(Compiled by Ho from the writings of Father David & other sources.)
Above: Father Brandt‚ Dad's Grandfather.
Below: Dad's Uncle Mark & Dad's Mother when teenagers travelling with their Father in a road show of his lectures & their entertainment. Mark & Nina sang & played instruments together & Mark drew cartoons & caricatures.
OUR EARLY FOREFATHERS!
(INTRODUCTION BY HO:)
1. THIS IS THE STORY OF OUR FAMILY, its history, & where it began. The Bible says in Malachi 4:6, that "He shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children & the hearts of His children toward their fathers." Dad wrote: "God has turned the hearts of His children toward their real fathers, their fathers in the Lord, their forefathers, the ancients, the patriarchs. It must be that the patriarchs are really flipping over you kids‚ they are all trying to help us in this last dispensation, in this last age. Because they are so interested in what we are doing, they are trying to help us wind things up. We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses. They are working with us & for us in this mighty crusade. Thank You Lord for Thy many counsellors & the multitudes Thou hast given us at our disposal & our command.
2. "THESE ALL DIED IN FAITH, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES, WHICH ARE BEING FULFILLED IN US. Evidently they saw us coming afar off. Hallelujah!" "For indeed this is that age of which I spake, to which all prophets gave heed & all my servants would have had. They would all have loved to enjoy this generation, for this is the fulfillment of all generations to prepare the way of the Lord & to make His paths straight for His coming." (Daily Might 76)
3. THIS IS GOD'S MOVEMENT IN THIS LAST GENERATION, to take the message of His Gospel into all the World to all people.
4. TO DO THIS, WE HAVE BLASTED OFF INTO THE OUTER SPACE OF THE SPIRIT where there are no limitations, where all things are lawful for us, & where we ONLY HAVE one rule of love, the Law Of Love, the liberty of the Spirit!
5. IF WE LOOK BACK CLOSELY OVER THE EVENTS OF THE PAST & THE THINGS THAT GOD HAS PUT OUR FOREFATHERS THROUGH, we can see the marks of God's hand in His directing us, just like when we watch the needle of the machine which traces a person's heartbeat. The needle records high & low events in pulse by electricity, & as the drum turns & rotates, the needle leaves a mark showing which way it has gone, what path it has taken‚ the events that have taken place.
6. AS WE LOOK BACK OVER THE MARKS LEFT BY CERTAIN EVENTS, we can recognise the hand of God working in OUR History, through the events that have led up to today, & what God is doing NOW.
7. THIS SHOULD HELP US APPRECIATE HOW FAR ALONG GOD HAS BROUGHT US, & help us to believe & have faith in the Lord & His Prophet that He is going to lead us all the way.
8. MANY MEN HAVE TRIED TO STAND AGAINST IT, & ENEMIES HAVE COME & GONE, BUT THE TRUE WORK OF GOD IS STILL GOING ON! THEY have all come to naught & God's movement still goes on.
THE BRANDT'S EARLY HISTORY
9. DAD WROTE, "MY FAMILY BEGAN MANY GENERATIONS AGO WITH MY GERMAN FOREFATHERS who left Stuttgart, Germany, because of persecution when they became Christians. Europe at this time was controlled by the wealthy & the powerful‚ controlled by the Church, & life for the people was hard. The poor farmers laboured on the fields of land owned by rich landlords. Their lives were controlled by the Church. They yearned for freedom to live & worship as they pleased.
10. "THREE JEWISH BROTHERS, ADAM, ISAAC & JACOB, WHOSE FAMILY NAME WAS BRANDT‚ ACCEPTED JESUS AS THEIR MESSIAH in the middle of the 1700s. They joined a religious movement called the Dunkards or Dunkers (from German "tunken" to dip), also later called the Church of the Brethren. The Funk & Wagnell Encyclopedia says, "They get their name Dunkards from the baptismal ceremony practiced by the group. In this ceremony the believer is dipped three times, face forward, once at the mention of each name of the Trinity, after the baptismal formula in Matt.28:19. The Dunker movement was an offshoot of the Pietist movement in Germany which came out of the Lutheran Church in the 17th Century. The first Dunker congregation was organised at Schwartzenau, Germany, in 1708, with Alexander Mack, a Pietist‚ as its minister.
11. "THE PERSECUTION OF THE SECT BY THE GERMAN STATE CHURCH drove the Dunkers to Wittgenstein. From 1719 to 1729 the sect emigrated to America. Its first church in what is now the United States was organised in 1723. The Dunkers are most numerous in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia‚ Ohio, Indiana‚ Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, & North Dakota. They are mainly farmers. In recent years the denomination has expanded to include many prosperous city churches. The denomination supports a number of colleges.
12. "IN DOCTRINE THE BRETHREN ARE STRICTLY ORTHODOX. They hold the Bible to be the inspired & infallible Word of God‚ & accept the New Testament as their only rule of faith & practice. They believe in the Trinity, in the divinity of Christ, in the Holy Ghost, & in future rewards & punishments. Faith, repentance, & baptism are held to be the conditions of salvation. In practice they follow closely the Scripture teaching & observe the primitive simplicity of the apostolic church. They enjoin plainness of dress, settle difficulties among themselves without going to law, affirm instead of taking oath, refrain from participation in politics, oppose secret societies, advise against the use of tobacco‚ & have a rule more than a century old against the manufacture, sale, & use of intoxicants. As early as 1782 they prohibited slavery, & vehemently denounced the slave trade.
