AS FOR MY OWN PART, MY FOREFATHERS ON MY MOTHER'S SIDE WERE BRANDTS, GERMAN JEWS no doubt related to Willy, the former German Chancellor! However, the three Brandt brothers, Adam, Isaac, and Jacob, and their families had accepted Jesus as their Messiah long ago, and as a result left Stuttgart, Germany and sailed to America in 1745, thirty years before the American Revolution!
AS PEACE-LOVING MENNONITE FARMERS, THEY SETTLED FIRST AMONGST OTHERS IN PENNSYLVANIA, and later moved to Ohio where my own Grandfather, Dr. John Lincoln, was born in an old farmhouse still standing near Somerset. One of the three huge German Lutheran oak-bound Bibles which those three brothers brought with them from Germany can still be seen at the museum in Columbus, Ohio!
MY GRANDFATHER'S MOTHER WAS AN ENGLISH LOVEBERRY, and his wife was a member of the Marquis family of French nobility. As a young farm boy, John was very bright, hard-working and ambitious and was soon teaching school at the age of nineteen. This soon proved too unexciting for his dramatical talents and he left school-teaching for the stage with a theatrical stock company which toured the Nation. He soon married Nina Lee Marquis, a member of the same company and quite a talented actress herself, who was not only a Marquis but also a direct descendant of Lighthorse Harry Lee of the Robert E. Lee's of Virginia, of Civil War fame.
ONE NIGHT DURING ONE OF THEIR SHOWS, MY GRANDFATHER FOUGHT A SABER DUEL ON STAGE as a part of what was supposed to have been a play. But the other actor, who had been drinking, took it a little too seriously and nearly killed my Grandfather! So immediately after the show, he became so worried about his spiritual condition in the event of his death, that he went out looking for a preacher to find out how to be sure of his Salvation.
ONE HIGHLY EDUCATED DENOMINATIONALIST HIGH PRIEST TOLD HIM IT WOULD TAKE HIM ABOUT EIGHT YEARS of theological training to find out, but that was too slow for him! He figured if he had to fight that duel again tomorrow night he needed to know now! So he finally found and old-fashioned Methodist preacher who led him to Christ on his knees on the spot!--And he was superbly happy!
HIS CONVERSION REALLY RESULTED IN A DRAMATIC CHANGE in his life, because he always did whatever he did with all his heart! So he figured if Salvation was good enough for him, it would be good for everybody, and he immediately launched into the Methodist ministry as a young, dramatic and flaming evangelist. To make a long story short, he went from circuit riding in the hills of Virginia where my mother was born, to a string of degrees and the eventual presidency of Virginia College, a more or less self-made man, but by the Grace of God. By his writings and investments he became a multi-millionaire!
AS THE AUTHOR OF SIXTEEN BOOKS, including "Turning Points in Life" and many others, the young Dr. John L. became a world traveler, popular pastor, and famous lecturer on the old Ridpath Chautauqua Circuit, where he often shared the same platform with such personal friends as James Whitcomb Riley, the world-famed children's poet, and William Jennings Bryan, of the famous Monkey Trial, and President Theodore Roosevelt, for whom he campaigned.--And his name is still to be found in "Who's Who", as late as the 1930s.
BY THIS TIME, HE HAD JOINED THE ALEXANDER CAMPBELL MOVEMENT OF THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, now known as the Christian Church and was one of the outstanding leaders of the movement, building and pastoring exactly 50 churches in his lifetime, including such famous edifices as First Christian of Toledo, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Melbourne, Australia, the largest in two countries.
BY WISE INVESTMENT OF HIS HIGH SALARIES AND ROYALTIES HE BECAME RICH ENOUGH TO HOB-KNOB WITH HIGH SOCIETY, and his daughter, Virginia Lee, toured Europe in style with Olga Busch, of the Anheuser Busch of the famous St. Louis Thomas brewing family, and John Charles Thomas, world-famous operatic tenor, her old flame. I mention these names because some of them, I'm sure, will be very familiar to some of you, especially some of you old timers, and to let some of you who may be doubters know that this thing was not done in a corner but comes from some considerable background!
