Workers, Friends, Home Church, The Truth, The Way, Meetings, Gospel, Cooneyites, Christian Conventions, Hymns Old & New

Home Page
Site Index
What's New on TTT?

About this Website
2x2 Fact Sheet
Book Lending Library

Send This Page to a Friend

Print this page

The Journal of John Long
About the Early Days
Newspaper Articles
Read about the Early Days
1893 - 1965
1966 to Present

Letterhead used by workers titled Christian Conventions

Perry, Oklahoma Conv, 1942

Preserving the Truth
The Church without a Name and its Founder, William Irvine

Introduction Index of Chapters
Chapter Links
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43



Appendix M

Posted June 13, 2017


The poppy, a small red flower, is symbolic of the blood shed by members of the armed forces of the British Empire and Allied Countries. The red poppy is worn and displayed on Remembrance Day on November 11, the day WWI ended in 1918, to honor the those who gave their lives in the line of duty. The poem "In Flanders Field" by John McCrae was the source for poppies becoming this symbol, and is one of the most memorable war poems ever written.

By John McCrae

In Flanders Field the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
that mark the place; and in the sky
the larks, still bravely singing, fly
scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.
Short days ago we lived,
felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
loved and were loved,
and now we lie in Flanders Fields.

Take up your quarrel with the foe:
to you from failing hands we throw the torch;
be yours to hold it high,
if ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow in Flanders Fields.

World War I
"I don't want to be a hero. Anyone would have done what I did, under the same circumstances. I was drafted into the Army in 1918, in Bent County, Colo. At that time, I knew the McArthurs in Las Animas, Colo. Will Wilkie was the first Worker I met. There were three Wilkie brothers in the work at that time; Frank, Will and Rensler. Eva Thompson was the first Sister Worker I met. She was like a mother to me.  After the first Meeting, she came over and talked to me personally, and that won my confidence in her, and when I had a problem, I always went to Eva for advice.

"The time came when I was drafted, and I asked the Workers and friends what I should do. At that time, there were no provisions made for Conscientious Objectors, like there is today, and it wasn't clear what a person should do when they were drafted.  I finally said I would go and accept the equipment, all except the gun, and would take my stand as a C.O.

"I learned that Earl Huckleberry had refused the uniform and gun and was sent to the Leavenworth Prison [Kansas]. There he learned the trade of tent-making and was good at the sewing machine. He served his time there in prison.

"When I was drafted, I had a document signed by President Woodrow Wilson, explaining my position. I knew that in the Army there were a lot of non-combatant services. Oliver Taylor (Orin Taylor's brother) was a kind of a natural doctor, and he went into the Medics. I had this document and the Local Board knew I was a Conscientious Objector. Some of the boys who went into the Army were cowards and some fanatics, who claimed to be C.O's.

"The first place they sent me was to Camp Cody, New Mexico, and there they didn't have enough beds or bedding, and I spent two or three nights on the blanket they gave me, lying out on the sand. Each night the sand blew and almost covered me up and I got pneumonia. Then they sent me to the hospital where I almost died. My mother, Mrs. Zebulun Murray, came to the hospital to help me get well, and I soon pulled out of it. After I got out of the hospital, they wanted me to go into the Infantry, and I knew it was to fight, so I produced my document, and from there they sent me to the psychiatrist ward and examined me. They said I was alright, and the only thing the doctor could see was that I just didn't want to fight.

"After that, they sent me to the Captain of the Infantry and I went to him with my document, signed by the President, and he took it and stuck it in a pigeon-hole in his desk and I never saw that document again. He then asked me to obey orders. I accepted the uniform, the canteen and the blanket, but I would not take the rifle. So the Lieutenant gave me over to a Sargeant and two Corporals, who put me in a tent and they knocked me around, and finally knocked me so much that I fainted. Then they were afraid they had done something serious and so two of them took me to the hospital and laid me on the floor. They told the Lieutenant they tried to make me take a gun and I wouldn’t. Finally I recovered enough to go back to the tent and spent the night there.

