TESTIMONY OF CATHOLICS
The word “CATHOLIC” means universal. So being in the “CATHOLIC” church means to a Catholic that they are in the one true church. Now while I do agree that there is indeed only ONE TRUE church and that a person could call this one true church a UNIVERSAL church or a “CATHOLIC” church, but somehow this term “CATHOLIC”, which again means UNIVERSAL church has ONLY come to mean the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, which is not at all what this word “CATHOLIC” truly means. In other words, in TRUTH, the term “CATHOLIC” church is speaking of ALL Christians that are scattered about in ALL the many different denominations and does NOT just refer to believers in the Roman Catholic church.
So the title of this testimony page “TESTIMONY OF CATHOLICS” is speaking of the testimonies of people, who now KNOW with absolute certainly that they are saved and that they will without a doubt go straight to heaven, because their faith is no longer in ANY church denomination, or in ANY church organization, but rather their faith is now totally and completely in Jesus Christ, who died for their sins. In other words. These testimonies are from former Catholics, who were once very devout and faithful Catholics, but now have come out of the Roman Catholic church to follow the teachings of Jesus and the Bible rather than following the religious system of the Roman Catholic church. These testimonies are from true born again Christians, who now have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and savior and who now KNOW that NO church denomination can save a person from their sins.
So then, if YOU, the reader, are a Catholic or you are thinking of becoming a Catholic, but you do NOT have the assurance that you are saved and that you will go straight to heaven when you die and you do indeed desire to KNOW that you are saved and have the ASSURANCE that without fail you WILL go to heaven without a doubt, then I implore you to read these testimonies of former very devout Catholics, who were once very faithful to the Roman Catholic CHURCH and like you they had NO assurance of going to heaven, but now they KNOW without a doubt that they are truly saved and that they will go to heaven when they die. Do NOT let the DEVIL deceive you by taking offense at what these former very devout Catholics may say in their testimonies. Their sole purpose is to speak the TRUTH in LOVE, because they LOVE YOU and they sincerely desire for YOU to have the same PEACE that Almighty God has given them by OBEYING God's written word, the Holy Bible, OVER church tradition and the doctrines of men.
The following testimonies are found on various other websites that I myself found quite enlightening and some of which bore witness to my own testimony of being a former Catholic myself. These are but a FEW of the many thousands of testimonies from former ex-Catholics that are out there on the Internet. I only selected a few from various Catholics form different walks of life.
There are many reasons why Catholics are leaving the Catholic church, but one very main reason that those in the Catholic church will NOT tell you is that many Catholics are leaving the Catholic faith because there are many doctrines in Catholicism that contradict what the word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible, clearly and plainly teaches. Few Catholics realize that the Roman Catholic church had once BANNED the Holy Bible from the common lay people for a time during the history of the church. But many Catholic are taught that ONLY the priest, bishops, cardinals and the pope can properly interpret the Bible and therefore many Catholics do not even attempt to read the Bible for themselves. I pray and implore you my dear Catholic friend that you pick up a Bible, your own approved “Catholic” Bible and read it for YOURSELF asking God to open your eyes of understanding so that you can see the TRUTH of the whole word of God and know that these following testimonies are TRUE. I implore all Catholics everywhere to please read the following testimonies of former and very devout Catholics whose eyes have been opened to the TRUTH of God's word. God said in his word that his Holy Spirit will lead and guide us into all truth and TEACH us. God's word, the Holy Bible is given to each one of us to UNDERSTAND. Be assured that YOU my dear Catholic friend CAN indeed understand the Bible if so be that you ASK God to teach you the truth of his word and begin reading the Bible for yourself seeking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
At the end of my own personal testimony you will find a list of the studies that God lead me to write and post here on this sit at AMatteOfTruth.com that will clearly and plainly show you the errors of the Roman Catholic church that God showed to me through his written word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible. And at the end of all the other testimonies of former Catholics I have posted a list of several websites with many other personal testimonies of devout former Catholics, who ALSO have some sound Biblical teaching of the history of Catholicism and the many doctrines of the Roman Catholic church. Their are also some video testimonies as well for those who would rather listen to audio than read.
TESTIMONIES OF FORMER CATHOLICS
MY OWN PERSONAL TESTIMONY
Hi my name is Mark. I was raised in the Catholic church and baptize as a baby in the Catholic faith. My mom was Catholic as was her family before her and so on, but my dad was raised in the Methodist church. My dad was a faithful Methodist before he married my mom. Upon being married my dad allowed me and my three older sisters to be raised in the Roman Catholic faith.
During my childhood from birth to the eighth grade I was a very very devout Catholic. I went to mass 6 days a week. I attended a parochial school or a private Catholic school. I was an altar boy and I even tossed around the ideal of becoming a priest for awhile. I never once questioned what I was taught in the Catholic church because it was drilled into me to NEVER question what the nuns or the priests taught.
Then one day I started to question the teachings of the Catholic church. You see, one day during a high school catechism class, which is a religious class teaching Roman Catholic doctrine for those who may not know what catechism is, the priest, who was teaching on the doctrine of the trinity, asked of if we had any QUESTIONS. No one responded, so he asked again, saying SURELY there is someone here who doubts this teaching and who has QUESTIONS. Almost immediately I was is a trance like state wondering how could I have been taught all these years NEVER to QUESTION what the priests or the nuns taught and now I was being ASKED to QUESTION what I was being taught. This opened the door for me to start QUESTIONING what I had been taught even though I had already had a few QUESTIONS before this catechism class where the priest himself ASKED us to QUESTION what we have been taught. I cannot tell you if any others asked any questions that day, because I was lost in this world of wondering how come it was alright to question my faith now when before it was drilled into me never to question what I was taught in the Catholic church, but I can tell you that I was freed that day to QUESTION what I was taught in the Catholic church.
The Bible teaches us to diligently search daily the scripture written in the Holy Bible in order to SEE and to know for SURE that what we are being taught is indeed the truth of the whole word of God. In other words, the Bible teaches us to QUESTION what we are taught in church to SEE if it AGREES with what Almighty God himself teaches us in his word, the Holy Bible.
As I said earlier I had already had some questions in my mind, but I did not act on them. I never asked anyone about what I was questioning. I kept it all to myself, because I was AFRAID to ASK. One of the questions that I had was about the Roman catholic teaching on hell. I could not accept this teaching in my mind and eventually this false teaching on hell drove me away from God completely for a short season in my life. But before that season of darkness and despair I also questioned in my mind the Roman Catholic doctrine of being a MORTAL sin for missing even ONE Sunday of not attending mass.
You see, a few years prior to this high school catechism class my family went camping with another family as their guests. Upon the close of this weeks camping trip this other family asked if I would like to stay another week with them knowing that my parents had to get back to work. You bet! I said, but my mom quickly said NO. When I asked why, she said that I had to go to church. They said, We will take Mark to church, but again my mom said no. Long story made a little shorter I found out later that they were not “CATHOLIC” and my mom was afraid that they would not take me to a CATHOLIC church. When I asked her what did it matter I got slapped in the face and told that I should be ashamed of myself. I was reminded that it was a MORTAL sin to miss mass without being really really sick and unable to go to mass and that I should confess even the thought of missing mass to go camping.
This event caused me to QUESTION why and how a loving God would send someone to HELL just because they missed ONE mass on Sunday to go camping, which was like a one in a lifetime opportunity for me seeing that my family never went camping without being the guest of this family. I was only a kid and I began to form these thoughts that if this is the God of the Roman Catholic church, then I was not sure I wanted to be a Catholic anymore. This is why we as Christians should not FORCE religion upon our children, but that we should teach them all along the way. Let them ASK their questions and with God's help do our best to instruct them in the ways of the Lord and they will NOT DEPART from God EVER.
So then, this questioning in my own mind that I was NOT allowed to talk about kept eating at me until I became bitter with God. I know now that this BITTERNESS was from that old serpent called Satan and the Devil, but had I been ALLOWED to ask QUESTIONS I do not think that I would have ever departed from God for that little season. I thank God to this day that the darkness and depression got so bad so quick that I cried out to God saying that I could NOT believe in the God that I was TAUGHT in the Roman Catholic church, but that I need at least to believe that there was indeed a GOD otherwise I would have committed suicide and ended my life.
God heard my cry and somehow I just knew that there was a God out there. So for about three years I believed in God forming my OWN ideas of what my God should be like. I came up with this theory or thought that God created all things and people and church or religion was likened to a game so to speak. In other words, if so be that a person what to play this game to try and win the game, then heaven would be their reward. But if so be a person chose to play this game and lost then they would as a consequence receive hell. I decided the price was too high to play the game and chose to belief that for those who did not play the game that they would simply die and receive NEITHER the reward of heaven NOR the pains of hell.
You see at this time I had never ONCE read any part of the Bible FROM the Bible so I did not KNOW what the Bible taught about hell or heaven or about being saved or being lost. I only knew what the Catholic church had taught me and what LITTLE I had heard from others who were in other churches. At this time in my life I still had drilled in me that the Roman Catholic church was the ONLY TRUE church and unless you were a Catholic you could NOT be saved. So while I began to form my OWN ideas the Roman Catholic teaching was still yet controlling many of my thoughts by FEAR.
Then one day I met the girl that I would soon marry. She was raised in the Assembly of God church, which is a full gospel Bible believing Pentecostal church. And when I told her of my THEORY about God she boldly told me that I was WRONG! Straight to my face. Her boldness and rock solid FAITH caused me to go out and but my FIRST Bible and search out the truth for MYSELF.
This was around the time that my sister just got married to a PROTESTANT, who was also raised in an Assembly of God church, but who did not display any of the faith that my girlfriend boldly lived. The only reason that I bring this marriage up is that a FIGHT or very heated argument arose between being Catholic and being Protestant. I hated all this fighting. Both believed in God so what was all the fighting about. I did not understand as yet the FEAR that is drilled into Catholics that if they ever leave the Roman Catholic church that they would go straight to hell. Yes I was TAUGHT this all my life, but I had not actually LIVED this FEAR until I myself was faced with leaving the catholic church and choosing Jesus as my personal savior, which we will get to shortly.
I took the Bible and held it up before God saying that I do not care who is right or who is wrong. I said ALL churches say that they use the BIBLE as their foundation of what they teach, but yet they all teach something different. They argue and fight with one another over their different doctrines. I asked God with all the sincerity of my heart that I wanted to know the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH, and NOTHING BUT the TRUTH. I laid the Bible on the floor and I stood upon the Bible saying to God that I now stand upon YOUR WORD of TRUTH and nothing else. I picked up the Bible and began to read it like any other book that you would read starting at the beginning of the book.
I must tell you that I hated reading in school. I am a very slow reader and I was made fun of in school. I have to read every word to understand something that is written. There is NO shimming over something for me. So in school I learned that if I read the first chapter, the middle chapter and the last chapter that I could learn enough to pass the test or make a book report. I tell you this, because as I was reading the Bible it became very boring when I got to the book of Numbers so I skipped to the end of the Bible, which is the book of Revelation. Well any one who has ever read the book of Revelation you know how confusing it can be. So not understand much in the book of Revelation I turned to the center of the Bible and it fell open at the New Testament. I remember thinking What is the new Testament? I began reading the gospel of Matthew and some of the stories of Jesus I remembered a little from the Catholic church and what my baby sitter that I called grandma McQuinny even though she was only a friend of the family. Anyway the reading was still somewhat dry until I got to 1 Corinthians 1:10-15, which OPENED my EYES to the TRUTH that all the different churches and denominations are NOT OF God, but of MAN and that we as Christians should NOT be DIVIDED like we are over doctrines of men. Here is the verse that opened God's word to me and gave me great HUNGER to read and study God's word for myself.
“Now I beseech you, BRETHREN, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you ALL speak the SAME THING, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
12. Now this I say , that every one of you say, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. (today Christians say, I am a CATHOLIC, or I am a BAPTIST, or I am a Methodist and so forth)
13. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? (Did Mary DIE for you sins or did JESUS die for your sins?) Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (Where you baptized in the name of Mary, or where you baptized in the name of Jesus?)
When God showed me this TRUTH I knew that I could TRUST what he showed me to always be the TRUTH. From this point one the Bible was NO LONGER boring. I began to see things for the first time. God gave me such a HUNGER to read and study his word that I read the Bible 6 to 8 hours a day. You see at the time I had a real gravy job that I just required me to be there if any thing broke down. All the machines were brand new and the day mechanic kept everything running smoothly. The boss made it clear to us that we could watch TV, listen to the radio, even sleep, but we could not leave the building. We had a room called the tool room that was sound proofed from the machines and there was an intercom that could wake the dead if any thing went wrong with the machines. I worn that first Bible out in hardly no time it seemed.
God showed me a lot in that short time and I remember my wife telling me that she became jealous of me and told God that she had been a Christians for many years and that I had only accepted Jesus as my savior a few short months and that it was not fair that I was passing her up on knowing the Bible. Now while I may have been teaching my wife things that God had showed me that she had not been taught before I was far form knowing it all. In fact she set me straight once again when I started reading books written by others who were Christians and read that the Holy Spirit and speaking in other tongues had ceased and was not for the church of today. Again she boldly told me to my face and said, your WRONG Mark. So once again I went to the BIBLE to find out the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God.
I say this because I have learned that the devil cannot keep anyone from SEEKING the truth, but the devil CAN and DOES deceive good honest sincere Christians to believe teaching that has ERROR mixed with a little truth. You see these books that I was reading were indeed written by sincerely loving Christians who TRULY believed with all their heart that they were teaching the truth just like the Roman Catholic church sincerely and truly believes that she is teaching the truth. But you see my dear Catholic friend the DECEIVER works in EVERY church and in every denomination so it is up to YOU to search the word of God daily in order to see if you are being taught the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God.
You see these Christian books that I was reading did indeed quote scripture to try and support what they were teaching, but when one studies those verses left in the context sincerely desiring to know only the TRUTH, then their eyes of understanding are opened and they can clearly see that what they are being taught does NOT AGREE with the WHOLE word of God. So just because the author of the book may be a Christian does NOT mean that what he of she is teaching is a SOUND BIBLICAL teaching.
You see while I was reading the Bible for MYSELF those first few months I saw very clearly that the teachings of the Roman Catholic church CONTRADICTED what the clear plain simple word of truth, the Holy Bible taught. Please read this summarized study of these contradictory teachings of the roman catholic church when compared to the light of the word of Almighty God himself, but for now just know that that contradictions that the Holy Spirit was showing cause me to have to make a CHOICE between that Roman Catholic church and Almighty God himself. The things God was showing me caused me to come to a place where I could NOT in good conscious remain in the Catholic church and follow it's teachings.
Now I want you to understand that making this decision was one of the hardest things that I ever had to do. Yous see the FEAR that was drilled into me all those years in the Catholic church that if I ever LEFT the Catholic church that I would go straight to hell and that there was NO possible way to be saved other than being a CATHOLIC.
Let me assure your right now that this Roman Catholic teaching of Catholicism being the OEN TRUE church is the LIE of the devil, who wants to keep you bond to RELIGIOUS ritual ceremonies that have absolute NO power to save any one not matter how much faith a person places in them. Now I am not saying that absolutely no one in the Catholic church is saved, but what I am saying is that if so be that any true born again Christian withing the Roman Catholic church who comes to the knowledge of the truth that I had come to KNOWING that the teachings of the Roman Catholic church CONTRADICT the teachings of the very word of Almighty God himself, the Holy Bible, then they will NOT remain any longer in the Catholic church to follow the teachings of the Catholic church. They may remain for awhile to help others Catholics come to the knowledge of the truth, but I assure you that the TRUTH of God's word will NOT let them truly follow and obey the false teachings of the Roman Catholic church.
So when God show me the truth through his WORD, the Holy Bible, I had to CHOOSE between remaining in the Catholic church and following what I KNEW to be in direct contradiction with God's written word, the Holy Bible or TRUSTING in Almighty God himself by TRUSTING in his WORD, the Holy Bible and what this word of TRUTH was teaching me. I made the choice to believe God's WORD over the teachings of the Roman Catholic church. It took a few days that seemed much much longer to overcome the FEAR, but eventually the word of TRUTH silence the FEAR forever and now I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW with absolute certainty that I am SAVED and the I will without fail go to heaven, because I am TRUSTING, continually trusting in the resent tense that God's word is TRUTH and the Jesus died for my sins.
I do not need to confess my sins to a priest anymore, I can BOLDLY come before the very throne of Almighty God himself because of what his Son Jesus did for ALL of mankind so that ALL who BELIEVE can be forgiven of all their past sins and be brought back into a right RELATIONSHIP with Almighty God the Father. This is one of the meanings of what the word SAVED means, being brought back into having a RIGHT and pleasing RELATIONSHIP with Almighty God the Father.
My own personal testimony is just one of thousands that are out there on the Internet. Please read as many of these following testimonies and studies on this site AMatterOfTruth.com as it takes to have your eyes opened to the TRUTH that you can KNOW without a doubt that you are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and your word of TESTIMONY that you are TRUSTING in Jesus alone for your salvation. Again NO CHURCH or church denomination can save you. Only YOUR faith in the shed blood of Jesus, who died for the sins of the whole world, which includes your sins, can save you. Please read the study “ HOW CAN I BE SAVE?” or more precisely “WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED!” and please continue to read the following testimonies to assure you that OTHER very good and very devout Catholics like yourself have had some of the very SAME questions that your are having right now. I have no doubt that one of these testimonies will touch your heart as set you free from fear and sin and bring you into a right relationship with Almighty God the Father.
The following testimony is from a former Roman Catholic priest. Who better to know the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church that a priest or leader in the Catholic church? Any EMPHASIS such as bold letters, all capital letter, underlined words or highlighted words are mine. Any wording in parenthesis ( ) are my own comments. These emphasized statements are just some of things that bore witness to me of the errors of the Roman Catholic church and my comments in (parenthesis) are to point out the errors of the Roman Catholic church that have been revealed to me through studying the Bible.
The Gift – The Testimony of a Former Roman Catholic Priest
I was born and baptized a Roman Catholic in 1809 and I was ordained a priest in 1833 in Canada. I am now in my seventy fourth year, and it is nearly fifty years since I received the dignity of the priesthood in the church of Rome.
For twenty-five years I was a priest of that Church, and I tell you frankly that I loved the Church of Rome, and she loved me. I would have shed every drop of my blood for my Church and would have given a thousand times my life to extend her power and dignity over the continent of America, and over the whole world. My great ambition was to convert the Protestants, and bring them into my Church, because I was TOLD, and I preached, that outside the Church of Rome there was NO salvation, and I was sorry to think that those multitudes of Protestants were to be lost. (Here we can clearly see that this former Roman Catholic priest for 25 years was a very devout Catholic who was taught that all Protestants are lost and he truly desired to saved them by converting Protestants to Catholicism.)
A few years after I was born we lived in a place where there were no schools. My mother became my first teacher, and the first book in which she taught me to read was the Bible. When I was eight or nine years old I read the Divine Book with an incredible pleasure, and my heart was much taken up with the beauty of the Word of God. My mother selected the chapters she wished me to read, and the attention I gave to it was such that, many times, I refused to go and play with the little boys outside in order to enjoy the pleasure of reading the Holy Book. Some of the chapters I loved more than others, and these I learned by heart.
But after my mother died, the Bible disappeared from the house, probably through the priest who had tried to obtain possession of it before. Now this Bible is the root of everything in this story. That is the light which was put into my soul when young, and, thanks be to God, that light has never been extinguished. It has remained there: it is to that dear Bible, by the mercy of God, that I owe today the unspeakable joy which I feel at being among the redeemed, among those who have received the light, and are drinking at the pure fountain of truth. (The Holy Bible and the teaching of the Holy Spirit is the only way to truly come to the knowledge of the truth in order to be saved. This is why the Roman Catholic church does not encourage and teach Catholics to read the Bible for themselves and falsely teaches them that ONLY the priests, bishops, cardinals and pope can correctly interpret the Bible.)
But perhaps you are inclined to say, “Do not the Roman Catholic priests allow their people to read the Bible?” Yes, I thank God that it is so. It is a fact that today, almost all over the world, the Church of Rome grants permission to read the Bible, and you will find the Bible in the homes of some Roman Catholics.
But when we have confessed this we must tell the whole truth. When the priest puts the Bible in the hands of his people, or when a priest receives the Bible from his church, there is a condition. The condition is that though the priest or people may read the Bible, they must never, under any circumstances, interpret a single word according to their conscience, their intelligence, or in their own mind. When I was ordained a priest I swore that I would interpret the Scriptures only according to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers.
Friends, go to Roman Catholics today, and ask them if they have permission to read the Bible. They will tell you, “Yes, I can read it.” But ask, “Have you permission to INTERPRET it?” They will tell you, “No.” The priest says positively to the people, and the Church says positively to the priest, that they cannot interpret a single word of the Bible according to their own intelligence and their own conscience, and that it is a grievous sin to take upon themselves the interpretation of a single word. The priest says in effect to the people, “If you try to interpret the Bible with your own intelligence you are lost. It is a most dangerous book. You may read it, but it is better not to read it, because you cannot understand it.” (I want to assure you my dear Catholic friends that the Roman Catholic church is DECEIVING you fi you have been told that you cannot understand the word of God, the Holy Bible. God's word was written for YOU and all who would read it seeking to know the TRUTH. So I implore you my dear Catholic to read your accepted authorized version by the Roman Catholic church if you trust no other translation of the Bible. God is able to show you the TRUTH from any translation of the Bible if you but just ASK him to do show you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Do not believe the lie of Satan the enemy that you cannot interpret or understand the Holy Bible. This is a FALSE teaching.)
What is the result of such teaching? The result is, that though both the priests and the people have the Bible in their hands, they do not read it. Would you read a book if you were persuaded that you cannot understand a single word by yourself? Would you be such fools as to waste your time reading a book which you were persuaded you could not understand a single line of? Then, my friends, this is the truth about the Church of Rome. They have a great number of Bibles. You will find Bibles on the tables of the priests and of Catholic laymen, but among ten thousand priests there are not two who read the Bible from the beginning to the end and pay any attention to it. They read a few pages here and there; that is all.
In the Church of Rome the Bible is a sealed book, but it was not so with me. I found it precious to my heart when I was a little boy, and when I became a priest of Rome I read it to make me a strong man, and to make me able to argue for the Church.
My great object was to confound the Protestant ministers of America. I got a copy of the “Holy Fathers,” and I studied it day and night with the Holy Scriptures, in order to prepare myself for the great battle I wanted to fight against the Protestants. I made this study in order to strengthen my faith in the Roman Catholic Church.
But, blessed be God! every time I read the Bible there was a mysterious voice(1) saying to me, “Do you not see that in the Church of Rome you do not follow the teachings of the Word of God, but only the traditions of men?” In the silent hours of the night, when I heard that voice, I wept and cried, but it was repeated with the strength of thunder. I wanted to live and die in the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and I prayed to God to silence the voice, but I heard it yet still louder. When I was reading His Word He was trying(2) to break my fetters, but I would not have any fetters broken. He came to me with His saving light, but I would not have it.
I have no bad feeling against Roman Catholic priests. Some of you may think I have. You are mistaken. Sometimes I weep for them because I know that the poor men – just as I did – are fighting against the Lord, and that they are miserable as I was miserable then. If I relate to you one of the struggles of which I speak, you will understand what it is to be a Roman Catholic priest, and you will pray for them.
In Montreal there is a splendid cathedral capable of holding 15,000 people. I used to preach there very often. One day the Bishop asked me to speak on the Virgin Mary, and I was glad to do so. I said to those people what I thought to be true then, and what the priests believe and preach everywhere. Here is the sermon I preached:
“My dear friends, when a man has rebelled against his king, when he has committed a great crime against his emperor, does he come himself to speak to him? If he has a favour to ask from his king, dare he, under the circumstances, appear himself in his presence? No; the king would rebuke him, and would punish him. Then, what does he do? Instead of going himself he selects one of the friends of the king, some one of his officers, sometimes the sister or the mother of the king, and he puts his petition into their hands. They go and speak in favour of the guilty man. They ask his pardon, they appease his wrath, and very often the king will grant to these people the favour which he would refuse to the guilty man.”
“Then,” I said, “we are all sinners, we have all offended the great and mighty King, the King of kings. We have raised rebellious colours against Him. We have trampled His laws under our feet, and surely He is angry against us. What can we do today? Shall we go ourselves with our hands filled with our iniquities? No! But, thanks to God, we have Mary the mother of Jesus, our King, at His right hand, and as a dutiful son never refuses any favour to a beloved mother, so Jesus will never refuse any favour to Mary. He has never refused any petition which she presented to Him when He was on earth. He has never rebuked His mother in any way. Where is the son who would break the heart of a loving mother, when he could rejoice her by granting what she wants?
“Then I say, Jesus, the King of kings, is not only the Son of God, but He is the Son of Mary, and loves His mother. And as He has never refused any favour of Mary when He was on earth; He will never refuse her any favour today. Then what must we do? Oh, we cannot present ourselves before the great King, covered as we are with iniquity. Let us present our petitions to His holy mother; she will go to the feet of Jesus, herself, Jesus, her God and her son, and she will surely receive the favours which she will ask; she will ask our pardon and will obtain it. She will ask a place in the Kingdom of Christ, and you will have it. She will ask from Jesus to forget your iniquities, to grant you the true repentance, and He will give you anything His mother may ask of Him.”
My hearers were so happy at the idea of having such an advocate at the feet of Jesus interceding for them day and night, that they all burst into tears, and were beside themselves with joy that Mary was to ask and obtain their pardon.
