Escape From Death

The Slaybaugh Story

By Rose Slaybaugh



Tomorrow came. Pastor Nightingale came out early on Thursday afternoon. This time he said, "Mrs. Slaybaugh, could we sit up to the dining-room table and have our study there today?"

"Why, yes," I said. I wondered a little bit, because we had always had our studies in the living room. "Come right on into the dining room here."

He said, "Brother Slaybaugh, you sit at the end of the table, I'll sit here, and Sister Slaybaugh, you sit right here between us." After prayer he opened the Bible, read a few texts, and then he said, "Sister Slaybaugh, the ladies in our church don't use any make-up."

I said, "They what!"

"No, they don't use any make-up."

"None at all?"

"None at all."

Well, I wondered what I would look like without it. I didn't use much, but no one ever saw me without a little make-up on. But I looked over at Roy watching me intently, and thought, "Honey, if you can give up smoking, something that really meant something to you, surely I can wash my face!"

So I said, "All right, Pastor Nightingale." And I started wiping it off and trying to clean up. "The next time you see me, I'll have my face scrubbed with soap and water, and I'll keep it that way." Why, there wasn't anything to that!

He said, "I knew you would."

But that wasn't all. He read a few more texts. Then he said, "Mrs. Slaybaugh, the ladies in our church don't wear jewelry."

I said, "They what!"

"They don't wear jewelry. None at all."

Now I wondered what I would look like. No makeup, no jewelry; I would feel as if I were just half dressed! But again looking at Roy, I said, "All right, honey, if you can give up smoking, I can give up jewelry."

I looked at Pastor Nightingale and said, "All right, off they come." I reached up and unscrewed the first earring, and the next one. Then I reached back and unfastened a lovely strand of pearls, and as I was slipping a bracelet over my left hand, I looked at my rings.

"Oh," I said, "you didn't mean my rings! You didn't mean these, did you?"

He said, "Mrs. Slaybaugh, the ladies in our church don't wear rings."

"Oh," I said, "please, please, don't take these away from me! I've worn them so many years; they've been tokens of love so many years. Please don't take these away from me!"

He looked at Roy and said, "Mr. Slaybaugh, would you love Rose any less if she took them off?"

I reached my hand over to Roy and he slipped them off, for I had said, "If they ever come off, he's going to have to take them off." And as he was slipping them off I started to cry. Don't we women cry over the silliest things? While I was having my little crying spell, Roy got up and gathered together all that junk and carried it to the back of the house. I've never seen any of it to this day.

One time I did ask him, "Roy, what did you do with all my pretty things?" (I had a lot of them.)

He said, "Did you ever hear of the melting pot? They went in for missions-perhaps to save another soul for Christ's kingdom."

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has high standards because they are God's standards. What a privilege and honor it is to be a member of God's church, to know the prophecies of His Word, and to be a member of the church that is waiting for Him!

Later, after we had had a beautiful study on tithing, Roy and I walked out to the granary and looked at the hundreds upon hundreds of sacks of wheat, all neatly piled, waiting to be marketed. We had had a big harvest that year. The Lord surely had blessed in the growing of those beautiful fields of grain.

Roy said, "Look, Rose, the Lord has given all this to us, and He only asks in return, not a half, not a third, or even a fourth, but only one tenth."

Tithing has proved to us to be one of the greatest blessings we enjoy in our Christian experience. It is such an honor to have a little part in helping spread the gospel to others, to be laborers together with God. (1 Corinthians 3:9.)

We were now cleaned up and fit to become members of God's remnant church. We were baptized that Friday night together with a large group, a part of the 165 people who were baptized during the Spokane meetings.

But I almost forgot to tell about Joe—dear old brother Joe!

After harvest was over, he went back to Pomeroy, Washington, and had a "round" with his minister, and he told Joe the same as the ministers had told us. But it wasn't long before he came back to Spokane, and Pastor Nightingale baptized him. He's a fine Seventh-day Adventist today.

Our dear old mothers (our fathers have been dead many years) later discussed the matter of baptism. One said to the other, "Mother, don't you think it's time that we were keeping the seventh-day Sabbath as God has asked us to? All our lives we've been breaking the fourth commandment and teaching our children to do the same."

