Less than two years ago, if any one had said to me, that I would be writing anything of this kind, or in any way having anything to do with religion or anything that had the Bible for its text-book, they would have been told in unmistakable terms, that they had lost their mind.

Fostered in the fold of Presbyterianism, I could not escape the inevitable,—which was reading the Bible every morning and evening, and most of the Sabbath day. But, under that instruction, many passages of Scripture seemed contradictions, and not being able to master or silence the questioning thoughts, I drifted out to investigate many of the other numerous 'isms and creeds, but was no nearer a solution of the doubts than before. Later I drifted into infidelity, being for more than eighteen years a confirmed infidel—had reached the stage where the very name, religion or Christian, made me angry and filled me with hate. I managed, however, to keep it under control, unless some one would feel that they were specially called upon to beg me to join their church, or reprimand me for using profane language. Yet I would always, when asked, accompany my wife to church and to whatever church she desired. I would sit and listen to a sermon that I did not believe a word of (and to some that seemed worse than nonsense) and keep silent, but when minister, elders, and members would gather around and beg me to join their church, I could not refrain from telling them just what I thought, so that my wife's requests to accompany her to church grew less, until her healing in Christian Science of a claim the M. D.'s said was incurable without a surgical operation that she had about one chance in fifty to live through, and, if deferred a few weeks, there would be no help. Then came the invitation to accompany her to Christian Science meetings, and right here I wish to say that, even as an infidel, I admired in Christian Scientists the striving to mind their own business. They didn't even ask me how I liked the sermon, thereby placing me where I would have to say, "I don't believe a word of it," or answer "Very well"—(lying).

September 15, 1898

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