Billy Graham Center
Collection 273 - Harold Louis Day. T1 Transcript
This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview
of Harold Louis Day (CN 273, T1) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center.
No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which
could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms which are not commonly
understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be
distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what
the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If
the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts
and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers
have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead
entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing.
Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows
a different rhythm and rule than written English.
dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence
on the part of the speaker.
dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses
are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words
in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcript was made by Bob Shuster and Kirk Hayward and was completed in
Collection 273, T1. Interview of Harold Louis Day by Robert Shuster,
May 31, 1984.
SHUSTER: This is an interview with Mr. Harold Day, by Robert Shuster at the
Archives of the Billy Graham Center, at 3:00 PM, on May 31, 1984. Mr. Day, why
don’t we start by you telling a little bit of your own family background,
and how you came to know about the [Chicago Gospel] Tabernacle.
DAY: You mean since the...since the Tabernacle?
SHUSTER: No, before the Tabernacle.
DAY: Before the Tabernacle?
DAY: Oh, I...I don’t know, I....
SHUSTER: Were your parents Christians?
DAY: No, not exactly. They.... Somewhat, I guess, in a way, they were, but in
a way, not. [chuckles] And, of course, you had that little church in that little
country town, where I was.
SHUSTER: Well, what town was that?
DAY: It was LaSalle. You know where LaSalle is, down in there?
DAY: Well, I was from a little town called Standard, a mining town, just maybe
ten, twenty miles south of LaSalle.
SHUSTER: LaSalle, Illinois?
DAY: Yeah. South...south of LaSalle, Illinois. It was a mining town in that
time, all those little...Cedar Point, Granville, and Mc...McNabb, and all those
little towns, little mining towns they had, that was the time when John...John
[L.] Lewis [1880-1969, head of the United Mine Workers Union] was the head of
the.... You hear of him?
SHUSTER: Oh, sure.
DAY: He was the head of the unions and....
SHUSTER: And when...when were you born?
DAY: Well, 1913.
DAY: A few...few years ago. [laughs] Yeah.
SHUSTER: And you grew up...so you grew up in....
DAY: Well, I spent...well, the younger days, you know, I worked on the...on
the farms, most of the time, and of course, you...you don’t make much
on a farm, you know. Thirty dollars a month. [chuckles] From sunrise to sunset,
you know, and that’s hard work. Eight...when I was young, eighteen, nineteen,
year old, you work. And then, of course, in time there was a big city like Chicago,
I said, “Well, better jobs there, you know, bigger and better.”
You don’t have to work as long hours, and easier, so I came up to Chicago.
And I think when I came, it was probably 1929, twenty-something. Very close
to ‘30, maybe, because that’s when I started Tabernacle-ing, around
1930, doing time with Paul Rader.
SHUSTER: What kind of work did you get in Chicago?
DAY: Well, of course, you had several jobs, you know. First, I worked in what
they call a...a...Chicago Float Works, you know.
SHUSTER: Chicago Full Works?
DAY: Float, you know, where they make a lot of floats, big...big, small balls,
you know, that set on paddles, and things like that, great big things like that.
Well, I had to solder those little things, put a little hole in there [chuckles].
And then you’d have to watch, and that’s because if you’d
get it too hot, it’d become a vacuum. And, you know, and it get that...you
just have to get it right. Otherwise, it’d suck that in and become a...a
bell, you know. So, a lot of...I made a few bells, and boy, he’d bawl
me out for that. [chuckles] “You can’t make a bell, that’s
ruined,” you know. Because of [makes a whooshing noise] all that lead
that goes everywhere, you know. And...bounced around a little bit. Then I worked
for ...for a...a plating plant. With chromium plate, nickel, copper, silver,
for a while. I worked there for a while. And then, of course, the...a lot of
fumes, you know, and your nose, oh boy. And, of course, they had the ventilating
system, but it wouldn’t, you know, do any good, you know. Take a lot,
but a percentage of it would get in your nose, and so, begin to eat little holes.
Went to the doctor, and he said, “Well, you better get out of there.”
So I got out of there, and then from there, I think I...I worked for the...doing
the...well, when was the war? Was the war around...?
SHUSTER: About ‘41 to ‘45. [World War II]
DAY: Yeah. And so then I quit, then I couldn’t get a job. At that time,
you...you...it was impossible to get a job, see. So finally, when I quit that,
so I had doctor’s...[unclear]. So I went to Glenview Air Base, and I got
a job there, at Glenview Air Base, during the war, and so I stayed there to
the end of the war. And I was over in the.... With a war job, you know, maybe
six months after, you’re out, you know. And from there, let’s see,
where’d I go next? Oh, I worked...and then I think I worked at...of course,
I did work at the Tabernacle for a little while, until for...in between the...the
Navy. Well, actually there was some...he didn’t have anybody at that time,
so I said I could take a little bit, so I worked there maybe three or four months
with...with [Pastor Clarence] Erickson.
