Life Sketches Manuscript


Arrest of Elder Damman

From Exeter I went to Atkinson. One night I was shown something that I did not understand. It was to this effect that we were to have a trial of our faith. The next day, Sunday, as I was speaking, two men looked in the window of the room where we were assembled. We were satisfied as to their object: They were coming to arrest us. LSMS 95.4

They entered, and rushed past me to Elder Israel Damman. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon him, his strength was taken away, and he fell helpless to the floor. The officer cried out, “In the name of the State of Maine, lay hold of this man.” Two men seized his arms and two his feet, and attempted to drag him from the room. The power of God was present. The true servants of God, their countenances lighted up with His glory, made no resistance, but began to sing, “We left old mystic Babylon, To sound the jubilee,” and the men who had taken hold of Elder Damman were unable to carry out their design. They would move him a few inches, and then their hands would slip off, and they would rush out of the room. These men could not endure the power of God present in that room, and it was a relief to them to get out. LSMS 95.5

Their number increased to twelve, but for about forty minutes Elder Damman was held by the power of God, and the combined strength of all those men could not move him from the floor. LSMS 96.1

Then we all felt at the same moment that Elder Damman must go. God had manifested His power for His glory, but He would be further glorified in suffering him to be taken from us. I said, “Elder Damman, the Lord bids you go with these men to this trial.” At this the men took him up as easily as they would a helpless child, and carried him from the room. LSMS 96.2

Elder Damman was taken to a hotel, where he was guarded. The man who was given charge of him did not like the duty. He said that Elder Damman was singing and praying and praising the Lord all night, so that he could not sleep, and he would not watch over such a man. No one else wished the duty of guarding Elder Damman, so after promising that he would appear for trial, he was released, and allowed to go about the village as he pleased. He was invited by friends to share their hospitality. LSMS 96.3

At the hour appointed for the trial, Elder Damman was present. A lawyer offered his services. The charge brought against Elder Damman was that he was a disturber of the peace. Many witnesses were brought forward to sustain this charge, but their testimony was at once broken down by the testimony of Elder Damman's acquaintances present, who were called to the stand. LSMS 97.1

Among those present there was much curiosity to know what Elder Damman and his friends believed, and he was asked to give them a statement of his belief. In a clear manner, for he was a forcible speaker, he told them from the Scriptures the reasons of his faith. LSMS 97.2

It was also stated that the Adventists sang curious hymns, and he was asked to sing one. A number of brethren were present, who had excellent voices, and they joined with him in singing, LSMS 97.3

“When I was down in Egypt's land, I heard my Savior was at hand,” etc.

Elder Damman was asked if he had a spiritual wife. He told them that he had a lawful wife, and he could thank God that she had been a very spiritual woman since his acquaintance with her. LSMS 97.4

Finally he was ordered to pay the costs of the trial and was then released. LSMS 97.5

After this I returned to Portland; having traveled and labored for three months, bearing the testimony that God had given me, and experiencing His approbation at every step. LSMS 97.6