"The next morning the bugle sounded for me to go out to march, but I didn't take a gun, and the Officer noticed I didn't have a gun, so he detailed a couple of the men to take me behind the hill and to give me a flogging to beat me into submission. The Sargeant who took the gun with him over the hill brought it back, because I would not take it.

"Then they put me in the Guard House and the next morning they sent me down to Headquarters to see the Commander-in-Chief, who asked me several questions. This Officer told me they were getting ready to send me to Leavenworth Prison. I finally told him, like I had told all the others, that I was willing to do anything for my country, but my conscience would not allow me to take a gun. Then he said, 'If you are willing to work,  we will give you work.'  There were a large number of horses in the army, and they sent me to take care of the horses.  There was a lot of feed to haul around to give the horses feed, and I stayed with that until the Armistice was signed.

"For nearly a month after they had given me that last beating in the tent, I had to go back to the doctor to get my wounds dressed. Later on, I learned that one of those who went over the hill to beat me, came to me and offered his apologies.  Some years later, some of the Workers met that man out in Washington and he told them he was one of them that had beaten me.  He must have told them he was the one, because I didn't. After the Armistice was signed, they gave me an Honorable Discharge and made me 1st. Class Private.

"After leaving the Army, I soon went with Rensler Wilkie to Pueblo, Colo…I went into the work in the later part of 1918, and at that time I was 23 years old.  I was born in 1895.  There is only a few months difference in my age and Garrett Hughes. I will be 87 years old on Feb 5, 1983."


Conscience in America-A Documentary History of Conscientious Objection in America 1757-1967; pub 1968; Edited by Lillian Schlissel

Conscription of Conscience – The American State and the Conscientious Objector 1940-1947; by Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1952

War, Conscience, and Dissent (1967) by G. C. Zahn

The CPS Story by Albert N. Keim ISBN 1-56148-002-9

Conscientious Objectors and the Second World War by Cynthia Eller
ISBN 0-275-93805-0; Praeger Publishers, NY

Pacifism and Conscientious Objection (1945) by G. C. Field

Selective Service System:

World War II Reunion - 1989 Memory Book - Camp Barkeley, TX
World War II Reunion - 1992 Memory Book – Sioux Falls, SD

World War II Reunion Memory Book; Charleston, SC; April 19-21, 1995;
Pioneer Printing Co., 1712 Macklind Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110

World War II Reunion Memory Book; Sparks, Nevada April 13-15, 1999
Ft. Sam Houston Army Reunion 1965-1972 Memory Book; San Antonio, Texas

Reflected Truth - Compiled by Joan F. Daniel; Published by Research & Information Services, Sisters, OR, 1996

Wm. Irvine's Beliefs about Exemption from Military Service are quite different from the pacifist stance observed by the Workers and Friends in WWI and thereafter. He wrote:

"I enclose a cutting from Auckland [New Zealand] showing their attitude towards military service.  Very far from all I taught.  The whole Old Testament shows that the Jesus of the New Testament was the Lord of Hosts who never failed to be with the Nations that used the sword against those who used the sword wickedly, and Pacifism is the worst form of delusion one could imagine, and proves them to be just as blind to who Jehovah of the Old Testament was and is, as are the Jews concerning the Jesus of the New Testament.  How can a man fear God and honor the King and refuse to pay his share in money and service in defence of his country and home?  It's just as unchristian to refuse to use the sword of the Lord of Hosts against the sword of the wicked one, as it would be to take the sword of the wicked aggression against others.

"Zech. 14:3 shows that the Lord will go forth and fight against those who take Jerusalem, as in days gone by, and that by the Christian nations in vengeance of God against the Moslem World...God not only made all men of one blood, but He also fixed the bounds of their habitations, making it a sacred duty of every man that wants to dwell in any part of the world to be willing to defend their frontiers and rights as he would defend his own family, blood, or home.  The method of doing this must be determined by his willingness and ability, but no man can escape the responsibility and have the Spirit of God in him.  Neither can a man have the Spirit of Christ or God and do violence to his neighbor's landmark consciously. Those who take the sword in defence of the Man of God shall perish by the sword, for God cannot honor or protect such, but will leave them to the consequences of their own.  Non-resistance is the way of bringing God to our deliverance.  To use this as an argument against warfare in defence of our Land and Home is to prostitute the words of Jesus(letter to Edwards, August 31, 1923).