SHUSTER: Doing what?
DAY: Well, [unclear] janitor work, and keeping the place warm, and opening up,
and taking care of it, things like that. And then, of course, I made applications
in the meanwhile, because Erickson, you know, couldn’t pay too much, and
I had the family, you know. And so application came out to work at the American
College of Surgeons. And that’s not...that’s not a college, but
it’s similar to a....
DAY: Association, you would call it, something like where a...where the lawyers
belong to, see. [Interruption in tape.] So I stayed there, and I said...well,
I had another job come up, I said, “I didn’t want to....”
So he said, “Well, you work here a while and....” Temporary. I had
this temporary job, you know, so I said...I had other jobs come up, so, “I’ll
take this for awhile.” And then, that was in 1946. And so I remained there
until ‘78. So I got stuck in that job [laughs]. So on, and all that. And
then in ‘78, I retired from that.
SHUSTER: How did you...when you came to Chicago in ‘28-‘29, how
did you become involved in the Tabernacle? How did you get there?
DAY: Well, my sister...my sister Ruth worked...was employed there, performing
at the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, and she encouraged me to come. And she...she
was in Salvation Army before that, see, and she left Salvation Army and then
she got a job there, and she...she encouraged me to come there. So that’s
how I got started.
SHUSTER: What was she doing at the Tabernacle?
DAY: She did office work, you know, dictation. But she did...she’d...she’d
take dictation home, when they’d speak on the radio, she’d stay
home, and I’d stay there and sharpen pencils for her, you know. [laughs]
Take these, then go into the office and type these out, and then send them to
writers or someone who wanted them, you know.
SHUSTER: So she’d copy down everything they said, and who did she send
DAY: Well, she went home, I gue...she went back to the office, I guess, and
typed it up, I guess. And I suppose, they’d send them out, I guess to
whoever wanted them. I don’t know, you know, to the different people,
I suppose, or something. I don’t know. But anyhow, she took care that
way. And that’s how I got involved. And meanwhile, I looked in a book....
I don’t know if you...if anybody told.... Of course, Dr. [William B.]
Hogg was there too, but somebody maybe told you that.
SHUSTER: Did you know Dr. Hogg?
DAY: Well, no, not personally. He...he was there, I didn’t know him. But
he was...took...took... because Rader was on the trav...gone a long time, see.
HOGG: So Dr. Hogg was there pinch-hitting before Erickson came, so when Rader
was going certain places, and I thought maybe if anybody talked.... Merrill...Merrill
Dunlop probably forgot to tell you, but Dr. Hogg (and that’s H-O-G-G,
I think) so he...he was in that between...before Erickson came, maybe a year,
or a year-and-a-half between, I forgot when that was. And then, I guess, Dr.
Hogg left, see, for some....
SHUSTER: When did he leave?
DAY: Well, he must have left before...well, maybe just before Erickson came,
DAY: And then we needed someone to take his place, and I guess we got hold of
SHUSTER: Why did Dr. Hogg leave?
DAY: I don’t know the reason...exactly the reason why he left. Maybe Merrill...Merrill
might know more, maybe you could talk, but I don’t know exactly, but somehow
he left, and that was...but Merrill might know if he happens to come in here,
if you...because he...he knows me, and [unclear] he might have forgotten it.
But I thought maybe that would be interesting to you.
SHUSTER: In between there, see.
SHUSTER: How, when you first came to the Tabernacle, was that the first time
you heard Paul Rader speak, at Tabernacle, or had you heard him on the radio,
or was that the first?
DAY: No, I didn’t...at that time I didn’t have a radio, up there,
you know, hard to listen to much radio. Well, they had...I didn’t have
enough money to afford a radio. And I didn’t hear Paul Rader until I got
into Chicago, and then I got interested, and that and Sister got me there.
SHUSTER: Well, what kind of speaker was he?
DAY: Oh, that was something. He was just dynamic. I don’t know how...how
to explain. In fact, he wouldn’t...wouldn’t need anything, you know.
A speaker, I mean, he had such a powerful voice, that it’d echo right
out. A big, strong man. He’d get the voice right out, you know it goes
right out. He was strong, you know, real strong.
SHUSTER: How strong was he?
DAY: Well, I guess he was a wrestler, wasn’t he?
