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CHAPTER SEVENGo Out West
I LEFT THE BIBLE TRAINING SCHOOL BEFORE THE TERM WAS over. I left it in disgust, for what I had begun to suspect was true. When I entered that school, I expected it to be able to give me absolute proof of the story with which it was coming to the world There was no hesitance about telling the world that it was hopelessly lost unless it believed that story. Never did the Baptists leave the slightest loophole for escape - you either believe this or you'll be damned - God said so. I did not believe that, and very frankly said so.
I must tell you how I came to leave so unexpectedly. One morning a call came into the classroom for me. I was wanted in the front office. Entering, I saw Doctors Harris, McNicol, Imrie, and Stewart who, evidently, had been in conference. Entering the room, I was invited to have a seat, and after that Doctor Harris opened the conversation. "Frank, we want you to keep very humble before God; we want you to realize your Spiritual Power; we believe God has a great work for you to do; and we don't want you to spoil it. You haven't been up-to-snuff lately, and we want to pray with you." You could have knocked me down. I often think of that conference. It was a fact that there was a big work for me to do in the name and interest of God, and that work is just now, thirty-five years later, coming into fruition. However, it is not the work those good men thought I should do.
Their ideas were to have a big evangelist who could, by the power of his personality, bring men and women to the "altar" by the tens of thousands. That was not my idea, nor was it God's idea, for instead of bringing men and women to the "altar" by the tens of thousands, I am doing something very much better. I am bringing to them the truths of God, and no "altar" is necessary for that.
Instead of telling men and women that "there is none other name given under heaven whereby we may be saved," I am telling them that the Great Spirit, God, is instantly available to them, in all its Power, and that, without believing one single thing any church asks them to believe. The world is believing me. The world, so hungry for God, so disappointed at not being able to find God in the church, is turning to us here in Moscow, and finding God through the humble, though simple, message your humble and simple writer is giving.
I will tell you the amazing story of the birth and growth of this Movement later on. Let me say here that thirteen years ago this Movement was unknown. Today, numerically, it is the eighth largest religion in America, and this has been done by mail alone. We have no churches, no ministers, no priests. We operate exclusively by mail, and we advertise the religion. Don't you think the hand of God is behind us? However, I must not anticipate, but get on with the life story. (A real writer could have made a good book out of this).
Looking that group of good men straight in the eyes, I astounded them by saying, "Gentlemen: I appreciate your interest and your kindness. I am, however, afraid that I shall have to disappoint you; I shall never preach another sermon until I am convinced of the truth of the story." That threw consternation into the camp with a vengeance. They were staggered. "Do you mean to tell us that you do not believe the story of Jesus Christ?" Doctor Harris asked me. I replied that I had not been shown either proof or evidence that the story of Jesus Christ was true.
Then, I informed these good men that I came to that school to learn the truth, and instead of having the proof of the story given to me, I had been utterly convinced that the whole story was only "a belief" of the Baptist denomination, and of the whole Christian church. This they admitted, and the only encouraging word I got was to be told that I must "take the whole story on faith." Doctor McNicol said: "Frank, we very freely admit that we cannot produce evidence of the truth of this story (now listen, reader) but religion does not consist of proof - only belief." I shot back at Doctor McNicol this statement: "Then, Doctor McNicol, without the proof, is there not a possibility that your story may not be true at all?" This floored him, for he did not want to admit that. At this point, old Doctor Stewart entered the argument. "Of course, in the absence of proof of the truth of the story, we depend upon the leadings of the Spirit of God, and that Spirit tells us that the story is true." "Well, that Spirit tells me something entirely different," I replied.
It was suggested then that an immediate "prayer-meeting" be held, but I stopped that. I did not want to pray, nor did I want them praying for me. I wanted to know the actual truths of God. I did not care one whoop what the Baptist church believed, or what any other church believed. If what they believed was true, they should be able to produce the evidence, especially when the souls of millions were at stake. This evidence, the Bible School could not produce. I, on the other hand, could and did produce evidence that the story is not true, and never was true. While studying the regular curriculum, I had also been studying other religions. In those studies, I found several amazing things which I have already gone into, and into which I shall go into again later on.