Realization - a "Requirement" Is Not Necessary
By John Frank Kelly

I went into war (Vietnam War in 1970) with virtually no means of self defense because of a high ideal–that of serving a loving God who abhorred all forms of violence among humanity. I was disappointed and disheartened as I learned that my beliefs were not universally practiced in 'the truth.'

Later in my Vietnam tour, after leaving the combat assignment, I attended the Convention held in Saigon. While there, I had the opportunity to observe a Korean soldier* who was stationed near the Workers’ quarters where the Convention was being held. At first, I thought he did not profess, mainly because he wore a weapon–a military-issued .45 automatic pistol to the Convention Meetings. I soon learned that this person was much respected and revered as a professing person–a 'godly' man. Since he held a non-combat job, I saw no good reason that he should have a weapon, regardless of his religious beliefs. (The streets of Saigon at that time were safer than many portions of major cities in the U.S today. As I recall, I had observed other Korean soldiers about the city without weapons. The safety in Saigon was, of course, in stark contrast to the situation posed in the Vietnamese countryside.) I was upset to learn of his professing status. Apparently the Workers saw no problem with his weapon.

I had literally presented myself for sacrifice, partly in order to meet the requirements for 'eternal life,' yet I was no more (and probably less) in favor with the all-powerful Workers than this Korean who refused such sacrifice. My confusion became anger. Where was the ideal of universal truth that I expected?

I later learned that other professing people had modified their objections to the use of weapons–at least under certain conditions. Not only did professing people carry such weapons as the .45 automatic pistol officially allowed medical corpsmen, but attitudes in civilian life certainly allowed self-defense without any consequences from the organization. I had heard Meeting Elders boast how they would shoot to kill any burglars who dared to enter their house…

The justification for the Vietnam war given by several Senior Workers was that the war resulted in an extension of the truth. Thus, on the one hand, Workers were at least tacitly encouraging people to abstain from carrying weapons; on the other hand, they were approving–even encouraging–waging war which resulted in the loss of life.

I should make it clear that in spite of my disappointment with the seeming ease with which C.O. status was dismissed by some in the organization, my status was warranted; I did hold such objections seriously in my own thoughts at the time of my military service. These ideas were likely influenced by my associates during adolescence, and their belief in such a requirement. I have since modified my thoughts and currently believe that self defense is legitimate. I no longer consider myself a conscientious objector, nor would I consider such status if entering the military. I see national defense as defending lives and property held in common by all citizens; thus it is one facet of self defense.

After enduring a grueling night believing he would die on the mission assigned for the following day, Frank came to the “conclusion, during this long night of self examination and fear of imminent death, was that what I knew as truth was nothing but a series of conventions for behavior. Any meaning for dying was irrelevant. It would take a while for me to fully face, and act upon, the consequences of this realization” (Reflected Truth - Chapter 11 by Frank Kelly;  Compiled by Joan F. Daniel; Published by Research & Information Services, Sisters, OR, 1996, pp.  62-164).

Some of the soldiers in the WWII Reunion Memory Books recalled difficulties getting their C.O. classifications:

Carl D. Smith of Laredo, TX:   "…had a rough time with the C.O. Classification, and spent many hours being grilled and questioned about it, but was finally cleared…At Hammer Field, I was honored by a two hour grilling by a Major, then was told that you have something no other C.O. had that he had talked with before…was grilled four different times, was glad that the Lord was the one who did the answering through me"  (World War II Reunion Memory Book; Charleston, SC; April 19-21, 1995; pp. 2, 67).