13. "COMMUNION IS OBSERVED IN THE EVENING, AFTER A FULL MEAL CALLED THE LORD'S SUPPER. Before the supper the ordinance of foot washing is observed, the brethren washing one another's feet & the sisters performing the same service among themselves. After supper, before the communion is taken, the sexes exchange the right hand of fellowship & exchange the kiss of peace. Bishops (or elders), ministers, & deacons are elected by the congregations. Congregations are organised into state districts, & both elect delegates to the annual conference‚ which is the chief ecclesiastical body & where the freest discussion of all questions coming before the assembly is permitted. The final decisions are rendered by a two-thirds vote of the churches.
14. IN 1881-83 THE CHURCH SUFFERED THE LOSS OF ABOUT 8000 MEMBERS BY A DIVISION IN ITS RANKS, resulting in the secession of two parties, known as the Old-Order & Progressive Brethren. The former objected to the advance the church was making in educational‚ missionary, & Sunday–school work, while the latter insisted that the church was too conservative. After some years of contention these parties withdrew from the mother church & formed separate organisations. The mother church is known today as the Church of the Brethren (Conservative Dunkers) & consists (1958) of 1069 churches & 200,282 members. The Progressive Brethren, or Progressive Dunkers, are known as the Brethren Church, & have 24,660 members. Another Dunker Sect is composed of the German Seventh-day Baptists." (Funk & Wagnalls Standard Reference Encyclopedia by Wilfred Funk, Inc., 1959 & 1960.)
15. DAD SAID, "IT WAS PART OF THIS PIONEERING EFFORT THAT OUR EARLY FOREFATHERS JOINED WHEN THEY CAME TO AMERICA as a part of this movement. The three Brandt brothers came in a sailing ship in 1745 to America & they settled first amongst their people in Pennsylvania. They had come to America from Germany seeking freedom to live & believe as they felt led. They later moved to Ohio where my Grandfather, Dr. John Lincoln Brandt, was born in an old farm house still standing near Somerset, Ohio." (ML #172:28)
16. "MY FOREFATHERS CAME TO AMERICA & BEGAN TO GENERATE FARMERS & TEACHERS & PREACHERS, as well as mothers & lots of children. So we have been preaching the Gospel for hundreds of years, including my Grandfather & HIS family, & my Father & HIS family, & me & MY family, & now YOU & YOURS!" (ML #791:28,29)
17. "THE DUNKARD MOVEMENT IN WHICH MY GRANDFATHER WAS BROUGHT UP WAS VERY STRICT in their belief & teachings & way of life. The ministers preached simple sermons based entirely on the Bible. The worshippers always prayed the Lord's prayer at the end of every meeting. Grandfather Brandt was brought up in the Dunkard Movement according to their strict teaching, but being more of a radical & drop–out, he chose to pursue a career as a teacher & an actor.
18. "BRANDT'S MOTHER WAS AN ENGLISH LOVEBERRY‚ & HIS WIFE WAS A MEMBER OF THE MARQUIS FAMILY OF FRENCH NOBILITY. As a young farm boy, John was very bright, hard–working & ambitious & was soon teaching school at the age of nineteen. This soon proved too unexciting for his dramatical talents & he left school & teaching for the stage with a theatrical stock company which toured the nation. He soon married Nina Lee Marquis, a member of the same company & quite a talented actress herself, who was not only a Marquis, but also a direct descendant of "Lighthorse" Harry Lee who was from the family of Robert E. Lee of Virginia, of Civil War fame.
19. "IN HIS EARLY 20'S, JOHN BRANDT TRAVELLED THE NATION PERFORMING THESE DRAMATICAL SHOWS. One night during one of their shows, he fought a saber duel on stage as part of what was supposed to have been a play. But the other actor, who had been drinking, took it a little too seriously & nearly killed him! So immediately after the show, he became so worried about his spiritual condition in the event of his death‚ that he went out looking for a preacher to find out how to be sure of his salvation.
20. "ONE HIGHLY EDUCATED DENOMINATIONALIST HIGH PRIEST TOLD HIM it would take him about eight years of theological training to find out, but that was too slow for him! He figured if he had to fight that duel again tomorrow night he needed to know now! So he finally found an old-fashioned Methodist preacher who led him to Christ on his knees on the spot!—And he was superbly happy!
21. "HIS CONVERSION REALLY RESULTED IN A DRAMATIC CHANGE IN HIS LIFE, because he always did whatever he did with all his heart! Whatever was in him, he figured if anything was worthwhile, give it your best. Jesus is great! Hallelujah! So he figured if salvation was good enough for him, it would be good for everybody. Salvation is wonderful, & he was going to be telling everybody about it!
22. "HE WAS AN ELOQUENT SPEAKER & A GOOD ACTOR, & HE DECIDED TO PREACH THE GOSPEL. He immediately launched into the Methodist ministry as a young dramatic & flaming evangelist." (ML #172:30-33)
23. "OF COURSE HE DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ELSE BUT THE CHURCH SYSTEM‚ so he did the best he could in it, & don't forget how God used it in the past. But God's through with the church system now, it's passed! It's one of those old buildings that has to be torn down & the rubble gotten rid of so we can build a new one. Because we are the Church He's building now. This is the last one, I believe it with all my heart. This is the beginning of the last one.
24. "GRANDFATHER BELIEVED, WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT WITH ALL YOUR HEART, & they right away gave him one of the toughest jobs they had. They gave him a job of 5 churches, as a Methodist Circuit rider, you've heard about them. He ran around & held 5 meetings every Sunday; each one at a different time. He preached the same sermon at every single church. By the time he got done with the day he really could preach that sermon! They got better all the time, & he built up quite a pile of them.
