WHEN Roy and I were married, Roy was everything I
wanted in a husband; he was good, kind, and thoughtful. But I think I
was just a little disappointed after the honeymoon, for when I asked,
"Darling, don't you think we should start going to Sunday school and
church now?" he smiled a little and said, "Rose, you run along to Sunday
school the way you're used to doing; but, you know, Sunday school and
church are for women and children. No real he-man goes to church."
He was right at the height of his career. He was a
wrestler. I suppose the world would call him a roughneck, but he was a
good one, and I loved him.
Roy and I were fortunate to have been born of
Christian parents. His mother and father were strict Methodists; mine,
strict Baptists. I cannot remember the time that I was not taken to
Sunday school and church. I think I was born a church member. Roy cannot
say that, however, because after he reached the age when a boy is too
old to spank and be made to go to Sunday school, he believed he had all
the religion he needed. He thought he had finished his Christian
experience. But not I. I had always been a worker in one department of
the church or another. When I was just a slip of a girl, I was a teacher
of the little ones. First I taught in the kindergarten division, then
the primary; and when I grew older, I was given a high school group. For
many years I was the teacher of those boys and girls.
This was not because I was a student of the
Scriptures, for I was not. But I think I knew about as much about the
fundamental teachings of the Bible as the ordinary churchgoer. Many
times I stood in the classroom and looked at the picture of Daniel in
the lions' den that hung on the wall, and wondered, How did he ever get
into that place? Why was he in there? Did he ever get out of it? It
never occurred to me to read the story in the Bible. We had never had a
Sunday school lesson dealing with it or heard a sermon preached about
In a few years our home was blessed with a tiny baby
boy. How we loved that precious little bundle of life, our own little
son! We named him Jack. We didn't need anything more. We were so
completely happy that we didn't want anything else in the world. But
this was not long true of our little one. He was growing and beginning
to ask questions. He would often ask, "Mom and Daddy, can't I have a
little brother and sister like Mildred across the way?"
Well, we had to find a little one that needed a home.
About this time I was called to sing at the funeral of a young mother
who had died suddenly, leaving her husband and three little children—two
girls and a boy. Oh, how I wanted that blue-eyed baby girl! Later we got
acquainted with the father, and I asked him if we could have little
Shirley. He did not want to give his children away, and he did not want
to separate the girls. Lorraine was two years older, and a sweet child.
To our great joy, we were able to arrange with him to take both of the
Now our family was growing rapidly—one boy and two
girls! We were all happy together, especially Jack. He loved the girls
as though they were his own sisters, and was always concerned about
Soon another little girl came into our lives. She was
older than the other children. I practically sneaked her in through the
back door. When Roy came home the day she arrived, he asked me about
her—who she was and where she came from. I told him, "Oh, just another
"Well," he said, "Rose, can't you be satisfied now?
Three girls and a boy! After all, I do have to make the living, you
We should have had a dozen! We had such fun together!
(The girls are all married now and have homes of their own.)
Did I send these children to Sunday school? No, I
didn't send them; I went with them. On Sunday there was usually a late
breakfast, and after breakfast, a scramble to the front porch for the
"funny papers." Each little one would seize a sheet and settle down on
the living room floor because they had to hurry and exchange so they
could read all the sheets before we had to leave.
Presently I would look at the clock. "Now, darlings,
we must hurry. It's almost ten o'clock, and we mustn't be late for
In each little hand was placed a penny. Those pennies
did not always reach their proper destination, for right down on the
corner was a grocery store where penny candy was sold. The children just
swarmed around that corner every Sunday morning on their way to church.
After the services were over, we would hurry home.
Then it was the children who were hurrying me. "Oh, Mommy, Mommy, hurry!
Look what time it is! It's almost two o'clock, and we mustn't be late
for the show."
This time in each little hand was placed ten cents.
Sometimes the children would beg, "Oh, if we could only have two dimes
today! There are two shows and we'd like to see both of them. If one is
just awfully good, couldn't we stay and see it over again?"
I thought the moving-picture theater was the finest
place in the world for children. I did not know that we were sending
them to the devil's playhouse, but surely God has forgiven us for that,
as well as for so many other things of which we were ignorant.
And what were mother and dad doing all Sunday
afternoon? At home reading the precious truths in God's Word? Ah, no,
far from it! We either had friends come in or were guests in their
homes. All afternoon and away into the evening we were playing cards.
That is the way we honored the Lord.
