Friday, 7 September 2012

DEATH OF A FALSE TEACHER.

Previously, I wrote about the false teacher that misled me when I attended his church. I believed he was sent from God and had direct communication with him and his "holy spirits." In fact, he convinced me that the spirits of departed Christians would sometimes use his body to preach their messages to us.

When he had skin cancer and passed away on this date in 1981, I felt deeply devastated. From my upcoming How I Was Razed memoir, here is an excerpt that shows how devoted I was to this phony prophet.

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Following one Sunday service near the end of August, Sister Roberta informed her daughter, "Brother Herald is very ill and isn't expected to live for much longer. Would you like to come with me and visit him in hospital?"

When Sister Eileen agreed, I asked, "Could I come along with you?"

"He doesn't want a lot of people crowding around him," Sister Roberta warned. "You better not come along. You'll only upset him."

"Please let me come," I begged. "I don't think Brother Herald will be upset. I've been coming to this church for years so I have a right to visit him, don't I?"

"Well, all right but don't you dare do anything to upset him."

The three of us arrived at the hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

"Which room is he in?" Sister Eileen asked. "I forgot to ask the desk nurse."

As I was about to reply, I heard Brother Herald's distinctive cough. "He's over there," I pointed toward a doorway in a hall adjacent to the elevators.

When I caught sight of our teacher, his appearance startled me. An intern had shaved his head, exposing purple splotches all over his scalp.

"They had to cut off my hair to treat the cancer," Brother Herald explained as I stared.

I fidgeted and shuffled my feet as I stood by his bed. "I sure miss you at church," I mumbled after an awkward silence.

"I'm glad you came to visit," he croaked. "I miss being with you too. I've been through a lot of pain."

The two women took over, chatting with him until we left.

I sat lost in thought an hour later as Sister Eileen drove her mother and me home. Brother Herald often said, "I guess I won't be around much longer." All of a sudden, his impending death loomed.

"The hospital just phoned," Sister Roberta notified her daughter as we walked down the front porch steps after the next Sunday service. "He's very weak and they say he's not likely to last the night."

I halted and stared at Sister Roberta, the worried tone in her voice sending a chill of fear through me. "Can I see him too?" I blurted.

Sister Roberta glared. "No, you may not. You won't want to see him. He's very week and can hardly talk."

I stifled an angry retort as my mind filled with memories of previous slights. That woman always seemed to stand between Brother Herald and me whenever I wanted to see him.

As I lay on the couch after supper the next evening, listening to a New Testament cassette, the phone rang. I fought a stab of abdominal pain as I staggered to the phone in the kitchen.

"I have some bad news to tell you," Sister Eileen said without preamble. "Brother Herald passed away today."

I felt like somebody trapped in a plummeting elevator. "What are we going to do now that he's gone?"

"I don't know." She sounded as bewildered as I felt. "We'll carry on somehow."

"I feel kind of lost, you know?"

"I do too. I've known Brother Herald all my life and now he's gone."

"Who'll teach us now?"

"We still have all his teachings which Mother transcribed. God might also give one of us a prophetic ministry."

"I hope so."

Following a prolonged silence, I remembered to ask, "When's the funeral?"

"I'll let you know. I don't know at the moment."

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In my How I Was Razed memoir, I relate many more vignettes of my house church experience as well as how I eventually learned the truth. God willing, it will be in print by the end of the year.