25. "IN FACT, THEY WERE PUBLISHED & HE WROTE MANY BOOKS. He became the author of 16 books, including "Turning Points In Life", & many others. He also became a World traveller‚ a popular pastor, & famous lecturer on the old Redpath Chautauqua Circuit, where he often shared the same platform with such personal friends as James Whitcomb Riley, the World-famed children's poet, William Jennings Bryan‚ of the famous Monkey Trial, & President Theodore Roosevelt, for whom he campaigned." (ML #172:34)
26. THE POSTER ON PAGE SHOWS HIM AT THIS TIME, accompanied by his daughter & son‚ who came to be a part of his team, & who travelled with him in these lectures. The daughter Virginia Brandt became Dad's mother, "Grandmother" to us. She travelled & became a part of this show with her father. On the back of this poster was written a little summary of Grandfather Brandt's life, taken from the Journal of Fine Arts in Chicago, which says he was "born in a Christian home near Somerset, Ohio in 1860, & he began teaching at the age of 17 & preaching at the age of 24, & he now lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Brandt is an ideal orator, scholarly & refined, honest & eloquent, broadly educated & made broader by extensive travel. He is an original, clear thinker & a charming word painter. He possesses a strong & resonant voice & the rare gift of personal attraction: his oratory is of the magnetic sort that captivates every listener; his subjects are carefully chosen, his preparation thorough, & his delivery forceful. Upon the lecture platform he has but few equals. He has been enthusiastically received from Boston to San Francisco; & during his 18 years of public life he has lectured at numerous colleges, assemblies & Chautauquas with unqualified success. He is the author of 16 books which have been sold all over the country.
27. "JOHN BRANDT HAS TRAVELLED MORE THAN 400‚000 MILES THROUGH THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, EUROPE‚ ASIA‚ AFRICA & the isles of the sea. He has enjoyed special advantages in picture-taking, & has the happy faculty of amusing, charming & thrilling the audience with descriptions of what he has seen. He has a powerful voice & he can be heard distinctly by everybody. He has lectured 7 times in Boston, 6 times in Columbus, 5 times in Toledo, 5 times in Denver, & many other places."
28. DAD WROTE, "THOUGH MY GRANDFATHER NEVER EVEN RECEIVED A COLLEGE EDUCATION‚ later he became a President of a college. He had dropped out at an early age & became part of an acting troupe, & later educated himself, & became so famous they conferred on him all kinds of degrees without his even working for them in formal schooling! If you get famous & well-known enough they'll give you any degree you want just to get you to lecture for them! But he was a drop-out! Here he was a great orator in much demand as a college graduation speaker, but what could he tell them? He who had never been to college!
29. "HE TOLD THEM TO DROP OUT FOR THE LORD, & thousands were saved & at least 400 young men & women went into the ministry as a result of his work with them, & one of those men was instrumental in starting a whole new denomination." (ML #251:16)
30. HE ALSO BECAME INVOLVED IN THE LYCEUMS MOVEMENT. The encyclopedia describes this movement as "a voluntary association that gave people an opportunity to hear debates & lectures on topics of current events." It was before the days of movies & TV & it was the only amusement or thing going on‚ but people were interested, & they were serious in those days, & almost everybody went to church. So this is what Grandfather Brandt & his son & daughter were doing when the poster was made, showing their photos & advertising their appearances about 1905.
31. "THESE GROUPS OF PEOPLE WENT TRAVELLING & LECTURING FROM COMMUNITY TO COMMUNITY, & in a peak year reached as many as 10,000 different communities with over 40 million people. But with the coming of radio, & the automobile & movies, interest in these travelling shows declined. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
32. "GRANDFATHER BRANDT JOINED THE ALEXANDER CAMPBELL MOVEMENT OF THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, now known as the Christian Church, & he was one of the outstanding leaders of the movement, building & pastoring exactly 50 churches in his lifetime, including such famous churches as the First Christian church of Toledo, St. Louis‚ Los Angeles, Melbourne, Australia—these were the largest Christian churches in the two countries.
33. "THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST ORIGINATED AS A DROP-OUT INFORMAL MOVEMENT including persons of many denominations, but they later developed into a typical American denomination of liberal character. They were initially known as Reformers, or Disciples, & they became out of favour with Presbyterianism‚ which was the established church of that day. They were a drop-out movement, & it grew mostly in the States bordering the Ohio River & from there Westward, moving with the frontier. The Disciples of Christ increased most rapidly in the Mid-West & the South-West & on the West Coast." (Encyclopedia Britannica)
34. SO THESE WERE ALL THE AREAS IN WHICH FATHER BRANDT HELPED TO PIONEER CHURCHES, beginning in the Mid-West along the Ohio River & Toledo, Ohio, St. Louis‚ Missouri, & then to the West Coast, the largest church in Los Angeles, California.
35. ONE OF THE DISTINGUISHING FEATURES OF THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST WORSHIP SERVICE IS THE CELEBRATION OF COMMUNION EVERY SUNDAY as a main part of their service. Disciples & congregations maintained their practice of weekly communion even without a minister. So this is something which we are still continuing to do till now, which is one of the manifestations of our early heritage. And they also taught that the teachings of the New Testament took the place of the teachings of the Old Testament.
36. DAD WROTE ABOUT HIS GRANDFATHER THAT "HE DID WELL IN THE CHURCH SYSTEM, & he was always a fighter, too, & I guess that's where I get a little bit of it. He was always fighting the Catholics or the Mormons, or in politics or something. The Catholics burnt down his house in Toledo; the Mormons shot at him in Utah; and he was always right up in the thick of it somewhere, fighting something. But I never heard that he ever accomplished much with all that fighting. I don't know that that's any great advantage. I think he accomplished more by just lovin'm. But that was his way of lovin'm. He was trying to fight off the System that they were in & trying to keep the sheep in, & he packed the people in. He was colourful & dramatic & he really packed'm in by the thousands in his church. He was also a gambler; he loved to gamble, & he had a stock–ticker–tape right in the office of his church‚ so he could keep up with the stock market, & that's the way he made his 3 million dollars, & in those days, that was worth about 10 times as much as it would be today.
