Twas the Night Before Christmas

(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

`Twas the night before Convention, and on that hallowed ground,
All saints were awaiting the morrow’s messages profound.
Preps were now over, the tasks done and re-done,
So much free sweat and labor the grounds’ owner won’t shun.

The speakers’ lists were hung by the kitchen with care,
In hopes that St. Eldon soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their dorm,
While visions of beef stew in their dreams did form.

Now Mae with her bun (hair grows from the heart, I’m told)
And Chappie with Pan Am tickets in his hands so bold,
Had just set aside all rational mind and mood
To enjoy a four-day feast of legalistic food.

When out on the grounds there arose such a clatter,
Chappie sprang from his bench to see what was the matter.
Away from the platform he flew like a flash,
Tore open the curtains and threw up the sash.

The moon on the crest of the freshly raked gravel
Gave a shock to his senses and caused them to unravel;
When what to his wondering eyes should show
William Irvine of Faith Mission fame and eight bikes in a row;

With a visage so fierce, prophetic and grim,
Chappie knew in a moment that it must be HIM!
Now more rapid than eagles his pilgrims they came,
As he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

Now, Tom! Now, George! Now, William and Eddie
On, Sam, On, Warren! Now, Jack and Mr. Beattie!
We’ll take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, too.
If you don’t berate the Methodists, we’ll excommunicate you!

No plate we’ll pass, but money we’ll gladly accept,
As long as the donor is one of the Elect.
Hair up for the women and black stockings, too.
Appearance is all-important: don’t let the scriptures fool you.

Our doctrine will be one of RULES & REGULATIONS.
Don’t preach JUST THE BLOOD OF JESUS for man’s salvation!
Legalism, Deism, Gnosticism and Piety,
If that’s not enough, we’ll include Arianism for variety.

Vague answers and half-truths we’ll feed the congregation,
Take scripture out of context and spin great allegorizations.
We’ll ignore scripture citing Jesus as the only mediator,
And place the workers between man and Creator.

Now to Scotland and Ireland and England and Gaul,
Pedal away, pedal away, pedal away all!”
So out to the world Irvine’s chosen they flew,
With their selected proof texts in the year 1902,

As Chappie stood spellbound and watched them depart,
William Irvine leaned closer and this wisdom did impart:
“Many years will pass and your origins you’ll dismiss,
Through countless Meetings and Conventions the myth will persist:

`WE are from the BEGINNING and NO MAN has had a hand,
In our genesis so pure ONLY WE ARE GOD’S ELECT BAND’.”
But this is how it started, despite from the workers you’ll hear,
Talk of `succession’ and `underground’ to the saints so dear;

It’s a pity their pride the workers cannot defeat,
And honestly admit to the trusting people there has been deceit,
Some preach `bangs’ and `sports’ as tools of Lucifer,
But don’t question the workers or their frowns you’ll incur;

If you want facts and not fiction and seek documentation,
The advice from the workers is `Drop your investigation!’
So on questions concerning your origins some guidance you seek,
Don’t bother the workers, as your faith–it is weak!

Now Mormons claim Smith and the SDA’s have Miller,
JW’s claim Russell and Christian Science have Baker;
But this cult claims NO ONE save Jesus Christ divine,
Although documented facts and research point to William Irvine.

Now if your foundation be based on less than full disclosure,
Then the building itself is NOT suited for God’s vesture.
And as William Irvine slipped out the window into the night,
Chappie saw a clear message in Heaven’s pure light:

“My friend, this one simple fact remember from your youth,
That Jesus never told a lie to illustrate the Truth.”
So with these words Chappie was left to ponder his fate,
May none of us depend upon a cult to get us through the gate!

By: Jim Vail
Boise, Idaho


St. Eldon = Eldon Tenniswood, deceased Overseer of California, et al
Chappie = David Jennings, brother worker in Western USA
Mae = Mae Greenaway, Older sister worker in Idaho
Tom = possibly brother worker Tom Betty, Tom Turner or Tom Elliott
George – George Walker, first Overseer of Eastern USA
William = Willie Gill, Overseer of England (Scotland Bicycle Mission Trip)
Eddie = Eddie Cooney, co-founder
Sam = Sam Jones
Warren = Warren Hastings? (Scotland Bicycle Mission Trip)
Jack = Jack Carroll, Overseer of Western USA
Mr. Beattie = Possibly George Beattie who entered the work in 1902