Escape From Death

The Slaybaugh Story

By Rose Slaybaugh



Can you imagine my surprise when my husband suggested to me that we entertain a minister in our home? That had never happened before. My mind flew back to when I was a little girl, and mother and father had invited the old Baptist minister for dinner. It was a very special occasion. What preparations! The whole house had to be renovated. My mother was always a neat housekeeper, but for this occasion the curtains all had to come down and be washed and stretched. The woodwork had to be scrubbed. Do you remember your grandmother's heavy white bedspreads? They all had to be scrubbed on the board and ironed. A day or two before the dinner, mother said to me, "Now, honey, couldn't you run upstairs and straighten up all the old shoes?" I wanted to say, "Mamma, surely the preacher's not going up there and look at our old shoes!" But we didn't talk to our parents like that in those days.

When the day finally arrived, mother started in on us children. I had four brothers. They were all good children, but they were rascals. She started in, "You will remember your table manners today. Don't do this, and do do that." There were many more don'ts than dos.

So we invited one of the ministers, and the invitation was accepted. I told Roy, "Honey, pick the biggest, fattest red hen out there. After all, this is the first time we have ever entertained a minister in our home, and we want to make an impression on him."

The minister and his wife came, and after dinner we went into the living room to spend the evening. As I was seating our guests, Roy casually picked up the Bible, stopped in front of the minister, and said, "You know, Rose and I just joined the Christian Church."

"Yes," he said, "we heard, and we are happy for you."

"And we're starting to study the Bible, but there are so many things we don't understand and so many things we can't find, especially one text that we have been looking for. Could you please find it for us?"

He reached up, took the Bible out of Roy's hand, and said, "Why, yes, Brother Slaybaugh, what is it? I'll find it for you in just a moment"

"Will you find the text authorizing the change from worship on the seventh day to the first day of the week?"

The minister, very much puzzled, looked at Roy a moment, turned red, started to squirm a little, then closed the Bible, and placed it on a little table within reach. Then he looked over to the fireplace and said, "What a beautiful deer head you have up there!"

We hunted and fished all the rest of the evening. We never did get back to the Sabbath question; and when our guests were gone, Roy turned to me and said, "Rose, did I say something wrong to that man?"

I said, "No, you didn't say anything wrong to him. But, after all, Roy, it wasn't entirely his fault. We just started telling about our hunting and fishing trips, and he was telling about his hunting and fishing trips. Don't worry, we know a lot more ministers. We'll ask another one to come in."

"Well, we surely didn't get very much out of that chicken, did we?"

We did ask another minister, and another, and another, until the chicken coop was almost empty; and still we didn't know anything. They gave us many answers to our question. For instance, one of them said, "Why, Brother Slaybaugh, we all admit that Saturday is the Bible Sabbath, but why be so technical?"

Another: "You mean the Ten Commandments? Why, the Ten Commandments were done away with. They were nailed to the cross. We are living in modern times."

Another: "You mean the Ten Commandments! We don't keep the Ten Commandments. That was Moses' moral code for the Jews."

This went on until I was becoming alarmed about Roy. He had faith in these men. Finally, as one was leaving one night, he said, "Rose, what in the world is the matter with these fellows? Why does everyone that we have had out here give us a different reason for breaking the Fourth Commandment, and for not keeping the seventh-day Sabbath? At least, why don't they all get together and give the same reason?"

I said, "Now, Roy, we're not going to be hasty in this. There's a reason, and we're going to get to the bottom of it. I would like to invite just one more."

"Who is it?"

"I'd like to invite the minister from the Methodist Church here in Deer Park. I've met her and she's a fine Christian lady."

"A lady! A lady minister?"

I said, "Yes, a lady minister."

Disgustedly he said, "Rose, if these educated men can't tell us such a simple thing, what do you expect of a woman?"

"Roy, please may I invite her? Perhaps I can talk to her a little better than to the men."

"All right, if it will make you feel better."

So we invited this minister and her helper. Another poor chicken got it in the neck. Then after dinner the same question: "Can you please help us find what we are looking for?"

"Yes," she said, "I'll be glad to. What is it?"

Roy asked her to find that scripture. She held the Bible in her hand and said, "Brother Slaybaugh, you could search this Bible from cover to cover, and you couldn't find such a scripture. There is no such text in the Bible."

"Well," he said, "then please tell us this: Is Sunday the Sabbath?"

"Oh, no," she said, "Sunday isn't the Sabbath. Saturday is the Bible Sabbath. Sunday is the Lord's Day."

"Well," he said, "it doesn't make sense to me."

"You know, the Sabbath was changed," she said.


"Oh, long, long ago. Many hundreds of years ago. So long ago it's almost forgotten."