DAY: But...well, I think...yeah, I think he was a wrestler, or a boxer, or something
like that. He was a cowboy too, I guess. I understood that. Yes, he was also
SHUSTER: Do you recall any examples of things that you saw during his preaching,
that showed how strong he was?
DAY: Well, it seemed to me, he would...he wouldn’t be exhausted, he would
talk, and talk, you see, constantly. They didn’t have Sunday school, they
started at two o’clock in the afternoon, you know, and that was it, no
Sunday school, and he’d preach right off the bat. And then...and then
they had this cafeteria at the Tabernacle, at the side, and you’d go at
two o’clock and you wouldn’t get out until ten o’clock at
night. [chuckles] And he’d preach all afternoon, and evening, he’d
start, and he wouldn’t get through until 9:30-10:00 at night, constantly.
He didn’t preach a half hour, he’d preach hours, you know, long.
No interlude. Powerful, the voice, he didn’t seem to get weak, you know,
just right out there, you know. And then his phrases, I don’t know if
you...I don’t know if anybody told you that, because he used to mention
on his speech, you know, talking, said, “Well, people call Christians
nuts, you know, but it takes nuts to hold things together.” That’s
what the...that always stayed with me, little phrases like that. And Dr. Hogg
had one too, he said, “That’ll get you chewing on a doorknob.”
He’s from the southern states, you know. And little phrases...[chuckles].
SHUSTER: What was the phrase again?
DAY: “That’ll get you chewing on a doorknob.”
SHUSTER: And that meant?
DAY: Well, something...well, how would you say it...something would happen,
I don’t know how you’d say it, in your life, [pauses] I don’t
know how to express it a certain way, how to say it, anyhow, it’d come
out, “That’ll get you chewing on a doorknob.”
SHUSTER: If something were to upset you, or...?
DAY: If something were to upset you, or something a person’d do or say,
something, I don’t know, can’t really recall, but I remember...I
remember that. [chuckles] Yeah, so...little phrases like that.
SHUSTER: What was Paul Rader’s style like, when he was preaching?
DAY: I know he would...he would make...move his hands considerably.
RADER: He made...he didn’t just set there, he moved a little bit, you
know. He would...in fact, I don’t know, they say he never had any notes
to read, you know, he must have studied, you know, but he never had notes. He
must have studied a lot, but no notes. He didn’t need any notes, but could
stand there, you know, just go back and forth, [chuckles] he probably knew his
talk, but he’d change it, you know. In fact, from one thing to the other.
And one thing, I...of course, he had...he said, “Well, people out there
should be happy, because you’ve got soft pine benches, so you shouldn’t
be worried about wiggling like that, on soft pine benches.” And I know,
Saturday night, when I worked there, had to sprinkle the sawdust, there was
sawdust, you know, all there, and you had to sprinkle that in the evenings,
especially Sunday....or Saturday nights, so it would be all settled. So...and
we would have a lot of time, people [unclear] really nice, [unclear] the preacher.
[chuckles] Saturday, the sawdust. And nobody sang. [?] [laughs] So, since I
[unclear, loud knocking on tape] it was good, you know. And I’d go at
2:00, and stay ‘til 9:30. And the band would play, a beautiful band. Something
like...I think it really was as good as a...as the Salvation Army Band, you
SHUSTER: How many pieces were in the band?
DAY: Oh, I don’t know to say, because it was pretty well filled up. I’d
say maybe fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty. Just roughly the whole platform
on that one side. The band was a beautiful band, they’d play songs just
that.... And nobody hollered at [unclear] in the back, you know, which, nobody
complained. [laughs] They had the spirit there, leading spirit, the leading
SHUSTER: Did Rader himself ever sing during the services?
DAY: No, I never heard him sing. I heard his...Ralph, Ralph, his brother, right,
he’s a good singer. He might have, but I haven’t heard, I did...when
I was there, I didn’t hear him sing. But, he might, at sometime. I guess
he...he wrote some songs, and I know...he might have sang, but I hadn’t
heard him sing.
SHUSTER: What did...what did Ralph do at the Tabernacle?
DAY: Well, he didn’t...he didn’t stick around, he was more of a
visitor there, you know. He had other things to do. He stayed a little while
around there, and he...and I guess he went into evangelistic work too, I think,
and he sang considerably, a lot. And he stayed for awhile, then he’d go
away, then he’d come back again. He wasn’t staying there, but he...he
helped out with singing, I’d imagine, and things like that. But he...he’s
an evangelist too, you know, went out...went out on the road. [chuckles]
SHUSTER: What...what was the congregation like? What kind of people made up
the congregation at the Tabernacle?
DAY: Well, at that time, well, it seemed to be more mixed, you know, mixed.