I thought at the time that this was not only the religion of Christ, but that it was the religion of common sense, and that nothing could be said against it. After the sermon the Bishop came to me and blessed me, and thanked me, saying that the sermon would do great good in Montreal.
That night I went on my knees, and took my Bible, and my heart was full of joy because of the good sermon I had given in the morning. I opened and read from Matthew 12:46, the following words:
“While He yet talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Him. Then said one unto Him, ‘Behold Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with Thee.’ But He answered and said to him that told Him, ‘Who is My mother, and who are My brethren?’ And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Behold, My mother and My brethren, for whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in Heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.’”
When I had read these words there was a voice speaking to me more terrible than the voice of loud thunder, saying, “Chiniquy, you preached a lie this morning when you said that Mary had always received the favours which she had asked from Jesus. Do you not see that Mary comes to ask a favour, that is, to see her son, during whose absence she has been lonesome, and who has left her during many months to preach the Gospel?” When Mary got to the place where Jesus was preaching, the place was so crammed that she could not enter. What will she do? She will do what every mother would do in her place. She raises her voice and requests Him to come and see her; but while Jesus hears the voice of His mother, and with His divine eyes sees her, does He grant her petition? No. He shuts His ears to her voice and hardens His heart against her prayer. It is a public rebuke, and she feels it keenly. The people are astonished. They are puzzled, almost scandalized. They turn to Christ, and they say to Him, “Why don’t you come and speak to your mother?” What does Jesus say? He gives no answer except this extraordinary one: “Who is My mother, and who are My brethren?” and, looking upon His disciples, He says: “Behold, My mother, My brethren, and My sisters.” As for Mary, she is left alone, and publicly rebuked.
And then the voice spoke to me again with the power of thunder, telling me to read again in St. Mark 3:31-35. You will find the same incident both in Mark and in Luke 8:19-21. Instead of granting her petition Jesus replied in such a way as to publicly rebuke His mother. And then the voice spoke to me with terrific power, telling me that Jesus, so long as He was a little boy, obeyed Joseph and His mother; but as soon as Jesus presented Himself before the world as the Son of God, as the Saviour of the world, as the great Light of humanity, then Mary had to disappear. It is to Jesus alone that the eyes of the world must be turned to receive Light and Life.
Then, my friends, the voice spoke to me all the night: “Chiniquy, Chiniquy, you have told a lie this morning, and you were preaching a lot of fables and nonsense; and you preach against the Scriptures when you say that Mary has the power to grant any favour from Jesus.” I prayed and I wept, and it was a sleepless night with me.
The next morning I went to table with the Bishop-Prince, the coadjutor, who had invited me to breakfast.
He said to me, “M. Chiniquy, you look like a man who has spent the night in tears. What is the matter with you?”
I said, “My lord, you are correct. I am desolate above measure.”
“What is the matter?” he asked.
“Oh! I cannot tell you here,” I said. “Will you please give me one hour in your room alone? I will tell you a mystery which will puzzle you.”
After breakfast I went out with him and said: “Yesterday you paid me a great compliment because of the sermon in which I proved that Jesus had always granted the petitions of His mother. But, my lord, last night I heard another voice, stronger than yours, and my trouble is that I believe that voice is the voice of God. That voice has told me that we Roman Catholic priests and bishops preach a falsehood every time we say to the people that Mary has always the power to receive from the hands of Jesus Christ the favours which she asks This is a lie, my lord – this, I fear, is a diabolical and damning error.”
The Bishop then said, “M. Chiniquy, what do you mean? Are you a Protestant?”
“No,” I said, “I’m not a Protestant. Many times I had been called a Protestant because I was so fond of the Bible. “But I tell you, face to face, that I sincerely fear that yesterday I preached a lie, and that you, my lord, will preach one also the next time you say that we must invoke Mary, under the pretext that Jesus has never refused any favour to His mother. This is false.”
The Bishop said, “M. Chiniquy, you go too far!”
“No, my lord,” I said, “it is of no use to talk. Here is the Gospel; read it.”
I put the Gospel into the hands of the Bishop, and he read with his own eyes what I have already quoted. My impression was that he read those words for the first time. The poor man was so much surprised that he remained mute and trembling. Finally he asked, “What does that mean?”
“Well,” I said, “this is the Gospel; (in other words, this is what the very word of Almighty God himself clearly and plainly states) and here you see that Mary has come to ask from Jesus Christ a favour, and He has not only rebuked her, but has refused to consider her as His mother. He did this publicly, that we might know that Mary is the mother of Jesus as man, and not as God.”
The Bishop was beside himself. He could not answer me.
I then asked to be allowed to put to him a few questions. I said, “My lord, who has saved you and saved me upon the Cross?”
He answered, “Jesus Christ.”
“And who paid your debts and mine by shedding His blood; was it Mary or Jesus?”
He said, “Jesus Christ.”
“Now, my lord, when Jesus and Mary were on earth, who loved the sinner more; was it Mary or Jesus?”
And again he answered that it was Jesus.
“Did any sinner come to Mary on earth to be saved?”
“Do you remember that any sinner has gone to Jesus to be saved?”
“Have they been rebuked?”
“Do you remember that Jesus ever said to sinners, ‘Come to Mary and she will save you’?”
“No,” he said.
“Do you remember that Jesus has said to poor sinners, ‘Come unto ME’?” “Yes. He has said it.”
“Has He ever retracted those words?”
“And who was, then, the more powerful to save sinners?” I asked.
“Oh! it was Jesus!”
“Now, my lord, since Jesus and Mary are now in Heaven, can you show me in the Scriptures that Jesus has lost anything of His desire and power to save sinners, or that He delegated this power to Mary?”
And the Bishop answered, “No.”
“Then, my lord,” I asked, “why do we not go to Him, and Him ALONE? Why do we invite poor sinners to come to Mary, when, by your own confession she is nothing compared with Jesus, in power, in mercy, in love, and in compassion for the sinner?”
Then the poor Bishop was as a man who is condemned to death. He trembled before me, and as he could not answer me, he pleaded business and left me. His “business” was that he could not answer me.
But I was still not converted. There were many links by which I was still tied to the feet of the Pope. There were other battles to be fought before I could break the chains which bound me.
But in those days, though I was troubled I had not lost my zeal for my Church. The Bishops had given me great power and authority, and the Pope had raised me above many others, and I had the hope, with many others, that little by little, we might REFORM the Church in many things.
In 1851 I went to Illinois to found a French colony. I took with me about 75,000 French Canadians, and settled on the magnificent prairies of Illinois, to take possession in the name of the Church of Rome. After I had begun my great work of colonization I became a rich man: I bought many Bibles and gave one to almost every family. The Bishop was very angry at me for this, but I did not care. I had no idea of giving up the Church of Rome, but I wanted to guide my people as well as I could in the WAY in which CHRIST wanted me to lead them.
Now the Bishop of Chicago did a thing at that time which we Frenchmen could not tolerate. It was a great crime, and I wrote to the Pope and got him dismissed. Another Bishop was sent in his place, who deputed his Grand Vicar to visit me.
The Grand Vicar said to me, “M. Chiniquy, we are very glad that you have got the former Bishop dismissed, for he was a bad man: but it is suspected in many places that you are no more in the Church of Rome: it is suspected that you are a heretic and a Protestant. Will you not give us a document by which we can prove to all the world that you and your people are still good Roman Catholics?”
I said, “I have no objection.”
He rejoined, “It is the desire of the new Bishop, whom the Pope has sent, to have such a document from you.”
I then took a piece of paper – and it seemed to me that this was a golden opportunity to silence the voice which was speaking to me day and night and troubling my faith. I wanted to persuade myself by this means that in the Roman Catholic Church we were really following the Word of God, and not merely “traditions of men.” I wrote down these very words: “My lord, we French Canadians of the colony of Illinois want to live in the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church, out of which there is no salvation, and to prove this to your lordship we promise to obey your authority according to the Word of God, as we find it in the Gospel of Christ.”
I signed that and offered it to my people to sign, and they did. I then gave it to the Grand Vicar, and asked him what he thought of it. He said, “It is just what we want.” He assured me that the Bishop would accept it, and all would be right.
When the Bishop had read the submission, he too found it right, and with tears of joy said: “I am so glad that you have made your submission, because we were in fear that you and your people would turn Protestants.”
My friends, to show you my blindness, I must confess to my shame, that I was glad to have made my peace with the Bishop, a man, when I was not yet at peace with God. The Bishop gave me a “letter of peace,” by which he declared that I was one of his best priests, and I went back to my countrymen with the determination to remain there. But God looked down upon me in His mercy, and He was to break that peace which was peace with man and not with God.
The Bishop, after my departure, went to the telegraph office and telegraphed my submission to the other bishops, and asked them what they thought of it. They unanimously answered him the very same day: “Do you not see that Chiniquy is a disguised Protestant, and he has made a Protestant of you? It is not to you that he makes submission; he makes his submission to the Word of God. If you do not destroy that submission you are a Protestant yourself.”
Ten days later I received a letter from the Bishop, and when I went to him he asked me if I had the “letter of peace” he had given me the other day. I produced it, and when he saw it was that letter, he ran to his stove and threw it into the fire. I was astonished. I rushed to the fire to save my letter, but it was too late: it was destroyed.
Then I turned to the Bishop, and I said, “How dare you, my lord, take from my hand a document which is my property, and destroy it without my consent?”
He replied, “M. Chiniquy. I am your superior, and I have no account to give you.”
“You are indeed, my lord, my superior, and I am nothing but a poor priest, but there is a great God who is as much above you as above me, and that God has granted me rights which I will never give up to please any man; in the presence of that God I protest against your iniquity.”
“Well,” he said, “do you come here to give me a lecture?”
I replied, “No, my lord; but I want to know if you brought me here to insult me?”
“M. Chiniquy,” he said, “I brought you here because you gave me a document which you know very well was not an act of submission.”
Then I answered, “Tell me, what act of submission do you require of me?”
He said, “You must begin by taking AWAY these few words: ‘according to the Word of God, as we find it in the Gospel of Christ,’ and say simply that you promise to obey my authority without any condition; that you will promise to do whatever I tell you.”
Then I got to my feet and I said, “My lord, what you require of me is not an act of submission, but an act of adoration, and I refuse it to you.”
“Then,” said he, “if you cannot give me that act of submission, you cannot any longer be a Roman Catholic priest.” (In other words, according to the Roman Catholic church in order to be a good faithful Catholic one must obey completely the teachings of the Catholic church EVEN though it means that one must DISOBEY the very word of Almighty God HIMSELF! This is WHY former Catholics are leaving the Roman Catholic church. It is because they have come to the KNOWLEDGE of the TRUTH and are now saved. We can no longer follow the false teachings of the Roman Catholic church, because they CONTRADICT what the very word of Almighty God himself teaches.)
I raised my hands to God, and said, “May Almighty God be forever blessed,” and I took my hat and left the Bishop.
I went to the hotel where I had engaged a room, and locked the door behind me. I fell on my knees to examine what I had done in the presence of God. Then I saw, for the first time clearly, that the Church of Rome could not be the Church of Christ. I had learned the terrible truth, not from the lips of Protestants, not from her enemies but from the lips of the Church of Rome herself. I saw that I could not remain in it except by giving up the Word of God in a formal document. Then I saw that I had done well to give up the Church of Rome. But oh! my friends, what a dark cloud came upon me! In the darkness I cried out, “My God, my God, why is it that my soul is surrounded with such a dark cloud?”
With tears I cried to God to show me the way, but for a time, no answer was vouchsafed. I had given up the Church of Rome; I had given up position, honour, my brothers and sisters, everything that was dear to me! I saw that the Pope, the Bishops, and the priests would attack me in the press, and in the pulpit. I saw that they would take away my honour and my name – and perhaps my life. I saw that war to the death was begun between the Church of Rome and me, and I looked to see if any friends had been left to me to help me fight the battle, but not a single friend remained. I saw that even my dearest friends were bound to curse me, and look upon me as an infamous traitor. I saw that my people would reject me, that my beloved country, where I had so many friends, would curse me, and that I had become an object of horror to the world.
Then I tried to remember if I had some friends amongst the Protestants, but as I had spoken and written against them all my life, I had not a single friend there. I saw that I was left all alone to fight the battle. It was too much, and in that terrible hour, if God had not wrought a miracle, I should not have been able to bear it: it seemed impossible for me to go out from that room into the cold world, where I should not find a single hand to shake my hand, or a single smiling face to look upon me, but where I should see only those looking upon me as a traitor.
It seemed that God was far away, but He was very near. Suddenly the thought entered my mind: “You have your Gospel; read it, and you will find the light.” On my knees, and with trembling hand, I opened the book. Not I, but God opened it, for my eyes fell on 1 Cor. 7:23: “Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men.”
With these words the light came to me, and for the first time I saw the great mystery of salvation, as much as man can see it. I said to myself, “Jesus has bought me; then, if Jesus has bought me, He has saved me; I am saved! Jesus is my God! All the works of God are perfect! I am, then, perfectly saved – Jesus could not save me by half. I am saved in the blood of the Lamb; I am saved by the death of Jesus.” And these words were so sweet to me that I felt unspeakable joy, as if the fountains of life were open and floods of new light were flowing in upon my soul. I said to myself, “I am not saved, as I thought, by going to Mary; I am not saved by purgatory, or by indulgences, confessions or penances. I am saved by Jesus ALONE!” And all the false doctrines of Rome went away from my mind as falls a tower which is struck at the base.
I then felt such a joy, such a peace, that the angels of God could not be more happy than I was. The blood of the Lamb was flowing on my poor guilty soul. With a loud cry of joy I said, “Oh! dear Jesus, I feel it, I know it; Thou hast saved me! Oh! Gift of God, I accept Thee! Take my heart and keep it forever Thine. Gift of God, abide in me to make me pure and strong; abide in me to be my way, my light, and my life; grant that I may abide in Thee now and forever! But, dear Jesus, do not save me alone; save my people; grant me to show them the Gift also! Oh! that they may accept Thee and feel rich and happy as I am now.”
It was thus I found the Light and the great mystery of our salvation, which is so simple and so beautiful, so sublime and so grand. I had opened the hands of my soul and accepted the gift. I was rich in the gift. Salvation, my friends, is a gift; you have nothing to do but to accept it, love it, and love the Giver. I pressed the Gospel to my lips, and swore I would never preach anything but Jesus.
I arrived in the midst of my colony on a Sabbath(3) morning. The whole people were exceedingly excited and ran towards me, and asked what news. When they were gathered in the church, I presented to them The Gift. I showed to them what God had presented to me. His Son Jesus as a gift – and, through Jesus, the pardon of my sins, and life eternal as a gift. Then, not knowing whether they would receive the gift or not, I said to them: “It is time for me to go away from you, my friends, I have left the Roman Catholic Church forever. I have taken the gift of Christ, but I respect you too much to impose myself on you; if you think it is better for you to follow the Pope than to follow Christ, and to invoke the name of Mary than the name of Jesus, in order to be saved, tell it to me by rising up.”
To my exceeding great surprise the whole multitude remained in their seats, filling the church with their sobs and tears. I thought some of them would tell me to go, but not one did so. And as I watched I saw a change come over them – a marvelous change, which cannot be explained in natural ways – and I said to them, with a cry of joy: “The mighty God who saved me yesterday can save you today. With me you will cross the Red Sea and go into the Promised Land. With me you will accept the great gift – you will be happy and rich in the gift. I will put the question to you in another way. If you think it is better for you to follow Christ than the Pope, to invoke the name of Jesus alone than the name of Mary, that it is better to put your trust only in the blood of the Lamb shed on the Cross for your sins, than in the fabulous purgatory of Rome after your death to be saved; and if you think it is better for you to have me preach to you the pure Gospel of Christ, than to have a priest preach to you the doctrines of Rome, tell it to me by rising up – I am your man!”
And all, without a single exception, rose to their feet, and, with tears, asked me to remain with them. The Gift, the great, the unspeakable Gift had, for the first time, come before their eyes in its beauty; they had found it precious; they had accepted it; and no words can tell you the joy of that multitude(4). Like myself they felt rich and happy in the Gift. The names of one thousand souls, I believe, were written in the Book of Life that day. Six months later we were two thousand converts; a year later we were about four thousand! And now we are nearly twenty-five thousand who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
The news spread quickly all over America, and even in France and England – that Chiniquy, the best known priest of Canada, had left the Church of Rome, at the head of a noble band of men. And wherever it was said, the name of Jesus was blessed, and I hope you will bless the merciful and adorable Saviour today with me, when it is my privilege to have told you what He has done for my soul.
Pray for the Roman Catholics of America and everywhere, that I may be the instrument of the mercies of God toward them; that they may all receive, with you, the unspeakable Gift; may love and glorify the Gift during the few days of our pilgrimage here, and throughout all eternity. Amen.
The following is some more information from the website, Bible Based Ministries, where I found the above testimony of this former Roman Catholic priest Charles Chiniguy.
1. Chiniquy does not mean that this “voice” was an audible one, but that it was as if a voice was speaking in his heart and conscience.
2. This was a poor choice of words, for God, the sovereign God, does not “try” to do anything; what He purposes to do, He always does.
3. By “Sabbath” he meant Sunday, for he believed that the first day of the week was the “Christian Sabbath.”
4. Note the difference between this and the modern-day “altar calls” (so-called): Chiniquy did not ask that multitude to rise up and repeat a “sinner’s prayer” like parrots, he merely asked them to rise to indicate that they desired to reject Romanism and to hear the true Gospel preached to them. It was a heaven-sent revival, and multitudes repented of their sins and received Christ by faith that day; but the work was of God, not man.
Charles Chiniquy (1809-1899) was for twenty-five years a priest of Rome in Canada and the United States, who became a minister of the Gospel after his conversion and departure from Romanism. After his conversion he toured England several times and this particular narrative of his life was first given in London. He wrote his classic autobiography and refutation of Romanism, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, as well as the wonderful account of his life after leaving Romanism, Forty Years in the Church of Christ. He narrowly escaped death on many occasions at the hands of fanatical Roman Catholics. He also wrote an exposure of the diabolical Romish confessional, The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional. He lived to his ninetieth year.
The Gospel means the glad tidings, or good news; and truly, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10), the greatest news ever heard on earth: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”! (1 Timothy 1:15). And “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him”! (Hebrews 7:25).
All men and women are sinners, and sin is a terrible thing: it is the transgression of the perfect and holy law of God, and it has separated all mankind from God. Those who die in their sins suffer the torments of eternal fire. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is that strait gate, and narrow way, that leads to life! “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” Jesus said; “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
If you, then, are asking, “What must I do to be saved from my sins?” here is the answer: “Repent”! (Acts 2:38); and, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Forsake your sin, repent of it, turn from it, and believe, with all your heart, in Jesus Christ! To believe in Him is to cast yourself upon Him, by faith, for salvation. He is the Son of the living God, holy, harmless, undefiled, sinless, the only Lord and Saviour. He died on a cross, He was crucified, not for His own sins – for He had none of His own – but for the sins of His chosen people, those given to Him by His heavenly Father to save, paying the penalty for sin in their place, shedding His blood to redeem them. And after dying in their place, the wrath of God being poured out upon Him, having satisfied the justice of God and having put away the sins of those He died for by the sacrifice of Himself, He rose from the dead, victorious over death, sin, and Satan; and He gives eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him. Eternal life cannot be earned, and it cannot be bought; it is the gift of God through Jesus Christ the Lord. He alone is the One who can save the soul and set the spiritual captive free! Forsake your sin, forsake the false religion of Rome and all other false religion, turn to the Lord by faith, and be saved!
Bible Based Ministries
Shaun Willcock is a minister of the Gospel. He runs Bible Based Ministries. For other pamphlets (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, audio messages, news articles, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website, or write to the address below. If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ electronic mailing list, please send your details.
If you have repented of your sins and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, or if you would like to know more about Him, His Gospel, and the true Christian life, please contact us.
Bible Based Ministries
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Contending for the Faith Ministries
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Used by Permission.
The following testimony is from an ordinary average Catholic, who came to the knowledge of the truth, who now knows without a doubt that she is saved and will go straight to heaven.
Testimony of a former Roman Catholic
I'm a former roman catholic now for 17 years and can surely testify about the lies I was taught as a roman catholic, comfortable and appealing lies. Hard for those not raised catholic to grasp how anybody with common sense can really place any faith in the traditions and rituals of Rome, but I'll tell you, Tracy, the average roman catholic is downright ignorant about the roots of Catholicism and what it teaches in writing, not to mention biblically ignorant! I say that charitably but honestly, it's just plain willful ignorance and laziness and refusal to move from that comfort zone.
My own family is still primarily catholic, and I've shown them time and again factual secular writing (and catholic writing) and history about their beloved catholic church that doesn't even faze them; they just refuse to believe the truth and sputter and get mad... Myth and tradition have a terrible hold on people, and God help you when you attempt to get through that to show someone the truth.
I'd say I had a "normal" catholic middle-class upbringing and family. I'm 45 now and the oldest of three, and we all attended parochial school. My folks were hardworking good people, not overly involved in church activities per se but in church on Sundays and holy days, and I was blessed with a happy comfortable childhood. I vividly remember my first communion and confirmation ceremonies, the May processions in honor of "our lady", my Girl Scout troop (where we worked on our "Marian award," a special project for Catholic Girl Scouts - don't know if that still exists!), etc. I truly have nothing but good memories of my years all through grade school. Our parish was building a new church building, and we had a beautiful big pipe organ, and I loved being in the choir and like most other little catholic girls went through a phase of wanting one day to be a nun. Back then I never questioned what we were taught and happily accepted what the younger nuns would tell us about this new pope John (this was back in the early 60's) and all the "new changes" he was bringing about in the catholic church. I remember what a big deal it was when the mass went from Latin to English and the priest began to face the people. In particular, I remember being so fond of a little nun who would tell us about "our lady's" childhood and read to us about her from a book (more about this later).
I know now I lived in a closed world, really, in a basically catholic town and suburban neighborhood where everybody we knew and associated with believed the same way so that I never had much exposure to different ways of living or thinking (and certainly never once heard a single testimony from a real Christian in all those years!)
This began to change for me when it came time to go to high school. My folks had both gone to a business/trade high school and had instilled in us kids the desire to "get ahead" by working hard and getting more of a practical education, so unlike most of my grade school classmates who went to the suburban catholic high school, I attended the aforementioned high school where my folks went. I still went to mass on Sundays and holy days and to the CCD classes once a week (for catholic teens not attending catholic high school). I began to meet kids who had had different upbringings and for the first time found out that not everybody was catholic (but strangely enough also had "good morals"!) I should say I was never afraid to think for myself (despite the fact that I knew the catholic church would prefer we Catholics not read those books not having the catholic "imprimatur") and was a voracious reader and liked to write and keep a journal,
I started to get antsy at mass on Sundays, wondering why in the world the different priests I would listen to never seemed to have much of a lesson to teach in their sermons, and it seemed strange to me that most priests I ever heard would not even teach much about catholic doctrine but would tell football stories or make jokes (I was always more on the serious side, and this really bothered me). Once I learned to drive, I began to visit different catholic churches on Sunday, hoping to find a priest who had more of a message, one who would stick to one topic and teach me something as I was sure not getting much from the rest of the mass and could not seem to "feel" the way I used to as a kid. My high school years passed this way as did my early 20's - I'd find a mass nearly every Sunday or holy day and attempt to "feel holy" during the service, pray the rosary and long litanies to "our lady" and other saints, give money to the church, do volunteer activities but was always hungry for something more substantial and that made sense, some straight answers. I'd talked to a nice older priest I admired, but he seemed embarrassed when I'd asked him questions about hell or other topics and would more or less pat me on the head and tell me not to be so serious, that I was a good person and just to continue doing what I was doing.
One Sunday (16 years ago now) I got brave and walked into a little independent Baptist church. By this time, on my own, I had collected some different bibles but had not truly read much from them. I had enough sense to walk into that church with one of these bibles (don't remember if it was my King James version I had that day) and for the first time, I heard a man in a pulpit who spoke with authority and who had a book open in front of him. I was so impressed with this, the fact that everybody in the church had the same book and could follow along as he read and expounded on the verses, and I thought this was wonderful. It made so much sense to me. When he asked if there was anyone there who had never really asked Jesus to be their personal Saviour, I had no trouble walking down that aisle, I just knew I was hearing what I'd been hoping to hear for years and that I was in the right place.
I began to get more even more serious about what I read and couldn't get enough of my King James. One of the first things I remember doing was trying to find that story about "our lady's" childhood and being puzzled about why there wasn't much in my bible about Mary. I remember being shocked that Jesus had half-brothers and sisters and that there was nothing in my bible about Mary ascending into heaven! I was given some of Matthew Henry's commentaries and also began to read more secular and factual history, what an eye opener. I got a hold of Hislop's "Two Babylons," and that one really changed my way of thinking about roman Catholicism and its origins, especially regarding the mother and child depictions, sheer paganism! Oh, and I also found a little book that I believe my favorite nun had read from concerning "our lady's" childhood in the public library one day a few years ago (sorry, can't remember the name of this one, but it was obviously not bible!)
For me, one of the saddest things the catholic church has done and still does is to make Mary something she is not and to take the focus off our Saviour. I recently tried once again to witness to an old friend of mine, a very devout elderly catholic who has a special devotion to "our lady." She also remembers the stories we were told as kids about Mary's supposed childhood and got furious with me when I told here those stories were nowhere in the bible. So you see where a great deal of difficulty lies, that people would rather hang on to their happy childhood stories and memories and traditions than to hear, read and understand the plain literal truth of the Holy Bible, and how hard it is to tear people away from their love of entertainment and passivity.