WHILE A YOUNG SOCIETY GUEST IN THE FAMILY HOME OF THE LATE GENERAL WINFIELD SCOTT of American war fame, Dr. Brandt's daughter, Virginia, depressed over the recent untimely death of her dear Mother, and sickened with the superficiality of wealth and society, was prevented from taking her own life by the words of her Father from one of his sermons: "If you must throw your life away, why not give it to some good cause?"
SHE IMMEDIATELY VOLUNTEERED FOR SOCIAL SERVICE and was chosen to take Charles Crittenden's place when he died as National Field Secretary of the famous American Crittenden Homes for girls, and as such, raised millions of dollars for this work and founded many of these homes, particularly throughout the West, and became known as an authority on "the girl problem of America", speaking on the subject in such famous and unusual places as the Mormon Tabernacle, the only woman at the time who had ever spoken from its pulpit!
ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED TO BRUCE BOGART, A COUSIN OF HUMPHREY Bogart, the movie actor, and with their sumptuously wealthy home already furnished for their marriage, Miss Brandt was being given a gala farewell reception in Ogden, Utah, where she had built her last Crittenden Home. A handsome young Swedish professional concert tenor was invited to sing for the entertainment of this society bash, and during his rendition of "Oh, Promise Me" my aristocratic Mother promptly fell in love with this poor, young, Swedish immigrant, and eloped! She left her poor Bruce blind with shock, and the newspapers screaming headlines: "Society girl jilts millionaire to marry poor boy!"
MY FATHER, HJALMER EMMANUEL, was born near Kalmar Castle, in the Shmoland area of Southern Sweden (not Shmoo-land!), son of a poor shoe cobbler with a large family. His father and brother used to abet their meager earnings during the summers by traveling about Sweden as wandering minstrels, singing and playing their guitars and putting on acrobatic shows until they moved to America.
His older sister had gone to visit relatives in Nebraska and persuaded her father and family to follow. So AT THE AGE OF FOUR, MY FATHER WAS BROUGHT TO AMERICA in the horrible steerage compartment of an old freighter, under indescribable conditions, like many poor European immigrants of the late 1800s. They were so poor they had no silverware, so they ate from a common bowl in the middle of the table with their bare hands! They also had no chairs, and my Father could not remember sitting at the table until the age of twelve, at which time he was working in a coal colliery as a little boy sorting coal! There were no child labor laws and he worked hard!
FOR THE FIRST SEVERAL YEARS HE AND HIS WHOLE FAMILY SPOKE NOTHING BUT SWEDISH, since they lived in the nearly all-Swedish town of Oakland, Nebraska; and his father and mother, my Grandfather and Grandmother, "Far-Far and Mar-Mur", as we affectionately knew them in Swedish, never did learn to speak the English language, constantly contending that Swedish was good enough!
BY THE TIME I CAME ALONG, THE FAMILY HAD MOVED TO OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, WHERE I WAS BORN. There they had several prosperous businesses and owned considerable property, and my Father was a bookkeeper for the Southern Pacific Railroad and earned extra money as a concert singer on summer tours, which was how he met my Mother in Utah.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER THEIR MARRIAGE MY MOTHER CABLED HER FATHER, who was touring China at the time, and he invited my Father to sing for a series of meetings he was to hold upon his return, at Aberdeen, South Dakota.--And it was during those meetings, under my Grandfather's persuasive preaching, that my Father himself had one of those remarkable life-changing experiences and volunteered for the ministry!--Much to my Mother's horror, who by this time had herself become a blatant atheist during her college years at TCU!
THIS DRAMATIC AND CLIMACTIC CHANGE from a cigar-smoking, beer-drinking, wild-dancing, party-going, good-looking, and loose-living young man of the world to a suddenly sober, serious-minded, zealous, young, idealistic minister of the Church was almost too much for my Mother, for it was not at all the man she had married.--Much the same shock some of you have gone through when you have found your own children or loved ones likewise so changed through conversion!