I saw then, in that conference, and very clearly too, that the whole story of Jesus Christ as God is only the belief, without proof, of the Christian church. When I use the term "Christian church," I include both Catholic and Protestant and the four hundred sects which comprise the Christian church. On the other side of the ledger, there were ten other major systems of religion on the earth, some of them larger than the Christian religion, although size is irrelevant. What about all of them? Were they wrong? Were they going to hell because they did not believe what the Christian said believed. I did not hear the name of Jesus Christ mentioned in these other systems of religion, but if Jesus Christ was God Almighty, why didn't I?
I gave much thought to these other religions. They consisted of human beings, different color, perhaps, different countries, perhaps, but all creations of the one great God. I did not believe that only those who believed the Christian theology were to be saved. I might have believed it, and would have been glad to believe it, had the slightest iota of proof been submitted to me. Such proof was not available. When I really understood that the only reference in the world to Jesus Christ was in the four gospels; when I realized that no one knows who wrote them; when I recalled that one of the reasons they are in the Christian bible at all was because "animals have four legs," well, somehow or other, I demanded more evidence than that. Other religions had their bibles too. They had a different "crucified god." Some of these "crucified gods" were so similar to the Christian's "crucified god" that logic and reason must admit that the story of the later "god" was either stolen or copied from the older "god." I did not want the Christian "god." I wanted the God of the entire universe, and, by throwing away the teachings of the Bible Institute, I found the right track, and, at the proper time, found God.
A lot of water went over the dam after I walked out of that conference, for that is what I did. Those folks have never seen me from that day to this. The next day I left for the West, joined up with the Royal Northwest Mounted Police.
I have never been able to understand the years which immediately followed my leaving the Bible School. Naturally, when I discovered the truth about the Christian religion, away went all my hopes and the bottom fell out of every thing. I was disconsolate, sad, and discouraged. I had proved beyond any shadow of doubt that the whole Christian structure was made out of thin air. There was no chance that I was wrong. Of course, I could have gone "down the stream" with the rest, and there is no question but that the future would have been bright, insofar as my own future was concerned. Undoubtedly I had power on the platform and in the pulpit. Without any question there was a dynamic in my personality which would have carried me to great heights, but I could not bring myself to preach something I knew was not true. "Faith" and "belief" were not enough. Anyway, it was impossible for me to believe when I had so much evidence against the truth of the story.
Take the Hindoo "savior," Jeseus Chrishna, for instance. It is more than coincidence that fifteen hundred years before Christ was ever heard of, the whole and complete story of God, as Chrishna, was known. The virgin-born mother of Chrishna was Maia, and the virgin-born mother of Christ was Mary, which means the same. Then the rest of the stories told in the religion of the Hindoo - it just was impossible for the later edition, Christian, of that story to be true, the earlier edition being false. Yet that was what I was asked to believe. In the infinite wisdom of God, I could not imagine anyone, of any religion, or without any religion, being cast into hell-fire. Yet that was, and still is, a fundamental teaching of the Christian religion.
I weighed the whole matter very carefully and decided that rather than preach something I could not believe, and which could not be proven true, I would get as far away from it all as I could.
That night, wandering round the streets of Toronto alone and disconsolate, I did something I had never done before in my life. I went into a saloon and drank one glass of beer after another. Why, I do not know. Perhaps the shock of what I had discovered about the story of God as told me in that Baptist Bible School. I never should have taken the first glass of beer, for, as the days rolled by, more and more beer was drunk by me, and the first thing I knew, I was down and out. This, I say, had never happened before. On three different occasions, I had bought a "shantv," which was a glass of half beer and half ginger-beer, but until that night, I had never entered a saloon. However, it is more than thirty years now since any kind of liquor has touched my lips, and about all I ever drank was beer. The stuff got a hold of me, and I liked it. Anyway, what difference did it make? The future held nothing for me, and the one institution in which I had trusted for the truths of God had given me a stone when I asked for an egg. I asked it for a fish and had been given a scorpion. Why care, for I had no one dependent upon me. Why not have a "good time."
Let me repeat here that I do not want to write about the next few years. It is taking a lot of courage. I could keep quiet about it, and no one would be the wiser, but this book must be written truthfully. I must tell all. There are people who, when they read what I am about to write, will say, "I told you SO", I knew there was something wrong with that fellow." Undoubtedly the Sunday School Times, which "Christian" paper has been so bitter in its attacks on me, will come out with another article, and what it will call me, the Lord only knows. It will not upset me too much, however, for this Movement is now large enough to stand on its own feet, even with me out of the picture.