Carroll W. Leen of Auburn, CA: "Had trouble getting my C.O. so Jack Carroll made a special plea to the Draft Board for me" (World War II Reunion Memory Book; Charleston, SC; April 19-21, 1995;  p. 4, 47).

Irvin Wahlin of Afton, MN:  "…had difficulty getting C.O. status.  He was told that if he were in Germany they would shoot him.  His reply, “The wisdom of U.S. is to use rather than shoot a man.”…  “They ignored my C.O. papers and I was put in the Infantry.  I trained with men until the rifles were issued.  Then I was send to Ft. Lewis, VA and instead of the medics, they put me in the Engineers.  It was there I carried a crowbar for a couple of weeks while marching.  After that, I carried the flag!” (World War II Reunion Memory Book; Sparks, Nevada  April 13-15, 1999; p. 7, 88).

C. Burmeister of Walsh, IL:  “In 1941 I was inducted into the US Army at Des Moines, IO.  Tom Patterson, my father in the Gospel, helped me with my papers requesting non-combatant service.  In spite of that, I was assigned to Anti-tank Co. 1st Infantry 6th Armored Div and sent to Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.  I soon learned that they had no field medics at that date.  My request had ended up in File #13.  With Selective Service, the regular army hadn’t heard of such.  So I verbally asked for it.  The 1st Sgt sent me to the Company Commander and he ended up calling the Post Commander, an old General about to retire.  He spoke with authority, 'Yes the Constitution provides for this status!' He instructed them to transfer me to the medics or to the Station Hospital.  I served in the Station Hosp. Dental Clinic until the spring of 1942” (World War II Reunion Memory Book; Sparks, Nevada  April 13-15, 1999; p. 31).

"When guns were issued, I was issued a scrub brush and ordered to scrub the garbage can, while the other soldiers were on the drill field.  The temperature was 10 above zero and I was in light fatigues. Every swipe left a sheet of ice on the can.  Also had to clean guns, rake the yard and unload trash. I was eventually allowed to become Night Fireman where I kept the fire going through the bitter cold nights" (Aubrey Oldham of Albuquerque, NM, World War II Reunion Memory Book; Sparks, Nevada, April 13-15, 1999, p. 66).

"Then war broke out, and I did 4-1/2 years non-combatant service in the Army....Among regular soldiers, swearing and using God's name in vain is common place.  I remember when it came to bedtime the first night, I stood for a long time getting courage to kneel by my bed and pray, but I'm glad to say I got the victory. They soon respected me and would keep quiet while I prayed. Then at meal time, when I bowed my head to give thanks, they would tap me on the shoulder and say, 'Aren't you well?'  When I told them I was giving thanks for my food, they exclaimed, 'What, giving thanks for an Army meal?!' Then they would snatch away my plate, and I had to hold on to it when bowing my head.  It was a matter of 'watching and praying.'"  But after awhile, they gave me every respect" (Testimony of the late Ken Paginton, a UK Worker who pioneered Madagascar).

Some 2x2 Ft. Sam Houston Vets told how they found other men of their faith:

"I remember Robert Appleman going up and down the rows in several different barracks, repeatedly asking if anyone knew George Walker.  He quickly stopped when a big black man got up and said, 'I is George Walker!' " (Lloyd Harris, p. 43).

"…he was walking through his barracks and saw a words-only Hymn Book on a foot locker. He looked at it to make sure it was one of our books. He then looked at the fellow in the bunk, which was Danny [Thompson], and he was colored.  Jim was surprised, but found out Danny was professing and was most pleased to meet him! Our friends in San Antonio remembered Danny as the first colored professing man to go through Ft. Sam"  (Robert Anderson, p 3)  NOTE:  Steve Pierson, a black Worker, also went through Ft. Sam.


Walter Rittenhouse and Will Sweetland of San Diego, California, were very concerned about the Workers' failure to register the Christian Conventions church with the U.S. Revenue Dept., as required by "another law enacted in 1945."  They wrote:

"This law operates in conjunction with the U.S. Revenue Dept. which requires all Religious Organizations to register for the purpose of classification and identification. Among other things, this law was planned to disclose all subversive organizations hiding under the cloak of Religion. We have called to your attention a number of times, this vital matter, but so far the records of the Revenue Dept. fail to disclose any registration has been made by you.