37. "SO MY GRANDFATHER BECAME VERY RICH, AS A RESULT OF HIS INVESTMENTS IN THE STOCK-MARKET, HIS BOOKS, HIS TRAVELS & TOURS. He could think of more ways of making money than a dog has fleas. It was just born in him, he was Jewish to the core. And even as a preacher he figured out ways of makin' money, that's pretty good, ha, ha!
38. "BY WISE INVESTMENT OF HIS HIGH SALARIES & ROYALTIES‚ HE BECAME RICH ENOUGH to hob-nob with high society‚ & his daughter, Virginia Lee, toured Europe in style with Olga Busch, of the Anheuser–Busch St. Louis brewing family, & John Charles Thomas, the World-famous operatic singer‚ her old flame. So I mention some of these names because I'm sure some of them will be familiar to you, especially some of you old-timers‚ & to let some of you who may be doubters know that this thing was not done in a corner but comes from considerable background!" (ML #172:28-36)
39. "SO MY GRANDFATHER WORKED AT IT, HE REALLY WORKED AT IT, & BECAME FAMOUS & RICH, BUT IT DIDN'T SATISFY. He lost it the same way he made it, gambling. God began to deal with him & he started betting on the wrong side. He lost first on the Japanese/Chinese war. He bet on the wrong side. He bought up Chinese Bonds & they lost. He felt sure Kaiser Wilhelm, having the German background that he had, was going to win in what then became WWI. He bought up German Marks & he lost, ha, ha! But God was trying to strip him to bring him closer to Him.
40. "HE WAS SAVED, I DON'T DOUBT THAT A BIT, & HE REALLY PREACHED SALVATION, & some of his sermons reached many people. He got over 400 men to enter the ministry. He believed in getting other people to serve the Lord, too. The only way he knew how, according to the System way, which was to make preachers out of 'em. He built 50 churches in his lifetime. But God began to deal with him, & finally, particularly through my Mother, God really brought him into a deep knowledge of the things of the Spirit.
41. "THERE IS A HERITAGE YOU CAN RECEIVE WHICH IS VERY VALUABLE FROM YOUR PARENTS, & sometimes, when I was a little boy, I used to be a little bit mad about my Grandfather losing all those millions, because I figured if he'd kept them I would have been rich. But now I realize he gave me the greatest heritage he could. He gave me FAITH & the knowledge of the LORD. And when I was just a young teenager, I used to go around with him & help him show his pictures & run the projector for him, while he showed his pictures of his travels & he lectured. He had a son at the age of 64, he was still lecturing up through his 80's‚ & still tutoring college students at the age of 86‚ so he was still going strong when the Lord finally took him. And God blessed him & gave him a rich life, many souls for his hire & I'm sure we'll meet over there, many of them who he reached through the church system & the method that was popular in that day, & it worked in that day. But it's not the way for today.
42. "I STUDIED ALL MY LIFE WATCHING MY GRANDFATHER & MY MOTHER & FATHER PREACH‚ & it just came automatic! If they had studied it I guess I learned it from them because I just do what comes natural, that's all." (ML #1091:28)
43. "I ASKED MY GRANDFATHER ONCE, 'HOW CAN YOU GET UP & JUST SPOUT OFF LIKE THAT? You don't use notes, you don't use anything, you just rant & rave & walk back & forth!’ Of course, he'd been an actor years before, but I mean this was no acting, you knew he was sincere, you knew he MEANT it! I said, 'How do you do that without any notes or anything?'
44. "HE SAID, 'DAVE, ALL I DO BEFOREHAND IS GET FULL OF MY SUBJECT! I read the Word, I memorise Scriptures, I just fill my heart with my subject‚ & then when I get up there it's not hard at all, 'out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh'!' That's the secret! You just get your heart filled up & when you get up there, it's no problem!" (ML #1091:37,38)
OUR HERITAGE OF FAITH
45. "SO I REALLY LEARNED MANY THINGS FROM MY GRANDFATHER, & FROM MY PARENTS that have helped me in my ministry in these later years. So it has taken now three generations of older people to produce this revolutionary generation. Each generation has been coming a little further out. My Grandfather with his radical ideas & different ways of doing things shocked his own denomination, then my Mother & Father dropped out of that one to join a new & more fanatical denomination. Then Mom & I came along & dropped out of denominations entirely, in fact‚ finally out of churches altogether! It took that long to rear children that were not even brought up in the church, in our case it took four generations to purify the race & get them as far as we have gotten to start a real Revolution!
46. "BUT THIS REVOLUTION DIDN'T EVEN START WITH ME & MY MOTHER, OR EVEN MY GRANDFATHER! It's been going on for hundreds of years: God has been purifying each generation. There have been rebels, but as far as I know there never was anyone who really totally & completely broke out of the Church mold. You see, until we came‚ it really didn't matter who they were: Each movement just started another denomination & had a meeting house, & it ended up with a certain day of the week coming to a building & hearing sermons. There were none who ever called themselves a Revolution or a New Nation!
