Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Our Nation Is to Be Destroyed… Tomorrow-Part 1

Should I?
This is the question that has been rolling inside of me for almost two years. Should I write about this story …or not? To be honest, my opinions, angst, and fears have traveled the spectrum. I remember the day this story came to my attention; I filed it away in a folder. Since that time, I have pondered & prayed, and I believe it’s something to talk about now

I seem to be drawn to this curious turn of events that proclaimed a message from the Ozark hills. This message is documented from its’ genesis in Norfork & Mountain Home, Arkansas, then traveling to New York, London, Los Angeles, and back to Harrison, Arkansas. It is here where finial court decisions were made, while the finial court of public opinion was made in the local newspapers and abroad.

As we walk through this story, I ask you, Dear Reader, to tread with me lightly through this chronicle with respect, reverence, and devotion to the Guiding Hand that leads us in this life and the wayfarers along its’ path.  It is not my desire to expose another pilgrim’s progress for trivial sport or gain.  I pray we may all glean from past mistakes and endeavor to undergird the souls along our path.

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself."     Galatians 6:1-3

TEOTWAWKI is a popular acronym on the internet that stands for: The End Of the World As We Know It. I have heard “The End” preached from fiery pulpits and the “Glorious Return” echoed from familiar hills as a child, and I still believe it. I am not here to scoff at this doctrine. This is one reason I didn't want to write about this incident. Additionally, I do not want anyone to construe these following articles as such, but they enclose the warning to all to read the scriptures with a heart pointed toward heaven.

Word & Phrase Meanings
As we read along the next few weeks, I hope you will notice certain words & phrases in the coming blogs that are not commonly used in today’s vernacular.  Here are just a few that caught my eye:
• So I joined the Campbellites….So I went to the Church of Christ.
• The long stream of tobacco juice flew unerringly to the adjacent cuspidor, … The long stream of tobacco juice flew unerringly to the adjacent spittoon.
• A petulant wife…A grouchy or ill-tempered wife.
• Spects I’d consider myself doggoned well fooled…I expect I would consider myself a fool.
• He had swallowed a bit of his chaw…He swallowed a bit of his chewing tobacco.

I hope you enjoy the story.

A soiled frayed rather weary looking apostle held communion with his spirit in the Municipal Lodging House, at 398 First avenue, and solemnly declared that Sept. 1, this year, will witness the destruction of the peoples of the new world. Having rid himself of this weighty piece of information he fastened his eyes sternly on his solitary auditor and declared impressively: “And I am the Christ, new-born, who shall teach the people of the old when they cometh, so that there shall be an earthly Paradise.”

Thus saying, Samuel Willhite, thirty –five, residence Norfolk, Baxter County, Arkansas, who for the present is the honored guest at the city’s First avenue hostelry, cocked his feet up on a nearby table, dexterously tilted the long pine bench upon which he sat back until he rested against the wall, and – spat. The long stream of tobacco juice flew unerringly to the adjacent cuspidor, nor soiled so much as a single stain the well-scrubbed floor in its passing.

What else would the people know of me?”

The superb assurance and consummate ease of the man were astounding. By his own confession the total amount of his worldly goods are $11 cash in the safe of the Charities Bureau. A petulant wife and five small children are with him dependent upon him. In less than two months he has spent the savings of years – some four hundred and odd dollars – in traveling from Arkansas to England and back again to New York, merely that he might warn people of their impending doom.

He’s Going to Stay
Appealingly his auditor murmured something about the story of his life and its benefit to posterity

Sternly he made answer: "There will be no posterity, except mine own. From mine own lips shall they know the story – so saith the spirit.”

The pale blue eyes flashed: “I said” the accent on the word was most emphatic – I said I should stay to receive others when they come, from me shall they learn the word of God, my Father. They shall be my people. Of me and mine shall the new world be the home.

Timorously the supposition was put to him: “Suppose this doesn’t happen, Mr. Willhite? Suppose you find us here on Sept. 2, alive and well, what would you do?

Mr. Willhite spat again then answered confidently: “It will come as I prophesy; so saith the spirit.”

“But if it shouldn’t, will you then hold to your faith? Will you think yourself Christ?”