We were glad she said "almost forgotten." I said, "Please tell us, who is responsible for the change?"

Very hesitantly she said, "I have heard that the Catholic Church had something to do with it, but don't you worry about that one minute. You just go right on attending church every Sunday morning, as you are used to doing, in Spokane, and come and worship with us on Wednesday evening at prayer meeting."

We could hardly wait until those ladies were gone. I looked at Roy and said, "What do you think of that?"

"That's the worst one we've heard yet."

"Don't you believe it?"

"No," he said, "I don't believe it. I don't believe a word of it. I don't believe anyone on this earth—I don't care who he is, what church or what denomination it is—I don't believe anyone on this earth would dare to change one of God's laws."

I had to do some fast thinking. I said, "Honey, if such a thing has been done, we'll find it in history. We'll find it in the history of the early churches."

"That's right," he said.

So down to the city we went, to the library. We told the librarian what we were looking for, and asked her if she could help us. She said, "I know just what you are looking for. So many people have been in here recently asking for the same thing."

She took us around a corner and brought down several large volumes, one after another.

I said, "Surely this must be plenty."

The lady helped us find what we were looking for. She turned the pages, and there we read with our own eyes that what the lady minister had told us had really happened. What were we to do now? Was there any church in existence that still honored God's commandments?

We had a big job. We started searching and reading doctrines of the different churches. One by one the creeds had to be put aside, until finally we were reading the doctrines of a people small in number who believed in the Bible and the Ten Commandments. They believed in honoring all of the Commandments, even the fourth one. They even believed in keeping holy the seventh day of the week. Who were they? No one else but the Seventh-day Adventists.

We kept on studying. How did we study? When Roy would think I had fallen sound asleep, he would quietly steal out of the room and close the door; and then I would wait for hours, until one o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock in the morning. Sometimes I would put a robe on and go to where he was sitting. The room would be blue with smoke, and he would be puffing away-first cigarettes, then his pipe, and then a cigar. There would be a pot of coffee brewing-strong black coffee. Occasionally by his side there would be a glass of beer. There he would be sitting, poring over the Bible and learning the truths of God.



MY Mother came to visit us about this time. As she opened her suitcase, she laid out three little books. She said, "Rose, I brought these along. I thought perhaps you would like to read them."

I said, "Mother, where did you get these books?"

"I have been attending what they called a tabernacle meeting in Yakima," she said. "There was a little bookstand at the door where they sold books and Bibles and other literature. The last night I was there the lady in charge asked me if I wouldn't like to have some of their books. They were only three for a dollar. I said to her, `Pick me out three you think I will enjoy reading,' and these are the ones that she picked out for me."

I asked, "Mother, what denomination were those people?"

"Oh," she said, "I heard that they were Seventh-day Adventists."

"Mother, you should know better than to bring anything like this into our home! We're having enough trouble as it is."

How frightened we were of the truth! How prejudiced, and yet we were searching for light. I put the books away, but it seemed that somehow they were always laid back on the table.

By this time Roy and I had read the Bible through together. We had come to the Book of Revelation, and we had read about the seven last plagues and a battle called Armageddon. We couldn't understand it at all. As I was putting the little books away one afternoon, I noticed the name of one of them, On the Eve of Armageddon. I showed it to Roy that night and said, "Roy, look. What do you suppose Seventh-day Adventists would know about the battle of Armageddon?"

"Well," he answered, "I don't know, but let's read it. We'll be careful."

That night we started. I would read a chapter, and every time I came to a scripture, Roy would look it up in the Bible to see if it was there. Then he would read a chapter, and I would look up all the scriptures. We finished the book. How did Seventh-day Adventists know so much about all these deep Bible prophecies? How could they make the Bible so easy to understand?

"Rose," Roy said, "what are the other books?"

"Here they are: Prophecy Speaks and The Marked Bible."

We read them. Now we were learning something! We wondered where we could get more books like these.

I said, "I know where we can get them. At John W. Graham's in the city. They have a large book and stationery store four stories tall"

"Are you sure they would have them?"

"Of course they would have them," I said.

The next time we went into the city we took a list for we had found on the flyleaf of one of the little books names of others which sounded interesting. We had picked out eight or ten. As we were driving into the city, Roy said, "Now, Rose, while you're shopping, be sure to go to Graham's and get the books so we'll have something new to study tonight."

How disappointed I was when my little list of books was handed from one clerk to another! They looked up and down, under and over, and they couldn't find them. Finally the head clerk was called.

"Why, of course we have them," he said "We must have just sold all we had on the shelves. Let me have that list. I'll go down in the stock room and bring them up "

I waited. Soon he came back. He too handed me the list and said, "I'm sorry, lady, we must have just sold out; but you come back in a week or ten days, and we'll have a fresh supply."

