Maranatha Devotionals


Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)

Oh what a blessing this verse is when one of God’s children is going through trials. Sometimes our burdens seem to weigh us down. But my friend, we born again believers have a Heavenly Father who cares for us and desires to relieve us of our burdens. The God of all creation wants us to call upon Him. As I pondered this thought, I did a search in my Bible software on the phrase “upon the Lord” – what comfort and joy the search results brought to me. Let me share some of them with you:

In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears. (2 Sam. 22:7)And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. (1 Chron. 21:26)

Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers. (2 Chron. 13:18 )

I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (Psalm 18:3)

In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. (Psalm 18:6)

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. (Psalm 37:9)

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)

Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them. (Psalm 99:6)

I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. (Psalm 118:5)

Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us. (Psalm 123:2)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isa 40:31)

And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. (1 Cor. 7:35)

Our Father cares for His children so much and longs to have this close relationship with us. So many of us take this for granted and don’t go to Him with all our cares. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Pet 5:7) Don’t you desire to run to a place where the Father is waiting to listen to your every word? He is not distracted by the television. He is not indifferent to your needs. He will be as close to you as you allow Him to be.

Dear God…
I want to be so close to You … so much so that one can tell by my actions that I have come in contact with You! May you be glorified in my every thought, word and deed! Amen

Maranatha Devotionals

(Psalm 86:11) Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. As we instruct our little children in our home, we are teaching them to walk and abide by our rules. In turn, they learn to obey Mommy and Daddy and their hearts learn to fear the punishment that they will receive should they choose to disobey. Oh Father in Heaven, thank You for providing the basic fundamentals of our spiritual walk through our own children!!

Our Father does not want to discipline us, but He will have to if we choose to disobey Him. Disobedience is a choice. We can’t claim that “the devil made me do it” because the devil didn’t! We are in charge of yielding to temptation. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16) That word “yield” is an interesting word. It means to give up, to surrender, to resign! Do you surrender to temptation quickly – after a long battle – after much convincing? Does a General surrender his army because he has no choice? Of course not. He surrenders because he chooses to surrender. The enemy has overcome him. If you give up the battle, the enemy will overcome you, my friend.

That’s why Psalm 86:11 speaks of letting God teach you through His Word, walking in His truth and fearing His name – fearing the consequences when you choose not to obey Him. When we choose to obey the Master and Creator Himself, the battle becomes His and He never loses (1 Sam. 17:47). It’s God’s battle at that point and He will keep you from falling. We don’t have to fall, my friend. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (Jude 1:24)

Don’t want to fall? Walk in truth – be in the Word – stay in the Word – Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17) God’s Word will sanctify us – set us apart and keep us from falling! Thank You, Lord, for loving us so much that You have provided a light for us through Your Word. Thank You for providing a balm that heals through Your Word. Thank You for giving us comfort knowing that our eternal security is kept by You and not by my actions.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.(3 John 1:4)

My King James Bible
Kate Plourde

Just reading Your Word is a privilege
I never dreamed would be
So much a part of my daily life
And impossible to shake free.

It’s become a vital food for me
To feed my hungry soul
It quenches the thirst I have for truth
And Its mysteries unfold!

It ministers to every single need
Not one does He overlook
Our questions have all been answered
In this Solitary Book!

My King James Bible, a miracle indeed
The way it all seems to flow
The Spirit authored every word
So we may be free to grow!

If you want wisdom then read God’s Book
And He’ll never let you down
Be persistent in your search for truth
And your foundation will be sound!

Maranatha Devotionals

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4

Have you entered into the Lord’s gates today? One of our men preached the morning service yesterday and he preached on our covenant with God. It got me to thinking how blessed we are that Christ’s death and resurrection created a covenant for us with the Father – for all born again believers! What a joy to meditate on that today. So today, I want to encourage each of you toward righteousness.

We do not need to be defeated Christians. We do not need to give in to temptation. We just need to be hard workers at our faith in our precious Saviour. I’m sure many a lady gives it her “all” when it comes to caring for her husband, her family, her home, etc. We can’t stop there … we need to care for our spiritual lives with just as much zeal and effort. Yes, cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry is a chore. I just don’t get that same effervescent feeling the lady in the commercial gets about my scrubbing bubbles cleaning my toilet, ya know? It’s WORK to get these chores done – but the feeling of satisfaction afterwards is priceless!

Making sure that we cover all the areas of our spiritual lives is work also. But this “work” has eternal results. The work in our homes is temporary – the dust will always come back and there will always be dishes and laundry to do. But the work we do for the Lord is forever. I think of Christ’s account of Mary and Martha. He did not use a parable here but referred to actual women. The Lord placed this account in His Word especially for us! Mary spent her time at His feet while Martha carried on with the chores. Mary gleaned from the Master while Martha missed out on His blessings from the Word.

Working at our spiritual lives is just that – WORK! Here is a little something that helps me strive in this area of training myself and I want to share it with you.

W – Wake up with the Lord with song! Sing your favorite hymn – you know the one – it just speaks to your heart and gets you in the right mood – Mine is “Amazing Grace”

O – Open my heart to Him in prayer. I believe in making my heart right with God before praying for others. I confess my sins, I love on Him real good and then I pray for others.
I have a prayer list – in fact, I’m making a prayer journal to start using – and I keep this list with my Bible – the list is so long but I’ve broken it down by days so each day has a different grouping of people (i.e. Sunday = church family; Monday = missionaries; etc. I record specific details for each of these people so I’m praying for specific needs, not generalities.

R – Read His Word! Reading God’s Word is a learned trait. Don’t be so stringent that you don’t enjoy His Word. I have three separate times for reading.

  1. The first is my sweet time with Him. Today is Dec. 11th so I read my Proverb of the day (there are conveniently 31 Proverbs, one each for the 31 days in the month). I then read my Psalms for the day (I read Psalm 11 (then add 30), Psalm 41, Psalm 71, Psalm 101, and Psalm 131. I then read the 11th division or section of Psalm 119. This method for reading Psalms enables me to read the entire Book of Psalms every month. I then read Acts chapter 11 so I can learn about the church’s history. And finally, I read Revelations chapter 11 because we are promised a blessing in Rev. 1:3 if we read and understand this book.
  2. The second time for reading is reading through the Bible – I usually do this before bed. I
    have never been able to completely read the Bible through using a yearly plan but at least I am reading through. Sometimes we set goals that we just can’t keep and then we feel defeated and give up totally. I would rather keep at it and be blessed then to give up.
  3. My third reading comes with studying God’s Word. We’re commanded to study to show ourselves approved UNTO GOD Not to show off our knowledge to others, not to puff ourselves up thinking we’re better than others – but approved UNTO GOD. This is where we dive into meaty things and learn – not learning from someone else’s studying but learning for ourselves. You may have your own method of reading – I hope you do. In my 26 years of salvation, all the women that I’ve come in contact with who have struggled spiritually, struggled because they were not in the Word for themselves. When we stand before the Lord and give Him the reason why we didn’t do this or didn’t do that, our excuse that the preacher never taught us won’t hold water. We are commanded to study for ourselves.

K – Keep Him in the forefront of my mind all day. When we have sung, prayed and read, it’s pretty hard to forget the God you started your day with.

I use to have my time with Him at night because my children were early risers and I ran from the time they woke up till it was time for their bedtime. However, I found that I did not get the fuel and spiritual energizing I so needed to make it through the day. It took hard work to get up in the wee hours to have my time with the Lord. I was not always faithful but I kept at it.

Of course, we women have different routines and whatever works best for you is what you should be faithful in. If you have little ones at home, don’t despair. Your time will come where you will have all the time you need in the mornings. Maybe your time is nap time or after their bed time. If you don’t have a special time, resolve to yourself to make one. If you want to succeed at this, hold yourself accountable to someone. Ask a good friend to ask you daily if you spent your time with the Lord. One who won’t take excuses but will lovingly tell you that your excuse is not a good one!

Dear God…
Help me to be like Mary
As I start this day, oh Lord
Mindful of the things I’ve gleaned
From Your Holy Word!

Maranatha Devotionals

~Psalm 145:10-12, All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. (10) They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; (11) To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. (12)

Do we speak of God’s mighty acts to those around us? It’s easy to speak to those who are saved. But what about to those who are not saved? God’s Kingdom will come again. His Word says so. Christ will reign here for a thousand years and His reign will begin in the not-too-distant future. His Kingdom is filled with God’s beauty, His glorious works, and His blessings! How can we not shout from the rooftops?

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

The intricacies of a baby, from conception to birth, are mind-boggling! This little peanut of a child, designed by God Himself, comes to us full of innocence and beauty! From its beginning where two cells are joined, each cell thereafter is produced to go to a specific location for a specific function. The brain cell emerges and goes to the brain; the heart cell is formed and goes to the heart, etc. All these different cells with different functions come from the merger of two cells!

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

God’s outer creation in the universe is also overwhelming. The Hubble telescope has only captured a miniscule amount of pictures in comparison to all that is out there to be seen! Man is high-minded and thinks he knows so much about what is in the universe. Man’s knowledge is a speck compared to what he does not know. God has shown His love for intricacies in His creation on earth – why should the universe be any different?

~ Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

These tube worms were discovered at the ocean’s bottom in my lifetime! Think of all those other pieces of nature which have not been discovered because of man’s limitations! I remember watching a television special when they were first discovered. They showed how these creatures “came out” and grabbed their food! The worms sway in the current like grass when the wind blows. I stood in awesome wonder then and do still today.

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Have you ever read about the praying mantis? What a beautiful insect it is! This carnivorous insect eats other insects and can be used in a natural form of pest control around your home. I have seen one on my deck that was almost the length of my hand! I can see why they are called praying mantis because their front legs look as though they are praying. The delicate balance of God’s creation should stir our souls when we meditate upon it.

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

The only bird I know of that is able to fly backwards is the hummingbird. Hummingbirds have the ability to fly up and down, and forward and backwards because they have a rotator cuff which allows them to move their wings in a figure eight motion. They fly backwards so that they can remove their beak from the flower they are feeding on while in flight. Their normal flight speed can be 30 mph, 50 mph when escaping and 63 mph when diving!! This amazing little bird’s nest is the size of a walnut and their eggs are the size of a pea!

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Have you shared your praises with others today, oh Christian? If not, why not? Have you forgotten what your Father in Heaven has given to you to behold in awesome wonder? Each one of the Lord’s creation is a gift to us.

The greatest of these gifts is the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Without His birth, we would not be able to enter Heaven! We cannot get to heaven on our own merit. God is Holy and He cannot allow sin into heaven. We have ALL sinned. Yes, even you, my friend. The Garden of Eden was created perfect by God – and so were Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve are the ones who brought sin into this world, not God. All those horrible things you see in this world are happening because sin entered in through Adam and Eve – not because God is cruel. In fact, God was so heart broken at the fact that His perfect creation would not be able to enter heaven, He found a way by sending His Only Son to earth. He loved us that much!

~John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This Perfect Son, Jesus Christ, lived a sinless life, died a cruel death and rose again to defeat death. He took upon Him the punishment for us all. All we have to do is acknowledge our sin, repent and accept Him as Lord and Saviour! Thank You, Father, for loving us so much that You would send Your very own Son to earth to take on our punishment!

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Excerpt from O Holy Night

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

Maranatha Devotionals

~Ephesians 6:5-8 Servants, be obedient to them that are [your] masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether [he be] bond or free.

How many times have I heard people complaining about their supervisors and/or the company for which they work!?? So much energy is wasted complaining! The time spent complaining could well be used to do the job for which the employee was hired to do.

As Christians, we are to be “a cut above the rest” of the employees. We should be setting examples; we should be doing our jobs to the best of our ability. Others should view the Christian as an exemplary employee. The Apostles, Paul and Peter, clearly outlined the employee’s position (here known as a servant). There’s no doubt in my mind that I must give honor to my employer. I owe my employer a debt of gratitude as he is responsible for bills being paid and mouths being fed, amen?

~Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things [your] masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

If all Christians would do their jobs as though they were working for the Lord, wow, what a testimony to God! Can you imagine the impact we would have on the job? Anyone can pay “lip service” to their supervisor but it takes character to do a job as if you were working for the Lord, Himself!

~1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and [his] doctrine be not blasphemed.

Christians who cheat their boss blaspheme the name of God. What person would want to hear about the Gospel of Christ from someone who is lazy at work or who steals office supplies? We are being paid to do a specific job. Do we do it to our utmost or do we do just enough to get by? Our boss is worthy of all honor, according to the above text. In fact, so much so that the Apostle Paul takes it a step further: that the name of God and His doctrine not be blasphemed!

~Titus 2:9-10 [Exhort] servants to be obedient unto their own masters, [and] to please [them] well in all [things]; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

Our goal as Christian employees should be to please our boss in all the tasks that he/she has charged to us.  Our testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ is dependent on our behavior at work. Do we smear His name or do we promote it by our actions? This is what Paul means when he said that we “may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”

~1 Peter 2:18-20 Servants, [be] subject to [your] masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory [is it], if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God.

Not everyone works for a nice supervisor. Some have downright nasty personalities. However, the boss’ personality should have nothing to do with our behavior at work. If we suffer wrongfully at work because of our boss, we are exhorted to “take it” patiently as this is acceptable with God. However, if we suffer because we did something wrong, we should take it graciously as it is due to our wrong doing.

I experienced a good example of this. I invited several people at work to come to a revival we were having at our church. My boss found out about my invitations and called me into her office. She said she did not want me doing “church” stuff during work and that I was offending other people’s religious beliefs by doing so. At first, I thought I was being persecuted for the Lord’s sake. But later, the Lord showed me that my employer was paying me to do eight hours of work and I was stealing from my employer by doing something other than my job during those eight hours. I wasn’t being persecuted at all but was being chastised by the Lord for disobeying and rightfully so!

Our testimony should be the most important thing for the Christian who has a job. We should not participate in office gossip – we should doing our jobs with a smile and with all diligence. No matter what the circumstances, if we all do our job as though we are working for Jesus Christ, Himself, we would have outstanding testimonies!

Maranatha Devotionals

Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; (Psa 149:6)

Today’s unbeliever looks at “Christianity” and mocks it. We see it on television, books and movies all the time. The Christian is depicted as some lunatic. Even more as of late because of the false prophets predicting the end of the world and it does not happen! 🙁

Yes, the world probably has always viewed the believer in this light. But I believe we are viewed in this way much more today. Why do I think this? All I have to do is to look at those professing Christ around me. They do not have the praises of God in their mouths. They don’t have their two-edged sword in their heads and mouths, let alone in their hand. The topic of Jesus Christ does not come up in general conversation amongst believers – why should His name be spoken of them in the presence of unbelievers?

I’m saddened by the lack of testimony our church holds today. No wonder the world laughs. No wonder they do not want what we have. My heart aches. We can’t agree on a Bible, we can’t agree on basic doctrine – even amongst the fundamentals – we argue amongst ourselves. Our pastor preached that more churches are started today due to splits rather than from a new work. How sad is that?

If the born again believers were busy praising God with their lips and their actions, as well as using the Word of God to lead souls to Him, they would be vessels unto honour instead of dishonoring Him. 2 Tim. 2:20-21, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. (20) If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (21)

What can we give our Saviour in honor of His birthday this year? When was the last time you led a soul to Christ? What a gift that would be!!!

This is Jesus’ Precious Bible
Richard Davies & Thomas Levi

This is Jesus’ precious Bible,
This the gift of God’s right hand;
Teaching how to die triumphant,
How to live His pure command;
This reveals the loss we suffered
When in Eden sin enticed;
And it shows the way to glory
If we follow Jesus Christ.

Precious Bible! in my bosom
Thy dear words a home shall find.
Countless blessings are, with beauty,
In Thy promises assigned;
My poor heart once roamed a desert,
Vast and dry, of withered sod,
Till Thy guidance brought me through it
To the living stream of God.

I will hide Thy words within me
Deep, where time cannot delete;
Thou art light upon my pathway,
And a lamp unto my feet;
Friend Thou art on life’s long journey
Biding through my hours of care,
And through heaven’s eternal ages—
Thou my treasure ever there.

Maranatha Devotionals

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. (Pro 12:18 )

Today’s topic won’t be long as I feel one verse can best describe the tongue. There are many verses we could read about the tongue and I’ve listed them below for you to look up on your own. I believe that today’s verse best describes the tongue because it is two-fold. It discusses the proper and improper uses of the tongue. The picture of this man speaks volumes. It depicts someone who has been on the receiving end of one who used his tongue like a sword.

Picture this sword for a moment. A sword is used to cut – plain and simple. It serves no other purpose, except if one uses it as a trophy for show. It stands to reason that when a sword is just for show, then it is not in use. It is proper that this verse would compare the tongue to a sword. How many times have you been cut by words spoken by an angry person? How many times have those words cut so deeply that you have found it difficult to forgive a person? We have all been there at some point. Does this justify the person’s use of their tongue like a sword? Not at all.

The verse goes on to say that the tongue of the wise is health. Good health is such a blessing, isn’t it? No pains, no sicknesses – we cherish each day that we can get up and not feel a twinge! A wise tongue is the same as good health according to the Word. The words of a wise person help another to good health – not in the physical sense but in the emotional and spiritual sense.

What words do you speak to others? Do you come bearing health to some and a sword to others? Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (Jam 3:11) It should not be so for believers. We should have sweet water all the time. Our words should bring health to others all the time. If bitter water flows from our mouths and our words cut like a sword, can we honestly say we are walking with the Lord? No, we surely cannot say that. A person who reacts this way with his tongue is one who is not yielded to the Holy Spirit of God.

Have you been hurt by someone’s words? Have they cut you deeply? Remember where those words came from. This hurtful person could be unsaved. If so, they are doing a great job serving their father, the devil. He is the epitome of self-centeredness and they have learned from him well. It helps you to understand why they are the way they are. It does not take the pain away, but it sure does help you focus your thoughts on why they have a need to hurt you. Give God the glory and move on. If this person is a born-again Christian, they are not yielded to the Holy Spirit in their lives, nor their tongue. Forgive this brother and pray for an opportunity to help this brother in this area. Pray for a peaceful time where you can share how the comments hurt you. If this brother is repentant and won, this is a blessing and you have exhorted this brother to righteousness. If this brother is unrepentant and uses his tongue as a sword once again, we are commanded in Matt. 18:22 to forgive our brother (another believer) as many times as it takes. Then ask the Holy Spirit to give you exactly what you need to love this brother the way God loves him.

I have personally been in a situation of this type. Just today alone, I’ve heard from two ladies who are going through similar trials. A sword produces bleeding, wounds and scars. The one on the receiving end will never be the same because wounds leave scars. Can we who have been wounded recover? Absolutely! How? By yielding our tongue to the control of the Holy Spirit. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (Jam 3:13) (Emphasis mine) When we are in the Scriptures seeking after knowledge and wisdom, we put to practice what we have learned and show forth good conversation. Is it easy? No. Is it do-able? Yes! I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phil. 4:13 This is yet another burden to lay at the Saviour’s feet, my friend. We are not alone in our struggles but we have each other – the brothers and sisters in Christ who can exhort us unto righteousness and pray for us. Praise the Lord for being a part of this wonderful Family. Christ died for each of us, while we were yet sinners! If anyone had reason to be offended by the tongues of man, it was He.

Extra Verses on the Tongue:

Prov. 10:20
Prov. 11:12
Prov. 13:3
Prov. 14:25
Prov. 15:1, 4, 23
Prov. 15:28
Prov. 16:24, 28
Prov. 18:8, 13, 21
Prov. 21:23
Prov. 25:11
Prov. 26:17
Prov. 26:20
Prov. 27:2
James 3:5
James 3:8

Dear God…
May my tongue be controlled
Each day as I yield to You
Help the living waters flow
So others may see the Truth

Maranatha Devotionals

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. 15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. 16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. 18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. Ruth 1:14-18 (KJV)

As I read today’s text, it struck me that although Naomi had two daughters-in-law, and both witnessed her devotion to her God, only one of them (Ruth) followed after her. No matter what kind of testimony we hold fast to, sadly not every one of our family members will accept our beliefs.

The condition of the heart of each individual is what lays the foundation. I think of the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 11:13-23) and how the seed (the Gospel) fell on different types of “ground.” The same holds true in today’s text. Rachel and Orpah’s hearts were different. One clung to her religious upbringing while the other was teachable – she was open to truth.

Orpah went back to her people AND to her gods. No matter how much she loved her mother-in-law (Ruth 1:14), it was not enough for her to part from her religious upbringing. Hearts must be like fallowed ground ready to be touched by the seed of the Gospel.

I have so many relatives who are determined to follow after their religion rather than God’s word – they are no different than Orpah. Their religious leaders are taking them straight to Hell and they are blindly following. (Matthew 15:14) They have a responsibility to search the Scriptures themselves but they will only search out what their religious leaders guide them in. (John 5:39) How can learn any truth when the only direction they are being given is full of lies?

Ruth had no idea what was going to happen to her but yet she has observed Naomi’s testimony long enough to know that her God would be there. She did not know that once she got to Bethlehem, her Kinsman Redeemer (Ruth 2:20), her future husband, would be there. But yet she went – what great faith!

As well, Ruth was a very hard worker (Ruth 2:2-3). She cared for her mother-in-law; she could have sat back but she didn’t. Her steadfastness brought grace in the eyes of Boaz (Ruth 2:11-12). Her meekness and humbleness brought her even more blessings (Ruth 2:15-17). What a beautiful depiction of someone with a teachable spirit! She didn’t understand all that was about to happen to her but yet she knew enough to listen to Naomi and follow her instructions. Why? Because Naomi’s God had made Himself real in Naomi’s life and Ruth was tender enough to see it. Her faith in Naomi’s God was great and the Lord blessed her!

We may not be able to win each of our family members. But our testimony is all we have. If their hearts are fallowed ground ready to receive the word of God, the Holy Spirit will use your testimony to plant a seed. Don’t be discouraged! I’m sure it ached Naomi’s heart terribly to see Orpah, in a lost condition, go off into the distance. But what joy came out of her when Ruth accepted her God and He blessed her for it! Stay constant, Christian! Don’t lose ground – someone is watching!

Maranatha Devotionals, Bible Studies

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (II Corinthians 6:17)

How does the world measure you as a Christian? Many times our Pastor has encouraged us from the pulpit to come out of the world and be different. We are called to be different! In today’s text, Paul is telling the Corinthians not to fellowship with the things of Belial (Satan). (II Corinthians 6:15) How could Christians be fellowshipping with the things of Satan? WHAT could Christians be doing that could be associated with Satan?