NEVERTHELESS, WHEN SHE FOUND NOTHING COULD DISSUADE HIM FROM HIS TOTALLY NEW DIRECTION of life she decided to try not to discourage him any further, but to actually go along with him the best she could. So she accompanied him to Drake University at Des Moines, Iowa, for his theological training for the ministry of the Christian Church.
IT WAS THERE THAT MY OLDER BROTHER, HJALMER JR., WAS BORN, AND WHERE MY MOTHER'S BACK WAS BROKEN AND SHE WAS ALMOST TOTALLY PARALYZED IN A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT WHICH NEARLY KILLED HER and left her on a deathbed of agony for five years, a total invalid. The story is told in her own book, "The Hem of His Garment", which has now been read by millions.
WE HOPE YOU CAN READ HER BOOK, AS WE HAVEN'T TIME HERE TO TELL YOU THE FULL STORY OF THE MARVELOUS MIRACLE GOD DID IN HER LIFE by restoring both her faith and her health in answer to my Father's prayers, one of the most startling and supernatural of total changes in the life of anyone that you could ever hope to hear!--after which she herself was a completely different woman than my Father had married!
ALTHOUGH MY MOTHER'S BACK WAS OPERATED ON at Still Medical College, Des Moines, Iowa, under the direction of Dr. Still, the founder of Osteopathy, and Dr. Charles Mayo, founder of the world-famed Mayo Clinic, with 19 other consulting surgeons in attendance, removing eight inches of the dorsal vertebrae of her spinal column in an attempt to relieve the paralysis, she became even worse. Despite the fact that her wealthy father, before he lost his riches in Chinese bonds and German Marks, spent a fortune on her case calling in specialist after specialist, they all agreed her condition was hopeless and she would soon die.
AT LAST, DRS. LUTRELL AND RIGDON OF SAN FRANCISCO BEGGED MY FATHER TO TAKE HER HOME to his poor pastorate in Ukiah, California, and let the poor woman die in peace! By this time, at the end of five awful years of suffering, she only weighed 78 pounds of skin stretched over a skeleton, her hair had all fallen out from strong medicines, she was almost totally blind, totally paralyzed, a confirmed morphine drug addict, stomach salivated, left lung gone from tuberculosis from being in bed so long, heart dying of angina pectoris and mitro-stenosis of the valves, unconscious most of the time, fed by the injection of liquids by a glass tube through a hole in her throat (before the days of intravenous injections), and much more dead than alive.
BUT MY FATHER NEVER GAVE UP HOPE, CONTINUING TO PRAY in simple childlike faith that God could still answer prayer and still do miracles, until one day my poor atheistic Mother cried out in the midst of her horrible suffering: "O God, if there is a God, please help me!"--And God answered her pitiful heart cry, and instantly faith came, and for the first time in her life she began to comprehend His Love and Salvation!
AT 8:00 ON SATURDAY NIGHT SHE WAS INSTANTLY RAISED by the Hand of God from that deathbed of total and hopeless invalidism to walk the floor for the first time in five years--a human impossibility even if there had been nothing wrong with her! And she walked to my Father's church the following morning and stood in his pulpit and told what a miraculous change God had wrought!--A sudden conversion from absolute atheism to total faith, and an instantaneous healing from complete invalidism to supernatural health! Hallelujah! God lives!
THIS SPECTACULAR EVENT STARTED A REVIVAL of faith throughout the churches of Northern California, and the news of it was "everywhere spread abroad, and the multitudes gathered together!" Mother began to be everywhere in demand as a very popular inspirational speaker telling what God had done for her and that He could do for others, and "many mighty miracles were done at the hands of the Apostles" under her ministry!--Unbelievers were converted and believers were healed, a ministry which began in that memorable year of 1918 at the age of 32 and continued almost exactly 50 years, until the age of 82 when she passed away quietly and peacefully in her sleep in her little cottage in California to her eternal and glorious reward!