My prayer is that those of us who have been saved by His grace out of the whore of Babylon can learn to witness effectively to those still caught up in the old stories and myths of Catholicism.
WORSHIPPING MARY—THE SIN OF SUPERSTITION
A whirlwind of memories came flooding through my mind when I saw the above illustration taken from My Catholic Faith. I was conditioned, at a very early age, to believe that I had to go through Mary to get to Jesus. I can remember kneeling and praying before her image, singing songs that praised Mary as "Queen of Heaven", and watching movies like "The Song of Bernadette" and "The Lady of Fatima".
This worship of Mary continued into my adulthood. I can remember when my first born son had a very high fever, I was so afraid he would die that I went begging Mary on hand and knee. I confessed she was the Mother of Jesus and, understanding what being a mother was all about, I cried, saying, "Please Mary, ask God to let my baby live". When my son lived, I truly worshipped Mary.
Yet for all these things, if a Christian confronts a Catholic on his/her worshipping of Mary, the reply is always the same: "We don't worship her! We just give her honor that is due her as the Mother of God." But is this true? I practiced Catholicism for 30 years and I can, from experience, tell you that we prayed to her, through her, by her and for her as taught by the Roman hierarchy.
Yet the Bible
tells me: hat all things are "by him [Jesus], and for him"
(Col.1:16), "...of him, and through him and to him"
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER CATHOLIC
by Diane M. Wachtel
2 Peter 2:1: "BUT
THERE WERE FALSE PROPHETS ALSO AMONG THE PEOPLE, EVEN AS THERE SHALL
BE FALSE TEACHERS AMONG YOU, WHO PRIVILY SHALL BRING IN DAMNABLE
HERESIES, EVEN DENYING THE LORD THAT BOUGHT THEM, AND BRINGING UPON
THEMSELVES SWIFT DESTRUCTION." (Emphasis mine)
TESTIMONY OF A TYPICAL ROMAN CATHOLIC
The TESTIMONY OF A FORMER NUN
By Sandy Hooper email@example.com
"Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen..." Colossians 2:18
"Why...are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body..." The apostle Paul, Colossians 2:20-23
I come from a family of eight children (a much later addition made it nine). From early childhood we were made to attend church every Sunday. My earliest memories take me back to the time when I would make my first communion. I can remember being very excited, because I too can now have the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ just like the grown-ups. I can remember Sister Peter having us children practice with those little round candies to show us how we were to accept Jesus into our mouths. We had to be careful, because we did not want Him to fall on the floor. I was under the impression that would be a grave sin.
When it was time to make Confirmation, I was excited about this too. I had learned in the Catholic school that Confirmation was necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. Through this special occasion I would be more bound to the Church and enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. I realized I would be sealed with the Holy Spirit as the Bishop would anoint me with oil.
ABUSED BY A MAN CALLED "ANOTHER CHRIST"
My mother told me I would have to see the priest at the church in order to get my confirmation lessons to understand it more fully. I was to go each Saturday morning to see him. However, the subject of Confirmation I did not learn. This priest was sexually molesting me. I was shocked because I had never had anything like this happen before. I was scared. Since good Catholics were suppose to obey their priests, for they are in higher authority, I submitted though I was frightened. Each Saturday I had to go face this priest and didn't dare tell a soul what was happening. This lasted for about six to seven weeks.
But in spite of what I went through, I still kept going to church and learned all the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church. We had Catechism each week and learned what was necessary in this life and to make it to heaven. When I was about 16, I wanted to enter the Convent. There was only one problem. I didn't finish high school. I had just quit that summer. Most of the orders required that a girl have her diploma. But I finally found one that didn't require it. The order was the Sisters of St. Martha. At the time they were located at La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, Massachusetts. I wrote to the sisters and told them I wish to be a nun. She wrote back and wanted to know why. My simple answer was, " I wanted to serve the Lord."
I was to meet Sister Germaine, the Mistress of Novices at the Shrine. After my interview she decided I could enter. My mother was not very happy about losing her daughter, but my father was very proud there was going to be a nun in the family. I had learned my father always wanted to be a priest.
I can remember my mother coming short of tears as she saw me board the bus leaving for La Salette Shrine in Enfield, New Hampshire. I waved good bye as the bus departed.
I had learned the Sisters of St. Martha was a domestic order. The Seminary itself was a school for high school boys . The Priests and the Brothers took care of these boys and their education. On the other hand, the Sisters prepared their meals, three times a day. On Saturdays? That was laundry day. We had to do the laundry for the Priests and Brothers, besides our own. The following is a schedule I adhered to while in the convent.
At 5:15 in the morning the bell would ring to wake us. We had fifteen minutes to get washed and dressed. At 5:30 we had to be down in the chapel for morning prayers. This consisted of reciting certain sections of the Psalms. One group would read about three verses, then the other half would read three verses. At 5:45 we would go back to our bedrooms. Between 5:45 and 6:00 a.m., the priest would hear confessions before he did the Mass in our chapel. One by one each nun would take their turn.
Mass would be over about 6:30 and we would make our way to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for everyone. By 8:30 a.m. we would start preparing for lunch, and the time for silence would begin at 10:00 a.m until the lunch meal was served. We were forbidden to talk. We were to concentrate on God. If I had any questions, I had to whisper to the cook. It wasn't long before I learned how to use sign language.
The sisters had their own dining room. Before we could have our meal, we all had to stand by our assigned seats. Every day each nun would have her turn reading a section from the "Imitation of Christ." Then we would say grace, and thank God we could then talk!
By the time the meals and dishes were done, it would be about 2 to 2:30 in the afternoon; from there we would say the rosary together. Whatever time was left after that, we got to rest in our rooms. At 3 p.m. it was time for Vespers and then to the kitchen again preparing for dinner. All would be over with about 6:30 p.m. and it was back to the convent. We were allowed to watch T.V., but were only allowed to watch certain programs. That was "Hogan's Hero's" and "The Waltons". After the Walton's, myself (Postulant), and the two Novices, along with the Mistress of Novices had to spend an hour together in the basement for quality time. My quality time consisted of playing pool with the two Novices, Sister Joan and Sister Judy, while the Mistress of Novices did sewing or whatever needed to be done. At 10 p.m. the lights had to be out. On Saturdays? As I said, that was laundry day and Sunday was a day for rest. This was my schedule.
NEVER HAD TO READ THE BIBLE
When I had those quiet times in my room, I remember one time trying to read the Bible but found it very boring. I was in the convent for almost two years and I can only remember picking up that Bible that one time. We never read the Bible together outside what we had to do for morning prayers when reciting the Psalms, but even that wasn't in the Bible. The Psalms were in a book by itself. We did a lot of praying to the saints when we didn't have our time in the basement. We would often make Novenas and kneel by the statute when doing so. People would ask for prayer, and that is how we did it.
LEAVING THE CONVENT
I began to question myself of why I was there. I can remember thinking, "Do I want to do this for the rest of my life?" But something happened that made me very angry and sad. Sister Judy was told she could not make her final vows. Needless to say, she was very broken hearted. She cried and I cried too.
Sister Judy got to go home and visit her family before she had to leave the convent for good. During this time, while working in the kitchen, I couldn't help but cry. The head cook wanted to know what was wrong. I told her it wasn't fair that Sister Judy couldn't serve the Lord. But she smiled and said, "Well, many are called, but few are chosen." That statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I got angry with God. If God loved us so much, why would He not let someone serve Him? Later, Sister Judy told me why she couldn't make her final vows. It was due to an illness she had as a child.
It wasn't long after Sister Judy left, I left too. I couldn't see going all the way to making my final vows for something that didn't make sense to me. "Many are called, but few are chosen," rang in my ears for a long time. I considered myself as one of those who was not chosen for this kind of life.
STILL IN ROMANISH CHAINS
However, I did not leave the Catholic Church. I prayed my rosary still, prayed to Mary for help, and continued to go to church. I was still searching and wanted something deeper with God. I had an emptiness that kept going further and further down. There were times I felt like I had to climb up just to reach bottom. I kept going to the La Salette Shrine in Massachusetts. I would say my rosaries there. I felt like I was closer to God there. There were times I would look at the statue and ask, "Mary, why don't you show yourself to me? I need you." I would often look up in the sky trying to find her. Maybe, just maybe, she would appear to me. I would crawl up the stairs on my knees while saying the rosary, praying, and hoping that the pain I was enduring would help me to heaven. [Editor's note: this self-inflicted pain is called penance in Romanism. Some even beat themselves until the blood flows to show sorrow for sin instead of calling on the Lord.] After all, who belongs to God unless you are willing to suffer physical discomfort? I must prove I am worthy. I must pray my way and suffer in order to get to heaven. I didn't want to go to purgatory, but heaven.
I would often go to La Salette, but I will never forget the last time I was there. It was in the evening and they were having a prayer service. I stood at the door staring because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I saw the priest laying hands on people and they were passing out cold on the floor. The music was beautiful, but I didn't understand what was happening. I stood there for a long time observing when a nun began to walk by me. I stopped her and asked what was happening. She said, "They are experiencing the slaying of the Holy Spirit." She didn't explain, she continued on. I decided I would walk up and get prayer too. I remember the priest laying his hands on my head. I closed my eyes and listened to him pray. I felt like God was touching my head. I felt peaceful. At that I was on the floor myself. I didn't lose consciousness, but yet I couldn't move. Finally I was able to get up. I went home that night not knowing what exactly happened to me.
DEPRESSION SETS IN
Time went on and the depression was getting worse. There were two times I attempted suicide but failed. I was still empty and still climbing and reaching nothing. I decided that maybe if I moved out of the state of Rhode Island, that would help. I traveled all the way to...California but only lasted two days in a hotel room. Then I thought about my mother. At that I was headed for [her mother's].
When I was settled...I began looking for a church. I found "Our Lady Of Lourdes" and attended the evening Mass. It was similar to what I experienced at the La Salette Shrine. These people were on fire for the Lord. I found out they called it a Charismatic Mass. However, the one thing that impressed me at the time was when it was time to give each other the sign of peace. I was shocked. The priest got off the altar and started shaking hands with the people. I never saw a priest leave the altar during a Mass.
I also noticed the music ministry and liked their music. After the Mass I went up and asked if I could practice with them since I played the guitar. They told me they met on Friday evenings, but it was a prayer meeting. One of the men gave me the address and I was there the following Friday. Everybody was so friendly. They were also ready to start their prayer meeting. I noticed they started speaking in different languages, or at least that is what I thought it was. I didn't know, but figured it had to do something with their faith. It was very strange to me. I thought I got myself in a house with a bunch of koo koo's, but here I found myself staying because I needed something.
HEARING THE GOSPEL
After the meeting one of the sons took me in the back room to explain Jesus to me. I thought to myself, "What is this guy going to tell me what I don't already know? After all, I've been in the convent, and there is nothing new he is going to tell me." But he started talking about Jesus and he talked about Him as if He were real. He talked as if he knew him personally. I wanted that! He gave me the gospel message. He asked me if I wanted to receive Jesus, and I said yes. We went right into the living room and he had me sit in the chair in the middle of the room and everybody surrounded me and started to lay their hands on me. It was there I accepted and confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.
However, I didn't feel any different. But I do remember going home that night and as I walked in, my mom was watching television. I could remember the awful feeling I got from what she was watching. It had never bothered me before, but his time it was like I could see the darkness in the program. I said nothing but went straight into my bedroom. I began to read my Bible. It was then it was not the same. As I read, the words seem to come off the pages. It wasn't boring like it was in the convent.
A few weeks later I was baptized in [a] pool. The prayer meetings were large for this small house, but we managed. It was during one of these meetings I was now about to experience the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I can remember standing with the others singing a worship song. It was at the end of this song I began to feel this tingling sensation in my feet. It worked its way to my ankles, then my knees, belly, neck, and finally my head. When I went to say "Thank you Jesus," nothing came out but another language. I realized I had gotten the gift of tongues (more on this later). I looked around to see if anybody was watching me. I was kind of embarrassed. I was also confused. I knew what I had was the gift of tongues, but I began to doubt. I approached Mr. Walsh at the end of the meeting and told him of my fears. He gave me a book to read on tongues which explained why we shouldn't doubt it. I was also led to another book "The Holy Spirit and You." I believe it was by a Rita Bennett and her husband. I read these books and they fascinated me. From there on I began to read everything I could concerning the Holy Spirit, but as I think back, I read everything except what the Bible had to say about it. I realize now the word of God was not"rightly divided."
FALSE DOCTRINE & CONFUSION
We continued to have our Bible studies, but I never searched the Scriptures to see if what they were teaching was true or not. I assumed they knew what they were talking about and I needed them to learn. Little did I know I was getting a lot of false doctrine.
As we had these prayer meetings, we also continued to attend Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes. There was a problem beginning. After the Charismatic Mass a whole crowd of us would meet in the next hall for our Sunday prayer meetings. However, there began disputes about Catholic doctrine and the Bible. The question of Mary came up, confession, praying to the saints, etc. The order from the priest was set forth. If there were any who didn't agree with the Catholic church, they had to leave. He was not going to allow division. So some left, but I stayed. Those who met at the [leaders] all left and started their own church. I was going to their service in the mornings, and went to the Charismatic Mass in the evening each Sunday. I was too afraid to leave. To leave the Catholic church would be inviting myself to hell for all eternity. Salvation, I learned as a little girl, was through the Catholic church. It was a sin to step inside another. It was for these reasons I didn't want to leave the Church, but I also didn't want to lose the other friends I had made. But as far as I was concerned, I was safe attending their services for they were held outside at Tomoka Park. Finally, my conscious began to bother me and I stopped it all together, even the Friday prayer meetings. I stayed faithful to the Church.
It was nearing the year 1984 when I decided to move....I got involved with a group that was not Catholic, but part of the Vineyard movement. I soon left that because it seemed to controlling in personal matters. It was not too long after I found myself involved with the Lamb Of God Community. This was another Charismatic group and mainly Catholic.
I had met my husband before I joined the Lamb of God. Father Joe was one of its leaders, but I heard they had certain rules for dating. Tom and I were engaged before we joined. If you were engaged before you joined, you were fine. Tom and I were married in a Catholic Church by Father Joe on November 30, 1985.
Lamb of God was associated with the Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There were many things going on at that time, and division started taking place.
We were informed that there was a split at the Word of God Community. The co-founders, Ralph Martin and Steve Clark had a parting of the ways. We, in turn, had a split here in the Lamb of God Community. It concerned excessive control over its members, which I agree. We were "encouraged" a certain way to dress, what roles we played in the family as who took out the trash, cut the lawn etc., the matters concerning faithful attendance to the meetings, authority, etc. My husband and I found ourselves not going to the meetings anymore. We never talked about it much, we just didn't go.
After the first three babies were born, we were still attending church on Sundays. I have four children and all of them got baptized into the Catholic church. But church attendance also began to fade in the background. We got to the point where we didn't attend church at all.
In 1991 I received a computer as a gift by my brother-in-law. I began to learn how to use it and then found myself writing to other people in Bible conferences. I conversed with a number of Jehovah Witnesses. I tried to prove Jesus is God and so forth. The messages seemed endless. I wasn't getting through to them, but the whole activity was getting me involved in studying the Bible for myself. I would wake up very early in the mornings typing away at the computer trying to prove different things from the Bible to tell my Jehovah Witness friends.
Then there began a need to get back in church. I was feeling empty like I had before. I missed all the fellowship I had at one time. However, after studying the Bible for a while I noticed certain things of the Catholic doctrine that did not line up with the Bible. It concerned the Lord's body and blood, eternal security, and the church. Though I knew I needed to find a church, I had made up my mind that I would not go back to the Catholic church knowing what I knew now where it concerned the Lord's body and blood. Why should I believe in something that profits nothing? Where it concerns the Lord's body, we never hear John 6:63 read before communion, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:"
STRUGGLING WITH ROMAN BLASPHEMIES
The Church doctrine and the Bible were in conflict and I struggled and asked many questions. How many times do we need to be saved? If I receive Jesus Christ at communion time, what happens to Him during the week that I have to go back and receive Him again? And why should I drink blood when blood is forbidden before the Law (Genesis 9:4); Under the law (Lev. 17:14); and in New Testament times (Acts 15:29; 21:25)? The Bible says Blood is off limits, we are to abstain from blood, but in the Catholic church we are to drink it!
I never admitted I didn't really believe the Eucharist was actually the body and blood of Christ, for if I did, I knew I would be condemned to hell by the curse pronounced by the Roman Catholic church. But I praise God now, because I know no curse will keep me out of heaven.
I told my husband I was going to start going to church again, but also let him know I would not go back to the Catholic church. I was still a little uncertain though. I thought to myself, "What if the Catholic church is really right and I'm wrong." In the back of my mind, eternal security was always the question. In the Catholic Church you had salvation through the sacraments, but even that wasn't a sure thing. Purgatory always lingered over my head. I didn't want to suffer in purgatory and wait for the prayers to get me out. For that matter, the Catholic church has yet to say how many prayers are needed to get one out of purgatory. However, what if I were wrong about all this? I don't know, but I took my chances, I left for good.
It so happened I found a Baptist Church. I thought to myself this church would really be something if these people could only be baptized in the Holy Spirit and experience tongues like I had and practiced. But regardless of what I thought they lacked, these people were joyful even without the so-called baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Charismatic terms.
REALIZED SATAN TAMPERING WITH THE WORD OF GOD
Now, I shall share what happened from there when I discovered what was happening to God's word. I'm not talking about the "Incarnate Word," Jesus Christ, but His "words." I shall excerpt one of my own writings to explain:
"My husband had a visit from an old friend whom he hadn't seen in years, along with his wife. At the time of their visit they were both in a drug treatment program to kick the habit. During the course of the evening I began to witness to the couple. During this time I had pulled out at least 6 to 8 different versions of the Bible. The husband stopped me in the middle of a conversation and asked me, Which Bible is the true Bible?' His questioned stumped me. The question made such an impact on me that I began to wonder myself! From then on that question stayed with me.
This incident took place in the early part of November of 1995. It was several weeks before this time I had decided to leave the Catholic church. I had been a Christian for 20 years and had remained in the Catholic Church all that time. Something was missing in my life and I couldn't pin-point the problem other than that I missed Christian fellowship. I missed the fellowship like I had when I lived in Florida. Down there I was very involved in the Charismatic movement (Don't worry, the Bible straightened me out on the tongues business).
It was near the end of summer of 1995 when I started attending a Baptist Church, and it was the end of November I decided to join. New members were required to take membership classes which took place in the Pastor's office each Sunday. About the third Sunday of my visit I noticed a book on his desk. I asked him if I could borrow the book. It was titled, New Age Bible Versions,' by Dr. G.A. Riplinger. That night I started to read her book and was brought to tears just after reading the first two chapters as I saw what was happening with God's words. About a week or two before I borrowed that book, I had purchased for the first time in my life a King James Bible, therefore, I was able to compare the versions as I read her book."
It was from here when my life was actually changed concerning the Bible, the Catholic church, Catholic doctrine, the so-called Baptism of the Holy Spirit, tongues and so forth.
When I compared these versions, I did notice how these other bibles lined up with the Roman Catholic bible. No wonder I was still in confusion! In these modern bibles, salvation is shown as a "process" which requires good works. All this is brought out by the straining of the tenses in the modern bibles. Let me show you exactly what I mean. When you read the following, please do notice the straining of the tenses:
With all the unnatural straining of the tenses, and the teachings of the Catholic Church, no wonder I didn't know if I was truly saved!
AUTHORIZED KING JAMES IS GOD'S BOOK
From there the King James Bible became the final authority in my life. In that Book I knew I would get the truth. It straightened me out on a lot of doctrines concerning tongues, baptism of the Holy Spirit, eternal security, about heaven and hell, the saints, purgatory, and many other things. When I used these other bibles, they led me nowhere but in confusion and frustration. Doctrines such as the Deity was hard to prove to a Jehovah's Witness. Now I know why! I don't have that problem any more with a King James Bible. I've had Mormons at my door and Jehovah's Witnesses, and when I get the King James out, all of a sudden every body gets Greekitis. I tell them I don't know Greek, and therefore there's not a lot of sense going through it. But there's one thing I do know and have, and that is the Holy Bible. I don't have to apologize to anyone for having the truth in my hands. It's either believe it or reject it. No need to turn to man's teachings, the Catholic church, traditions, the Greek, Another Testament, or other bibles to disprove the LIVING ONE.
FREE AT LAST!
I know a person can't be born again twice, but that's what it seems to me. My eyes have been opened. I no longer walk in darkness. I no longer hang by the rules of the Roman Catholic church. When I began to study from the King James Bible, I saw how the Roman Catholic church is really an enemy to God's word. When reading from the true word of God, God will also give us back our common sense. For instance, let me share with you the following concerning Original sin. As a Catholic, we were taught we needed baptism to free us from sin. But yet the Roman Catholic church does not believe that chapters 1-3 of Genesis is real history. What they have actually done is call Jesus a liar.
Jesus Christ quotes Genesis 2 and 3 as a strict, straight history. "And Jesus answered them, For the hardness of your heart he (Moses) wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female" (Mark 10:5-6). Jesus also quotes Moses verbatim from Genesis 2:24 (Mark 10:7-8). Jesus said, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words" (John 5:45-47).
If Jesus were here in the flesh, He would say the same thing to the Catholic Church who tells me Genesis 1-3 is not straight history. They have made Jesus a liar. Genesis tells how the world began (Gen. 1), how human beings began (Gen. 2), how they fell (Gen. 3).
And this is what I mean by common sense. The Roman Catholic church fails to remind us that between chapters 1-3, is the fall of man. Here is where Original sin began! If the Roman Catholic church does not believe Genesis 1-3 is not real history, then why, from A.D. 500 to 1997, were all those babies baptized for!!!?
And what about the saints whom we were taught to pray? Every good Catholic should read his Bible. The Bible says that God puts no trust in His saints (Job 15:15). "Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints;"
If God doesn't put any trust in His saints, why should I?
And what about Blessed Sinless Mary? The Bible says, For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). This means Mary too! Even Mary herself knew she needed a Saviour and went through purification for sins as the Jewish law required. Mary said herself, "And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." (Luke 1:47).
Mary needed purification from sin, "And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.....and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:22,24).
The fact is, Mary is a Jewish woman following the Law handed down to Moses. Read Leviticus 12 my friend. Mary, a sinner, had to make a "sin-offering" (see Lev. 12:8). We must ask ourselves, why does the Roman Catholic church insist she was sinless when the Bible says she was not? Mary had to make a sin offering, and they were so poor they were not even able to offer the required sacrifice for Mary's cleansing as all females were to do in obedience to the law. Mary was so poor she and Joseph could not bring the required LAMB for sacrifice (see Lev. 12:8 again). They could only offer a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons (Luke 2:24). However, Mary didn't need the lamb, she held Him in her arms! She had the Lamb who could save her from her sins! A Saviour her heart rejoiced in!
The Catholic Mary no way resembles the Jewish Mary of the Bible. Even in the days of Jesus people tried to elevate Mary in a position that was not her's. "And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked." (Luke 11:27). But Jesus immediately corrected the woman and said, "Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." (Luke 11:28).
Jesus was way ahead of the Roman Catholic Church. We are not to sway from the word of God and put our trust in Mary or the saints, but in Jesus Christ Himself.
I could cry when I think of all the years I have wasted and abiding by these false doctrines. If only I had known sooner. But I thank God I have come at least this far. The truth certainly has freed me indeed! Put your trust in Jesus Christ and His infallible word. With those words in your hands, the Holy Spirit shall lead you and guide you into all truth.
As of this moment, I have four children (ages 9, 8, 6 and 4), homeschool, and attend a King James Bible Believing Church... I pray the Lord will use me with the little time we have left before the Rapture.
KNOW JESUS FOR YOURSELF
May you find peace and eternal life by inviting Jesus Christ into your life. Don't let anything stop you from receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and enjoying eternal life with Him. God gave His only begotten Son for you. Christ died on the cross for you. He shed His blood for you and me. Oh, what love! We deserved the death Jesus endured for us on the cross, but He paid the price for sin and said, "It is finished." He rose again the third day conquering death.
Nobody has to work for salvation. It is finished! Sacraments will not save us. The saints cannot help us, and Mary cannot be our mediator. There is only one mediator, and that is Jesus Christ, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" (1 Timothy 2:5). Obey Jesus. Hear the word of God and keep it (Luke 11:28). The word of God tells us, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)
The Roman Catholic Church had me doing just the opposite, works. Sacraments, saints, purgatory, and traditions do not save. Jesus Christ saves! It is a gift and a gift is not a gift until it is received. And if anybody says you can lose your salvation, then again, they choose to call Jesus a liar, but you shall know better. You turn them to John 10:28. For Jesus said about those to whom He gives eternal life, "and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." You may walk out on God, but God doesn't go back on His promises. What He said is true! Once you are saved, you are saved forever. His hand is bigger than your faith or lack of it. Don't depend on your feelings, stand on the promise of God.
"But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12.
THE CONVERSION OF A CATHOLIC PRIEST
Bartholomew F. Brewer, PHD
More Catholic Than Rome
Millions—perhaps the majority—of Roman Catholics are Catholic by name, by culture, or by inertia. Our family, however, was Roman Catholic by conviction. We understood and practiced the teachings of our religion. We believed it to be the “one true church” founded by Jesus Christ. Because of this, we accepted without question everything our priests taught. In those days before Vatican II, the common belief was that “outside the Roman Catholic Church there is no salvation.” This brought us a feeling of security, of being right. We were somehow safe in the arms of “holy mother church.”