Not everything we do and say is the devil’s fault. You’re heard the old saying, “The devil made me do it.” Not necessarily so. It is by our own will that we sin, many times. We can put ourselves in situations that cause us to sin or get further into sin. Let’s look at some areas where we can learn to protect ourselves or “keep” ourselves from:

My Mouth: Do I use slang for curse words? Everyone knows what curse word I was intending to use by using its slang. Am I causing the hearer to “think” of the actual cuss word? The slang, therefore, is just as bad as using the actual word! Am I always complaining? Everyone hates a complainer. Each time I open my mouth and complain, I cause someone to dislike being around me. Why would I want to chase my friends and family away? My mouth should be filled with words of wisdom and encouragement to those around me so they can see Christ, not hate the sound of His name because of my complaining. The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life. (Proverbs 10:11)

My Appearance: Why should I wear the same clothes as the world? Shouldn’t I be different? If the world goes to church in jeans, why should I? Doesn’t God deserve my “Sunday best” all the time? If the world wears revealing tops and tight skirts, does that mean it’s OK for me to wear them? What if a weaker Christian sees me “dress down” for church – will that weaker Christian think it’s OK for her to do it? Paul says “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” (I Corinthians 8:9)

My Music: Does the music I listen to deal with Godly things? Or is it the world’s music filled with lyrics dealing with sex? One would be surprised at the content of Christian’s iPod. If my sister in Christ has been struggling with worldly music and hears the kind of music I listen to, will this cause her to think that it’s OK for her to continue to listen to worldly music? Will she be encouraged toward Godly music because of what I listen to? Some weaker Christian is always watching. (I Corinthians 8:13)

My Books: Do the books I read come from the world? Are they romance novels, popular top 10 readers’ choices filled with sex and cursing? What if my brother in Christ sees me reading one of these books. Will he think it’s OK for him to do so since his Christian friend is reading it? Or are my books the kind that will help him to grow in Christ and mature as a Christian? (Matthew 18:9) Today’s reading media has advanced to eReaders, such as the Nook and Kindle. What kind of books are on yours?

My Habits: Do the things I watch on TV have Godly principles? Or are they filled with sex, violence, drugs, etc.? Does my sister in Christ see the things I watch and figure it’s OK for her to do so as well? A few years ago, I once overheard one of the church ladies talking to a group of other ladies about an episode she watched the night before on Desperate Housewives. Based on the commercials alone, no Christian should be watching this type of programming! Yet this lady watched this weekly show faithfully and loved it. Something is wrong there. First, she was feeding herself with sin – she, personally, was not committing adultery (or any other sin shown on this program), but she was standing by watching. Second, she was sharing these sins with other Christian ladies. The sad thing is that she may have caused someone in her group to stumble spiritually. A weaker Christian could interpret that action to be that it’s OK to watch such trashy programming just as long as you don’t actually commit the sin. (Matthew 5:28) The word of God says differently. This lady has no idea that she may have caused another to stumble repeatedly because of her actions. Sadly, her daughters watched this wretched show with her. Instead of recognizing things of Belial and staying away, she succumbed and took her daughters with her.

My testimony is all I have on this earth to show others the way to Christ. My testimony is ALL I will take with me when I get to Heaven. Everyone there will then know just what kind of Christian I really was. OUCH!  (Matthew 10:26) What about our families? No wonder it is so hard for our family members to get saved! They see us just exactly as we are … we walk like the world, talk like the world, and dress like the world … but yet we preach Christ. Such hypocrisy. 🙁

“If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and water rolls off its back like a duck, then it must be a duck.” What a great saying! Therefore, if a Christian walks like the world, talks like the world, and dresses like the world … then the Christian must be of the world.

Lord forgive us our sins and weaknesses. Help us to live more Godly lives for YOUR cause so we may be testimonies for You and not against You!!

Maranatha Devotionals

~I Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

You’re running along a winding path through the forest one day. You come around a curve and suddenly trip over a large branch in the pathway. It would have been nice had you been warned prior to coming around that curve to beware of the obstacle ahead, wouldn’t it? During one of my recent hikes at the beautiful Sweet Creek (pictured above), I was walking along the trail and concentrating on the beauty around me. A tree’s large roots were protruding out of the ground and my foot was caught up in them, causing me to stumble.

Today’s account was a good one to meditate on – the stumbling blocks of my life. Granted, I have stumbled many a time along my Christian walk. But have I been a stumbling block to someone else? What do others see me doing, whether sinful or not, that could be interpreted incorrectly?

We don’t know who is watching us. It could be a total stranger, a member of our own household, or a co-worker. Are my actions a large root in someone’s pathway of life? Today’s emerging church sadly screams “liberty in Christ” to justify their worldly living. That is a very selfish thought. We are not at liberty to do worldly things – we are at liberty of being judged by the Law because we are saved from the yoke of the Law’s bondage – we are free from that bondage of sin! We are able to say no to sin and are no longer controlled by it!

~Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Gal 5:1

Do my actions revolve around self and the gratification of my flesh? Paul encourages me to think of my weaker brethren in the Lord. I don’t know if there is a weaker brother listening in on a conversation or watching my actions.

~I Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

~I Corinthians 10:28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:

Being a Christian has responsibilities which involve selflessness. It’s not about my liberties but it’s all about my brother’s weaknesses. Paul exhorts me to esteem others, not myself. Today’s self-esteem gospel is a false gospel. It’s just an excuse for Christians to live like the world, talk like the world, and do the same thing the world does. There’s no encouragement to beware of being a stumbling block to a weaker brother.

Christ encourages all of us to be servants (John 13:5). Someone who is concerned about others will have no problem serving. There is no self esteem in a servant’s attitude. It’s all about serving the Master and what His needs are, amen? Just think back on the days of slavery. A slave was not his own – he did not as he wished but did what his master bid. Wow! Oh that each Christian today would be this type of servant.

~Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

When we are thinking of others, we monitor our own actions with that same thought process. I must be careful that my own actions do not cause my brother to fall into sin. A good example is what some call “Christian cursing.” I’m sorry but that is such an oxymoron. Should a Christian ever curse? Absolutely not! What if a weaker Christian, one who is recently saved, hears you using ‘potty’ words? He will think that it’s O.K. to do so! You may later fall under conviction for having used those words but that weaker brother won’t know this. You will never know who you affected by your actions and, therefore, may cause a brother to stumble. What a responsibility this is!

~Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

Our Christian walk should not be about “what is good or allowable for me” but, instead, what is good for my brother in Christ. A carnal Christian will try to justify his actions by saying that it’s the responsibility of the other person, not their’s. I recently saw an article on modest clothing for women. The article’s main theme was immodestly dressed women cause men to lust after them. A woman responded that it was not her clothing that caused the man to lust but his own heart. Wow! Really? Would he have stumbled if he had not seen her immodest apparel? This is exactly what Paul is talking about. If this woman had a servant’s heart, rather than serving her own fleshly desires, she would have fallen under conviction over this article and would have immediately stopped wearing immodest clothing. Instead, she balked and defended her lifestyle. This is selfish – this is not esteeming the other better than herself. In fact, she is obsessed with self.

In closing, what does my walk do for someone else? Do I encourage another to live righteously by my actions? Or do I encourage another to live like the world? 🙁

What a responsibility we have. What a responsibility I have! I must live like someone’s always watching!

 

Maranatha Devotionals

~Genesis 19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

Our testimony is so important. Our family and friends are always watching. It was no different for Lot. If you recall, Lot was led to Sodom and Gomorrah because of the lust of his flesh. The word of God says that (Genesis 13:10) he lifted up his eyes and beheld the good things that the cities had to offer. He didn’t go out to canvass the area before moving there; he didn’t check out if it was a good place for his family to live, or if God’s words were even being preached there. He just saw from afar what good things the land had to offer. We know the end of that story and how that didn’t work out so well for him. We learn a great lesson from that account, don’t you think?

But putting that lesson aside, let’s look at the cost that Lot paid once he moved to Sodom and Gomorrah. I don’t recall ever reading anything prior to his move there that would indicate that he believed differently from Abraham. His “character” was different, however. As I said earlier, Genesis 13:10 indicates that he was prone to follow after his flesh. Since he didn’t recognize that character flaw, or maybe he did and was in denial, his choice to move there, as we know, would later cost him more than he could ever imagine!

Not only did Lot have two daughters living at home, but he had some daughters who had married and were living in the cities as well. Genesis 19:14 says that when he tried to convince his sons-in-law to escape out of the city, they mocked him! For those of you who have tried to witness to family, you know what it’s like to be mocked. Our own family members are more freely going to speak their mind. This is why it is so important to keep our testimony clean in their sight.

I can see his sons-in-law now saying, “Why are you preaching this to us? You’re no better than we are!” They had no respect for their father-in-law. What a price Lot paid for his compromise! They saw this compromise in his life and he was no better than they were in their eyes.

Oh Christian! How important it is for us to stay on the straight and narrow path (Matthew 7:14). Someone’s watching at all times! And even if you think no one is watching, God is! And let’s be honest … if you’re thinking that no one is watching, then you are doing something that you KNOW you shouldn’t be doing. This kind of thought is not what a child of God should be thinking. Eventually, this will affect the heart and work its way into actions. Either way, the testimony is affected. It’s no different than Lot lifting his eyes to behold the goodies Sodom had to offer. The cost came later, through his testimony. He lost daughters, sons-in-law, his wife and his home. His story doesn’t end there either. His compromise continued after all this destruction when he allowed his daughters to get him drunk! One would think he would have been grateful for being spared! Sin runs deep when it isn’t kept in check.

Let’s not have Lot’s testimony where we cause others to mock Him because of our actions. Let’s do the Lord proud!

Maranatha Devotionals, Bible Studies

For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. (Romans 2:13)

Oh how these two verses pricked my heart this morning. Often I say “amen” to the preaching of the scriptures, or blogs I’ve read, and posts on my favorite boards. But can I truly say that I “practice” the content of the messages? Self examination must be done daily and we must ask, “Am I a doer or am I deceiving myelf”?

According to Romans 2:13, if we are hearers we are not justified! Praise God for Romans 5:9 otherwise we would be in BIG trouble. Praise God that because we are born again, Jesus’ righteousness is all the Father sees and we are justified because of His shed blood! We are not condemned! And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. (Romans 5:16)

Are we doers of the word of God? We can try to fool those who “watch” us but can we fool our own selves? More importantly, do we honestly believe we can fool God? But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22) James says that we deceive our OWN selves! Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary has an excellent definition for the word deceive: “To mislead the mind; to cause to err; to cause to believe what is false, or disbelieve what is true; to impose on; to delude” We’ve all heard the old saying that we see life “through rose-colored glasses.” This expression goes back to at least 1861. It means that one has the attitude of cheerful optimism, of seeing everything in an attractive, pleasant light. Good night! What an eye opener that was! Do we see our own selves through these same rose-colored glasses? Do we see our sin for what it really is?

The bottom line is this … if we hear a message that points out sin in our lives and we do not heed that message, we are guilty of being a hearer of the word only. We are misleading ourselves – we actually convince our minds to believe that which is false or disbelieve that which is true! What is scarey here is that if we become hearers only, what false doctrine will we fall for? If we are hearers only, what effectiveness does our testimony have on the unsaved? Does our testimony give them vinegar rather than the water of life? When I think of what vinegar is, I shudder to think that my testimony would have this affect on others. Again, Noah Webster’s definition of vinegar is: “Vegetable acid; an acid liquor obtained from wine, cider, beer or other liquors, by the second or acetous fermentation. Vinegar may differ indefinitely in the degree of its acidity. When highly concentrated, it is called radical vinegar.” The soldiers tried to give Jesus vinegar as He hung on the cross and was thirsty. Matthew 27:34 says that once Jesus tasted it, he would not drink it!

Jesus provided “living water” to the thirsty soul. He did not give them vinegar. What are we producing? If we are hearers of the word only, we will be giving the world vinegar – why would they want that? If we are doers of the word, however, we are giving the world what their soul is thirsting for – living water!

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (John 4:10)

The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? (John 4:11)

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38 )

Maranatha Devotionals, Devotionals

~1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Christian, do you have a bumper sticker on your car that tells others you are a born-again Christian? If so, how is your driving? How is your attitude behind the wheel? I commute over 100 miles per day to and from work. I can’t begin to tell you how my heart is grieved when I see aggressive drivers who have Christian bumper stickers on their vehicle. Drivers who ride my bumper (and I’m not a slow driver but follow the speed limit) or weave in and out of traffic to get a mere two or three cars ahead of me.

I wouldn’t mind so much if they didn’t have a bumper sticker advertising their faith! What is absurd is that they do advertise their faith but do not live it! How sad is that? Do you think God does not see the way they are acting?  If you are one of these Christians, do you think the unbelieving world does not get a horrible impression of Christians?

Your testimony goes beyond what comes out of your mouth, my friend. People are watching – even when you don’t think they are. If you cannot control your lack of patience and meekness, then please remove your bumper stickers so you don’t give the rest of us Christians a bad reputation. The devil is already hard at work causing Christians to be persecuted. He should not be getting your help to achieve his goals.

Maranatha Devotionals

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As the sun goes down at night, you can still see where you’re going as long as there is the slightest amount of sun still showing. Once the sun has gone down completely, finding one’s way without a flashlight is difficult.  Christ compares the Christian as a light to the unsaved world. In a world filled with sin, the believer’s actions and speech should shine a light that reveals Christ to them.  The believer’s testimony should be such that it points the lost to salvation.

Christ also compared the believer to salt. Salt adds flavor and can also cause you to thirst. True salvation gives the believer a new life.  The believer desires to live a more righteous life and desires to sin less.  This leaves an open door to share the gospel with the unsaved.  You would not continue to salt your food if the salt had no flavor.  Neither will the unbeliever desire anything spiritual, let alone salvation, if the person sharing the gospel does not have the salt he needs.

~Matthew 5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Our life should reflect the gospel so the unbeliever can see that we are not phony. The salt of our lives should cause them to thirst after the gospel and desire to learn more about Jesus Christ.

The life of the Christian should be a magnet to draw people to Christ.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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Catholicism, Salvation, Testimony

From Darkness to Light
A. J. Krause

Few people have ever loved or respected the Catholic Church more than I. As we lived just a stone’s throw from St. Dominic’s Church and school, my sister and I were raised in the church. The Krause family, as far back as granddad could remember, we’re all good Catholics. We had a proud tradition to follow and the baton had been handed to me. In no way would I let our tradition down. What confidence I had in this awesome religion. Why, I thought, was everyone who claimed to be Christian not a Roman Catholic? This was my heart-felt belief. The following is my personal testimony of salvation.

Born Catholic, Die Catholic

My parents thought it very important that my sister and I receive a good Catholic education, instead of one from a public or private school. So I spent my grammar, middle and high school years being educated by Nuns and Priests. I was well indoctrinated into the rules and doctrines of Catholicism. I was baptized as an infant, confirmed as a young boy and received my first Holy Communion at my school and church. I started confessing my sins to Priests at an early age. I had received four of the seven sacred sacraments by the age of12, and felt my spiritual quest was headed in the right direction. After all, I was following the oldest and most organized religion in the world. My Catholic school regularly challenged us to consider the possibility of becoming a Priest or Nun. Thoughts of dedicating my life to God in this way danced in my soul. What greater career path could I travel? So I spoke as someone who was interested in the path of serving God. Because of my obvious devotion and love for the Catholic Church, the nuns and Priests gave me special attention, especially because of my vocal desire to become a Catholic Priest. I was taught that the Priesthood is the highest calling for a man. I set out in a devoted path, desiring to do all that I thought pleased the Lord. All devoted Catholics go to Mass as often as they can and further training taught me that going to Mass every day would grant me special grace and fewer days in Purgatory (a Catholic doctrine meaning a temporary place after death where the body burns until purged of all smaller sins). I had zeal of God, but the Scripture as the Apostle Paul remarked concerning the devout Jews applied to me, “for I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.(Romans 10:2-3) I was ignorant of God’s righteous. I believed that Catholicism was the way for righteousness, but the Scripture insists, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10: 4) Believing on Christ for righteousness is the key. Without confidence in God, in His fidelity, His truth, His wisdom and His promises you have no security, as the Scripture maintains, “without faith it is impossible to please him.” (Hebrews 11:6) My faith and confidence were however in my beloved religion, which “I thought” to be God’s righteousness.

My Loyalty to the Mass

An absolute requirement of all good Catholics is the participation in the sacrifice of the Mass. The heart of the Mass, and central to the faith of all Catholics, is the Eucharist. (A re-enactment of the last supper in the sacrifice of the Mass.) In my grammar school years, weekday Mass started at 7:00AM. My sister and I considered it a privilege to live so close to the church and to have the opportunity of making Mass with Holy Communion every day. We also ate a special breakfast at the school, because at that time it was a mortal sin(an offense that would send a person to hell) to receive Communion if you had eaten any food after midnight. Later this mortal sin rule was changed to no food three hours before receiving Communion. We liked the special attention we got from the schoolteachers and our classmates when we ate breakfast at our desk during class. I was committed to attending Mass every school day. I rose an hour earlier than my classmates. This was one of the only ways I thought I could please the Lord. If I had studied the Scriptures, the Word of God would have caused me to question my daily practice. Concerning Christ’s sacrifice and the continuing of it, the Scripture says, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10: 10-12)This section of Scripture can certainly be applied in reference to the daily Mass. The practice of the Mass according to the Bible should not take place; Christ’s death on the cross for our sins was a one time event, not to be ministered over and over. However, I, like most Catholics, was knowledgeable of my religion but ignorant of the Bible, and so followed our tradition. As a Catholic I firmly believed what the Church taught, that the Eucharist (the bread and wine) were the actual body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church teaches that the host is actually Christ’s body and wine is His real blood. They called this transubstantiation. The Scripture teaches, “I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people…Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, no soul of you shall eat blood…” (Leviticus 17:10,12) Regarding His Last Supper it is important to read Christ’s own words. His command in the institution of the His Supper did not to initiate a continual sacrifice but declared the institution of a remembrance of His finished work. His words declared, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (1 Corinthians11:25-26) The purpose is clearly given, to proclaim and publish His death. It is a remembrance of what Christ has done and suffered. In this remembrance, true believers are to declare His death to be their life and the cause of their comfort and hope. After I received my first Holy Communion I made a vow to God to never miss Mass on Sunday or any holy day of obligation. Catholic doctrine clearly states that missing Mass with out good reason is a damnable sin. I went a step further, no matter how sick I was, or where I traveled, nothing would prevent me from missing Mass. Some days I would run very high fevers on Sundays, crawling out of bed so I did not miss Mass. I believed this added to my good works, which were necessary for eternal life. I was the talk of the school, making such sacrifices as a young boy. “What a great Priest he could be for the Church”, people whispered. Local Jesuit Priests courted me in my high school years giving me special attention. They enticed me with their private wine cellars in the basement of their rectory, and allowed me to play with their champion bird dogs. They explained to me how Priests received salaries, retirement programs and ample vacations. They even took me bird hunting on weekends. This looked like a pretty good life to a high schooler considering a career. Jesus warned the top religious leaders of His day, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (Matthew 23: 15) In my early years I entertained the real possibility of entering the Priesthood when I became old enough.

Our Home and Holy Water

With my parent’s blessings, as a child I gladly took the responsibility of keeping fresh holy water throughout our home. Attached to our bedroom light switches was a cradle that held holy water. It was common practice to dip our hand in this water as we turned on the light switch and by making the sign of the cross. This was a common practice in our home. As head altar boy at my parish I had a good opportunity to obtain holy water. Looking back, this seems like a strange practice but at the time we were taught to put great confidence in this, as protection for our home. In the pages of the Bible there is no such substance as holy water. The traditions of Catholicism bring into the worship of God “holy water”, oil and salt, charcoal and incense, and many other physical objects that dishonor the true worship of God.

Mary, St. Christopher and Medals

The Rosary was another very special part of my life. The Blessed Virgin Mary dominated my prayer life. My prayers to Mary were continuous, day by day, and year by year. The Rosary alone has 53 exaltations to Mary, and only 8 to God. A central truth in the Bible taught is, “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5) The way to God is only through Jesus Christ, not Mary. However our home had several statues of Mary that we used as “aids to worship”. I always wore my special St. Christopher medal. It had been purchased at our nation’s national Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. and my favorite Parish Priest blessed it. I strongly believed it had supernatural powers until the Pope admitted that there was no evidence that St. Christopher historically ever lived. I continued to wear it because it also had on the reverse side an image of Mary. She, I reasoned, would protect me. What a terrible sin I was ignorantly committing, because of my lack of knowledge of the 2ndCommandment. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20: 4) I continued to break God’s Second Commandment every day. Ignorance is no excuse in man’s courtroom or in God’s judgment. I am attempting to tell you the truth of God’s law, not the “commandments of men”. This is one of God’s blessed Commandments. Do not take my word for it, read it for yourself, even in a Catholic Bible. Steadfastly a Catholic While many of my close Catholic friends were questioning their faith, concerning the history of the Church and its doctrine…I remained steadfast. Steadfast into my adult years, who was I to doubt or second-guess the teaching of the “Mother Church”? However the history, tradition and loyalty of the Saints, humbled me. Even though I studied world history, the Crusades, and the Inquisition (the torturing of Bible believers who spoke against the Church, many being tortured and burned at the stake), I still would not speak against my Church. In my world a Priest’s word was held in high esteem, especially his opinions and understanding of spiritual maters. I, as all good Catholics, was taught to trust the “Priest” to interpret scripture and the Church doctrines. But the Scripture teaches, “in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition.” (Mark 7: 7, 13) Mankind loves tradition and superstition. All ancient religions are steeped in delusions and rituals. Carefully I asked the Jesuit Priests about the millions tortured, killed or burned at the stake, by my Church. Their answers were unsettling, but I wrote it off, because my Church admitted she had made errors in the past. I trusted these men’s word. Who was I to ponder or doubt the Church? I believed my Church was started by Christ Himself, Peter being the first Pope.

Was Peter the First Pope?

