Tuesday, 19 February 2019

The Alma Story

This is one of those historical essays that I'll write and tell a particular story that you probably haven't ever heard of.

So....in 1862....out in Kinniconick, Kentucky....Mollie Alma Bridwell was born. Considered a fairly clever teenager....around the age of 16 to 17...she got converted into the Wesleyan Methodist Church during a revival. 

For most who've never been to a revival....there tends to be a lot of intense talk.....heated chatter....and continual prayers for lost souls (a lot of them).  Alma's take probably went to the extreme level. 

Her family was doing well, and two years later....she went off to the ladies college in Millersburg. Upon graduation, an aunt who lived way out in the Montana Territory (very unchristian surroundings) tried to convince the six other sisters of Alma....to come out give life a go in the territory.  Alma was the only one who seemed up for the adventure.

She ended being a teacher in the local community.  Later on....she moved over to the Salt Lake City Methodist seminary. There, she met up with Kent White, a student in the seminary, and married.

Over the next decade or so....she and Kent did well....living in the Denver area where Kent was a minister for the local church.

Around 1907, there was some friction going on with the Methodist and Pentecostal community, and someone with farmland had decided to start up a religious community in  Zarephath, New Jersey.  The name of the new religious 'movement'?  Pillar of Fire Church.

I know....it's a catchy name.  In simple terms, these Pillar of Fire folks felt that the Pentecostals were simply not fired-up enough.  Yes, as radical as you might see Pentecostal folks of today....in this era....they were actually seen as laid-back and 'chilled-out'.

Alma became the bishop and chief spokesperson of the Pillar of Fire Church.  The curious path ahead for the church?  Well....they were to be by 1918....solidly hooked up to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).  Yep....real solid with them. 

It would be correct to say that virtually everything Alma preached upon....revolved around white Protestant women and the Bible mandating supremacy, and suggested immigrants were not of the same level.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s....the Pillar of Fire Church continued on.  Alma attended Klan rallies and cross-burnings. As many of the religious figures were doing in this era....Alma didn't hesitate to suggest prophecies were underway, and key events were to occur.

What aided growth of the group?  In the late 1920s.....they went out and purchased a transmitter and radio equipment in Colorado, to send their message across central Colorado.

All of this continued on for the most part until 1946 when Alma passed on.

The church today? Still in existence, but with mostly a neutral theme.  I kinda doubt that the vast majority of members have ever heard of the racism slant or the KKK attachment. 

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