Mulford, Berry


“The Heavens declare the Glory of God and the firmament shows His Handiwork”.

I remember my Mom quoting these words from Psalm 19 as if it were yesterday.  It was the early 60’s and my Mom and I were sitting on our front porch.  It was a beautiful day!  When I heard those words, something woke in me, and it was the first time I felt conscious that there was a God.  A Creator of all creation and what I was observing was created by Him.  Then I realized that He was my Creator and that He saw me.  I may have been a 6 or 7 year old boy, but I feel it was the beginning of my spiritual journey.  

My Mom and Dad were faithful churchgoers.  It was ingrained in my older siblings and I that we went to church on Sunday and participated in Sunday School and other church activities.  As I grew older this did not change. I was content with this. At this time, we knew nothing of Workers or meetings.  We went to whatever seemed good to my parents.  At times we were Methodists and sometimes Presbyterians.  

In time my Mom became discontented with a lot of the doctrine taught and actively sought something else.  She met some of the friends and later workers.  She went to a convention and professed. All my family started going to meetings and soon we all professed.  At 12, I was conscious of the fear of not going to Heaven and after professing I felt content.  I received a lot of love from the workers and friends.  There were kids of my own age and I had good friendships.  I loved God and Jesus and believed that we had found the Way to Heaven.

My parents’ marriage, though, was in turmoil and we had no harmony in our home because of it. I would cry into my pillow at night wanting them to cease fighting.  I became very introverted.  Unless I was with my friends, I was glad to just be by myself.  My sister married at 18 and my brother left home and went to college.  I felt very alone.  I tried to read and pray as best as I could and continued to go to meeting.  I believed this was the Way to Heaven.

I met Jessie at a New Mexico convention.  We were 15.  In time we wrote, grew older, would meet up once a year at NM convention.  No other girl could compare to her.  I had been encouraged to pray about the Work.  Didn’t feel anything.  We were also encouraged to pray about a wife.  I remember doing that a lot.  I came to realize that Jessie was the perfect one chosen for me from our Father and I still believe that.

We had two wonderful children.  A son, John and a daughter, Teresa.  We did our best to encourage in them a love for God and Jesus.  We continued to go to meeting.  We were all in!  I believed this was the Way to Heaven and anything else was not.  I’m ashamed at how self-righteous I was.

John went in the Work and Teresa married a nice professing man, Kory and later had a boy and girl.  We were happy.  John was not able to stay in the work. It took a terrible toll on him.  He settled in Oklahoma.  He always wanted Jessie and I to come live near him.  In July of 2017 we sold our home in Del Rio, Texas and moved into a home that John owned next door to him.  We continued to go to meetings.  Covid came and we often would just be home.  We found joy in just reading our Bibles together and talking about what it meant to us.  In time we went back to regular meetings.  I still felt strongly the importance of going to meeting because I believed this was the Way to Heaven.  

2023 came.  Dean B. revelations.  Allegations.  People leaving meetings.  Workers and friends – criminal wrongdoings exposed. I felt unsettled yet committed to all I’ve loved and loved till now.  John and Joel stopped going to meeting.  They got married and true colors from friends and workers showed.  Where was the love and spirit of the Shepherd?  My sister was sexually molested by an elder. Others close to us molested, assaulted, raped and abused by those “highly esteemed” yet were just wolves.  I was hanging by a thread because wasn’t this the Way that leads to Heaven????  I was afraid of being confused.

September 2023 came.  We quit going to Wed. night study meeting.  We had no peace and weren’t fed. I read Psalm 71 one day and verse 1 stood out, “In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: Let me never be put to confusion.” Just what I needed!  All the verses in the chapter were perfect!  Verse 18, “Now also when I am old and grey-headed, O God, forsake me not.”  In all my anxiety God was seeing me, knowing me and loving me!!! The same God I became conscious of when I was a little boy still knew me and loved me!  

I read about Elijah feeling so alone and ready to die yet God drew near and let him know of others like him and even gave him something to do. I listened to just one sister on the phone from convention. (I’m glad I did.)  She said, “God knows where we are. Trust Him and He will help us take the next step.” Later a few words of a hymn came, “Hesitate no more.”  If going to meetings was the Way to Heaven and anything else is wrong, then what is going on here???????  (We stopped going to meetings after this).  I realized that following JESUS is the Way to Heaven.  He just asked me to trust Him and follow Him!!!! Oh so simple!!!!  It felt so scary, yet I felt so free and liberated. Jessie had already come to this and so thankful for a marriage that we could be united even in this!!

I am not unhappy for the years of going to meetings, conventions, visits, etc. There was so much that helped me spiritually and helped me to know our Father and Creator and Jesus the Lamb of God.  But it has been good to not put God in a little box.  I want to cling with all my heart to things that I KNOW are true.  This is a Way of LOVE! I realize there have been doctrines of men taught as commandments.  These can be let go.  I feel so grateful for God’s love and compassion, and I can see how Jesus lived and showed that.  I feel so grateful and thankful!!

Berry Mulford
June 2024