Soon, what little money I had was gone. I found myself on the streets of Toronto without a dime - no food, no home. I cared about nothing except getting money together to buy some more beer. I sold my watch to a pawnbroker, and when the money from that was gone, I sold my clothes, excepting those I wore. Every friend and acquaintance in Toronto was begged by me for money, and when they gave it to me, I made a bee-line for the nearest saloon and did not leave there until the money was gone. The downward trail - the part of my life I regret - had begun.
In relating the events of the next few years, please understand that the only one I hurt was myself. I never knowingly hurt a fly. I never took what did not belong to me. I just simply seemed to lose control of myself, so great had been the shock received in the Bible School. In this drinking business, I did it as I do everything else, with all the power I have. There were no halfway measures with me. I either went all the way or none. This time I went all the way.
One night I saw a sign that said that recruits were being enrolled for the R.N.W.M.P. Here, at last, was the chance I had been looking for - a chance to go out West and get away from everything. There, I could drink myself to death as fast as I could, for there was nothing left to live for. Inspector Fitzgerald was in charge of the recruiting. When I told him I wanted to join the Mounted Police, he told me to go home and sober up and come back the next morning. This I did, and that night I was a Constable in the Royal Northwest Mounted Police.
The trip out to Regina was a good one. Several scores of men were recruited in Toronto. All of them were not the best citizens, I assure you, but nothing mattered to me now. I wanted to get away from it all. I wanted to forget, and forget I did, just as long as l could drown my sorrows in drink. A poor way, to be sure, but I had to find that out. A couple of days later, we arrived in Regina, and were sent to Post Headquarters. Within a week, we were fitted with uniforms, and our first instructions in riding began. I had some trying times with that riding. Never having been on a horse in my life, I had a new and very "sore" experience. They gave me a horse named "Big Bill," which stood eighteen hands, and when I came off of "Big Bill," I knew I had received a fall. In those days, I was about six feet tall and weighed one hundred and fifty pounds. On one occasion, Sergeant Dann, who was riding instructor, tied into me. It was autumn, and our riding was done in the gymnasium. Round and round we went. First we walked, then we trotted, and then we ran. For some reason or other, I experienced considerable difficulty in keeping my arms close to my side while riding. They had a habit of flapping round like wings on a crow. Stopping the parade, Sergeant Dann called me to center of the gymnasium and said to Corporal Meakin, "Will you please open the window; this damned fool wants to fly out."
That night was pay-day. On the Post grounds was a restaurant where they sold beer. Getting loaded up, I spotted Sergeant Dann drinking a glass of beer at the other end of the bar. Walking up to him, I said, "So you're the famous Dann, eh? You thought you were having a lot of fun with me today in the gym, didn't you? Well, you take 'that'." "That" was a poke in the jaw which Sergeant Dann knew he had received. A bit later, just a few seconds, I discovered Sergeant Dann could "poke" harder than I could, and I went to sleep. Dann never forgot that. The next day he called me to one side and said, "Robinson, let me give you a little friendly tip. Lay off that booze or out you'll go on your ear." I replied that I was drunk when the outfit hired me, and I'd get drunk every time I had a chance. The R.N.W.M. police had other ideas, and inside of sixty days they handed me my release which was marked "Chronic Alcoholic."
This was the same Frank B. Robinson that Doctor Elmore Harris had told would "draw this world closer to the cross than it had ever been before." It began to look as if Doctor Harris had been mistaken. As for me, little cared I in those days. After every "bender," I would suffer a period of remorse, but the very next day, or as soon as I could get a dollar, into the saloon I would go and never leave there unless carried out, or thrown out. Being able to play the piano, I was usually welcome and made enough money to keep me pretty well filled up with beer most of the time. I never drank whiskey, except on a few occasions.
Taking what money I had coming from the Police, I made a bee-line for the Kings Hotel in Regina, Saskatchewan, and stayed there until every penny was gone. A few days later, I was standing outside of a drug store in Regina when the proprietor came and stood in the doorway. He passed the time of day with me, and I said, "Don't know where a feller can get a job, do you?" He asked me what sort of work I did, and I told him I was a druggist. "Well, I'm looking for a man right now, come in," he said. In I went, and was hired. When he remarked about my appearance, I told him that I had been on the Police but didn't like it so was let out. He took me to a clothing store, O.k.'d a suit of clothes, a few collars, etc., and the next day went to work for Doctor Whitmore in his drug store in Regina.