47. "SO THINK HOW MANY GENERATIONS IT'S TAKEN TO GET THIS FAR! Each of us just carries things a step further. But if it hadn't been for the preparation of each generation before, we wouldn't have gotten this far. We had to prepare you for the job. We had to drop out of the church & education in order to rear you, our children, almost without it!" (ML #251:19-21)
48. SO THESE GENERATIONS THAT HAVE GONE BEFORE US ALL DIED IN FAITH, not having received the promises which are being fulfilled in us. But evidently they saw us coming afar off. The prophecy says, "For indeed this is that age of which I spake, to which all prophets gave heed & all My servants would have had." They would all have loved to enjoy this generation for this is the fulfillment of all generations to prepare the way of the Lord & to make His paths straight for His coming!
49. "FAITH OF OUR FATHERS‚ LIVING STILL,
In spite of dungeon, fire or sword.
Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy,
Whene'er we hear Thy glorious Word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith,
We will be true to Thee till death!
Faith of our fathers, We will strive
To win all nations unto Thee.
And through the truth that comes from God,
Mankind shall then be truly free.
Faith of our fathers‚ Holy faith,
We will be true to Thee till death!"
50. THIS IS A SONG WRITTEN BY ONE OF OUR FOREFATHERS, MARTIN LUTHER‚ WHO LIVED IT‚ & has set an example for us that we should go these steps further in living this opportunity that God has given us to be a part of this movement in this last generation!
51. "MY FATHER, HJALMER, WAS BORN NEAR KALMAR CASTLE, in the Shmoland area of Southern Sweden, son of a poor shoe cobbler with a large family. His father & brother used to abet their meager earnings during the summers by travelling about Sweden as wandering minstrels‚ singing & playing their guitars & putting on acrobatic shows until they moved to America.
52. "HIS OLDER SISTER HAD GONE TO VISIT RELATIVES IN NEBRASKA, & persuaded her father & family to follow. So at the age of four, my Father was brought to America in the horrible steerage compartment of an old freighter, under indescribable conditions, like many poor European immigrants of the late 1800's. They were so poor they had no silverware, so they ate from a common bowl in the middle of the table with their bare hands! They also had no chairs, & my Father could not remember sitting at the table until the age of twelve, at which time he was working in a coal colliery as a little boy sorting coal. There were no child labour laws & he worked hard.
53. "FOR THE FIRST SEVERAL YEARS HE & HIS WHOLE FAMILY SPOKE NOTHING BUT SWEDISH, since they lived in the nearly all-Swedish town of Oakland, Nebraska; and his father & mother, my Grandfather & Grandmother, 'Far-Far' & 'Mar-Mur,’ as we affectionately knew them in Swedish, never did learn to speak the English language, constantly contending that Swedish was good enough!
54. "BY THE TIME I CAME ALONG, THE FAMILY HAD MOVED TO OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, WHERE I WAS BORN. The first thing I can remember about my own Mom & Dad was moving: From California to Oklahoma to Canada to Florida & back to California again! There the family had several prosperous businesses & owned considerable property, & my Father was a bookkeeper for the Southern Pacific Railroad & earned extra money as a concert singer on summer tours, which was how he met my Mother in Utah.
55. "IMMEDIATELY AFTER THEIR MARRIAGE MY MOTHER CABLED HER FATHER, who was touring China at the time‚ & he invited my Father to sing for a series of meetings he was to hold upon his return, at Aberdeen, South Dakota.—And it was during those meetings, under my Grandfather's persuasive preaching, that my Father himself had one of those remarkable life-changing experiences & volunteered for the ministry!—Much to my Mother's horror, who by this time had herself become a blatant atheist during her college years at Texas Christian University.
56. "THIS DRAMATIC & CLIMACTIC CHANGE from a cigar-smoking, beer-drinking‚ wild-dancing, party-going, good-looking, & loose-living young man of the World to a suddenly sober, serious-minded, zealous, young‚ idealistic minister of the Church was almost too much for my Mother, for it was not at all the man she had married!
57. "NEVERTHELESS, WHEN SHE FOUND NOTHING COULD DISSUADE HIM FROM HIS TOTALLY NEW DIRECTION of life she decided to try not to discourage him any further, but to actually go along with him the best she could. So she accompanied him to Drake University at Des Moines, Iowa, for his theological training for the ministry of the Christian Church." (ML #172:40-46; 150:11)
58. "AFTER MY MOTHER'S MIRACULOUS HEALING, AT THE CLOSE OF HER TESTIMONY THAT FIRST MEMORABLE MORNING IN MY FATHER'S OWN CHURCH, his leading elder walked the aisle & shook his finger in my Mother's face & said, 'Nina Virginia, I would rather have seen you, the daughter of Dr. John L., dead in your coffin here today & heard your funeral, than to have heard you stand here this morning proclaiming the doctrine of Divine Healing, which is not in the annals of our church!'
59. "MY FATHER'S OWN DENOMINATION, THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH‚ OFFERED HIM A LARGER & MORE LUCRATIVE PASTORATE IF HE WOULD STOP PREACHING & PRACTICING 'FAITH HEALING', as they called it, but he refused & resigned to launch out into an entirely new life of living totally by faith! He & my Mother entered into full-time evangelistic work together for most of the rest of their lives." (ML #172:55,56)
60. "MY FATHER WAS A GREAT ONE FOR SAYING HE BELIEVED THERE SHOULDN'T BE ANY DIFFERENCE OF ONE DAY ABOVE ANOTHER. He was like the guy Paul was talking about in the Bible where he said, 'Some esteem one day above another‚ others esteem every day the same.’ (Rom.14:5) He believed you should love the Lord just as much every day & not more on Sunday. So I kind of inherited part of my rebelism; he was pretty much of a rebel himself!
