be more suitable for the public. In continuing this publication we did not cease to emphasize that we did not consider The Dawn magazine an exclusive channel of truth. We emphasized that others in the vineyard had as much right and privilege to publish truth literature as did we. The experience we had with our former association kept reminding us of the necessity of this tolerant, understanding attitude toward the brethren and our willingness to co-operate with them, whether they were working with us or not.
Meanwhile we continued to have our problems financially in keeping the young budding work going. A public accountant examined our books and announced that it was impossible for us to continue; that we might as well give up and be happy about it. I agreed that this was the way it looked, but somehow we did keep going. It was during the years of the Depression-the Dawn magazine itself started in 1932-and money in those days was very scarce. If we received a donation of $25.00 we imagined that this should keep us going a long time, but the difficulty was it didnít.
I well remember the sigh of relief that come to me when President Roosevelt ordered a closing of the banks. We had bills we could not pay, but when the banks were not permitted to function we could not pay bills anyway; so this afforded a bit of respite in which we could breathe freely. In some way when the banks were opened we seemed to get along a little better. In this connection I would like to mention with appreciation the enthusiastic and continuous support of the brethren in the New York area, especially some of the sisters. A sister, from hard-earned savings, purchased our first linotype machine, etc. These friends seemed to understand that the providences of the Lord override the conclusions of public accountants, and The Dawn continued to be published.
During this period we printed many thousands of tracts on secondhand equipment which the brethren helped us to purchase, and rendered other services of which the brethren in this part of the world were in need. But the time came when some of them began to wonder what had happened to our original project of broadcasting the truth by radio. One brother and sister wondered about this so much that they wrote to us and said that they would pay for the recording of thirteen programs if we would prepare them and when recorded offer them to the ecclesias free for their use over local radio stations.
We accepted this offer. The programs were prepared, and while we were of the opinion that during the Depression the brethren in local ecclesias would do well to pay their hall rent, we found that within two or three months fifty stations were being paid to put on the "Frank and Ernest" program. We surely rejoiced in this and continued the best we could in other areas as well to make known the glad tidings of the kingdom.
Meanwhile, since the work had expanded from the original concept of the radio committee made up of the board of elders, it was recommended by the Brooklyn church, and heartily agreed to by the brethren involved, to separate this work from the activities of the church, and that those who wished should get together and form a legal organization to carry on the work. It was under these circumstances that the Dawn Publishers was formed, and later this name was changed to Dawn Bible Students Association. But whatever changes of name we experienced, the same spirit of liberty and tolerance was, and continues to be, maintained. In this we rejoice.
The "Frank and Ernest" radio programs were revived in 1940. They continued through the 40ís, averaging from fifty to seventy-five stations a week. In 1948 and the beginning of 1949 our finances began to dwindle, and we found it necessary to cancel some stations that were supported directly by The Dawn.
Meanwhile, our Brother W.A. Gleeson of California, who conducted an advertising agency, contacted the West Coast officials of the American Broadcasting Company network and was quoted a price and given the assurance that we could go on that network with our program. The price, of course, was approximately three times what we had been paying, but we were not staggered by this. Some publicity was given to the possibility, and it was discussed at the General Convention that year in Bowling Green, Ohio. After careful and prayerful consideration the convention voted to authorize The Dawn to ask for expressions of good hopes through its pages and see if it would be possible to undertake this enlargement of the work. This was done. And upon the basis of the good hopes of the brethren it was decided to enter into a contract.
In the course of giving consideration to this, one brother remarked that it would be as easy as "ABC." However, it turned out to be more like XYZ, for it was not easy to get through that first year of network broadcasting. Then Brother Gleeson recommended that the next year we transfer to the Mutual network, which we did. Although it had more stations, the cost was a little less, and we found that the response by mail was much larger. We had abundant evidence that the Lord was continuing to bless the radio witness work, especially in the fact that new ones were coming into the truth in many parts of the country.
The Pilgrim Service
We rejoiced also in the manner in which the Lord was blessing the pilgrim service. Here again, we did not impose our activity upon the brethren but sought first to know whether they wanted the Dawn pilgrims; and, besides, when the notices went out for each individual speaker, the classes were asked whether it would be convenient to have that speaker. Brother George Kendall was the first of the pilgrims, and as we went through the years we enjoyed the co-operation of such outstanding brethren as C.W. Zahnow, S.J. Arnold, W.A. Baker, and many others whom the brethren had learned to love. Our other services, such as tracts, kingdom cards, booklets, and books, continued to expand, and in the Lordís providence we were eventually able to furnish the brethren with the Studies in the Scriptures, the Manna book, Tabernacle Shadows, and Hymns of Dawn. All of this afforded much joy, and we continued to thank the Lord for his leadings.
WHILE The Dawn work got under way officially in the year 1932, it was not until the year 1937 that we had any contact with our brethren overseas. That year Sister Woodworth and I decided to make a short trip to Europe so that she could visit her mother and other relatives whom she had not seen for a number of years. Sister Woodworth and I were married five years after the passing of my first wife.
On that short trip we made several contacts with the brethren in England, and as a result of this I later received an invitation to return the following year and spend several months with them serving the classes. Airplanes for overseas travel were not yet available so I booked passage by boat-the "New Amsterdam."
Before the boat set sail I was approached by one of its officers and asked if I would give the sermon at their Sunday service, which I agreed to do. There was a good attendance at this service, probably as many as 150. I used as my text, "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Outside of this there was no special incident during my voyage.
My destination, so far as the boat was concerned, was Southampton, England. However, we did not put into this port but merely anchored on the outside, and a tender was sent out to transfer us to land. The "New Amsterdam" pulled up anchor and sailed away, leaving the tender and its passengers behind. I canít say that I had a kindly feeling toward the "New Amsterdam," because it had brought me too far away from home and for so long a time. I soon realized, of course, that my affairs were in the Lordís hands and that it was not because of the "New Amsterdam" at all, but by the direction of the Lordís will, that I should find myself on British shores. From Southampton we traveled to London by train, where we were met by brethren and made most welcome.
Two days later we found ourselves at a convention in London. There were more than two hundred friends at this convention, and there were many things about it which I will long remember, one of those things being the singing of the hymns. Someone had arranged a special hymn by putting together the music of "That Will Be Glory for Me" with words which depicted the coming King of the glorious kingdom. I never will forget that hymn. I brought it with me when I returned, and it has been used here as a theme song for one of our General Conventions and was used again last year.
Brother Osborne was one of the convention speakers, and he brought out a very timely thought concerning Godís answers to our prayers. He remarked that we ask God for some special blessing, such as his guidance, and do not seem to receive an answer. He said that perhaps the answer was given at the weekly prayer meeting which we did not attend. He likened the attendance at the prayer meeting to our keeping an appointment with the Lord. Perhaps, he said, we failed to get an answer to our prayers because we did not keep our appointment with the Lord.
Attending that convention was Brother Carl Luttichau of Copenhagen, Denmark. It was a pleasure to become acquainted with Brother Luttichau. He had been a faithful servant of the Lord for many years. One of his services had been to act as interpreter for Brother Russellís public addresses. When I reached Copenhagen several years later, Brother Luttichau served as my interpreter.
The convention over, I started out on my schedule to serve the brethren. I was routed into the southern portion of England to begin with, as well as South Wales. In many respects it was like any other pilgrim schedule, except that every day I was meeting brethren whom I had not known before, and I found it a delight in every case to become acquainted with them.
I will mention one visit, the memory of which has remained with me through the years. It was a visit with just one brother. He was not well, and I had been given his address. I was somewhat apprehensive as to how it would work out to spend several hours with a brother whom I had never seen before. But it turned out to be a delightful experience. I am not one who is given to much talking under circumstances of this kind, so it was natural for me simply to listen and to chime in with a few words where it seemed appropriate.
Although I had never met this brother before, I found myself becoming rapidly acquainted with him, since he revealed himself through his conversation. And what a lovely brother he was! Before that visit was over I felt I had known him for many years. I had not asked him any question as to his viewpoints on the truth or on other subjects related to his Christian life. I simply listened. As I left that home the thought came to me as to how important it is to be a good listener. 1 realized then that many times we fail to grasp what the Lord is trying to say, or the beauties of his character, simply because we do not pay attention to what he says to us in his Word.
One of the purposes the brethren had in mind when inviting me to visit them in Great Britain was to encourage the classes to become more active in holding public meetings and in otherwise dispensing the glorious Gospel of the kingdom. However, while I began my schedule in August, it was not until near the end of September that the first public meeting was arranged. The meeting itself was in Newcastle, although arrangements for it were made by a little group just across the river in a city called Gateshead. The Gateshead brethren leased what was known as a news theatre, a small auditorium seating about 600. The meeting was scheduled for a Sunday evening. The subject had been virtually dictated by circumstances which prevailed throughout the British Isles at that time, circumstances associated with what is still known as the Munich crisis.
Almost from the time I began this schedule the rulers of Germany started their threats of war against the British Isles. Every time the radio was turned on one would hear about it. The government ordered that suitable trenches in which people could secure themselves against the attacks of poison gas should be dug wherever possible. Gas masks were distributed, and munition trains were to be seen frequently, taking the sinews of war closer to the English Channel. Naturally the peopleís minds and hearts had been thus directed toward the possibility of war, and to a most vague hope that in some way it would be averted. Under those circumstances I chose for my subject in Newcastle "Godís Assurance of Lasting Peace."
To the great surprise of the brethren who arranged for the meeting, and of myself as well, shortly after the doors to that news theatre were opened it was filled to capacity. There was an arrangement in Great Britain at that time that after seven oíclock in the evening one could telephone to any part of the country-England, Scotland, Ireland, or Wales-for one shilling, which at that time was probably about twenty cents. The enthusiasm of the Gateshead brethren who arranged for the meeting knew no bounds. They started telephoning to other ecclesias and brethren, and within a remarkably short time a large portion of the British brethren knew about the successful public meeting.