The indifference to this vital issue compelled us to declare our conviction publicly, so now we are free* from further responsibility, either to you, or the U.S. Government. We would suggest you get the best legal counsel possible to assist in this serious matter. We offered to furnish legal counsel two or three years ago, but it was not accepted. The responsibility now rests upon the Christian Convention Administration or their successors"
(letter to Jack, Willie and Brethren, July 16, 1954). *Rittenhouse and Sweetland left the fellowship in 1954.

Why are the 2x2s Pacifists?

Why do most 2x2s elect to serve as noncombatants? To be Conscientious Objectors?  The national loyalty of a 2x2 is overridden by worldwide loyalty to the 2x2 group as a whole. They see their church as a family of individuals united around common beliefs and practices worldwide who have no conceivable reason to kill each other. Violence within their fellowship group is an abomination to them.

As a combatant soldier bearing arms, it’s conceivable that an American professing man could kill other professing men who were serving in the armies of other countries in the world. There were 2x2 men in other nations; in the German army, as well as the Japanese army. A tenant of their faith is to love their brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of their nationality.  Some 2x2 soldiers saw it as inconsistent to profess to love their brothers and yet go to war bearing arms against them.

Many American 2x2 men specifically requested noncombatant service, as they were willing to serve in some military capacity, so long as they were not required to kill.  The following scriptures are often cited as reasons:

(1)  Thou shalt not kill
(2)  Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay
(3)  Christ’s teaching to turn the other cheek
(4)  Christ’s admonition to Peter to put up his sword
(5)  If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.

"Thou shalt not kill." [Matthew 5:21]  This is a quotation of Exodus 20:13, where the Hebrew word used is "murder" (ratzach).  In Hebrew, there is a clear distinction between the two words "murder" and "kill." The Hebrew passage does NOT use the word "kill" (harag).  The first (ratzach) means premeditated murder, while the second (harag) encompasses everything from justifiable homicide, manslaughter and accidental killing, to taking the life of an enemy soldier in war. The Biblical commandment very precisely prohibits murder, but not the taking of a life in defense of oneself or others.  The Greek language also has separate words for "murder" and "kill," and it is the Greek word for "murder" (NOT "kill'') which is used in Matthew 5:21.  Therefore, some believe Matthew 5:21 should have been translated, "Do not murder,'' rather than "Do not kill.''

"Do not resist evil" [Matthew 5:39].  If Jesus really meant this, His statement contradicts other scriptures such as, "Hate what is evil" [Romans 12:9], and "Resist the devil" [James 4:7].  Jesus was quoting Psalm 37:1, 8, and Proverbs 24:19, with slight variations.  He was not talking about how to deal with violence in this verse.  He was not teaching that one should lie down in the face of evil or submit to evil; but rather, that we should not try to get back at, or take revenge on a quarrelsome neighbor.  He was expressing an important principle which applies to our relationships with friends and neighbors--NOT when we are confronted with a murderer, rapist, or facing the enemy in war.

"Turn the other cheek," [Matt 5:39].  The verses which follow this one are illustrations of how we should react to a hostile neighbor. If a friend insults us by slapping us on the cheek, we are not to slap him back, but instead to offer our other cheek.  When taken in context, this statement has nothing to do with battlefield situations, defending oneself against a murderer or resisting evil. It is an illustration of how to deal with an angry neighbor or a personal enemy.


Go to Top of Page

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the Truth?
Galatians 4:16

"Condemnation without Investigation is Ignorance."

Your comments, suggestions and corrections are appreciated. You are welcome to link to this website.

Contact TTT
© Telling the Truth

Read online book:

Preserving the Truth
The Church without a Name
and its Founder, William Irvine

William Irvine

Founder of the
Church with No Name
aka 2x2 Church,
Friends & Workers Fellowship,
Cooneyites and "the truth"