The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Strictly Taboo

By John Winfield Spangler © 1986

Issue: February, 1986

I never knew until I read the book, "The Man That Moved A Mountain" which of the religions baptized by sprinkling, and don't profess to be an expert on the subject. Below is an experience from the time I was about 12 years old. We lived in Friendship Hollow near Shawsville, Virginia and attended Sunday School, prayer meetings and revivals at the "Brush Arbor" in good weather. It was located in the corner of my grandparents farm, on top of a hill.

My grandparents let them use the place and when a sufficient number of souls were saved, the creek was dammed up down by my grandparents' house (William Winfield and Ardella Conner Spangler).

On this particular Sunday, I also was to be baptized. The preachers had convinced me that the "ole devil" wasn't more than half a jump behind me at most.

Everything was pretty routine until it became one elderly lady's turn. (I'm not making fun of her either. She's still living, nearly 100 - and we were just as poor as she was!) Anyhow, she explained to the preacher that she only had the one good dress, that she had heard of sprinkling and asked if he'd sprinkle her.

"If it's all right with the Lord, it's all right with me!" said the preacher and did as she asked.

A short while later, a small cloud sailed over the sun and it POUR-R-E-D down rain. Everyone ran for Grannie's porch, either under the barb wire fence or long way around through the gate. I believe my older brother, Bernard, was only one who reached the porch before the rain stopped, as suddenly as it began. I was at least 100 feet short, and must have run from habit, as I was already wet!

The sun quickly came out and I noticed not only kids, but grownups sneaking a peak at the cloud, as it continued on its way.

There was no doubt in my mind that it WAS NOT all right with the Lord for the lady to be sprinkled!

P.S. Finding no immediate reward for being "saved," I reverted to smoking cornsilks and reading comic books shortly thereafter!