Then began a searching of my schedule by other classes to see if it would be possible to serve a public meeting in their area. Naturally the schedule had been made up in advance and not many free days were left, and as a rule those free days were Mondays. At first the brethren were reluctant to try to hold a public meeting on a Monday night, but the first one, and essentially all of them thereafter, turned out to be very successful. Monday night was a good night for public meetings in Great Britain. To get to these meetings meant a great deal of extra travel to various parts of the country, but by the Lordís grace, through the efficiency of the brethren, all the new appointments were kept, and we rejoiced.
Finally, with my schedule concluded, the time had arrived to start back across the ocean for home. My last appointment was in Warrington, England, where the friends had met in an abandoned railway station for years. This was near Liverpool. I went on to Liverpool, where I was met and entertained briefly by Brother and Sister Walter Mercer. I wanted on my way back, if possible, to visit the brethren in Newfoundland, and in order to do this it was necessary to use a comparatively small boat for passage. But it was a passenger boat, so I did not have any hesitancy about this. Brother and Sister Mercer took me to the boat in the evening, and I set sail. Little did they, or I, realize that within a year they would have war, and that Mr. Chamberlainís announcement when returning from Munich-that peace had been saved for our day-would turn out to be a false one.
To jump ahead of my schedule for a moment, I might mention that after the war had been going on for several months I received a letter from Sister Mercer, who together with her husband had taken me to the boat that night, and in this letter she described what happened every time they heard the warning siren of approaching bombing planes-and there were plenty of these, because the city of Liverpool was almost completely destroyed during that war. In her letter she told of how different ones reacted. Some were storekeepers and others conducted various other types of businesses. But when the siren sounded they all scampered to the air raid shelter-and no one could blame them-and this included the bankers. Finally, her letter concluded, the "all clear" would be sounded and everybody would get to their normal situations, including, she said, the banker, who then got his balance.
The Storm at Sea
We did not realize the night I sailed from Liverpool what a rough time that little boat would have ere it reached Newfoundland. We had hardly gotten away from the harbor when strong winds arose, rising in a very brief time to hurricane velocity. The sea became so rough that ultimately the waves were tossed completely over the vessel. This was in the middle of the night, and one of the very high waves struck the vessel, submerging it and breaking in the porthole in my stateroom.
I rose quickly to investigate the meaning at the water I heard rushing in through the broken porthole, and then another wave came. I was thrown from my feet and I skidded across the wet floor and for a time had to lie prostrate lest I be thrown down again. Not long hence, however, some of the shipís crew came in and assisted me out of that wet stateroom into a dry one, which I used for the remainder of the journey.
Finally, with the severe weather, a snow storm set in, and we arrived in Newfoundland in one of the worst snow storms I have ever seen. By now we were two days late. Brother Butler in Newfoundland, who arranged for my visit, owned a radio station. He had hired a large and beautiful hall for a public meeting, supposing that we would be on hand at least two days before the time set for the meeting; but we got there late in the afternoon for which the meeting had been advertised.
By this time there were nearly two feet of snow and it was still snowing and blowing, although in spite of this between fifty and seventy-five of the public attended the meeting. But in addition to the witness in the hall itself, Brother Butler hired the only two other radio stations on the island to carry the discourse, so with his own station and the two that he hired, the message did go out. It was the only thing that was possible to be heard that evening by radio. This was true also of the passengers left aboard the boat. The boat radio was turned on all right, but there was nothing else to get but a discourse on "Godís Remedy for a World Gone Mad."
The ship remained in the harbor for two days, unloading and loading. Meanwhile, we had interviews over the radio. And Sister Butler, who had recently consecrated, wanted to be immersed, and she was immersed in a bathtub. The second day, toward evening, we went aboard the ship, the next port of call being Halifax, Nova Scotia. The passengers who had heard the discourse had questions to ask, but so far as I could tell no deep interest had been engendered. Early the next morning we arrived in Halifax. I knew some of the brethren there and had the address of one. I asked the shipís purser if it would be all right to go ashore, and he said it would be, because they werenít scheduled to leave before seven oíclock that evening. So I went ashore, I looked up the brother, and told him that I didnít have to go back on the ship until seven oíclock that evening, and he called together the brethren for a five oíclock meeting.
That meeting was just closing when a taxicab drove up, bringing one of the officers of the boat. He was in search of me. Just to be safe, I had left this address with the purser on the boat. He explained that they were ready to leave much sooner than expected, and their departure was now being held up by the fact that I was not on hand. He hurried me back to the boat. Three of the officers met me at the gangplank with a mild reprimand for being late, and I was taken aboard the ship. The next morning we arrived in Boston, still two days late. A convention had been scheduled for Boston the previous Sunday, but I missed it by two days.
Sister Woodworth met me at the boat and we made our way by automobile back to New York. The five-month schedule had been completed, and it would be a gross understatement to say that I was a happy man!
In Foreign Lands
IT WAS not until after the close of the Second World War that we made any effort to contact our brethren in continental Europe. Then, however, reports reached us of the dire situation of many of them so far as food and clothing were concerned, and we thought it advisable to see if there was anything we could do to help in this situation. So Brother Joseph Heinen of Long Beach, California, and I set out together on this mission. Brother Heinen could speak German, and we went as far as England and then phoned to some German-speaking brethren in Switzerland.
They were more than glad to hear from us, and in a couple of days we were there. While some of these brethren spoke German, the majority of them were more familiar with the French language, and while in Switzerland the brethren arranged for a convention in which French would be the official language. This convention being over, we set out with the idea of seeing if we could get into Germany.
Brother Heinen was a manufacturer of machine tools, and the German officials were anxious to get their industry moving; so he had no problem to get a visa. But, with me it was different. I waited around Switzerland considerably over a week, and I then did not get a visa to enter Germany but merely a permit to ride through Germany by train with my destination Copenhagen, Denmark. While waiting for action from the German officials, I set out walking one day and in a shopping district passed by a baby carriage. Just as I was opposite that carriage the baby cried. That was a comfort to me because it was the first voice I heard that I really understood. It was my language, and that sort of became a symbol to me in connection with all my visits to continental Europe, of which there were to be ten more after this. I knew that somewhere in the crowd there were those babies that spoke my language.
Finally I got my permit to travel through Germany, and I left Basel in the evening for a ride all night and most of the next day. Meanwhile, Brother Heinen had phoned me from Hanover, Germany, where he had contacted the brethren, and he said that he would be at the station platform in Hanover the next morning and would ride with me as far as Hamburg.
This was a strange train ride. The train itself was dreary and dilapidated, and all along the line were strewn the ruins of buildings, locomotives, and whole trains, and when we finally reached Hamburg the harbor was filled with sunken ships. The station platform at Hamburg was crowded with people, some looking for trains to go in one direction, some in another, but they all seemed to have one thing in common. They were all eating apples. I learned later that for the time being this was one of the main supplies of food in Germany.
So far as our objective of getting food and clothing to the German people was concerned, Brother Heinen was able to make good arrangements, and for months to come after that the brethren in America-particularly those on the West Coast-were busily engaged forwarding these very necessary items to their brethren overseas. But all I could do about it at the moment was to continue my journey to Copenhagen, Denmark, for my permit allowed only for this, and incidentally, to return through a corner of Germany on my way to England.
We arrived in Copenhagen that evening and were met by Brother Larsen and Brother Haselgaard. The weekend was coming up, and we had a delightful time with these brethren. There was a class there then of probably twenty brethren, and I enjoyed sweet fellowship with them, because Brother Larsen, Brother Haselgaard, and Brother Haselgaardís daughter could all speak English fluently. As an outgrowth of this visit, the Copenhagen brethren, under the direction of Brother Larsen, began publishing a Danish edition of The Dawn. Incidentally, I might say that in Copenhagen Brother Luttichau served as my interpreter and he of course also could speak English, and it was a pleasure to co-operate with him.
In all, I visited the European countries eleven times. I enjoyed all my visits with the brethren, although it was a struggle to communicate with them most times on account of the language barrier. I was very forcibly reminded of the Tower of Babel account of how the Lord confused the tongues of the people. I visited Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. In all of the places we held conferences with the brethren, for they were all anxious to know what more they could do to proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom, and how The Dawn might help them.
I visited Berlin, which was divided between the East and the West. With this difficulty, many of the brethren from East Germany succeeded in getting to the one-day convention, and there were many happy reunions with their brethren of West Germany. Brother Kurt Krecker and his wife, Christa, were serving very energetically in connection with the publishing of the German Dawn. Both of them had previously worked in the German Bible House in the days of Brother Russell. Brother Krecker has since passed away, but Sister Krecker is still active in connection with the work of The Dawn.
Public Witness in Greece
I visited the brethren in Greece several times, and one of these visits was in 1962. The class at Athens decided that on this occasion they would like to hold a public meeting. They engaged a good-sized theatre in which to hold the meeting and did considerable advertising through newspapers and otherwise. All the friends wondered how many would come to the meeting and were pleasantly surprised that Sunday morning to see essentially a thousand of the public turn out to hear a message of truth from the Word of God.
Brother Pantel Hatgis of the Brooklyn, New York, Ecclesia was there, and he served as interpreter. His daughter, Agape, and her young son were also there. The meeting went along without special incident until I made some point in connection with the condition of the dead which stirred up the animosity of about a hundred people sitting in the front rows of the theatre. Apparently they had come there to create a disturbance and waited only for what they thought was an opportune time. Chaos broke loose in the front part of the theatre. Men and women were shouting at Brother Hatgis and me and waving their fists in our faces, at least as near to our faces as they could reach. As this melee continued, Brother Hatgisí young grandson took off his belt and waved it in the air and declared that if those people did anything to harm his grandfather or me he would kill them, and he no doubt meant what he said.
Finally Brother Hatgis stepped out to the front of the platform and assured the disturbers that before we closed the meeting they would have an opportunity to ask questions. After he repeated this several times, they finally quieted down and we went on with the lecture. When we reached the end of the lecture, Brother Hatgis announced that we were now ready for questions; but, with this, the Athens police stepped in and refused to permit any questions to be asked. Our meeting was abruptly closed. We were hurried into a small room backstage, and after the police succeeded in dispersing the agitators, they escorted us out to a taxicab, which in turn they escorted with armored cars to our hotel. No one was hurt, but it certainly did remind us of experiences through which the workers in the Early Church passed in the first centuries of the churchís history. It was the first and last time that I was practically mobbed on account of proclaiming the glad tidings of the kingdom.