From the time my father died (I was almost ten), my mother attended daily mass, not missing even one day for over twenty-four years. Our family faithfully recited the rosary every evening. We were encouraged to make regular visits to the “blessed sacrament.” In addition to the teaching at home, all of our schooling was Roman Catholic. Monsignor Hubert Cartwright and the other priests at our home parish, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, used to say that our family was more Catholic than Rome.
It is no wonder that as I approached high school age, I felt called to prepare for the Roman Catholic priesthood. Rather than the secular priesthood, which serves parishes, I chose to apply to the Discalced Carmelites, one of the more strict and ancient monastic orders.
From the first day at Holy Hill, Wisconsin, I loved the religious life, and this love was the motivation I needed to get through all the Latin and other studies, which I found very difficult. The dedication and self-sacrifice of the priests who taught our classes was a continual reminder of the value of making any sacrifice to reach the goal of ordination.
The training I received in four years of the high school seminary, two years in the novitiate, three years of philosophy, and four years of theology (the last after ordination) was thorough. I was sincere in practicing the various mortifications and other disciplines and never once doubted my calling nor anything I was taught. Taking the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience represented my lifetime commitment to God. For me, the voice of the church was the voice of God.
My ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood was at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in Washington, D. C., the seventh largest church in the world today. When “His Excellency, the Most Reverend Bishop” John M. McNamara imposed his hands on my head and repeated the words from Psalm 110:4, “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” —I was awed with the belief that I was now a mediator between God and the people. The anointing and binding of my hands with special cloths signified that they were now consecrated to change bread and wine into the real (literal) flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, to perpetuate the sacrifice of Calvary through the mass, and to dispense saving grace through the other Roman Catholic sacraments of baptism, confession,—marriage, and the last rites. The other two sacraments of confirmation and holy orders require a bishop. At ordination a Roman Catholic priest is said to receive an “indelible” mark: to experience an unending interchange of his personality with that of Christ, that he may perform high priestly duties as “another Christ” (alter Christus) or in the place of Christ. People actually knelt and kissed our newly consecrated hands, so sincere was this belief.
After completing the last year of theology, which was principally a final preparation for preaching and hearing confession (which involves giving absolution or forgiveness of sin), I was granted my long-expressed desire to be a missionary priest in the Philippines.
The Beginnings Of Doubt
The change from a regimented, monastic life to the simplicity and freedom of missionary life provided a challenge for which I had not been prepared. I loved traveling to some of the eighty or more primitive barrios assigned to our parish and I also cherished teaching my religion class at the Carmelite high school in our small town. Until then my life had been almost exclusively among men. I enjoyed watching the girls giggle as they flirted with teasing boys. After a while, though, my attention was drawn to one of the more diligent students, who thoroughly captivated my interest. This young lady was mature beyond her years because of the responsibilities that had fallen to her after her mother had died. She was lovely and shyly responded as we stole moments talking alone after class. This was a new adventure, and I soon interpreted our newly discovered affection as love.
It is not surprising that soon the bishop learned of this, though he was many miles away, and he quickly returned me to the States before any serious relationship could develop. The embarrassment of this discipline was difficult for both of us, but life always moves on.
After the adventure and freedom in the Philippines, I had no motivation to return to monastic living, so the Father Provincial granted permission for me to work at a Discalced Carmelite parish in Arizona. I enjoyed my responsibilities in that parish, but my next assignment was not so fulfilling. Soon I applied for and was granted a dispensation from Rome to leave the Carmelite order to serve as a secular (diocesan) priest. While serving a large parish in San Diego, California, I received permission to enter the United States Navy as a Roman Catholic Chaplain. There new goals, rank, and travel served as an escape from what had gradually become a sterile parochial life of ritualism and sacramentalism.
My religious life broadened quickly as I mixed with non-Catholic chaplains. For the first time, I was living outside my Roman Catholic culture. Amid the ecumenical atmosphere I gradually became neutralized. Then as Vatican II opened the windows of rigid tradition to let in fresh air, I took in a deep and delightfully refreshing breath. Change was in. Some wanted it to be radical, others wanted only a little modernization.
For many, the Roman Catholic faith was failing to give answers to common modern-day problems. Many felt alienated and misunderstood. This was especially true of priests. With all the change, the priesthood was losing its glamour. No longer was the priest’s education considered far superior to that of the parishioner. No longer was the priest cultured above the majority of his people. To experience an identity crisis was more common among priests than any were willing to acknowledge, even among the chaplains.
At first I was scandalized to realize that some of the Catholic chaplains were actually dating. I listened with interest as some openly discussed the impractical nature of mandatory celibacy. Soon I also gained the courage to question the authorities of our church who persisted in retaining such traditions-especially when the law of celibacy was the source of so many moral problems among priests. For the first time in my life, I doubted the authority of my religion, not because of intellectual pride, but in conscience, in true sincerity.
As students for the priesthood, we were well informed regarding the ancient tradition that binds the Roman Catholic priests to celibacy. We well knew that the few granted permission from the Vatican to marry may never again function as priests. But times were changing. Questions never before voiced were being raised at the Vatican Council in Rome. Many thought that priests with wives could, as the Protestants did, bring greater sensitivity and understanding to marital and family issues. Discussions about such things were commonplace whenever priests got together—even as they visited the apartment that Mother and I shared together off base.
The Authority Of Scripture
Mother was not shy in joining the discussions. She was a well-informed and intelligent person, and I greatly valued her opinions. I recall how appalled she was that evolution was being taught in Catholic schools and that Rome had established dialogue with the communists. She had long been disturbed over some of the conflicts she had observed between principles taught in Scripture and the lack of principles among many of our religious leaders. Many years before, Monsignor Cartwright had comforted Mother with the reminder that though there were many problems in our church, Jesus promised that “the gates of hell would not prevail against it.” Mother always expressed a tremendous respect for the Bible. Though she read it faithfully through the years, she was now becoming an avid student of Scripture. As I observed a general liberal trend among my colleagues, Mother was leaning in another direction. It was a mystery to me. While others discussed desires to see relaxation and loosing of traditional rules and rituals, Mother expressed her desire to see a more Biblical emphasis in the church—more attention to the spiritual aspects of life, and a greater emphasis on Jesus, even a personal relationship with Him.
At first I didn’t understand, but gradually I observed a wonderful change in Mother. Her influence helped me realize the importance of the Bible in determining what we believe. We often discussed subjects such as the primacy of Peter, papal infallibility, the priesthood, infant baptism, confession, the mass, purgatory, the immaculate conception of Mary, and the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven. In time I realized that not only are these beliefs not in the Bible, they are actually contrary to the clear teaching of the Scripture. Finally the barrier against having personal convictions was broken. There was no doubt in my mind about the Biblical view on these subjects, but what effect would all this have on my life as a priest?
Making The Break
I truly believed that God had called me to serve Him. An ethical dilemma was staring me in the face. What was I to do? Yes, there were priests who did not believe all the dogmas of Rome. Yes there were priests who secretly had wives and families. Yes, I could remain a Catholic Chaplain and continue serving without voicing my disagreements. I could continue receiving the pay and the privileges of military rank. I could continue receiving the allotment and other benefits for my mother. There were many reasons to stay, both professional and material, but to do so would have been hypocritical and unethical. From my youth I always tried to do right, and that is what I choose to do now.
Though my bishop had recently granted approval for me to pursue twenty years in the military, I resigned after only four. Mother and I simply and quietly moved near my brother, Paul, and his wife in the San Francisco Bay area. Shortly before we moved, Mother cut her ties with Roman Catholicism by being baptized in a Seventh-day Adventist church. I knew she had been studying the Bible with one of their workers, but she did not tell me about the baptism until I had already decided to leave the priesthood.
The decision to leave was anything but easy. Rome’s claim that there are no objective or subjective reasons for leaving “the one true church” was something to be carefully considered. Traditional Catholics would still consider me to be a “Judas priest,” “damned, excommunicated, and to be avoided.” Yes, there were many difficulties involved in leaving the security of the Roman Catholic fold, but I have found that Jesus never fails.
After shaking the Roman Catholic dust off my shoes, I faced a momentous issue: Where is ultimate authority? Through the process of elimination, I gradually concluded that the Bible is the only authority that cannot be shaken. Many systems, including Roman Catholicism, have attempted without success to undermine its sufficiency, its efficiency, its perfection, even that it was not written merely by the will of men but holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:21). Oh, happy day when all who name the name of Jesus Christ understand that the Bible is the only source of authority that doesn’t change! It is the final authority because of its complete identification with its unchanging Author. God has communicated clearly. It is tragic that Romanism and most of traditional Protestantism, as well as many Pentecostals and other groups, reject Biblical sufficiency. They choose rather to trust questionable traditions, visions, apparitions, or prophecies. Not only are these unsubstantiated as being “of God,” but many contradict clear Biblical teaching. No one can accept these extra-Biblical revelations without degrading the authority of Scripture. II Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Perhaps the reason that many regard the Bible as insufficient is that they have not thoroughly studied it. My transcripts from thirteen years of formal study in the Discalced Carmelite Order show that I had only twelve semester hours of Bible—all from text books. This alone is evidence that Scripture is not the basis of Roman Catholic teaching.
After leaving Roman Catholicism I wanted to study the Bible. I was a “church-oriented” person, not being opposed to joining another denomination. After investigating some of the Protestant churches, I sadly concluded that in their ecumenical folly they were Romeward bound at the expense of Biblical truth. Viewing the smorgasbord of churches can be discouraging and even dangerous for the former Catholic in his search for truth.
Meeting Mother’s Adventist friends, however, was a delight. They were enthusiastic about their faith, and their love of the Scriptures echoed my desire to study the Bible. This resulted in a somewhat premature decision to join the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. The pastor who baptized me arranged for the Southern California Conference to send me to seminary at Andrews University for a year.
Salvation At Last!
While making plans for a year of study, I met Ruth. I had been hoping and praying to find a wife for about a year. From the first time Ruth visited our church, I knew she would be my life’s companion. We were married shortly before leaving for the seminary. She was a convert to Adventism, and like everyone else, had assumed that since I wanted to enter the seminary, I was born again.
Realizing that I never mentioned anything about being “born again,” one day my wife asked me, “Bart, when did you become a Christian?” My unbelievable reply was, “I was born a Christian!” In the conversations that transpired, she tried to help me understand that man, being born in sin, at some point must recognize the need of a Saviour and be born again spiritually by trusting only in Jesus Christ to save him from the consequences of sin. When I responded that I had always believed in God, she observed that according to James 2:19, “the devils also believe.”
In time, because of these conversations and because of classes in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews, I finally understood that I had been relying on my own righteousness and religious efforts and not upon the completed and sufficient sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic religion had never taught me that our own righteousness is fleshly and not acceptable to God, nor did it teach that we need only to trust in His righteousness. He already did everything that needs to be done on our behalf. Then one day during chapel, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my need to repent and receive the “gift” of God.
During all those years of monastic life I had relied on the sacraments of Rome to give me grace, to save me, but now by God’s grace I was born spiritually: I was saved. Being ignorant of God’s righteousness, like the Jew of Paul’s day, I had gone about establishing my own righteousness, not submitting to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:2-3).
I do not know who you are or what your relationship with God may be, but I ask you the most important question of life: Are you a Biblical Christian? Are you trusting only in the completed sacrifice of Christ for the forgiveness of all your sin? If not, why not settle it right now? As in a simple wedding ceremony, promise Him your love, your devotion, your trust. Receiving Jesus as Saviour is not something you do as a religious ritual, it is a one-time commitment of your life to Him for the forgiveness of all your sin. The very moment you do that, Jesus Christ takes up a vital position in your being, and you receive eternal life. After that, you will change. The Bible says, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Near the end of my fourth year as an Adventist, I was influenced by several church members to attend some charismatic meetings. They said that the Holy Spirit was breaking down the denominational barriers in the last days before the return of Christ. Wanting all that God has for me, I went into a prayer room to receive the “gift of tongues.” I was somewhat leery of it all, especially since I didn’t experience the feelings that so many described. I did privately practice tongues, but I could not get myself to recruit others into the movement. It was far more important to me to move people to study the Bible, to bring people to trust Christ, and to live by Scriptural principles. My major interest in the charismatic movement was the concern for others it seemed to inspire. This, along with the spontaneity and zeal, impressed me as exemplifying a Biblical lifestyle which seemed to be missing in many churches.
Not long after I was ordained as a Seventh-day Adventist minister, the Southern California Conference had a special promotion for the writings of Ellen G. White, one of the founders of Adventism and one whom the Adventists believe to be a prophetess. Ruth and I found the series of pastors’ seminars very helpful and informative until the last one. The lecturer was from the General Conference in Washington, D. C., and some of his statements were highly disturbing. The one that became a turning point in my life was that the writings of Ellen G. White are “equally inspired as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.” Disturbed, I counseled with a highly respected leader but could in no way reconcile this in my conscience. I had already begun to feel spiritually shackled in Adventism because of its legalism and exclusivism, but this, in my opinion, was adding to Scripture. When I chose not to begin the series called the “Testimony Countdown” in our church, several members protested. Within a few days I realized, in conscience, that I could no longer continue as an Adventist minister. Had it not been for the encouragement and help of several non-Adventist ministerial friends the transition would have been much more difficult.
During the next four years, I pastored two churches and grew rapidly in the knowledge of the Bible and realized the difficulty of dealing with people not under an authoritarian system. I also had many opportunities to give my testimony. I was convinced that God had “counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,” but not as a pastor.
A Mission To Catholics
I prayerfully and deliberately decided to return to San Diego, where I once served as a parish priest. Aware that Vatican II had brought many Roman Catholics confusion and disillusionment, I felt led to begin a ministry to help them in the transition from the Catholic denomination. Before long, the Lord opened doors to speak. People wanted to know the name of the ministry. Our answer was that it was like a mission to Catholics.
As Ruth and I grew spiritually, we were convinced of the ecumenical nature of the charismatic movement and we left it. About that same time, we met some Biblical Fundamentalists who believed and faithfully practiced the principles of the Bible. Though we have many friends in independent Bible churches, we joined a Fundamental Baptist church, in which I was also ordained.
Mission To Catholics International was incorporated and granted non-profit status. Since that time millions of tracts, books and tapes have been distributed exposing the contradictions between Roman Catholicism and the Bible and presenting Biblical salvation. A monthly newsletter is sent to contributors. The Lord has allowed us a bit of radio and television exposure and we are pleased that my autobiography, Pilgrimage From Rome, has been published and is receiving an excellent acceptance in English, Spanish, and Polish. We have held meetings and taken literature into many foreign countries, and mail-orders are sent out from our home office in San Diego. Meetings keep us busy traveling throughout both the U.S.A. and other countries. A School of Roman Catholic Evangelism provides intense training of pastors, missionaries and key workers who desire to establish specialized ministries for effectively reaching the Roman Catholic community through their churches. Ex-Catholics are also encouraged to attend (especially ex-priests and ex-nuns, so that they may be prepared to minister within Biblical Fundamentalism).
At Mission To Catholics we are convinced that it is not love to withhold the truth from those in darkness. Roman Catholics need to be challenged to think about what they believe and to study the Bible, comparing their religion with the truth of Scripture. Only then can they experience the freedom and light of God’s truth. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free: (John 8:32).
Former Catholic Priest
Describes Horrors of Catholic Monastic Life
Priest released from Hellish monasticism!
by Herman Hegger, a Former Priest
"Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen..." -Colossians 2:18
"Why...are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body..."
The apostle Paul, Colossians 2:20-23
LIGHT AND LIFE IN CHRIST
(Born in Holland and saved by God's grace in Brazil,
Herman has authored about 25 books since his conversion. The ministry
that he founded called "In the Straight Street" has been a
solid witness to Biblical truth and a resource for those inquiring
about Catholicism. In 1996 he published "God's Commandment is
Love" and the "Army of the Light." His best seller in
Holland is: "Mother Church I Accuse You!" He may be
contacted at telephone number: 01131- 26-361-5215 or you may write to
him in Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese or
Italian. His address is: Dillenburglaan 8, 6881 NV VELP Holland).
MY EFFORTS IN THE MONASTERY
During my childhood I often heard it said that one of the best ways to escape from eternal hell was to enter a monastery. I decided to follow that advice. Monastic life is meant to cultivate strong will power and make one capable of controlling all passions and lusts. In my monastery, various forms of bodily torture were employed to achieve such will power. We scourged ourselves several times a week, lashing our naked bodies with knotted cords. Despite the great pain, we were told that if we could endure such whipping calmly, we would receive strength to resist every kind of sensual and sexual urge. We were also told that by scourging ourselves we could atone for sins we had already committed and so shorten future punishment in Purgatory. Around our waists, thighs and arms we wore penitence chains on which were spikes which dug into our flesh. There were also many other kinds of "bodily chastisement."
Along with self-inflicted punishments, we had other kinds of humbling exercises designed to extinguish our pride and vanity. In one of these routines a priest had to lie on the floor across a doorway so that other priests would tread on him as they went by. Whenever I did this I felt like a worm upon which people trod, but I thought that God must be very pleased with me for such a voluntary self-humiliation.
The worst humiliation included licking an area of the floor clean with our tongues. Doing this made me feel like an animal, like a pig wallowing in the mire or a dog sniffing around. Sometimes I even felt like an insect creeping in the dust.
But however I punished and humiliated myself, I could
not detect any change or improvement in my character or behavior. I
only discovered that my weak and sinful nature was very much alive.
For example, when I licked the floor clean with my tongue, it was
just then that the strongest feelings of vanity and pride rose up in
me. What a wonderful chap you are, I would think. What will power you
must have. You inflict such painful humiliations upon yourself. How
wonderful! I realized that by these absurd practises I was only
inflating myself with pride. The monastery is a sublime effort that
is doomed to fail. Why? Because the priest or monk takes his sinful
nature along with him into the cell.
MY ATTEMPT TO REACH GOD BY MYSTICISM
During the novitiate years, in addition to our attempt to gain the victory over the body with its passions by means of asceticism, we also applied ourselves to the practice of prayer. This was called the cultivation of the spiritual, or inner, life. Its purpose was to bring about an increasing intensity in our uninterrupted contact with God, Jesus Christ and Mary. Our highest goal was the attainment of true mysticism.
During my novitiate I never experienced this desired mysticism. Consequently I thought the practice of prayer very difficult. We were shown a few methods to pass the time of meditation well. In the evenings, pious reflections on our Lord's passion written by one author or another were read aloud to us. We were to ask questions such as the following: Who is suffering? What does He suffer? Why? For whom? The answers to these questions were intended to induce acts of repentance of for our sins and acts of faith, hope, and love, as we were to make up our minds to lead better lives.
Usually I was prompt with the answers to these questions, and then my imagination wandered away out of the chapel. Also, I thought the reflections of Roman Catholic authors upon Christ's suffering quite poor. They were thoughts that had been worked out by men who had colored and molded them in conformity to their own emotional life. They never could hold my attention for long.
One day in 1940 the idea occurred to me: Why not take
the Bible? In it you will not find the thoughts of men, but of God
Himself. Our monastic rules, however, required us to listen to what
was being read to us during meditations. We were not to read the
Bible on those occasions unless granted permission. That permission
was given me.
MY PROVISIONAL USE OF THE BIBLE
From that time everything became quite different. Meditation no longer caused me mental fatigue as before. I began to enjoy it; the very thought that I now had to do with the infallible Word of God made me happy. I knew I entered holy ground. My imagination would lovingly rejoice in the biblical text. I would turn it about again and again, and tremble before the blazing fire of God's presence in its sentences. And I would be profoundly moved by the love of the Father Who bent over me in His words. I preferred above all else to meditate on the story of the Passion. Every sentence revealed something of the greatness of the suffering soul of Jesus. He rose before me in His glory, His mercy, His purity, and His peace.
Jesus was no longer a coldly intellectual idea, no
longer the effeminate and characterless doll at which for so long I
had been obliged to look in countless pictures. There was now a bond
between Him and me, between soul and soul -- 0h yes, between two
souls, but not yet between two persons. That was to be later on, when
I knew Jesus through the pure Gospel as my personal, perfect and only
I HAD NO ASSURANCE OF SALVATION
What remains as the chief obstruction to this kind of
personal union is the doctrine of the possible forfeiture of grace.
While I was lost in the loving contemplation of the triune God, or of
Jesus Christ, the thought suddenly would assail me from another
quarter: But this same God, this same Jesus Christ, with Whom you now
know you are in the closest union, may perhaps one day reject you,
saying, "Get thee hence, damned soul, into the everlasting
fire!" To be sure, I knew this condemnation would be of my
deserving on account of my sins. And the very possibility of God and
myself hating each other eternally disturbed my pure relation to Him.
I TRY TO RELATE TO MARY
Another obstacle to perfect love of Christ is the worship of Mary. According to Roman Catholic doctrine, devotion to Mary is the best means for bringing about perseverance. A child of Mary will never be lost. This assertion is repeated continually from the pulpit. And the implication is that anyone who is not a true child of Mary runs the great risk of being consigned to Hell.
In spite of all my efforts, I never succeeded in developing great affection for Mary. To me, she remained a creature, a woman, although exalted and ";blessed among women." But I was unable to detect anything divine in her. I failed to place her in my life. My prayers to her were always somewhat restrained. I could not be silently immersed in her. Yet this failure on my part to develop a profound devotion to Mary greatly troubled me.
When in my meditation I surrendered wholly to the contemplation of Jesus Christ, it would suddenly occur to me that I rarely prayed to Mary. I therefore feared that one-day I would be separated forever from Jesus Christ. Then turning nervously to the Mediatrix of all grace, I implored her to save me from eternal damnation. And when I thought that I had paid enough attention to her, I returned at once to Christ, to the Christ as He had revealed Himself in the Holy Word of God.
Later I sought to discover something divine in Mary.
I thought I could find in her the eternal, passive, pristine basis of
things, and the feminine, receptive, productive principle manifest in
the entire creation, in contrast to the masculine, active and
creative principle. Thus I hoped to establish a kind of mystic bond
with her which might facilitate my prayer to her. But this search led
me into a sea of paganism.
MY BIGGEST PROBLEM:
Another stumbling block to perfect communion with Christ was the doctrine declaring that the pronouncements of the Roman Catholic Church are the highest and the ultimate source of the knowledge of God's revelation. Whichever way one views it, this doctrine reduces the Bible to a second-rate book in Roman Catholic eyes. No papal admonitions to believers to read their Bibles often can alter that fact. A Roman Catholic, therefore, never can devote himself fully to meditating upon the Bible. The deeper meanings of the divine Word, which he is convinced he must infer from it, are always surrounded by a multitude of questions. If the Church has made some pronouncements on the matter, the Catholic must relinquish his own conviction as to what the Scriptures say and conform to the view of the Church. It would be more consistent, therefore, with the Church's position if the pronouncements of Popes and councils were given to Roman Catholic people for more careful consideration. But this would create a problem in that these pronouncements are often very abstract and scholarly. They cannot bear comparison with the living Word of God. They embody a dry, doctrinal scheme. Besides, though such pronouncements are held to be infallible, they are not the Word of God Himself, even according to Rome.
They remain human utterances, although Rome claims
that through the Holy Spirit, they contain no error! The result is
that these pronouncements lack the direct appeal that the Bible has.
It is not God Who speaks to man directly in them. They remain merely
the interpretation of the divine Word, even in Rome's eyes.
THE BIBLE IN THE SHADOW OF ROME.
Thus the Roman Catholic Church labors under the ambiguity of a Bible that cannot give any certainty and the pronouncements of the Church which lack life. It exhorts its members to read the Bible, though such reading can lead to nothing. The Bible never can have the central and prominent position which it has with Biblical Christians. Sustained propaganda may be conducive to a temporary revival of Bible reading among Roman Catholics, but in the long run it will subside. Who will continue to read a second-rate book which cannot give absolute certainty, and do so day after day and year after year? Besides, it is a book that brings along with it the risk of doubting the doctrines of one's own Church, which doubt amounts to a capital sin and might spell eternal damnation.
All these difficulties were met and overcome by the Biblical doctrines of salvation by "grace only" through "faith only" on the authority of the "Bible only"--the teaching of the Reformation. This is the reason that the Reformed doctrine is excellently suited to make possible the genuine revival of the soul of man. Man is saved through faith only -- faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior.
Union with God is in its essence dependence on the Totally-Other; it is an interpersonal relationship. Nature based search cannot be true union, even though it experiences the Totally-Other behind the changing phenomena. A naturalist perceives something of the beautiful divine garment, and may point out God's footprints in the creation. He may attain to a certain kind of ecstasy, an exodus from the narrow limits of his little self. He may break through the oppressive earthly forms and enter the realm of the incorruptible behind the form of this world. Panoramas of goodness, truth and beauty may be disclosed to him. But he cannot grasp the essence of true union, namely the personal bond with God, even though theoretically he makes confession of the existence of a personal God, the Creator of the universe, who is not to be identified with it but remains apart from it. A naturalist has no experience of true communion with God. There is the question of an absolute bond with the living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
True union is not merely a feeling of dependence on the creator; it also implies a sense of dependence on the grace of God. Thus the ring of union with God is made whole. In the awareness of one's creatureliness, his arms reach out to Heaven, his soul yearns for the multicolored light of God, it kneels down in adoration and worship of the majesty of the Eternal, the Limitless; it experiences the innate urge towards the Eternal, the Timeless. But it does not feel the embracing arms of the Father. Sooner or later it is bound to feel at least an uneasy flutter of the heart as it senses the vacuum below. Then the soul has an inkling of the gaping darkness beneath.