Life went on in this careless way until God took a
hand in our affairs. By this time our son was tall and handsome and
twenty years old. We were living in Moscow, Idaho. One day Jack
complained of a slight pain in his throat and the back of his neck. I
called the local doctor. After examining Jack, he said, "This isn't
anything for a local doctor. Hurry him to Spokane. I'll call the
specialists, Dr. Sprowl and Dr. Joseph Lynch. I'll have a room ready for
you in the Sacred Heart Hospital."
We hurried Jack there the same afternoon. The doctors
were waiting for us. They soon diagnosed Jack's case and came and told
us the dreadful news that Jack could not live. He had cerebral
meningitis in its worst form.
We couldn't understand what they were talking about.
This happening to us! No, not to our Jack! Re had never been sick a day
in his life aside from the diseases of childhood.
Special nurses were placed on his case. Among them was
a young man who was given the duty of placing hot compresses on Jack's
eyes and ears. His name was Waverd Lamb, and he was the same age as our
son. Waverd was a real Christian. He was not only taking care of Jack's
physical needs, which was, of course, important; but, even more so, he
was helping Jack with his spiritual needs. He was a true witness for
Christ, telling Jack all about the wonderful plan of salvation and the
love of Jesus. Soon he was praying with our boy.
Waverd told us a few months ago, when we had dinner
with him in his apartment in Los Angeles, how he used to slip his Bible
under the tray and cover it with a napkin in order to read it to Jack.
At the time we didn't know that all this was going on in Jack's room.
Near the end Roy said to me, "Rose, Jack is dying.
Shouldn't someone pray with him?"
I answered, "Roy, I never really have been taught to
pray. Couldn't you pray?"
"Rose, after all, you should know how," he said. "You
are the church member of the family."
Although we had been reared in Christian homes,
neither Roy nor I had ever heard our mothers or fathers pray aside from
offering the blessing at the table. Now had come the crucial time in our
son's life. If ever Jack needed praying parents, it was now, but how
utterly we failed him! The only prayer I taught our children, the only
prayer that I had ever been taught, was the childish prayer, "Now I lay
me down to sleep." But God never fails anyone. He placed Waverd Lamb in
the room with Jack during that week.
Almost a week passed. It was Wednesday night. Waverd
was in the room a long time. We knew Jack was slipping away from us
rapidly and had but a few hours left. Finally Waverd came out and held
the door open for us to go back in. He could see that Roy and I had been
crying. Our hearts were just crushed and broken. As he held the door
open for us, he said, "Folks, I wish you wouldn't feel so bad about
Jack. He is going to be all right. I'll remember him again in my prayers
I said, "Young man, what did you say?"
"I'll remember him in my prayers tonight."
"Why, young man, what kind of church do you belong
"I'm a Seventh-day Adventist."
All I could say was, "Oh." I had never seen a Seventh
day Adventist before. We had heard about these people and how strange
and peculiar they were supposed to be. But here was one of them, a young
man who knew how to pray, and who was praying for our darling. It did
not make any difference to us what church he belonged to—for he knew how
It was Thursday morning. Jack was asleep. All the pain
was gone. The doctors came in and said, "Don't disturb him. He will
waken during the day." Toward evening he started moving around a little
bit. He opened his eyes, and as he did so, he looked at a beautiful
picture of the boy Jesus opposite on the wall. Jack looked at it for a
while, and then said, "Dear Jesus." Then he looked up at us and said,
"Oh, please, please, turn to Christ."
I said, "Yes, darling, we will."
He said, "Thank you, Mom. Now I must kiss you
good-by." I reached down and kissed him, and Roy reached down and kissed
him, too. But Jack reached his hands up and said, "Oh, Dad, I must kiss
you on the face again."
He seemed to be worried about his father, for his
father never went to Sunday school and church with us. Then he closed
his eyes and went to sleep, and it was all over. He will rest until the
Life-giver calls him again.
When our son died, life went out of us also. What was
there left for us to live for? All our plans, all our hopes, had
centered around our son. Why couldn't we lie down and die with him? But
we had to go on living the best we could.
WE moved back to the farm. One evening Roy and I were
sitting in front of the fireplace, talking things over. He said to me,
"Rose, now I'd like to be a church member. I'd like to go to church with
you. I'd like too do what Jack asked us to do, and I want to be a real
I said, "Roy, so do I. What church shall we join?"
"It doesn't make very much difference which church we
join," he said. "They are all more or less alike. But I do want to join
a church that believes in baptism by immersion. I do want to be baptized
the way the Bible teaches, the way Jesus was baptized."
