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WHEN I WAS YOUNG


"What and where did we all come from?" I asked the Sunday school teacher.

"It really does not matter where we came from. Someday, you'll rest in the arms of the Savior and that is what is most important," she said to the entire class.

"But how do we know where we came from?" I asked again as I stood up shaking my raised hand.

"You just have to trust in Jesus and all your questions will be answered," she replied.

"But..." I started to say.

"Kiser, sit down and keep your mouth shut," Said the matron from the orphanage, who was sitting in the back of the classroom.

All of a sudden the entire classroom became totally quiet.

"That's ok Roger. Just sit down and try to not look so sad," said the Sunday school teacher, smiling at me and turning her head to look back at the matron.

"Roger Dean Kiser, come here!" said the matron as she motioned for me to come to the back of the classroom where she was.

I got up from my seat and walked to the back of the classroom. The matron grabbed me by the arm and forced me to sit down on the floor next to her.

"You keep your mouth shut. There are other people in this class who want to learn something, other than you," she said.

"I'll discover about life some day. I'm just waiting for Jesus to come along to show me the way. You'll see too," I said.

"I told you to shut your mouth and I mean it," she said through clinched teeth.

"Did anyone study the books of the Bible and can they say them for the class today?" asked the teacher.

No one raised their hand for fear they might get into trouble with the matron. Slowly, I raised my hand as high as I could get it into the air.

"Put it down," said the matron.

"But I learned the books of the Bible. I studied for a long time."

She reached out, grabbed me by the ear and twisted it as hard as she could. I jumped up and moved away from her.

"I know the books of the first old Bible," I announced. "Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Dud..."

The matron had gotten up from her chair. She grabbed me by the hair on my head and was now forcing me toward the door.

"MRS. CASTILE!" yelled the teacher.

"MRS. CASTILLE!" she yelled again.

About that time, I had broken away from the matron and was crying as hard as I could. I ran out of the classroom and ran down the hallway as fast as I could. I made my way out of the church and onto the empty school bus. Then I lied down on the back seat, so no one could see me.

After we returned to the orphanage, I was told to report to the front office to see Mrs. Winters, the head matron.

"As usual, you are a troublemaker," she said as she pushed her finger into my 7-year-old nose.

"I just wanted to say what I learned, Mother Winters, ma'am," I said.

"You just wait right there, young man until I get the polo paddle."

With that, she turned around and headed down the long dark hallway leading to her bedroom.

"Oh Jesus, I love you Jesus," I cried aloud.

I put my little hands together and fell down on my knees. I knew what was about to happen to me. I closed my eyes as tightly as I could and began to say the books of the Bible as fast as I could.

"Genesis, Exodus... "

"BAM" went the paddle as it hit me in the middle of my back.

"Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther..." I said as I tighten my muscles with all my might.

"BAM" went the paddle as it crossed my face.

"First and Second Kings," I screamed.

"BAM" went the paddle again as it crossed the other side of my face.

Slowly, I lied down on the floor and just stayed there without moving.

"Esther, Jobs, Psalms, Proverbs," I continued with my lips held tight to the terrazzo floor.

"YOU SHUT UP!" yelled Mrs. Winters.

Slowly, I raised my head and looked her directly in the eye.

"Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, NUMBERS!" I screamed as loud as I could.

She stopped, reached over to pull out one of the dining room chairs and sat down, breathing real hard like.

"You crawl over here, young man," she demanded of me.

Slowly, I sat up straight, folded my arms together and just sat there on the floor not moving a muscle.

"I said crawl over here," she said again.

Still, I moved not a muscle.

"NOW!" she demanded.

"I'm not gonna crawl no more Mother Winters. Jesus told me I don't have to crawl no more."

"Jesus is not your boss, little man. I am," she said.

The teacher said Jesus is everybody's boss," I advised.

"And just how did Jesus speak to you?" she asked.

"He told me that deep inside my head," I replied.

Suddenly, she jumped up from the chair and dropped the polo paddle. I quickly lied back down on the floor for fear she was going to hit me with her fist, but she just ran past me and down the long hallway.

I never learned anything more about the Bible after that. Oh, I went to church here and there over the next 50 years, but the Bible never was the same to me after that.


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