A human being with this creaturely awareness may long
be ignorant of any feeling of sinfulness. This ignorance is due to
his failure to realize that the light playing about his soul is only
the reflection of the Divine Light. It is God's robe shimmering over
his soul. The doctrine of "faith only," however, gives the
soul perfect peace, upwards as well as downwards. According to this
doctrine, man's salvation is faith --exclusively based on Jesus
Christ in His propitiatory death and in His resurrection from the
dead. Trust in Jesus is thus a question of to be or not to be.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
My reliance on Him is my salvation. That is the reason that this faith seizes hold of my deepest being. It is something of my most intimate self. It is the predominant attitude in the whole of my existence, stirring energies within me, straining my whole person in its exclusive direction toward Jesus. Yet this straining is nothing painful, for my faith turns to the merciful love of Jesus and is comforted. Also, the downward doubt is cut off, for it is not my faith in the sincerity of my faith that saved me, but my faith in Jesus. Thus it is as though the soul were torn away from itself. It cannot fail to transcend its own being and linger in the loving contemplation of its Savior. This faith leads one to practise true mysticism; spiritual union with God.
"Grace only" -- man is saved by grace alone. He cannot earn heaven. It is God's faithfulness that saves him. "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28). By these promises of the Savior, man knows he is perfectly safe in the arms of the Good Shepherd. He knows he will never fall away from the grace of God. God Himself takes our perseverance in hand. God will never relinquish the work of His own hands. There is no longer anything to disturb love; no fear of hell can darken its glow or extinguish its light.
"The Bible only" -- only the Bible is the
record of the revelation of God. Here is God's revelation of Himself
to man in black and white for him to scrutinize at will. It is the
pure gift of God to man in search of God.
TRUTH THAT SETS YOU FREE
No longer may human traditions make claims upon man.
It is true, in the communion of the saints -- and this is also valid
for the Church, which is the communion of the saints in divine
service and has been so through the centuries -- a believer may find
a great many things that will lead him to a deeper understanding of
the Word of God. But the Scriptures will always remain the final
court of appeal and the ultimate test of the truth of any doctrine.
Therefore, the believer pores over the Bible and listens to its
message, praying for the illumination of the Spirit, and there the
living God speaks to him and fills his soul with reverence, goodness,
MY PROMOTION AND DOUBTS
After seven years as a priest I was promoted to be Professor in Philosophy in a Roman Catholic Seminary in Brazil. However, serious doubts had already begun to assail me.
What did I do when such doubts arose? I never entertained them voluntarily. I refused to consider the notion that the doctrine of my Church actually might be wrong. Had I for one moment accepted the real possibility of error in the doctrine of my Church, I would at that moment have been guilty of mortal sin, according to the teaching of Rome.
This absolute prohibition against doubting or questioning the doctrine of the Roman Church is the source of her great strength. Protestants wonder how it is possible for Roman Catholic scholars to study the Scriptures without discovering the pure Gospel. The answer lies in the simple fact that the mind of the Roman Catholic is not free; it is ever under the threat of fire unquenchable should it deviate from Rome. The very instant he even considers as a genuine possibility the idea that the Reformation view of the Bible might be correct, the abyss of rejection opens at his feet. The Roman Catholic is sure that God is ready to speak the words: "Depart from me, ye cursed!"
More than once we were told that we need not be
afraid when such doubts assailed our souls. I often discussed them
with my spiritual adviser, but his unhesitating advice was
invariably, "Your doubts are no reason for you to give up your
priestly idea." According to Roman Catholic doctrine, each time
one overcomes a doubt, he earns a higher station in heaven. We were
advised to say a short prayer in such cases, and to try to think of
something else. Later on when the doubt had subsided, we would be
able to make a study of the question. But the supposition that
Protestantism might be right could come only from the devil we were
THOMASTIC DOUBTS ALLOWED
I have stated that we were forbidden to hold any real
doubts about the doctrine of the Church. But it was permissible to
have a methodological doubt. Such a doubt was often indulged for
didactic purposes. Thomas Aquinas makes a systematic use of it in his
Summa Theologica. It consists of positing the correctness of the
opposite view for the time being, in order to understand it better
and afterwards to refute it more effectively. The same method also is
applied to discussions with non-Catholics. A Roman Catholic may
pretend to believe that his opponent could be right, but that such an
admission might be genuine is really impossible.
MY PRIESTLY DUTIES INCREASE DOUBTS
As a priest, the first power given me was the daily celebration of the Mass. While I was whispering, according to Rome, the holy words of consecration, the substances of bread and wine would change into the Body and Blood of the Lord -- a daily miracle at my hands! This doctrine of transubstantiation never fascinated me. I felt a certain reluctance to kneel before those external elements. Something in me refused to offer prayers to the Host. A God localized by the forms of bread and wine was against the grain of my deepest religious sentiments. I felt it difficult to lift up my soul to a God Who appeared to me in those dead things. I could not really discover the splendor of the glorified Savior in the Host that I was eating.
Roman Catholic authors are also aware of this difficulty. They never mention "Jesus who is in my stomach," but speak of "Jesus who rests on my heart." Involuntarily they change over in some way to a spiritualization of the formula: "This IS my body!"
And indeed, what is the point in transubstantiation?
What use is it to me if Jesus ultimately lands in my stomach in the
shape of bread and wine? The truly great thing is my living communion
with the Savior. What good is a bodily presence in those forms? They
only divert my attention from the glorious shape of my Redeemer.
Jesus appears to me through His Word and Spirit. I rest on Him as He
reveals Himself in His Gospel.
The doctrine of the magical presence after
transubstantiation only frightened me. I felt as if I were standing
before a fire which seared me, not a glow that warmed me. There was
no question of love. This was why I did not know what to say to Him.
I struggled on to the obligatory thanksgiving. I became terrified by
all the diversions assailing my imagination. Afterward there often
remained a sense of frightening emptiness. Another difficulty for me
was the involved character of the theory of transubstantiation.
According to Rome, it is not really Jesus who descends body and soul
onto the altar. Jesus remains in heaven. The substances of bread and
wine change into the substances of the Body and the Blood of Christ.
I found great difficulty in addressing Jesus in this reasoned
presence. I felt it to be a hindrance when I wanted to turn to Him,
for there is not much left of a real physical presence in this way.
Most Protestant theologians teach Jesus' real
presence in the Lord's Supper, but they conceive of it in a spiritual
way. They do not try to unravel the mystery with cold reason. They
are nonetheless certain that Jesus is with us in that supper in order
to assure us of His eternal faithfulness and love by means of the
signs and seals of bread and wine. Therefore, His holy supper does
not frighten by the pure presence of the divine majesty; rather it
fills one with a supra-mundane peace.
MY SECOND POWER, MORE DOUBTS
My second important function as a priest was in the administration of the sacrament of confession. Confession holds a very important place in the structure of Rome's power. To Rome it is a strategic basis of the highest importance. It emphasizes the subjection of the layman to the clergy. In the confessional, the priest is sitting in his judgment seat. The penitent is confessing his weaknesses. He divulges secrets that he would not reveal to anyone else. And it depends upon the priest as to whether or not the penitent will be absolved from his sins. The priest decides for him between heaven and hell.
I will not speak here about the Biblical grounds the
Roman Catholic Church adduces in defense of the practise of auricular
confession. I would only ask: Is this the "glorious liberty of
the children of God?" Is this the blissful salvation of which
the Bible speaks in its rapturous praise? Is this the peace
proclaimed above Bethlehem? Is there anything here of the picture of
the Good Shepherd Who goes to seek the lost sheep in the wilderness
and carries it on His shoulders back to the fold? Are not the sheep
rather kicked along the path of auricular confession to the so-called
sheepfold with the threat of eternal death?
TRUE CONFESSION TO GOD
It is good indeed for a believer who is oppressed by
the load of his guilt to seek to confess his sins to God. And there
is something fine in his confessing them also to a reliable human
being. It may have an elevating effect, and it may comfort him. A man
may be so broken-hearted on account of a particular sin that he can
hardly believe that his sins have been forgiven. He knows indeed that
according to the Bible, there are no limits to the forgiving mercy of
Jesus. But it may fortify him when a fellow-believer, a minister or
another Christian, affirms this truth explicitly and in a very
personal way: "It is for your sins, too, that Christ died."
But this is quite a different kind of confession and absolution from
that taught by the Roman Catholic Church. I rarely heard anyone in
the confessional who had come because he was urged by the need to
accuse himself. The great majority came because they had to come. It
was a troublesome job which they must tackle if they wanted to escape
I AM PRESSED BY TRUTH
At various times I read the Bible and asked myself, "Is my Church really in accord with this book?" In the Bible it is clearly stated that the only mediator between God and man is Jesus Christ, who took away the punishment of sin on Calvary's Cross. My Church, however, taught that there were several mediators, especially Mary, the "Mediatrix of all grace." I also began to doubt that God had given to the Pope infallible authority and power to interpret the Bible and that it was the duty of every Christian to accept the Pope's view. Could it be right that the Pope had absolute authority to overrule and restate the plain words of the Bible?
Since it is especially through fear that one's mind is paralyzed and one's thoughts are blurred, how can the intellect work properly if, behind it, there is the threat of deadly sin and hell and if the flames of eternal reprobation force one to a particular conclusion? Critically speaking, the conclusions of an understanding that is forced to operate in such a way are manifestly unreliable. Do what I would, I could not attain to any degree of certainty about Roman Catholic doctrine. At best, I could grant the probability of its truth, but nothing more. I should be lying to myself were I to assert anything beyond that. My subconscious now could no longer succeed in projecting an irrational conviction upon my intellectual uncertainty. I had observed too long the workings of the subconscious. I knew that my conscience would always reproach me with being guilty of self-deceit. And, holding such a view, I could no longer be called a Roman Catholic. The doctrine of my own Church drove me out.
In our textbook, Theologia Maralis, by Aertnijs
Damen, XII, No. 323, I had read that a man who obstinately holds that
the truths of the faith are doubtful is a downright heretic and,
therefore, has lost his faith. In accordance with the adage, "Dubius
in fide, infidelis est" (Anyone who doubts his faith is an
infidel), I was no longer a Roman Catholic believer. I could only
assert doggedly that the Church's arguments for the existence of
God's revelation could establish nothing more than a probability.
This doggedness did not spring from any rebellious disposition on my
part, nor from pride. It was simply a matter of sincerity towards
myself. I was confronted with the choice between two ways of life: I
could remain a Roman Catholic and go through life as a liar; or I
could remain true to my profoundest insights and leave the Church. I
chose the latter course. With Luther, I could but say: "Here I
stand; I cannot do otherwise."
SAND NOT ROCK WAS WHERE I HAD STOOD
It was a terrible moment when, in all sincerity, I felt obliged to refuse to submit my mind to the doctrinal pronouncements of Rome. Until then, the Roman Catholic Church had been my support, the rock on which I had built my convictions. Now I saw that I had built my house on sand. The waves of honest self-analysis had washed away the sand from under its foundations, the house collapsed, and I was carried along by the flood of despair. Nowhere could I find a support on which to lean. Alone I had to push my way through the undergrowth of many views of life.
With such doubts in my heart I could obviously not
remain a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. For me, the living
death of the monastery came to an end. I left the life of semblances
and shadows for a world of fascinating reality in which I was free to
breathe at last. I surrendered my office as professor and left the
Roman Catholic Church. I laid aside my priestly cassock, which in
tropical Brazil just soaked up the heat, and walked lightly and free
in my shirt sleeves. But deep within I still carried the burden of my
SAVED BY GRACE ALONE, THROUGH FAITH
Outwardly I was free, but inwardly I was not at rest, for I had lost sight of God completely. I received much help from an evangelical church in Rio de Janeiro--a local church where the congregation based their faith only on the teachings of the Bible. The sympathy of the people there helped me very much, for they provided me with civilian clothing which I had no money to buy, and food and shelter. I shall always be grateful to them. But most of all the preaching of their minister gripped me. It was completely new to me, to hear such explanations of the Bible. But could I be helped by a non-Catholic preacher?
Certainly, in my seminary training and as a priest I
had heard regularly about the alleged false teaching of such
churches, but I had never understood what they taught. In Rio de
Janeiro I heard the minister explain that a man cannot save himself,
or deserve entrance into heaven by any of his own efforts because he
is utterly lost and hopeless. With all this I could heartily agree,
for I had all too clearly experienced my inability to change myself.
In spite of the greatest efforts and every kind of penitence, I had
not succeeded in becoming a different kind of person. The preacher
went even further and showed that there is only one way to be set
free from sin, and that is to be given by God a completely free
pardon and a new life. He showed how this experience must be obtained
directly from Jesus Christ, who gives it freely and unmistakably to
all who hand themselves over to Him in complete trust in His perfect
LIGHT AND LIFE
At first I found this difficult to believe. It was like a fairy story -- too good to be true. I could see the beauty of yielding to Christ. It sounded wonderful, and yet at the same time, it seemed too easy, too cheap. As a Catholic I believed that salvation was the hardest battle in life, a matter of struggling for and deserving God's favor. But now I began to understand the true teaching of the Bible. Yes, salvation is indeed the hardest thing in the world and must be deserved by perfect obedience to all the demands of God's law, in other words, perfect sinlessness. But the amazing fact is that the Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son, has fulfilled all these demands for us and on our behalf, if we trust Him. "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).
At last the wonderful breakthrough came. My soul opened itself wholly to Christ in completed trust. I could see that it was not the Jews who had crucified Christ -- I had done it. My sins were taken by Him. A blinding flash of light illuminated the rubbish heap of my former life.
My soul lay like a bombed-out city before me, and I was filled with anguish at seeing the sin which had permeated my whole being. But, over the rubbish heap I realized and knew that Christ had forgiven me and made me a true Christian. I had become a new creature.
Jesus spoke of the relationship between Himself and true Christians in these words, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine" (John 10:14). I had begun a new life, with all the feeling of close fellowship with God which I had never known in all my days as a Catholic priest. The dead legalism of the Church of Rome was behind and the future was a living personal relationship with our wonderful God.
This following testimony is rather long, but it is well worth ready, because this former nun tells what truly happens it the life of a catholic nun and some of what happens in the priesthood as well.
Here is a link to Sister Charlottes personal testimony on YouTube if you would rather listen to the audio version rather than reading her written testimony.
First of all
I always want to tell folks that I am not giving this testimony
because I have any ill feeling in my heart toward the Roman Catholic
people. I couldn't be a Christian if I still had bitterness in my
heart. God delivered me from all
bitterness and strife one day and made Himself real to me in the
power of the Holy Spirit. And so, when I give this testimony, I'm
giving it because after God saved me, He delivered me out of the
convent and out of bondage and darkness, the Lord laid a burden upon
my heart to give this testimony that others might know what plight
the convents are. And so as you listen carefully this afternoon, I
trust that I'll not say one thing that will leave any feeling in your
heart whatsoever that I don't carry a burden for the Roman Catholic
people. I don't like the things they do. I don't agree with the
things they teach, but I covet their souls for Jesus. I'm
interested in their souls. I believe that when Jesus went to Calvary,
He died that you and I might know Him. And therefore they're just as
precious as your soul and my soul. So I'm interested.
First of all, as we get into this testimony, having been born into Roman Catholicism, I didn't know anything else, not knowing the Word of God, because we didn't have the Bible in our home. We had never heard anything about this wonderful plan of salvation. And so, naturally, I grew up in that Roman Catholic home as a child knowing only the catechism, knowing only the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. And because I loved the Lord, and because I wanted to do something for Him--I wanted to give Him my life--I didn't know of any other way for a Roman Catholic girl to give her life to God other than by entering a convent.
After going to the confessional box there, naturally I'm under the influence of my Father confessor, the Roman Catholic priest--his influence over my life--one day I made up my mind, through his influence (and one of my teachers in the parochial school) that I wanted to be a little sister. At that time I thought of being a sister of the Open Order. But as I went on into this up until the time I took my White Veil at sixteen and a half years of age, everything was beautiful. I really didn't have any fear in my heart whatsoever. Everything that was taught to me was similar to along the lines of what I had been taught in the Church before I had entered the convent.
And so one day, after making up my mind to enter a convent--I remember that particular day--two of the sisters came home with me from school. They were my teachers. And when we arrived at my father's home that afternoon, our Father confessor was in the home likewise. I often say, when I was a little girl, children were seen and not heard. You didn't talk when you was a child, at least you didn't in my family, in my home, unless you were spoken to. And I remember I listened to them carry on a conversation. And then I had moved over close enough to my father to ask him if I could say something. That was a bit out of the ordinary. And he permitted me to talk. And I said, "Dad, I want to go into a convent." And I'll tell you that priest took it up quickly. They had already been influencing me.
My father broke down and began to cry, not because he
was sad, but he was very happy. My mother came over and took me in
her arms and she too wept tears---she was very happy. Those were not
tears of sadness [but] because their little girl was giving her life
to the convent to pray for lost humanity. And naturally, my family
was very thrilled about it. And I was too.
But anyway, I didn't go for about a year after that. And then the time come when I got myself ready and my mother prepared things for me. They took me. They didn't have a place close enough to my father's and mother's home, so I think they took me around a thousand miles away from home where I entered a convent boarding school. I lacked about three months being thirteen years of age--just a girl. I look back on it now, and think... my...homesick. I was so homesick! Well, my mommy and daddy, they stayed three days with me and then they left. I became so homesick. Naturally. I was just a baby away from home. When I was a little girl, you know, I never spent a night away from my mother. And I surely had never gone any place without my family. And naturally there was close ties in my family, and I was very lonely and very homesick. But I'll never forget [when] mother told me, "Good-bye." And I knew they were traveling a long distance away from me. And I had never realized in my heart I'll never see them again. Naturally I hadn't planned it like that because I'd planned to be a sister of the Open Order.
Listen carefully to this portion of the testimony then you'll understand just why I'm saying some of the things that I am saying. Now oftentimes we say the priest selects his materials through the confessional box, because at seven years of age I went to confessional. At seven years of age I would always, when I'd come into the church first, I'd sit over at the feet of a crucifix...rather the Virgin Mary and then over at the feet of the crucifix, and I'd ask the Virgin Mary to help me make a good confession...because I was a child and my heart was honest. And I knew that the priest taught us to always make a good confession--keep nothing back--tell everything if I expected absolution from any sin that I might have committed. And so I would ask the Virgin Mary to help me make a good confession. And I would ask Jesus to help me make a good confession.
And, you know, I'll assure you after I lived in the convent for a short period of time, I had to go on with my schooling I had just finished the eighth grade. And they promised me to give me a high school education and some college education. But I ended up less college. I got mostly just high school training. And they gave that to me all right. I took it under some terrible difficulties and strains and all that and it was rather difficult. But they gave it to me for which I appreciate it very very much. But I'll assure you [after wards] they put me through the crucial training that we must go through to become a little initiate [or viviciate?] entering a convent. The training is very outstanding as far as a nun is concerned. And you know what it's all about after you've been in there a little while.
So now I've entered the convent. And for just a few
minutes we want to tell you just a little bit how we lived--what we
eat, how we sleep. As I take you into the convent, and tell you
those things, you'll understand a little bit more about my testimony.
First, as I entered the convent, as just a small child and went on to school, I was being trained. But the day came when I was about fourteen and a half when the Mother Superior began telling me about the White Veil. And I didn't know too much about it. By taking the White Veil, they told me that I would become the spouse or the Bride of Jesus Christ. There would be a ceremony. And I would be dressed in a wedding garment.
And on this particular morning, they told me at nine o'clock they would dress me up in a wedding garment. Now, you're wondering where that came from, and how they got the wedding clothes for the little nun. Well, Mother Superior sits down and writes a letter to my father and tells him how much money she wants. And then, whatever she asks, my father sends it. And she, the little buying sister, goes out and buys the material and the wedding garments are made by the nuns of the cloister. (I'm still Open Order now.)
And of course, whatever they asked him he would send out the money for the wedding garment. We don't know these things at the very beginning of our testimony, but after you live in a convent for a little while, you learn to know they would ask my father for a hundred dollars and he'd send it. They would use maybe a third of that for the wedding garment. They would keep the rest of it, and my father would never know the difference. Neither did I until I'd lived in a convent for a period of time and I had to make some of the wedding clothes. And then I knew the value of them, and what they cost. And I knew of the money that came in because I was one of the older nuns.
The time came, of course, when I walked down that aisle and I was dressed in a wedding garment. And you know, in the convent, I used to walk the fourteen stations of the cross--the fourteen steps that Jesus carried the cross of Calvary--but after I made up my mind to take the White Veil, never again did I walk. I wanted to be worthy. I wanted to be holy enough to become the spouse, the bride, of Jesus Christ. And so I would get down on my knees and would crawl the fourteen stations--quite a distance. But I crawled them every Friday morning. I felt it would make me holy. I felt it would draw me closer to God. It would make me worthy of the step that I was going to take. And that's what I wanted more than anything in the world. I would like to impress on your hearts--every little girl that enters a convent that I know anything about, that child has the desire to live for God. That child has a desire to give her heart and mind and soul to God.
Now many, many people make this remark and we hear it from various types of folks who say only bad women go into convents. That isn't true. There are movie stars who go into convents. And they've lived out in the world and no doubt they are sinners and all of that. But they go in when they're women--they know what they're doing. And they go in only because the Roman Catholic Church is going to receive not only thousands, but yea well up into the millions of dollars. And they don't mind who they take in as they can get a lot of money out of that individual.
But the ordinary little girl, that goes in as a child--she's just a child--and she goes in there with her heart and mind and soul just as clean as any child could be. I say that because sometimes we hear a lot of things that are really not true.
Now, after we become the spouse of Jesus Christ--I
want you to listen carefully to this, and then you can follow me into
the rest of the testimony--we are now looked upon as married women.
We are the spouse or the Bride of Jesus Christ.
Now the priest teaches every little girl that will take the White Veil they'll become the bride of Christ He teaches her to believe that her family will be saved. It doesn't make any difference how many banks they rob, how many stores they rob. It doesn't make any difference how they drink and smoke and carouse and live out in this sinful world and do all the things that sinners do. It doesn't make a bit of difference. Our family will be saved if we continue to live in the convent and give our lives to the convent and to the Church--we can rest assured that other members of our immediate family will be saved.
And you know that there are many little children that are influenced and enticed to go into convents because we realize that it will be the salvation for our families. And sometimes, in a Roman Catholic family, the children grow up and leave the Roman Catholic Church and go out into the deepest of sin. And so every little girl who enters into the convent is hoping by her sacrificing so much--home and mother and daddy--everything that a child loves--her family will be saved regardless of what sins they commit. And of course we're children and our minds are immature and we don't know any better. It's so easy to instill things like this into the hearts and minds of little children .. and the priests are really very good at it.
And of course we looked upon our priest--our Father confessor--I looked upon him as God. He's the only god I knew anything about. To me he was infallible. I didn't think he could sin. I didn't think that he would lie. I didn't think that he ever made a mistake. I looked upon him as the holiest of holies, because I didn't know a god, but I did know the Roman Catholic priest. And to me, I looked to him for everything that I asked of God, so to speak, I believed the priest could give it to me.
And so the day comes with all of us. Now as we are going in...I want you to listen carefully--after taking the White Veil things are beautiful. I'm sixteen and a half years of age. Everyone's good to me. And I'm living in the convent and I haven't seen anything yet, because no little girl--we're not subject to a Roman Catholic Priest until we're twenty-one years of age. And as we get in this next vow, then you'll understand, we don't know about this. This is kept from the little sisters until we've taken our Black Veil and then it's too late.
I don't carry the keys to those double door and
there's no way for me to come out. The priest will tell all over the
whole United States and other countries--that sisters and nuns,
rather, can walk out of convents when they want to. I spent
twenty-two years there, I did everything that I could do to get out.
I've carried tablespoons with me into the dungeon and tried to dig
down into that dirt because it's no floors in those cases. But I
never yet found myself digging far enough to dig out of a convent
with a tablespoon and that's about the only incident. Because when
we're using the spade--and we do have to do hard, heavy work--when we
use a spade we're being guarded--we're being watched by two older
nuns and they're going to report on us--and I'll assure you you're
not going to try and dig out with a spade. You wouldn't get very far
anyway, because they built and made those convents so little nuns can
never escape. That was their purpose in building them. And they'll
never get out unless God makes a way. But I believe God's making a
way for nuns and little girls to come out of the convent.
Alright, now when the time comes, I think I was eighteen when the Mother began talking to me. I planned to come out, see, after my white veil I wanted to be a little nursing assistant in the Roman Church. But the Mother Superior--I suppose she was watching my life--I suppose she realized I had much endurance, I had a strong body. And I believe the woman was watching me, because one day she asked me into her office. And she began to tell me, "Charlotte, you have a strong body." And she said, "I believe you have the possibilities of making a good nun. Of course you will. I believe you're the type that would be willing to give up home--give up mother and daddy--give up everything you love out in the world--and the world so to speak--and hide yourself away behind convent doors. Because I believe you're the kind that would hide back there and be willing to sacrifice and live in crucial poverty that you might pray for lost humanity." She said, "I believe you're the kind that would be willing to suffer." Because we're taught to believe, as nuns, that as we suffer our loved ones and your loved ones that are already in a priest's purgatory will be delivered from purgatory sooner because of our suffering.