It was, well...was not too many people living in it, but it was all kinds of
people were going, from all denominations, you know, nondenominational. All
kinds of people, I’d say. You couldn’t have said any particular
SHUSTER: What were some of the types of people that were there?
DAY: Well, there was...I think...I can’t really remember, there was some...I
guess, in that neighborhood, there were quite a few Swedish people, and German.
Polish, I think Polish people, and might be a few Spanish, because...it could
be, but quite a few Germans and Swedish. Because I think in that neighborhood
around Belmont, there, quite a few Swedish people there. And Milwaukee Avenue,
of course, that’s a little different, but there were a lot of Polish people.
SHUSTER: Were there many blacks?
DAY: Well, yeah, there’s a few. Coming from...yeah, not...not too many,
but they come in from the south. I mean southern Chicago. Yeah, they were Christians,
and sure, he...he...them too. And then, in fact, he...he...Rader had these singers,
you know, come in quite often, these colored singers would sing. They sang really
SHUSTER: What was the name of that group?
DAY: I think it was the Gold...maybe the Gold...I don’t know. [train rumbling
loudly in background] They...they sure sang nice, though. Every once in awhile,
they’d come in. They sang real good spirituals. [laughs]
SHUSTER: You brought in a copy of this certificate from the World Wide Christian
Couriers. What were the Couriers? What was that organization?
DAY: Well, Rader had mind to evangelize. That was his purpose, you know. Not
to make big groups, but to...but to spread out, you know, in homes, you know,
four or five homes, where we’d gather. And not to make a big crowd. And
then the...I would be responsible, you know, the...for the picking somebody
out, so that could go to other places, and spread out, and so not to get too
many. And he...his idea was to...not...to spread out, you know, tell a group
to find [?] that was his motive. And then, to win them for the Lord, and Christ,
like that, and teach them in homes, where he couldn’t reach otherwise.
You know, sometimes they wouldn’t come to the church, but in their homes,
you could meet them, talk to them, and Bible study, and....
SHUSTER: Meet who?
DAY: Meet [unclear].
SHUSTER: Meet who? You said you could them in their homes. Meet who?
DAY: Oh, oh, yes.
SHUSTER: Ah, meet who, who were you meeting?
DAY: Oh! I see. That could be the home where the residents are. We went to their
homes...you could always....
SHUSTER: Well, who belonged to Courier classes, who...who attended?
DAY: Well, mostly you’d have to be trained a little bit, and born-again
Christians, you had to know that. He wasn’t particular. Any...anyone who
was willing to do this, you know, a lot of people...Christians, maybe they wouldn’t
want to spend their time this way. So, anybody that would have a desire to teach,
and to win souls, and...and get out and spend some of their time that way.
SHUSTER: So the Couriers were people who only set up neighborhood Bible studies.
DAY: Yes, Bible studies. And they...yes....
SHUSTER: How...what kind of preparation did you have, what kind of...
DAY: Well, we had a Courier book, you know, I don’t know if you...you
may have it here [BGC Archives Collection 38, Box 1, Folder 6]. A regular pamphlet,
called Courier Teaching, and probably Merrill might have had one, you
might have one in your collection, all right?
SHUSTER: And what was in that?
DAY: Well, in there was...you had to study that. How to talk to people, learn
Scripture verses, how to win them to Christ, the motive and things like that.
So you...so you have to be well grounded in the Scripture, you know. The main
thing is how to approach a person, and how to win them for Christ, and...and
mostly to read the Bible, and understand it, mostly. And he gave us...he’d
teach us how to talk to...talk to people, things like that. Mostly, it’s
to pray with people, and read the Bible, mostly Bible teaching, and by that
maybe, you could win someone to Christ. So that was...that was all. That’s
the way...mostly he had us evangelize, that’s what his motive was, you
know, a few here, a few here, tend to scatter and [chuckles] move...move on.
SHUSTER: Was there ever any conventions or meetings for people who belonged
DAY: Oh, yeah, well, of course he had...we had to...I mean, once a week, we
had to check in, and report to what...what success we’d had. And so we’d
gather, and we’d have a...a...our flag, you know, with a number on it,
(I don’t remember the number I had there,) and Courier class, each one
would have a flag there, and their group, and they would report to the group
what they did, how many souls they won, and what happened, and....
SHUSTER: Now, who was in this group?
DAY: Well, all the classes, or the [pauses] Courier deacons, you know.
SHUSTER: Uh-huh. And the deacons are the personal head of the various [unclear].