ALTHOUGH HER OWN DOCTOR AND NURSE WERE CONVERTED, as well as half the town and a good deal of Northern California, through this mighty modern miracle of God and through this observable and provable evidence that God is still alive, well and working, there were still the skeptical, hard-hearted scoffers who refused to believe! As Jesus said, if they won't believe the Bible, "though one should come back from the dead, yet will they not believe!"
AT THE CLOSE OF MY MOTHER'S TESTIMONY THAT FIRST MEMORABLE MORNING in my Father's own church, his leading elder walked the aisle and shook his finger in my Mother's face and said: "Nina Virginia, I would rather have seen you, the daughter of Dr. John L., dead and in your coffin here today and heard your funeral, than to have heard you stand here this morning proclaiming the doctrine of Divine Healing, which is not in the annals of our church!" There are none so blind as those that will not see, and those whose minds are so made up they don't care to be confused with the facts!--so bigoted, so set in their ways, so rigid and unchangeable they prefer lies to the truth! Do you?
MY FATHER'S OWN DENOMINATION, THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, OFFERED HIM A LARGER AND MORE LUCRATIVE PASTORATE IF HE WOULD STOP PREACHING AND PRACTICING "FAITH HEALING" as they called it, but he refused and resigned to launch out into an entirely new life of living totally by faith! He and my Mother entered into full-time evangelistic work together for most of the rest of their lives until he, too, passed away at the age of nearly 83, in 1966 in California, where their bodies are both buried side-by-side on a green hillside overlooking the sea and awaiting the Resurrection! Hallelujah!
ALTHOUGH THE DOCTORS HAD SAID MY MOTHER COULD NEVER HAVE ANOTHER CHILD, I WAS BORN NATURALLY AND HEALTHILY at an amazing eleven pounds in weight at home in a humble little cottage in the poor Melrose section of Oakland, California, on February 18, 1919--one of the last of the Aquarians, barely making it under the line that year! This was during the great Spanish influenza epidemic which killed millions only three months after World War I, but God spared me.
DEDICATED TO THE LORD AND NAMED BY MY MOTHER BEFORE I WAS EVEN BORN, I WAS PROPHESIED OVER MANY TIMES by many prophets of God as having been filled with the Holy Ghost from my Mother's womb, like John the Baptist, and many great things were foretold that I would do--some of which have already been fulfilled, thanks to God's miracle-working power through our children, the Children of God! It was prophesied at various times that I would be like Moses, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and even David in the kind of ministry God would bestow upon me.
SOME HAVE EVEN SAID THAT OUR MINISTRY WOULD BE A FULFILLMENT OF THE PREDICTIONS OF DEUTERONOMY 18:15-18; Psalm 68; Psalm 89; Psalm 132; Isaiah 55; Jeremiah 1, 30, 33; Ezekiel 2 and 3, 34 and 37; Daniel 9 and 10; Hosea 3; Zechariah 8; and Revelation 3:7-13. Some of these prophecies were pronounced over me identically, word for word, by different prophets in different places at different times who did not even know me or my name! Many of these are already being fulfilled! Praise God!
BE THAT AS IT MAY, MY EARLY YEARS GAVE LITTLE HINT OF ANY GREATNESS TO COME, OTHER THAN THESE REMARKABLE PROPHECIES. I was frail, shy, and very reticent, a veritable bookworm and recluse who preferred to retreat to the world of study of other times and other places rather than participate in the foolishness and horrors of the hard, cruel world around me. I loved to be alone and wander alone over the hills and through the woods and climbing mountains to observe and study for hours and days on end the beauties and wonders of God's Creation, and to listen to His still, small Voice explaining these things.
AS A RESULT, I WAS CONSIDERED A LITTLE ODD AND A LONER at school, who preferred the loner's sports such as hiking and swimming, in which I excelled, as well as top grades in all my studies. I finally graduated with the highest scholastic record in the 80-year history of Monterey Union High School in historic old Monterey, California, on beautiful old Monterey Bay, and honored by the California Scholastic Federation and with offers of scholarships at several outstanding colleges and universities.