61. "HE USED TO TELL PEOPLE IN CHURCH, 'I don't love the Lord any more on Sunday than I do every other day of the week! I worship Him every day! You shouldn't worship any more on Sunday than you do every day of the week!’—And he believed it & he practised it! We had family worship every day for at least an hour. He read the Bible & we prayed.—Which is probably more than most people get in CHURCH!" (ML #950:28,29)
62. "THERE WAS A TIME IN MY PARENT'S LIVES WHEN HIS RELATIVES & WELL-MEANING FRIENDS PERSUADED HIM THAT THEIR RELATIONSHIP WAS NOT RIGHT, that he should take over & take the lead, spiritually & every other way, & make her take a back seat, squelch her gifts, & silence her witness—& this nearly ruined them both! She tried to do it, but like Jeremiah, couldn't! He tried to domineer, but only got in God's way, & God's Work rolled right on over him‚ & left him far behind, using me to help carry on her ministry, & he wound up a broken, disheartened man; whereas, I went on in a sense, to steal his crown, sad to say!
63. "I'M SURE HE'LL BE REWARDED FOR THE DAYS HE WAS FAITHFUL, & THE WONDERFUL CHRISTIAN HERITAGE HE GAVE TO ME‚ which made it all possible, but he lost part of his reward in the end, & instead of becoming a great teacher & flaming evangelist, as he had hoped, his friends had only lured him from the Great Wall that he was building with my Mother‚ & he came down to almost nothing in the end, until he too, passed away at the age of nearly 83, in 1966 in California, where their bodies are both buried side by side on a green hillside overlooking the sea & awaiting the Resurrection! Hallelujah!" (ML #49:25; 172:56)
MOTHER VIRGINIA BRANDT
64. "THEY USED TO SAY, 'THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE RULES THE WORLD!’ AND THAT'S THE TRUTH! My Mother had the greatest influence over me of anybody in my whole life! Others had a great influence over me too—my Grandfather & my Father. But I never knew my Grandmothers very well—one died before I was born & the other when I was very young & lived elsewhere.
65. "MY MOTHER UNDOUBTEDLY HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE OF ANYBODY OVER MY LIFE & HELPED TO MAKE ME WHAT I AM TODAY. I was constantly conscious of her spiritual presence & her love & her feeling about things. My Mother's faith & her encouragement helped pull me through those difficult years from two to six & seven.
66. "FROM THE TIME I WAS 16 UNTIL I WAS NEARLY 30—even for five years after I got married, my Mother's messages & sermons & testimonies for years were the biggest influence. (See No.389.)
67. "I THANK GOD THAT MY OWN MOTHER WAS AN EXTREMELY TOLERANT, UNDERSTANDING & SYMPATHETIC WOMAN! She herself was the greatest woman evangelist of her denomination if not her time—author, lecturer, poetess, dramatist & World traveler of broad experience.
68. "BROUGHT UP A PROMINENT & WEALTHY MINISTER'S DAUGHTER, she had nevertheless kicked over the traces of her conservative upbringing & had her fling in the fountains of Worldly pleasure, from the absinthe houses & music halls of Paris & the gambling casinos of Monte Carlo to the Chinese opium dens of St. Louis & San Francisco, she knew the World for what it was.
69. "HER ROMANTIC ADVENTURES WITH PROMINENT FIGURES were as colourful & varied as her travels‚ & her father‚ a multimillionaire, was wealthy & indulgent enough to give her anything that her spoiled heart desired. But like Lord Byron she came to say‚ 'I have drunk every draught of pleasure & quaffed every cup of fame & yet I die of thirst!'
70. "A YOUNG & LONELY GIRL IN HER TWENTIES while participating in a wild weekend party of high society at the home of General Winfield Scott in Ft. Worth, Texas, depressed over the recent untimely death of her dear Mother, & sickened with the superficiality of wealth & society, she actually contemplated suicide, but providentially she remembered something she had often heard her father tell others: 'Instead of throwing your life away, why not give it away to some good cause?'
71. "SHE IMMEDIATELY VOLUNTEERED FOR SOCIAL SERVICE & was chosen to take Charles Crittenden's place when he died as National Field Secretary of the famous American Crittenden Homes for girls, & as such, raised millions of dollars for this work & founded many of these homes, particularly throughout the West, & became known as an authority on "the girl problem of America", speaking on the subject in such famous & unusual places as the Mormon Tabernacle, the only woman at the time who had ever spoken from its pulpit!
72. "SHE HAD HELPED MANY GIRLS TO OVERCOME THEIR DIFFICULTIES & become rehabilitated into useful‚ happy and accepted members of society. These years of labouring with some of the lowest strata of society & even its criminal elements had given her a very deep understanding of youth.
73. "WHEN SHE LATER BECAME A WORLD-FAMOUS EVANGELIST PREACHING JESUS CHRIST AS THE ANSWER because of the change He had made in her own life‚ she was able to continue to help many other young people with these same problems." (ML #292:76-80,82‚83)
74. "ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED TO BRUCE BOGART, A COUSIN OF HUMPHREY Bogart, the movie actor‚ & with their sumptuously wealthy home already furnished for their marriage, my Mother was being given a gala farewell reception in Ogden, Utah, where she had built her last Crittenden Home. A handsome young Swedish professional concert tenor was invited to sing for the entertainment of this society bash‚ & during his rendition of "Oh, Promise Me" my aristocratic Mother promptly fell in love with this poor, young, Swedish immigrant, Hjalmer, & eloped! She left her poor Bruce blind with shock, & the newspapers screaming headlines: 'Society girl jilts millionaire to marry poor boy!'" (ML #172:39)
75. "SHORTLY AFTER HER MARRIAGE, MY MOTHER'S BACK WAS BROKEN & SHE WAS ALMOST TOTALLY PARALYSED IN A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT which nearly killed her & left her on a deathbed of agony for five years, a total invalid. The story is told in her own book, "The Hem of His Garment", which has now been read by millions. We hope you can read her book, as we haven't time here to tell you the full story of the marvellous miracle God did in her life by restoring both her faith & her health in answer to my Father's prayers‚ one of the most startling & supernatural of total changes in the life of anyone that you could ever hear!—My Father never gave up hope, continuing to pray in simple childlike faith that God could still answer prayer & still do miracles‚ until one day my poor atheistic Mother cried out in the midst of her horrible suffering, 'O God, if there is a God, please help me!’—And God answered her pitiful heartcry, & instantly faith came, & for the first time in her life she began to comprehend His Love & Salvation.