Roy's mother was past eighty-five years, and my mother past seventy-five, when Pastor Nightingale tenderly helped those two old great-grandmothers down into the baptismal pool. It wasn't many years until they were both laid to rest.

The meetings in the tabernacle closed for a while. Pastor Nightingale was going to have a little rest before he started a second series. But we had work to do. There were many relatives to visit and tell what we had learned. I don't think it was selfishness, for if we have something good, we first like to share it with our loved ones. Today we have fifteen of our own family in the church with us, and several more are studying the Bible. We bought all the Bibles we could get at the tabernacle. First we visited several of Roy's family, telling them what we had learned and leaving them Bibles and other literature. Then we went to my youngest brother's home near Seattle, Washington. We always considered his wife to be the sincerest Christian in the family. She was a church member and very earnest in her religion, so we thought she would be the first one to listen to us.

But she wouldn't even stop her work to listen. My brother, however, said right away, "This is the most reasonable thing I've ever heard."

Finally his wife couldn't stand it any longer and said, "Roy, if you were reading out of the Holy Bible instead of that Seventh-day Adventist Bible, I'd sit down and listen to you."

Roy said, "This is a Holy Bible, a King James Version, just like yours."

"Oh, no, it isn't;' she said. "I've read my Bible through several times, and I've never read anything like what you're reading."

I spoke up and said, "Roy, close that Bible and let's use hers."

"Well, that's different," she said, and handed Roy her Bible.

He opened it and again read the same things concerning God's commandments. She had to acknowledge that she had never gotten the true meaning of parts of it before.

Pastor L. W. Halstead and Pastor H. W. Jewkes were holding evangelistic meetings in their home town, so we left them in their care. In six months they, with their daughter, were baptized and joined the church.

From there we drove on over the Cascade Mountains to another one of Roy's brothers. I tried to bring up the purpose of our visit. We wanted to tell them what we had learned about the changing of the Sabbath and who was responsible for it. But they were just not interested. Soon the sister-in-law looked at the clock and said, "Rose, if you don't mind, I'd better start preparing dinner, as we have a roomer and boarder."

"Oh," I said, "anyone we know?"

"No, I don't think so. One of the professors here in school couldn't find any other place to stay, so he is living with us. He'll soon be home, and, Rose, we'd better not talk about religion while he's here."

Just then Roy's brother, coming from the living room, said, "No, folks, we don't want to talk about religion tonight. We think a lot of this man. He's a member of the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, he studied for the priesthood. We don't want to embarrass him in any way."

Here was the occasion Roy and I had prayed for many times while we were studying alone. Many times we wished we had an intimate friend of that faith that we could talk with. Now we were to meet this man, sit at the table with him, sleep under the same roof; and we had been forbidden to talk about religion!

Soon he came home. After the introductions were over, he went into the living room and turned on the radio for the five o'clock news. It was all about war. When the news was over, he turned off the radio, and I heard him say, "As soon as this war is over, we'll have a few short years of seeming peace, and then we'll go into our third and last war, which will finish with the Battle of Armageddon."

I almost threw the potatoes I was mashing all over the floor! What did this man know about the Battle of Armageddon?

After dinner was over and we were all seated in the living room, the conversation turned to the subject of war. The roomer went on telling of the terrible things that were soon coming upon the world. He didn't hesitate to tell what his church taught, and he seemed to know the meaning of the prophecies of the Bible as we had just learned them. I listened awhile, and then I thought, "I must ask him just one little question." So I watched for my chance. There was a lull in the conversation; then I looked at him and said, "I'd like to ask you a question."

"Yes," he said, "what is it, Mrs. Slaybaugh?"

"My question is a very frank question, and if you don't want to answer it, we'll just forget all about it."

"Well," he said, "what kind of question is it—about religion?"

"Oh, yes, very much so."

He said, "Go ahead and ask me. I like to discuss religions of all kinds."

Out it came. I said, "Do you Catholic people as a whole openly admit that your church changed the day of worship from the seventh day to the first day of the week?"

He sat back and smiled and said, "Didn't you know that? Of course we did."

"Tell us about it," I urged.

