Aug 24, 2013

'a final and glorious windup'


The Evening Statesman, Walla Walla, Wash., 1909:
PORTLAND, Me.,  Sept. 14 -- The north pole was discovered just in the nick of time. After 10.20.30 a. m. tomorrow there won't be any north pole. Incidentally, there won't be any world. This statement is made on the authority of the leader of Maine's most famous sect, The Holy Ghost and Us society, who predicts that the world and all that is in it will come to a final and glorious windup tomorrow morning. The prophecy was made at Cape Town, Africa, where the founder of the peculiar sect stopped over while on his recently completed holy junket. He is the Rev. Frank Sandford, alias 'Elijah, the Uncrowned King,' as he prefers to be known.  
Today the Holy Ghost and Us society followers are making preparations to don the pure white robes, go up to the housetops of their colony in Shiloh and await the dread moment.  
When it comes they expect to see the sky go to smash, the earth dashed into smithereens and they themselves transported into the realms of bliss, while all others pass into destruction. 
The apocalyptic expectation came, incidentally, six years after Sandford declared himself to be "the prophet-prince-priest who is to prepare the Kingdom for the Christ ... the man who as a prophet is called in the Bible 'Elijah,' and as a prince is called 'David,' and as a priest is called 'Tsemach,' or 'The Branch," and required his followers to sign on to that declaration.

It came nine years after Charles Parham ended his association with Sandford. There is evidence Parham modeled Bethel Bible School, in Topeka, Kan., the birthplace of Pentecostalism, after Sanford's Shiloh. Shiloh was also the first place Parham witnessed xenolalia, though Sandford and the people of Holy Ghost and Us did not believe the ecstatic experience of speaking in tongues was a sign of sanctification. It was the doctrine of "first evidence" that divided Pentecostalism from other branches of the holiness movement, and proto-pentecostal groups like Sandford's.