An accumulation of thoughts meant to go into a post the day before Easter, did not get into writing on the subject of God and what happens after we die came to the forefront. For days, I had gone into an earlier period, my search of Earth a mere 100 million years ago or so. Then as I moved forward, I found a time approximately 4.6 billion years where the solar system was no more than a cloud of dust and gas. In this search, experts said that gravity collapsed in on itself and began to spin, forming the Sun in the center. Then with the rise of the Sun, material began to cluster together.
I am certain that there are many of you that know a great deal more than I do, as I know little about the creation of our Earth, even though I know the Bible quiet well. Then the research said that debris got larger and larger until they take on a spherical shape and form a planet. An object will become a true planet when it clears all the remaining debris from its orbital path. So there you go, research tells us that the creation of earth comes from this action in space. Then we begin the process of evolution, something crawled off the pond scum, and this slow process eventually became human.
Then my research took me to a Bishop James Ussher a 17th-century chronology of history of the world formulated from a literal reading of the Old Testament and declares that Adam was created about 4004 BC. The same article said that God created the world right before suppertime on October 23, 4004 BCE. It goes on to say, that Adam and Eve were created October 29, 4004 BCE, it being the sixth day. No matter what I believe, this is a hard pill to swallow.
The next useful information gave me the opposite side of the coin, one being EVOLUTION and the other being GOD’S CREATIONS.
It is said, probably since the beginning of time that, God fashioned Adam from dust and places him in the Garden of Eden. God told Adam that he could till the ground and eat freely of all the trees in the garden, except for a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then Eve is created from one of Adam’s ribs to be Adam’s companion. There has to be a great deal of faith to believe this story. They are innocent and not embarrassed about their nakedness.
Then, a serpent deceives Eve into eating fruit from the forbidden tree, and she gives some of the fruit to Adam. These acts give them additional knowledge, and it gives them the ability to conjure negative and destructive concepts such as shame and evil. God later curses the serpent and the ground. God prophetically tells the woman and the man (I am assuming that he told them their names) what will be the penalty of their sin of disobeying Him. Then He banishes them from the Garden of Eden.
Well Folks, I don’t think my daddy never went to church a day in his life unless it was a funeral and neither did the two other people that were important in my life. My Native American Great-Great Grandmother and an African-American woman. My mother went to church sometimes, and then she would ask the preacher to Sunday dinner. Nevertheless, my mother forced me to walk to the Rural Grove Baptist Church every Sunday morning with or without her.
In these latter years, I asked myself what I got out of those 11 years of walking up a hill both ways to the church. Well now, there was always Sunday dinner on the church grounds. I was told not to eat there, I was to come home, that did not stop me from going to the dessert table and then I ran all the way home to make up the time. In church, I have to see the preacher screaming Hell and Damnation. This brought the “Amen’s” out of everyone.
Old lady Waddell would be wearing that red dress my grandpa Vest gave her so many years ago, it had been washed so many times it was almost pink. He came to church every Sunday just to see her. Then he would return home to his wife and their eight children. He had lost his farm because he was too lazy to work and his children were grown and moving on with their life.
Then there was Mr. and Mrs. Ragsdale. Someone must have told them that they could sing. I would sometime stare at the ceiling wondering if those cracks came from them yelling, they held the notes long after everyone stopped singing. They would be yelling, “We shall gather at the river.” I would like to toss both of them in that river. However, I was not big enough to toss them into that river.
In the summer time, I would go to church with bare feet, like many of the country kids. It was a poor church; dress was what you had that was not to worn out. Only Mrs. Waddell dressed up, in that store bought dress my grand daddy bought her, now pink. I was a precocious child who took pride in commenting Mrs. Waddell on her dress, and then I would add…my granddaddy likes red too. My foundation for religion began in that tiny white church in Rural Grove Baptist Church perched on top of Burleson Mountain.
I believed in God and Jesus his son. I sat quietly listening to how we were all going to hell, and he mentioned many of the sins that were brought into church that day. All I had done was to tell Old Lady Waddell her dress was pretty! The way he was looking down at Mrs. Waddell I thought she might be getting a new church dress any day now. The next Sunday my mother would be sitting next to me and the preacher might be coming to dinner. He sure loved my mothers’ cooking.
Being raised by a Spiritual Native American great-grandmother, a very much-loved African American woman, and my Daddy, my values on such matters as spirituality were normal, I followed in their footsteps back then just as I do today. I was baptized into the Baptist church, when I became an adult I taught Sunday school for ten years. I want to believe in God because the wonders that are preached, I will most certainly see my daughter that passed in 2010, without that hope life might be unbearable for me.
Then I saw this…


“Is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person. In a way, the traditional notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual but not religious. It is not necessary to go to church and give money, for many, nature can be their church. Some of the best people in history never believed, while some of the worst deeds have been done in his name.”
Pope Francis


Finally after all these years, I find that the teaching of my daddy and those other two wonderful women were right, and going to church is right too, we have free will to make the choice that is best for ourselves. Believe or not believe, you can answer you own question.

Author: Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

Artist/Writer of Fiction, Poetry, Prose and Thoughts, Opinions Author Bio Born in Alabama to a Native American (Chickasaw) father and an emotionally absent mother since birth, raised by father, a Native American great-grandmother and an African-American woman whom were all grand storytellers. As early, as four years old, I was roaming the countryside around our home alone or with my father; in the evenings I sat at the feet of these strong-minded individuals listening to the stories of their lives. Summers I lived with my fathers' sister in Birmingham, Alabama; it was she that would help to discover a library, and mingle with my aunt's circle of friends that included local writers, artist, and politicians. A cabin deep within the Black Warrior Forest was also my playground on weekends. My aunt encouraged my imagination by introducing me to journaling, which I filled Big Chief Tablets with stories over the summer. Planted was the desire to write, a seedling waiting to spurt from the warm southern heart of a child. Nonetheless, with adulthood, the desire to write buried itself deep within, the dream wilted but did not die. It laid dormant, gaining experiences. These experiences became short stories and poetry ready to share with anyone who would want to read them. I began painting as a child and later as an adult, and then it lay dormant for years. I write of many life experiences in poetry format; questioning everything from Mother Nature to God...the poetry is raw, sometimes dark and may not be understood by all. Yet, it comes from deep within and reads of truth within my soul. The harshness that shrouded my life would cause me to withdraw from most of the world; it fills the pages of my writing, the heartache, the abuse, and the denial of a mother, all frankly portrayed. Today, I enjoy my children, grand and great grandchildren, my four-legged companion Mason, I live in Southern Wisconsin...far from my southern roots; however, I continue to write and paint almost daily. Below are the books that I have published in paperbacks at Amazon.com, under the name of Ann Johnson-Murphree: Book #1 Echoing Images from the Soul 2012 Book #2 Beyond the Voices 2012 Book #3 Reflections of Poetry 2013 Book #4 Honeysuckle Memories 2013 Book #5 Sachets of Poetry on Adoration, Anger, Asylums and Aspirations 2014 Book #6 My Journey into Art 2014 Book #7 Fragments of Time 2017 Book #8 Rutted Roads 2016 Book #9 Asterial Thoughts 2017 Book #10 Flying with Broken Wings 2017

3 thoughts on “HELL AND DAMNATION…”

  1. I love your flow of memories and the way they shaped your spirituality. You have a direct, spiritual and intellectual approach to life and all it has sent your way. I especially love reading the little details you remember–like the crack in the ceiling, and the color of that once red dress! And surely you will see your beloved daughter. You will.

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