Willie Hayes, a fine chap and a singer, was working there. I don't know where Willie is now, as what I am relating happened a long time ago. Willie Hayes made arrangements at his boarding house for me, and I felt pretty good. It was nice to have a clean suit on and a good job again. I swore I never would take another drink as long as I lived. Religion?-I completely forgot that. I wanted nothing to do with it. It was a fake - a sham - it was not true, I told myself, and that was true when applied to the denominations which profess religion. Rather should I say theology - for religion and theology are different things.
Everything went swimmingly at the drug store, and I made a host of friends. Then, one day out of a clear sky, I walked into the Kings Hotel bar - and I was off again. That time I stayed drunk several weeks. When it was not possible to beg any more money, I jumped on a freight train and rode that train to the next town which was Moose Jaw. How I got another drug job in Moose Jaw, I do not know, but I did. Ed Colling was the name of the man I worked for. He liked booze as well as I did, and we would get together after the day's business was over and both get drunk in the back of the drug store. Ed drank whiskey. I drank beer, and we kept it up for many months. As a result of this, the store had to close.
I caught a freight train away out to Vancouver, B. C., and arrived there, after several weeks of tramping round and sleeping wherever I could find a place. I finally got a job with the J. A. Teepoorten Company who were wholesale druggists. "Are you a manufacturing chemist?" they asked when I applied for the job. "Oh, sure," I was a manufacturing chemist - I was anything to get a job so I could earn some more money with which to buy some more beer. That was what I was interested in, for I could drown all thoughts of God in beer. I could even drown my conscience in beer. Everything was sold - not for a mess of pottage - but for a glass of beer. Fortunately it was only beer - not anything stronger.
The first job I was given was to make a batch of lead plaster. If there is a druggist reading this book, and I imagine many druggists will read it, he will know just how hard a job making lead plaster is. You mix lead oxide with glycerine and, I believe, olive oil and then boil it in a huge boiler. You have to be careful to add the ingredients in just the proper proportion and at the proper time or the mixture will explode. That is exactly what happened to the mixture I was making. It blew up like a bomb detonating. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I had gone to my coat to get a drink, for I had come to work that morning with three bottles of beer under my coat, and I was in the cloakroom when the lead plaster went skyward. The J. A. Teepoorten Company has not seen me from that day to this. I got out, and I stayed out.
One Sunday evening I was in a saloon in Vancouver when the band of the Salvation Army struck up outside. That sort of awakened memories in me, and I went outside to listen to the music. On that particular night I had about all the beer I could drink. I never got foolish, nor did I ever make a nuisance out of myself. What I did get from drinking was a temporary respite from the remorse I could not get away from. Such a brilliant future might have been mine - "A famous preacher," they said. Then, at the very moment when the "proof of the pudding" was to be forthcoming, I was disappointed. The remorse, and the shock of this discovery nearly ruined me, for there were no limitations with me now. I didn't care what happened to me. I had looked to the church for God, and had found out God was not there.
As I stood listening to the music, tears began to well up in my eyes, and a young Salvation Army worker by the name of Delbert Box left the ring and, coming up to me, said, "What's the matter, brother? Do you want to be saved?" I informed him that I could probably tell him a few things about salvation. Then, impulsively, I said, "I'm going to end the whole damned business - I'm going lower and lower, and I don't give a damn what happens to me. Your religion is as false as hell, and I can prove it." This young Box was a far smarter boy than he looked, for he did not argue with me. What he did say nearly knocked me off my feet. "Let's go in and get another drink," said Box.
Looking at him, I said, "What do you mean-let's go in and get another drink?'' "Well, if booze is good for you, why is it not good for me, too? You're a pretty good-looking boy, you know something, come on in. I'll buy you a drink." I believe that man showed remarkable judgment, for instead of going back in the saloon and having some more beer, I said to him, "You're nobody's fool yourself. If you were willing to go in that saloon with me and buy me a drink, I'll go you one better - I'll go up to your hall with you and preach you the best sermon you've ever listened to." Box took me up, and I went with him to the hall, but I did not preach that night. After the meeting Box took me home, and I stayed there with him a week.
The memories of all these happenings, long ago as they were, are stamped on my mind and will be as long as I live. My vivid life must have a meaning. What this life was meant for is just becoming known. When the fullness of the work I am doing is complete, I probably shall not be here. In any event, those who read this book will understand why I am writing it so plainly. I want there to be no undue credit given to me. I want you to know that I am a human being, subject to the same temptations you are, and just as fallible. If it were not for the consciousness of the Power of the Spirit of God in me now, in all probability I should be back in those saloons - if I were still alive.