One of the few verses we were taught to memorize in Catechism was in St Matthew chapter 16. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” (Matthew 16:16-20)We were taught to believe that Peter was authorized to start the Church by Christ Himself. We were educated that all other Christian churches, religions and denominations were offshoots of Roman Catholicism. This gave Catholics a great superiority over other faiths. No other Christian Church or world religion, in my understanding, could rank with my Church. What pride I had in my religion. Catholic teaching states that Peter was the first Pope. (The word Pope is non Biblical and is a man-made title). The Catholic Church teaches that Peter is the rock in Matthew 16. What does the Bible say about this? This rock is to be the foundation of our faith, so let Scripture define who it is, Peter or Christ. In the passage we are taught that the disciples had a distinct knowledge of Christ, expressed by Peter on their behalf. The Lord says that this knowledge, that He was “the Christ” and “the Son of the Living God” was a revelation from His Father in heaven. It is this revelation, the Lord declared, that he would become the rock, or foundation stone, upon which He would build His Church. This was the very concluding subject of the Lord’s summons to the disciples, “Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” To hold the view that Peter himself is the rock is to deliberately pervert the plain sense of the Lord’s own words. Then the word “Peter” by definition means pebble, not rock. The Bible again and again calls God “the rock” of His people. For example, “then they remembered that God was their rock.”(Psalms 78:35) “O come, let us sing unto the LORD…the rock of our salvation.” (Psalms 95:1) “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer.” (2 Samuel 22: 47) The Apostle Paul proclaimed, “for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4)Even the Apostle Peter himself warned of a false “rock of offense”, “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (1 Peter 2:7-8)There is no doubt that the revelation of Jesus Christ, given by the Father, is “the rock” in Matthew 16, not Peter or any Pope. When faced with the truth, a choice has to be made. I ignorantly chose my religion over the Bible. I believed that Peter was the first Pope and all the infallible teachings of the Popes throughout history were equal to the Gospel. There have been over 1000 official edicts of Popes. If I were to list some of them you would be in shock with horror. I, ignorantly, had blind faith in this religious church system. My faith was not in Christ as the way, the truth and the life. My faith was in the Church as the way, the truth and the life. My parents bought my sister and me a Catholic Bible. This I carried throughout my high school and college years. As most Catholics, we had great respect and fear of this “mystery book”. In my years of Catholic schooling I cannot remember one time ever being required to read the Bible. Maybe this is because it raised more questions than answers relating to the Catholic Church. Instead we were taught to trust the Priest to interpret the Bible for us. This is very interesting; the middle verse in the whole Bible is Psalms 118:8 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” One official Catechism declaration, that we were required to memorize, taught us the Catholic stance as it relates to the Bible and tradition. It states, “The scriptures and tradition are one in the same but when contradictions arise, tradition is to rule over the Bible.” The Scriptures teach against this position in many places. For example the final commandment of the Bible, in the final book, and the final chapter is, “and let him that heareth say, come and let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:17-19) God uses men to tell other men the good news and the bad news of His Holy Word. I have a responsibility to warn you of these things as I tell you my story.

My Fellowship with Non-Catholics

My college years took a distinctive career path. I got very involved in athletics, and had an active social life, therefore my desire to become a Priest dwindled, but my love and devotion of the Church stayed strong. My first association with Bible believing Christians, or non-Catholics, was when I joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of Alabama. It was strange for me to see people carrying Bibles and quoting scripture and having devotions around Bible passages. This was a peculiar lifestyle for someone whose only exposure was the Catholic faith. I could see a zeal for God at these get-togethers where genuine openhearted prayer abounded. It is usual for Catholics to recite from a book of prayers rather than pray from an open heart, directly to God. This new form of worship fascinated me. I started going regularly to the Christian fellowships but also continued to attend Mass. I can remember many Bible believing Christians asking me why I was Catholic and I jumped at the chance to defend my faith and exalt my Church. Although a few people did make me question my faith in my religion, a few words with a Priest always comforted and lead me back into their fold. The Church teaches that the Priest must interpret Scripture for us. They were the experts and I was taught to trust their interpretation. After all, were they not the vicars of Christ? Many years of schooling and special training convinced me to trust them. After talking to a Priest, his words would reinforce my faith and keep me loyal. Christian speakers on the campus pricked my heart with Bible based messages. My soul longed for what they had; surely I could search and find that kind of faith and peace in the Church. Scripture Verses like; “Christ hath forgiven us all trespasses. The blood of the LORD Jesus Christ has cleansed us from all sin.” and “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” impressed me. How could these verses be true? I believed it was necessary to confess sins to a Catholic Priest before someone could be absolved from sin. What about a forgotten sin? Bible based Christians claimed to have forgiveness of ALL sins. They professed to be born-again and to already have salvation. I reflected on the confidence and freedom they seemed to possess. I had to keep record of my sins for confession. After one campus meeting I was bold enough to ask if I could talk with the speaker. I felt compelled to meet him afterwards in his hotel room. He questioned me about my salvation and put me in conviction for a short while. He showed me in the Bible where it says, “for whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”(James 2:10) I asked, “You mean one small sin is like committing murder or adultery?” “Sin is sin” was his answer. The Bible does not teach such a thing as mortal or venial sin. This is a man-made concept, created by religion.

A Challenge from a Christian Girl

I started dating a Christian girl who had a zeal and love for the Lord Jesus Christ like none I had ever seen. She questioned my faith and my salvation. “When were you saved?” she asked. “Saved” was a strange word to me because it was not found in Catholic vocabulary. Even though it is used over 200 times in the Bible. This girl gave me my first Christian Bible. She highlighted key verses, and I challenged myself to read. There is Power in the Word, and I felt the conviction of the Holy Ghost as I read God’s Word. What a testimony she was when she stopped dating me because I was neither a true believer nor a spiritual leader. The Bible teaches, “be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (1 Corinthians 6:14)That passage later in my life gloriously guided me to my wife and later to my business partners. I now understand what it means to be equally yoked together with Christ at the helm. Most Catholics consider themselves spiritual people, as did I, but looking back I was on the outside looking in. I now understand I was imitating the Christian life. Catholics tend to believe their faith is a private thing, not to be examined, but the Bible says: “examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your ownselves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.” (2 Corinthians 13: 5) Now I realize that in my former faith I was a reprobate. When have you examined yourself in the light of God’s Word and not man’s religion? The Holy Ghost will lead you to only one truth. I often caught myself in a wrestling match with others trying to convince them I was a good Catholic and that all good Catholic were saved. Bible based Christians continued to doubt my salvation. This greatly troubled me, but I still kept faith in my Church and tradition. Jesus said, “full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition…Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition.(Mark 7:9,13) Verse 13 has been quoted twice in this testimony for a good reason, for there was where I lived.

A Christian Business Couple lead me to the Bible

My adult years provided me success in private business. I recruited and trained many talented people who marketed health products through the country. One of my most talented managers was a preacher who had a rare zeal and excitement about life and the Bible. As I spent time with him, he questioned me about my salvation. He always seemed to carry a Bible where ever he went. That was strange and uncomfortable for me. After a business meeting, I found myself at his home, with him and his wife. They had been praying for an opportunity to witness to me about my salvation. It was one of the few times someone had taken out a Bible and showed me truth. They took me to Scriptures such as: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” (Romans 10:1) It was their desire was for A. J. to be saved! I had a zeal but not according to Bible knowledge. I had looked for righteousness in a religion and not in the Person of Christ Jesus. “for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” I was under the law and this verse spoke to my heart. I was under rules and rituals, imposed by a religion, to gain my righteousness. I was keeping the law for my righteousness. My faith and confidence was in Christ and in my keeping the Church law and in living a good life, not solely in the finished work of the Savior at the cross. Nowhere in the Bible did it teach me to go to Mass or Church in order to have eternal life. It declared the opposite, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us..”(Titus 2:5) Salvation and eternal life are God’s free gift. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2: 8-9): Boy, I could boast in my supposed good works. I had great pride in my faith. Having a strong faith in the wrong religion will send a man to hell. Consider the faith of Muslims. Only faith in Jesus Christ will save a man.

My Day of Salvation

That Christian couple witnessed to me out of the Scriptures but I quoted a memorized catechism statement. The words of the catechism however could not match the Word of God. Verse after verse revealed that my religion and faith was not based on the Bible. This totally stripped my faith in my Church. I had always believed my Church was Biblically based, now I saw that this was not so. The choice was clear, either my salvation was in my religion or my salvation rested on Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. It could not be both. I went home to a lonely house and that night lay in bed looking up at the ceiling. I truly examined myself, realized I had never had a time in my life where I put ALL my faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone. My confidence was always in my good works, the Sacraments of my Church. I especially had confidence in Holy Communion and in keeping the Commandments. I had hoped to persevere enough grace at my death to obtain heaven. But there before my eyes were the words of the Lord, “verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3: 3, 5)At that time four verses stood out in my memory, after I had been shown them in the Scriptures, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) All of my sins! “Christ died for our sins.” The heart of the Gospel is contained in those five words. Christ died for my sins! I was always worried about having them confessed. Another verse that stood out in my memory from the Scriptures was one of the most quoted verses in the Bible. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” “Whosoever shall call” did that mean even me? In the privacy of my bed, between God and myself, I called upon the Lord Jesus Christ believing that he would save me. Why, because I had His Word on it, not religion’s word or man’s word but God’s Holy Word. January 22nd 1981 was the day I received the salvation God had provided me. God saved me! “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians. 6:1-2) Nothing did I do but put my faith in what He had done for me. I trusted Christ’s sacrifice as payment for my sins. The Bible teaches there is a day of birth and a day you of death and a day of salvation. Remember the eternal commandment “ye must be born again”. When was your day of salvation? Please call me or write. My email address and telephone number are given at the end. Feel comfortable contacting me about your faith.

Seek the Lord and His Peace

The Bible says, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) I now have that peace. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is anew creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5: 17) All things are new now! This is my heart’s desire for you! Why would I take the time to put this in writing? Many of you have a love for God and zeal for God like I did, but maybe not according to Bible knowledge. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh.” (John 1:1, 14) Put your faith in the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, and not in the word of any man. God chose the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ alone and you shall be saved. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-5) Ask God for the truth! His Word is His promise! That is why His Word, Christ Jesus, became flesh! When a man desires truth, seeks God for answers and is willing to forsake all, God will lead him into His truth. The Lord said in the Scriptures, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5) This was my plea, I asked God and He answered my search. A man can know that he has eternal life while living on this side of eternity. The Lord’s word in Scripture says so, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”(I John 5:13) I had never known with confidence I could have eternal life. Now I know. A personal testimony will be required of all men at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Christ Jesus Himself is my surety! My eternal destiny hangs on my faith in Christ’s perfect sacrifice…only that has made me right with God. Your eternal destiny likewise must rest secure, for “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this thejudgment. Please feel free to call me with any questions, toll free:1-888-643-7374 or email me at::
AJKrause1@aol.com


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Catholicism, Good Reading, Salvation, Testimony

Free Indeed

Former Priest Alexander (Sandy) Carson

From childhood to age forty-four, then in my seventeen years as a Roman priest (1955-1972), the Roman Catholic Church had been the pillar of truth to me and my infallible guide to God. This “pillar of truth,” the Roman Church, was not constructed solely of the infallible Scriptures, but also constructed of man’s “traditions” apart from Scripture, which were held to be revelations from God, but which in fact contradicted and were in opposition to the plain teachings of Scripture.

During the first century days of the Apostles, truth was being preached in the streets and Temple areas of Jerusalem. That would eventually make up the content of the New Testament. The book of Acts, chapter 6 verse 7, bears testimony to that preaching: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” At great personal cost, those Jewish Old Testament priests left all to follow Jesus. When their hearts were pierced by the truth, that “two edged sword” the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12), they left all to follow Jesus. All former Catholic priests who have become “obedient to the faith” can certainly relate to this passage (Acts 6:7), from Wycliffe, Huss, and Luther down to the present day. At different times and in various ways God has used His written Word to set men, even Catholic priests, free! “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). In 1972, while I was pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Rayville, Louisiana, USA, the Lord’s truth and grace became clear as day to me. Here is my full story.

Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation

In 1928 I was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church as an infant. When I was just over a year old my family moved from New York State to New Milford, Connecticut, where I was raised in the Catholic faith. I thoroughly believed in all Catholic practises and beliefs, and I took my relationship to the Church, and therefore to God, very seriously. My first communion and confirmation were important events to me. After high school, I went to Tufts College in Boston to study pre-med, hoping one day to become a medical doctor like my revered uncle. However, at the end of two years of study, I really desired to become a priest. I felt it was more important to help people spiritually than to aid them medically.

The Seminary

In September of 1948, I began studies for the priesthood at St. John’s Seminary, Brighton, and Massachusetts. How I loved the seminary! Everything was so “holy” there. Nevertheless, at the end of my first year in the seminary, I withdrew. I felt I could never measure up to being a priest, being convinced at the time that it was the highest possible call on a young man’s life. I attended Boston College (Jesuit) and served Mass almost every morning at a local Catholic monastery. At this time, during the Fall of 1949, God saved me by His grace (the only way!) even though I did not know a lot about the Bible. Jesus saves the believing repentant even though they walk in a measure of confusion and darkness. I had come to a place where I was uncertain about my relationship with God, and I wanted to be sure about that above everything else.

A Confession Absolutely Different

One night I knelt in a confessional booth and confessed every sin of my life that I could bring to mind.At confession I always really confessed my sins to God first, though it was in the presence of the priest who would give “absolution.” “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…” (I John 1:9). After I expressed my repentance and while the priest was giving the ritual “absolution,” I cried out to God with my heart, saying, “God, if you’ll forgive all my sins, I take you as Lord of my heart and I’ll serve you the rest of my life!” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Leaving that confessional box and walking across the transept of the church, I felt a great peace and “Abba, Father!” rang in my heart. I knew that I had a relationship with God! This did not happen because of the presence of a priest and liturgical absolution. It happened because of the presence of Jesus Christ, our great High Priest Who made intercession for me and Who made me the object of His grace, mercy, and compassion. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-9).The next year I re-entered the seminary to complete studies for the priesthood, the best way I knew to serve God at the time. I was ordained by Bishop Lawrence Shehan of Bridgeport, Connecticut on February 2,1955, and began ministry as a Diocesan, or secular, priest in the Diocese of Alexandria, Louisiana. The great excitement and joy I felt about my unique position of service began to wane after a few years, and try as I might to do everything right; it became empty, meaningless ritual.

The Bible — A New Standard

In 1971, after several years of crying out to God for something more meaningful, my great hunger was abated. Jesus and the Word of God (Scriptures) became very real to me. Because “…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts…” (Romans 5:5), the Holy Spirit led me to judge Roman Catholic theology by the standard of the Bible. Before, I had always judged the Bible by Catholic doctrine and theology. It was a reversal of authority in my life.On a Sunday night in July 1972, I began to read the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament. This letter exalts Jesus, His priesthood, and His sacrifice over all the Old Covenant or Testament. This is some of what I read: “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself…” (Hebrews 7:27). This startled me, and I began to feel very uneasy. I understood for the first time that Jesus’ sacrifice was a one-time sacrificial offering at Calvary, in itself effectual to reconcile me to God and believing repentants of all ages. I saw at this time that the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” offered by me and thousands of other Catholic priests daily throughout the world was a fallacy and completely irrelevant. If the “sacrifice” I daily offered as a priest was meaningless, then my “Priesthood” which existed for the purpose of offering that “sacrifice” was likewise without meaning. These realizations were soon clearly confirmed as I continued to read in Hebrews Chapter10: “But this man, (Jesus) after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (v. 12-14). “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin” (v. 18).

Saved by God’s Grace Alone

That night the Roman Catholic Church lost credibility for me, as it had taught as truth what was clearly contrary to the Scriptures. I then chose the Scriptures as my standard of truth, no longer accepting the magisterium, or teaching authority of the Catholic Church as my standard. In my letter of resignation from the Catholic Church and ministry, I stated to the bishop that I was leaving the priesthood because I could no longer offer the Mass, as it was contrary to the Word of God and to my conscience. This was in 1972. It was not long before I was baptized by immersion, began Biblical studies and was ordained to the Gospel ministry.For over twenty years I have walked in the freedom of which Jesus spoke, saying, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32), and “If the Son therefore shall make you free,ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).Alexander (Sandy) Carson Through 1994 his ministry was mostly in seminary, evangelism and preaching in Florida, U.S.A. Then in1995 he did extensive preaching across parts of Eastern Europe. In March 1996 he went on a 6-week ministry in Siberia. From a radio interview with Bob Bush, a Russian believer in California contacted him.As a result, he has returned to Russia and Eastern Europe to proclaim the Gospel.

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Testimony

I was raised in the Roman Catholic church in an all catholic town in Northern Maine. My father was an alcoholic and my mother a devout catholic. I was also a devout catholic and even taught catechism in the local Catholic CCD program. I was married in the Catholic church to my high school sweetheart in 1974 and we moved to the Northern Virginia area a year later.

After six years, my marriage was failing and I was no longer in love with my husband. My eyes strayed and I was tempted to be unfaithful but just could not. I knew divorce was not an option because I saw how my sister had been forbidden the sacraments because of her marriage to a divorced man and how the Catholic church had abandoned her in her hour of need. I felt helpless and life seemed too much to bear! It was then I began thinking about suicide as my only option.

My dear friend from my home town called to ask me if she could come to Virginia during her vacation. She shared with me that she had been “born again.” I warned her not to “preach to me” during her stay.

On April Fool’s Day, I went into work leaving my friend at home. As soon as I arrived, I felt moved to ask for the day off so I could spend it with my friend. My boss allowed it and off I went back home. My friend and I went to the mall to do some shopping. The mall wasn’t open yet so we sat around waiting and talking about the end times. She seemed so knowledgeable and it impressed me. I asked her what the Bible had to say about the predictions that Nostradamus had made. The conversation just consumed us so much that when the mall finally opened, we didn’t care. We continued to talk.

Little did I know, the Holy Spirit had spoken to my friend’s heart when she was packing her suitcase to come to visit. He compelled her to bring along with her a tape by Hal Lindsey discussing the end times. He is the author of “The Late Great Planet Earth.” Ironically, my husband had been reading that very same book which was lent to him by a man he worked with. She told me about this tape that she “happened” to have with her back at my house so off we went. I wanted to listen to it right then and there.

I listened to Hal Lindsey discussing what Christ had to say about the end times in the Scriptures. The Bible verses he gave were amazing to me. I could not believe that God’s Word would contain such detail and I became more and more afraid of what was to come. Mr. Lindsey also spoke about the plan of salvation! He spoke of how I could not work my way to heaven as written in Ephesians 2:8-9. He said that no one on earth could claim he was not sinner as written in Romans 3:23. He said that because of my sin, I would have to pay the penalty, which is going to hell!

WHAT? Go to hell? Me? I had always been taught that if I did not die in mortal sin, I would go to purgatory until enough prayers and indulgences had been made on my behalf, then I would be released to heaven. Hal Lindsey’s response to this was if I could get to heaven because of my good works on earth or because someone prayed me out of purgatory, then WHY in the world would God send Jesus to die for our sins? This meant that Jesus’ death on the cross was not enough??!! What a cruel and horrible thing for God the Father to do to His only Son!

I must admit that all of this sounded so foreign to me. I had never heard such a thing in my entire life! Although I taught Catholic catechism, surely I would have heard something such as this from my priest or in my catechism book. Not once had I ever imagined that the things I was taught were according to the church’s traditions and doctrines rather than what the Bible, the Word of God, taught.

I remember thinking to myself that I could honestly stand before God and tell Him that He had to let me into heaven because I had never heard about this plan of salvation. It was not in any of my catechism books. This was never something that had been taught to me … not in church nor by my parents. Certainly God would understand this and let me into heaven! At the very moment that this thought entered my mind, Hal Lindsey said

And you can’t say that you never heard the plan of salvation because I just told you so!!

My friend, I can’t begin to tell you what this did to me. I now saw that I was accountable for my sins before God and I was on my way to hell. It was at that time I knew that I could not escape so great salvation.

I was born again by the Grace of God at noon on April 1st, 1980. Praise God for His unending mercy! Not only was I saved from eternal damnation but the Lord healed my broken marriage within just a few months!

I thank God that He used my dearest childhood friend as an instrument for my salvation. Now we are not only friends but sisters in Christ. This has been a source of great comfort and blessing to me throughout the years.

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Catholicism

Printed here by permission.

by Francis Stockord

While it is most difficult to go back over my many years in the Catholic Church and its priesthood, I see that it is necessary. I remember and take courage from the words of the Apostle Paul, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. ” [1]

My parents were both converts to Catholicism in their early adulthood. As a result I was born a ‘cradle-catholic’ and into a family that dutifully followed every requirement set upon good and faithful Catholics by the Pope. No questions were publicly asked of the rights or wrongs of his pronunciations, even when following such rulings resulted in hardship and unhappiness for individuals in the family. We were brought up as Catholics in a way that underlined the importance of the denomination and that did not even allow me to realise that there was anything ‘else’ out there. One early memory is of going to Church one Sunday with one of my mother’s school friends. She attended the local High Church Anglo-Catholic service, which left me asking one question of my parents on my return home. ‘Why don’t we go there? It’s just the same.’ Unsurprisingly I received no answer, how could you explain the difference to an eight year old? The best of my youth and much of my early manhood has been spent in the Catholic Church and priesthood, but “now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.”[2]

As a child my experience of ‘faith’ was of doing the right thing – that is going to Mass every Sunday and giving some of your pocket money to the collection. On one occasion it meant the priest came to the house when my father was ill – just the once in 6 years in that parish, and just the once in 15 years in the next place we lived. I hope that gives the lie to the great myth of Catholics clergy dutifully and regularly visiting their flock! The other side of the upbringing in ‘the faith’ was schooling. For nearly my entire time in primary education I attended a Catholic school, and from 13 to 18 years of age I then went to Downside School, a private boarding school run by Benedictine Monks in the Somerset countryside. Faith at both schools meant doing the right things. Those who were ‘good Catholics’ would attend the Sunday Mass and the Friday Benediction service. Those who were very good would become altar servers or choristers. Those of us who were ‘bad’ would run off at these times and do things that made sense to us like walking the nearby hills, rain or shine. The pressure to conform and to do the required works was tremendous. Teachers would be sent out to drive around looking for those trying to escape ‘doing their duty’, and other pupils would treat you like dirt and even report you to the ‘authorities’ for failing to fulfil your obligations.

It did however provide moments of mirth. Such as the occasion when I and one of the other serial avoiders were the only two prefects from the whole school in a service and therefore, to the amazement and disbelief of the rest of the school, had to lead everyone out of the Abbey Church after the service!

