Friday, March 4, 2016


It was Saturday night in the late spring of 1958 and the world was coming to an end soon.  Very soon.

Our church was crowded with regulars as well as with interested visitors who, encouraged by extensive marketing in local media, had come to hear the final in a two-week-long series of sermons given by one of Seventh-day Adventist's most charismatic evangelists, Pastor Wilson.  I would have preferred staying home to watch Gunsmoke or Perry Mason, but as a 13 year old I didn’t have any choice but to accompany my parents and my older sisters to the service.


I got baptized on a Friday night in the late spring of my 12th year.  During the vespers service a half dozen of my fifth grade classmates and I were shepherded to a warren-like area behind the church’s baptistry, where we were each handed a white cotton robe and assigned to separate cubicles to undress and put on our robe.  Then, following a series of prayers, one by one we waded into the warm, waist-deep water of the baptistry pool, where an associate pastor, also decked out in a robe, was standing waiting for us.