I agreed with Delbert Box to go to Army meetings with him on condition that he did not try to get me "saved." That was repulsive to me, knowing what I knew about the Christian structure. Box was very clever. He told me in confidence one day that he "didn't believe that salvation stuff" any more than I did, but he did like to be in the Army. "I have a future to look out for," he said. Then I understood.
Deciding to leave Vancouver, B. C. shortly after the incidents related here, I took a steamer to Victoria, a beautiful little spot on Vancouver Island. I was a good boy for quite a while, first getting a job as a lather, and later driving a Ford for the Pantorium Cleaners, which was owned then by two young fellows from Nampa, Idaho, Roy and Herschel Brown. I had good times on that job. I stayed at the Y.M.C.A. and officiated at the piano every Sunday afternoon during the meeting and the "lunch" which followed, for the Y.M.C.A. was not above having a feed every Sunday afternoon and charging for it.
The secretary of the Victoria Y.M.C.A. was Fred Witham. I called upon him at his home in Portland, Oregon, just a few months ago. We discussed old times, and Fred reminded me that in his basement he had a lathing hammer I had "soaked" with him for $1.50 while on one of my drinking spells. He promised to give me the hatchet before I left, but he either forgot, or I forgot to repay him the $1.50 with interest. Mrs. Witham is organist in a Portland, Oregon, church at this writing.
It was in Victoria where I became quite active in the church again. I joined the First Baptist church. The pastor, and was a humdinger of a Baptist preacher if I ever saw one, was the Reverend A. B. Warnicker. Later he left the ministry and went into the real estate business. That is where he belonged. He certainly never should have been a Baptist preacher, for he did not believe any more of the stories he preached than I did, and he very frankly told me so. Reverend Warnicker had a wooden leg, but had it so carefully disguised that it was not too noticeable. I went quite a long time in Victoria without a "blow-up." I was elected president of the B.Y.P.U. and vice-president of the Brotherhood. I remember them carrying me around the church on their shoulders when I was re-elected to office. Here again, my reputation for speaking ability and power became noticeable. True, I had not yet found God, but what difference did that make? The rest of the Baptists were having a good time in the church, not believing any more about it than I did, so why shouldn't I?
I called on the Reverend Warnicker one day, the same Sunday on which he preached a sermon entitled "Should a Young Stenographer Take Gifts of Jewelry from Her Employer?" That actually was the topic of his sermon that Sunday morning. What that had to do with finding the Power of God, I know not. Neither did he, for we made a dinner appointment after the sermon. We ate in a little restaurant, and I began to dig into him, asking questions as to how much he believed of what he was preaching. I told him of my experience with the Bible Training School, and then and there I discovered that the Reverend Warnicker could be placed in the same class with Robinson, Sr., Muxworthy, Wallace, Elliott, and practically every other Baptist, or any other kind of preacher I had met up with at that time. I have met good men and earnest men in the ministry, but I have met far more of the other kind.
I spoke very plainly to Warnicker. What should I do? Should I continue my search for God, or was there anything to this God proposition? Imagine my surprise when he replied directly to the above question, "Not a hell of a lot to it, Frank." Then he went on to explain that these old bible manuscripts were of questionable authority, and quite valueless historically. "There is no historicity to the Christian religion - there isn't supposed to be," he said. "The church is a good thing - it keeps people from going to worse places - but as far as finding God goes, you had better forget it, for you and I will never know anything about God this side of the tomb, and probably not much more on the other side. You keep on as you're going. You're doing all right," Warnicker told me as I closed the interview.
It was in Victoria that I became acquainted with a fellow called Scott, a plasterer. He gave me a job mixing plaster and carrying it up a ladder to him as he plastered houses. That was a tough assignment, yet I did not mind it too much, and besides, I needed the money. I knew that full well one of these days I should cut loose and go on another of those now horrible drinking spells. Scott was a member of the Victoria Salvation Army. I had about $64.00 coming from him when I decided to quit. He had quite a large check, and showing the check to me, he said, "Let's go down to the bank and get this cashed, and then I'll give you the money that is coming to you." At the bank he told me that I need not go in with him, and I, like a "simp," stayed outside. I waited a long time for Mr. Scott. I probably could be still waiting, for Scott slipped out of the side door of the bank, and I have not seen him from that day to this. Yet this man would stand on the street corner and tell the people of Victoria how he had been "saved by the blood of Jesus." Perhaps if he had not had so much salvation, I might have had my $64.00.