That afternoon in Athens we visited Mars hill, where the Apostle Paul spoke so eloquently to certain Athenians. The Parthenon, the ancient temple, which is located on the Acropolis and is now to a large extent in ruins, was very close to where Paul stood when he delivered his discourse. Judging the best we could where Paul must have stood during his discourse, it would seem that to his right towered these ancient ruins, and to his left was the roadway which led down to the valley below, where there were so many idols, one of these being ascribed to the unknown God.
Paul seemed diplomatic when he referred to the unknown God, saying that he was there merely to inform them concerning his identity. But when he referred to the temple, he said that this unknown God which he worshiped does not dwell in temples made with hands. No matter how wonderful that temple may have been before it went into ruins, the true and living God never occupied it.
Special Sights Incidental †
In visiting the brethren in the different countries of Europe, there were many sights of interest which we could have seen if we had had time to spend along this line. However, we did see some of them in connection with the main purpose of our being there. In Italy there was, of course, the Colosseum of Rome, where so many Christians had been put to death. There was a section of the Appian Way referred to in the Book of Acts, a roadway which Paul had traveled. There were the Catacombs, which we visited, and the famous Arch of Titus. It was interesting to see these ancient spots, and we could only be happy that we were now living in this end of the age instead of at the beginning. Although not of historical aspect, nevertheless interesting to us, were the long days and the short nights of summer in Finland. It was still fairly light at midnight and by 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning the sun was up.
The Field of Service
Counting all Europe as a field of service, it was our privilege, in connection with the many visits we made, to render help to the brethren, with literature of one sort or another in Italy, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. The brethren in these various countries rejoiced that they had brethren in America who were willing to do what they could to help them.
On one of our overseas journeys we visited Israel. We had received correspondence from a professed Jew who claimed to have accepted the truth. He was a clever writer and was able to convince us, up to a point, that this was true. He wanted to be our representative in Israel in the distribution of the literature of The Dawn. Since I was going to Italy, and this was so close to Israel, our Board of Trustees asked me to continue on and contact this man and find out more about him, which I did. It was with difficulty that I found the man at all, and when I did, I discovered that his professed interest in the truth was largely commercial. Indeed, he was interested in doing anything that he could turn into money. He was getting packages of food, and even typewriters, from people in America, and selling them over there to his own profit. He wanted to make a new translation of the Bible from English to Hebrew which, as he explained, would be the last word in translations. I soon sensed that his interest in this was to draw a salary while he was doing it.
Before I left Israel, I finally contacted one man who did have some genuine interest in the truth, and he knew this gentleman whom I had come to see and warned me against him. It was a disappointing experience. Unless we had investigated, we could have gotten into more serious trouble.
I went to Israel as the representative of the Mutual Broadcasting System and was given a letter of introduction to their representative there, who was a reporter on the Jerusalem Post. I looked him up, and he was most kind to me, took me into his home, entertained me while I was in Israel, and did everything he could to make me feel at home and comfortable. He had a beautiful daughter about five years old, and from her I learned the only Hebrew word that I know, and that word is "shalom." So I think in closing this story of some of my experiences in the truth I will do so by saying, "Shalom." Peace be with you, my brethren, everywhere.
THROUGHOUT the preceding articles of this series, in which I have mentioned some of the wonderful providences of the Lord in connection with my efforts to serve him, I have failed largely, I think, to express my appreciation of those who co-labored with me and to whose faithful sacrifices I have much for which to be thankful. Above all, I wish now to express my appreciation first of all to the Lord for allowing me to have some little share in his service and for the way he has guided and helped me in connection with all my endeavors to know and to do his will.
The first of these articles dealt with echoes from the vineyard of the Lord prior to the time that the work of The Dawn was started. At the moment I will concern myself with personal observations concerning co-laborers in the vineyard beginning with The Dawn. With these events I enjoyed many of the richest experiences of my life through the observation of the faithfulness of Godís people to carry forward with what they thoroughly and correctly believed to be the Lordís harvest work. I have already explained that through the recommendation of the then Brooklyn Associated Bible Students, three of these, together with Brother George Wilson of Pittsburgh, were the incorporators of the work. But it is one thing to form a corporation to do a certain work and quite another thing for it actually to function. The incorporators did all they could to assure the continuance of the work, but it was only through the fact that others showed their enthusiasm by their hearty and self-sacrificing cooperation that the service of the Lord, the truth, and the brethren was maintained through the difficult years of the "great depression"-for it was in the early years of that depression that The Dawn came into existence.
I do not, of course, remember, even as I did not then know of the co-operation of many who showed their interest; so I will speak only of those who were nearest to the scene and realized the need probably more acutely than those who were not so close to it. For a considerable time the income of The Dawn was not sufficient to assure the continuance of the work; and two sisters stepped into the breach and made up the needed difference. One of them has since passed beyond the veil; that is, Sister Lilia Woodworth. The other was Sister Norma Mitchell, then of Brooklyn.
But there were other needs. We needed help in connection with the opening and answering of mail, and Sister Norma Mitchell helped faithfully in this connection, as did also Sister Ruth Roark, now of Miami, Florida. Sister Corey Mitchell, Normaís mother, took over the work of sending out follow-up literature to those who displayed special interest. Many of these in that day were in reality Bible students who had already severed their connection with "the Society" and were looking for fellowship among the believers of the pure harvest truth, the divine plan of the ages. Sister Corey Mitchell has also now finished her course in death.
There were also others in the New York area who participated in one way or another and whose assistance was also greatly appreciated. Among these were Brother Oscar Magnuson, Brother W. F. Hudgings, Sister Rose Johnson (now Sister Bertsche). Others came from farther afield especially to assist us with the work of printing. One of these was Brother William Robertson, another Brother Jere Reimer. Brother Roark also helped us with the printing, even before he was consecrated. Brother Arnold Greaves of the Brooklyn Harvest Truth Ecclesia was a printer by profession and he gladly gave us a helping hand, which we appreciated. This was true also of Brother and Sister Rodgers. Indeed, Brother Rodgers died while in the service at The Dawn.
Brother Walter Sargeant
Brother Walter Sargeant was one of the faithful co-workers at The Dawn in that beginning period. Brother Sargeant was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, and for a limited time studied for the ministry-that was before he came in contact with present truth. There was not room in our limited office space in Brooklyn for Brother Sargeant to work, so Sister Woodworth, in keeping with her ever-present desire to help, invited him to live in our home and to work from there.
Brother Sargeant was very efficient in his work and very capable. For several years he prepared the International Sunday School Lessons which appeared in The Dawn and was also the author of the Uncle Ed Bible Stories. He was the writer of many Christian Life and Highlights of Dawn articles also. In addition to this, Brother Sargeant answered the letters which contained doctrinal questions.
Brother and Sister J. H. Hoeveler
We were greatly blessed at that time, also, by the presence and co-operation of Brother and Sister J.H. Hoeveler. They came to The Dawn from Chicago, although they had formerly lived in St. Louis. After they had accepted the invitation to join forces with us, Brother Hoeveler noticed an advertisement in a Chicago daily paper which displayed a beautiful picture of the rising sun and underneath that picture the wording, "Nothing can hold back the dawn." He was very pleased with this and sent it to us, and when they arrived to work with us their every attitude reflected the fact that as far as they were concerned nothing would be permitted to hold back The Dawn.
But Brother Hoeveler, in the providence of the Lord, was not with us very long. While conducting a funeral service, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage from which he never recovered. Again Sister Woodworth jumped into the breach and arranged to have them both come to our home, where she cared for Brother Hoeveler until he died. His funeral was conducted in our home by Brother W.F. Hudgings.
Sister Hoeveler continued in the service-and very faithfully so-until her eyesight failed; and even after that she made sure that she lived in this area where she could enjoy the fellowship of the friends and perhaps serve a little at times. The last few months of her life she lived in a convalescent home.
In addition to these brethren whom we specially mention, there were quite a number of brethren in the New York area who would come in to fold and wrap The Dawn each month. I emphasize the folding, because at that time we did not have a folding machine and each sheet of The Dawn was folded by hand. The services of these brethren were much appreciated indeed, and they will never know the extent to which their labor of love made the difference between The Dawn continuing publication and going out of publication.
Miss Nellie Weeks
During that time of struggle we had various things to encourage us and one of them was a newly consecrated sister, well-educated, appearing in time to help us do one of our major proofreading jobs; namely, the proofreading of the booklet "Hope Beyond the Grave."
Sister Woodworth was sent to Columbia University by a doctor to treat one of his patients there, and that patient turned out to be Miss Weeks. She had been on the entrance examination board for the university for many years and was about to retire. The first two or three treatments helped her so much that she decided to retire right away and move to New Jersey, where she could get those treatments as often as she wanted.
Meanwhile Sister Woodworth had applied another of her usual treatments. She had witnessed to Sister Weeks, and she accepted the truth; and when she came to New Jersey she was invited to our home to live for a considerable period of time. I spent many hours of blessed fellowship with her, because she grasped the truth so clearly and rejoiced in it so much. The burden became a little too great for Sister Woodworth, and Sister Weeks moved to another location, where in her failing years she died.
After her death we learned that she had bequeathed a large sum of money to The Dawn to assist in carrying forth its work of presenting the glorious Gospel of the kingdom. Her brother was then the president of one of New Yorkís largest banks, and at the funeral his wife came to Sister Woodworth and me and chided us for not taking better care of their sister. She remarked that we had taken her religion away and given her our religion as a substitute and then dropped her. This, of course, was not true. But probably these good people died with the idea that we had misused their sister.
