Letter about Willie Jamieson

Letter to Mrs. Cordia White of Scappoose, Oregon
(no date Ė probably around 1909-1910)

I am this day in receipt of your letter telling me that one Jamieson, a travelling evangelist is holding forth in Scappoose and asking me if I know anything about him. I should say I do! I know all about him; that is, all I want to--and very much more besides.

He is a religious hobo of the worst type. He belongs to nobody but the devil and to nowhere except in the bottomless pit. He is the worst sort of an adventurer and hypocrite. He is as smooth as butter. At first, working his way into the good graces of the unsuspecting until he has won their sympathies and their confidence, and then like every other arch hypocrite showing his true colors.

He is a disturber of religious convictions, a breaker up of churches and Sabbath Schools and has come dangerously near breaking up two families that I know personally. He does all this under the garb of religion and with a sanctimoniousness that would deceive the very elect. He is a most colossal liar, and I can assure you there is not the slightest dependence to be placed on any statement he makes. For the sake of furthering his ends, he occasionally tells the truth. It is only to deceive the unwary further on.

He usually begins in some such way as this. He finds a vacant church if possible, as no pastor who knows him or his work will admit him into their pulpits. But his strongest card is to get a vacant church, get permission of the trustees or whoever has charge of it, to hold some revival meetings for a week or two, often three weeks while he preaches the truth. No one suspects the hypocrite or traitor he is of the church of Jesus Christ. When by that time he is usually had a goodly number of homes into which he can go and settle himself. He has already deceived them and won his way into their hearts as well as homes.

Then after he is well seated and has a few boarding places to which he can turn, he begins to slander the ministers, the hired ministers as he calls them. Then he up-roots all confidence in churches and substitutes some vague theories of his own in place of the confession they have grown up in. He tells them that only as they believe in him and his teachings are they regenerate persons. He mixes them up in their own experience, gets them to doubting whether they were converted at all or not. Tangles them, perplexes them, bewilders them till many a good faithful earnest Christian leaves his S.S. class or duties and follows this ďwill-o-the-wispĒ into his baptism or some other way and are left blind and stranded as to their faith or duty or religious convictions.

He seems to poison every thing he touches. He breaks up S. Ss., puts divisions between husband and wives and raises the devil generally. And the strangest thing about it is that once having gotten his power over men and women, nothing can reveal to them their state. They follow him blindly and senselessly to any and all extremes.

He is the same sort of stuff that the ďHoly RollersĒ are made of and works in the same way or the tongues of fire or any of those extravagant and devilish caricatures of religion that are sweeping over the country and leading men and women astray.

He is a sort of a hypnotist, a religious hypnotist and the strange power he exercises of human beings can be accounted for in no other way. If I had known he was headed for Scappoose, I would have forewarned you as I have headed him off in every direction that I knew he was going. Mr. Staver of Gales Creek knows of him and his accursed work there. Mr. Barber, pastor of the Hillside church, knows all about him, as Jamieson--he raised CAIN at Hillside. And if it had not been that as soon as I heard he was there, I went at once to show him up, I think he would have broken up one of our best little churches in the country all to plunders. If I had known he was headed for Scappoose, I should have taken the first train and shown him up publicly.

That is the only way one can reach him. Although an arch-hypocrite you canít touch him by law. Although the enemy of all good and all churches, you canít touch him with any church, as he is outside of them all. The Methodist minister of Forest Grove showed him up and Barber and Staver have shown him up. The members of our Hoodview Church at Wilsonville showed him up. Indeed, he came near breaking that church all to pieces, as he got in and got himself ensconced in the homes and hearts of some of the members, and you dare not touch him for fear of driving some of his followers away from the church. But they found him out eventually and got rid of him and now have recovered from their terrible blight.

The worse form of small pox is not so dangerous to a community as this diseased hypnotic power. Rats carry the bubonic plague to other healthy districts and whole cities were devastated by it. So this miserable rat of a specimen of humanity carries the bubonious plague of false teaching and false influences into healthy religious communities and inoculates them with spiritual death.

You are at perfect liberty to use this letter in any way you like and if it donít show him up in his true light, Iíll come myself and tell the people what he really is. Donít trust him or any word that he says for a single moment. He is absolutely unreliable and very adroit. Indeed I have scarcely ever seen a slicker rascal than he is.

Of course, there is this possibility that he may be crazy, but there is so much method in the madness that I attribute it to the power of Satan with whom he seems to be in league, from the wrecked and ruined condition in which he leaves every field he ever works in. One can account for it in no other way, save that he is in league with the ďFather of Evil Spirits.Ē

He is so Sanctimonious, so apparently pious, while telling the most stupendous falsehoods. He looks as if he were a Saint from heaven. As to his teaching, it is anything to suit the moment. At one place he teaches one thing, at another it is exactly the opposite. No two places are alike and his message differs to suit his whim. It seems to be anything to get his bread and butter, and like every other tramp he cares nothing how he obtains it. Sometimes he says a paid minister canít interpret the Bible. Some times he says a married man canít interpret the Bible. Sometimes he says it requires two to interpret the Scriptures and so it goes. He will deny flatly at one place what he preaches positively at the preceding place, but he is one of the most adroit liars I ever knew and it is very difficult to entrap him.

I think this will be sufficient to show you what you have on your hands in shape of a minister or so-called minister of the Gospel. The people there should understand that no denomination would harbor him for a minute. So he cautiously keeps out of them all and so canít be brought to book by any of them. He dare not try to join any denomination as his real character would come out then at once.

I trust that you are all well and being blessed.
With kind regards to all, I am ever very truly your brother,

C. J. Clapp

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