He told us all about when it happened, why it happened, and where it happened. He said, "Now, I'm going to tell you something, and it's going to be mighty frank. Did you know that all you Protestants aren't anything but Catholics after all? And you're cheap Catholics!"

I said, "Why are we cheap Catholics?"

"Don't you take the Bible for all your doctrines?"

"Of course we do."

"But," he said, "you don't. Where in the Bible will you find one word authorizing the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week? Saturday is the Bible Sabbath. Sunday was set aside by our church, and for our church only. But all you Protestants have taken our day of worship. You have no right to. You're cheap in taking our day of worship because you dishonor all of our other holy days and feast days and our masses. Another thing: Where in the Bible will you find the doctrine of infant baptism or sprinkling? These observances were introduced by our church. But almost all of you Protestants have taken up our doctrine of baptism. For over a thousand years after Christ the Catholic Church baptized by immersion. Now I see you're also starting to light candles and set them around. I know, because I attend your churches."

"Did you say all Protestants are doing these things?" I asked.

"All except one little denomination."

"Who could that possibly be?" I asked.

"The Seventh-day Adventists."

I said, "Oh, oh, oh—"

His face turned red, and he asked, "Are you Seventh day Adventists?"

I said, "Yes, sir, brand-new ones."

"I would stick my neck out! I thought you were all Presbyterians. Good for you! Seventh-day Adventists are the only denomination in existence that is living according to the way the Bible teaches. It takes men and women of courage to live according to the teachings of the Bible."

I said, "Brother, if you know so much, what are you doing about it?"

But that's another story, one that we can't go into now.

When Roy and I reached home, we wanted to go out and share our new faith with others. We thought we would like to hold some meetings. We asked Pastor Nightingale about it, and he said, "Go, by all means, with my blessing. You'll have my prayers."



Some time later Roy and I decided that we would like to go out alone with the Lord's help to do missionary work. We had always lived inland and had never seen the ocean, so we decided that we would like to go out to the Pacific coast. We leased our farm, stored our furniture, and said good-by to all of our new friends. We left Spokane the last of February and drove to Portland, Oregon, and then southward. Every little town we came to we stopped and inquired, "Is there a Seventh day Adventist church here?" The answer was almost always "yes."

Finally we were 350 miles south of Portland, at Gold Beach, Oregon, at the mouth of the Rogue River. We asked if there was a Seventh-day Adventist church there and found that there were only two churches, a Catholic church and a Community church. There were no Seventh-day Adventists there.

Roy and I decided that this would be the place to stop for a while. We rented a pretty little house on the north bank of the river. Gold Beach proper is on the south side of the Rogue River. We also bought a small tract of land about four and a half miles south of town.

One day after we had been there several weeks, I said to Roy, "Do you know that we came down here to do missionary work, and we haven't done one thing about it?"

"I've been thinking about that myself. Perhaps we'd better start in; but how shall we start, Rose, down here where we don’t know anybody?"

"Let's start today," I said. "I'm going to call on our neighbor that lives across the way."

"What are you going to say to her?"

"Oh," I said, "don't worry about that. I'll find something to say."

We had prayer, and then Roy said, "You run along, and while you're gone I'll be praying for you."

I knocked at her door, introduced myself, and she started to apologize for not calling on me.

"That's all right, we're just a little lonely here," I said. "I just wondered if you have any fancywork books or crochet patterns that you would lend me."

"No," she said, "I don't do anything like that. But come in and sit down."

That was all I wanted. I hurriedly looked around the room to see if I could tell what church they might belong to. On a little table just within reach was a beautiful new Bible. I could hardly keep my hands off it. We talked of this and that, and then finally I reached out and said, "What a beautiful new Bible you have!"

"Yes," she said, "isn't it pretty? Charley just got it for me for a Christmas present. I did have an old Seventh-day Adventist Bible around here, but after Charley bought my new one, I gave it to an old man up the river who had always wanted a Bible. I didn't think it would hurt him. It never hurt us any!"

I said, "Was that Bible any different from this one?"

"No," she said, "not one bit different, not a word different. We used to compare the two."

Then she told me that she called it a Seventh-day Adventist Bible because she had purchased it from a colporteur who was a Seventh-day Adventist.

"Well," I said, "I don't think they're different. In fact, I know they're not different. Are you people church members?"