I said, "All right, how would the Christian Church
be?" Roy said that would be all right, so I called the minister of the
large downtown Christian church in Spokane, told him who we were, and
asked if we could be baptized and join his church. He said he would be
happy to have us do that.
"Next Sunday morning you be in church, and when I give
the invitation, just walk down the aisle, and I'll meet you and ask you
a few questions."
He called up later in the week and said, "We are going
to make that baptism Sunday night. Next Sunday is Easter, and our choir
is singing a cantata; we would like to combine the two."
We were there Sunday evening, sitting in the back row.
After the music the minister gave the invitation, and Roy and I stepped
out alone and walked down the aisle. He met us and shook our hands,
asked us a few simple questions, and we were baptized while the
congregation was singing. Then we came back and signed our names
together in a book. Now we were both members, and happy.
The minister did not ask us about our characters, our
habits, nor did he give us any instruction in the Christian faith. He
did not tell Roy that he should stop drinking and smoking. He did not
tell us that we should stop our movie-going, our card playing, and our
dancing. He told us nothing whatever about Christian living.
But I think we fooled that minister just a little bit
because we went home and started studying the Bible. We had a beautiful
Bible, just as pretty and new as it was twenty-five years before when
Roy had given it to me as a gift. We did not use that Bible every day;
we couldn't let it lie around the house carelessly. We had to take care
of it. It was always placed up in the bookcase on a shelf. Whenever I
would entertain the Ladies Aid society, or when the pastor would call, I
was always proud to present that beautiful Bible. The minister would
open it and read a verse or two, and then it was put away for
safekeeping. Once in a while the children would get it down and look at
the pictures, and I would say, "Oh, no, no, honey, not this pretty book!
If you want to look at pictures, you have your picture books and comic
books." I would take it away from them and place it high out of the
reach of their little hands.
But now we got the Bible down, this beautiful new
Bible, and started opening the pages, many of which had never been
opened before. Have you ever heard of anyone quarreling about a Bible? I
do not mean really quarreling, but when I had it, I would be reading
something interesting; and Roy would say, "Rose, don't you think it's my
turn to have it for just a little while?" Then he would tell me by the
clock just how long I had had it. I would hand it over to him and sit
and watch the clock; and pretty soon I'd say, "Come on, honey, hand it
over. It's my turn to have it." Reluctantly he would hand it back.
We soon put a stop to that though; we bought another
Bible. But that didn't help much. No, I would be reading something
interesting and say, "I didn't know this before," and Roy would say,
"Rose, come, see what I've found in mine." I'd say, "Honey, if you knew
what I'm reading here, you'd close yours and come and see what I've
What do you think we were looking for? We wanted to
read with our very own eyes just what the minister had said at Jack's
funeral—that he went right straight to heaven, and that he was there
waiting day by day for mother and dad to join him. The minister said he
was up there singing with the angels and praising God. He had also said,
"Take the shape of the grave; it's the shape of a doorway. Jack passed
right through that doorway and went straight to heaven."
Another minister calling on us and trying to console
us in our grief said, "You shouldn't feel so bad about Jack. You should
feel good over the whole thing. Why," he said, "you are the parents of
For many years I had done professional singing and
playing for funeral homes. I guess I have listened to literally hundreds
of funeral sermons by pastors of different denominations, and they all
preached the departed ones right straight up to heaven. I don't know
that any ever went down, regardless of their character. I do remember a
poor man in Moscow, Idaho, who committed suicide. The preacher didn't
say where he went—whether he went up or down. He just left him hanging
in space. I was so indoctrinated with that belief that the moment it was
all over in Jack's room, I rushed out and down the corridor, threw open
the doors, and went out on the balcony. I wanted to see Jack's spirit
ascend toward heaven. I didn't know what I would see, but I thought I
was going to see something. Hadn't we read an illustrated magazine
article just a short time before about a man's photographing the spirit
leaving a body? But I didn't see anything, not a thing but the cold
stars, shining above.
When we started studying the Bible, we started reading
it just as a little child reads his first primer. We didn't know where
to find anything. We had to search for what we were looking for. Did we
read anyplace that Jack went straight to heaven, and that he was waiting
day by day for mother and dad to join him up there? Did we read anyplace
that he was up there singing with the angels and praising God? Or did we
read anything to lead us to believe that we were the parents of an
angel? No, we didn't find anything that even sounded like that. But we
found verse after verse telling us Jack was asleep in the grave, waiting
for Jesus to call him. We read such scriptures as Ecclesiastes 9:5: "The
living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything," and
Psalm 115:17: "The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down
We were a little disappointed, but the Bible is true.