DAY: The heads of the various groups, there, and they would have to report how
they made out, and how many souls they won, and if you split up, you know, not
to have too big of a number, and appoint somebody else, and they’ll go
another place in a different neighborhood and section. And every week we’d
report to Chicago afterward, to Paul Rader, who was in charge. And sometimes
Rader would...wouldn’t be there, somebody else would be in charge, but
Rader most of the time, then. He liked to know how things came out. And then,
of course, in the middle of the Tabernacle, I don’t know...was a great
big circle, I don’t know, probably Merrill had told you, a flag of each
nation, just about.
SHUSTER: Flags, you mean, around the Tabernacle?
DAY: Yeah. No, inside the Tabernacle. A big circle, maybe thirty feet diameter,
the nations and the countries that they had sent missionaries out.
SHUSTER: Countries that the Tabernacle had sent missionaries to.
DAY: Yes. Uh-huh. So that was always interesting, I would look at the flags,
SHUSTER: Did [pauses]...? You mentioned before that he didn’t want the
Courier groups to get too large.
DAY: Yes. [unclear]
SHUSTER: What was the average size of a Courier group?
DAY: Well, eight or nine or ten. No more than twelve. Maybe some had, but usually
pick somebody out that’s willing to take over another group. And so when
you get around nine, if somebody’s in there that would be glad to, you
have to require a few, and you...you of course required...you gave...you had
to have it in your heart to do it, and...and they would take, and they would
go to a different neighborhood, maybe half a mile away, take a different section
and work it that way. So, then in...then every once in a great while, they would
have them all get together, the whole bunch. You know, how many new sections,
or new...new leaders, in fact. And so finally we had a whole bunch, maybe, I
don’t know, one hundred fifty, two hundred, maybe, I don’t know
exactly. All the people, new ones that we wanted, some new converts and stuff
like that. They’d testify that they’d got saved through means, and....
SHUSTER: What happened to the Couriers?
DAY: Well, I guess...I don’t know, I guess when Paul Rader left, initially,
there were, but I think...I think when...I think they just went different places,
I guess. I think they moved away, and I moved away, you know, got out and moved
SHUSTER: You said the Couriers moved away?
DAY: Well, the...just, somehow, just...just didn’t continue anymore. You
know how things...just like they...you know, I don’t know the reason,
but they finally...nobody was interested, and they just...you know.
SHUSTER: Did Rader stay in touch with the Couriers after he left the Tabernacle?
DAY: I think he...I think he did with some, he did with some, yeah. But he didn’t
meet anymore, at the Tabernacle. So I don’t know what happened, I just
[laughs] went there. Maybe...maybe Merrill might know, if you talk to him on
it. He comes around, Merrill, once in a while. He can...he would remember more
than I do, but anyhow, I think I....
SHUSTER: You mentioned Rader’s leaving. Why did he leave the Tabernacle?
DAY: Well, I don’t know, I guess it would be...it said something in here,
I think, about it, in here, probably, I really think it’s in here, I couldn’t
have answer any more. Who wrote this?
SHUSTER: I wrote that. [Refering to the catalog for an exhibit on Rader called
Jazz Age Evangelism, written in 1984. This catlog later became the basis
for the online exhibit of the same name put on the web in 2005, http://www2.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/cgt.html]
DAY: Did you. So I don’t think I could add....
Because the Tabernacle was going down some, in financial something, and then,
Rader seen it in debt or something, he didn’t...he couldn’t, and
so he went different places, and then after that, Erickson took over I guess.
So I guess the only reason I know, maybe, he thought he couldn’t carry
on because it was going down, [chuckles] and...and creditors was foreclosing
on him, you know, and people were kind of.... Wasn’t so many people there
anymore, some moved away, in the faithfulness [?] and the givers were gone,
you know, and kind of...then Erickson took over at a bad time, and he carried
it on for awhile.
SHUSTER: Now, how did Erickson compare with Paul
Rader as a speaker?
DAY: Well, Erickson was not quite as dynamic. He
was more...his voice was a little quiet, you know, and a little more refined,
but not...not dynamically. He preached more...I think Erickson wasn’t...he
used more experience, you know, he...he used the Scripture somewhat. But I think
Erickson wasn’t [train in background] quite as well as Rader, you know,
with dynamics talk and [unclear] actually, it was nice, a good move, but he
didn’t have that little wit behind it, you know. He was more smooth talker,
you’d call him, not quite as....but he was nice. He...he mentioned more
experiences, what he had in the past, and then he would bring it to the...he
would bring the...more parables and things. He would try to just bring out things
like that, you know, to somewhat that.... Not quite this, but I think Rader
was a little more cautious...I mean to say, Erickson was a little more cautious,
he was more like a.... He was a businessman, more or less, and he was a little
more cautious at not stepping out too much on faith [chuckles] and in that regard.
