Maude Smith with her husband, Oliver, in 1914.

Delivered from Religious Confusion

January 01, 2015

Years of occult practices and spiritualism did not bring this woman or her mother peace. Then they heard a message of hope!

By Maud Smith

When the Lord delivered my soul from sin and discouragement, He also took the crooked doctrine out of my heart. I had been schooled in a false religion from earliest childhood. My father kept Sunday as a day of rest, but did not believe in Hell. He also embraced the doctrine of “soul sleeping,” the belief that after death, the soul sleeps until Jesus’ return.

Father studied to be a minister in the church and spent long weeks and months writing and arguing to prove his doctrine. As a girl of five years, I regularly stood on a chair next to his charts of prophecy and recited the articles of his belief.

Lack of victory eventually undermined my father, and Mother and I became victims of a broken home. For a time, she kept me in Sunday school, and then little by little we were drawn into the whirl of seeking worldly pleasure and amusement. Except for a few twinges of conscience now and then, we raced along unthinkingly with the pleasure-seeking crowd for years. However, we both said that someday we would find God and serve Him.

My mother remarried to a fine gentleman, but he died suddenly of a heart attack. This troubled our hearts and, for a time, sent us in a new direction. We looked into séances and Spiritualism in order to contact him. Several mediums told me that I had psychic powers, and for a time I studied to develop this.

Some people think there is nothing to Spiritualism; but I can say there is definitely “something” to it. It is power from the devil, used to fascinate people and bring them back again and again until they reach a state of insanity. I saw this almost come to pass in my mother’s life. We purchased a Ouija board for receiving messages from the dead, and placed artifacts with “controlling influences” on our shelves. We also kept a “spirit-guided” pencil for guests with “keener perception.” The influence of these things began to have an effect on my mother. Splitting headaches attacked her until she feared for her mind. Her very countenance changed, and fear began to grip my heart as well.

I chopped up that Ouija board with an ax and threw it into the fire too.

In the still hours one morning, God impressed on my heart that if I would burn those images, my mother’s headaches would be gone. Somehow I knew that it was the Voice of the great Deliverer. I sprang out of bed determined to obey instantly. After gathering everything in our home that pertained in any way to Spiritualism, I hurried to the furnace. As each of those things met the flames of fire, I rebuked the devil in the name and power of Almighty God to rid our home of him. Then I chopped up that Ouija board with an ax and threw it into the fire too. Shortly thereafter, Mother’s head was healed and the peace of normal living was restored in our home. I give God the glory for delivering us from that evil. We began a real seeking to find the people of God, and never consulted the spirits of darkness again.

A few years later, I married and the three of us began searching the papers daily for notices of evangelistic meetings, and were always among the earliest to arrive at such services so we could get good seats. We also invited Bible students of different denominations to our home to explain their way of believing. We did not know what to look for, but Mother said, “If we find a church with altar benches, we will have found the real people of God.” She had been taught this by her mother who also felt that foot washing was a necessary part of any ordinance service.

The day came when my sins were stacked up before me as high as a mountain. In addition, my marriage was deteriorating and divorce seemed imminent. I had to have help! With three others, Mother and I formed a group and decided to search until we found the path that really led to God. We tried my father’s church first, but one visit there convinced us it was stone cold. We tried another church next, and threw ourselves into doing all they asked of us. We were even baptized, becoming members, but privately we confessed to each other that we were still carrying that same old load of condemnation.

Then one evening, Mother heard a Gospel street meeting being held by Apostolic Faith people. Like the disciples of old, she found me and said, “Come and hear what I have heard.” I will never cease to praise God for that evening! I stood and listened to a band of people telling of a way out of sin and of a keeping power which stood the test of time. In those testimonies, I caught the sound of the Shepherd’s Voice.

When some of the members from our church heard that we had been to the street meeting, they tried to dissuade us. Again and again during that time, the minister of the church we had previously been attending came to our home to warn us. However, God saw to it that our hunger grew for the victory we had heard about from the Apostolic Faith people. Mother could not get away from the fact that for the first time in all of the years since her childhood, she had found a church with an altar. We really looked to God to direct our footsteps, and decided not to attend any church until we knew for sure which had the true Gospel.

One day in 1920 Mother, with aching heart and falling tears, opened her Bible, and the first words that met her eyes were, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” She answered the Lord out loud, “Just show me who Your people are and I will go.” A short time later, an Apostolic Faith camp meeting began in the Woodstock district of Portland, Oregon, which was not far from our home. One afternoon, Mother and I stood in her kitchen by an open window, and God let us hear the prayers from the altar service taking place. They seemed to pour in through that open window. In that moment, Mother heard the Voice of the great God of Heaven say, “These are My people!” Mother answered, “I am going to them.” And I added, “Mother, I will go with you.”

We went and knelt at that same altar of prayer and offered tears of repentance mingled with consecrations. Ours were not idle words; we had sought long for this haven and were no longer halted between two opinions. We prayed, and the people of God prayed with us until we prayed our way through. God gave us the faith, and we were able to step from relying on the “law” into “grace.” It was glorious! Years of false beliefs were gone—just as if my head had been emptied, and the foundation of sound doctrine was planted in my heart.

Mother lived for fifteen more years enjoying the great blessing of salvation and being able to witness for Jesus about the transformation that took place in her life.

A few years after we were saved, my husband came to the Apostolic Faith to see what we had found. At that time, his health was gone; the doctor had said if he did not respond to medicine within two weeks, he would not live. That was too close a margin! He came seeking forgiveness for his sins, and in due time God saved him and healed him. That was 1924, nearly thirty years ago, and all this time he has had good health and has been able to work.

Over the years, we have seen many miracles in our home in answer to prayer. At one time our little girl lay for days with a fever that could not be broken. The ministers prayed for her, and God restored her immediately. Another time, our eldest son got both of his arms caught in an electric wringer. They were mashed and bruised, but within thirty minutes after he was prayed for, the flesh was completely smooth, and he grasped a ball and threw it across the room. Our youngest son suffered an acute heart condition after having the flu, and for months he could not be left alone. God completely healed him, and there has never been a recurrence of that condition.

Today, I thank God Almighty for His miracle-working power, and for the privilege to be a witness for Him. The security I found in serving Jesus grows deeper as I near the goal.

About the author

Maud Smith was a member of the  Portland Apostolic Faith Church until her death in 1957. She taught Sunday school and helped at the church office. She raised three children to serve the Lord, and today her grandchildren and great-grandchildren are in the Gospel.