Dear Brother Jim:
After you left our home Wednesday evening, July 9, 1958, we talked things over and decided we couldn’t conscientiously agree with the conditions you laid down for continued fellowship with the Christian Convention group. Before you came that evening we had all three purposed not to argue with you on any line but to let you have your say and talk it over ourselves later and decide afterward what was best to do.
Now we have had sufficient time to seriously and prayerfully consider the matter and we believe God has revealed to us what He expects and we are afraid to do otherwise than follow as He directs, lest He should remove our candlestick (Rev 2:5) and cease to strive with us forever.
For at least a dozen years we believe God has been preparing us for this final step. We have gradually become aware of a departure from the teachings of the scripture on the part of those who have been in authority among us. It has been apparent that there has been a gradual drifting away from the pattern and what was taught us in the early years. We have gradually come to realize as a result of experiences we have passed through that there are man-made rules which cannot be justified in the Bible and are set down by those in authority as the only way to obtain eternal salvation. We have also been grieved to notice that a greater stress is placed by the workers on the attendance at the gospel meetings than on attending the Sunday morning fellowship meeting.
We have also become greatly concerned as to how to explain to others why the platform speakers have stressed the fact that buildings are wrong and yet it has been known that some have taken 2 or 3 months off from preaching the gospel in the summer in order to repair existing buildings or build new ones on the convention grounds, which are put there for the sole purpose of worship. The fact that these buildings are referred to as “machine sheds” is misleading and outright deception. We have found it impossible to justify by Scripture either the buildings or the time taken to build them by those who have given their lives to preach the gospel and save souls.
We have found it almost impossible to take “outsiders” to the gospel meetings during the past number of years because we felt that we could not honestly tell them that these men really are homeless (as they preach from the platform) when they continue to stay in the same places year after year and refuse to accept invitations to other homes.
We don’t begin to say what you and others are responsible for, and this letter is only for the purpose of telling you what God has been revealing to us. We are all individuals before God and as much as we will be judged by the Lamb who Himself was “without spot and blemish” (I Peter 1:19 and Rev. 22:11 and 12). And as individuals, we have come to realize that if God’s spirit is going to continue to lead us we must be in bondage to no man and to no rules of doctrine. Romans 8:15 (Moffatt) says it makes you lapse into fear, and we believe that is just where we have been, and we do not want to continue in that condition.
Therefore, we are not prepared to stand alone in this matter of serving God. Joshua 24:15, Romans 8:31 to the end of chapter, and II Cor. 6:17 all explain much better than we can our position in this respect. Consequently, we are hereby notifying you that as of this date we are severing all connections with the Christian Convention sect and we are asking that you immediately make arrangements to remove the meeting from our home.
This does not mean that we are forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. We intend to continue to meet according to the pattern that is given us in the Bible and we are looking only to God for guidance in this. “To walk by faith means to live for things eternal; consider Him who trod the path alone.” Anyone who comes to our home in the name of Jesus and is willing to give Him the glory and the preeminence will be given the right hand of fellowship by us.
We have been accused of joining ourselves with some so-called “outcasts” on the West Coast. We have not joined ourselves with any other group nor do we ever intend to again become affiliated with any other form of organized religion.
In regard to the impending visit of August Gustafson, our home is open for any discussion that is mutually agreed upon between both parties concerned.
/s/ Frank & Edith Erickson and Margaret E. Erickson
St. Paul, Minnesota
July 13, 1958
August 7, 1958
My dear Ethel:
I must get a few lines off to you as promised. I received your letter and card. Your letter indicates that you would like to visit us and go on to Adda’s but evidently by the card which was written later you have been advised against coming this way. We would be very glad to have you for a few days if you still cared to come.
You no doubt heard of our separation from the organization of Christian Conventions. We feel we have been led by God in taking this step; there is much that has led up to this; for many years we have seen that there has been a falling away from the pattern but always hoped for the best, feeling it was probably the best God had. There are many good people amongst them but when God shows us organizations are wrong and to take a name is wrong and to refuse to have fellowship or take communion with certain ones because they don’t do exactly as the workers say is wrong.
Well, one thing after another happened and we decided the only way for us to be right with God was to step out.
We only want to shape our lives according to His life or follow in His steps (I Peter 2:21). Also we know God wants to lead us on from strength to strength Ps 84:7. We should not stand still or drift from the pattern.
One thing that has hurt me is that I at one time told J.J.* I was taking care of your bonds for you in response to his questioning as to how you were situated and he has told around that we are using your money. Once he told it before (our son) John and others who have met with us, but John told them all it was not so, and as John says, I have kept a box in the bank for your bonds since I was thru with Mrs. Swanson’s affairs, so I’ve not made anything on that, only the stamps you have been so liberal with.
Now, dear Ethel, I am still glad to do what I can for you. I have not gone to the bank recently but when I do will enquire, but you could cash them there if you are able to do so. I’ll be glad to do what you want me to do in this matter.
Why don’t you come by for a few days and we can talk things over?
Much love, as ever
/s/ Edith (Erickson)
I’ll enclose our letter to J.J. (James Jardine)
November 5, 1958
Mr. James Jardine
2225 East 37th Street
A few months ago we had occasion to be up north and stopped at Pillager to see the graves of Frank and Ellen Swanson. We were very sorry to find that the engraving on the tombstone had not been completed since Mrs. Swanson’s passing, especially since she took great satisfaction in this tombstone, and it was one of the first things she attended to after Frank’s death.
It would appear that since it is now more than four years since she died there would have been ample time to take care of this small matter, and since you are the one who controls her entire estate we are writing to you.
Perhaps this is an oversight on your part, and we hope this is the case. However, since false rumors have been circulated about the arrangements made at the time Mrs. Swanson left our home in January 1953, we feel it is necessary to notify various persons by copy of this letter just who is responsible for this matter.
We hope, for the sake of the feelings of the relatives in Pillager and the many friends throughout the state who visit these graves occasionally, that you will see fit to finish the engraving which is only the small matter of adding the year of Mrs. Swanson’s death.
/s/ Frank and Edith Erickson and Margaret E. Erickson
cc: Oscar Swanson, Harry Swanson, Mrs. Anna Hefsted, Mrs. Esther Bacon, Gust Parsons, Wayne Curtis, Adda Curtis, Frank Krueth, Martin Erickson, Belle Curtis, Ethel Erickson