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.

  ...        Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker. 

  ....       Four 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 June 2008.


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?

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

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.

SHUSTER: 1913.

DAY: A few...few years ago. [laughs] Yeah.

SHUSTER: And you grew 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, 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 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, 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 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....

SHUSTER: Association?

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 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 it to?

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.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

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, see.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

DAY: And then we needed someone to take his place, and I guess we got hold of Erickson then.

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: Uh-huh.

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’ 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 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 [chuckles, unclear].

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.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

RADER: He made...he didn’t just set there, he moved a little bit, you know. He 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 the Salvation Army Band, you know.

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 spirit.

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 group.

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, 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 beautiful.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 to Couriers?

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, you know.

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 of course 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 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 different places.

SHUSTER: You said the Couriers moved away?

DAY: Well, the...just, somehow, just...just didn’t continue anymore. You know how things...just like know, I don’t know the reason, but they finally...nobody was interested, and they 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 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,]

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 Pantry?

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 did canning.

SHUSTER: 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 his brother....

SHUSTER: Howard.

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 know.

SHUSTER: What ministries were you involved in, at the Tabernacle? What were you...what activities at the Tabernacle were you involved in?

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, 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, Benson....

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 know him.

SHUSTER: Ankerberg?

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] and then...

SHUSTER: What was that like?

DAY: That was nice. Yeah.

SHUSTER: 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’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 know.

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.

DAY: [laughs]

SHUSTER: How long did you keep going to the Tabernacle after Paul Rader left?

DAY: Oh, I stayed there all the way through with Erickson.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

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 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 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 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 in that.

SHUSTER: Did you get to know Rader at all during your years?

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 basis?

DAY: Oh, wonderful man. It just couldn’t be 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’ 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 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 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 know.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

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, it all, as far as I know.

SHUSTER: Okay. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Day.

DAY: [chuckles]

SHUSTER: We really appreciate your coming in, it’s very helpful.

DAY: Well, I know it’s... oh, I.... [laughs]


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Last Revised: 2/28/07
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© 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