One positive thing about attending Downside School was the sense imparted that faith was personal. Whether this was intentional or not it stood me in good stead later in life. We also studied for one of the ‘O’ level exams (16 yr age group exam) the Gospel of Mark. From the little I remember it was not done in the critical hermeneutical style so beloved of the Catholic Church but in a way that encouraged us to know what is said in it. Until I left the Catholic Church I was never encouraged to look at scripture in this straightforward way again! Even though any doctrine given was that of the Catholic Church in all its unbiblical glory, I – if no one else – left with the wonderful knowledge that I could talk to God and that the Scriptures contained truth. I always remained staunchly Catholic however.

I can understand that many people find such an idea difficult, especially those who have never been part of the Catholic denomination. But it is purely and simply because being a Catholic, in much the same way as being a Jew, is not just a faith but rather a way of life. As a young person brought up in the Catholic denomination I was steeped in this and it never even occurred to me that there was any other way of thinking. Although we studied the European religious ‘Reformation’ and ‘Counter-reformation’ in history classes at school it never occurred to me that there were people in this country, Great Britain, who thought differently to the Catholic denomination. I was brought up, intentionally or not, with the impression that the only differences between denominations in this country were of style and presentation.

Called to Serve

It had never occurred to me that I would serve God in an ‘ordained’ capacity and it certainly never occurred to me that I would come close to God simply through repentance and belief. The only understanding of being faithful that I had was the Catholic Church, and Church meant doing works; attending Sunday Mass and ‘being good’. And so, when I was almost sixteen and received what I discerned as a clarion call to serve God as his minister and because I knew only the Roman Catholic Church it seemed obvious to me that I had to serve God in that Church. The memory of this call from God was seared into my mind when, the following day, Pope Paul VI died.

As a result of this call I reacted by trying to do the right things. I went on a number of what are called ‘selection conferences’, which were run by the Catholic Diocese of Plymouth where one talked to various priests and was assessed for ‘suitability’ to ministry. I read relevant books; I became friends with the local parish priest; I regularly took part in the ‘sacrament’ that I never understood and always filled me with horror, auricular confession; I attended alternative Catholic services to Mass such as ‘Benediction’[3], ‘Stations of the Cross’[4] and the ‘Rosary’[5]. None of these gave me any spiritual enlightenment and all simply made my heart heavier. Much as, I later discovered, Martin Luther tried harder and harder to do these things in order to come to God and yet found only that he was burdened even more through the actions, so too I found them tiresome and unnecessary. Only the ‘Stations of the Cross’ meant anything as I understood clearly the journey of Jesus to death on the Cross, yet the liturgical insistences of the Catholic service and the non-biblical elements inserted into the story even began to destroy any real interest I had in knowing more and spending more time thinking on the Cross. They were burdens for me to attend, and later burdens for me to lead. In fact I came to hate worshipping God because of these things! Looking back now I can see that my whole life has been a battle with the unbiblical doctrines and worship of the Catholic Church. If the Word had somehow come to me at that time I would have moved away immediately. However, because being a Catholic was ‘in my blood’ as a lifestyle I never heard that Word. It was as if God was holding his hand out to me throughout my whole childhood and early adulthood and yet I never saw it through the haze and fog created by the Catholic Church’s doctrines and indoctrination.

Training

I was selected for training for the Catholic priesthood by the Bishop of Plymouth and it was agreed that I should go to Seminary and train for the Catholic ministry in 1980. I arrived at St. John’s Seminary[6] in early September, 1980. I have little doubt that God had no intention that I should begin training at the age of 18 years and 2 weeks. I was a boy and yet the Catholic Church accepted me! The early experience was horrendous for me. I knew none of the other students but one, another 18 year old from Plymouth who was equally immature. It took me three days to find the chapel as no one took the trouble to tell me where it was. The library and its importance were, on the other hand, drummed into me!

My constant experience of Seminary was of education, exams and information gathering. We were never really encouraged to be spiritual people and it was even said by a friend on one occasion, when a student with a poor academic record was asked to leave, “Next to his, my spirituality wouldn’t even fit on the back of a postage stamp.” It seemed that what was important was showing how good you were and showing through one’s actions how fitted one was to be a Catholic priest. I gained brownie points because I was a sacristan for several of the years, and good enough to be ‘in charge’ of the sacristy. The importance of this was that it involved laying out all the vestments and paraphernalia needed for the various rites and ceremonies that the Catholic Church says are essential. It was as if the words of James[7] had been turned around and they had him saying ‘We do not concern ourselves about the faith but his [a student’s] works show he is fitted’!
We were never asked about our beliefs or whether we could stack something up using Scripture as our support. When information was presented in lectures it was given to us as the teaching of the Catholic Church – if we did not agree then we could leave! There was no debate. There was no encouragement to sit in chapel with the Scriptures open before us as we were preached to. The scripture lectures were based around the various theories which take apart the Word and divide it up into a variety of authors and time-scales. Bultmann, the de-mythologizing theologian who does away with the divine action within the New Testament miracle events, was frequently referred to. The idea that the Scriptures could actually be correct, let alone be the infallible revelation of God was never broached. These words to Timothy might never have been written -‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.’[8]

I came no closer to God in my time in Seminary, and to be quite honest I ceased to try after a couple of years. Instead of being an opportunity to be able to work through God’s word it became a hurdle to clamber over in order to begin the ‘real work’ of parish ministry. I was not trained to be a pastor, or a shepherd, or a minister, or a preacher but rather to be a performer of acts and an Administrator. During the first couple of years there were a few occasions when they could have taken the opportunity to guide us to share the Gospel with others – particularly when we had a Youth Day held at the Seminary for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. Instead of an occasion to teach scripture’s truths it became a battleground where those students who objected to the ‘modern’ music being used in the closing Mass knelt in the organ gallery and recited the rosary whilst it went on below them. What is more, they then came down to the chapel after the service finished, and as ‘real’ bread had been used[9] proceeded to scuttle around on hands and knees searching for any crumbs that may have been dropped on the floor. Is God in such behaviour? Is there love there? I look back now and ask how the words of John, when he said -‘We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.’[10] – could have been so meaningless to a company of men who were supposed to be preparing to serve Him?

Still the most frightening aspect for me remains the attitude to the teaching of the Catholic denomination. For instance, when we studied the Catholic teaching of the Eucharist and their unbiblical theory of transubstantiation we used philosophy to learn about it, not the Scriptures (and even then most of my year failed to comprehend what was being ‘taught’). There was no realisation that philosophy is the way of man and not God, no contact with the Word of God as He says -‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.’[11]

We would perform ‘practice confessions’ on willing guinea pigs and yet in 5 years at Seminary I never once gave a practice (or real) sermon! But never once did we seek justification for telling people they did not have the ability to speak to God themselves – and that God alone has the power to forgive sin. We just merrily misused John 20:23 and practiced to be walls between God and man. The words of St Paul to the Romans could have been unwritten where he says -‘For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’[12]

And the words of Hebrews 7:27 –‘Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.’ might also never have been written. The words of Scripture were just not listened to, the words and laws of the Catholic Church were all that mattered.

This unbiblical attitude carried over to our relationships with other Christians that we encountered. We had a wonderful lady who taught us voice-work[13]. She was very elderly and died after I had been at Seminary for 3 or 4 years. Some of the students went to her funeral service in a local Church and came back, not full of the joy of the Lord and his promises but instead bemoaning the fact that the Church was so ‘low’ that there weren’t even any candles in it. The Word preached had not been heard and they had simply seen what they regarded as a failure to perform the right works. A Catholic lady came in to speak about what it was like being married to an Anglican[14] Vicar and the comments made to her and about her were not about the doctrinal difficulties they must have encountered; Instead she was pilloried because one Sunday in two she went to his Church rather than being a good Catholic and attending a Catholic Church every Sunday.

I nearly saw the Catholic Church for what it is – a secular organisation with secular aims hidden under religious trappings – when one of the students left. He had got as far as being ordained Deacon, and then, praise God, he began to question transubstantiation.[15] He took out the relevant Scriptures[16] and found that the Bible doesn’t say what he was told by the Catholic Church, and that it doesn’t support what he was told by the Catholic professors. Unsurprisingly he was ‘thrown out’ of the Seminary within two days, presumably so as to prevent the rest of us from being infected with the twin ills of Scripture and the Holy Spirit. Other students were quite incredulous and said many utterly scandalous things, but about him and not about how he was treated! For my part I wished to speak with him but never had the chance as he was gone so fast. I felt sorry for him, I sympathised with him for I had never really accepted transubstantiation (and never did). I hope and pray that he, a truly brave and courageous man for the Lord, has been able to minister God’s Word to others as he himself found it. The events and his dignity so nearly broke through the ‘way of life’ of the Catholic denomination and the hold it had over me. But still, and as I write this I do so with pain in my heart, I did not see the truth. The words of Isaiah, quoted by Jesus, were as true of me as of all those there – “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”[17] They are sadly true of so many who are still lead astray by the wiles of Rome. This is, to be quite clear, not condemnation of the individuals lead astray but a condemnation of the Roman Catholic denomination which promulgates its errant and unbiblical teachings in full knowledge of the errors contained therein.

Ministry

I served as a Roman Catholic Deacon for one year and as a priest for just less than seven years. During that time I ministered in a number of parishes throughout Dorset and Devon and met many good people, so many sadly lead astray by the unbiblical doctrines thrust upon them. I spent one year as a Deacon in Paignton, Devon. This is a seaside resort on the ‘English Riviera’ where the number of Sunday Masses went up in the summer because of the number of holiday makers. It began the struggle I had all through my ministry, which although I was not to realise it fully until after leaving the church of Rome, was due to the difference between my personal beliefs and the demands made on me as a priest.

In Paignton the two key elements of required work were to celebrate the Sunday and weekday Masses and to take communion to the housebound. As a Deacon I was ‘allowed’ to baptise and so I also ended up being given many of the baptisms to do (hidden away on a Sunday afternoon). At some level I already began to grasp that this round of ‘works’ was not helping to spread the Gospel. I felt unfulfilled and the work seemed to be pointless. On one occasion I was called in to ‘catechise’ and then baptise two youngsters (of 6 & 9) who had been accepted into the church primary[18] school. When I eventually said that it would be pointless to baptise them as they had no concept of God and were not responding to my ‘catechising’ the head-mistress (a nun) became very angry as they had only been accepted into the school on condition that they would be baptised into the Roman Catholic Church (not baptised as Christians mark you!). There was no interest in faith and in helping the children to come to knowledge of God but simply in ‘doing the right thing’ and making them into Roman Catholics.

It left me confused and continued to push me along my gradual path away from Rome. During my time there I also had several difficulties in my relationship with the curate there. His attitudes and behaviours often left me uneasy, and on occasion he publicly humiliated me during church services. It was without great shock that I later learned that he has since been convicted of paedophilia, with some offences dating to that time. Due to the Roman system of parish governance there had been no opportunity or encouragement to go to anyone about some of my concerns, nor was there training in an understanding of our responsibility, on a physical level, for the children and adults who were in our spiritual care. Had they not just been personal concerns but included knowledge of his immoral and un-Christian actions I would not have known what to do or how to deal with it. Even worse, I would not have had the knowledge of the Scriptures to guide me in any actions I should have taken. Even the words of Paul to Timothy would have helped me, had I been told that the Scriptures are God’s revelation and guide. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”[19] I was instead naked in the world, with no support from God or His word to help through such difficult times. If I had even known St. Paul’s words to the Ephesians I would have had some chance of doing God’s work – or seeing what it should be!

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”[20]

In many ways this continued to be my experience in all the parishes where I ministered. Although there were by human standards good people in all of them there was never anyone who guided me to the Scriptures and encouraged me to look to them to find my salvation – and for the way to live life in this world. I spent 3 years in Poole, Dorset before my nagging doubts and problems lead me to ask for a move. I would walk around and around the inside of the church there begging God to show me the answers to the struggles I had, but answer seemingly came there none – for he had already given me the answers if I had simply looked into His word. I went to Plymouth Cathedral where I suffered mightily at the hands of the Administrator[21] who saw everything in terms of works done.

The criticisms (and bullying) that I suffered at his hands drove me away from the Catholic Church but as I knew no other place to look for answers I returned again after a few weeks. I went in the first place to the supportive home of a parishioner and then to a ‘retreat’[22] in the Monastery back at Downside Abbey. Although they were helpful and the Abbot gave of his time the final outcome did not help me think through the issues with Scripture in hand – it was instead my ability to once again celebrate the Roman rituals that indicated my alleged return to spiritual health. I returned to the Cathedral and the associated bullying and criticism strengthened me in my resolve but not in my knowledge of the truth.

Not too long after this the Administrator drove himself into serious health problems with his ‘uptight’ attitude and was moved to Cornwall. I was left, as the only active priest working in the Cathedral, as acting Administrator.[23] One of the first decisions I made underscored the underlying but unconscious thoughts going through my mind about the Church of Rome and its doctrines. There was a 6 am Mass on a Wednesday morning which had but two attendees, one of whom came to a later Mass as well. I therefore informed my two colleagues that it was henceforth ‘cut’ (unlike Roman doctrine and understanding I never accepted that the more one ‘did’ such things the better it was). They both complained until I asked which of them was to be saying it, as I had no intention of so doing! It hardly needs to be said that neither of them offered! That then cut down the number of daily Masses in the Cathedral parish to a mere 5! How I now wish I had seen and read, or been directed to the Letter to the Hebrews; Chapter 10, verses 11 -14, they would have made sense of my confusion and shown me the untruths at the heart of the Roman church -“And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”[24]

It should come as no surprise to hear that we were always given the impression, even taught in some way, that we should regard the Letter to the Hebrews as untrustworthy and not of great importance. No wonder! If you don’t want people to see the truth the best plan is to frighten them away from it. Ironically, hidden away in the Roman set readings for the 33rd Sunday of the year (this exact passage is set to be read that day.[25] There don’t tend to be too many 33rd Sundays in the Roman calendar and if someone did read it I am sure the truth of this passage would have been ignored or un-noticed.[26] God has slipped it in though, there is some hope that other clergy may see it, study it, and preach on it.

Departure approaches

My move from the Cathedral was to a small parish on the edge of Plymouth, small in attendance though a large area with a high population. It was here, in the parish of St. Thomas More where, as Parish Priest and on my own as a minister for the first time I was able to begin a process of thinking for myself and acting according to my own conscience – even if the director of that conscience, the Holy Spirit, was still unknown to me.

Within 3 short years there I had, in many ways, overhauled the church, the events and the services within the parish. I did not have auricular confessions, except ‘on demand’, and let us be honest, no-one is going to come to the church house door and ask for confession! The church was re-ordered from its very dominant Roman style to a style more recognisable within other denominations. The altar (still such, not yet a table!) was lowered from its position ‘on high’ and simplified. The wooden lectern, hard against one wall, was replaced with a far more dominant stone lectern, further out into the middle of the church. The idolatrous[27] statue of Mary, mother of Jesus, was removed from the front of the church and placed in the entrance lobby. The tabernacle[28] was moved from the main church building and into the side chapel. Much of the time I ignored the issues of required ‘colour changes’ for vestments and hangings that Rome demands for the different seasons and feast days.

One of the key changes I brought in is something that although it is in the Roman liturgy is ignored by the vast majority of parishes throughout the world. In the liturgy for Good Friday the Roman church has the ‘Adoration of the Cross’. Note carefully the word cross, for although it is still idolatrous in its concept the liturgy does not call for a crucifix[29] to be used – although the vast majority of Roman churches use a crucifix. I refused to use a crucifix and made a cross to be used for this instead – the idea of people coming up and kissing the feet of the figure on a crucifix worried me even then. Many people did not like their ritual changed and I got a number of comments and complaints about this – as about the changes to the church buildings. Despite all this the numbers attending the church grew steadily which can only have been down to the Lord himself -“For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me…”[30]

It is the last thing I will tell you of the events in the church in Plymouth that gives me the greatest surprise and the greatest faith that God uses us to do His work even as we do not know Him. I have, since then, discovered some of the sermon notes that I made in those three years. To my utter amazement, even though the notes were thin to the point of emaciation and my grasp of the texts was clearly not good, the Holy Spirit had lead me to preach the Scriptures! “…For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”[31]

Looking back now I can see why it was that I continued to struggle mightily in my ministry there. For despite these many little signs that in myself I was being lead elsewhere I failed utterly to understand the problems at the heart of the Roman church. For three years I ministered there, with growing unease at why, although the parish was growing in numbers and I was to all intents and purposes doing a ‘good job’ I still felt unfulfilled. I still felt that there was a deep emptiness at the heart of all that I was doing. I still could not find within the Church of Rome any sense of the power of God that I told the parishioners of. I was like a ‘whited sepulchre’, with the appearance of godliness on the outside but with nothing but sin and guilt gnawing away at me inside. I had no assurance in what I did, and the more I did that which I was told to do the more I grew in doubts -“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”[32]

Moving on

And so it was these gnawing doubts about the question of the truth that were what made me take the decision to leave the Roman church. I had been talking with a number of parishioners and giving them a gentle form of counselling, and time and time again found myself saying to them ‘If things are like that then you must get out of that situation’. And eventually, after a particularly hard day, I found myself applying that to myself. I had been told to do all these things by the Church of Rome and so I had done them, yet I still remained searching for God. How could this be if what I was doing was so right? And so I determined to leave. Even though I had not yet found God He had found me and I could no longer resist His call to do so! “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”[33]

Others will no doubt also tell you of the difficulties that can be involved in leaving and for me it was no different. When I went to the Bishop and told him of my decision I ensured that I had a sympathetic clergy friend with me. This proved vital, as I was basically told that I was mad and needed to be sent away to one of the clergy houses where they ‘straighten out’ those who have gone off the rails. Had I been alone I may well have been cajoled and bullied into following that path but, thank God for His guidance, that did not happen. I left the church buildings within 5 days – and although I left a farewell letter to be read to the parishioners I do wonder whether it was actually read to them as there may have been fear that it would have stirred up the same response in them!

The one thing I was ‘given’ by the diocese was the deposit on a small bed-sit. No help, no advice, not even thanks for the seven years service that I had given them. Then, for about 12 months I was adrift with no church, no understanding of where to go to find the truth or how to find it and without ‘hitting the bottom’ I would still be rudderless even now.

Seeing God

The one contact I had left was with a rugby club and through a foolish friendship with another member I became embroiled in ‘the law’. Despite the unpleasantness of much of the experience there was one thing that occurred again and again that made me start to search for the truth of God. The first solicitor I was appointed was a Christian and not afraid to say so. The Barrister appointed was a Christian. The psychologist who affirmed my confusion and depression for the court was a Christian. The recorder[34] who gave sentence was a Christian. They all unfailingly understood and supported me in the troubles I was in and I wanted to know more, not just about the reason for their attitude but about why God had placed them in my path and so I started to go to various churches in the area to try to understand more. “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”[35]

The first few churches I tried did not ‘work’, and somehow were missing something; even though they were nominally evangelical I did not hear what was being said as any help or answer. But then, after discussion with someone[36] I had met through a placement on the second year of my university course (begun 5 months after leaving the service of Rome) I attended St. Andrew’s Church in the centre of Plymouth. Although part of the Church of England they are members of the ‘Reform’ group and are staunch evangelicals. The simple service and the clear message from scripture caught my attention and I began to attend regularly. I also attended another Reform church in Exeter, St. Leonard’s, where the same preaching of scripture struck a chord.

However, although I knew that I had found ‘the answer’ in the Scriptures I had not yet found my way to Christ. That happened on two separate days not too far apart during 1995, but in totally differing circumstances.

The first was when out walking with Gérardine, who I had met on my Social Work university course and who is now my wife. Whilst walking across part of Dartmoor[37] we were discussing faith and issues involved with it. It is instructive to tell you that my first conversation with Gérardine had been as a result of an ‘Ichthus’ fish symbol[38] on the back of her car which had lead us into deeper and deeper conversation on many subjects. This walk was one of a number we took before and after marrying in 1996. During this particular walk I began the ‘truth’ game, which if memory serves me aright, comes from the film ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’. I began to talk about those issues which had constantly been problems for me during my time in the Roman Catholic Priesthood; including their doctrines of the ‘Eucharist’, of auricular ‘Confession’, compulsory celibacy and many other issues. Whilst having this discussion I was also able, for the first time ever, not just to discuss these issues but to cast these errant and unbiblical doctrines away – to throw away the psychological security blanket that they can provide. I remember feeling a sense of freedom as, leaning on the Scriptures, I dismissed each one after outlining the human arguments used to justify them. I can remember fully understanding for the first time, as if I had previously been looking through a net curtain, the idolatry of ‘Benediction’, of the Rosary and of Roman Marian theology in a way so clear as not to be denied. I can remember really understanding for the first time on that afternoon that human arguments and ideas could be of no use in finding God and salvation. “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.”[39] Blessed be the name of the Lord for giving me His wisdom as I need it for my salvation.

I also know that I still did not yet understand where the whole truth was to be found, though that knowledge and inspiration was not too much further away. I was now, though, free from Rome in a way that I had not been before, and free from dependence upon the unbiblical and ungodly demands the Church of Rome makes upon her adherents.

The day of recognition

Shortly after this we went and stayed with Gérardine’s brother, an Anglican Evangelical minister. On Sunday the church service completed their parish children’s ‘Holiday Club’ and was unashamedly evangelistic in style, aiming at any parents who may have brought their children along but were not believers themselves. The speaker gave his message, the detail of which does not now stick in my mind, but which spoke of the need each one of us has for Jesus Christ in our lives and of his saving act on the cross. And at the end of the service he then invited any present who wished to give their lives to the Lord to join with him (silently) in saying a prayer of rejection of our sinful lives and commitment to Jesus Christ, through whom alone we could find salvation. I joined with that prayer, drawn to it as if unable to resist it. Although there was no magic moment or great emotions then I knew at that moment that my life had changed.

The following week we went to church in Exeter and as a hymn started to be sung I was overcome by what had happened and by the reality of my salvation – the words of the hymn spoke to me directly.

‘Such love, pure as the whitest snow;
such love weeps for the shame I know;
such love, paying the debt I owe;
O Jesus, such love.
…such love, fountain of life to me;
O Jesus, such love.’