Brother and Sister John Hutchison
Early in those beginning days of The Dawn a lovely devoted Christian couple came into our association and wanted to serve. It was Brother and Sister John Hutchison. Brother and Sister Hutchison had spent many years in the colporteur work; and since they did not feel physically capable of continuing this, they were seeking other means of service. We made a pilgrim route for Brother Hutchison, reaching into Florida and other southern states, and the brethren were delighted with his services.
However, his failing health soon brought about his return and he lived but a short time after that. Whether by his request or by the wish of Sister Hutchison we do not know, but she arranged to have his earthly remains cremated. Some two or three weeks later she visited the home of one of the sisters in Brooklyn, carrying an urn. As soon as she was in the front room she put this urn down on the floor rather definitely, and said, "Well, here is John."
While Brother Hutchison had finished his course in death, Sister Hutchison continued to labor on in the service, She was an excellent proofreader and she served in that capacity even after The Dawn moved to East Rutherford, New Jersey. We will long remember the faithful and efficient service of Sister Hutchison.
Brother L. F. Zink
I would like to say a word about Brother L.F. Zink of Hamilton, Ontario. When he came into the truth back in the 1890ís, he owned a shoe business. I understand that he operated more than one shoe shop, but how many I do not know. He sold out his business and began to use the proceeds therefrom for paying his expenses in the work.
First he did colporteur work. He went to the British Isles and sold books there, then to Australia and to New Zealand. Brother Russell heard of his activities and invited him to come to the United States and enter the colporteur and then the pilgrim service. It was in this connection that we came in contact with Brother Zink.
His actual service with The Dawn was of short duration, although we did sponsor him as a pilgrim. When he gave up the pilgrim work because of poor health, Sister Woodworth invited him to stay in our home. She took him around to many of her patients, and to these he bore faithful witness to the truth. They all learned to love him.
Brother Zink had a novel way of presenting the message. He did it by the dialog method. He would step to one part of the room and present a thought which he knew was out of harmony with the Bible, then he would go to the other side of the room and answer himself. It was very unique, and it held the interest of his listeners.
Finally Brother Zink returned to his home in Hamilton. Brother Zink was a very faithful man. He wanted all of his assets to be used in the service. Judging from his age, he endeavored to estimate how much more money he would need before he died, and the rest of his resources he donated to the work of The Dawn. ln arranging his financial affairs he had willed $1,000 to each of two nieces who had befriended him at various times. But before he died, these two nieces died; so that $2,000 was sent to the office of The Dawn in Toronto, and it was used to initiate the "Frank and Ernest" broadcast in Canada. I went to Ontario to conduct Brother Zinkís funeral service, and while doing so I felt that I was almost walking on holy ground.
Brother George S. Kendall
The pilgrim service was rather scanty in the early days of The Dawn, but we did have one brother who rendered a wonderful service along that line, Brother George S. Kendall. Brother Kendall served in the pilgrim work under Brother Russell and was faithful in various aspects of the harvest work during that time. Brother Kendall made his first pilgrim trip for The Dawn in 1933, going all the way from Brooklyn to Vancouver, British Columbia, and then down the west coast to California, and on home. The Dawn was then very new to the brethren, and naturally he had many questions to answer, which he did with grace and clarity.
Brother Kendall was the one most responsible for the 1954 date, which was accepted at that time as being the final end of the Gospel Age-the time when the church would be glorified and the Ancient Worthies resurrected. While not too many brethren confessed to accepting this theory, many naturally hoped that it would work out, and to some extent, governed their affairs accordingly. But like all the other dates for these events which have been set by the brethren, from Pentecost down to the present time, it failed; and here we are still going ahead with the harvest work, and with no date at all as to when it might end.
Brother C. W. Zahnow
Brother C.W. Zahnow was another one of our very important pilgrims during that general period of time. Brother Zahnow was more than a pilgrim, in that he would go into a territory and make personal calls on individuals and isolated brethren he found there, answer their questions for them the best he could, and encourage them to get together for regular meetings. In conducting this work we would often hear him say, "I see a class in York," meaning that in his enthusiasm he believed that the friends he was contacting would eventually get together and form an ecclesia; and very often they did.
Brother Zahnow also, of course, did regular pilgrim work, in which he was a great blessing to the friends and a faithful witness to the public. I well remember a public discourse he gave at the Bowling Green, Ohio, Convention. He had a habit of leaning over the pulpit to speak about an imaginary person in the audience, and this he did at Bowling Green. His imaginary person had been killed in an automobile accident. He explained that when the doctor arrived on the scene, he pronounced this man dead. The coroner arrived and pronounced him dead. Then the undertaker arrived, and he pronounced him dead. But when the clergyman arrived at the funeral service, he said, "This man is not dead; he is more alive than ever!"
Brothers Pollock, Fay, Wilson, Copeland
While expressing appreciation for some who labored diligently with us in the co-operative ministry of The Dawn, I would like to say a few words about those brethren who served on the radio and later in television work. I refer to Brothers Wilson, Fay, Pollock, and Don Copeland. As most of the brethren now know, Brother Wilson took the part of "Ernest" on the "Frank" and "Ernest" program and for a considerable time. Brother Don Copeland of Toronto, Ontario served as our announcer, and very ably so, because he was a professional announcer on the radio in Canada.
Later, after Brother Copeland passed away, Brother Pollock was invited by our Board of Trustees to serve as the announcer, which he did very ably. Still later, when the television work was initiated, Brother Fay and Brother Pollock worked together with me in this branch of the service. I can say of all these brethren that I have never been associated with any in the work of the Lord who were more dedicated and more conscientious than these brethren. Besides, we worked together without friction of any kind. I can say that in all my association with them I never saw any display of animosity or any emotion that would be contrary to the spirit of the Lord.
Another point that has been very outstanding to me in connection with our united service is the fact that almost without exception the brethren who have sacrificed-many times until it hurt-have done so in a genuine spirit of free will and devotion to the Lord and to his truth. This is the way it should have been, and this is the way it was.
On only two occasions in the more than forty years in which I have served with The Dawn has there been any hint by individual brethren that if we would do things their way they would make sure that we had all the necessary wherewithal for the work. One of these was a brother who had just been dismissed from the service of the Watchtower, and the other was a sister who had great interest in the Jewish cause and wanted us to conduct a witness for the Jews the way she wanted it done. Aside from these two instances no brother or sister in our entire fellowship has even as much as hinted that they wanted to use their money to influence us in the manner in which the work would be conducted.
The Lord Provides
The work of The Dawn has been a work of faith, not only along financial lines but also in the matter of securing suitable help to carry on. To start with, none of us knew anything about the art of printing, much less how to operate printing machinery. But I watched the providences of the Lord in this connection while, during the time in which he has overruled and assisted, we have seen not only one group of workers learn how to print, but more than one.
During recent years what we now refer to as the old-fashioned method of printing has almost completely gone out of vogue and a new method known as offset printing has been adopted by the business world. And here again the Lordís providences have guided us, so that he has provided a complete outfit of new equipment for typesetting and printing, together with the necessary help to operate it. This has greatly strengthened my faith, and I believe it will strengthen the faith of the brethren generally to pass this information on to them.
In connection with these articles, I would like to say that through the years of service with The Dawn I have never kept a diary. I have related my experiences completely from memory, so if I have left out some important things, I am sorry. But I do wish to include the present workers at The Dawn. These I know, and every one of them means much to me, for I am sure they are laboring here because they thoroughly believe that the Lord is pleased to have them do what they can to sound forth the glorious message of the kingdom.
THE years 1938 through 1950 were trying yet momentous ones in connection with the radio witness as sponsored by The Dawn. As before noted, we undertook this work on an individual station basis. There was great enthusiasm by the friends, which was maintained; but by the year 1948 the small cash reserves of the brethren were running low, and we found it necessary to cancel a few stations. It was in the next year and under these conditions that the opportunity opened up to put the "Frank and Ernest" program on the American Broadcasting national network of radio stations. This entailed a tremendous increase in cost over what we had been meeting. At first it seemed impossible.
But the word quickly spread. The matter was taken up at a number of conventions, including the General Convention, which that year was held in Bowling Green, Ohio. It was voted unanimously at this General Convention that The Dawn should take up an expression of "good hopes" from the brethren, not only at that convention but throughout the country, to see if such an undertaking would be possible. On the basis of the amount of money promised in this nation-wide good hopes it was decided to sign a contract with the American Broadcasting Company-ABC.
One brother remarked at the time that in his opinion the carrying out of such a contract would be as easy as ABC. And why not? One of the good hopes pledges received from a widow in the Middle West indicated that she would undertake to send to The Dawn for this purpose the amount of twenty-five cents a week. There was nothing else to conclude but the fact that all the generous, sacrificing widows did not live in Jesusí day!
In addition to this widowís mite, we had the assurance of the income of a shoe-shining establishment. This shoe-shining business was set up by our Brother Richard Suraci, who then worked at The Dawn, and is now in the New Haven, Connecticut, Ecclesia. He purchased the necessary equipment, and shined the shoes of all the workers at The Dawn for ten cents a pair. My shoes never looked so nice as they did then! The contract was signed, and in October of 1949 network broadcasting began.
Meanwhile a modest surplus had been building up, and everything went fairly well financially for a number of months. We were, of course, delighted with the great increase of mail, and this in turn, through the follow-up work, helped tremendously in building up The Dawn subscription list. However, the joy for some of us was curtailed somewhat by the knowledge that our modest surplus was rapidly dwindling, and by the end of the first nine months it was entirely exhausted. We finally reached the point where it became obvious that we would have to cancel the program. On the day we decided to do this I opened what appeared to be, from the action we had decided to take, the final bill. But instead of this being a bill, it was a credit memorandum. The contract called for a reduction of a certain percentage in the bill, beginning with the fourth quarter of the contract year. If we remembered this at all, we probably supposed that it would be payable at the end of the contract year. But the broadcasting company sent us this credit memorandum three months ahead of time, and it was in a sufficiently large amount to take care of all the broadcast bills for the remainder of the contract year. Naturally we were happy, and surprised. A great burden had been lifted, for now as each bill came in we just sent the covering credit memo for that week. Meanwhile it gave us an opportunity to begin building a small surplus for the second year, if we decided there should be a second year.