One evening a couple of us young fellows were feeling pretty good. We were sitting in the lobby of the Y.M.C.A. The Catholic church was across the street. My companion, one Coleman, now in Portland, Oregon, said to me, "Frank, let's go in and see what's going on." So across the street we went and into the Catholic church. There were a few people standing around about forty-eight lighted candles. There were also two money boxes and a sign on the table on which they stood told "the faithful" to put their contribution in the box, and then light some candles. How many candles could be lighted depended upon how much money they put in the box. The candles were supposed to burn up their sins or something equally ridiculous. Not having any money to put in the box, and not desiring to have our "sins" burned up with candles, Coleman suggested that we blow out the candles which were already lit. We did, and then we ran. Three priests took up the chase after us, but being "fat and forty," they never did catch us.
I remember going to Portland, Oregon, but I do not remember the boat trip back to Vancouver. However, a couple of days later, I found myself in Portland, Oregon. That was about thirty-four years ago, I imagine. What I was doing there, I do not know. I remember sitting in the lobby of the Y.M.C.A. playing the piano. One of the secretaries, Jim Palmer, got acquainted with me. He used to love to hear me pound the hymns out of that piano. By the way, Jim Palmer is still secretary of that same Y.M.C.A. I visit him nearly every time I go to Portland. During the trial, he came to Moscow as a witness for me, to swear what registration of birth I had given him about thirty-four years before. I am not sure as to these dates, but I know it was more than thirty-two years ago at the time of the trial. Incidentally, the place of my birth was always given where I was told it had occurred - New York. This is corroborated by the entry in the Long Crendon Church book to which I have referred.
The drinking spells were still the order of the day, and the Y.M.C.A. did everything it could do to straighten me up. Jim Palmer was a prince. He gave me money, saw that I had room and board at the "Y" and really did everything in his power to bring me to my senses. Jim Palmer is one man who really believes in his religion. He really believes what he preaches, and he really believes the Christian story to be both original and true. It can very easily be proved to be neither, but even if you proved that to Jim, he still would choose to believe it. If he were any other way, I wouldn't waste my time calling on him.
As far as I am concerned, he is welcome to believe it. It won't do him any harm. The only thing that Jim is missing by believing in the story of Jesus Christ is the Power of the Great Spirit - God - in his life. Jesus, having died some two thousand years ago, cannot possibly have any power in the life of anyone. But, if Jim believes hard enough, he will get some good out of it. Did not the old promoter, Paul, say that it was perfectly all right to tell lies and to believe lies for "The Kingdom of Heaven's sake?" If it was O.K. for Paul, it certainly should be O.K. for anyone else who chooses to believe the story.
Not long ago, Jim and I were talking in his office in the "Y." The conversation turned to religion. "You'll never get me to give up my faith in Jesus Christ," said Jim. "Who is trying to?" I asked. "Your believing a story has no bearing on the truth or the falsity of the story. You can believe that the moon is made of black cats if you care to, Jim, and you can believe that with all your heart and soul," I told him, adding, "but that won't make the moon full of black cats." I tried to explain to Jim, as I try to explain to hundreds of thousands of others that religion is not a case of what one "believes." It is a case of what are the facts.
It is well to remember here that no true system of religion can be founded on untruths, and the story of God Almighty crucified on a cross as Jesus Christ is an untruth. There may have been a man called Jesus Christ. He may have been crucified on a cross, for they still crucify men in Mexico every Christmas. But if there was such a man, and if he was crucified, it was as a man and not as a God. God Almighty, the Infinite Soul of everyone, was never seen by mortal eye. God, being Spirit, never could have been crucified, for the spiritual and the material are two different things. They are two different creations. They have nothing in common.