I understood that my sins are forgiven, through His death on the cross. I understood that for all those years that I had been told by the Church of Rome that I had to earn such forgiveness through works and acts of my own and through the so-called sacraments of the Roman Church I had been living in delusion. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”[40] For weeks after this I found myself in this same position, weeping my way through much of the service – not tears of pain, loss or anger, but tears of relief and joy that finally I saw and I understood the words of Jesus when he says to us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”[41]

A heartfelt plea

I am now a minister of the Gospel in the ‘Free Church of England’, a small, reformed, liturgical and most importantly, evangelical denomination. I preach and teach the Gospel as the sole source of faith and practice for Christians. I endeavour to help others understand that only by God’s grace can we receive salvation[42] and that thanks to His grace we are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. The Lord has blessed me, I know Jesus Christ is my Saviour; I repent of my sins and rest in his mercy. For those who read this who have not been brought to this point by God’s grace and who are still enmeshed in the Church of Rome think and pray on this following passage. For Rome is separating you from the love of Christ. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[43]

If you should wish to contact me, my email address is:
Dominic@FrancisStockford.fsnet.co.uk

Endnotes
[1] Romans 8:37
[2] 2 Corinthians 2:14
[3] The idolatrous worship of the ‘Blessed Sacrament’ consisting of the wafer consecrated at Catholic Mass.
[4] A stylised and works oriented liturgical working through of the journey of Jesus to Calvary, including several
non-biblical ‘invented’ events.
[5] Repetition of the unbiblical prayer called the ‘Hail Mary’ along with other prayers. The action intended to make one a
better person and bring one closer to God.
[6] in Wonersh, near Guildford, Surrey.
[7] James 2:14ff
[8] 2 Timothy 3:16-17
[9] The Catholic Church disapproves strongly of the use of anything other than ‘wafers’ for communion.
[10] 1 John 3:14
12 Isaiah 55:8
[12] Romans 6:10 & 11
[13] Public speaking, etc.
[14] Church of England
[15] This is the erroneous and unbiblical Roman doctrine of the bread and wine used in their Communion service really
becoming the body and blood of Christ.
[16] Mtt 26:26ff, Mk 14:22ff, Luke 22:14ff & 24:13ff, 1 Cor.11:17ff, etc.
[17] Mtt.15:8 & 9
[18] 5-11years
[19] 2 Timothy 3:16-17
[20] Ephesians 6:13-18
[21] The title given to the priest running the cathedral on behalf of the bishop.
[22] A time of spiritual rethink – normally at a monastery or somewhere with similar solitude.
[23] Although I had two colleagues one was a retired man in his 80s and the other was an older man who was struggling
with alcoholism and was also the Hospital chaplain.
[24] Hebrews 10:11-14
[25] In the Roman Lectionary of weekly Mass readings where they have set readings for years >A, >B & >C.
[26] The Roman tradition does not tend to preach on scripture itself, but on some theme that the given scripture can be
said to have in it, or a special ‘theme of the day’ such as marriage, or on Roman doctrine.
[27] Deuteronomy 5:8-10
[28] Where the ‘consecrated host’ from Roman Mass is kept for ‘adoration’.
[29] A cross with a figure representing Christ on it (see note 28).
[30] Romans 15:18
[31] Luke 12:12
[32] Matthew 23:27
[33] Luke 19:10
[34] Local judge.
[35] Luke 11:9
[36] Gérardine, now my wife.
[37] A stunning and wild landscape in Devon where the ‘infamous’ Dartmoor Prison is located.
[38] Used in the UK almost exclusively by Evangelical Christians.
[39] Proverbs 21:30
[40] Galatians 2:16
[41] John 14:6
[42] Ephesians 2:8
[43] Romans 8:35-39

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Testimony

William Paton MacKay


Born: May 13, 1839, Montrose, Scotland.
Died: August 22, 1885, Portree, Scotland.

This is the testimony of Scottish doctor, W. P. MacKay, author of “Revive Us Again.” In his own words,

My dear mother had been a godly, holy woman, quite often telling me of the Savior, and many times I saw her on bended knee in prayer for my soul’s salvation. But nothing had made a deep impression on me. The older I grew, the more wicked I became…

One day a seriously injured man was brought into the hospital. His case seemed hopeless, he seemed to realize his condition for he was fully conscious and asked me how much time he had left to live. I gave him my opinion in as cautious a manner as I could.

“Have you any relatives whom we could notify?” I asked.

The patient shook his head. He had only one wish, it was to see his landlady because he owed her a small sum of money and also wished to bid her farewell. He also requested that his landlady send him “The Book…”

I went to see him on my regular visits at least once a day. What struck me most was the quiet, almost happy expression constantly on his face…After the man died, some things about his affairs were to be done in my presence.

“What shall we do with this?” the nurse asked holding a book in her hand.

“What kind of book is it?” I asked.

“The Bible of the poor man…As long as he was able to read it, he did so, and when he was unable to do so anymore, he kept it under his bed cover.”

I took the Bible and-could I trust my eyes? It was my own Bible! The Bible which my mother had given me when I left my parent’s home, and which later, when short of money, I sold for a small amount. My name was still in it, written in my mother’s hand…

With a deep sense of shame I looked upon the precious Book. It had given comfort and refreshing to the unfortunate man in his last hours. It had been a guide to him into eternal life, so that he had been enabled to die in peace and happiness. And this book, the last gift to me from my mother, I had actually sold for a ridiculous price…

Be it sufficient to say that the regained possession of my Bible was the cause of my conversion.

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Catholicism

The Testimony of Charlotte Wells*
*This is a pseudonym. Sister Charlotte never gave her real name in public.

——————————————————————————–

First of all I always like to tell folk I’m not giving this testimony because I have any ill feeling in my heart toward the Roman Catholic people. I couldn’t be a Christian if I still had bitterness in my heart. God delivered me from all bitterness and strife and delivered me out of all of that one day and made himself real to me, and the power of the Holy Spirit. And so, when I give this testimony I’m giving it because after God saved me he delivered me out of the convent and out of bondage and darkness. The Lord laid the burden upon my heart to give this testimony that others might know what cloistered convents are. And so, as you listen carefully this afternoon, I trust I will not say one thing that will leave any feeling in your heart whatsoever that I don’t carry a burden for the Roman Catholic people. I don’t like the things they do, I don’t agree with the things that they teach, but I covet their soul for Jesus. I’m interested in their souls. I believe Jesus went to Calvary. He died that you and I might know Him. And their souls are just as precious as your soul and my soul. So I’m interested.

First of all, as we slip into this testimony, having been born in Roman Catholicism, not knowing anything else, not knowing the word of God because we didn’t have a Bible in our home, we had never heard anything about this wonderful plan of salvation. And so, naturally, I grew up in that Roman Catholic home as a child, knowing only the catechism, knowing only the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. And, because I loved the Lord, and because I wanted to do something for Him, I wanted to give Him my life. I didn’t know of any other way for a Roman Catholic girl to give her life to God other than entering a convent, and to going to the confessional box where, naturally, I’m under the influence of my father-confessor, the Roman Catholic priest, his influence over my life.

One day I made up my mind through his influence and one of my teachers in the parochial school that I wanted to be a little sister. At that time I thought of being a sister of the open order, but as I went on into this, up until the time I took my white veil, sixteen and a half years of age, everything was beautiful. I really didn’t have any fear in my heart whatsoever. Everything that was taught to me was seemingly along the line that I had been taught in the church before I entered the convent. And so one day, after having been, uh, after making up my mind to enter a convent, I remember that particular day, two of the sisters came home with me from school. They were my teachers. And when we arrived at my father’s home that afternoon our Father-confessor was in the home likewise. I often say when I was a little girl children were seen and not heard. You didn’t talk when you was a child, at least in my family, in my home unless you were spoken to. And I remember I listened to them carry on a conversation, and then I moved over close enough to my father and I asked him if I could say something. And that was a bit out of the ordinary. And he permitted me to talk and I said, “Dad, I want to go into a convent.” And I will tell you that priest took it up quickly. He had already been influencing me. My father broke down and began to cry, not because he’s sad, but he’s very happy. My mother came over and took me in her arms and she, too, wept tears. She’s very happy. Those were not tears of sadness because to think her little girl was giving her life to the convent to pray for lost humanity. And naturally my family were very thrilled about it, and I was too. But, anyway I didn’t go for a year after that and then the time come when I got myself ready and my mother prepared things for me. And so I entered the convent.

CONVENT SCHOOL

They took me and we didn’t have a place close enough to my father and mother’s home so I think they took me around a thousand miles away from home where I entered a convent boarding school. I lacked about 3 months being 13 years of age. Just a little girl. I look back on it now and I think, “My!” Homesick? I was so homesick, why my mother and daddy, they stayed three days with me and when they left I became so homesick! Naturally. And why shouldn’t I? Just a baby away from home. When I was a little girl, you know I never spent a night away from my mother, and I surely had never gone any place without my family. And naturally there was a close tie in our family and I was very lonely and very homesick. But I’ll never forget that after Mother told me good-bye and I knew they were travelling a long distance away from me, and I had never realized in my heart, “I’ll never see them again!” Naturally I hadn’t planned it like that because I had planned to be a sister of the open order. But, if you’ll listen carefully to this portion of the testimony, then you’ll understand just why I’m saying some of the things I say. Now oftentimes we say that the priest selects his material through the confessional box, because at seven years of age I went to confessional. Seven years of age I would always, when I came into the church, first I’d slip over to the feet of the crucifix, or rather to the Virgin Mary, and then over at the feet of the crucifix and I’d ask the Virgin Mary to help me make a good confession, because I was a child and my heart was honest. And I knew the priest had taught us to always make a good confession. Keep nothing back. Tell everything if I expected absolution from any sin that I might have committed. And so I would ask the Virgin Mary to help me make a good confession. I would ask then Jesus to help me make a good confession. And you know, I’ll assure you, after I’d lived in the convent for ,,,I had to go on with my schooling. I had just finished the eighth grade and they promised to give me a high school education and some college education. But, I didn’t get much college, I got mostly just high school training. And they gave that to me alright. I took it under some terrible difficulties and strains and all of that. It was terribly difficult. But they gave it to me for which I appreciate very very much. But I’ll assure you that after they put me through the crucial training that we must go through just to become a little initiate entering a convent. The training is really, it’s outstanding as far as a nun is concerned and you know what it’s all about after you’ve been in there a little while.

So now I’ve entered the convent and for just a few minutes I want to tell you just how we lived, what we eat, how we sleep. If I take you into the convent and tell you those things you’ll understand a little bit more about my testimony. At first as I entered the convent as a small child I went on to school, but I was being trained. But the day came when I was fourteen and a half. The mother came to me and she began to tell me about the White Veil. And I didn’t know too much about it, but in taking the white veil they told me that I would be becoming the spouse or bride of Jesus Christ. There would be a ceremony and I would be dressed in a wedding garment. And on this particular morning they told me at nine o’clock they would dress me up in a wedding garment. Now you’re wondering where that come from and how they get the wedding clothes for the little nuns? The mother superior sits down and writes a letter to my father and tells him how much money she wants. And then whatever she asks, my father sends it. The little buying sister goes out and buys the material and the wedding gown is made by the nuns of the cloister. I’m still Open Order now. And of course whatever she asked, now you say, “Did they spend all the money for the wedding gown?” Well, of course we don’t know these things in the very beginning of our testimony, but after we live in a convent for a little while we learned to know they could ask my father for a hundred dollars and he’d send it. They wouldn’t but maybe a third of that for the wedding garment. They would keep the rest of it and my father would never know the difference. Neither did I until I lived in the convent for a period of time and I had to make some of the wedding clothes and then I knew the value of them and what they cost. And I knew the of money that came in because I was one of the older nuns. Well, alright, the time came, of course, when I walked down that aisle and I was dressed in a wedding garment. Now you know in the convent I used to walk the fourteen stations of the cross- the fourteen steps that Jesus carried the cross to Calvary. But after I had made up my mind to take the white veil, never again did I walk. I wanted to be worthy. I wanted to be holy enough to become the spouse or the bride of Jesus Christ. And so I would get down on my knees and crawl the fourteen stations. Quite a distance, but I crawled them every Friday morning. I felt it would make me holy. I felt it would drawl me closer to God. It would make me worthy of the step that I was going to take. And that’s what I wanted more than anything else in the world. I would like to impress upon your heart, every little girl that enters the convent that I know anything about. That child has a desire to live for God. That child has a desire to give her heart, mind, and soul to God. Now many, many people make this remark and we hear it from various types of folk who say only bad women go into convents. That isn’t true. There are movie stars who go into convents. They’ve lived out in the world, and no doubt they are sinners and all of that. But they go in when they are women. They know what they are doing. And they go in only because the Roman Catholic Church is going to receive, not only thousands, but yea it will run up into the millions of dollars. They don’t mind who they take in if they can get a lot of money out of that individual. But the ordinary little girl that goes in as a child, she’s just a child and she goes in there with a heart and mind and soul just as clean as any child could be. I say that because sometimes you hear a lot of things that are really not true. Now after we become the spouse of Jesus Christ, I want you to listen carefully to this and then you can follow me into the rest of the testimony. We are now looked upon as married women. We are looked upon as married women. We are the spouse or the bride of Jesus Christ. Now the priest teaches every little girl that will take the white veil, they’ll become the bride of Christ. He teaches her to believe that her family will be saved. It doesn’t make any difference how many banks they’ve robbed, how many stores they’ve robbed. It doesn’t make any difference how they drink and smoke and carouse and live out in this sinful world and do all the things that sinners do. It doesn’t make a bit of difference. Still our family will be saved if we continue to live in the convent and give our lives to the convent or to the church we can rest assured that every member of our immediate family will be saved. And you know there are many little children that are influenced and enticed to go into convents because we realize it is the salvation for our families. And sometimes, even (in) Roman Catholic families, the children grow up and leave the Roman Catholic Church and go out into the deepest of sin. And so, every little girl that enters the convent is hoping by her sacrificing so much, home and loved ones, mother and daddy, everything that a child loves, her family will be saved regardless of what sins they commit. And of course we are children and our minds are immature and we don’t know any better. And it’s so easy to instill things like this into the hearts and minds of little children and the priest is- he’s really good at it. And, of course, we look upon our priest, our father-confessor, I looked upon him as God. He’s the only God I knew anything about, and to me he was infallible. I didn’t think he could sin. I didn’t think that he would lie. I didn’t think that he ever made a mistake. I looked upon him as the holiest of holy because I didn’t know a God, but I did know the Roman Catholic Priest, and to me, I looked to him for everything that I asked of God, so to speak. I believed the priest could give it to me. And so the day comes when all of us now, as we’re going in (I want you to listen carefully) after taking the white veil things are beautiful. I’m sixteen and a half years of age. Everyone’s good to me and I’m living in the convent and I haven’t seen anything yet because no little girl, we’re not subject to a Roman Catholic Priest until we are 21 years of age, and as we give you this next vow then you’ll understand we don’t know about this. This is kept from the little sisters until we’ve taken our black veils and then it’s too late. I don’t carry the key to those double doors and there’s no way for me to come out. The priest will tell all over the whole United States and other countries that sisters, or nuns rather, can walk out of convents when they want to. I spent 22 years there. I did everything there was to do to get out. I’ve carried tablespoons with me into the dungeons and tried to dig down into that dirt, because there’s no floors in those places, but I’ve never yet found myself digging far enough to get out of a convent with a tablespoon and that’s about the only instrument. Because when we’re using the spade, and we do have to do hard heavy work, when we use a spade we’re being guarded. We’re being watched by two older nuns and they’re going to report on us and I’ll assure your not going to try to dig out with a spade. You wouldn’t get very far anyway because they made or built those convents so little nuns can NOT escape. That was their purpose in building them as they build them. And there’s no way for us to get out unless God makes a way. But I believe God’s making a way for numbers of little girls after they come out of the convent.

A NEW KIND OF VOW

Alright, now when the time comes, I think I was 18 when the mother began talking to me, now I planned to come out, see, after my white veil. I wanted to be a little nursing sister in the Roman church, but the mother superior, I suppose she was watching my life, I supposed she realized I had much endurance. I had a strong body and I believe the woman was watching me because one day she asked me to come into her office and she began to tell me, “Charlotte, you have a strong body.” And she said, “I believe you have the possibilities of making a good nun, a cloistered nun. I believe you’re the type that’d be willing to give up home, give up Mother and Daddy, give up everything you love out in the world, and the world (so to speak) and hide yourself behind convent doors, because I believe you’re the kind that would hide back there and be willing to sacrifice and live in crucial poverty that you might pray for lost humanity.”

She said, “I believe you’re the kind that’d be willing to suffer.”

We are taught to believe as nuns that we suffer our loved ones and your loved ones that are already in a priest’s purgatory will be delivered from purgatory sooner because of our suffering. She knew I was willing to suffer. I didn’t murmur. I didn’t complain. She knew all of that and she’s watching my life and that’s the reason she began to tell me about the black veil. And then of course, you know I didn’t know too much about a cloistered nun. I didn’t know their lives. I didn’t know how they live. I didn’t know what they’ve done. But you know, this woman proceeded to tell me- now you hear a lot of people try to tell me in the various places where we travel and go, I hear a lot of Roman Catholics try to tell me “I’ve been in so many cloisters. I know all about them.” But you know a Roman Catholic can lie to you and they don’t have to go to confession and tell the priest about the lie that they’ve told because they’re lying to protect their faith. They can tell any lie they want to to protect their faith and never go the confessional box and tell the priest about it. They can do more than that. They can steal up to 40 dollars and they don’t have to tell the priest about it. They don’t have to say one word about it in the confessional box. They’re taught that. Every Roman Catholic knows it and every Roman Catholic (you’d be horrified if you know how many of them) steal up to that amount. And many of them lie. We’ve dealt with them. I’ve dealt with hundreds and hundreds of them. I’ve seen good many of them fall in at the altar and cry out to God to save them. And, you know, before they’re saved they look into my face and hold my hand and lie to me. But after God gets a hold of their heart then they want to make right what they’ve told me because they realize that they’ve lied about it. But as long as they’re Roman Catholic they’re permitted to lie. And it’s the saddest thing. You can’t expect them to know God because God does not condone sin. I don’t care who you are. I don’t believe God condones sin and I don’t believe he’s going to condone it in the Roman Catholic people, even though they are being mislead and they’re being blinded and being led in the way that’s going to lead them into a Devil’s hell. I believe that will all of my heart because I’ve lived in a convent. I know something about how those people live and what they do.

Now the day comes. She told me, “Charlotte, you have to be willing to spill your blood as Jesus shed his upon Calvary.” She said, “You’ll have to be willing to do penance, heavy penance.” She said, “You’l have to be willing to live in crucial poverty.”

Now already I’m living in a bit of poverty, but I thought that was going to make me holy and draw me close to God and would make me a better nun. And so I’m willing to live in that poverty. And then, on this particular morning, she told me what I would be wearing. She said, “You’ll spend nine hours in a casket” and she explained a number of things to me. That’s the most I knew about it and I didn’t find that out until I’d taken my white veil. And so, on this particular morning I’m 21 years of age. But 60 days previous to my being 21 years of age, I’m going to sign some papers that they’ve placed in front of me. And those papers are this: I’m going to sign away every bit of inheritance that I might have received from my family after their death. Of course I signed that over to the Roman Catholic Church. And oftentimes I say the Roman Catholic priests are enticing girls, not only their background, not only their strong bodies, their strong minds, and strong wills, but he’s enticing girls where mothers and fathers have much property and they are comfortably fixed with the material things of this life. Why? Because when that child enters the convent, they’re going to get a portion of her money, of her father’s money and I often say that even salvation in the Roman Catholic Church is going to cost you plenty of money. More than you know anything about. And so they don’t mind commercializing off of that child and the inheritance that would have come to her. And so on this particular morning I told the mother superior, “Give me a little while to think it over.” She didn’t make me do it. No one did. But I thought it over for a couple years and then one day I told her, “I think I’m going to hide away behind the convent doors because I believe I could give more time to God. I could pray more.”

NINE HOURS IN A CASKET

I believed I could be in a position where I could inflict more pain upon my body because we are taught to believe that God smiles down out of heaven as we do penance, whatever the suffering might be. And I didn’t know any better because I often say, “If you could only look into the hearts of little nuns, if you are a Christian you would immediately cry out before God in behalf of those little girls,” because to me we are heathens. It doesn’t make any difference, the amount of education we have. We are still heathens. We know nothing about this lovely Christ, nothing about the plan of salvation. And we’re living as hermits in the convent.

And so on this particular morning I come walking down an aisle again….And may I say the morning before, I can’t go into it too deeply because I never would be able to cover enough of it so you could understand it, but this morning I’m walking down that aisle, but I don’t have a wedding garment on. I have a funeral shroud. It’s made of dark red velvet and it’s way down to the floor. And I’m walking down that aisle. I know what I’m going to do. The casket is already made by the nuns of the cloister of very rough boards. It is sitting right out here and I know when I come down there I’ll step in that casket and lay my body down and I’m going to spend nine hours in there. And two little nuns will come and cover me up with a heavy black cloth we called a heavy drape mortel(?) and you know it’s so heavily incensed that I feel like I’ve smothered to death. And I have to stay there. Now I know when I come out of that casket I’ll never leave the convent again. I know I’ll never see my mother and father again. I’ll never go home again. I’ll always live behind convent doors and when I die my body will be buried there. They told me that, so I knew it even before I done it. It’s a great price to pay, then to find out that convents are not religious orders as we were taught and as we were trained. It’s quite a disappointment to a young girl that’s given her life to God, and willing to give up so much and sacrifice so much. I’ll assure you, it was a disappointment. And so after I spent those nine hours- you’ll say, “What’d you do while you lay in that casket?”

REMEMBERING HOME

What do you think I did? I spilled every tear in my body. I remembered every lovely thing my mother done for me. I remembered her voice. I remembered the gathering around the table. I remembered the times when she would pray with us. I remembered the things that she said to me. I remembered what a marvelous cook she was. Everything as a little girl growing up in that home, I remembered it. Laying in that casket, knowing I’ll never hear her voice again and I’ll never see her face again. I’ll never put my feet under her table again and enjoy her good cooking. I knew all that and so maybe for four hours I spilled all the tears in my body because it was so hard and I knew I’d get homesick. I knew I’d want to see her someday, but I gave it all up. What for? For the love of God, I thought. I didn’t know any better. And I’ll assure you those were nine long hours. And then I seemingly got a hold of myself and I thought this, “Charlotte, now you’re going to make the best Carmelite nun!” Because everything I’ve done, even (now) that I’m out of the convent, I do give my best. I try to give everything that I have regardless what I might do. And so I did in the convent. I gave the best that I had. And I wanted to be the best nun that I could possible be. And the mother superior knew that and, don’t worry, the priest knew all about that too.