The Mutual Network
We did continue network broadcasting the second year, and on for a good many years, but on a different network, i.e., the Mutual Network. This network gave us better coverage and a slightly lower cost than the ABC network; but we knew that we had another difficult year ahead of us-so difficult to contemplate, in fact, that at times it changed the meaning for me of certain lines in one of our most popular hymns, "Blest Be the Tie That Binds." One of the stanzas in this hymn speaks of sharing our "mutual" woes; and to this day, frequently when I sing this hymn and come to these lines, I think of the years when all of the brethren were sharing our Mutual woes in trying to maintain our contract on the Mutual Network! But, by the Lordís grace, we made it, and thereafter broadcasting on the Mutual Network became a matter of course. Each year we renewed the contract and continued to do so until the policy of individual stations co-operating on this network kept changing, and finally very few of the stations would accept a religious program from the headquarters of the network.
The illustration shown below was used in one of the first publications of The Dawn. It still illustrates very beautifully the sentiment of all the brethren who have labored at The Dawn, as well as those here at the present time hope and pray that this spirit of love and of goodwill illustrated here so beautifully, will always be maintained at The Dawn and in its work, to the end that the Lord may be glorified and that his people may be blessed.
W. Norman Woodworth
August 19, 1891óOctober 29, 1975
W. NORMAN WOODWORTH, born in Berwick, Nova Scotia, Canada, finished his earthly walk of consecration on October 29, 1975. He was 84 years old. In the words of the poet, "His spirit clothed immortal winged its flight to realms of day." We believe he received an abundant entrance into the heavenly kingdom.
The month of October, when he finished his earthly walk, was the 43rd anniversary of the founding of The Dawn in 1932. It was at the beginning of The Dawn that Brother Woodworthís ministry entered into a special phase.
His service to the Lord began long before that date. He began his ministry as a colporteur in his late teens, before 1910. In 1910 by the Lordís providence he was led to Brooklyn, New York, which was then the center of the truth activity.
By Brother Russellís suggestion, he had a special part in the beginning of the "Photo Drama of Creation" witness. This arrangement of colored slides and motion pictures was one of the most thought-out and dramatic presentations of the plan of the ages. It was greatly blessed of the Lord.
In time he left the full-time ministry but still remained active as a class elder. As soon as his personal circumstances would permit, he was again in the full-time ministry at the center of activities in Brooklyn, New York.
In the late 1920ís a new medium, the radio, became available for proclaiming the kingdom message. It was at this time that Brother Woodworth thought of a special way to present the truth via the air waves. It was by the question-and-answer method. An "earnest" seeker after truth would ask questions about the Bible or world events. A student of the Bible would give "frank" answers from the Word of God. Hence the beginning of the "Frank and Ernest" radio Bible program.
The "Radio Echo," a paper that was sent to those who wrote in for literature after hearing the message of truth by radio, was soon enlarged to become "The Dawn-a Herald of Christís Presence." The first issue of The Dawn was October 1932, and the first paragraph read, "in presenting to the subscriber of the Radio Echo this, our first issue of The Dawn magazine, we feel confident that all readers will appreciate the enlarged field of thought and efforts which it represents."
Brother Woodworth was the one specially used of the Lord to promote the objectives and to carry the burden of this new witness effort. One of the objectives was to present in clarity the basic doctrines of the divine plan of the ages. He had seen firsthand some separating from the clear message of truth. Some in error were dictatorially demanding adherence to their wrong views. Some of our confused brethren went to the other extreme and in liberality made no demands on what their teachers must believe. The Dawn sought to follow neither of these extremes.
The second issue of The Dawn, November 1932, was a complete reprinting of The Divine Plan of the Ages. From that time until Brother Woodworthís death, he continually held high-and saw the need of so doing-the clear teaching of the great fundamental doctrines of the truth.
Many of our brethren had been scattered in the confusion of those early years. He realized a special effort must be made to contact them. This was done by holding many public meetings, sending out three-month subscriptions to The Dawn, and printing tracts, so that our brethren could again be helped in preaching the truth and reaching the scattered sheep.
He was keenly aware of the commission of the church, and his talks and actions emphasized this great truth. Many who had separated from error had failed to continue a vigorous preaching of the gospel message. Brother Woodworth, in a special way, was guided by the instructions of Isa 61:1-3: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach the good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."
The Dawn became an instrument in Godís providence for such a witness, and the burden was on the shoulders of our dear brother. Funds were limited: we were in the great economic depression. To illustrate, financial reports for a three-month period in late 1933 and early 1934 show donations for the general fund each period of $416.25 and $431.24 respectively. In other words, each month not more than $150.00 was received. It required faith to continue.
On Brother Woodworthís shoulders rested the burden of seeing which bills could be paid to continue the ministry, and of enlisting co-workers who would help in the tiny printing plant. In addition to this, there was the preparation of most of the articles in The Dawn, tracts for general distribution, and advertisements for public meetings. Then there were week-end trips to serve classes and in instances, as funds permitted, longer pilgrim trips to encourage the brethren to faithfulness.
He was ever watchful to see what other ways the truth could be proclaimed in fulfillment of the churchís commission to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom.
Another facet of his ministry was the publication of many booklets, each with a clear message of the truth. These have been distributed by the millions to the radio and television listeners who request them. When we open our Dawn each month there are listed therein some of the booklets which he has prepared. In The Dawn now opened before us thirty-six booklets are listed. There have been many more than these, plus books and articles from his pen.
In time, as The Dawn increased in size and personnel, Brother Woodworth was relieved of many shop duties and day-to-day plant responsibilities. He could then devote his time to preaching the gospel by lecture, radio, and eventually television. But this "one thing" he did to fulfill his share in the commission, "I have been anointed to preach the gospel."
This dedication continued virtually to the end of his earthly life. In time his frail health was such that he could no longer type. He then began dictating articles. About last June his lack of health was such that he virtually became confined to bed. He still continued to dictate articles, and this activity lasted almost until his death in late October.
Then said the Lord, "Well done, thou faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of the Lord."
Brother Woodworth was a willing servant of God. Only Brother Russell carried a heavier burden than he of the churchís needs. Under Brother Woodworthís guiding hand, The Dawn magazine has become an influential force in standing firm for the truths of the harvest. Its voice has been heard above the clamor of conflicting errors.
Brother Woodworth was a man deeply dedicated to the Lord, the truth, and his brethren. He had a selfless sense of humility and an abundance of the Holy Spirit, which stimulated his zeal to speak, to write, to sacrifice for the message of the kingdom of God. He has set a good example to those of us who remain.
Mal 2:6 seems to apply to men like our Brother: "The law of truth was in his mouth," for he has sown in our hearts thoughts of truth that will not die. We will treasure his memory with love and we will endeavor with the best of our ability and by the power of the Holy Spirit to continue to fulfill the commission given to the church of God, to help others to be built up in the most holy faith and to continue to show forth the kingdom message.
His consecrated life of faith and Christian courage was an inspiration, and his memory in the hearts of his co-laborers will be a source of strength. And so to this man of God we say, "Good-bye till we meet again."
Faithful to the End
WHILE waiting on the Lord as to what he might still have for us in his service, Sister Elisa Woodworth lost the battle with her frailties and passed to her reward. She had been a faithful, sacrificing saint, and her illness had been caused by a fall on the ice which she sustained while in the colporteur work in Upper New York State. Her companion in the colporteur work was Sister Harriet Barber, a daughter of the well-known pilgrim, Brother R.H. Barber.
The following year I accepted an invitation to return to Bethel to work, and after five years I remarried, and we lived in Rutherford, New Jersey. Meanwhile, my father and the rest of our family moved from Nova Scotia to Eastern Pennsylvania in the general vicinity of Oxford. Father purchased a small farm on which there was a water mill and worked there as long as his physical strength would permit. But finally he had to give up, and he came and made his home with us. At that time we lived on a street on the end of which was a small church, and Dad had not been with us very long before he found that church and made regular visits there to bear witness to the truth, as had been his custom all his life. But even this soon became too great a drain on his strength and he was confined largely to our home.
We had regular weeknight meetings in our home, and although I worked at Bethel and was seldom able to be home for the evenings, I understand that my father participated in them very heartily. One night the ones who regularly attended did not show up for some reason; but Sister Woodworth had invited a number of her friends to whom Father had witnessed, and some other interested people, and there was a room full anyway. So they bolstered my father up on the couch and he gave them a discourse on the divine plan. I arrived home later, helped to get him upstairs, and the next day he passed away.
At that time funeral services were often held in the homes of those who lost their dear ones in death, and it was so in the case of my father. Brother Clayton J. Woodworth came to take charge of the funeral service. This was the Brother Woodworth who compiled the Comment Bible. As soon as Brother Woodworth finished his discourse and offered a closing prayer, a lady in the audience, who was one of Sister Woodworthís patients and to whom Father had often witnessed, stood up spontaneously and sang a beautiful song to his memory. She was a professional singer, and a very good one. It was a very touching moment for all of us.
My father was very sound in the fundamental doctrines of the truth and a staunch upholder of them. He had no time for speculation and whimsical ideas that some consider valuable interpretations of the Bible. He was a stalwart individual and could not be easily turned away from his thoughts and plans. On the other hand, he was anything but a sectarian. He was quite willing to grant another brother the freedom of enjoying his interpretation, but he wanted the same right for himself. His attitude in this respect reminded me of the words of a popular song, "Donít fence me in." But at the same time my father was a kind and gentle man and got along very well with all with whom he came in contact. The doctor who cared for him during the closing weeks of his life was much impressed and took kindly to my fatherís interpretation of the Bible, although he never did embrace the truth. I am glad to have had the example of my father in his own staunch support of the fundamentals of the truth and his antagonism toward narrow-minded bigotry. It has been a help to me through the entire course of my Christian life. How much happier the Lordís people as a whole would be if they could all adhere to these principles of true Christian outlook and living.