I MIGHT HAVE GONE ON TO SOME SUCCESS IN THE FIELDS OF HIGHER EDUCATION, the only one in which I seemed truly talented and most likely to succeed, to become a college president like my Grandfather, or college administrator like my father and brother, Dr. Hjalmer E., who were B.A.'s, M.A.'s, Ph.D.'s, LL.D.'s, D.D.'s, etc. But my first love was still the Lord, and I desired to serve Him and others with all my heart in whatever capacity He thought me best suited or for which He was fitting me.
WE HAD TRAVELED FROM BIRTH IN PASTORAL AND EVANGELISTIC WORK with my parents throughout the United States and Canada, even during our school years, attending as high as nine different schools in one school year! We were usually very poor, and my earliest memories are of old cars, tents and trailers, like Gospel Gypsies on the road! Most of these activities were centered in the widely scattered areas of California, Texas, Oklahoma, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Florida, so this kept our little family much on the move.
WE SETTLED IN MIAMI, FLORIDA, IN 1924, where my parents built the largest Gospel Tabernacle in Southeastern United States, which was packed with about 5000 people nearly every night of a mighty spiritual revival campaign which lasted until the Boom burst in 1925 and the Great Hurricane struck in 1926 destroying the Tabernacle and much of Miami and killing over 2000 people and injuring multiplied thousands more, but not even hurting one of our members!
MY PARENTS TOOK THIS AS A SIGN THAT THEY WERE TO SPEND MORE TIME IN EVANGELISTIC WORK, but they still did not seem to get the point that God was evidently displeased with church buildings, so they rebuilt the old Tabernacle, which still stands at the corner of N.W. 5th Ave. and 33rd Street and was affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the new denomination which they had since joined. They later also founded in Miami the Church of the Open Door, now known as Central Alliance Church, and for 15 years my Mother was the Voice of Meditation Moments, WQAM, the oldest religious broadcast in Florida.
BY THE TIME I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL, THEY HAD RETURNED TO CALIFORNIA AND FULLTIME EVANGELISTIC WORK, in which I joined them. My Father soon retired from the field to join the faculty at Westmont College, which my brother and Mrs. Kerr (of the Kerr-Mason Jars) and other wealthy, conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, mostly Presbyterians at the time helped to found at Santa Barbara, California, under the direction of Dr. Emerson, former Dean of Wheaton College, Illinois, and designed to be the "Wheaton of the West".
THIS WAS IN THE EARLY FORTIES, DURING WORLD WAR II, AND MY FATHER CONTINUED ON WITH WESTMONT FOR TEN YEARS UNTIL HIS RETIREMENT. My brother went on to become a Superintendent of Schools and then Executive Vice President of San Francisco State and Oakland College, and finally Director of Personnel of Aerojet General, Sacramento, until his present semi-retirement in Grass Valley, California. His wife is still principal of Oakland High, largest in the U.S. My sister, Virginia, mother of a family of five, still lives in Huntington Beach, California, to which lovely little city my parents eventually retired.
MEANWHILE, JUST A FEW DAYS AFTER THE BOMBING OF PEARL HARBOR, I WAS DRAFTED INTO THE ARMY IN 1941, serving with the U.S. Army Engineers, Headquarters Battalion, at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, home of the Engineers, until my Complete Disability Discharge because of heart trouble. The Army had notified my parents I was dying with double pneumonia at a temperature of 106 degrees and they feared my already enlarged and leaky heart, twice normal size, weakened by the strain, would collapse. I was unconscious for three days, but when I finally promised God I would try to serve Him faithfully for the rest of my life if He would save it, I was instantly healed in answer to prayer, to the amazement of all my doctors and nurses! They used to say I was the sickest boy they had, but got well the quickest! Praise the Lord!Continued in part 3 ...
I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom. If you find this website useful, please consider sending me a gift through PayPal toward the support of this website's server fee.
I'm also the webmaster of jamesjpn.net. You can read my bio there.