She knew I was willing to suffer. I didn't murmur. I didn't complain. She knew all about it. She's watching my life, and that's the reason she began to tell me about the Black Veil. And then, of course, you know, I didn't know too much about a cloistered nun. I didn't know their lives. I didn't know how they live. I didn't know what they done, but, you know, this woman proceeded to tell me.
Now we hear a lot of people try to tell me in the various places that we travel and go...I hear a lot of Roman Catholics try to tell me, "I've been in so many cloisters. I know all about them." But you know a Roman Catholic can lie to you. And they don't have to go to confession and tell the priest about the lie that they've told, because they're lying to protect their faith. They can tell any lie they want to to protect their faith and never go to the confessional box and tell the priest about it.
They can do more than that. They can steal up to forty dollars. And they don't have to tell the priest about it. They don't have to say one word about it in the confessional box. They are taught that. Every Roman Catholic knows it. And every Roman Catholic--you'd be horrified to know how many of them steal up to that amount. And many of them lie. We've dealt with them. I've dealt with hundreds and hundreds of them. I see a good many of them fall in the altar and cry out to God to save them. And you know before they get saved, they look into my face and hold my hand and lie to me. But after God gets a hold of their heart, then they want to make right what they told me because they realize they've lied about it. But as long as they're Roman Catholic, they're permitted to lie. And it's the saddest thing. You can't expect them to know God, because God does not condone sin.
I don't care who you are. I don't believe God condones sin. And I don't believe He's going to condone it in the Roman Catholic people, even though they're being misled and they're being blinded and led into ways that are going to lead them into a devil's hell. I believe that with all of my heart, because I've lived in a convent. I know something about how these people live and what they do.
Now the day comes. She told me, "Charlotte, you
have to be willing to spill your blood. Jesus shed His upon Calvary."
She said, "You have to be willing to do penance. Heavy penance,"
She said, "You'll have to be willing to live in crucial
poverty." Now already I'm living in the pit of poverty, but I
thought that was going to make me holier, and draw me closer to God,
and would make me a better nun. And so I'm willing to live in that
And then on this particular morning, she told me what I would be wearing. She said, "You'll spend nine hours in a casket." And she explained a number of things to me. That's the most I knew about it. And I didn't find that out until I had taken my White Veil.
And so, on this particular morning, I'm twenty-one years of age. But sixty days previous to my being twenty-one years of age, I'm going to sign some papers that they place in front of me. And those papers are this--I'm going to sign away every bit of inheritance that I might have received from my family after they're dead Of course I signed that over to the Roman Catholic Church. And oftentimes I say the Roman Catholic priests are enticing girls--not only their background, not only their strong bodies, their strong minds and strong wills--but he's enticing girls where mothers and fathers have much property. And they are constantly fishing for the material things of this life. Why? Because when that child enters the convent they're going to get a portion of her money--of her father's money.
And I often say even salvation in the Roman Catholic Church is going to cost you plenty of money. More than you know anything about. And so they don't mind commercializing off of that child and the inheritance that would have come to her.
A FUNERAL SHROUD INSTEAD OF A WEDDING GARMENT
And so on this particular morning I told the Mother Superior, "Give me a little while to think it over." She didn't make me do it. No one did. But I thought it over for a couple of years, and then one day I told her, "I think I'm going to hide away behind the convent doors," because I believed I could give more time to God. I could pray more. I would be in a position where I could inflict more pain upon my body because we're taught to believe that God smiles down out of heaven as we do penance--whatever the suffering might be. And I didn't know any better, because, I often say, if you could only look into the hearts of little Nuns, if you are a Christian, you would immediately cry out before God in behalf of those little girls, because truly we are heathens. It doesn't make any difference the amount of education we may have. We are still heathens. We know nothing about this lovely Christ -- nothing about the plan of salvation. And we're living as hermits in the convent.
And so on this particular morning I come walking down an aisle again. And, may I say, on the morning before, I can't go into it too deep, because I would never be able to cover enough of it so you could understand it -- but this morning I'm walking down that aisle, but I don't have a wedding garment on. I have a funeral shroud. It's made of dark red velvet. And it's way down to the floor. And I'm walking down that aisle. Now I know what I'm going to do. The casket is already made by the Nuns of the Cloister -- very rough wood, and it's sitting right out here. And I know when I come down there that I'll step into that casket and lay my body down. And I'm going to spend nine hours in there. And two little Nuns will come and cover me up with a heavy black cloth we call a heavy drape material. And, you know, it's so heavily incensed that I feel like I will smother to death. And I have to stay there.
Now, I know when I come out of that casket I'll never leave the Convent again. I know I'll never see my mother and father again. I'll never go home again. I'll always live behind convent doors and when I die my body will be buried there. They told me that. So I knew it even before I done it. It's a great price to pay and then to find out that Convents are not religious orders as we were taught and as we were trained. It's quite a disappointment to a young girl that's given her life to God and willing to give up so much and sacrifice so much. I'll assure you, it was a disappointment.
And so after I spent some time...You say, "What did you do when you lay in that casket?" What do you think I did? I spilled every tear in my body. I remembered every lovely thing my mother done for me. I remembered her voice. I remembered the gathering around the table. I remembered the times when she would play with us. I remembered the things that she said to me. I remembered what a marvelous cook she was. Everything, as a little girl growing up in that home, I remembered it, laying in that casket--knowing I'll never hear her voice again. I'll never see her face again. I'll never put my feet under her table again -- enjoy her good cooking. I knew all that. And so maybe for four hours I spilled all the tears within my body because it was so hard. And I knew I'd get homesick. I knew I'd want to see her someday, but I gave it all up. What for? For the love of God, I thought. I didn't know any better.
And I'll assure you, those were nine long hours. And
then I seemingly got a hold of myself, and I thought this,
"Charlotte, now you're going to make the best Carmelite Nun,
because everything I've ever done even now in the convent I do give
my best." I'd try to give everything that I had regardless of
what I might do. And so I did in the Convent. I gave the best
that I had. And I wanted to be the best Nun that I could
possibly be. And the Mother Superior knew that. And, don't
worry, the priests knew all about it, too.
Now, I realize after I walk out of that casket they're going to take me like this...over here, right back here, is a room. They call it the Mother Superior's Room. Now, I'd never been in that particular room, so I don't know what she has in there. But you know, when I walk in there this time the Mother Superior sits me down in a straight-back, hard-bottom chair. And immediately then I'm going to take three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. And you know, as I take those vows, she opens a little place in the lobe of my ear and takes out a portion of blood, because I must sign every vow in my own blood.
And after that happens, then I'm going to take the vow of poverty. Now when I sign that vow, I sign it thus, that I'm willing to live in crucial poverty the balance of my life as long as I live. And what that poverty's like, of course, we don't know.
And then my next vow, I'm going to do a vow of chastity. And you know this vow, of course you know what it means. I'm taught to believe that I'm married to Jesus Christ. I'm His bride. I'll always remain a virgin. I'll never legally marry a man in this world because I have become the spouse or the bride of Jesus Christ.
After the Bishop married me to Christ, he placed a ring on my finger. And that meant I'm sealed to Christ. I'm married to Him and I accepted it because I didn't know any better.
And now here I am taking a vow that I would always remain a virgin because I'm the bride of Christ. And I want you to listen carefully.
And then of course my last vow of obedience. Now, when we sign that vow, I'll assure you, already I know what obedience means. I'm living in a convent. And there they demand absolute obedience. You don't get by with anything. Not even for two minutes. I mean, you don't get by with it. You have to realize what obedience means. And they demand it. And you learn to know it. And you're much wiser the more quickly you learn it and you obey it. And you give them absolute obedience.
Alright, now. What does it mean to sign vows like this? Let me tell you this. It means more than you folks will ever know because most people that I know anything about, they know very little about obedience. Oh, in a sense, yes. But you'll never know what a little Nun knows about obedience, I'll assure that one thing, unless you've lived in the convent.
Alright, that particular vow when I signed it in my own blood, it done something to me, because, after I signed those vows, do you realize that I signed away everything I have -- my human rights? I have become a mechanical human being now. I can't sit down until they tell me to. I don't dare to get up until they tell me to. I can't lie down until they tell me to. And neither do I dare to I get up. I cannot eat until they tell me to. And what I see I don't see. What I hear I don't hear. What I feel I don't feel. I've become a mechanical human being, but you're not aware of that until you have signed all these vows. Then you realize, "Here I am -- a mechanical human being." And, of course, I belong to Rome now, I'll assure you that right now.
Alright, after these particular vows, we become forgotten women in the convent. In just a short while you'll understand what I'm talking about. Now, immediately after I've taken those vows, then the Mother Superior is going to take away my name and give me the name of a patron saint. She teaches me to believe that whatever happens to me in the convent, I can pray to that patron saint and she will intercede for me and get my prayers through to God, because I'm not holy enough to stand in the presence of God.
It isn't a wonder the little Nuns can never get
closer to God. We have always been taught that we'll never be holy
enough to stand in His presence. And we always have to go through
somebody else in order to get a prayer through to God. And we
believe it because we don't know any better.
And so now all identification of who Charlotte was is going to be put away, it'll be taken away from me. And if you knew me and would come to the convent and call for my family name they'd tell you there isn't such a person as that. I don't exist. Even though I'm right there, because I'm writing under another name.
Now the Mother Superior is going to cut every bit of hair off of my head. And when she cuts it with the scissors she puts the clippers on it. And I mean there's nothing left. I just don't have one speck of hair left on my head. And, of course, if you could be a Nun you would understand the heavy head-gear that we have to wear would be so cumbersome to have hair and so cumbersome to take care of it, we don't have any way of taking care of it in the convent. There are no combs in the convent. And so you can imagine how hard it would be for us to take care of a head of hair. It's not necessary that we have a comb after they finish with us.
Alright now. This is my Black Veil. These are my perpetual vows, we'll call them. I'm there and I'm going to stay there.
Now, you know, up until this time I received a letter once a month from my family. And I wrote a letter out of that convent once a month to my family. Even though when I would write that letter, I had no doubt they marked out a lot of it, because when I would receive a letter from my family there was so much of it blacked out until there was no sense to the letter. And, oh, I'd weep over those black marks. I was wondering what my mother was trying to say to me. And don't worry, you never got to know what she wanted to to say to you, because they blacked it out.
And so they break your heart many many times and you're lonely anyway because I had no friends in the convent. I'll assure you, even though there was a hundred and eighty on my particular wing, not one of those Nuns were my friend and neither was I a friend to them, because we are not allowed to be friends in the Convent. We are all policemen or detectives watching each other that's to find something to tell. And the little Nun who finds something to tell on the other Nuns, she stands in good favor with the Mother Superior. And then the Mother teaches that Nun to believe that when she stands in good favor with the Mother Superior, she's standing in good favor with God. And so that little Nun, of course, will want that, and she'll tell a lot of things, maybe that are not even true, on the other little Nuns.
Alright. Now, after all of this has transpired and after all of this has happened. Everything I have is gone, I've sold my soul for a mess of theological pottage, because, not only are we destroyed in our bodies, many of us in our minds. And many of us, if we die in the Convent, we've lost our souls.
And so it's a serious thing. And I surely covet your prayers for little Nuns behind cloistered convent doors. They'll never hear this Gospel. They'll never know the Christ that you folk know tonight. They'll never pray to Him as you people pray to Him. They'll never feel His blessings as you people feel them. So put them on your hearts and pray for them. They surely need much prayer.
Alright, now As I walk into that room and all of this
is transpiring, now, bless you heart, I don't know what's going to be
in the next room. After this has transpired, and I've taken the vows
that I will always remain a virgin, I will never legally marry in
this world because I'm the spouse of Christ. And then after this, and
the Mother Superior leads me out into another room, or rather she
opens the doors, and I'm to be sent into that room.
And when I walk out in that room I see something that I have never seen before. I see a Roman Catholic Priest dressed in a holy habit. He walks over to me and locks his arm in my arm which he had never done in the first part of my convent life. I never had a priest to insult me in any way. I never had one of them to even be unkind to me in the first part of my convent experience. But here he is now. And of course I didn't understand what it was all about. And I didn't know what in the world the man expected of me. But you know, I pulled from him because I felt highly insulted. And I pulled from him and I said, "Shame on you." And it made him very angry for a minute. And the Mother Superior must have heard my voice, because she came out immediately, and she said, "Oh," and they called me by my Church name. She said, "After you've been in the convent a little while you won't feel this way. The rest of us felt the same way you do."
And you know the priest's body is sanctified. And therefore it is not a sin for us to give the priests our bodies. In other words, they teach every little Nun this: As the Holy Ghost placed a germ in Mary's womb, and Jesus Christ was born, so the Priest is the Holy Ghost, and therefore it isn't a sin for us to bare his children. And let me tell you, that's what they come into the convent for. No other purpose in all of this world do priests come into the convent but to rob those precious little girls of their virtue. And I'll assure you, we'll be telling you a little later in the testimony just what they really do after they come in under those particular deals.
But may I say, now every bridge has been burned out from under me. There's no way back. I can't get out of the convent, even though I pleaded. Oh, how I pleaded with that priest, "Send for my father. I want to go home. I don't want to go any farther." Only to laugh in my face. And, let me tell you, that's when you stand alone. And you don't know who to turn to. And you're a victim of circumstances. And you live in the convent because there is no other way to get out of the convent. And, I'll assure you, I stayed in the convent until God made a way for me to come out. And so after all of this, my mail was stopped. I'll never receive another bit of mail from my family. Never another letter. I belong to the Pope. I belong to Rome.
And then after all of this--the Mother Superior, after taking me through these particular vows--the priest has invited me to go to the Bridal Chamber. You say, "Did you go?" No. Definitely not. I didn't enter the convent to be a bad woman. It would have been much easier to stay out of the convent to be a bad woman. You wouldn't go into the convent and live in the poverty we lived in and to suffer as we suffered to be a bad woman. No girl would do that. It would have been much easier to stay out of the convent if I wanted to be a bad woman. But I went there to give my heart and life to God. And that was the only purpose I had in going there.
And here this priest is--and of course I didn't go
into the Bridal Chamber with him. I had a strong body then. One of us
would have been wounded because I would have fought until the last
drop of blood. And you know it made them very very angry, I'll assure
you. But I didn't go to the Bridal Chamber with him.
But now I'm going to have to go to penance the next morning, and of course this will be a heavier penance because of what I'd done already. And when the Mother Superior says, "We're going to do penance the next morning," I'm going to be initiated as a Carmelite Nun. And I remember when she walked with me down into that particular place. It was a dark room. Now remember, I lived above on the first floor until my Black Veil. After the Black Veil, they take me one story under the ground. And I live there from then on until God delivered me. I didn't live in the top part of the buildings at all.
But you know, as we walked into this room it's dark and it's very cold. And when we walked in, we came from back there somewhere. We come walking towards the front. And I walked along beside the Mother Superior. And when I got near the front I saw those little candles burning. Anywhere in the convent you'll find the seven candles burning. And when I came a little closer I saw the candles, but I couldn't see anything else. And I wondered, "What is she going to do to me?" That's the thing in our hearts and we can't get away from it, because we had fear.
And when I come a little closer I saw something lying on a board there. And, you know, when I came real close then I realized here's a little Nun lying on that board. I called it a cooling board because it was that. And just as long as her body. And there she was. And when I could see where the candles flickered down on her face I realized that child is dead. And, oh, I wanted so much to say, "How did she die? Why is she here? How long do you keep her here?" But, you remember, I signed away every human right. And so I can't say one word, but I stood looking.
And then the Mother Superior said, "You stand vigil over this dead body for one hour." And at the end of the hour a little bell is tapped and another Nun will come to relieve me. And may I say, I was advised every so many minutes I would have to walk out...to...that little body and sprinkle holy water and ashes over the body and say, "Peace be unto you." And I did exactly what they told me to do. Oh, it was a terrible feeling. I'm not afraid of the dead. It's the live people we have to be very cautious about. And I wasn't afraid of that little dead Nun, but, oh, my heart ached for her.
And you know after the bell tapped and I realized my
hour had gone, the Nun who come to relieve us comes back here
somewhere. And of course we walked on our tip-toes. No noise was made
in the convent. And they don't speak, they just touch you. And of
course, my being down there with that little dead Nun, and I was full
of fear, when that girl laid her hand on my shoulder I let out a
scream -- a horrible scream - from fear - just fear.
And, you know, I didn't mean to do it. I didn't break that rule on purpose, but I was scared. And immediately, of course, I had to come before the Mother Superior and that's when I first learned to know, one of the first times, about a dungeon. They didn't tell me there were dungeons in the convents. And she put me in such a dirty, dark place, with no floor in it for three days and nights. And I didn't get any food and any water. And I'll assure you I didn't scream any more. I tried so hard not to break the rules of screaming, because there is a dungeon and I know they'll put you in it. And, let me tell you right now, it's not a nice place to be. After you've been in one of those places you'll know what it feels like.
Alright now. I'll say this before I go any further that Popery is a masterpiece of Satan. I said it's a masterpiece of Satan with his lying wonders and its traditions and its deception. It's a terrible thing when you know about it.
And so as I come down into this room, she took me, and let me look at this little girl, the penance is over. The very next morning she said again to me, "Charlotte, you're going to do penance." Not the next morning -- it was three days after because I spent three days and nights in the dungeon, the fourth, fifth morning, whichever it was, she said, "You're going to do penance." She took me down into another room - not the same room. And when we come walking down this time I could see that big piece of wood, but I didn't know what it was. And when I came a little closer there was a cross. It was made of heavy timber. I might say it was maybe eight or ten feet high. Very heavy. And that cross was sitting on an incline like that. And she had me walk over here at the base of the cross, and she said, "Now strip your clothes off." And I took my clothes off. And then she made me -- down to my waistline -- then she made me drape my body over the foot of that cross, and she pulled my hands underneath and bound them to my feet. And then, you know, that's where I learned to spill my blood. And she had not told me how, and neither could I ask how I would spill it.
And she gave two little Nuns that came with her a flagellation whip. I might call it a bamboo pole. It's about this long -- it's about that big around. And it has six straps on it about this long. And on the end of either of those straps is a sharp piece of metal. And those little Nuns, either was given one of these whips, and they stood on either side of the cross. Now, at the same time those girls began whipping my body. And I mean when that metal hit my body it would break the hide, of course. It would cut into the flesh and I spilled blood. And it was running down to the floor. That's my flagellation whipping. That is where I spill my blood as Jesus shed His upon Calvary.
And of course I'm human. It wounded. It hurt. It was very painful. After the whipping is over they don't bathe my body. They put my clothing back on my body and I have to go the rest of the day.
When the night comes and I stand in front of my cell,
there -- I have to stand there to undress with our backs to each
other. And then when I went in, oh... I couldn't sleep that night. I
just wasn't a bit sleepy because I couldn't take off all my clothes.
They had dried in those wounds. And it was terrible. I didn't take
them off for several nights.
And, I'll assure you, when I came before my food, I didn't want my cup of black coffee.
In the morning we get a cup of black coffee they serve in a tin cup. We can have no milk and no sugar of any type. And we have one slice of bread that's made by the Nuns of the Cloister. They weighed it. It weighs four ounces. That's all I get for breakfast.
And then of course in the evening I get a bowl of soup. And that's fresh vegetables cooked together. There's no seasoning in the soup whatsoever, and a half a slice of bread. And three times a week they give me a half a glass of skim milk.
That consists of my food three hundred and sixty five days in the year.
And I began losing weight very rapidly, I'll assure you, because I didn't have enough food to eat. I don't know the day I went to bed without a hungry stomach. Sometimes it would be so hungry I couldn't sleep. The pain was gnawing. You can't hardly stand it. And you know you're only going to get that one slice of bread the next morning. That doesn't fill you up. And of course we have to work hard all day long.
And I'll assure you... those little Nuns, and I covet your prayers for them. They need your prayers in more ways than one because you'll go to bed with a full stomach tonight. And you're very comfortable right now. But I'll assure you there's not one of them that's comfortable. They're hungry and they're sick and they're wounded and they're hurt and they're heartsick and homesick -- and discouraged. And worst of all, seemingly, they have no hope. No hope.
You and I are looking forward to the day when we're going to see Jesus. They have no hope whatsoever. And I surely hope you don't forget to pray for them.
Alright. That was terrible, I'll assure you.
And then in a few mornings after this, the Mother Superior is taking me back for another initiation. And when I go into the penance chamber this morning -- we come from a place up here -- and we're going to walk back along like that clear to the back. And you know it's quite a ways back here, and I went - part of it's a tunnel. And then I come out into a room. And I walk through into that room. And when I get way back there I see those candles burning. And I see something else. There's ropes hanging down from the ceiling. And, oh, I'm so scared. I wonder what the ropes are for, and what's she going to do? After these two penances you begin to have a lot of fear in your heart.
And so I can't say anything and I walk back there. And you know I saw the ropes real plain. What are they doing hanging down from that ceiling? Then she tells me, "You go over there against the wall." About that close to the wall. And I have to stand sideways like this. And she asks me to put up both of my thumbs. And I did. And then she pulled one rope down. And there's a metal band fastened securely. And she fastens that around the joint of my thumb. Then the other one comes down and it fastens around this thumb. And there I am standing there like this facing the wall. And then, you know, she comes over here to the end where there's a...whatever you want to call it, [and] she starts winding. And I start moving. And she's taking me right up in the air. And, you know, when she gets me so just my toes are on the floor - just on my tip-toes she fastens it. And there I hang. And all the weight of my body is on my thumbs and on my toes. Not a word is said. No one speaks a word. And she walks out of that room and locks the door.
If you know what it means to hear a key locking a door, and know that I'm strung up there like that... you'll never know unless you're a Nun. And when that woman walked out I didn't know how long I'll stay there -- how long that woman will leave me there.
And you know, they didn't come to give me food. They brought me no water. And I thought, "Is this it? Am I going to die back here just like this?" And within a few hours... you can imagine. I'm still a human being. My muscles began to scream out with the pain. I was suffering. And that woman let me hang. And no one come near. And what good would it do for me to cry? You can spill every tear in your body. Nobody will hear you. There's no one there to care how many tears you spill.
And so I just hung there. And finally I began, seemingly I felt like I couldn't stand it - I'll surely die if they don't come and get me quickly. And I felt as if I was beginning to swell. I don't know how long went by, and she opened the door one morning and she had something for me to eat. And the water was in a pan. And it was potatoes. And those potatoes were not good to eat. They were in a pan. And there's a shelf over there on the wall that she can adjust to the height of the Nun. And, you know, she pulled it out.
Now, I'm not against the wall. I'm about this far from it. But to get that food... she puts it there, and she said, "This is your food." And she walks out.
Now, how am I going to get it?
She didn't let my hands down. But this is what you learn. And you struggle to get it. I'm hungry. I mean I'm so thirsty I feel like I'm going mad. And to get it I discovered that this hand goes high and this one will come down a little bit. And I'll keep right on going higher if I lean. I have to reach higher with this one, this one will automatically let down. And to get that water and that food, I mean, I had to get it like the dogs and cats. And I lapped as much of it as I could because I'm so thirsty. And get those potatoes I tried as hard as I could because I'm hungry. I mean I'm hungry. And I got as much of it as I could, naturally. But I was hungry.
That's the way she fed me for a while and then she released the bonds on my hands and on my feet. I shouldn't have said on my feet. She didn't release the bonds. She let me hang there for nine days and nine nights. I almost got it mixed up with one of the other penances that I wanna get to you. I hung nine days and nine nights in this position.
And let me say, the time came when I was so swollen here, and naturally I could see myself puffing out here. I felt like the eyes were coming out of my head. I felt like my arms were apart. They were two or three times their normal size. I felt like I was that way all over my body. And I was like a boil. I was in real suffering.
And then on the ninth day she comes in. And she releases the bonds from my hands and my body. She lets me down on the floor. Now I go down and I can't walk. I'll assure you I didn't walk. I didn't walk for a long time. But you know what, there's two little Nuns that carry me out. One gets under my feet and the other under my shoulders. And they carry me in the infirmary, and lay me on a slab of wood. And there they cut the clothing from my body. And let me tell you right now, nobody but God will ever know -- I'm covered with vermin and filth. Why? I'm hanging there in my own human filth. There are no toilet facilities. Right behind me is a stool. And they have running water in it, and the lid is down and they have sharp nails driven through that lid. If I break my ropes and fall on that, I would suffer terribly.
And this is the life of a Carmelite -- a little Nun
behind cloistered doors - after they've already deceived us --
disillusioned us and got us back there. Then this is the life that
we're living. And these are the things that we're going to have to
do. I'll assure you, it isn't anything funny.
And then I remember, as I lived on in that place, oh, let me tell you, we have to get up out of our bed [at] 4:30 in the morning. The Mother Superior taps the bell, and that means five minutes to dress. And may I say to you folk, it's not five and a half minutes. You better get that clothing on in five minutes.
I failed one time, and I had to be punished for doing it, but I never failed again in all the years in the convent.
And you know when we're finished dressing then we're going to start marching. And we march by the Mother Superior. And that Mother Superior is going to appoint us to an office duty every morning. It might be scrubbing. It might be ironing. It might be washing. It might be doing some hard work. But I have to work one hour. Then we'll go in and gather around the table, and we'll find sitting in front of us our tin cupful of coffee and our slice of bread.