76. "AT 8:00 ON SATURDAY NIGHT SHE WAS INSTANTLY RAISED by the Hand of God from that deathbed of total & hopeless invalidism to walk the floor for the first time in five years—a human impossibility even if there had been nothing wrong with her! And she walked to my Father's church the following morning & stood in his pulpit & told what a miraculous change God had wrought!—A sudden conversion from absolute atheism to total faith, & an instantaneous healing from complete invalidism to supernatural health!
77. "THIS SPECTACULAR EVENT STARTED A REVIVAL OF FAITH throughout the churches of Northern California, & the news of it was 'everywhere spread abroad, & the multitudes gathered together!' Mother began to be everywhere in demand as a very popular inspirational speaker telling what God had done for her & what He could do for others, & 'many mighty miracles were done at the hands of the Apostles' under her ministry!—Unbelievers were converted & believers were healed‚ a ministry which began in that memorable year of 1918 at the age of 32 & continued almost exactly 50 years." (ML #172:47,48,51-53)
78. "WITH MY MOTHER THERE WAS NEVER A TIME THAT SHE WAS TO GIVE HER TESTIMONY OF HOW SHE WAS MIRACULOUSLY HEALED from almost total paralysis that she didn't go through a terrible test & attack of the Enemy. Always on the last night of her meetings she would give her testimony of healing & salvation, & that life story was one of the most powerful things she had to give & won many souls & inspired so much faith in people. Yet I hardly remember a time when he didn't try to kill her off just before she was to give it. She'd either get down terribly sick or break her glasses or fall & hurt herself or something. The Devil really cut loose on all sides to try & stop her, & my Mother used to say, 'It's the WITNESS the Devil fears', & you can't give that kind of witness & testimony unless you LIVE it & are PRACTICING it. So the Lord would allow her to be tested before each time so she'd still have the testimony.
79. "ONE TIME, ONLY ABOUT A YEAR AFTER SHE HAD BEEN SAVED & HEALED, as she was sitting on the platform waiting to give her testimony, all of a sudden she felt the paralysis strike again‚ & suddenly she couldn't move her legs! She was totally paralysed for a moment & glued to her chair & couldn't budge, & she thought, 'Lord, what is this? What in the World is the matter?" Immediately the Lord gave her the answer in a very strange Scripture, 'It is lying vanities.' (Ps.31:6; Jonah 2:8) So she said, 'Oh, You mean this is a lie of the Devil?—He's trying to make me believe I'm paralysed, but it's not really true!’ She said later, 'If I'd believed & accepted the Devil's lie, I'd probably be paralysed to this day!' But she rebuked the Devil again, & just then they announced her name & she shot out of the chair & into the pulpit & gave her testimony in greater power than she'd ever done before!" (ML #717:7–13)
80. "MY MOTHER WAS A WOMAN LEADER, & MY FATHER & SHE MADE A PERFECT TEAM, as long as my Father humbly & rightfully acknowledged it, & supplemented her ministry with his own gifts, which she lacked! She was a brilliant prophetess of God, an inspired leader, with many mighty spiritual gifts, & a strongly appealing public personality. She had the background for it, & was the rightful heir to her famous father's public talents, with a lifetime of training in the field from childhood! This is a tremendous heritage, which is hard to beat, if yielded to God, & used by the Spirit! My Father was a handsome singer with a beautiful voice, & a brilliant & analytical teacher, with a terrific knowledge of the Word‚ as well as being practical & conservative in material matters, so that together they made a wonderful team, just as God had designed—as long as he was willing to let her lead in the field of her own talents, & not stand in her way! As a result‚ God gave them a mighty ministry‚ tens of thousands were saved & healed & helped, & hundreds went into a fulltime ministry for the Lord, many to mission fields abroad, & their influence still carries on in me & my children, & you, my children!" (See No.49:24.)
81. "WHEN I WAS ONLY 7 YEARS OLD‚ MY PARENTS HAD A HUGE GOSPEL TABERNACLE packed with about 5,000 people nearly every night in the great old boom days of Miami, Florida in 1925! Then the gigantic 1926 Miami hurricane nearly flattened that monstrous building. But my mother still did not get the point that God had called her to be an evangelist & not a pastor & He was trying to make her hit the road again, even if He had to crush her seemingly greatest work to try to show her!
82. "FINALLY IT DID COMPEL HER TO HIT THE ROAD AGAIN, TO WHERE SHE WAS SPEAKING TO THOUSANDS MORE, such as 7‚000 in the old Cadle Tabernacle of Indianapolis & 10,000 each night in the Philadelphia Arena, etc. God blessed her for getting out the Message in this evangelistic work & so prospered her for obeying Him that she immediately turned around & used the money to make the very same mistake all over again by rebuilding her former monstrous Tabernacle in Miami so that it was even more beautiful than ever!