He...he’d want to know it, and he was a little hesitant. He wanted to
know it, make sure that the funds were there before he would carry on. So anyway,
of course, he was there when they put in new concrete, but then of course, he
would make sure people signed up for that, and they’d pay....
SHUSTER: Sign up for what?
DAY: For concrete. They’d pay so much for
square yard, or whatever, and he’d put so many yards, and some people
buying, during, so he’d get the money before he would really...most of
the money before he would go out. And the chairs were the same thing, the new
seats. He had people buy seats, you know. Some would buy seats from him, like,
so many dollars a seat, everybody would come, say, “I’ll take a
seat,” and then...a chair, and that’s the way he did business.
SHUSTER: Were you involved at all with Paul Rader’s
DAY: Oh, I was there, yes.
SHUSTER: What was that exactly?
DAY: Well, I know that...I know that they did can...they
canned goods there.
SHUSTER: Who did?
DAY: When they did...when that...under the direction
of Paul Rader, I guess feeding the poor during the Depression. You got to hear....
SHUSTER: Who...who did the canning?
DAY: Oh, we had volunteers, I think. Volunteers
would come in and do the canning. And people would hand you that. And he had...I
guess, rented...I don’t know if he rented or bought these canning....
To do canning, you know, heat the can, and put it in, and I guess he couldn’t
pay for that, and then they took it away. Lasted a little bit, you know. People
who donated food, farms, and stuff, that wasn’t the trouble, but I imagine
the canning company that he purchased it from, wanted their money. He probably
ran out of money, and they just, you know, took it over, you know, but they
SHUSTER: Who...how was the food distributed?
DAY: Well, I guess they would have somebody to
make sure.... People would come there, I imagine they cheated, it was urging
the right people. People would come, I suppose, and during the Depression, you
wouldn’t have any trouble with people coming, so he would...he wouldn’t
turn anybody away, I guess they would come and pick their food up, during the
Depression. [chuckles] And I don’t know how long it lasted, didn’t
last too long.
SHUSTER: Did you attend any of the missionary conventions
that were held at the Tabernacle?
DAY: Yeah, I did.
SHUSTER: What were they like? What happened during
a missionary convention?
DAY: Well, Clarence W. Jones [later co-founder
of radio station HCJB in Ecuador], you’ve got in here, he...Clarence Jones,
and then who was...the one that played the trumpet...Clarence Jones, and then
DAY: Howard. They were all there. At the time,
the Raders, then I guess Rader...Rader did send them to South America, and they
were nice. And, in fact, I had a call, I mean, I felt it but I didn’t
go, there wasn’t a train, I went down with the group, they wanted me to
be somewhat down there, but I didn’t so I.... I had a desire, but [unclear]
you have to convict yourself first, you know.
SHUSTER: The desire to be a missionary?
DAY: Missionary, yes. Well, Rader had a...a way
of speaking, and you know, you couldn’t resist it when he called you.
SHUSTER: And so during missionary conventions,
he would issue a call for more missionaries?
DAY: Yeah. People there would want to volunteer
or something. And some, I think, continued, I think, and I believe it was, some
of my friends, I think Astor Pearson [?]. I don’t know if you remember
Astor Pearson [?] Young. And she went to Mexico, and.... [pauses]
SHUSTER: What else happened during the missionary
conventions? What were some of the typical activities of the conventions?
DAY: Well, most of the time they would have...well,
they’d bring in the missionaries, you know, speaker missionaries from
other countries, and they’d make speeches, and it was all based on missionaries,
and world evangelistics [sic], more or less, that’s the motive of Paul
Rader, to send as many as he can out there, to the mission field. And, mostly
missions, and what they did, and then of course, Paul Rader’s talk and....
SHUSTER: Do you recall how many missionaries the
Tabernacle sent out?
DAY: I wouldn’t know exact, I couldn’t
give you any number like that, but I know it was a few dozen or so, at least.
Twenty or more, [unclear] I would say about fifteen or twenty at that time.
Could be more, exactly, you know. I wouldn’t know the count on it, you
SHUSTER: What ministries were you involved in,
at the Tabernacle? What were you...what activities at the Tabernacle were you
DAY: Well, I did play in the band.
SHUSTER: Well, what did you play?
DAY: I played bass...bass horn. And then I sang
in the choir also, behind Merrill...Merrill. I sang a little bit, but with the
whole bunch, I wouldn’t want to sing alone. [laughs] With a group. And
the band, and the choir, and then I would...oh yeah, I would go out on visit...visitation,
with the people in the homes, you know.