SIGNATURE IN BLOOD

Now I realized after I walk out of that casket or come out of it they’re going to take me like this, over here, and right back here there’s a room. We call it the mother superior’s room. Now I’ve never been in that particular room, so I don’t know what she has in there. But, you know, when I walk in there this time the mother superior sits me down in a straight backed, hard-bottomed chair and immediately then I’m going to take three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. And you know, as I take those vows she opens a little place in the lobe of my ear and she takes out a portion of blood because I must sign every vow in my own blood. And after that happened I’m going to take the vow of poverty. Now when I sign that vow I sign it thus and I’m willing to live in crucial poverty the balance of my live, as long as I live. And what that poverty is like, of course we [the nuns undergoing initiation] don’t know. And then my next vow, I’m going to vow of chastity. And you know this vow, of course you know what it means. I’m taught to believe that I’m married to Jesus Christ. I’m his bride. I’ll always remain a virgin. I’ll never legally marry again in this world because I have become the spouse or the bride of Jesus Christ. After the bishop married me to Christ he placed the ring on my finger and that meant I’m sealed to Christ. I’m married to him and I accepted it because I didn’t know any better. And now here I am taking a vow that I would always remain a virgin because I’m the bride of Christ. And I want you to listen carefully. And then, of course my last vow- of obedience. Now when we signed that vow, I’ll assure you already I know what obedience means. I’m living in a convent and there they demand absolute obedience. You don’t get by with anything, not even for two minutes. I mean you don’t get by with it. You have to realize what obedience means and they demand it and you learn to know it and you’re much wiser the more quickly you learn it and you obey it and you give them absolute obedience.

Alright, now what does it mean to assign vows like this? Let me tell you this. It means more than you folk will ever know because most people that I know anything about, they know very little about obedience. Oh in a sense, yes, but you’ll never know what a little nun knows about obedience, I’ll assure you that one thing unless you lived in the convent. Alright, that particular vow, when I signed it in my own blood, it done something to me because after I signed those vows do you realize that I’ve signed away everything that I have? My human rights. I have become a mechanical human being now. I can’t sit down until they tell me to. I don’t dare to get up until they tell me to. I can’t lie down until they tell me to and neither do I dare to get up. I cannot eat until they tell me to. And what I see, I don’t see. What I hear, I don’t hear. What I fell, I don’t feel. I’ve become a mechanical human being, but you’re not aware of that until you have signed all these vows. Then you realize, “Here I am, a mechanical human being.” And of course I belonged to Rome now, I’ll assure you that right now.

Alright, after these particular vows we become forgotten women of the convent. In just a short while you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Now immediately after I’ve taken those vows then the mother superior is going to give me- take away from me, my name and give me the name of a patron saint. And she teaches me to believe that whatever happens to me in the convent I can pray to that patron saint and she will intercede and get my prayers through to God because I’m not holy enough to stand in the presence of God. It is no wonder the dear little nuns can never get close enough to God. We’ve always been taught that we’ll never be holy enough to stand in his presence and we always have to go through somebody else in order to get a prayer through to God. And we believe it because we don’t know any better. And so now, all identification of who Charlotte was is going to be put away. It’ll be taken away from me, and if you would come into the convent and call for my family name, they’d tell you there isn’t such a person there. I don’t exist, even though I’m right there, because I’m writing under another name.

Now the mother superior is going to cut every bit of hair off of my head, and when she cuts it with the scissors she puts the clippers on it. And I mean there’s nothing left. I don’t have one speck of hair left on my head. And of course if you could be a nun then you’d understand the heavy headgear that we have to wear- it’d be so cumbersome to have hair and so cumbersome to take care of it. We don’t have any ways of taking care of it in the convent. There are no combs in the convent. And so you can imagine how hard it would be for us to take care of a head of hair. It’s not necessary that we have a comb after they’ve finished with it. Alright, now this is my black veil, these are my perpetual vows, we’ll call them. I’m there and I’m going to stay there.

Now, you know, up until this time, once a month I received a letter from my family and I wrote a letter out of the convent once a month to my family, even though when I’d write that letter I had no doubt they marked out a lot of it because when I would receive a letter from my family there was so much of it blacked out until there was no sense to the letter and, oh, I’d weep over those black marks. I was wondering what my mother was trying to say to me. Don’t worry. You’ll never get to know what she wanted to say to you because they have blacked it out. And so they break your heart many, many times and you’re lonely anyway because you have no friends in the convent. I’ll assure you, even though there was 180 on my particular wing, not one of those nuns was my friend and neither was I friend to them because we are not allowed to be friends in the convent We are all policemen or detectives watching each other. That’s so we’ll tell. And the little nun that finds something to tell on the other nun, she stands in good favor with the mother superior. And then the mother teaches that nun to believe (that) when she stands in good favor with the mother superior she is standing in good favor with God. And so that little nun, of course, will want that and she’ll tell a lot of things, maybe that are not even true, on the other little nuns.

Alright. Now after all of this has transpired and all of this has happened everything I have is gone. I’ve sold my soul for a mess of theological pottage, because not only are we destroyed in our bodies. Many of us in our minds. And many of us, if we die in the convent, we’ve lost our souls. And so it’s a serious thing and I’ll surely covet your prayers for little cloistered nuns behind convent doors. They’ll never hear this gospel. They’ll never know the Christ that you folk know tonight or today. They’ll never pray to him as you people pray to him. They’ll never feel his blessings as you people feel them. And so put them on your hearts and pray for them. They surely need much prayer.

OUTRAGEOUS ASSAULT

Alright Now As I walk into this room and all of this is transpiring, now, bless your hearts, I don’t know what’s going to be in the next room after this has transpired and I have taken the vows that I will always remain a virgin, I’ll never legally marry in this world because I’m the spouse of Christ. And then, after this, the mother superior leads me out into another room or, rather, she opens the door and I’m to be sent into that room. And when I walk out in that room I see something I have never seen before. I see a Roman Catholic priest dressed in a holy habit. And he walks over to me and he locks his arm in my arm which he has never done in the first part of my convent life. I never had a priest to insult me in any way. I never had one of them to be even unkind to me in the first part of my convent experience. But here he is now, and of course I didn’t understand what it was all about and I didn’t know what in the world the man really expected of me. And, you know, I pulled from him because I felt highly insulted. And I pulled from him and I said, “Shame on ya!” And I made him very angry for a minute and he said, uh, immediately the mother superior must have heard my voice because she came out immediately and she said, “Oh,” (and they called me by my church name) she said, “After you’ve been in the convent a little while you won’t feel this way. The rest of us felt the same way you do and you know the priest’s body is sanctified, and therefore it is not a sin for us to give the priests our bodies.”

In other words, they teach every little nun this: As the Holy Ghost placed the germ in Mary’s womb and Jesus Christ was born, so the priest is the Holy Ghost and therefore it isn’t a sin for us to bear his children. And let me tell you, that’s what they come to the convent for. For no other purpose in all of this world do priests come into the convent but to rob those precious little girls of their virtue. And I’ll assure you, we’ll be telling you a little later in the testimony what they really do after they come in under those particular deals. But may I say now every bridge has been burned out from under me. There’s no way back. I can’t get out of the convent even though I’ve pled. Oh, how I pled with that priest! “Send for my father, I want to go home! I don’t want to go any farther.” And let me tell you, that’s when you stand alone. You don’t know who to turn to and you’re a victim of circumstances and you’ll live in the convent because there is no other way to get out of the convent. And I’ll assure you, I stayed in the convent until God made a way for me to come out.

And so, after all of this, my mail was stopped. I’ll never receive another bit of mail from my family. Never another letter. I belong to the pope. I belong to Rome. And then, after all of this, the mother superior after taking these particular vows and the priest has invited me to go to the bridal chamber. You say, “Did you go?” No. Definitely not. I didn’t enter the convent to be a bad woman. It would have been much easier to have stayed out of the convent to be a bad woman. You wouldn’t go into the convent and live in the poverty we live in and to suffer as we suffered to be a bad woman. No girl would do that and it would have been much easier to stay out of the convent if I wanted to be a bad woman, but I went there to give my life and heart to God and that was the only purpose I had in going there. And here this priest is, and of course I didn’t go to the bridal chamber with him. I had a strong body then. One of us would have been wounded because I would have fought until the last drop of blood. And you know it made them very, very angry I’ll assure you because I didn’t go to the bridal chamber with him.

FUNERAL DUTY, A BROKEN RULE, PUNISHMENT IN A DUNGEON

Now I’m going to have to go to penance the next morning and of course this will be a heavier penance because of what I done already. And when the mother superior says, “We’re going to do penance” the next morning I’m going to be initiated as a Carmelite nun. And I remember when she walked me down into that particular place it was a dark room. Remember, I lived above, one the first floor until my black veil. After the black veil they take me one story under the ground. And I lived from there on, until God delivered me, under the ground. I didn’t live in the top part of this building at all. You know, as we walked into this room it’s dark and it’s very cold. And when we walked in we came from back there somewhere and we come walking to the front and I walked alongside the mother superior and when we got near the front I saw those little candles burning. Anywhere in the convent you’ll find the seven candles burning. And when I came a little closer I saw the candles but I couldn’t see anything else and I wondered, “What’s she going to do to me?” That’s the thing in our hearts and we can’t get away from it because we have fear.

And when I come a little closer I saw something lying on a board there. And you know when I came real close then I realized, here’s a little nun lying on that board. I’ll call it a cooling board because it was that. And just as long as her body. And there she was and when I could see where the candles flickered down on her face I realized, “That child is dead!” And oh, I wanted so much to say, “How did she die? Why is she here? How long do you keep her here?” But you remember I signed away every human right and so I can’t say one word, but I stood looking. And the mother superior said, “You stand vigil over this dead body for one hour.” And at then end of the hour a little bell is tapped and another nun will come to relieve me. And may I say I was advised every so many minutes I have to walk out in the front of that little body and sprinkle holy water and ashes over the body and say, “Peace be unto you.”

And I did exactly what they told me to do. Oh, it was a terrible feeling. I’m not afraid of the dead. It’s the live people we have to be very cautious about. And I wasn’t afraid of that little dead nun, but oh, my heart ached for her. And you know after the bell tapped and I realized my hour is gone the nun who comes to relieve us comes back here somewhere and of course she walks on her tiptoes. No noise is made in the convent and they don’t speak, they just touch you. And, of course, my being down there with that little dead nun I was full of fear. Well that girl laid a hand on my shoulder, I let out a scream, a horrible scream from fear, just fear. I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t break that rule on purpose, but I was scared.

And immediately, of course I had to come before the mother superior and that’s when I first learned to know, one of the first times about a dungeon. They didn’t tell me there were dungeons in the convent. And she put me in such a dirty dark place with no floor in it for three days and nights. And I didn’t get any food and any water, and I’ll assure you, I didn’t scream any more. I tried so hard not to break the rules of screaming because there is a dungeon and I know they’ll put you in it. And let me tell you right now, it’s not a nice place to be. After you’ve been in one of those places, you’ll know what it feels like.

Alright, now, I’ll say this now before I go any further, that popery is a masterpiece of Satan. I said it’s a masterpiece of Satan with his lying wonders and his traditions and his deceptions. It’s a terrible thing when you know about it.

And so, as I come down into this room and she took me and let me look at this little girl, and that particular, we call it a penance is over. Now the very next morning she said again to me, “Charlotte, you’re going to do penance.” (Not the next morning, it was three days afterwards because I spent three days and nights in the dungeon). So the fourth, fifth morning, whichever it was she said, “You’re going to do penance.”

She took me down into another room. Not the same room. And when we come walking down this time I could see that big piece of wood but I didn’t know what it was. And when I came a little closer there was a cross. It was made of heavy timber. I might say it was eight or ten feet high. Very heavy. And that cross was sitting on an incline like that. And she had me walk over here at the base of the cross and she said, “Now strip your clothes off.” And I took my clothes off down to my waistline. Then she made me drape my body over the foot of that cross and she pulled my hands underneath and bound them to my feet. That’s where I’m going to spill my blood. She had not told me how, and neither could I ask how I would spill it. She gave two little nuns that came with her, a flagellation whip. I might call it a bamboo pole. It’s about this long, it’s about that big around, and it has six straps on it about this long. On the end of either (each) of those straps there’s a crossed piece of sharp metal. And those little nuns, each was given one of those whips and they stood on either side of the cross. At the same time those girls began whipping my body. And I mean when that metal hit my body it would break the hide of course. It would cut into the flesh and I spilled blood. It was running down to the floor. That’s my flagellation whipping. That is where I spill my blood as Jesus did upon Calvary. And of course I’m human, it wounded, it hurt! It was very painful.

After the whipping is over, they don’t bathe my body. They put my clothing back on my body and I have to go the rest of the day. When the night comes and I stand in front of my cell there, after we have to stand there to undress with our backs to each other, then when I went in, oh, I couldn’t sleep that night. I wasn’t a bit sleepy because I couldn’t take off all my clothes. They had dried in those wounds and it was terrible. I didn’t take them off for several nights. And I’ll assure you that when I came before my food I didn’t want my cup of black coffee.

A NINE-DAY PENANCE

In the morning we get a cup of black coffee they serve in a tin cup and we can have no milk or no sugar of any type and we have one slice of bread. That’s made by the nuns of the cloister. They weigh it. It weighs four ounces [113 g.]. That’s all I get for breakfast. And then, of course, in the evening I get a bowl of soup, and that’s fresh vegetables cooked together (there’s no seasoning in the soup whatsoever) and a half a slice of bread and three times a week they give me a half a glass of skim milk. That consists of my food 365 days in the year. And I began loosing weight very rapidly, I’ll assure you, because I didn’t have enough food to eat. I don’t know the day that I went to bed without a hungry stomach. Sometimes it would be so hungry I couldn’t sleep. The pain was gnawing. You can’t hardly stand it and you know you’re only going to get that one slice of bread the next morning. That doesn’t fill you up.

And of course, we have to work hard all day long. And I’ll assure you, those little nuns, and I covet your prayers for them, they need your prayers in more ways than one because you’ll go to bed with a full stomach tonight and you’re very comfortable right now. But I’ll assure you, there’s not one of them that’s comfortable. They’re hungry, and they’re sick, and they’re wounded, and they’re hurt. They’re heartsick and homesick and discouraged and, worst of all seemingly, they have no hope. No hope. You and I are looking forward to the day when we’re going to see Jesus. They have no hope whatsoever and I surely hope you don’t forget to pray for them. Alright that was terrible. I’ll assure you.

Then in a few mornings after this, the mother superior is taking me back for another initiation. And when I go into the penance chamber this morning we come from a place up here and we’re going to walk along like that clear to the back. And you know, it was quite a ways back there and I went through- part of it’s a tunnel. And then I come out into a room and I’ll walk through that railing. When I get way back there I see those candles burning and I see something else. There’s ropes hanging down from the ceiling and, oh, I’m so scared! I wonder what the ropes are for and what she’s going to do. After these two penances, you began to have a lot of fear in your heart. And so I can’t say anything and I walk back there and, you know, I saw the ropes then real plain. What they’re doing hanging down from that ceiling?

Then she tells me, “You go over there against the wall.” About that close from the wall and I have to stand sideways like this. Then she asks me to put up both of my thumbs and I did. And then she pulled one rope down and there’s a metal band fastened securely and she fastens that around the joint of my thumb. Then the other one comes down and fastens around this thumb. And there I’m standing like this, facing the wall and then, you know, she comes over here to the end and there’s a, uh, whatever you want to call it. She starts winding, and I start moving! And she’s taking me right up in the air. And, you know, when she gets me so just my toes are on the floor, just on my tiptoes, she fastens it. And there I hang. And all the weight of my body is on my thumbs and on my toes. Not a word is said. No one speaks a word. And she walks out of that room and locks the door. If you know what it means to hear a key lock in a door and know that I’m strung up there like that! You’ll never know unless you’re a nun. And when that woman walked out I didn’t know how long I’ll stay there, how long that woman would leave me there. And, you know, they didn’t come to give me food. They brought me no water. And I thought, “Is this it? Am I going to die back here just like this?”

And within a few hours, you can imagine, I’m still a human being, my muscles began to scream out with the pain. I was suffering. And woman let me hang. Nobody came near. And what good would it do for me to cry? You can spill every tear in your body. Nobody will hear you. There’s nobody there to care how many tears you spill. And so I just hung there. And finally I began to, seemingly, I felt like I couldn’t stand it. I’ll surely die if they don’t come and get me quickly! And I felt as if I was beginning to swell.

I don’t know how long went by and she opened the door one morning and she had something for me to eat and the water was in a pan. And it was potatoes, and those potatoes were not good to eat. They were in a pan. And there’s a shelf over there on the wall that she can adjust to the height of the nun. And you know, she pulled it up. Now (recall) I’m not against the wall. I’m about this far from it. But you get that food. She puts it there and says, “This is your food.” And she walks out.

Now, how am I going to get it? She didn’t let my hands down. But this is what you’ll learn and you’ll struggle to get it. I’m hungry. I’m so thirsty I feel like I’m going mad. And to get it, I discovered that this hand goes high and this one will come down a little bit. And that’ll keep on going higher as I lean I have to reach higher with this one. This one (the other) will automatically let down. And to get that water and that food I mean I had to get it like the dogs and cats. And I lapped as much of it as I could because I am so thirsty. And get those potatoes? I tried as hard as I could because I’m hungry! I mean I’m hungry! And I got as much of it as I could, naturally. But I was hungry! That’s the way she fed me for a while, and then she released the bonds on my hands and on my feet- (I shouldn’t have said on my feet). She didn’t release the bonds. She let me hang there for nine days and nine nights. (I almost got it mixed up with one of the other penances I want to give to you). I hung nine days and nine nights in this position and, may I say, the time come when I was so swollen here (and naturally I could see myself puffing out here) I felt like my eyes were coming out of my head. I felt like my arms were apart. I could see on them right there they were two or three size their normal size. I felt like I was that way all over my body and I was like a boil. I was in real suffering.

And then on the ninth day she comes in and she releases the bonds from my hands and my body and lets me down on the floor. Now I go down, I can’t walk. I’ll assure you I didn’t walk. I didn’t walk for a long time. But you know what? There’s two little nuns, they carry me out. One gets under my feet, one gets under my shoulders and they carry me in to the infirmary and they lay me on a slab of wood, and there they cut the clothing from my body. And let me tell you right now, nobody but God will ever know! I’m covered with vermin and filth. Why? I’m hanging there in my own human filth. There are no toilet facilities [in the penance chamber]. Right behind me is a stool and they had running water in it and the lid is down and they have sharp nails driven through that lid. If I break my ropes and fall on that, I would suffer terribly! And this is the life of a little nun behind cloister doors after they’ve already deceived us, disillusioned us, and got us back there, then this is the life that we’re living and these are the things that we’re going to have to do. And I’ll assure you, it isn’t anything funny.

DAILY ROUTINE

And then I remember as I lived on in that place, oh let me tell you! In the morning we have to get up out of our beds at 4:30 in the morning. The mother superior taps a bell and that means five minutes to dress and may I say to you folk, it’s not five a half minutes. You better get that clothing on in five minutes. I failed one time and I had to be punished severely, but I never failed again in all the years in the convent. And you know, when we are finished dressing, then we’re going to start marching. And we march by the mother superior and that mother superior’s going to appoint us to an office duty every morning. It might be scrubbing. It might be ironing. It might washing. It might be doing some hard work. But I have to work one hour, then we’ll go in and gather around the table and we’ll find, sitting in front of us, our tin cup full of coffee and our slice of bread.

And then, of course, we have hard work to do. We have, I think there was 12 tubs in the convent that I lived in, and we washed on the old-fashioned washboard. We have the old flat iron that you heat on the stove. And you know, it wouldn’t be so bad if we just had our own clothing in the convent, but the priests bring great bundles of clothing and put them in there because they can get them done for nothing. And we have to do that clothing on top of it. We work very, very hard, and they [the nuns] are not able to work because they don’t have enough food to eat, food to keep body, mind, and soul together. And these little girls are living under those particular circumstances. Well, I say we’re women without a country, and I mean just exactly what I say, women without a country. Now we belong to the pope. Anything they want to inflict upon my body they can do it. And all the howling I do, if I should howl, it wouldn’t make any difference because nobody’s going to hear me, and they have no idea that I’ll ever leave the convent. The plan is I’ll die there and be buried there.

Now you say, “Charlotte, can you go into the convent?” Any one of you folk can go into an open order convent or a closed convent into the speak room, and there is an outside chapel that you can walk into, of any that I know anything about. But don’t you just go in there and wander around to have some place to go, because you might meet something you’re not expecting. If you go in there, you go prepared to take food to some little girl that’s in there, and be sure that you know who you’re taking it to. And when you go, as you walk up toward the front of the building like this, you’ll see a bell, and you’ll know what to do because it’ll tell you. And you press a button there and there’ll be a gate swing out. It has about three shelves on it. And, of course you’ve brought something for someone that you know in the convent. It might be the mother coming to visit her daughter. And you know, when that bell is tapped the mother superior is back here behind a big black rail. Now that’s a big iron gate there’s heavy folds of black material clear across there and you can’t go back there. You’ll never see the mother superior, but she’ll answer you behind the black veil. And you might say, “I’ve brought some homemade candy for my daughter” and you might ask the mother superior to let you speak to her. You can’t see here, but you can speak to her.

You know, the mother will call that lovely little girl and call her out on the other side of the rail. You can’t see her. And you know what? The mother will speak to her and say, “Honey, are you happy here?”

And that little nun will say, “Mother, I am very happy.”

You say, “Why did she say that?” Well, bless your heart! Don’t you know that the mother superior is standing there and if we didn’t say that, after our mother is gone, then only God knows what the mother superior will do to the little nun, and so we must lie to our mother. Then the mother will say, “Do you have plenty to eat?” And that little nun will answer and say, “We have plenty to eat.” But, I’ll tell you, that mother will go home. She’ll prepare a lovely meal for the rest of the family, but if she could look in and see our table and see what her little girl is eating, if she could look into her little girl’s eyes after she’s been there for four years, she’d see those eyes are back in her head. She’d see that her little body’s begun to waste away. I’ll assure that mother, she’ll never eat another meal at home. No never. You’d never enjoy another meal if you could see your child after she’s in a convent for a period of time. But these things, of course, are under cover and we have to take what they give us.