83. "SO THIS TIME THE FLORIDA BOOM BURST IN 1927, two years before it hit the rest of the country. The bottom fell out of the real estate market & the people left, & dear Mother & Dad were left with a bigger building but hardly anybody in it! She promptly proceeded to feverishly try to rebuild a lost congregation until she nearly worked herself to death, developed a malignant cancer & nearly died!—However, when she accepted the very next invitation to an evangelistic meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania‚ where she could speak on one of those earliest radio stations to millions, God miraculously & instantly healed her so she could obey Him again! Hallelujah! He never fails!
84. "SHE WAS ONCE AGAIN BEING MIGHTILY USED OF THE LORD, this time in a great radio ministry, 'Meditation Moments'! After that, she was left with nobody but ME & our old battered bus to hit the road again by faith & to stay there this time for 12 years, with me as her helper." (ML #316B:15-22) We saw the Lord do many miracles & wonderful healings during that time.
85. "I REMEMBER A GIRL, HELEN JONES, WHO WAS SICK FOR 8 YEARS through a fear of death, literally in bondage. She spent all of that time in bed, her feet were like hands. My Mother & I prayed for her & as we laid hands upon her for healing, we were also inspired to cast out her spirit of fear‚ & to command her to arise & walk! She said she hadn't walked for years, & couldn't walk—but we again rebuked the Enemy & her doubts & commanded her to arise & walk, as the Lord had instructed us—& she obeyed, & was instantly & totally healed; & walked the floor that day‚ her feet restored to normal! When we saw her a few months later, she was absolutely beautiful, & had gained all the weight necessary to make her so, & was radiantly happy in the service of the Lord, giving her testimony everywhere she went, PTL!" (ML #K:13; 172:37,38; 87:12-14)
86. "I'LL NEVER FORGET ONE TIME WHEN I WAS A LITTLE WORRIED ABOUT MY MOTHER because she said the Lord told her to thank Him for His angels, His ministering spirits. One time when we were looking for a place to live, my Mother heard these angels discussing different ideas & suggesting different plans. I thought, 'Mom is getting into stuff I never thought we were supposed to delve into, that this was none of our business!' All those years she must have had a spirit guide, a guardian angel." (ML #622:33,34)
87. "I TRAVELLED WITH MY MOTHER UNTIL I WAS MARRIED & had 2 children before she quit evangelical touring because she said that was too many to haul around on the road!" (ML #316B:22)
88. "IN THE SPRING OF 1966, MY MOTHER RECEIVED THE NOW FAMOUS 'WARNING PROPHECY' OF THE GREAT CONFUSION & ITS AUTHOR which were to arise out of Egypt.
89. "IN JANUARY, 1968 WE HAD COME TO VISIT MY MOTHER IN HER LITTLE COTTAGE IN CALIFORNIA at her invitation & also in response to a prophecy the Lord had given in Florida the year before, in which He had said we were to go to the Land of the Setting Sun & 'there shall be shown thee what thou shalt do.’ Then in a final prayer meeting in Dallas, Texas before she had gone back to California by plane the Lord had said, 'Unite—all of you go—leave not one behind, for all of your gifts & all of you will be needed for the new ministry that I am going to show to you in that Land of the Setting Sun.'—which, of course, we immediately recognised as meaning California. We had a feeling the Lord was going to open up some ministry, which He was obviously indicating‚ but had not revealed to us. So my Mother had flown on, & the rest of us returned to the Ranch & prepared to leave for California!
90. "BUT OUR PREPARATIONS WERE CONSIDERABLY DELAYED & WE WERE THERE FOR TWO OR THREE MONTHS TRYING TO WIND UP OUR AFFAIRS! Meanwhile my Mother was writing us, begging us to come help the hippies of Southern California‚ saying that in her particular beach town there was a coffeehouse run by church people, but they just didn't know how to reach the youth! She wanted us to come out & teach them to win souls & minister to the youth! So we had finally come just before Christmas in December, many months after leaving Florida!
91. "BUT IN CALIFORNIA WE COULD GET ALMOST NO MEETINGS‚ SO WERE VIRTUALLY FLAT BROKE, & we'd been a month or more with my Mother until she was actually supporting us on her small pension, at 82 years of age! We were about to give up & quit California & go back East where we had been better received, when, as we sat that evening on her little living room floor, the Lord again began to speak, to encourage our hearts & to show us the future & to tell us to be patient!
92. "WE HAD CALLED A LITTLE PRAYER MEETING TOGETHER TO INFORM MY MOTHER WE WERE GOING TO GO BACK EAST—there was no ministry for us here!—And then the Lord spoke! He said He was preparing a place for us, but it was not quite ready yet‚ & if we could just be patient & wait, He would open the door! Little did we dream that it was going to take 6 or 7 months for the door to open, & that door would be the Club in Grandmother's own California beach hometown! And the passage the Lord gave us was the glorious prediction of our future ministry, Psalm 68, on that desolate, discouraged night in the Winter of 1968!
93. "GOD WAS BEGINNING TO GIVE US A GLIMPSE OF WHAT HE WAS GOING TO DO WITH US IN THE NEAR FUTURE—the ministry that He was about to give us. We really didn't comprehend it then, but now, as we look back, we realise what He was talking about! He was going to use us to show His compassion upon the Forsaken Generation—the Lost Generation—these poor little wandering sheep scattered & having no shepherd—the Hippie Generation. A small beginning through us, which was to result in the present mounting wave of the mighty Jesus Movement amongst the youth of the World! Hallelujah! PG! I'll never forget how that prayer meeting turned into a praise service when we finished this passage!" (ML #83:1,3‚7,9,11,14,16)
94. "SO MY MOTHER CONTINUED TO SERVE THE LORD UNTIL THE AGE OF 82 when she passed away quietly & peacefully in her sleep in her little cottage in California to her eternal & glorious reward!" (ML #172:53)