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Our Stories - The Religious Clown Car

Seek The Truth Blog

Our Stories - The Religious Clown Car:

In the "Message", there are a variety of strange beliefs that go far beyond what William Branham said during his sermons and revivals. Each person who came into the "Message" had different religious backgrounds and those backgrounds often influenced their "Message" beliefs in many ways. Especially the pastors.

If a pastor came out of a Pentecostal church, the "Message" church will have a strong mixture of mainstream Pentecostalism and William Branham's altered version of Pentecostalism: Branhamism. If a pastor was Methodist, a mixture of Branhamism and Methodist. There's Baptist Branhamism, Apostolic Branhamism, and more. This cafeteria-style "non-denominational" variety of beliefs has created many divided "Message" churches.

Our "Message" church had elders that came out of the Amish, which had its own unique set of problems. Some of them were quite funny. The majority of the church had little or no experience with the Amish, yet some of the elders tried to enforce a very strict, very rigid set of rules similar to their religious background. We all must have looked really funny to other people -- "Message" or not -- when the men gathered for gender-segregated swimming in the "cement pond" forced to swim in blue jeans and t-shirts instead of swimming trunks.

One memory stands out among all the rest, and I often laugh when thinking about it. Our church was in the hills, and most of the younger crowd drove about forty minutes to a bigger city for a meal after dinner. Because of the Amish influence, boys were not permitted to ride with girls. On one particular Sunday, there were only two girls, one of which had a large sedan with empty seats. There were eleven boys, with only two vehicles -- one of which drove off with all four seats filled without realizing the "Amish Message" rule. The remaining car was a tiny sports car with four tiny bucket seats.

The former Amish elder stood there making sure we all obeyed the rule, sending the two girls off with their big, plush, empty seats, and helping the boys into the sports car. We had the driver and front passenger with a boy laying across both front seats in their lap. We had the back two passengers with a boy laying across both back seats in their lap. And one poor fellow lay on top of all of this, headfirst from the front end of the car to the back on top of everyone. It was like a human game of Jenga! For what ended up to be a forty-five-minute drive!

When we pulled into the restaurant parking lot and started pouring out of the car, I'm sure we were quite a riot. We could feel the eyes of the people near the windows staring at us as we unstacked each other, taking an occasional knee to the face or foot to the groin. It was like a clown car, but without our round, shiny red noses! We were "Message" clowns!