LAUNDRY DUTY

Alright, now they can make us do anything. Here we are, the mother superior and I might be down in the laundry room, washing. (And I told you how we washed). And it’s a cement floor. Doing the type of laundry we do, some of it’s very heavy. The water slops out on the floor and, oh it’s such a mess! We’d walk in it and you know, then here comes the mother superior and to me, a mother superior, I’d just as soon you’d turn loose a lion that’s very hungry and let it come walking down that aisle as to see a mother superior in a convent. I was scared to death of her. Every time I saw that woman somebody had to suffer and we’re afraid of her and she knows that we’re afraid of her because she’s cruel, I’ll say her heart is callused. And here she comes. And there we are washing. And I tell you when she comes (and we know her, we feel her presence. Before you ever see her you know her footstep), and you know, we’ll wash a little harder. But when she gets down to you, wherever you are, she might address me, and she’ll say, “You come out here.” And I’m out there like a flash because I’m scared. And then she’ll say, “Prostrate yourself down and lick so many crosses on that floor.” That’s a cement floor! And of course I have to prostrate my body and lick those crosses, and those are not little tiny crosses. As far as I reach I have to lick those crosses. And she watches my countenance. If I don’t like it and she knows I that I don’t like it then she might say, “Ten.” She might say, “Twenty-five.” And then, you know, the next morning she might walk back there again, and because she saw something in my face that made her to know I didn’t like what she wanted me to do she may call me again. My tongue by this time may be sore. It’s bleeding, but I have to lick those crosses on the floor again. And then they do the same way about compelling us to crawl. They’ll compel you to crawl, and I, may I say, it could be up and down an aisle like this ten times.

We know nothing about this lovely gospel of Jesus Christ. And so we have to do these things. Then the mother superior might walk through the cell door. By the way, in our cell, there’s nothing in there but the Virgin Mary, that is, she’s holding the baby Jesus, and there’s a crucifix, and then we have a prayer board. And by the way, I’ll assure you folk, you’ll never want to lean on our prayer board. We lean on it every day if we are able to walk under our own power. It is a board about this high from the ground and there are two leaning up like this one. And this one is about this wide and I’m going to drop my knees down on it and there are sharp wires coming up through that board. And then, this one up here, I’ll prostrate my arms on. There’s going to be sharp wires. After all, I told you we were going to suffer. We were going to do penance, and this is a part of my suffering. As I kneel on that prayer board I’m praying for lost humanity and I’m believing, as I suffer, that my grandmother will be released from a priest’s purgatory sooner because of my suffering. And I’ll kneel there longer sometimes. It’s terrible. We don’t know any better, so we’ll do that because that’s all that little nun does know, and we believe it.

And there we are, and we are locked in our cells. Every night the key is turned in those doors. We can’t get up and come out of there. Then, more than that, seven minutes of twelve (We go to bed at 9:30. The lights are out), seven minutes of twelve there’s two little nuns appointed to unlock every door. Every little nun again gets on her feet, dresses in full dress, goes into the inner chapel and there we again pray one hour for lost humanity. We don’t get very much sleep. That’s why. And we don’t get enough food and we work hard and we suffer much. That’s why our bodies are so broken. That’s why we seemingly don’t have enough strength to carry on after we’ve lived there.

LOSING HER RELIGION

But, I’d like to say this before I go on any farther. Now I did those very things. We are taught to believe that as we spill our own blood (now we must do this), as I whip my body, if I torment it or torture it in any way that I spill blood, I’m taught to believe that I’ll have 100 less days to spend in purgatory. Now you know we have no hope. Those little nuns don’t look forward to anything. You may think they do, but we don’t. Why? After you live in a convent 10 years, I began to realize the Virgin Mary is just a piece of metal. She’s a statue. I began to realize St. Peter’s just a statue. I began to realize that the statue of Jesus is just a piece of metal. In other words we come to the place to believe that our God is a dead god. And I’ll assure you, after you live in a convent long enough, not at first, oh no, but after we’ve suffered enough, after we’ve fallen down at the feet of those statues and spilled our tears on them and have begged them to intercede and get a prayer through to God and years go by with no answer from them whatsoever. A parent won’t even know when they’re dead. So who’s going to pray us out of purgatory? Or, rather, buy us out of purgatory?

No, we realize after we’re in there for a period of time that there is no purgatory. Of course, you know there isn’t and I know there isn’t, and there is no purgatory. The only purgatory the Roman Catholic people have is the priest’s pocket, and they’re filling his pockets with coins in order to pray for the dead. And may I say there are thousands and thousands of Roman Catholics in the month of November, may I say to you, in the United States two years ago in the month of November the Roman Catholic priests prayed masses for the dead of the Roman Catholic people of this country in one month collected 22 million dollars for masses said for dead Roman Catholics. That’s just a little idea or sample of what’s going on in this country, and still there are thousands of mothers that will work their fingers to the bone to go over there and give the priest another five dollars to say a mass for loved one that is in purgatory, because that mother believes there is a purgatory.

In the convent they have a painting of purgatory, and there’s nothing in the room but just that painting. And you know, every Friday we have to walk around that painting. And when we walk around it, I would you could look at the little nuns faces. What do I see? The painting, as you would walk around it, looks like its a big deep hole out there and there are people down in there, and the flames of fire are lapping around the bodies of those people, and their hands are outstretched like this, and the mother will say to the little nuns, “You better go and put another penance on your body. Those people are begging to get out of that fire.”

And because we’re heathens, we don’t know any better. I might go someplace in the convent and maybe I’ll burn my body real bad. Maybe I’ll torture some way and spill some more blood, because as I suffer I believe that they’re going to get out of that place where a priest puts them. And there are millions of people so to speak, in purgatory that your priests have put there and when he know that it is the biggest fraud in the world. He knows there’s not a bit of truth to it. And, bless your heart, I often say if you take purgatory and mass away from the Roman Catholic Church and you’ll rob her of nine-tenths of her living. She’ll starve to death if you would take it away from her. She commercializes, not only off of the living, but off of the dead. And on and on it goes.

THE PRIESTS

Alright. It doesn’t bother a mother superior to take one of those dear little girls, and may I say, you know, when the priests come into the convent they come as our father-confessors. Once a month we go to confession, and (we don’t want to go, don’t you worry!) I’ve many a time got in the back row. I didn’t want to go in there. I know who’s out there. One of them, (I may not know the particular man, but I know he’s a priest), and I know those priests. I certainly have seen them enough. I’ve lived there long enough. I certainly have had contact with every one of them. And I’ll assure you this one thing, I don’t trust one single one of those in the convent. Now, we’re not telling you about all the priests. I don’t know all the priests. I’m just talking about the convent in my personal testimony about convent life, and you know we know something about what’s out in that room. Here we are. We know we’re going to confession today. It may take all day long. And here he comes, and I have never seen a Roman Catholic priest come into the convent that I was in without intoxicating liquor under his belt. And I say a man or a woman, regardless of who you may be, when you get liquor under your belt, you are not a man, neither are you a woman. You become an animal and a beast. And so we have a beast sitting out there. There’s a straight-backed, hard-bottomed chair. No other furniture but the crucifix and the Virgin Mary, but here he is sitting on that chair right out there in the middle of that room. Now here a little girl has to walk out there alone, and she has to kneel down. Think of it! Why bless your heart, I really sometimes, I’m saved now, I’m out of the convent and I now look back at that Roman Catholic priest and I often say, “I’m sure he was a twin brother to the devil because he’s full of sin. He’s full of vice. He’s full of corruption.”

And we go out there and we kneel down at his knees. Now you are a lucky girl if you get away from that man without being destroyed. Why, he’s drunk. He’s just a beast. He’s not a man. Oh, he has a holy habit on. He’s an ordained Roman Catholic priest, and so I’ll assure you, we don’t like to go to confession, but we must go once a month. And those little girls can’t help themselves, and nobody comes out into that room but the priest and I until it’s all over, and then we can come back and the next one will have to come. And I’ll assure you, we don’t appreciate that day. And those little girls don’t know any better. They don’t know anything about the plan of salvation. They don’t know that Jesus went to Calvary and died for them. They don’t know that he shed his blood for them. Those little girls know nothing about it, because to me, I’ll repeat again, the Bible was a hidden book to every one of those little girls.

And so now they can do things like this. Now if a Roman Catholic priest comes into the convent, he may go to the mother superior and ask her to permit him to go into the cell where one of the nuns are. And you know, that mother with her carnal mind and her carnal heart, and she’s very hard and very carnal, and she is the mother many times of many illegitimate children, they belong to the priest. And you know, she’ll take that priest, and he drinking, she knows it. They bring liquor in with them. Sometimes some of the nuns will drink with them, and the mother usually drinks with them. (And it’s really a terrible place, it is, not a religious order. It does not live up to that name whatsoever). But here she brings that priest into one of our cells. Now, I wonder if you realize how serious it is. That Roman Catholic priest, he has liquor under his belt. We know that. But he has a big strong body. He’s had three square meals of food every day of his life. He can eat all the food that he wants. But you know, there’s a little nun that may have a broken body, and she may not have very much strength. And what did he come into that cell for? For nothing other than to destroy that little nun.

I often say I wish the government could walk into a convent just about the time one of those priests are let into a cell. The mother will turn a key in the lock and you’re locked in there with that priest. Now we have no way to defend ourselves, and I often say (I had to nurse those little girls. I’m an R.N. I got my nurse’s training by going through the tunnel over to the hospital as I lived in an open order convent). But may I say that after that priest is taken out of there, if you could look upon the body of that little nun, she looks like something you’d throw out in a hog pen and a half dozen old sows had just mauled that child’s body. And this is convent life! I can understand why your priests are calling over the phone every day or two and screaming their heads off because I’m in this city giving this testimony. But may I say to you, I don’t mind if they continue to scream. I don’t mind what they do. I’m not one bit afraid of them. I’ll continue to give this testimony. As long as God gives me strength, I’ll be giving this testimony regardless of your priests or your bishops in this country. I know what I’m doing. I know what I’m saying, and I’m not afraid of anybody in all of this world. I’m a child of God, and I believe God won’t let anybody put a hand on me until my work is finished, and then I often say, I don’t care what you do to my body after I leave this body. I’m sure I don’t mind. So I will continue to give this testimony, regardless of what your priests think about it, because I think God saved me to pull the cover off of convents. I believe He saved me to uncloak those places that are riding under the cloak of religion. I believe that with all of my heart. I’ll assure you I do.

Now, if I refuse to give my body (you know we are supposed to give our body voluntarily to those priests. Many times the nuns are overpowered), but if I refuse to give my body voluntarily to them, then you know he becomes very angry and he goes immediately to the mother superior. Then when two carnal minds come together, they can invent things that you and I- we don’t have enough evil in our heart to invent things like that. We don’t have enough sin in our lives to even think of such terrible things. And when those two carnal minds come together, the next time, I want you to know, they’re all ready. Now the mother superior might say to me in a day or two, “Now, we’re going to do penance.” Now the penance that they’ll inflict on me is something that the mother superior and the priest has invented and it might be very, very cruel. They might take me down into one of the dirty dungeons (and there’s no floors in those places), and you know they have a place down there, there are rods about three feet long. They have them burrowed down into cement and at the top of it there’s a ring about this big sticking out of the ground. They have some leather straps fastened there. And when they take me down there, they put either foot through those rings and then they strap my ankles securely. Now I’m standing [balanced above the floor?] with my feet in those rings.

PUNISHMENT

Alright. They’re going out of there, and they’re going to leave me locked up in that place by myself. And it’s a dirty place. Why I might stand there for two or three hours, if I have strength enough in my body. But what do you think’s going to happen to me then? I can’t stand any longer. Sometimes we faint. Sometimes we just become exhausted and we go down. But when I go down, it flips my ankles over like that and I can’t do anything about it. I don’t have what it takes for me to get up. I may have to lie in that position for two or three days and no one will come near. They won’t give me a bite of food. They won’t bring me one drop of water, but I must stay there. And the next thing you feel is the bugs crawling over my body and the mice running over me, and I still have to stay there. I can understand why they don’t want me to uncover. They don’t want the world to know these things are going on. No priest in this country wants it. And if he doesn’t want the world to know it, he better be pretty careful that nobody ever gets out of a convent after they’ve spent a few years back there.

But may I say again to you that my God is greater than all the outside forces. My God can reach his hand over there into those convents in this country or any other country and make a way for a girl to come out and he won’t have to ask the bishops to help Him. He won’t have to ask the priests to help Him, but God can make a way for us to come out. I’ll assure you that.

UNWANTED PREGNANCY

Well on it goes. Then sometimes the priest come and they get angry at us because we refuse to sin with them voluntarily. And you know, after all, the nuns bodies are broken after we’re there awhile. And many, many the time, to have him strike you in the mouth is a terrible thing. I’ve had my front teeth knocked out. I know what it’s all about. And then they get you down on the floor and then kick you in the stomach. Many of those precious little girls have babies under their heart, and it doesn’t bother a priest to kick you in the stomach with a baby under your heart. He doesn’t mind. The baby is going to be killed anyway because those babies are going to be born in the convent. Why wouldn’t babies be born when you run places like this under the cloak of religion? The world thinks it’s a religious orders, and there are babies born in there. And most of the babies are premature. Many of them are abnormal. Very, very seldom do we ever see a normal baby.

You say, “Sister Charlotte, do you dare to say that?” I most definitely do dare to say it, and I intend to keep on saying it. Why? I’ve delivered those babies with these hands, and what I’ve seen with my eyes and I’ve done with my hands, I just challenge the whole world to say it isn’t true. And the only way they can ever prove it isn’t true, they’ll have to open every convent door. If they ever serve a summons on me and call me into court, I’ll assure you this one thing: convents are coming open and then the world will know what convents really are. And they’ll have to open them to vindicate my testimony, because I know what I’ll do if they ever serve a summons on me. I’ve been before the highest laws we have in the United States. I know what I’m doing. I know what I can say, and I’m not one bit afraid to say it because I’ve been a part of this. I’ve been connected with this system 22 years behind convent doors, and it is a terrible thing.

When that dear little nun is looking forward to that day when her precious baby will be born, most of you dear mothers, oh, you have everything ready. The beautiful nursery! All the baby’s beautiful clothes are made. Everything is lovely! You’re looking forward to that precious little immortal soul that’s going to be born into your home, and everything is ready. Oh I wish you could see that little nun. She’s not looking forward to that. There won’t ever be a blanket around his body. They’ll never bathe that baby’s body, but he can only live four or five hours. And then the mother superior will take that baby and put her fingers in its nostrils, cover its mouth and snuff its little life out.

And why do they build these lime pits in the convent? What is the reason for building them if it isn’t to kill the babies? And that baby will be taken into the lime pit and chemical lime will be put over its body. And that’s the end of babies. Oh, when I think about it! That’s why I try to challenge people. Pray! If you know how to pray, if you know how to contact God, pray and ask God to deliver the girls behind convent doors. In other words, pray that God will make a way for every convent in the United States to be opened, and let the government go in. And when the government goes in, you won’t have to worry. The convents will be opened. The nuns will be taken out, and [the convents] will be closed up just as they opened the convents in old Mexico in 1934. There are no convents in old Mexico. Every posturate(?) is open and they found all of the corruption back there. The lime pit. If any of you are taking a vacation, go over into old Mexico. The government owns them. They’re public museums. Go through the convents. Look with your own eyes. Touch with your own hands, and then come home and see if you believe my testimony. It’ll still every bit of red blood in you veins. I mean it’ll do something to you that nothing else has ever been able to do. Go through them and look at them. Go into the dungeons. Go into the tunnels. Go through the lime pit and look at the skulls, rooms of skulls over there, and then ask the guide where they come from. And go and see all the devices of torture they placed upon the bodies of the little nuns. Go into their cells and look at their beds and see for yourself. Oh yes, you can go. It’ll cost you twenty-five cents to go through each one of them. You look at those things and see them for yourself, and then come home and maybe it will give you a greater burden to pray for little girls that have been enticed behind convent doors by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.

EXECUTION

I wonder how you would feel if this was your child. And remember, I have a mother and daddy, or had one, and they loved me just as much as you love your children. And when they let me go into the convent I’m sure my mother and daddy didn’t expect these things to happen because they didn’t know. They never dreamed a convent was like this. But, you know, I wonder how you’d feel if you could walk in someday and out there in this particular room, that floor is built for this purpose. There’s a partition right out there, and there’s just a little thing they can touch. It automatically opens, and, you know, there’s a deep hole underneath that floor and this little nun has done something. I can’t tell you what she’s done because I wasn’t there when she done it, but she’s done something, and to them it’s very serious. And when they bring her, they bring here to this particular place. Her little hands and feet are going to be bound securely. They’re going to drop her in that horrible, horrible pit, and then they’re going to put the boards back down. Oh, there’s plenty of chemical and lime down there. But you know, they don’t do that. Six little nuns have to walk around that [open] hole. We’ll chant as we walk around that hole. We don’t want any evil spirits to come out into the convent, so we sprinkle holy water over that hole. We may walk for six hours and then they’ll appoint six more nuns, and on and on it goes until we hear the last moan.

And that’s the end of the little nun they placed down there. No, she’ll never be delivered from the convent, but does it bother you to know that that little nun will die and be lost? Does that bother you? It bothers me because I didn’t know Jesus I couldn’t tell her about God. I didn’t know him myself. But it bothers me very, very much, but God will not hold me accountable. Her blood will not be on my hands because I didn’t know the Lord and I couldn’t tell her about him. And so, on it goes, and I wonder how you see it.

Here we are, a body of those little nuns. On this particular morning, the mother superior might say this, “We’re all going to be lined up here.” And I don’t know what she’s lining me up for. And then, you know, there might be ten others, there might be 15 others, and then she’ll tell us all to strip and we have to take every stitch of our clothing off. We’re certainly not anything beautiful to look at. Ours eyes are back in our head. Our cheeks are fallen in. Our bodies are wasted. God only knows what we look like, because I never saw myself in 22 years. I didn’t know I had gray hair. I didn’t know I had lines in my face. I didn’t know how old I was- I only found that out about six years ago. You know nothing about what you look like.

And here we are, lined up, and here comes two or three Roman Catholic priests with liquor under their belts, and there they’re going to march in front of those nude girls and choose the girl they want to take to the cell with them. These are convents, cloistered convents, not open orders. The priest can do anything he wants to and hide behind the cloak of religion. Then that same Roman Catholic priest will go back into the Roman Catholic churches and there he’ll say mass, and there he’ll go into the confessional box and make those poor people believe he can give them absolution from their sins when he’s full of sin. When he’s full of corruption and vice, still he acts as their God. What a terrible thing it is. And on it goes.

A PLOT TO KILL

Well, I lived there. Now all the time these things are going on, what do you think is happening inside of Charlotte? God love your hearts! I didn’t know people could hold so much hatred and bitterness. And it went on and on. I was filled with bitterness and hatred, and I mean it continued to build. I began in my heart to think, “When I can get the mother superior in a certain place, I’ll kill her.” Isn’t it awful to get murder in our hearts? I didn’t go into the convent with a heart like that nor a mind like that, but I began to plan murder in the convent, how I could kill her, and how I could kill a Roman Catholic priest. And on and on it goes. And oh, I’ll tell you, every time she’d inflict something awful on my body, that I’d have to suffer so terribly, when I could think sensibly again, then I would begin to plan. how I could kill that woman. And on it goes. Well, after all you can’t help it. For instance, I wonder how you would feel.

The mother superior, here she is, and she’s going to sit me down in a chair. And you know, that chair is straight-backed, hard-bottomed and I don’t have any hair. She’s going to take everything off my head. And you know she’s going to put my hands like this. They’d be out here in stocks, and I going to have to bend my head over like that in order to put the stocks across my neck, and I’m fastened securely, and over my head there is a faucet of water, and you know, there is a faucet of water just above my head and my head’s over. Now that mother’s going to turn that water on. Just a drop, and the drop will come about this fast. It’ll hit me right there on the back of my head, and you know, I can’t move either way. I sat there. One hour, two hours, three hours, four hours. What do you think’s going on? I’m sitting there. I can’t move. I do everything to get away from that drop of water in the same spot on my head. Why, God love your heart, if you could look in you’d see us frothing at the mouth. You’d see those little girls. They’re trying so hard to move to get away from that water, and they let us stay there sometimes ten hours. All day long. Many, many times a little nun cracks up completely. She goes stark raving mad under this particular penance.

What in the world do they do with her? I’ll tell you in a few minutes. Don’t you worry. They have a place for us after we go mad in the convent. They take care of us. They have places for the little nuns. There’s places built down there for us.

Well, on it goes. Well, you know, these things went on and went on and went on. And it was terrible. But, you know, I began to plan and plan and plan. After she has done something like that to me it’s terrible.

One day the mother superior took violently ill. You say, “Who would take her place?” There are about three, sometimes they have four older nuns, and they always pick the one that’s hard. The one that seemingly is carnal. That one that has no conscience to be a mother superior, and she works under this one. One day if something happens to the main mother superior, another one will take her place. And on it goes. But, you know, this particular day they sent word to me. “The mother superior,” I was to come into her room, “she’s very sick.” And quicker than lightening I began to think, “If I got in that mother superior’s room! I know what I’ll do.” You know, after all, I’m a sinner. I’m a nun, but I’m a sinner, and I don’t know God, and I have a lot of hatred in my heart, and I walk in that room. They have called in an outside Roman Catholic doctor. She’s a very sick woman, and he has left all orders, and they have left the medicine and everything. Now I’m supposed to take care of her, and that was wonderful. I do take care of her. All day long I did what they told me to do, what I’m supposed to do. And those particular tablets. I knew what they were and what they would do, and I knew what she was taking them for.

But anyway, all day long I gave her her medicine. I done everything I’m supposed to. All evening long. Why? I want to be sure what I’m doing. When I do it, I have to be careful. And you know I waited until one o’clock in the morning. Why? Because every night those little nuns have to be gotten out of bed and chant from twelve to one. Seven minutes of twelve, until one. I thought I’ll wait until all the nuns go back to bed then I’m going to do something. And, bless your hearts, after they were all back in their beds, I’ll tell you what I did. I took five or six of those tables. I was only supposed to take one in a half a glass of water every so often and give it to her. But, because of the type they were and what type of tablet it was, I knew what it would do. I put six of them in a glass of water and stirred them up, and I gave them to her. I knew she would go into convulsions. It would twist her completely out of shape. I knew that woman would suffer a million deaths in 25 minutes. I knew that, and I thought, “I’m going to watch her suffer because she has punished us. She has hurt us so many thousands of times. I’ll watch her suffer.”