Although my father participated to some extent in the colporteur work of that day, he still considered his visits to churches one of the best ways of bearing witness to the truth, and he continued that practice throughout his many years of truth life. As I have said, he made it a point to make several visits to the little church on our street, even in the closing months of his life. After his death a minister in that church began to make regular visits to The Dawn to acquire supplies of the booklet "The Truth About Hell." We learned that he was about the only member of the church who no longer believed in eternal torture. While my father had not mentioned him, I am very much of the opinion that he got his new concept of the love of God from my father as a result of his visits to that church.
But my father was not the only one who through the years took advantage of any opportunity that might open up to proclaim the truth within the churches. One of the noteworthy examples of this was the case of Brother Paul Davis in San Luis Obispo, California. Brother Davis was a civil engineer by profession and worked for the government. Working with him for a time was a man who belonged to one of the larger churches in San Luis Obispo and as a result of Brother Davisís witnessing to him, this man developed the idea that here would be a good teacher for the menís Bible class, and he asked Brother Davis if he would take the job.
Brother Davis gladly assented to this, on condition that he have full freedom to preach the truth as he understood it. The man took the matter up with his minister and they decided to give Brother Davis a free hand, this particular minister being what we might call a free thinker. Brother Davis started on his assignment and continued teaching that Bible class for many years.
During those years there would naturally be a changeover in the attendance at the Bible class sessions, but out of all the new ones who came, and from the old ones as well, there was an occasional one who fully accepted the truth. This was true to such an extent that a good-sized class of Bible Students was born in San Luis Obispo.
The lesson to us is that we should keep our eyes open for any and every legitimate opportunity of presenting the glad tidings of the kingdom. Today it is more than a case of an occasional brother or sister here or there giving a personal witness in a church, for now film presentation of the glorious Gospel is reaching into the churches by the thousands every year. In this we rejoice! Probably the largest infiltration of the churches by films today is directly the result of the activity of our film distribution center in Glendale, California; but Modern Talking Pictures is also doing a great job along this line, having succeeded in arranging for nearly two thousand presentations of the message in the year 1974. May the Lord help us all, whether young or old, to hold up the banner of truth in any and every way we can!
Echoes from the Past
Autobiography of William F. Crawford
THE passing of nearly nine decades leaves behind many valuable experiences-some distressing and sorrowful, and others abundantly joyful. In fact, the more one meditates on the past, the greater become the joyful memories.
If one is fond of animals and a little pet dog or cat dies, one feels that fate has dealt a severe blow. Then there is the great tragedy when a member of the family or a friend is taken in death. A mother weeps at a grave, and all are in tears and sadness as the seemingly hopeless words are uttered-"dust to dust and earth to earth." It seems too much to endure, and one feels like giving up in despair.
Nevertheless, when one reflects on the other side of life-the little joys and the greater joys that it has brought, the many pleasant experiences, the happy melodies in song, all the grand people one has been associated with, the befriending of one another in helpful Christian love-all in all, the joys are countless. Yes in analyzing the sadness and the happiness of the almost nine decades, I can gladly and thankfully say that the joys and the blessings have far exceeded the sorrows and the heartaches.
I was born in a part of this planet where most people believe in signs, and where the average person would not walk past another person without stopping to have a conversation with him. Two general subjects were usually discussed-one was the weather, and the other was gossip about the neighbors. One man in our neighborhood was an exception-he would go on about his business, not stopping to speak to anyone. He was considered unsociable and snobbish.
My brother was coming home from the grocery store on one occasion, and whom did he meet but the above-mentioned man who was seldom known to stop to speak with others. However, this time he did. My brother rushed home, and on entering the house he excitedly cried out, You will never guess what happened this evening," and mentioning the quiet manís name, he continued, "he stopped and talked to me."
If something strange or very unusual happened in the countryside, it was considered a sign that quite an unusual event would soon occur. On hearing the remarks of my brother, one of my sisters exclaimed "Oh! that is the sign of the Millennium!"
I had never heard the word Millennium before, so I asked, "What is that?" She replied, "It is the time the Devil will be bound, and we read about it in Revelation." Her answer fascinated me, and to this moment it still fascinates me.
In process of time I went to clerk in a general store. After three years had passed, I made up my mind to go to Toronto, Canada. However, I had only about half the required funds to take me there, and my three sisters kindly came to my aid and managed to make up the deficiency, which, by the way, took me two years to pay back.
In Toronto I became acquainted with a number of young men from my former part of the earth, and by them I was shown kindness and given encouragement. One evening after business hours, one of the young men and I went for a streetcar ride on Young Street. On the way home he mentioned another man known to both of us and said that he had books about the Millennium and that I should ask him for one. That was the second time that I had heard the word Millennium. It brought to mind my sisterís remark about it and her definition. At that instant I made up my mind that I would surely ask for the book, which I did at the first opportunity, a few weeks later. The young man gave me "The Divine Plan of the Ages."
I read the above-mentioned book and reread it, but I could not seem to understand it very well. The one chapter on "The Permission of Evil" was a topic which I had wondered about from the time that I was old enough to know my right hand from my left. While I was quite impressed, I did not understand it to my satisfaction.
Then wanderlust caught hold of me! I decided to go west to Vancouver, British Columbia. After arriving there I clerked in a menís wear store on Cordova Street. One day there came in two men looking for work which they thought the store could offer, and we became engaged in conversation. In a short time the talk turned to biblical matters and quickly I recognized that they were speaking along the line of the book which was loaned to me in Toronto-the book, written by a man named Russell, which I had to return to the owner. They associated themselves with the Russell book, and I immediately asked them for a book explaining the Millennium. Again I remembered my sisterís explanation of the meaning of the word- "The time when the Devil will be bound, and we read about it in Revelation."
The men left the store, and in about an hour one of them came back with two books-"The Divine Plan of the Ages" and "What Say the Scriptures about Hell." I asked him to explain about "the rich man in hell," and he told me that if I would come to their meetings it would be explained to me there. I arranged to go the following week.
A few days later I was decorating a store window and glancing out I saw a young lad in knee pants pedaling a bicycle on Cordova Street-he had quite a large bundle attached to his bicycle.
Then came the time for me to make good my promise to attend the Bible meeting. When I arrived, I found that the gentleman who had brought the books to me was already there. He quickly recognized me and introduced me to many others, including the young lad in the knee pants. The lad told me that he was doing colporteur work, and I later learned the meaning of the word, this is distributing religious literature.
I enjoyed that first Bible study meeting; however, I began to find out how very little I knew about the Scriptures. And here it may be said, from that day to this moment I have never missed attending Bible studies if at all possible.
Later the young colporteur asked me to go along with him in the work. I was indeed interested in going, but obstacles were many. I had no bicycle, or any experience in such work-and how would I get away from work? It has been said, "Where there is a will, there is a way." It proved true: a bicycle turned up; a work replacement was found. Nevertheless, a third problem was still with me-no experience.
The morning came for us to leave home for the field, and after cycling about eight miles we arrived at the territory. I was told to take the first house. I thought that I would faint! I did not know what to say or how to say it. Fortunately the woman was of a kindly nature, so that I managed tremblingly to make some sort of explanation for the call. To this day I can see that doorstep and vividly recollect my experience. It is needless to say that there was no sale made! By the time I reached the next door I was not quite so petrified. When nighttime came, I was quite surprised that my sales were a good average for the day.
That night we had no difficulty figuring out what we would choose to eat, because all that we had taken with us was bread and some nickel cans of sardines. The next morning for breakfast we could not change our menu-we had sardines and bread. Sleeping accommodations were a different matter! We had difficulty in locating a suitable ditch for a place to spread our blankets. We had been warned that if we were sleeping out we should make sure to take along some mosquito netting, which we did; and sure enough, we had scarcely stretched out before the little dears came in swarms to visit us. All of our supplies had to be carried on our bicycles. At last I realized what the young fellow in knee pants was doing with such a large bundle on his bicycle. Is it not interesting? Just last week I had a telephone call from that young lad in the knee pants, and you would never have known him-for now he wears long pants. (As a matter of interest, that zealous young man was Brother Russell Pollock.)
In 1914, when the First World War broke out, it changed the pattern of the whole world; and along with the rest, my own life pattern was abruptly changed, as you shall later see. When England entered the war Canada followed, and for some time there was voluntary enlistment; then later the warring powers saw that conscription was needed to get the required number of soldiers. All males of certain ages were told to register. I was one of that group. Seeing what was coming, I wrote to the Canadian Government and stated that should I be called upon to serve in the military I would not be available because of my belief that militarism was not of God, and therefore I would not serve. I did not for a moment think that my letter or anything that I could do would alter things; but I knew it could not make my position worse, or harder. Sometimes it is hard to break the ice; and that is what my letter did-it made it a little easier to repeat the declaration- for later on I was ordered to report.
I returned the order, reminding those concerned that I had previously advised them of my decision. Just as oil and water will not mix, so neither can Christ and khaki. I told them that I could not change my allegiance to God and to Christ Jesus over to allegiance to an earthly war. I also said that if they wanted to arrest me I had already given them my address.
About one week later two well-dressed officers called at the place where I was living and took me away to jail. The next morning I was taken to Police Court, and after hearing my defence, or my reason for not reporting for military duty, one of the two magistrates abruptly shouted, "Give him a fine of twenty-five dollars." I immediately spoke up and said, "What is the alternative?" "Sixty days," was his response. I said, "I will take the sixty days." I was ushered back to jail, and later I was moved to a prison-farm, where I was kept five days, after which I was moved to the military area. In my reasoning, it seemed that if I had paid the fine of twenty-five dollars, I would still have been a prisoner, and the court would have had just that much more money for its warring activities. In the military area a little anxiety began. What would they do to me, and would I have the strength to meet the difficulties? After pondering awhile, I became sure that the great Jehovah would give me the needed strength and guidance.