SHUSTER: And what was that?
DAY: Giving out two or three...well, from Sunday
school, you know, and then leaders would ask who’d want to go in, so I’d
volunteer to go with, go out to different homes, and pass out literature, and
tract, or something, and try to open up the home, and try to get them to come,
you know. And then we’d have these fliers, you know, come out and get...get
them in different homes. Of course, we couldn’t put them in the mailbox.
We talked to people if they opened the door, and we’d talk to them, and
we’d hand one, and it says, “Big doings going at the Tabernacle”
and we talked.
SHUSTER: How did most people respond? Did they....
DAY: Well, you see, there was a mixed response.
They’d talk a little bit, of course, they say “I’m a Catholic.”
Well, then...well, I don’t really remember. You know.
SHUSTER: What would you say to someone if they
said they were Catholic?
DAY: Well, they’d take the literature, and...and
of course, you...you used to invite them, but I guess some would come, some
would come. But you couldn’t spend too much time, because, you know, you
don’t want to involve [unclear]. But quite a few listened. If they’d
listened, you’d talk a little bit, and tell them about it, and leave a
little word there. I wouldn’t try to, you know, sway them at all. Give
the Word, invitation, you know, talk to them, and then they’ll say, “If
you’re interested, I’ll come back again.” So some say, “Yeah,
come back.” So we’d mark down that that person...and may come back.
And so we’d go back, and they’d invite us in, there, and then from
there on, not as hard, you know.
SHUSTER: Who was the leader of the band?
DAY: I think it was...Benson. What was he...what
was he named? Benson, a man by the name of Benson, I think. I don’t know,
SHUSTER: Did you...I’m sorry...
DAY: Clifford Benson, wasn’t it?
SHUSTER: Did you...
DAY: He was in the band. And then there was a...another
fellow. Floyd Ackered [sp?], Floyd Ackered, [sp?] I don’t know if you
DAY: No, Floyd Ackered, Ackered. Not Ankerberg.
Named Floyd. He was a leader in the band. I know that Benson, the man, Benson,
I think, Floyd Benson, was the primary...was the head of the band.
SHUSTER: Did you just play at the services on Sunday,
or did you play other places, other times?
DAY: No, we’d...they didn’t as a rule
go out to different places, you know, most of the time, you know. Most of the
time. Of course, I...I...I helped the Salvation Army. I went with the Salvation
Army awhile, and I went with them around, you know, on street corners, [chuckles]
SHUSTER: What was that like?
DAY: That was nice. Yeah.
SHUSTER: What...do you recall some of the corners
that you played on?
DAY: Yeah. Belmont and Lincoln Avenue, right by
the bank, Belmont and Lincoln Avenue. That was the spot, because that was Salva...Salvation
Army number 9 Corps is right there, on Belmont.
SHUSTER: Well, what kind of reaction did you get
from people when you started playing?
DAY: Well, people stand around and look, you know,
and you give a...you’re supposed to give a testimony, but I...I just quoted...I
quoted Scripture, you know, the Word of God, you know and “God so loved
the world,” [John 3:16] and easy things like that. And well, people listened.
Some would listen and walk away, [thudding noise] but you never know what it
does. It least giving the Word, [chuckles] and, had a nice little group, you
SHUSTER: When you think about the Tabernacle, and
the time you spent there, what...what’s predominant in your memory? What
do you think of most when you think about the Tabernacle?
DAY: Well, I...the spirit of the people. There
was a nice spirit there. The people were really nice, it was kind of...the Spirit
of the Lord was there, you know, in a whole....
SHUSTER: Can you think of some examples?
DAY: Well, like, some people would come and you’d
have gatherings, you know, Lance B. Latham was there at the time, and he’d
have little gatherings on the side, and little prayer meetings, and he’d
play the piano, and then his...then we’d all sing songs, so, songs, and
then we’d have praying and testimony. He helped a whole lot there. And
Merrill would have groups there, on side, and young people, and....
SHUSTER: When you say “on side,” what
do you mean?
DAY: Well, they...the Tabernacle is locked, but
they have...they have the wing...wing on each side, you have different rooms.
Good size, where they have small places, where they had meeting places, Sunday
school, so, along the different places on the side. You had maybe a room 30'
by 30', big rooms, you know, where people get together. And then you have...instead
of having the whole auditorium lit up or something, they’d have the side
room. Maybe people wanted to pray on Wednesdays, and the kids would come on
Tuesday, or whatever nights it was, and parties, and praying and hours and you’d
have a little get-together. That was more social work, it was really nice. The
Spirit was there, and you could tell. [chuckles] But I enjoyed that. There’s
nothing like that in the Tabernacle, but for some reason you’d go other
places. Well, maybe there, but not quite. [chuckles]
SHUSTER: Did you go to any other church beside
the Tabernacle, or was that your church?