And then, of course, we have hard work to do. I think there were twelve tubs in the convent that I lived in. And we washed on the old-fashioned washboard. We have the old fat iron that you heat on the stove.
And, you know, it wouldn't be so bad if we just had our own clothing in the convent. But the priests bring great bundles of clothing and put them in there because he can get them done for nothing. And we have to do that clothing on top of it. We work very very hard. And they're not able to work because they don't have enough food to keep body, mind and soul together. And those little girls are living under these particular circumstances.
And, I say, we're women without a country. And I mean
just exactly what I say. Women without a country. Now we belong to
the Pope. Anything they want to inflict upon my body they can do it.
And all the howling I do, if I should howl, it wouldn't make any
difference because nobody is going to hear me. And they have no idea
that I'll ever leave the convent. The plan is that I'll die there and
be buried there.
Now you say, "Charlotte, can you go into the convent?" Any one of you folks can go into a closed convent -- into the speak room. And there is an outside chapel that you can walk into of any that I know anything about. But you know, don't you just go in there to wander around not to have some place to go, because you might meet something that you're not expecting. If you go there you go prepared to take food to some little girl that's in there. And be sure that you know who you're taking it to. And when you go, as you walk up toward the front of the building, like this, you'll see a bell. And you know what to do because it will tell you. You press a button there and there will be a gate swing out. It has about three shelves on it. And, of course, you've brought something for someone that you know in the convent. It might be the mother coming to visit her daughter.
And, you know, when that bell is tapped, the Mother Superior is back here behind the big black veil. Now that's a big black gate there. And there's heavy folds of black material clear across there. And you can't go back there. You'll never see the Mother Superior, but she'll answer you through the black veil.
And you might say, "I've brought some homemade candy for my daughter." And you might ask the Mother Superior to let you speak to her. You can't see her, but you can speak to her.
You know, the mother will call that lovely little girl, and call her out on the other side of the grail, and of course you can't see her. And you know what, the mother will speak to her and say, "Honey, are you happy here?" And that little Nun will say, "Mother, I'm very happy."
You say, "Why did she say that?"
Well, bless your heart, don't you know that the Mother Superior is standing there? And if we didn't say that, after our mother had gone, then God only knows what the Mother Superior will do to the little Nun. And so we just lie to our mother.
And then the mother will say, "Do you have
plenty to eat?" And that little Nun will answer and say, "We
have plenty to eat." But, I tell you that mother will go home.
She'll prepare a lovely meal for the rest of the family. But if she
could look in and see our table and see what her little girl is
eating, if she could look into her little girl's eyes after she's
been there three or four years, she'd see those eyes are back in her
head. She'd see that her little body's began to waste away. I'll
assure that mother that she'll never eat another meal at home. No,
never. You'd never enjoy another meal if you could see your child
after she'd been in a convent for a period of time. But these things
of course are under cover, and we have to take what they give us.
Alright, now they can make us do anything. Here we are, the Mother Superior and I might be down in the laundry room washing. And I told you how we wash. And its a cement floor. And, well, doing the type of laundry we do - some of it's very heavy - the water slops out on the floor. And, oh, it's such a mess. We'd walk in it. And you know, then, here comes the Mother Superior.
And to me, our Mother Superior, I'd just as soon you turn loose a lion that's very hungry and let it come walking down that aisle as to see a Mother Superior in a convent. I was scared to death of her. Every time I saw that woman, somebody had to suffer. And we're afraid of her and she knows we're afraid of her. Because she's cruel. Her heart is calloused.
And here she comes. And, you know, there we are washing. And, I'll tell you, that when she comes - and we know... we feel her presence before we ever see her. We know her footsteps. And, you know, we'll wash a little harder. But when she gets down to where we are, she might address me. And she'll say, "Now, you come out here." And I'm out there like a flash because I'm scared. And then she'll say, "Prostrate yourself down there and lick so many crosses on that floor." That's a cement floor. And, of course, I have to prostrate my body and lick those crosses. And those are not little tiny crosses. As far as I reach, I'll have to lick those crosses.
And she watches my countenance. If I don't like it, and she knows that I don't like it, then she might say, "Ten" - she might say, "Twenty-five." And, you know, then the next morning she may walk back through there again and because she saw something in my face that made her to know I didn't like what she wanted me to do, she may call me again. And my tongue, by this time, is sore. It's bleeding, but I have to lick the crosses on the floor again.
And then they do the same way by compelling us to crawl. They'll compel you to crawl. And, may I say, it could be up and down an aisle like this ten times. And it'll not be on a beautiful rug like this. It'll be on a floor that you know what you're crawling on.
And, you know, I'm crawling, and I have to crawl like this - upright. And my, my... my knees. Don't they hurt! And I might make it five or six times. And then I might not have enough strength to go the other three or four times. And I'll faint. But she'll pour some cold water on me and tell me to crawl again.
And, may I say, then I'll try to finish it out. And maybe the next day she compels me to crawl again. By this time there's scabs on my knees. I mean, those knees are sore. But I must crawl again.
This is the life of a little Nun. We're doing
penance. And then she teaches us to believe that God is looking down
out of Heaven - He's smiling His approval upon those little girls.
And God is made happy through our suffering. And because we are
heathens - we don't know any better - we've never read the Bible.
We've never had any Scripture. And so those little Nuns are ignorant
of the Word of God. You know, we are just raised under the tradition
of the Roman Catholic Church. And we know nothing about this lovely
Gospel of Jesus Christ. And so we have to do these things.
Then the Mother Superior might walk through the cell door -- by the way, in our cells, there's nothing in there but the Virgin Mary, and, that is, she's holding the baby Jesus. And there's the Crucifix. And then we have a prayer board. And by the way, I'll assure you folks, that you'll never want to lean on our prayer board. We lean on it everyday if we are able to walk under our own power. It is a board about this high from the ground. And there are two leading up like this one. And this one is about that wide. I'm going to drop my knees down on it. And there's sharp wires coming up through that board. And then, this one up here, I prostrate my arms on, there's going to be sharp wires.
After all, I told you we were going to suffer. We're going to do penance. And this is a part of my suffering.
And as I lean on that prayer board, I'm praying for lost humanity. And I'm believing as I suffer that my grandmother will be released from a priest's purgatory sooner, because of my suffering. And I kneel there longer, sometimes. Oh, it's terrible, but we don't know any better. So we do that, because that's all that little Nuns know. And we believe it.
And there we are. And we are locked in our cells. Every night the key is turned in those doors. We can't get up and come out of there. And then, more than that, seven minutes to twelve - we go to bed, at nine thirty the lights are out - seven minutes to twelve, there's two little Nuns appointed to unlock every door. Every little Nun again gets on her feet, dresses in full dress, goes into the inner chapel, and there we again pray one hour for lost humanity.
We don't get very much sleep. That's why. And we don't have enough food and we work hard and we suffer much. That's why our bodies are so broken.
That's why we seemingly don't have enough strength to
carry on after we live there.
But I'd like to say this to you before I go any further. Now, I did those very things. And we're taught to believe that as we spill our own blood - now, WE must do this - if I whip my body, if I torment it, or torture it in any way that I spill blood, I'm taught to believe, that I'll have one hundred less days to spend in purgatory.
Now, you know, we have no hope. Those little Nuns don't look forward to anything. You may think they do, but we don't. Why? After you live in a Convent ten years, I began to realize the Virgin Mary is just a piece of metal. She's a statue. I began to realize Saint Peter's just a statue. I began to realize that the statue of Jesus is just a piece of metal. In other words, we come to the place to believe that our God is a dead God. And, I'll assure you, after you live in a convent long enough, not at first - no, no - but after we've suffered enough, after we've seemingly fallen down at the feet of those statues and spilled our tears on them, and have begged them to intercede and get a prayer through to God, and years go by and no prayer is answered, then we begin to realize we have a dead God.
And so on it goes.
And so those precious little girls, we're taught to
believe that as we whip our bodies, or burn our bodies, or torture
our bodies, and spill blood that we'll have one hundred less days to
spend in purgatory. We believe in a literal purgatory. And that
literal purgatory is a fire and it's going to burn. And we're going
to feel the flames of fire.
And you know when I say Nuns are forgotten women, just who do you folk think is going to say a prayer, or go over and pay the priest to have a high mass for a little Nun that's in the convent? I wonder who's going to? Why? Because they'll not even be notified. When many of those little Nuns die, there's no notification of it whatsoever. A parent won't even know when they're dead. So, who's going to pray us out of purgatory? Or rather, buy us out of purgatory? No. We realize after we're in there a period of time that there is no Purgatory.
Of course, you know there isn't, and I know there isn't. And there is no purgatory. The only purgatory the Roman Catholic people have is a priest's pocket. And they're filling his pockets with coins in order to pray for the dead.
And, may I say, there are thousands and thousands of Roman Catholics -- in the month of November, may I say to you, in United States, two years ago -- in the month of November the Roman Catholic priests praying masses for the dead of the Roman Catholic people in this country, in one month, collected twenty-two million dollars for masses said for dead Roman Catholics. That's just a little idea, or sample, of what's going on in this country.
And still there are thousands of mothers that will work their fingers to the bone to go over there and give the priest another five dollars to say a mass for a loved one that's in Purgatory, because that mother believes there is a Purgatory.
In the Convent, they have a painting of Purgatory. And there's nothing in the room but just that painting. And, you know, every Friday we have to walk around that painting. And when we walk around it, I would you could look at the little Nuns' faces.
What do I see? The painting, as you would walk around it, looks like it's a big deep hole out there. And there are people down in there. And the flames of fire is lapping around the bodies of those people. And their hands are outstretched like this. And the Mother will say to the little Nuns, "You'd better go and put another penance on your body. Those people are begging to get out of that fire." And because we're heathens, we don't know any better, I might go someplace in the convent and maybe I'll burn my body real bad. Maybe I'll torture it some way and spill some more blood, because as I suffer I believe they're going to get out of that place where a priest puts them.
And there are millions of people, so to speak, in Purgatory that your priest has put there. And when he knows that its the biggest fraud there is in the world... he knows there's not a bit of truth to it. And, bless your heart, I often say you take purgatory mass away from the Roman Catholic Church you'll rob her of nine tenths of her living. She'll starve to death, if you would take it away from her. She commercializes, not only off of the living, but off of the dead. And on and on it goes.
Alright. It doesn't bother the Mother Superior to take one of those dear, little girls... And, may I say, you know, when the priests come into the convents, they come as our Father Confessors. Once a month we go to confession. And we don't want to go, don't you worry. I many's a' time I have gone in the very back row. I didn't want to go in there. I know who's out there. One of them... I may not know the particular man, but I know he's a priest. And I know those priests. I certainly have seen them enough. I've lived there long enough. I certainly have had contact with every one of them. And, I'll assure you this one thing, I don't trust a single one of those in the convent.
Now, we're not telling you about every priest. I
don't know all the priests. I'm just talking about the Convent in my
personal Testimony of Convent Life.
And, you know, we know something about what's out in that room. And, here we are, we know we're going to confession today. It may take all day long. And here he comes. And I have never seen a Roman Catholic Priest come into the Convent that I was in without intoxicating liquor under his belt.
And I say a man or a woman, regardless of who you may be, when you get liquor under your belt, you're not a man. Neither are you a woman. You become an animal and a beast.
And so we have a beast sitting out there. There a straight-back, hard-bottom chair. No other furniture but the Crucifix and the Virgin Mary. But here he is sitting on that chair right out there in the middle of that room. Now here a little girl has to walk out there alone. And she has to kneel down. Think of it.
Why, bless your heart, I really, sometimes... I'm saved now. I'm out of the Convent, and I now look back at that Roman Catholic priest, and I often say, "I'm sure he was a twin brother to the devil," because he's full of sin. He's full of vice. He's full of corruption.
And we go out there and kneel down at his knees. Now, you're a lucky girl if you get away from that man without being destroyed. Why, he's drunk. He's a beast. He's not a man. Oh, he has a holy habit on. He's an ordained Roman Catholic Priest.
And so, I'll assure you, we don't like to go to Confession. But we must go once a month. And those little girls can't help themselves. And nobody comes out into that room but the priest and I. Until it's all over and then we can come back. And the next one will have to come. And, I'll assure you, we don't appreciate that day.
And those little girls don't know any better. They don't know anything about the plan of salvation. They don't know that Jesus went to Calvary and died for them. They don't know that He shed His blood for them. Those little girls know nothing about it, because to me, as I repeat again, the Bible was a hidden book to every one of the those little girls.
And so, now, they can do things like this. Now, if a Roman Catholic Priest comes into the Convent he may go to the Mother Superior and ask her to permit him to go into the cell where one of the Nuns are. And, you know, that Mother with her carnal mind and her carnal heart - and she's very hard and very carnal - and she is the mother, many times, of many illegitimate children - they belong to the priest... and, you know, she'll take that priest. And he's drinking - she knows it. They bring liquor in with them. Sometimes some of the Nuns will drink with him, and the Mother usually drinks with him. And it's really a terrible place, it is, not a religious order. It does not live up to that name whatsoever.
But here she brings that priest into one of our cells. Now, I wonder if you realize how serious it is. That Roman Catholic priest, he has liquor under his belt, we know that. But he has a big, strong body. He's had three square meals of food every day of his life. He can eat all the food that he wants.
But, you know, there's a little Nun that may have a broken body. And she may not have very much strength. And what did he come into that cell for? For nothing other than to destroy that little Nun.
I often say I wish the government could walk into a Convent just about the time one of those priests are let in the cell. The Mother will turn a key in the lock, and you're locked in there with that priest.
Now, we have no way to defend ourselves. And I often say - I've had to nurse those little girls - I'm an R.N.. I've got my nurse's training by going through the tunnel over to the hospital as I lived in an Open Order Convent. But, may I say, after that priest is taken out of there, if you could look upon the body of that little Nun, she looks like something you've thrown out in a hog pen. And a half a dozen old sows have just mauled that child's body.
And this is convent life!
I can understand why your priests are calling over the phone every day or two and screaming their heads off because I'm in this city giving this testimony. But, may I say to you, I don't mind if they continue to scream. I don't mind what they do. I'm not one bit afraid of them. I'll continue to give this testimony - as long as God gives me strength I'll be giving this testimony regardless of your priests or your bishops in this country.
I know what I'm doing. I know what I'm saying. And I'm not afraid of anybody in all of this world. I'm a child of God. And I believe God won't let anybody put a hand on me until my work is finished. And then, I often say, I don't care what you do to my body after I leave this body. I'm sure I don't mind. And so I will continue to give the testimony regardless of what your priests think about it, because I think God saved me to pull the cover off of convents. I believe He saved me to uncloak those places that are riding under the cloak of religion. I believe that with all of my heart. I'll assure you I do.
Now, if I refuse to give my body - you know we're just supposed to give our bodies voluntarily to those priests. Many times the Nuns are overpowered. But if I refuse to give my body voluntarily to them, then you know he becomes very angry. And he goes immediately to the Mother Superior. Then when two carnal minds come together, they can invent things that you and I... we don't have enough evil in our heart to invent things like that. We don't have enough sin in our lives to even think up such terrible things. And when those two carnal minds come together, the next time, I want you to know, they're all ready.
Now, the Mother Superior might say to me in a day or two, we're going to do penance. Now the penance that they'll inflict on me is something that the Mother Superior and the priest have invented. And it can be very, very cruel.
They might take me down into one of the dirty dungeons. And there's no floors in those places. And, you know, they have a place down there - there are rods about three feet long. They have them, buried down into cement. And at the top of it there's a ring about this big, out, sticking out of the ground. They have some leather straps fastened there. And when they take me down there they put my foot, either foot, through those rings and then they strap my ankles securely.
Now, I'm standing with my feet in those rings. Alright, they're going out of there. And they're going to leave me locked up in that place by myself. And it's a dirty place. Well, I might stand there for two or three hours if I have strength enough in my body.
Well what do you think is going to happen to me then? I can't stand any longer. Sometimes we faint. Sometimes we just become exhausted and we go down. But when I go down it flips my ankles over like that, and I can't do anything about it. I don't have any strength for me to get up. I may have to lie in that position for two or three days and no one will come near. They won't give you a bite of food. They won't bring me one drop of water.
But I must stay there. And the next thing you feel is the bugs crawling over my body and the mice running over me. And I still have to stay there.
I can understand why they don't want me to uncover. They don't want the world to know these things are going on. No priest in this country wants it. And if he doesn't want the world to know it then they'd better be pretty careful that nobody ever gets out of the convent after they've spent a few years back there.
My God is greater than all the outside forces. My God can reach His hand over into those convents - this country or any other country - and make a way for a girl to come out and He won't have to ask the bishop to help Him. He won't have to ask the priest to help Him. But God can make a way for us to come out. I'll assure you of that.
Well, on it goes. Then sometimes the priests come and they get angry at us because we refuse to sin with them voluntarily. And you know, after awhile, the Nuns bodies' are broken after we're there awhile. And many, many's a' times to have him slap you in the mouth is a terrible thing. I've had my front teeth knocked out. I know what it's all about. And then he gets you down on the floor and then kicks you in the stomach.
Many of those precious little girls have babies under their heart. And it doesn't bother the priest to kick you in the stomach with a baby under your heart. He doesn't mind. The baby's going to be killed anyway, because those babies are born in the convent. Why wouldn't babies be born when you run places like this under the cloak of religion? The world thinks it's religious orders.
And there are babies born in there. And most of the babies are premature. And many of them are abnormal. Very, very seldom do we ever see a normal baby.
You say, "Sister Charlotte, do you dare to say that?" I most definitely do dare to say this. And I intend to keep on saying it. Why? I delivered those babies with these hands. And what I've seen with my eyes and I've done with my hands... I just challenge the whole world to say it isn't true. And the only way they can ever prove it isn't true, they'll have to open [the convents] - if they ever serve a summons on me, and call me into court, I'll assure you this one thing - convents are coming open. And then the world is going to know what convents really are.
BABIES BORN IN THE CONVENT
And they'll have to open them to vindicate my testimony, because I know what I'll do if they ever serve a summons on me. I've been before the highest laws we have in the United States. I know what I'm doing. I know what I can say. And I'm not one bit afraid to say it, because I've been a part of this. I've been connected with this system twenty-two years behind Convent doors. And it is a terrible thing.
--- a little Nun, looking forward to that day when her precious baby would be born. Most of you dear mothers.. Oh, you have everything ready. The beautiful nursery, all the baby's beautiful clothes you made. Everything is lovely. You're looking forward to that precious, little, immortal soul that's going to be born into your home. And everything is ready. And, oh, I would you could see that little Nun. She's not looking forward to that. There won't ever be a blanket around it's body. They'll never even - they'll never bathe that baby's body. But it can only live four or five hours. And then the Mother Superior will take that baby and put her fingers in it's nostrils and cover it's mouth and snuff it's little life out.
And why do they build the lime pits in the Convents? What is the reason for building it if it isn't to kill the babies? And that baby will be taken into the lime pit, and chemical lime is put over it's body. And that's the end of babies.
Oh, when I think about it! That's why I try to challenge people, "Pray." If you know how to pray, you know how to contact God, pray and ask God to deliver the girls from behind Convent doors. In other words, pray that God will make a way for every Convent in the United States to be opened and to let the government go in. And when the government goes in you won't have to worry. The Convents will be opened, the Nuns will be taken out and they'll be closed up just as they opened the Convents in old Mexico in 1934.
There are no Convents in old Mexico. Every cloister it is opened. And they found all of the corruption back there - the lime pits. If any of you are taking a vacation, go over into old Mexico. The government owns them. They're public museums. And go through the Convent. Look with your own eyes, touch with your own hands, and then come home and see if you believe my testimony. It'll stir every bit of that blood in your veins! I mean, it'll do something to you that nothing else has ever been able to do. Go through them and look at them. Go into the dungeons. Go into the tunnels. Go through the lime pits. Look at the skulls - rooms of skulls over there. And then ask the guides where they come from. And go and see all the devices of torture they placed upon the bodies of the little Nuns. Go into their cells and look at their beds, and see for yourself.
Oh, yes. You can go. It'll cost you twenty-five cents to go through each one of them. You look at those things, and see them for yourself, and then come home, and maybe it'll give you a greater burden to pray for little girls that have been enticed behind Convent doors by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.
I wonder how you would feel if this was your child. And remember I have a mother and daddy, or had one. And they loved me just as much as you love your children. And when they let me go into the Convent, I'm sure my mother and daddy didn't expect these things to happen because they didn't know. They never dreamed a Convent was like this.
But, you know, I wonder how'd you feel if you could walk in someday and - out there in this particular room - that floor is built for this purpose. There's a partition right out there. And there's just a little thing they can touch - it automatically opens. And you know there's a deep hole underneath that floor. And this little Nun has done something. I can't tell you what she done, because I wasn't there when she done it. But she's done something. And to them it's very serious. And when they bring her, they bring her to this particular place. Her little hands and feet are going to be bound securely. They're going to drop her in that horrible, horrible pit. And then they're going to put the boards back down. No one will ever know. Oh, there's plenty of chemical lime down there. But, you know, they don't do that.
Six little Nuns have to walk around that hole. We'll chant as we walk around that hole. We don't want any evil spirits to come out into the Convent. So we sprinkle holy water over that hole. And we may walk for six hours. And then they'll appoint six more Nuns. And on and on it goes, until we hear the last moan. And that's the end of the little Nun they placed down there. No, she'll never be delivered from the Convent.
But does it bother you to know that that little Nun will die and be lost? Does that bother you? It bothers me, because I didn't know Jesus. I couldn't tell her about God. I didn't know Him, myself. But it bothers me very, very much. But God won't hold me accountable. Her blood will not be on my hands because I didn't know the Lord, and I couldn't tell her about it. And so on it goes.
Then I wonder how you would like to see it. Here we are, a body of those little Nuns. On this particular morning the Mother Superior might say this: "We're all going to be lined up here." And I don't know what she's lining me up for. And then, you know, there might ten of us. There might be fifteen of us, and then she'll tell us all to strip. And we have to take every stitch of our clothing off. We're certainly not anything beautiful to look at. Our eyes are back in our head. Our cheeks are fallen in. Our bodies are wasted. God only knows what we look like, because I never saw myself in twenty-two years.
I didn't know I had grey hair. I didn't know I had lines in my face. I didn't know how old I was. I only found that out about six years ago. You know nothing about what you look like.
And here we are lined up. And here comes two or three Roman Catholic priests with liquor under their belt. And there they're going to march in front of those nude girls and choose the girl they want to take to the cell with them.
These are Convents. Cloistered Convents. Not Open
The priest can do anything he wants to and hide behind the cloak of religion. Then that same Roman Catholic priest will go back into the Roman Catholic churches. And there he'll say mass. And there he'll go into the confessional box and make those poor people believe he can give them absolution from their sins when he's full of sin. When he's full of corruption and vice. Still he acts as their god. What a terrible thing it is And on it goes.
Well, I lived there. Now, all the time these things are going on, what do you think is happening inside of Charlotte? God love your heart, I didn't know people could hold so much hatred and bitterness. And it went on and on and on. I was filled with bitterness and hatred. And I mean it continued to build. I began in my heart to think, "When I can get the Mother Superior in a certain place, I'll kill her."
Isn't it awful to get murder in our hearts? I didn't go into the Convent with a heart like that. Nor a mind like that. But I began to plan murder in the Convent. How I could kill her, or how I could kill a Roman Catholic priest. And on and on it goes.
And, oh, I tell you, every time she'd inflict
something awful on my body that I'd have to suffer so terribly, when
I could think sensibly again then I would begin to plan, "How
could I kill that woman?" And on it goes.
Well, after all, you can't help it. For instance, I wonder how you would feel. The Mother Superior - here she is. And she's going to sit me down in a chair. And, you know, that chair is a straight-back, hard bottom. And I don't have any hair. She's going to take everything off my head. And, you know, she's going to put my hands like this - they'll be out here in stocks. And I'm going to have to bend my head over like that in order to put the stocks across my neck.
And I'm fastened securely. And over my head there is a faucet of water. And you know... there is a faucet of water just above my head. And my head's over. Now that Mother's going to turn that water on. Just a drop. And a drop will just come about this fast. It'll hit me right there on the back of my head. And, you know, I can't move either way. I sit there. One hour. Two hours. Three hours. Four hours. What do you think is going on? I'm sitting there. I can't move. I do everything to get away from that drop of water in the same spot on my head. Why, God love your heart, if you could look in, you'd see that I'm frothing at the mouth. You'd see those little girls, they're trying so hard to move. To get away from that water. And they let her stay there sometimes ten hours. All day long.
Many, many times a little Nun cracks up completely.
She goes stark, raving mad under this particular penance. What in the
world do they do with her? I'll tell you in a few minutes. Don't you
worry. They have a place for her, after we go mad in the Convent.
They take care of us. They have places for the little Nuns. There's
places built down there for us.
Well on it goes. Well, you know, these things went on and went on and went on. And it was terrible. But, you know, I began to plan and plan and plan. After she'd done something like that to me - it's terrible - one day the Mother Superior took violently ill.
You say, "Who would take her place?" There are about three, sometimes they have four, older Nuns. And they always pick the one that's hard. The one that seemingly is carnal - that one that has no conscience - to be a Mother Superior. And she works under this one. One day, if something happens to the main Mother Superior, another one will take her place. And on it goes.
But, you know, this particular day they sent word to me, "The Mother Superior..." I was to come into her room. She's very sick. And, quicker than lightning, I began to think, "If I got in that Mother Superior's room, I know what I'll do." You know, after all, I'm a sinner. I'm a Nun, but I'm a sinner. And I don't know God. And I have a lot of hatred in my heart.