Every other day a different officer would come and give me military orders, all of which in a kindly manner I refused to follow. Then, as I was not responding to threats and roughness, they resorted to more kindly treatment and in substance told me, "You are a fine fellow." That did not work either, so after giving me a dozen miniature trials, they sent me up for court martial. After that sham was over they pronounced my sentence, which was penal servitude for life. Later there was a formal sentencing which changed the term to ten years. So, two months, life, and finally a change to ten years all make up a fair amount of sentence to receive in one life span. Few can improve on it!
The military wanted everyone to jump to attention and obey their orders without hesitation. Also, those who would not obey them would be shown up in the worst light possible. When the time came for my final sentencing, all the other soldiers in the camp were on parade to hear and see me made an example. They were lined up in four solid rows-hundreds of them-and I was placed in the center.
They were a fine-looking bunch of men. The buttons were all shined and their clothes neatly cleaned and pressed. What a contrast to my garments, which I had slept in for six weeks! Well, the officer began to read, giving my complete name, then stating the offence, then the sentence-penal servitude for life. I thanked the officer, and as they marched me back to jail I sang with strength and determination, "Stand up, stand up for Jesus." At that time I had a very strong voice. The crowd quieted and seemed awe-stricken. I guess they thought that I would be shot right there. The Canadian Press were present at the event and wrote up quite a story about it in their newspapers. One of the statements quoted was, "The prisoner took his sentence without a quiver and marched off singing, ĎStand up, stand up for Jesus.í" The story went all over the Dominion. I often wish that I had a copy of one of those newspapers!
Later my sentence was changed to ten years, and that weighed a lot lighter on my shoulders. I was taken to the penitentiary, where I was kept for two weeks in isolation without a shave. When I was taken out, they photographed me with all that hair and in rags of clothing. Then guess what? After the picture was taken I was ushered into the barbershop for a shave and hair cut. I guess they thought that should I escape and they had to put out photographs for me, it would serve their purpose better to have me look like a desperado!
In the penitentiary I was put to work in the tailor shop. There were four of us, and our work was sewing up coats and pants for the convicts. I found it kind of jolly and got some ideas which have been helpful to me since. To operate the sewing machine came quite easy, and the handwork of making buttonholes and sewing on buttons was not too difficult. For the handwork we sat on a great big table, and sat cross-legged the way the real old-fashioned tailors sat.
Working with me was an Englishman named Theobald. I thought that while working would be a good time to slip in some words about the Millennium, so I began by telling him about the thousand years that Satan would be bound, and then that people would finally be given the privilege of living forever, etc. As we were under observation we could speak only a few words at a time, and our interruptions were many. However, Theobald did not display interest, but instead he began to make fun of what was said, causing me to lose interest in him.
Another man working in our department was a Hungarian, whose name was Louie Ratz. And the next day after my talk with Theobald that man Louie came to me, and in a hesitant voice stammered out, "Tell me what you were telling Theobald yesterday." Was I surprised and pleased! From that point on I sought every opportunity at my disposal to tell him what I had learned about the Bible, and he listened and tried to learn. For a time he had difficulty in seeing that man had been on earth only about six thousand years, for he had read articles to the contrary; however, that obstacle finally disappeared.
One thing that gave me a great boost was that the warden allowed me to take my own Bible (which had the Berean comments) to my cell. From time to time I loaned my Bible to Louie, and he became about the happiest man on earth from this new knowledge. He said that he was convinced that Godís great plan for man was true. By studying the comments he thought up questions to ask, and our discussions, though limited, did help him to establish the fundamentals in his mind. One morning he was almost breathless when he reached me and eagerly started conversation. "What is the Royal Priesthood?" he eagerly enquired. That gave me a fine opportunity to explain about the church and that the church with Jesus will make up the blessing seed of Abraham, whose millennial reign will bring the people back from death and give them joy and gladness, and I assured him this would of course include his family too. It was just about too grand a thing-he could hardly believe that God would do such a beautiful, wonderful deed for him and his destitute and impoverished family and parents. Twice he stated that he believed the reason I was put there in prison was to bring him this message. He even compared himself with the Ethiopian about whom we read in chapter eight in Acts.
A few months following the signing of the Armistice, the Canadian Government released from confinement all military offenders of my classification. At last I was free, having served as a prisoner for eleven and one-half months. It seemed a long time! Soon after I was out, we managed to have the book, "The Divine Plan of the Ages," taken into the prison and given to Louie. His Bible study created such a change in him that the warden recommended his release. This was a very happy occasion!
About one year after the Armistice, I had the privilege of giving a lecture in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. At the close of the service a man walked to me to shake hands. After a few pleasantries, he asked me if I remembered ever seeing him previously. I could not recall who he was. Finally he said, "I was one of the soldiers on parade when you were sentenced by the military, and I heard you sing ĎStand up for Jesus.í" He said that he had never heard of the work before my sentencing, but thereafter he and his wife went regularly to the studies and also took part in the distribution of literature. Later he moved to California and settled in San Jose. Later when I moved to Los Angeles, California, he would occasionally come to visit me and we would talk over the "old, old story."
You are probably wondering what became of the Englishman, Theobald? That, too, is interesting. In southern Saskatchewan there is a nice little town named Assioboine, and I gave a lecture there. As I was leaving the auditorium, a man was waiting to speak to me, and I was astounded to see that he was Theobald, who had finished his time in prison, and that evening he was one of my audience. He seemed interested in the message, although he had turned it down cold when I had tried to talk to him about it in prison.
All in all, I have many happy memories of my prison life and its outcome-especially its outcome. I think that Daniel had happy memories of his prison life and experiences. (Daniel 6) So also had the Apostle Peter. (Acts 5) They were miraculously delivered from prison and surely were much more worthy than I. I love the song about Daniel:
"Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone,
Dare to have a purpose firm,
And dare to make It known."
During the years since the prison doors opened for me to come out into the world again, I have put forth a continuous effort to faithfully serve our wonderful Heavenly Father and his beloved Son, Christ Jesus. My determination for the remaining days given to me is always to honor them.
I have passed out tens of thousands of books, booklets, and other pieces of literature, all of which was calculated to honor Jehovah and his great truths in his Holy Word, the Bible-especially his great message concerning the Millennium, when he has promised to bless all mankind by bringing to earth his most glorious kingdom, for which Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven!" That kingdom is not far away. It is my opinion that it is quite near in time.
In recent years walking and going up and down steps has become more difficult, so now we are using the services of the post office to help in the distribution of the truth booklets. Last year with the assistance of Kay, my wife, we mailed out over six thousand publications, trusting that each recipient will understand a little better Godís Holy Word and receive more information about the Millennium than my sister was able to give to me!
We are hoping that this will be a banner year for all in Jehovahís service, and may Christian love and goodwill abound!
Brother Hatgisí Pilgrimage to Greece† June to August, 1975
SISTER Hatgis, Debbie, and I are happy to be back with you again. We bring the love and greetings of all the friends in Greece, especially the Athens Ecclesia.
The class at Athens consists of about thirty brethren. In the last ten years seven have symbolized by water immersion. This year another two were added. They are Brother Anthony Argyropoulos, sixty-five years old, and Sister Stavroula Lekkas.
The sister was a Jehovahís Witness for a few years and came to a knowledge of the truth through an advertisement in the newspaper. Both came in contact with the Athens friends, attended the meeting, and both have grown in grace and in knowledge of the wonderful plan of the ages. They decided to symbolize their consecration by water immersion. Therefore the Athens friends arranged a special meeting for the baptismal service in the home of a sister who has a large bathtub, with hot water and all the comforts of the immersion service.
The elders gave me the privilege and opportunity to speak and to perform the service as the immerser. The whole ecclesia was there. At the end of the service Brother Argyropoulos prepared a written testimony, and here are some excerpts:
"I express before all the ecclesia my thankfulness to our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, for his love toward me, to have called me into his Sonís family, and to have given me the opportunity to become a member of the body of Christ. Dear friends, I would like to thank Brother Hatgis, who had the honor by the Lord, and by the appointment of the elders of the ecciesia, to speak and serve in the immersion.
"Also I would like to thank the Lord for Brother Russell, whom he used, enlightening his mind, to present to us the truth, the wonderful plan of the ages, so plain and so scriptural that people like me can understand the mysteries of the kingdom, and the grandeur and the wisdom of Godís plan for the salvation and restitution of all mankind.
"Dear brethren, I ask your prayers that I may be faithful to my covenant of sacrifice and hear at the end the ĎWell done.í"
Many had tears in their eyes, thinking of their own consecration. At the end, Sister Tsaldaris brought refreshments, and we stayed in blessed fellowship late in the night. The sister kept Debbie and me in her home, because the transportation to Corinth stopped at nine in the night.
Activities of the Athens Friends
Constantly, for more than fifteen years, the Athens friends have advertised the message of the kingdom in the newspapers, and now for more than two years in the weekly magazines.
Now they will reprint "God and Reason," 7,000 copies, for 40,000 drachmas (about $1 , 335). For many years The Dawn paid the cost of the advertisements. But now, for more than three years, the class at Athens has paid for the costs of the advertisements and the reprinting of all the booklets. They have all the Volumes, reprinted by The Dawn here in Rutherford and shipped through the post office and taken personally by friends, including those that stopped in Greece, and every year by ourselves. But now, with this democratic government, it is free, and they receive all our booklets and the Volumes.
The Greek Dawn, "He Haravgi," is very encouraging to them all. It is printed every two months by The Dawn friends. Christian Life and Doctrine and the Bible Study lessons are translated from The Dawn articles, and some Reprints and Highlights and short articles for filling in. Some poems and letters from the field make it interesting.
There are three elders, and they occasionally visit with the various classes and some isolated friends and interested persons, encouraging them in the most holy faith. All cooperate with The Dawn friends, and all send their Christian love and greetings to you all. They still remember the visit and the public talk of Brother and Sister Woodworth, and Brother and Sister Pollock, and others, and all appreciate the labor of love of all the American friends, who, through The Dawn, helped them so much, not only in spiritual things, but materially also for the needy ones and the sick-clothes and money-which I have discreetly distributed.