Might Be Fooled, Doggonit
A gleam of something akin to humor shone for an instant in the obstinate eyes. “Spects I’d consider myself doggoned well fooled in that case,” he replied.

It cannot be,” he shouted. It cannot be. I am he that liveth and is dead. Behold, I am alive forevermore, and have the keys of death and hell. I am chosen of God – chosen for the sealed mission set by John the Revelator on the Isle of Patmos. Three seals have been broken unto me – the fourth is in the breaking. Three of them have I well preformed; the fourth I am performing. Beware of the sign of Jonah. I say unto ye, yea to all the people, beware the sign of Jonah, for verily thy time cometh.”

By now the prophet was on his feet and in full action. Brandishing his arms, his eyes flashing, he strode to and fro in the narrow space between the long tables, emitting a continuous flow of scriptural vehemence. Pleas and protastations were unveiling; nothing sufficed to stop him until he inadvertently he had swallowed a bit of his “chaw.” That brought him to a stop: all standing, and for several moments he choked and coughed until tears came to his eyes. When to a degree he had recovered himself, he was meek as a lamb, and readily sat down and reviewed the history of his life.

Jail Was a “Penance”
On one point he is absolutely positive, and that is that his incarcerations in the jail for three months at South McAllister, Indian Territory, was a piece of penance divinely imposed. Quoting the second verse, sixth chapter of Revelations, he declared that he was the man with the bow-bow – not hoe – that he had ridden the gray horse and he had not stolen him as he was accused of doing.

“That was the way I won my crown,” he declared. “Thus I gained the keys of my kingdom.”

The verse in Revelations to which Mr. Willhite alludes reads: “And I came and behold a white horse, and he that sat on him had a bow, and he went forth crying and to conquer. “

It was after reading this verse some years ago, Mr. Willhite declares, that he left his modest little home and family in Cameron, Indian Territory, and went forth into the highway to conquer. His destination was Fort Smith, I. T. – a long distance away for a man afoot. A gray horse appeared providentially in one of the fields by the wayside. To quote the prophet further, he had no sooner saw the horse than he “rode like a lion – so saith the Bible – down upon the man who owned the horse, and preached with such power that he placed the saddle on the horse with his own hands and gave him into my keeping.

Sparing Mr. Willhite’s tears at this point, it will not be related all that happened to him thereafter. To state it briefly, a delegation of citizens waited upon him before he reached his destination, and it was doubtless a rare chance that landed him in jail to be tried as a horse thief rather than – well, that’s the tearful part of it. At any rate he was found guilty by the judge, but sentenced to three months in jail.

A couple of years after his release, he declares he was “preachin’ some, farmin’ er little, n’ mainly merchandising. First one thing, n’ then ernother all the time.” Then came a time when his preaching stirred up the Baptist residents of Baxter County, Arkansas, so powerfully that they gave him “th’ voice to preach.” Which means they all could to encourage him in “regular sermonizing without actually ordaining” him.

But not until Mr. Willhite went into “merchandising” at Norfork, Ark., years ago, did he really begin to prosper. He acquired a store, a stock of goods, twelve head of cattle, a span of horses, and a wagon. It was about this time that his “mission” came to him, and he started to disseminate the words of the seals. (The seals were put on the mission by John the Revelator on the Isle of Patmos.) As often as a seal was broken and its contents revealed to him, he dropped all work and went forth on the highways, spreading their teaching to the ungodly. “Between seals” he sold goods.

Last Message June 1
These messages of three seals did he scatter broadcast in this fashion, retiring each time to his home and family, when on the night of June 1 last, the warning of the fourth seal was made known unto him. Thus spake the spirit, he declares: “In ninety days shall the unexpected come to pass. Go thou among the accursed; say unto them that destruction is near. Let them prepare – bid them prepare.”


Our Nation Is to Be Destroyed…Tomorrow.
Part II Coming Soon

Comments? My email address is: vincent.a@baxtercountylibrary.org

Works Cited:
Our Nation Is To Be Destroyed.” Evening World 48:16,807 (27 Aug. 1907): 4. Chronicling America. The Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. 11 Jan. 2008 http://www.chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/.

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