"I haven't joined any church yet. I haven't decided which one I'm going to join. Charley just joined the Presbyterian Church. He was baptized not long ago."

"Isn't that nice?" I said. "We're just new Christians, and we're studying the Bible. Wouldn't it be nice if we could study it together?"

"That would be nice."

"How would it be if we started tonight?" I asked. "Could you come over tonight?"

"We'd enjoy that."

I said, "You come up tonight, and we'll have a study on baptism." I knew how that man had been baptized. Hadn't I been a member of that church myself at one time? I added, "Bring Midge along with you." Midge was their teen-age daughter.

"We never could get Midge interested in Sunday school," my neighbor answered, "and now she's going to graduate from high school and she's planning to be married. All she can think about is dancing and parties and having a good time."

We had several prayer meetings that afternoon, for we were starting all alone. We prayed that God would send His Holy Spirit to help us to be tactful and give the message in its true light.

By evening we were all ready for them. We had the screen and the projector and a pictured Bible study all ready. After a study from the Bible, we turned the lights out and had one with the filmstrip.

When Roy turned the lights on, our neighbor looked at his wife and said, "Why, Esther, that minister over there didn't tell me the truth about baptism! I haven't been baptized at all! The Bible says plainly that we must be put clear under the water."

Roy said, "Yes, you must be put all the way under the water."

At first it was a little difficult to get Midge interested in the Bible. She had a few studies with us and then gave it up. She was a typical girl, and one of the most popular ones in school. She was planning to be married. She didn't have time for religion. Then something happened. She came up to the house one day and said, "Mrs. Slaybaugh, will you please forgive me for treating you the way I have lately?"

"Why, Midge, what have you been doing to me?"

"You know that I have been ignoring you. But would you please give me Bible studies again?"

So we started all over with her. It wasn't long before Midge was baptized. When her fiancé found out that she had taken up religion, he wasn't too sure about marrying Midge. He still wanted Midge, but she said, "You can never have me without my religion, because my religion is my life."

Of course Midge felt bad when she gave him up. She came up and told me about it. I said, "Now, honey, don't feel too bad about this. We'll pray about it, and perhaps the Lord will send another young man into your life."

It wasn't very long before Midge came running up to our little home, all excited. "Oh, Mrs. Slaybaugh, I've met another young man! A brother of one of my school chums! He's just been discharged from the army, and he's asked me for a date. Do you think it would be all right for me to go out with him?"

"Midge, don't come and ask me these things," I protested; "ask your mother."

"Mother doesn't know what I should do."

"Well, then," I said, "I'll talk to you like I would if you were my own daughter. How would that be?"

"That's what I want."

"This young man isn't a Christian, is he?" I asked.

"Oh, no, he doesn't know anything about the Bible. The Bible has never been permitted in his home."

"Midge, what would the Lord say about this? You know in 2 Corinthians 6:14 He tells us not to be 'unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness?"'

"I know that, and that's what I'm worried about," Midge answered soberly. "What am I going to do about it?"

"Dear, he will either drag you down to his level, or you can bring him up to your level. Now how about it?"

Her eyes danced, and she said, "If it's left up to me, I'll have him right where I am. I'll start teaching him what I've learned."

So Midge invited Bud to come to our home, and we started Bible studies with him. He understood readily and took a great interest in the studies. Then he started reading for himself, and it wasn't long before he, too, was baptized and joined the church. Then the two young people were married. In their home in Gold Beach church services were held for a long time.

We continued with our Bible studies. I would call from door to door, inviting the folks to come and study with us. I found many people who were interested in the teachings of the Bible but had no one to help them. Night after night, every night in the week, they came, until we couldn't crowd any more into the house. Then we asked Pastor C. A. Striven, who at that time was president of the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, to send us some help. This he willingly did. He arranged for Pastors H. D. Strever and W. D. Blehm and their wives to come and hold meetings.

We secured a large hall over a store building from a Mr. Lieth. It was a nice place, and he let us have the building without any rent. The Lord richly blessed in those meetings, because it wasn't very long until we could organize a little church of eighteen members. This was the kind of work we were doing when tragedy struck our home the second time without a moment's warning.