I was not born in the 2×2/truth. I was adopted into it. My early childhood was sad. I was born to a single woman, I think. By the time I was old enough to remember things, all I can picture in my mind was struggle. Struggle to have a roof over our heads and struggle to have food to eat. Many times we moved when the rent was due. I guess I was about 3 or 4 when the neighbors reported that I had been eating out of their trash cans. My Mom…I guess…did her best. She was not around much during the day, so I was left alone. After that, I had a caseworker from the County. My Mom was afraid of her and told me not to tell her anything. So I learned to lie early in life.
My Mom never spoke about God. But I learned about Him somehow. I remembered praying to Him when I had to bury my dog in the backyard. I felt that He was real, so I prayed whenever I thought about it from then on.
One day a bunch of people came to our house and started taking things out of the house. My Mom was not home. The last straw was when the pet store owner came and took my other dog. I tugged at him. “Don’t take my dog,” I yelled. He said, “Sorry … your Mom has given me a hot check.” I asked, “What is that?” He replied, “Fake money.” I learned later that my Mom was in jail.
Soon after that, the lady from the County came and took me to the County Home. It was awful there. Children were treated like cattle. There was one man there that was real nice to me…or so I thought. He would take me up to his room for special visits. He sexually abused me. I must have been 5 then. Of course, I did not know it was wrong then. I thought this was the way people showed their love.
Things rocked along. I was bounced around from foster home to foster home. One family kept me for a whole year. They said that they were going to adopt me. But they lied. They sent me back. I had to give up my first bicycle. It was too big to put in the car.
One day my caseworker came and said that she had found me a family. “Sure, right,” I thought. Anyway, she brought me in this room and there they were…an old white-headed man and a woman with a bun on her head. There was a teenage girl too… also with a bun on her head.
They took me home with them. When I got there, the first thing I looked for was the TV. “We do not have one,” the man said. What no TV? How would I live? The TV had raised me. Things were not too bad. I did have my own room and the food was good. My new parents even said they loved me.
I went into 2nd grade. I had failed 1st grade twice so I guess they just put me in there. I was in the dummy class. I probably needed it because I could not read yet. The worst part of that year was when my name changed. Kids sure can be mean. My name was Michael Brian Thomas. The white-headed man told me that my new name would be John Stanton Beaber. Leon Stanton was a worker that had been one of my new Dad’s companions when he was in the work.
I was nine when I professed. It was at a convention. I just started crying and I stood up. Speaking in meeting sure was hard. Most of the time, I would find some verse that I liked and would say a few words about it and would sit down quickly.
By the time I was in 7th grade, I was making straight A’s. That year was a turning point. My Dad retired. My adopted sister left home and we moved to the country. So all the friends that I had were gone. I entered High School, a very shy kid who did not fit in at all. I spent most of my free time after school working to support my car. I had no friends and I did not care. I thought this was the way professing people were supposed to be. I finally graduated from High School and decided to go to college.
In college, I slowly started to come out of my shell and started trying new things. Some things were not very good—like drinking and smoking. I gradually stopped going to meetings. This must have killed my parents. I met my wife to be and we married. I had always thought I would go back to meetings. So now that I was married…this was a good time to return. My wife did go to a few meetings but she didn’t think too much of them. Also, she had a real hard time with my professing parents. They judged her. It is a wonder that we did not divorce, but we stayed together somehow. I was a very angry man. I was going to Hell and that was that.
I learned about the beginning of “the truth” through my cousin, Cherie Kropp. She had sent me a letter telling why she had left meetings, and saying that she had discovered that it was started by a man named Wm Irvine in 1897. I did not believe it–she had to be wrong. My dad had told me about the beginning of the truth and he did not lie; and he knew better than anyone else because he had been a worker for 22 years. Right? Besides that, God had sent me to “the truth.” I called Cherie one day and she offered to send me a book. I read the book, The Secret Sect by Doug Parker. I took the book to a minister I had met, and he started to un-brainwash me. I went to a church for the first time in many years, and I started to receive healing.
The only problem was my Dad– he just would not stop asking me to go to meeting. He seemed to think it was all my wife’s (Patti’s) fault. I think if he could have gotten me to leave her, it would have been fine with him. Patti and I did separate for a short time, but we got back together. Things got better after that. Patti and I finally graduated from college with our Masters’s degrees. We were both teachers and we had two children.
My father and mother got old and moved in with my sister. Mom died soon after that. Dad and I grew farther and farther apart. He just could not love me for what I was–a non-professing person. Things between me and my sister were not good either. When Dad died, the funeral was awful. My sister chose to not sit with us in the family room. It was fine with me. I did not care for her much either. We have spent three years trying to settle the estate problems. I doubted that we would ever speak again because of it. Anyway, I forgive her. God has healed my heart and he has healed my sister’s heart also.
Actually, I have a lot of things to thank God for. I know He loves me and I love Him. I trust God. I have learned to let go of some things and hold onto some others. There are things we are holding that God can use if we give them to Him. There are also things we are holding onto that God wants us to let go of. These are things that are keeping us from following after God, things that are keeping us from hearing Him, trusting Him, and knowing His will for our life.
Are we holding on to something that is affecting our relationship with God? Something that is keeping us from the blessings God has for our life? Is it a relationship, a hurt, a fear, a grudge? God is saying “Let it Go.” Let go of the past so the past will let go of you. Then and only then will you be able to live and enjoy the fullness of what God has for your life. So trust God. He will lift you up!
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
By John S. Beaber
John’s website: DIARY OF A WORKER PRISONER OF WAR: HERMAN BEABER of Hydesville, California. Also Willie Jamieson from Chirnside, Scotland; Ernest Stanley from Lower Farm, Ab Lench, near Evesham, England; Leo Stancliff of Bakersfield, California; Cecil Barrett of New Zealand.