HISTORY and TIMES of THE KINGDOM
A Talk by Rev. Frank Murray to the Androscoggin Historical Society
What follows is a report of a lecture given by Rev. Frank Murray, Sandford's biographer, to the Androscoggin County Historical Society. Given in 1967, the talk makes reference to the social restlessness and upheaval that attended the sixties. The report is taken from the archives of the Lewiston Daily Sun. Ed.
KlNGDOM TO BE SALVATION FOR AMERlCA
Claims World lnfected With Seeds of Babylon
By MILDRED COLE "I believe it! (The Kingdom) will be The salvation of America before we are through," Frank S. Murray told the Androscoggin Historical Society Tuesday night at the county building.
Murray is associated with The Kingdom, which was founded and organized at Shiloh in Durham. He made his prediction in connection with the recent run on gold,the death of God movement, and the rebellion of the young people. These, he said, are symptoms of a world disease, where the structure of material things has been built up to such a peak that it continues to expand unnaturally, exactly as the Bible foretells. ''What the Bible called Babylon has infected us with its seeds," he added.
Something is going on, he said, "that scares people," and they are turning to Shiloh and the Kingdom for salvation. He pointed out that the Shiloh Headquarters is now located in Dublin, N.H. and new buildings are now being constructed in order to accommodate the increasingly larger membership.
Meager Beginning Shiloh was founded by Frank W. Sandford, a native, born on Bowdoinham Ridge near Merrymeeting Bay. The Kingdom had its center at Shiloh in Durham. Murray explained that Shiloh is very much alive. It cannot be disinterred and examined, and "I am very much a part and representative of the work Mr. Sandford did."
Outlining the history of the structure at Durham, the speaker said the first building was the central edifice with the towers. It was called Shiloh, a word meaning "tranquil" or "restful." Six Bible School students and Mr. Sandford started the structure in 1896 with only one cent in cash and a borrowed wheelbarrow.
The central structure was crowned with a seventh story turret in which perpetual prayers were said, both night and day for 23 years. As soon as Shiloh proper was completed, it was too small to accommodate the membership, so they had to start building the extension. It was a huge structure described as roughly comparable to the Poland Spring House.
Auburn Temple Children were never allowed to run or shout close to Shiloh because it was a sacred place. But there were fields nearby with plenty of room for their play
The next building, named Olivet, was the children's building which housed the school, library, and an outstanding natural history museum. This, too, had a prayer turret, where children could go and pray in silence. The third building, almost identical to Olivet except that it was fashioned from bricks rather than stone was called Bethesda. It was a hospital, where people from far and wide, including non-members, came to be healed.
In 1897, a temple was built in Auburn at the corner of Summer and Union Streets. It remained there until 1904, when it was moved to Durham, and re-erected on a different plan. Shiloh had a place of assembly called the chapel, but this only held 300 persons, whereas the temple could accommodate about 700 persons.
Many Enterprises In addition to the central structure, Shiloh owned some 22 farms in Durham, with an acreage amounting to about two square miles. Shiloh, Murray said, was different from communities such as Oneida and Shakertown inasmuch as they never made anything to sell. If it was not needed by the community, it would not be made at Shiloh, while other groups made items to sell in order to raise money.
Shiloh had numerous enterprises for its own use, including a print shop which constantly employed 12 typesetters. Here was produced three quarters of a million periodicals which were published and mailed from Shiloh, in addition to printing and binding some 20,000 books. They also had a shoe shop, where shoes were made by hand, a tin smith shop, blacksmith shop, cooperage, taxidermy shop, and they even had their own private telephone exchange which was connected with other exchanges so they could call anywhere in the country.
Daily Routine Murray, who was raised at Shiloh until he was about ten years old, when the community was disbanded in 1920, attended school there and praised the system. He said it had its own built-in Parent-Teacher Association, so disciplinary problems were short lived. The school was operated on a rotating system of ten weeks of classes and three weeks of vacation, this program alternated throughout the calendar year. Three weeks, he said, were not so long that the youths lost their momentum as a learner, which might happen in longer vacation periods.
The daily program at Shiloh would run generally as follows: 3 a.m., the night watchman would light the fires under the boilers; at 4 a.m., he would awaken the cooks; 6 a.m., the rising bell would ring; an hour would follow for private devotions; 8 a.m., breakfast (there were only two meals a day at Shiloh); 9 a.m., a meeting in the chapel, 40 minutes of which was spent on the knees praying.
Thursday Prayers Bible School commenced at 10:30 a.m. and would go on indefinitely, sometimes running through the entire day and into the night. However, it usually ended about 2 or 2:30 p.m. The supper hour was at 4 p.m., followed by an evening meeting, and lights out at 10 p.m.
Thursdays were somewhat different. The Kingdom members believed that Thursday was the day on which the Lord was crucified, so, since 1897, for six hours each Thursday the group has prayed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and they still do this today. They pray for the sick, and people from all over the world call or write asking that prayers be said for them. Murray urged that any members in the audience who are in ill health to contact Shiloh and seek these prayers.
Saturday was kept as the Sabbath, but they also honored Sunday, so they work neither on Saturdays nor Sundays.
Lord Provides Murray said that Shiloh involved deeply religious work, with nothing bizarre or outlandish about it. He explained that its faith and beliefs were almost identical to those of the Free Baptists as practiced for the last 100 years. "Our job was to evangelize the world."
The Lord's Prayer which says, "Give us this day our daily bread," was put into practice. Jesus preached that one cannot serve God and money too, advising that, "Seek first God's Kingdom, and it will all come to you." There was no faith in money on the Shiloh hilltop," Murray said. "We had our troubles, but not along this line." In this faith, a collection plate is never passed. but the bills are paid, Murray said, adding that the Lord will provide.
Murray said he had the opportunity to examine the Shiloh books and although the balance was often precariously low, Shiloh never went into the red.
Life of Faith But it was a spartan life, he said, and there were times when food was scarce, but there was always love.
"When I look at the affluent society and see the rebellion of the young people and their constant complaining, I thank God I was allowed to go through such an experience as Shiloh, where I learned what God gave out of His own hand.
"God suffered them to hunger that they might learn that 'man doth not live by bread alone'," he quoted.
In 1934, Murray explained, he started out to live a life of faith and "I have never looked back." He works for the movement full time with no salary. He said the work is still going on, and they have not abandoned the principles learned at the feet of Mr. Sandford at Shiloh. "We were happy. There was always love," he said, "love such as I have not found in many other places."
Still Alive "Jesus said 'by this shall all men know that you are my disciples,' and by this criteria, you could tell there were disciples at Shiloh." Sandford, he said, was "the most generous man I have ever known. People thought that he amassed great wealth, but this was ridiculous," the speaker charged.
The Bible School was disbanded in 1920. The movement, he said, had enemies and they started bringing investigations in there. This was not good for the families living there so Mr. Sandford advised them to go their separate ways. However, the work was never disbanded. It is going on today from coast to coast. There are probably less than 1,000 members at this time, he said, but every member is a worker. And new members are constantly coming in and gradually become full time workers.
"When the Son of Man cometh, will He find faith on earth?" the speaker questioned. He added that Sandford said He would find it at Shiloh.