God never makes any mistake, and He knows what is best for us. In
looking for these scriptures, we found many other things that we didn't
know were in the Bible before.
One evening Roy looked up from his Bible and said,
"Rose, every time I open my Bible, it doesn't make any difference where,
from the very beginning all the way through the New Testament, I read
something about the commandments of God."
I had noticed that too. Roy asked, "Rose, what are the
commandments of God?"
"I don't know, honey, unless they are the Ten
Commandments. I don't know that God has any other commandments."
"Well," he said, "just what are the Ten Commandments?"
"Why," I said, "you should know what the Ten
Commandments are! Everyone knows what they are. You're not supposed to
lie and steal."
"Oh, yes," he said, "I know that, but I'd like to read
them. Where are they in the Bible?"
I said, "I'm sure I don't know, but we'll find them."
By this time we had discovered that the concordance
could be a help to us. We soon found where the Ten Commandments were.
Perhaps I read a little faster than Roy did, for I found something about
halfway down the list that I didn't want him to see. He asked so many
questions! He was always asking me questions that I couldn't answer, and
I didn't want him to see this. I tried to call his attention to
He said, "Sh, don't say anything, honey. I'm reading
something I never knew before."
So I turned back and read it again.
"Why," he said, "Rose, I never knew before that the
seventh day is the Sabbath!"
Well, I just did not want to talk about that.
He said, "Is Sunday the seventh day of the week?"
"Of course not There's the calendar. Sunday is the
first day of the week; Saturday is the seventh."
"Well," he said, "this doesn't make sense to me. Here
it says plainly that the Sabbath of the Lord thy God is the seventh day
of the week, and we worship on Sunday, the first day of the week."
Then I thought about what I had been taught, and said,
"Roy, you know that was changed."
"Oh," I said, "at the resurrection of Christ" It had
been taught to me that way all my life.
"Is there a scripture authorizing the change?"
"Of course. There's scripture for everything."
"Where is it? I want to read it." "It will be easy to
"What does it sound like?" Roy asked; "I'd like to
read it now."
I said, "It goes something like this: 'In
commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, the seventh-day Sabbath was
changed to Sunday, the first day of the week, and now it is called the
"Oh," he said.
Back to the concordance we went.
Roy said, "What shall we look for first?"
"Let's look up all the scriptures that mention the
first day of the week."
We found them, one by one. We found eight or nine
different places. When we had finished reading them, they hadn't helped
us one bit.
Roy said, "They don't have anything to say about the
change of the Sabbath."
We searched all evening for that text, and we couldn't
find it. Roy was working out in the fields at this time; and as he left
early the next morning, he said, "Rose, if you don't do anything else
today, find that scripture for me! I want to read it."
I said, "Don't worry, honey; I'll have it for you."
And I didn't do very much else that day but read and search feverishly.
I knew that I had to produce that scripture, or else. Roy came in that
evening from work. After supper he helped me with the dishes as he
always did, and then we went back to study. He sat down at his side of
the table, opened his Bible, and said, "Rose, where is the text? I've
been thinking about it all day. Where is it? I want to read it."
I said, "Roy, I couldn't find it."
"You couldn't find it? Well, did you look?"
"Honey, I haven't done very much else. I've hunted all
day for it, and I can't find it."
He looked straight at me and said, "Rose, do you mean
to tell me that you really don't know where this scripture is?"
"No, Roy, I don't know."
"Well," he said, "do you mean to tell me that you have
been going to Sunday school and church all your life on Sunday, the
first day of the week, when the Bible plainly tells us here that the
seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God?"
"Well, all I've got to say to you is that you're a
fine Christian! You've been at me for over twenty-five years to go to
Sunday school and church with you, telling me where I was going if I
didn't go with you, and you don't even know why you have been going on
the first day of the week!"
I said, "No, Roy, I don't know why."
"We're going to find out. I want to know."
"How can we find out?" I asked.
We both hunted, we read, we searched; but we had no
one to help us.
"We'll get someone to help us," Roy suggested; "you
have many minister friends in the city."
I did know several ministers because of my contact
with them in funeral work.
"We're going to invite one of your friends and his
wife to come out and have dinner with us some night," Roy continued; "I
want him to find that scripture for me."