As we were driving home, Roy said, "Did you get the books, honey?"

I said, "They didn't have even one of them."

"Oh," he said, "I'm sorry. I was just hoping we'd have something new to study tonight. But I know what we can do. Why can't we send to the publishing house and get them?"

As soon as we reached home, we looked to see where these books were published and found that it was in Takoma Park, Washington, D.C. We didn't send for only eight or ten; we wrote and told them to send all they had

I wish you could have seen what came! We were right in the midst of harvest. Roy went down one noon to get the mail and brought the big box of books home. We opened it, and he declared a holiday. He said, "Let the old wheat rot out there; we're going to learn something!" We handed books out by the handful to our hired help. There were books all the way through the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, and clear out onto the front porch!

A few days later Roy came in and said, "Rose, if I don't get more help, we'll never get this crop harvested." We had a large harvest that year. Help was scarce, for many of the young men were in the army. "I just wonder if Joe could come and help us."

Joe is the oldest brother in the Slaybaugh family. He lived with Mother Slaybaugh at Pomeroy, Washington. Joe agreed to come and help us.

We were glad to have him come, for more than one reason. He was a church member and one of the deacons in the Pomeroy Christian Church. We knew he would bring his Bible and be a wonderful help to us in our study. But when we asked him about some of the things we had been studying, he looked at us and said, "I believe, Roy and Rose, that you're going crazy over religion. You're becoming regular fanatics. Why can't you be satisfied? Just because you've lost Jack, don't lose your minds over religion!"

Roy said, "How can we be satisfied when we're learning so many things that are not right in the churches, and so many new truths from the Bible? Joe, why don't you read just one of these little books, just any one of them, and learn something yourself?"

"Oh, no," he said. "The Seventh-day Adventists might fool you, but they'll never fool me!"

Joe always read his Bible before breakfast. He'd sit in the living room every morning and read his Bible. One morning a few days after this happened Roy called me and said, "Rose, come here and see what I see! Joe is `nipping at one of the little books that we bought."

I walked to where he was and said, "Joe, isn't it wonderful!"

He threw it down on the floor and said, "It's nothing but an old Seventh-day Adventist book! Rose, I wouldn't have it in the house if I were you."

But the next morning Roy called me and said, "Rose, come and see what that old rascal is doing now." And there he was with his Bible open, holding it up with a little book hidden behind it so we couldn't see it.

Again I walked in. "Joe, isn't it wonderful?" I asked.

He didn't throw the book on the floor this time. He just grunted a little bit and didn't say anything.

Something "went wrong" out in the field that morning. While the tractors were stopped, Joe walked across to where Roy was working and said, "Roy, I've been thinking about it. I'm afraid they're right."

Roy said, "Well, I'm not afraid of anything—I know they're right. But I don't know what we're going to do about it."

At this time a lady who was attending the Washington State Teachers' Training College at Cheney, Washington, was a visitor at our house every week end. She was a real Bible student and could quote Scripture "by the yard." We asked her about some of these things, and she said, "Be careful, it sounds like Adventism to me, and you know what a dangerous sect that is."

I said, "Oh, yes, we know." But actually we didn't know anything about Seventh-day Adventists.

That lady never said a truer thing in her whole life. Adventists are the most dangerous people in the world. If there are those who don't know the teachings of the Bible and don't want to know them, they had better not have anything to do with Seventh-day Adventists. But if there are those that do want to know the teachings of the Bible—all of it, literally, just as it is written, just as God left it for us, without being changed by human minds and hands—then they had better get acquainted with their Seventh-day Adventist friends, neighbors, relatives, or ministers and start studying with them.

One morning mother opened our daily paper, the Spokane Spokesman-Review, and there on an inside sheet was a picture of a young man. She said, "Rose, who is this young man?"

I looked and said, "I'm sure I don't know, Mother."

"I'm sure I've met him someplace," mother said, "but I can't place him."

I looked at the picture. At the bottom of the picture was a name, "Evangelist R. H. Nightingale."

Suddenly mother exclaimed, "Now I know who he is! "

I asked, "Mother, where did you ever meet this young man?"

"Why," she said, "he was the young minister who was preaching in the tabernacle in Yakima, Washington."

"Do you mean where you bought those books?"

"Why, yes."

"Well," I said, "then he must be a Seventh-day Adventist."

"I suppose he is."

I looked at the picture again. He looked like a fairly bright young man, but one can't always be too sure about newspaper pictures. I wondered why his picture was in our paper. Then we read that he was coming to Spokane to conduct a series of meetings.