Isn’t it terrible to think a child can live in a place like that long enough until she has the same kind of a heart almost the mother superior has. But that’s what comes when sin gets into you life. And so I waited. You know, I gave them to her, and something happened to me. I got scared, and I began to look at that woman as she began to change color, and I couldn’t find her pulse. I couldn’t find her respiration. I was frightened, and I thought, “Oh! What shall I do? If they find her dead, only God knows what they’ll do to me.”

I’ll tell you what I did. I got that stomach pump and pumped as quick as I could. I pumped that woman’s stomach. I massaged that woman. I done everything there was to do, and oh, thank God, she didn’t die. I said I thank God. But, you know, I sat down by the bed and held her hand and watched her carefully until the respiration came back normal, until her pulse was normal and I felt she would live.

And I thought of another thing. I’ll do this then! I saw where her keys were hid right there in her shelf in her own room. So they’re on a big chain, or a big ring, and I thought, “I’m going to take those keys. I’m going down into that dungeon. When I say down this is two stories under the ground. I’m going someplace where she’s always warned us. It’s a solid wall like that, and clear to the back end of that wall there’s one door, and it’s heavy, and it’s always locked, and I’ve heard her tell me scores of times (and I’m sure she has [told] the others), “Don’t ever try to go through that door.”

A GRUESOME DISCOVERY

What in the world is over there, and why did she tell us that? We can’t get through it. It’s locked! But, you know, I wondered what was back there because when they had me in the dungeon a long time once, I heard screams under the ground. I heard such blood-curdling screams, and I knew there was some girls locked up somewhere, and so I’m going through there if I find the key. And so I got her keys and I went into that particular place. And when I got back there, it took a while to do it, I want you to know, to find the key, but oh, it unlocked that door! I walked through that door, and I walked into a hall. The hall, I would say, is maybe five feet wide, maybe wider than that. That’s just a guess. Anyway, on the other side of the hall there were a number of cells over there. Small rooms, and they had real heavy doors, and in those cells were little nuns. And when I went up to the first one, near the top of the door there’s a little place about this long, about that wide, and it has iron bars going across there. And I looked right into the face of a little nun that I knew, one that I had sat across the table from, one that I had prayed with in the chapel. I knew that girl, and here she is. They had chains and a lock chained around either of her wrists and around her waistline! I said, “When did you have something to eat last?”

And no answer.

“How long have you been here?”

No answer.

I went down to the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, and the stench was getting so bad I couldn’t stand it. And you know, those little girls would not talk. Why? I lived in the convent, you know, a long time. I don’t care if I was two miles under the convent, way back there we were working back there and we’d whisper. The next day I’d have to suffer because the convents are wired and the mother superior can hear every voice, every whisper, and then somebody tells, and you’re in some serious trouble. And those nuns have been there long enough. What have they done? I don’t know, but those nuns are supposed to have cracked up mentally and so they have to put them in those chains. And when they die, they can’t fall down to the floor. They just drop in those chains and slump. When they go in there, they don’t give them any more food, no more water. That’s a slow death. And so, as I saw all of that I became so sick from the terrible stench, because many of them are already dead. I don’t know how long they’ve been dead.

I came out of there and walked back up to this room where the mother superior was, and she was lying there sleeping. And I watched her there carefully, and she slept until the next day, long, long hours and didn’t waken. And when she did, she said, “I’ve had a long sleep.” And I said, “Yes.” They let me take care of her for three days, and you know, the third day- I don’t know. You say, “Did she ever find out you was down there?” Well not yet. I hope she didn’t while I was there.

A DESPARATE PLAN

But anyway, after three days they put me out in the kitchen. In other words, when we go to the kitchen, six of us go for a six weeks period. And this particular time they put me out in the kitchen with five other little nuns. What am I there for? I’m doing the kitchen work. I’m going to do all of the cooking that’s done out there and take care of the work in the kitchen. And so, when I when out in the kitchen, we have a long table back here, and it’s a work table, and our vegetables will be prepared for the soup, and that’s what we were doing, all six of us. And something happened. Our kitchen is a very large room, and a very long room, not as wide as it is long, and over at one end of it you will find over here there’s stair steps leading, about four of them leading down. Then there’s a landing right there. Over there is a big heavy outside door, but here there is a landing. Our garbage cans sit there, and right here is a stairway, a cement one, leading down one story under the ground. Now, I’m up on the first floor in this kitchen.

Alright, now as I’m in there and we’re in there working something happened. Somebody touched the garbage can. You know, all my convent life we are taught never to break silence. We don’t dare to make noises in the convent. We are punished for them. And when something touched the garbage can that’s a noise. Who in the world-? There’s six of us and we’re all together. Who is touching the garbage can? I wheeled around. They wheeled around, and we saw a man, and you know, that man was picking up the full can and leaving an empty one. I’ve never seen that before. I’ve been in that convent for years, and in the kitchen, but I never saw anything like that happen. I believe God had his hand on me. With all my heart I believe it. And you say, “What happened?” Well, we turned around quickly because to us it’s a mortal sin to look upon a man other than a Roman Catholic priest. And I mean we turned around quickly and went to our work. But, you know, I thought, “If that man comes back again to get another full can, I’m going to give him a note and I’m going to ask him if I can run out with him.”

But, I didn’t do that, but do you know what I did? When we run out of something in the kitchen there’s a pencil hanging up there on a chain, and bless your heart, I have to (or whoever it is that runs out), you have to write it on a tab, and of course I stole a piece of paper off of a sack, and I thought, “I’ll carry that little piece of paper in my skirt pocket, and every time I can get a hold of that pencil I’m going to write a word or two on that note.” And that’s what I did. It took quite a while to do it, but oh, I watched that garbage can! Every time I could take the garbage down there I did it. And you know, when it was just about full, and I thought, “The next evening, it’ll be full when we put all the garbage in it.”

And so, that afternoon I broke my crucifix, and I laid it up on a shelf, and I had a hard time doing it because they’re watching me. But I did it, and I laid it up on a shelf, and I did that to have a way to get back to have a way to get back to that room, of course. And when our dinner work is over, our supper dishes, everybody has to go out at the same time and we march by the mother superior. And, you know, when I marched by, I stopped and said, “May I speak to you?” And I did, and I said, “Mother Superior I broke my crucifix and I left it in the kitchen. May I go for it?” (And of course no nun goes without her crucifix).

And she said, “How did you break it?” I lied to her. Everything she asked me, I lied to her. You say, “Why did you lie?” She lies to us, and we’re all sinners, so we all lie, and it doesn’t make any difference in there. And so we lied, and I lied to her, and then finally she said, “You go get the crucifix and come right back.” And that’s all I wanted anyway. I have to have a reason. You can’t go back to the kitchen after you’ve left it. So I didn’t go for the crucifix, but she thought I did, and I run for this tin can. Why? That night when I put my garbage in there I put a note right on top of that garbage and left the lid off, which I was not supposed to do. And, you know, I said on the note to the garbage man, “If you get this, won’t you please help me out? Won’t you do something to help the little nuns out?” I told him about those 19 cells down there and those 19 nuns in them. I told him about some of the babies that had been killed. I told him some other little nuns that are locked up in the dungeon and they’re bound with chains. I told him a-plenty, and I said, “Won’t you help us? If you will, please leave a note under the empty can.” That’s what I went back for.

THE ESCAPE

And when I lifted up the can and found a note, you don’t know how I felt. I froze to the floor. I was so scared I didn’t know what to do. I picked that piece of paper up and I read, and this is what that man said, “I’m leaving that door unlocked and I’ll leave the big iron gate unlocked. You come out.” Oh, let me tell you. That’s almost more than you’d ever- I never dreamed I’d get out of a convent. I never thought of ever getting out. I wanted out, but you say oh yes, when I could collect myself I reached over and turned the knob, and do you know, it opened! I walked out of that convent and I slammed it through. I was sure the lock was on it, and I got out to the big iron gate but, oh, he had me trapped. That iron gate was just as locked as it was ever locked! You don’t know what it done to me to stand looking at the iron gate. I’m locked out of the convent. I have no right out there. You can’t imagine. I don’t know if I groaned (?) right there. I don’t know. I know I’ve suffered enough because I’m scared half to death. And what will I do if I go back there and pound on that door? What will they do with me? And, oh, the fear that grips your heart. And you say, “What did you do?”

I didn’t have any shoes and stockings on. I had worn those out years ago. When I think of the Roman Catholic Church being the richest church in the world and they let those little nuns go winter and summer without any shoes and without any hose, living in crucial poverty, I wonder how they can do it! Hungry as we are, their priests are all nice and fat. The little nuns are so hungry, I wonder how they do it sometimes. You say, “What did you do, Charlotte?” Well, I’ll tell you, I just took a hold of that big iron gate, and I tried to climb it. That’s all there was for me to do. And up about a foot and a half from the top there’s a ledge about six inches wide. I thought if I could get high enough to get my knee on the ledge I’m safe. And I did. I got one knee on the ledge, but by this time I don’t have any strength left either. And you know, I thought, “What’ll I do? I’ll put one foot over, then I’ll get the other over.” Then I realized I have three skirts on. My skirts are gathered on a belt and they’re clear down to my ankles. My veil, of course is down to my knees in front and that long in the back. How will I ever get over those sharp points? And I thought, “I can’t go down, I don’t have strength enough, so I’ll have to jump.” And if I jump I’ll break every bone because I was a broken body, of course. And so I thought, “What’ll I do?” Well I pulled all of my clothing up around my body and held them with one hand, and then I thought, “I’ll have to jump.”

And you know, they have a buzzer in the convent, and when a little nun tries to escape and they [go to] catch her they put a buzzer on. And, oh, the priests tell you they don’t come to the convent, I wish you could see the priests then. You’ll find a good many of them there, and they immediately are after that nun. They don’t want her out. If she comes out of that convent, she’s going to give a testimony some day, and it’ll pull the cloak off of convents. And I’ll assure you they don’t intend for us to get out.

And so, as I let loose of that top of that gate and I made that jump, I just didn’t make it. My clothing caught on top of those points and I hung there, but I let loose. And I often say I don’t know what I looked like. I didn’t know I had gray hair, but I’ve often said, “Maybe my hair turned gray there.” Maybe you’ll never know what I suffered hanging there on top of that gate, knowing that buzzer could go on any minute and then what would they do to me? I was scared. So I thought I’d try to wiggle my body and to force swing it if I can get back far enough to grab the gate with one hand maybe I can help myself. And I did. And then with the other hand I tried to pry the snappers loose on my skirt, and that let me fall between them. Do you know what happened to me? I hit the ground. I was out. I was unconscious for a while. I don’t know how long though, we have no way to tell. But when I came to, I had a shoulder broken and my arm was broken right in here. The bone had snapped right through my flesh because I didn’t have any meat on me.

SEEKING HELP

And I thought, “What’ll I do?” And I realized I’m on the outside. “Where am I going?” Where do you think you’d go? I’m not in the United States. I’m in another country and I don’t know a thing about that country. When they took me over there I was so heavily veiled and they took me from that particular train to the convent, I was so heavily veiled I couldn’t see anything. And I don’t know where I am. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know if I have any people. I don’t know if I know anybody in the world. And I’m a pauper. I don’t have any money, and I’m hungry, and my body’s broken, and I’m hurt now. Where do you think you’d go? I tell you. It’s something to think about. I just started away. But get away from the convent! And I did. I started moving away.

All the leaves were falling and they made so much noise! And I was scared, and I kept on moving, and finally dark overtook me, or rather, there’s no twilight in that part of the country- it just drops off into darkness. And, you know, I saw this little building beside the road. I thought, “I’ll crawl in it.” It was a doghouse or maybe a chicken coop or something. But it’s dirty and I crawled in there because I was shaking and scared. And I lay in there a little while to get a hold of myself, and I thought, “I’ll have to travel, it’s dark. It’s safer for me.” So I got out and I traveled that night and the next day. I hid behind pieces of board and tin that was piled up against an old building. And all day long, imagine, hiding in that hot place! And hungry as I was, with broken bones, do you realize what it was all about? No. You will never know. But I do.

And then, you know, when night came again I have to go because I’m going to get away from the convent. I’m afraid to rap on somebody’s door. Remember, I’m scared. I don’t know, I might rap on a Roman Catholic’s door. They’ll immediately notify the priests and I’ll be taken back to the convent. And I’d rather they kill me than take me back. And so I didn’t [knock], but I went on and on and on. And then the next night I hid out in an old stroft (?) bag. And then, that afternoon on the third day, I was scared then because this arm was swollen as tight as it could swell and I was having to carry it in the other hand. And all my fingers began to turn blue, and I realized gangrene poisoning was setting in. And, you know, there’s nobody to do anything for you. And I realized I’m going to die just like a rat beside the road. That’s a terrible feeling, and I thought, “What’ll I do? I’ll just get out and go [die] a little sooner. I’ll just have to rap on somebody’s door.” And that’s what I did.

I remember as I walked (I don’t know how far) I saw this lamp. It was an old fashioned lamp, burning. Very poor house, no paint on it, and I knew those were poor people. So I walked up to the screen door and I rapped on it, and a tall man came to the door. He was rather old. And I said, “Please, may I have a drink of water.” And you know, that old man didn’t answer me, but he walked back in the house, and he called his wife. And, God bless her heart, she’s like most old-fashioned mothers. She came to the door, and she didn’t say, “Who are you and what do you want?” Thank God there are a lot of good people in this world. That dear little woman just pushed that door open and said, “Won’t you come in and sit down?” Do you know that’s the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life? I should say I’ll come in and sit down! And she pulled out a chair, and I sat down on it. I’m glad to sit down.

And you know, she’s poor. There’re no rugs on the floor of any type, red-checkered tablecloth on the table, a little old stove over there in the corner, and there was a fire in it. And that woman put some milk in a pan and heated it and brought it over to me. And, you know, I’m hungry. I don’t have any manners. I forgot how to act. I forgot a lot of things in 22 years. And I grabbed that glass of milk before she ever sat it down, and I gobbled it down. I’m so hungry, I felt like I’m, going stark mad. And I took it instantly, and the moment it touched my stomach, of course I couldn’t retain it. I lost it. I haven’t had any whole milk in 22 years. You could understand why I couldn’t take it. And she knew what to do. She went out into the kitchen and she heated some water, or rather over to the stove and heated some water. And bless her heart, she put some sugar in that water, and she brought it over to me, and she sat down and gave it to me from a spoon. I took every bit of it. Oh, it was good! It was nourishing.

And then the daddy walked over by me and he said, “Now tell us who you are and where you come from” I began to cry. I was scared then. I said, “I’ve run away from the convent and I’m not going back.” And he said, “What happened to you?” And my hand was laying upon the table. And I said, “Well, I tried to get over the gate and I fell, and I’m hurt.”

THE DOCTOR

And, you know, he said, “We’ll have to call a doctor.” And bless your sweet life, then I really became hysterical. I got up from the table, I was going to run back outside, and they wouldn’t let me. He said, “Wait a minute. We’re not going to hurt you. You’re hurt. You have to have help.”

I said, “I don’t have any money, and I don’t have any people, and I can’t pay a doctor bill.” I was just in a terrible mess if you want to know it. And that man said to me, “I’m going after a doctor.” He said, “And he’s not a Roman Catholic, and neither am I.” And that dear man didn’t have a car, but he hitched up a horse and buggy and he drove nine miles to get a doctor. The doctor came out in his car, and when he got to the place, he got there ahead of the man. And when the doctor walked in and walked around me, he just kept walking around me and he was swearing. (Maybe he didn’t realize it was a terrible effect upon me). When he stopped and looked at me, of course he was mad. He was mad. Why was he mad? He was mad because he was looking at something that was supposed to be a human being, and I didn’t even look like a human being I was in such a horrible condition.

But finally he calmed down and he came over to me and he said, “I’ll have to take you to the hospital tonight.” Oh, I became hysterical. I said, “I don’t want to go. Please don’t make me go!” Then he sat down carefully and took my hand and he began to say, “I’m not going to hurt you. You have to have help, and I want to help you.”

That doctor took me into the hospital that night and that’s where I learned how much I weighed. He weighed me and I weighed exactly 89 pounds [40.5 kg]. I weigh 178 [81 kg] right now. And they, you know, they took me into surgery, and of course they tried to get the swelling and the inflammation out of my hand and arm [so] that they might do something for me. It took about 12 or 13 days. By this time it started to knit and they had to break it all over again and put it in a cast. I did a lot of suffering.

Well, you know, one day a way was made for me to be released from the hospital. Who did they release me to? I begged to go out to those old people to stay with them, and they let me go, because they had been good to me and I trusted them. And the doctor wanted to take me out to his home. I was in that hospital three and a half months. And they took me out there [to the old folks] and I stayed for a period of time. And then one day this same doctor, he wrote a letter and, do you know what he sent in that letter? He sent a check. He told the people to go and buy me a suitcase and get me some clothing. He was coming for me on a certain day. He told me, “I’m going to find your people for you.” You know that doctor is a stranger to me, but oh, how I thank God that he has men an women across this world and those men and women are not so selfish that they won’t use some of the money that God has allowed them to have to help that one that’s less fortunate than they. Here, he spent a lot of money on me. I was in that hospital three and a half months, and I mean there was a lot of money spent on me, but he paid the bills. How I appreciate it! And you know, that dear doctor, oh they took me, bought my clothing for me, bought my suitcase and everything was ready and the day came when he come, and you know, that doctor took me to the train. And he put me on a train in care of somebody, of course. He had found my people for me. I was on busses and trains and boats for a long time, and one day, after he had gotten my visa for me to get back into the United States, and I was always in the charge of somebody because they didn’t trust me to travel alone because of having to live under the ground so long.

HOME AT LAST

And one day they called the name of a town where I was, or where my mother and daddy lived. And you know I knew where mother and daddy lived and I got off of that train and I run down to their home, five blocks from that depot, just a very small town. And when I rang the bell, my daddy come to the door, and you know, I looked at his face, I didn’t know him. And because I didn’t know him I said, “Do you know where my father lives?”

And he said, “Who are you, and what’s your name?”

And I said my name, and I didn’t give him my church name, I gave him my family name. And that man looked at me, and of course it was his name, and he said, “Hooky, is this you?” My father didn’t know me, of course it was my dad, and that dear old man opened the door then and invited me in, and I said, “Dad, is Mother alive?” because I didn’t know about her. And he took me back in to see her and there she was. Seven and a half years she’s laid there, an invalid. A horrible, horrible invalid. And of course she didn’t know me and I didn’t know her.

Well, you know, that very night I took violently sick and they put me back in another hospital for another three months, but my father paid all of those bills. He reimbursed the doctor and paid the doctor in another country and paid the old people. He reimbursed them all. All of that was wonderful, and then, you know, one day after my body was strong enough since I’m here in the United States (oh, it took a long time, several years), I’m a nurse, and I took the examination to nurse. And do you know what God did? He let a woman come into that particular hospital. It was a Roman Catholic hospital.

This woman was a Church of God minister. She came in, and I thought, “How strange!” Just across the Mississippi River is two magnificent Protestant hospitals, and she lives in one of those cities. Right there, three cities joined together. And why in the world did she come over here to this Roman Catholic hospital? Why? I believe God had his hand on it all the time.You know that woman came in and the doctor said, “I want you to [indistinguishable] her case,” and I went in to prepare that woman for the operating table, and I heard her pray, and I want you to know, I became that woman’s private nurse. Her special nurse.

After she left the hospital she went home, and I became her special nurse in the home, and that woman asked if I wouldn’t go to church with her. And you know I lived in her home long enough to hear her pray. I lived in that home long enough to read the Bible to her because I’m her nurse and I did what she told me to. I had never read a Bible before in all of my life and she’d have to find the scriptures, and then I’d read them to her. And, you know, as I read the word of God, then God began to get a hold of me. And finally she said, “Won’t you go to church with me,” and I went to church with that woman, and I sat back there and I heard the gospel for the first time in my life. And you know, I’ll tell you, I went through four nights, and it was really beautiful. I’ve never heard anything like this. And all the time she was telling me about the plan of salvation, telling me about God, and that I needed God, and I needed to be saved. And, of course, I was believing her.

Do you know what I’d do every night? I go from church with that woman, and I’d say, “You go to bed, but let me go to the basement.” I’d lay my Bible down on the chair, and there I’d challenge God, and I’d say, “God, did you hear what the preacher said? Did you hear it, God?” And then I would tell God everything I could remember that the preacher said. I said, “God, you heard every word, didn’t you? Now, if you are God and the Bible is the word of God, God you’re real! I want what those people have. But, if you’re not God, and the word of God is not your word, then God, please don’t give to me what those people have.” Let me tell you, I challenged God. I put him to a test. God’s not going to give you anything that’s not of God. Don’t you worry.

And every night I continued to do that, four or five nights. And I didn’t eat either. I couldn’t sleep and I had lost my appetite and I was loosing a lot of weight. It was terrific! But you know, one night I come back to church and out of a clear blue sky, right in the middle of that man’s service I just got out of my seat, and with both hands straight up in the air I come running right straight down an aisle like this. And I fell in at that altar and I cried out, “My God, forgive me for all my sins!” I was a sinner. I mean God met me there. Praise his wonderful name. There was a pool of water on that floor. I was sorry for every thing that I had did in that convent. I stole potato peelings. I stole bread. I told lies. I called the mother superior names under my breath. And I want you to know, God met me down there and he forgave me of every sin that there was in my life. And how I thank and praise him for it! Praise his wonderful name. God has been very good to me. Very good to me.

A few nights previous [subsequent (?)] to that, I went back to church. God healed me with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. May I say to you, God means more to me than all the material wealth you have in this city. I’d rather have Jesus than anything you might have, because I’ve found him to be the best friend I’ve ever known. I can tell him anything I want to tell him, and he won’t call you up and tell you what I’ve told him. I can sit at his feet and tell him every day of my life, “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you.” And every secret of my heart, I can pour out to him. And I don’t worry about him calling you up and telling you what I told him. He’s the best friend you ever had. He’s able to save you. He’s able to deliver you. He’s able to loose you from the things of this world and set you free to know him. Praise his name. I have a wonderful God. I love him supremely. I’d rather have Jesus than anything that you might have. God is real in my life. Really wonderful, how God delivered me out of the convent. Pray for me. I need much prayer. I’ll be going places where it’s predominantly Roman Catholic. I’ll have to suffer much, but I’m willing to suffer for Jesus that I might tell someone about him and give my testimonies that other little girls might be spared from convents. So pray for me, won’t you?