DAY: Well, I would go once in awhile, when they
had special revival meetings at different places. You know, special pre...preacher,
you would hear well known preacher, maybe you would be someplace and you’d
go to hear them. Not too often. Mostly at the Tabernacle. And they had revivals
at the Tabernacle too, Raymond Ritchie, there, Ritchie...Raymond there, I don’t
know if you remember him. A little shorty. [chuckles]
SHUSTER: Ah...I’m sorry, go ahead.
SHUSTER: How long did you keep going to the Tabernacle
after Paul Rader left?
DAY: Oh, I stayed there all the way through with
DAY: And I stayed a little bit when Walter White,
you know, Walter White took over, you know. I stayed all through Erickson, and
then Walter White, I stayed until he left, and then of course the Tabernacle
went.... And then of course we carried on with the board with Perry [Straw],
you know, we carried what we could, you know, and then of course, the Tabernacle
was sold, you know. And then Perry.... And then we carried it almost as long
as we could, little places here, and we kept the Tabernacle alive for a little
while, then [unclear] what year...19...1978, ‘79 or something? A few years
with Perry. And then they couldn’t carry on, and of course, the money
[unclear] and then we’d donated the money to Moody as a...as a gift. But
they...they invested it so that the interest would keep on going, you know.
So there would be a...the...the students....
SHUSTER: Did the Tabernacle change when Rader left,
and Erickson took over?
DAY: Well, some...to some degree, yes, we did,
because Rader never believed in membership, you know, and Erickson, well, I
guess it started when he took over, membership, then, he decided to take membership
to the board, you know. I guess Rader had advisors, but I mean, he went to a
board meeting, he wouldn’t listen to them anyhow. [laughs] So he...he....and
no membership. Rader brought the membership in, you know.
SHUSTER: Why did he believe in membership?
DAY: I don’t know exactly, I don’t
know the mo...for some reason. I...I...he might have mentioned that, but I don’t
believe in...I know he didn’t. And...
SHUSTER: You say that he never really listened
to the board of advisors. What do you mean by that?
DAY: Well, he did some of that but...well, he did,
but he was more of a...you know.... The man, it.
SHUSTER: He was more of a what?
DAY: More of a...a boss. You know, he would have
a...a more of a vision or one of those things. He would...oh, how would you
say...more [chuckles] in a way. He didn’t...I know he didn’t believe
SHUSTER: Did you get to know Rader at all during
DAY: Well, yeah, there was talk, oh sure. You know,
he...he ordained me [chuckles].
DAY: And he baptized me. [makes “poofing”
noise] Ordained me. Of course. [unclear] And him, and Dr. Hogg, too, I guess.
At that time. Yeah, he...he baptized me. Yeah...yeah, I got to know him. You
know. Maybe not as good as Merrill Dunlop, because Merrill was with him a lot,
and a lot of stuff, but I knew him, you know, he’s my pastor, and talked
to him a little bit, and....
SHUSTER: What kind of person was he, on a one-to-one
DAY: Oh, wonderful man. It just couldn’t
be any...it was just...just, well, I don’t know how you would say....
SHUSTER: Can you think of some examples, perhaps,
that shows the kind of person he was?
DAY: Well, he... he had a nice smile, and he was
just...he was always interested in you, you know, and what...if you’d...you
could tell him your troubles, or confide in him. He would...he would listen
to you. And he would say, “Oh, don’t worry, things will be alright,
and we’ll work it out somehow.” And...and he was always ready to...to
help you. Help.
SHUSTER: What kind of help?
DAY: Well, in mostly spiritual help, or solving
difficult...some problem, you know, you maybe...well, help you...you might be
doing things that he could see, as a young fellow, maybe wouldn’t be right,
maybe, to go ahead, and be in a difficult...and he would steer you in the right
direction. More spiritual, and also in the decisions you do try to make, you
DAY: That wouldn’t be a...really the best
decisions to do, and he would...he would help you, that’s all. You could
always go to him. [Chuckles]
SHUSTER: Do you...well, do you have anything else
you’d want to add to?
DAY: No, I mean, got...got it all, as far as I
SHUSTER: Okay. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Day.
SHUSTER: We really appreciate your coming in, it’s
DAY: Well, I know it’s... oh, I.... [laughs]
END OF TAPE
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Last Revised: 2/28/07
© 2016 Wheaton College. All rights reserved. This transcript may be reused with the following publication credit: Used by permission of the Billy Graham Center Archives, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.2007