Interesting Results from the Advertisements
A man who had been a prisoner for two years for breaking into houses, stores, etc., saw the ad for the booklet "God and Reason." He wrote to me and I sent the booklet. The prison keeper, for one reason or another, did not deliver the booklet to him. Six months later he was paroled, and again he wrote to me, complaining that I did not send him the booklet. I wrote to the Athens friends to send him the booklet and other literature. Here are some excerpts from a letter he wrote to the Athens class:
"Now I am on parole in a small town in Crete. I have received the First and Second Volumes, also the Greek Dawn. The truth made me a new man. Before, I was a prisoner in body and mind, but now I am free in both. I have found not only how to walk straight in life, but how to walk in the narrow way, because your booklets and the Volumes and the Bible have shown me a living and true God.
"The other day two policemen came to my house, because someone broke into a house and stole some goods, and the first one to be suspected was me. They searched my home, but instead of finding loot they found my Bible, and all the religious books and literature of The Dawn. They were amazed at that, and I said to them, ĎAre you not glad to find not a thief, but a reformed man? To find no loot, but a Bible and religious literature? You are amazed? Well, Christ made me a new man. I have found a living and true God, a loving God, who has a wonderful plan for the salvation of the whole world of mankind.í The policemen departed with their heads down, very thoughtful." He has now read all the Volumes, and the testimonies in his letters show him to be a really new man.
A very old lady-eighty-eight-came last year to the meeting in Athens, to get acquainted with me and the Athens class. We had corresponded about a year before; she had received the booklets and the Greek Dawn, and since then she has been in touch with me by correspondence. Last year, she came to the meeting and we-I and Sister Hatgis-and all the friends, were glad to know her. She knew that I would be in Athens a certain day, and she wrote to me that she would be at the meeting that night. But instead, the night of the meeting, she sent her nephew and his wife, and informed me and the Athens friends that she was in the hospital undergoing an operation, regretting not being able to be at the meeting.
I got information about what hospital she was in, and a few days later Debbie and I visited her in the hospital. She was elated to see us and expressed her thankfulness to the Lord for the truth and his wonderful plan that he had revealed to her at that late age. She turned to a few other sick women In the room and said to them, "This man and his granddaughter came from America to see me in my sick bed. Through him I have learned the truth, and have had my eyes opened to understand the precious truth."
Thessali is a fertile plain, six hours from Athens by train. Mark Anthony and Brutus-the assassin of Julius Caesar-fought there, and Brutus lost the battle, and his life. Brethren are scattered there in a radius of thirty to forty miles, and by letters they knew in advance the day, the hour, and the place of the meeting. Farmers and goatherds came, and we had a blessed meeting and fellowship. One of them told me of an event that took place between him and the bishop of that town.
From a nearby village, a priest met the brother, an old-timer, poor, and not of a noble appearance, and the priest asked him for the booklet, ĎWhere Are the Dead?" which he saw advertised in the magazine. The brother gave him the booklet and told him that he was lending it to him. The reason for this is, that he should not be accused of proselytizing him.
Some days later the priest met the brother in the market place, and he asked some more questions, and the brother answered him. But at the time, the bishop of the town saw the priest from the village talking with the brother and came near, and with authority told the priest, "Are you talking with this heretic? This man is a cursed man, because he does not believe in God. He does not believe that Christ is God. He does not believe in the holy cross and the holy trinity. He is not a Christian."
A crowd began to gather round-a big crowd. The bishop, seeing the crowd, thought it was a great opportunity to expose the brother to the people. He then turned to the crowd and said, "I will prove that this man is an atheist and an antichrist," and he took off from his neck a cross that every bishop has hanging from his neck. Showing the cross to the crowd, he said to one near him, "Make the sign of the cross and kiss the holy cross." The man made the sign of the cross and kissed the cross. Then the bishop gave it to another, and he did the same. Then he said to the brother, "You, make the sign of the cross and kiss the holy cross."
The crowd was breathless, looking at the brother to see what he would do or say. The brother smilingly took from his pocket the New Testament, small, that he always carried with him, and said to the bishop, "Here is the New Testament, the words of Jesus and his apostles. Show me that Jesus or his apostles taught the people to make crosses of silver or gold, and taught them to make the sign of the cross and kiss the cross, and I will do it here a thousand times." The bishop stretched out his hands and shouted, "Didnít I tell you? He is an atheist, and antichrist." But the crowd started to laugh mockingly at the bishop, who refused to take the New Testament in his hands and show where Jesus or his apostles taught to make crosses and kiss them.
It is very hard to live a consecrated life in a small town. The religious leaders have fetters around the people, and the people can do nothing. You cannot hold a government job or office if you do not take an oath in the name of the trinity.
A newly consecrated brother-a university graduate-who is now serving in the army for two years, should be classed as an officer. But, as an officer, he must swear in the name of the trinity. The brother refused to do that and was demoted to the status of a plain soldier, doing manual work, and being paid very little. He came to the first meeting as a plain soldier with a crew cut, paying for his faith.
Now this democratic government of Greece has published a proclamation upholding and recognizing the marriages of all the religions. The government proclaimed and declared that all the children of an Eterodox marriage-like the Chilliasts or Jehovahís Witnesses-are recognized as Greek citizens and protected by the law as an Orthodox, and their children are legitimate children. Before they were illegitimate children, deprived of any government office.
The Jehovahís Witnesses held a meeting in Larisa, in a closed theatre, and about three hundred people filled the theatre. The bishop of the town wanted to get in, but the ushers forbade the entrance, because they knew the bishop wanted to make a disturbance. Now, how the hierarchy will react has to be seen. They have their own troubles between themselves. It is not well with the pope now. In all of Greece there are about fifteen thousand Jehovahís Witnesses.
In Thessalonica we did not have a meeting. Some sisters were on vacation, and some were sick. But Debbie and I visited the elder and his sick wife in his home. He is ninety years old.
Next morning we took the bus from Salonica, and went to Kavala, the old Philippi. There we found a lonely sister-very faithful. Her husband, though not consecrated, is very sympathetic to the truth. One of her daughters partook of the memorial supper. We held a meeting in her home, with seven persons, and the blessings were great, in conversation and in fellowship. All were encouraged in the most holy faith. They are living epistles to all the neighbors.
Debbie went with me in all my traveling, taking care of me, saying to Sister Hatgis, "Yiayia (Grandma], donít worry, I will take care of Papoo [Grandpa in Greek]." She did-carrying my brief case-but I carried her luggage. Big help!
A hundred and fifty miles from Athens, at the other end of Peloponnesos, is Patras, seaport city in the Ionian seaside. Debbie, faithful to her promise to Yiayia-to take care of me-went with me to Patras. There are seven brethren, who came out of the Society ten years ago. We had two blessed meetings, and sweet fellowship, for two days. One meeting took place on Saturday evening at a brotherís farm, outside of Patras. The other took place on Sunday morning in a brotherís home. They are all zealous brethren and occasionally advertise our booklets in the local newspapers. All send their Christian love and greetings to all of you.
I am happy to report to you some of the blessings of my pilgrimage to Greece, serving the Lordís people there.
The Dawn Film Service
THE following is a report concerning the activities of the Dawn Film Service that we think you will find very interesting and encouraging.
"In the early part of 1974, we received an inquiry from an organization that publishes a catalog listing ĎFree Films for Educators,í asking if we would like to have our films included in this catalog. There was no charge for the listing, and the only requirement was that we furnish information as to the titles of the films and a brief synopsis of the content. It was somewhat of a surprise to get this inquiry, and at the time we did not know how it developed. Since then we have learned that one of the brethren in the education field used this catalog in his regular course of studies. It occurred to him that this might be a good outlet for ĎThe Bible Answersí films, so information was passed on to the producers of the catalog, and this resulted in their inquiry to us. We accepted the invitation as the leading of the Lord indicating an additional means of spreading the message of truth. Accordingly we furnished the publishers with the necessary information, and the catalog issue of about July 1974 contained our listings.
"Beginning with August 1974 we began getting requests for our films. It developed into an accelerated avalanche of continuous orders. The number of films which we had at the time soon was obviously insufficient to meet the demand, and additional films had to be ordered. As time went on it became apparent that still more films had to be ordered and, all told, approximately 150 additional prints were ordered and received. At present we have approximately 450 prints of the 50 subjects.
"To date we have had approximately 1800 requests from all types of organizations-Protestant and Catholic churches, religious educators, parochial schools (both Protestant and Catholic), nursing homes and hospitals, state correction institutes, public schools (elementary, junior and senior high schools), Christian academies, YMCAís, colleges and universities, public libraries, convents, etc. Practically every major denomination has requested and used the films.
"We have had very favorable comments to the effect that the films were well presented in their subjects, that viewers have had a new approach presented, and in quite a few cases repeat requests have been received. Films are seen by groups of 20 or 25 up to 1500. In some schools the entire student body has been exposed to the message. Some of the schools have closed circuit television facilities, which provide potential audiences up to 130,000 students.
"Requests have come from every state in the Union, including Hawaii and Alaska, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. One minister, requesting a number of films for successive weeks, asked that we send a dozen of the booklets for each film because he wanted one of each for his own library and knew of at least a dozen members of his congregation that would want copies.
"Prior to this outlet we might have sent out 20 or 25 films per week, but now we are sending out up to 100 films per week. This has meant the need for more laborers in the vineyard. At present, in addition to two brethren who work practically full time, there are about ten other brethren who are spending one day a week regularly, and occasionally more, to keep abreast of the work.
"We have many requests into 1976 and even a few into 1977. The films are all furnished free of charge and, additionally, we pay both the outgoing and the return postage. Appreciation of the service is expressed by practically all who have been served. How many are comprehending the deeper significance of the message that the films convey we cannot know, but we do know that it affords an opportunity to expose the viewers to the truth and to sow the seeds. We can plant and water, but we look to the Lord for increase.
"All who actually participate in the service, as well as those whose prayers include an interest in all the phases of the harvest work, are thrilled and encouraged to continue to work while it is day, for the night comes when no man can work-and who knows how soon that will be? We rejoice in this new field which the Lord so graciously opened, and pray that we may be faithful in every opportunity."