One evening in Portland, I was standing on the docks just outside the building then occupied by the Port of Portland. Seeing a good-looking fat man coming out of the office, I said to him, "Could you help me get something to eat?" Sizing me up, he said, "You're too good-looking a man to be on the bum like this, what's the matter? Can't you get a job?" I told him that was the trouble. I did not tell him that if I had a job I would work only long enough to save a few dollars and then I would get drunk. His name was Billy Eshenbaugh. He is dead now. That night he took me to his apartment in the San Marco Apartments, East 8th and Couch, in Portland. A young fellow by the name of Art Conway lived with him, and they made room for me to sleep. I slept with Art. I had dinner at the Multnomah with Art a few weeks ago. He lives in Portland and has a fine position. Art was always a good boy; he'll never set the world on fire, but neither will he do it any harm.
Over our coffee at the Multnomah, on the occasion alluded to, Art asked me if I remembered the time he and I rode home on a street car with a cat. I remembered it clearly. It seems that I was feeling particularly good that day, and from somewhere had rescued a small grey cat. I had a habit of picking up and feeding every stray cat I could find. I still do that whenever I have the time, for I don't like to see animals suffer. On this particular night, Art and I were riding across the Burnside bridge. Sitting next to me was a stout dignified lady, and Art was sitting on the other side of me. "Lady, would you like a cat?" I inquired, pulling this cat out of my pocket and placing it on the lady's lap. This lady informed me that she certainly did not want a cat and knocked pussy to the floor. "Then perhaps you would like some fish to eat," I said, pulling out of the other pocket the contents of a can of sardines which I also deposited on the lap of the lady.
About that time, we had arrived at Couch, and Art figured he had better get me off the street-car. Shortly after, I got straightened away, at least temporarily, and Billy Eshenbaugh got me a job at the Frank Nau all-night pharmacy. At that time, Nau had moved from the Portland Hotel and was occupying temporary quarters on Morrison Street. Later he moved into the Selling Building. I filled the first prescription filled in that building. During the next year, I studied hard and took the Oregon Board of Pharmacy examination, and I passed with good grades. Working with me then were Winn Ward who now owns the Irvington Pharmacy, Joe Woods who was boxing commissioner before his death a few years ago, and a very funny guy called Charlie Redmond. I do not know where Charlie is or if he is alive. John Brockman was the night clerk and Harry Stryker was a relief man. I understand both Brockman and Stryker are dead.
One day Frank Nau, Sr. came bouncing up into the prescription room with a bottle, a letter, and a very upset look on his face. Handing me the empty prescription bottle, he said, "Look up that number and see who filled that prescription." Each prescription bore the initials of the man who filled it. In that particular case, it happened to be me. Raging, Nau said, "Read that letter and then go to the office and get your pay-check and get out." I read the letter which went something like this:
Dear Mr. Nau:
I have been patronizing your store for many years. A few days ago I had the enclosed prescription filled. When I got home, I poured out a spoonful and a big blow-fly came out into the spoon. We have all the blow-flies we need out here in the country without paying you $1.50 a bottle for them. Please return my $1.50 or refill this prescription leaving the flies out of it.
I had no way of knowing how the fly got into the bottle. Certainly I did not deliberately put it there. The prescription was a thick, syrupy liquid, and the presumption is that the fly got into the syrup, thence into the prescription bottle unseen by me, but I lost my job just the same.
Drawing my pay, I went down to the very toughest saloon in the United States at that time. It's gone now. Liquor is sold in much nicer surroundings now, but it is sold just the same. States are in the damnable liquor business now, to their shame. I would like to see the day when the manufacture of liquor is barred by law. When the New Day dawns, and when the fullness of the Power of God is known among men, there will be no liquor, for the desire to drink liquor will not be there. The Spirit which is God will be such a wonderfully satisfying Presence that everything aside from that Spirit will go. May God hasten that day. What beer I drank hurt no one but myself, and it did no permanent damage. I imagine this drinking period occupied about six years. Why it had to be, I do not know. You may depend upon it though, it was for a purpose. I wish these things did not have to be related, but I believe they should be, so regardless of the cost, they will be. I could sit here by the hour and tell you of experiences in Portland, but I won't. I must leave them out or this autobiography will grow too large.
It was immediately after losing my job at Nau's that I really started drinking. It was always periodical, but the periods became closer and closer together. There would be moments when I would recognize the foolishness of it all, but there did not seem to come a moment when the shock of knowing the facts of the Christian religion as I had discovered those facts was alleviated. The shock went deeper than any one will ever know. It was like a knife wound. I was too honest and so earnest in my efforts to find and know God that to be disappointed as I was, well, it hurt and it hurt plenty.
I am happy to state here though that years later I came back to Portland, and it was in this city the foundation of "Psychiana" was laid.