And I walk in that room - they have called in an outside Roman Catholic doctor. She's a very sick woman. And he has left all orders. And they left the medicine and everything. Now, I'm supposed to take care of her. And that was wonderful. I do take care of her. All day long I did what they told me to do - what I'm supposed to do. And those particular tablets - I knew what they were, and what they would do and I knew what she was taking them for.
But anyway, all day long, I gave her her medicine. I done everything I'm supposed to. All evening long. Why? I want to be sure what I'm doing. What I do, I have to be careful.
And, you know, I waited until one o'clock in the morning. Why? Because every night those little Nuns have to be gotten up and go chant from seven minutes till twelve to one. I thought I'll wait til all the Nuns go back to bed then I'm going to do something. And, bless your heart, after they were all back in their beds, I'll tell you what I did. I took five or six of those tablets. I was only supposed to take one in a half a glass of water every so often and give it to her. But, because of the type they were and what type of tablet it was, I knew what it would do.
I put six of them in glass of water and stirred them up. And I gave them to her. I knew she would go into convulsions that would twist her completely out of shape. I knew that woman would suffer a million deaths within twenty-five minutes. I knew that. And I thought, "I'm going to watch her suffer, because she has punished us. She has hurt us so many thousands of times. I'll watch her suffer."
Isn't it terrible to think a child can live in a place like that long enough until she has the same kind of a heart, almost, the Mother Superior has. But that's what comes when sin gets in your life.
And so I waited. You know, I gave them to her. And something happened to me. I got scared. And I looked at that woman as she began to change color. And I couldn't find her pulse. I couldn't find her respiration. I was frightened. And I thought, "Oh, what shall I do?" If they find her dead, only God knows what they'll do to me.
I'll tell you what I did. I got that stomach pump and
pumped as quick as I could. I pumped that woman's stomach. I massaged
that woman. I done everything there was to do. And, oh, thank God she
didn't die. I said, I thank God.
But, you know, I sat down by the bed and held her hand, and watched her carefully until the respiration came back normal - until her pulse was normal and I felt she would live. And I thought of another thing. I'll do this, then. I saw where her keys were hid in her shelf right there in her own room. Saw them on a big chain or a big ring. And I thought, "I'm going to take those keys. I'm going down into that dungeon." There's a... when I say down, this is two storeys under the ground. I'm going someplace where she's always wandered. It's a solid wall like that. And clear up to the back end of that wall there's one door. And it's heavy. It's always locked. And I've heard her tell me scores of times, and I'm sure she has the others, "Don't ever try to go through that door."
What in the world is over there? And why does she tell us that? We can't get through it. It's locked. But, you know, I wondered what was back there. Because when they had me in the dungeon for a long time once, I heard screams under the ground. I heard such blood-curdling screams. And I knew there was some girls locked up somewhere. And so I'm going through there if I find the key.
And so I got her keys and I went into that particular place. And when I got back there - it took a while to do it, I want you to know, to find the key. But, oh, it did unlock that door. I walk through that door and I walk into a hall. The hall, I would say, was maybe five feet wide, maybe wider than that. That's just a guess.
And, anyway, on the other side of the hall there were a number of cells over there. Small rooms. And they had real heavy doors. And in those cells were little Nuns. And when I went up to the first one, near the top of the door there was a little place about this long, its about that wide, and it has iron bars going across there.
And I looked right into the face of a little Nun that
I knew. One that I'd sit across the table from. One that I'd prayed
with in the chapel. I knew that girl. And here she is. And they had
chains and locked chains around either of her wrists. And around her
And no answer.
"How long you been here?"
I went down to the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth. And the stench was getting so bad, I couldn't stand it. And, you know, those little girls would not talk. Why?
NUNS IN THE DUNGEON
And, you know, those little girls would not talk. Why?
I lived in the Convent, you know, a long time. I don't care if I was two miles under the Convent, way back there, we were working back there. And we'd whisper. The next day I'd have to suffer because the convents are wired. And the Mother Superior can hear every voice. Every whisper. And then somebody tells. And you're in some serious trouble.
And those Nuns had been there long enough. What had they done? I don't know. But those Nuns supposed to have cracked up mentally. And so they have to put them in those chains. And when they die, they can't fall down to the floor. They'll just drop in those chains and slump. When they go in there they don't give them any more food. --- that's a slow death.
And so, as I saw all of that, I became so sick from the terrible stench, because many of them are already dead. Now I don't know how long they'd been dead.
I came out of there and walked up back to this room where the Mother Superior was. And she was lying there sleeping. And I watched her carefully and she slept 'til the next day. Oh, long, long hours and didn't awaken. And when she did, she said, "I had a long sleep." And I said, "Yes." They let me take care of her for three days. And, you know, the third day... I don't know.
You say, "Did she ever find out you done that?"
Well, not yet. I hoped she didn't while I was there.
But anyway, in three days they put me out in the kitchen. In other words, when we go to the kitchen, six of us go for a six week period. And this particular time they put me out in the kitchen with five other little Nuns. What am I there for? I'm doing the kitchen work. I'm going to do all the cooking that's done out there, and take care of the work in the kitchen.
And so when I went out in the kitchen, we have a long table back here. And it's a work table. And our vegetables will be prepared for the soup. And that's what we were doing - all six of us.
And something happened.
Our kitchen is a very large room. And a very long room. Not as wide as it is long. And over at one end of it, you'll find over here the stair steps leading - about four - leading down into the landing right there. Over there is a big heavy outside door. But here, there's a landing. Our garbage cans sit there. And right here is a stairway - cement one - leading down one story under the ground. Now, I'm up on first floor in this kitchen.
Alright, as I'm in there, and we're there working, something happened. Somebody touched a garbage can. You know, all my Convent life we are taught never to break silence. We don't dare to make noises in the Convent. We are punished for them. And when something touched the garbage can, that's a noise. Who in the world... six others, and we're all together... who's touching the garbage can?
I reeled around, and they reeled around. And we saw a man.
And, you know, that man was picking up the full can, and leaving an empty one. I'd never seen that before. I've been in that Convent for years in the kitchen, but I never saw anything like that happen.
I believe God had His hands on me. With all my heart I believe it.
And you say, "What happened?"
Well, we turned around quickly because, to us, it's a mortal sin to look upon a man other than a Roman Catholic priest. Now, I mean, we turned around quick and went to our work.
But, you know, I thought, "If that man comes back again to get another full can, I'm going to give him a note and I'm going to ask him if I can run out with him."
But, I didn't do that. But, you know what I did? When we run out of something in the kitchen there's a pencil hanging up there on a chain. And, bless your heart, I have to, or whoever it is runs out, you have to write it on a tab. And of course I stole a piece of paper off of a sack. And I thought, "I'll carry that little piece of paper in my skirt pocket. And every time I can get a'hold of that pencil, I'm going to write a word or two on the note. And that's what I did. It took quite a while to do it.
But, oh, I watched that garbage can. Every time I could take the garbage down there I did. And, you know, when it was just about full, and I thought, "The next evening it'll be full when we put all the garbage in it." And so that afternoon, I broke my Crucifix, and I laid it up on a shelf. And I had a hard time doing it, because they're watching me. But I did it. And I laid it up on the shelf. And I did that to have a way to get back to that room, of course.
And when our dinner work is over, our supper dishes, everybody has to go out at the same time. And we march by the Mother Superior. And, you know, when I march by I stopped and said, "Please, may I speak to you?"
And I did. And I said, "Mother Superior, I broke my crucifix and I left it in the kitchen. May I go for it?"
And, of course, no Nun goes without her crucifix. And she said, "How did you break it?"
I lied to her. Everything she asked me, I lied to her. You say, "Why did you lie?" She lies to us. And we're all sinners, so we all lie. And it doesn't make any difference in there.
And so we lied. And I lied, too. Finally she said, "You go get the crucifix and come right back."
And that's all I wanted anyway. I have to have a reason. You can't go back into the kitchen after you left it.
And so I didn't go for the crucifix. But she thought I did, and run for this tin can. Why? That night when I put my garbage in there, I put a note right on top of that garbage and left the lid off, which I was not supposed to do.
And, you know, I said on the note to the garbage man, "If you get this, won't you please help me out? Won't you do something to help the little Nuns out?"
I told him about those nineteen cells down there, and those nineteen Nuns in them. I told him about some of the babies that had been killed. I told him some other little Nuns that are locked up in the dungeons and they're bound with chains. I told him a 'plenty. And I said, "Won't you help us? And if you will, please leave a note under the empty can."
That's what I went back for. And when I lifted up the can and found a note, you don't know how I felt. I froze to the floor. I was so scared I didn't know what to do.
I picked that piece of paper up and I read. And this
is what that man said: "I'm leaving that door unlocked, and I'll
leave the big iron gate unlocked. You come out."
Oh, let me tell you, that's almost more than you'd ever... Why, I never dreamed I'd get out of the Convent. I never thought of ever getting out. I wanted out. But you say.. Oh, yes, I, when I collect myself, I reached over and turned the knob. And, do you know, it was open? I walked out of that Convent, and I slammed it to. I was sure the lock was on it. And I got out to the big iron gate. But, oh, he had me trapped.
That iron gate was just as locked as it was ever locked. You don't know what it done to me to stand there looking at the iron gate. And locked out of the Convent! I have no right out there! You can't imagine!
I don't know if I groaned right there. I don't know. I know I suffered enough, because I'm scared half to death. And what do I do if I go back and pound on that door? What will they do with me?
And, oh, the fear that grips your heart. And you say, "What did you do?"
I didn't have any shoes and stockings on. I'd worn those out years ago.
When I think of the Roman Catholic being the richest church in the world, and they let those little Nuns go winter and summer without any shoes and they're without any hose - living in crucial poverty - I wonder how they can do it. Hungry as we are. Your priests are all nice and fat. But little Nuns are so hungry. I wonder how they do it sometimes.
You say, "What did you do, Charlotte?" Well, I'll tell you I just took a hold of that big old iron gate and I tried to climb it. That's all there was for me to do. And up, about a foot and a half from the top, is a ledge about six inches wide. I thought if I could get high enough to get my knee on the ledge, I'm safe. And I did. I got one knee on the ledge, but by this time I don't have any strength left either. And, you know, I thought, "What'll I do? I'll put one foot over. Then I'll get the other over." Then I realized, you know, I had three skirts on. My skirts are gathered on a belt and they're clear down to my ankles. My veil, of course, is down to my knees in front and that long in the back. How will I ever get over those sharp points?
And I thought, "I can't go down. I don't have strength enough." So, I'll have to jump. And if I jump, I'll break every bone because I was broken in body, of course. And you know I thought of what I'll do. Well, I pulled all my clothing up around my body. And held them with one hand. And then I thought, "Ill have to jump."
And, you know, they have a buzzer in the convent. And when a little Nun tried to escape, and they catch her, they put a buzzer on. And, oh, the priests tell you they don't come to the convent. I would you could see the priests then. You'll find a good many of them there. And they are immediately are after that Nun. They don't want her out. If she comes out of that convent, she's going to give a testimony someday. And it'll pull the cloak off of convents. And I'll assure you they don't intend for us to get out.
And so as I let loose of the top of that gate and I made that jump, I just didn't make it. My clothing caught on top of those points and I hung there. But I'd let loose. And I often say, you know, I don't know what I looked like. I didn't know I had grey hairs. But I've often said, "Maybe my hair turned grey there." Maybe you'll never know what I'd suffered hanging there on top of that gate, knowing that buzzer can go on any minute. And then what would they do to me?
I was scared. So I thought I'd try to wiggle my body and swing it. If I could get back far enough to grab that gate with one hand, maybe I can help myself. And I did. And then with the other hand I tried to pry the snappers loose on my skirt. And they'd let me fall between them.
Do you know what happened to me? I hit the ground. I
was out. I was unconscious for a while. I don't know how long. We
have no way to tell. But when I came to, I had a shoulder broken, and
my arm was broken right in here. The flesh - the bone had snapped
right through my flesh because I didn't have
I'm not in the United States. I'm in another country. And I don't know a thing about that country. When they took me over there, I was so heavily veiled. And they took me from that particular cart or train to the convent. I was so heavily veiled I couldn't see anything. And I don't know where I am. I don't know where to go. I didn't know if I had any people. I didn't know if I had anybody in the world. And I'm a pauper. I don't have any money. And I'm hungry. And my body's broken. And I'm hurt now.
Where do you think you'd go? I tell you it's something to think about. I just started away to get away from the convent. And I did. And I started moving away. And all the leaves were falling, and they made so much noise. And I was scared. And I kept on moving. And finally dark overtook me - or rather - there's no twilight in that part of the country - it just drops off into darkness.
And, you know, I saw this little building beside the road. I thought I'd crawl in it. It was a doghouse or maybe a chicken-coop or something. But it's dirty. And I crawled in there because I was shaking and scared. And I laid in there for a little while to get a hold of myself. And then I thought, "I'll have to travel. It's dark. And it's safer for me."
So I got out and traveled that night. And the next day I hid behind pieces of board and tin that was piled up against an old building. And all day long, imagine, hiding in that hot place. And hungry as I was with broken bones. Do you realize what it's all about? No. You'll never know. But I do.
And then, you know, when night came again I have to
go, because I'm going to get away from the convent. I'm afraid to rap
on somebody's door. Remember, I'm scared. I don't know, I might rap
on a Roman Catholic's door. They will immediately notify the priest
and I'll be taken back to the Convent. And I'd rather they killed me
than take me back. And so I didn't.
But I went on and on and on. And then the next night, or next day I hid out in an old straw stack. And then that afternoon on the third day, I was scared then, because this arm was swollen as tight as it could swell, and I was having to carry it in the other hand. And all my fingers began to turn blue. And I realized gangrene poisoning set in. And, you know, nobody to do anything for you. And I realized I'm going to die just like a rat beside the road. That's a terrible feeling. And I thought, "What'll I do? I'll just get out and go a little sooner. Maybe I'll have to rap on somebody's door."
That's what I did. I remember as I walked out, I don't know how far, I saw this lamp. It was an old-fashioned lamp burning. Very poor house. No paint on it. Now, I knew those were poor people. So I walked up to the screen door and I rapped on it. And a tall man came to the door. He was rather old. And I said, "Please may I have a drink of water?"
And do you know that old man didn't answer me. But he walked back into the house and he called his wife. And, God bless her heart, she's like most old-fashioned mothers. She came to the door, and she didn't say, "Who are you?" Or, "What do you want?" Thank God, there are a lot of good people in this world.
That dear little woman just pushed that door open and said, "Won't you come in and sit down?" Do you know that's the most beautiful music I'd ever heard in my life? I should say I'll come in and sit down!
And she pulled out a chair. And I sat down on it. I was glad to sit down. And, you know, their house was poor. There was no rugs on the floor of any type. A table cloth. Red-checkered table cloth on the table. A little old stove over there in the corner and there was a fire in it. And that woman put some milk in a pan and heated it and brought it over to me.
And, you know, I'm hungry. I don't have any manners. I forgot how to act. I forgot a lot of things in twenty-two years.
And I grabbed that glass of milk before she ever set it down. And I gobbled it down. I'm so hungry. I felt like I'm going stark mad. And I took it instantly. And the moment it touched my stomach, of course, I couldn't retain it. I lost it. I haven't had any whole milk in twenty-two years. You can understand why I couldn't take it.
And she knew what to do. She went out into the kitchen and she heated some water - or rather over to the stove - and heated some water. And, bless her heart, she put sugar in that water and brought it over to me. And she sat down and gave it to me from a spoon.
I took every bit of it. Oh, it was good. It was nourishing. And then the daddy walked over by me and he said, "Now tell us who you are and where you come from."
I began to cry. I was scared then. I said, "I run away from the convent and I'm not going back."
And he said, "What happened to you?" My hand was laying up on the table.
And I said, "Well, I tried to get over the gate and I fell and I'm hurt."
And, you know, he said, "We'll have to call a doctor."
And, bless your sweet life, then I really became hysterical. I got up from the table. I was going to run back outside and they wouldn't let me.
He said, "Wait a minute. We're not going to hurt you. You're hurt. You'll have to have help.
I said, "I don't have any money and I don't have any people. And I can't pay a doctor bill."
Of course, I was just in a terrible mess, if you want
to know it. And that man said to me, "I'm going after a doctor."
He said, "And he's not a Roman Catholic. Neither am I."
And that dear man didn't have a car, but he hitched up a horse and buggy. And he drove nine miles to get a doctor. The doctor came out in his car. And when he got out to the place - he got there ahead of the man. And when the doctor walked in and walked around me. He just kept walking around and he was swearing. Maybe he didn't realize it was a terrible effect on me.
When he stopped and looked at me... of course he was mad. He was mad. Why was he mad? He was mad because he was looking at something that was supposed to be a human being. And I didn't even look up to him, being I was in such a horrible condition.
So finally he calmed down and he came over to me and said, "I'll have to take you over to the Hospital tonight."
Oh, I became hysterical. I said, "I don't want to go. Please don't make me go."
And then he sat down carefully and took my hand. And he began to say, "I'm not going to hurt you. You have to have help. And I want to help you."
That doctor took me into the hospital that night and that's how I learned how much I weighed. He weighed me and I weighed exactly eighty-nine pounds. I weigh a hundred and seventy-eight right now.
And then, you know, he took me into surgery. And, of course, they tried to get the swelling and the inflammation out of my hand that they might do something for me. It took about twelve - thirteen - days.
And then, of course, by this time is started to knit, and they had to break it over again and put it in a cast. I did a lot of suffering.
Well, you know, one day, a way was made for me to be released from the hospital. Who did they release me to? I begged to go out with those old people to stay with them. And they let me go, because they'd been good to me and I trusted them.
And the doctor wanted to take me out to his home. I was in that hospital three and a half months. And they took me out there for a period of time. And then one day this same doctor, he wrote a letter and you know what he sent in that letter? He sent a check. He told the people to go and buy me a suitcase and get me some clothing. He was coming for me on a certain day. He had told me, "I'm going to find your people" for me.
You know, that doctor's a stranger to me. But, oh, I
thank God that He has men and women across this world. And those men
and women are not so selfish that they won't use some of the money
that God has allowed them to have to help that one that's less
fortunate than they. He spent a lot of money on me. I was in that
hospital three and a half months. And, I mean, there was a lot of
money spent on me, but he paid the bills. I appreciate it.
And, you know, that dear doctor, oh, he took me and bought my clothing for me and bought my suitcase. And everything was ready. And the day came when he come. And, you know, that doctor took me to the train. And he put me on a train in care of somebody, of course. He found my people for me. I was on buses and trains and boats for a long time. And one day, after he had gotten my visa to get back into the United States... And I was always in charge of somebody because they wouldn't trust me to travel alone, because of having lived under the ground so long.
And one day they called the name of a town where I was, and where my mother and daddy lived. And, you know, I knew where mother and daddy lived. And I got off of that train and run down to that home five blocks from that depot. Just a very small town. And when I rang the bell my daddy come to the door and, you know, I looked at his face. I didn't know him. And because I didn't know him, I said, "Do you know where my father lives?"
And he said, "Who are you and what's your name?"
And I said my name. And I didn't give him my church name. I gave him my family name. And that man looked at me, and of course it was his name, and he said, "Hookie is this you?" ["Hookie" was her fathers pet name for Charlotte, pronounced "Hoowkee".]
My father didn't know me, of course, it was my dad.
That dear old man opened that door and invited me in. And I said,
"Dad, is mother alive?" Because I didn't know about her. He
took me back in to see her. And there she was. Seven and a half years
she laid there an invalid. A horrible, horrible invalid. And, of
course, she didn't know me and I didn't know her.
Well, you know, that very night I took violently sick and they put me back in another hospital for another three months. But my father paid all of those bills. He reimbursed the doctor and paid the doctor in the other country and paid the old people. He reimbursed them all.
Oh, that was wonderful! And then, you know, one day, after my body was strong enough to since I'm here in the United States--oh, it took a long time--several years. I'm a nurse and I took the examination to nurse. And you know what God did? He let a woman come into that particular hospital. It was a Roman Catholic hospital. This woman was a Church of God minister. She came in and I thought how strange.
Just across the Mississippi River is two magnificent Protestant Hospitals and she lived in one of those cities. Right there. Two cities joined together. And why in the world would she come over into this Roman Catholic hospital? Why, I believe God has His hand on it all the time.
You know, that woman who came in... and the doctor
said, "I want you to take her case and I went into that room to
prepare that woman for the operating table. And I heard her praying.
And I want you to now I became that woman's private nurse. Her
After she left the hospital, she went home and I became her special nurse in the home. And that woman asked me if I would go to Church with her.
And, you know, I lived in her home long enough to hear her pray. I lived in that home long enough to read the Bible to her, because I am her nurse and I did what she told me to.
I'd never read a Bible before in all of my life. And she'd have to find the Scriptures and then I'd read them to her. And, you know, as I read the Word of God, God began to get a'hold of me. And finally she said, "Won't you go to Church with me." And, you know, I went to Church with that woman. And I sat back there and I heard the Gospel for the first time in my life.
And, you know, I'll tell you I went three or four nights. And it was really beautiful. I've never heard anything like this. And all the time she was telling me about the plan of salvation. Telling me about God. And that I needed God and I needed to be saved. And of course I was believing her.
INTO THE BIBLE
And of course I was believing her.
Do you know what I'd do every night? I'd go home from church with that woman. I'd say, "You go to bed, but let me go to the basement." I'd lay my Bible down on a chair, and there I challenged God. And I'd say, "God, did you hear what the preacher said? Did you hear it, God?" And then I'd throw out everything I could remember that the preacher said.
I said, "God, you heard every word, didn't you, now, if you're God? And the Bible is the Word of God. And God you're real. I want what those people have. But if you're not God, and the Word of God is not your Word, then, God, please don't give to me what those people have."
Let me tell you, I challenged God. I put Him to a test. God will not give you anything that's not of God. Don't you worry.
And every night I continued to do that - four or five
nights - and I didn't eat either. I couldn't sleep. And I've lost my
appetite. And I was losing a lot of weight. It was terrific.
But, you know, one night, I come back to church. And out of the clear blue sky, right in the middle of that man's service, I just got out of my seat. And with both hands up in the air I come running right straight down an aisle like this and I fell in that altar and I cried out, "My God, forgive me for all my sins." I was a sinner.
I mean, God met me there! Praise His wonderful name! There was a pool of water on that floor. I was sorry for everything that I did in the convent. I stole potato peelings. I stole bread. I told lies. I called the Mother Superior names under my breath. And I want you to know that God met me down there and He forgave me of every sin there was in my life. And how I thank and praise Him for it. Praise His wonderful name.
God's been very good to me. Very good to me.
Three nights previous to that [transcriber: she obviously meant three nights AFTER that], I went back to Church, God filled me with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. May I say to you, God means more to me than all the material wealth you have in this city. I'd rather have Jesus than anything you might have, because I've found Him to be the best friend that I've ever known. I can tell Him anything I want to tell Him, and he won't call you up and tell you what I told Him. I can sit at His feet and tell Him, every day of my life, "Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you." And every secret of my heart I can pour out to Him, and I don't worry about Him calling you up and telling you what I told Him.
He's the best friend you'll ever have. He's able to save you. He's able to deliver you. He's able to loose you from the things of this world. Set you free to know Him. Praise His name.
I have a wonderful God. I love Him--supremely. I'd rather have Jesus than anything that you might have. God is real in my life. Really wonderful. My God delivered me out of the convent.
Pray for me. I need much prayer. I'll be going places where it's predominantly Roman Catholic. I'll have to suffer much, but I'm willing to suffer for Jesus that I might tell someone about Him. And give my testimony of a dear little Nun that girls might be spared from convents. So, pray for me, won't you.
God bless you.
Here are some LINKS to websites that have other personal testimonies of how Catholic's found a personal relation ship with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and could no longer hold the the teachings of the Catholic Church, because their eyes have now been opened to the truth and they clearly see all the contradictions that the teachings of the Catholic church have with the word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible.
Following this list of links that have personal testimonies of why Catholic left Catholicism is a list of links to other websites that have clear plain simple teachings exposing the errors in the teachings of the Catholic church.
MORE PERSONAL TESTIMONIES of FORMER CATHOLICS
TEACHINGS ON THE ERRORS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The following is a short video that clearly and plainly will bear witness to every Catholic the teachings that they have been taught in the Catholic church and then shows in simplicity how these teachings in the Catholic church do not agree with what the word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible, teaches. Please open your Catholic Bible or any other translation of the Bible and follow along with this video and the teachings that follow as well asking Almighty God the Father and his Son Jesus to show you the TRUTH.
The following is a great website where the simple gospel of Jesus Christ is explained in clear, plain and simple words straight from the Holy Bible the very word of Almighty God our creator himself.
Here is great video series containing 6 videos about 10 minutes each. A must watch for every Catholic seeking the TRUTH.
The following link is to a book written by a former Roman Catholic nun that is a must read for all Catholics.
The following website has a collect of several video testimonies of former Catholics.
This following link shows the involvement of the Pope and the Roman Catholic church with Hitler and now with Islam. The Bible WARNS us in Daniel that the antichrist system will try and deceive the people of God with FLATTERIES. This word carries the meaning of persuading family members that it is better to compromise your faith than to die or starve or be persecuted. This is a must read lest any Christian whether they are Catholic or not be DECEIVED into taking the MARK of the beast and cast into the lake of fire on judgment day!