Page 13 - Rod and Rheta Campbell, Marion Bridge
ISSUE : Issue 24
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/12/1
in the sight of God to listen to you or to God. Judge for yourself, but as for me, I'll listen to God's ways." So I went out and I started again. Then Ellen MacDonald was picked up by the Mountie, said she sold him a book. They had a trial and sen? tenced her to 10 days in jail and a fine of six dollars and a half. Then they got Rod and me, took us in. They started a trial on me. I asked that the case be postponed, to get in touch with our headquarters in Toronto. The magis? trate said, "Well, is your God in Ontar? io?" I said, "No, but the head of God's organization for Canada is." So he said, "Get back here tomorrow morning." So I said, "If Mrs. IVfeioDonald is going to jail, I'm going with her." He said, "She can go home with you." I said, "All right, and you can come along too, if you like." He said, "You'd talk my ear off if I went with you." Imagine! This, a magistrate. Anyway, we landed there next morning at 9 o'clock. Town policeman said, "I was hop? ing we'd never see you again." They really thought we'd just keep on going. "Oh," I said, "we always keep our word." "Oh yes," he said, "you're very good people" • just disgusted with us. In the meantime I had typed off a couple of pages on our work, and the society had told us what to do in case of arrest • because there were lots of arrests those days. I started to read this, that this is what had happened to the dis? ciples, and we're not surprised, and we intended to keep on with the work. He said, "We don't want to hear any sermon from you." I told him that I understood under the British law, we had authority to plead our own cases, and this is my defense. "Yes, yes, go on, go on." And I started reading again. And he said, "Will you shut up! The glibness • I never heard the like of it. God help the man that has to put up with you." He went to the back of the building. It was an old barn. The courthouse had burned down. And he and a priest stood back there smoking cigarettes. Then he came up and said, "Are you through?" "No," I said, "I'd like to read the charter of our or? ganization." And he snatched it out of my hand and said, "Well, you won't read it." And I snatched it back and I did read it. And I showed that I had not soTJ books. But the magistrate didn't care, and I was fined 5 dollars, and a dollar and a half costs • that was it. Or 10 days in jail. I said, "We'll go to jail." Well, if you had thrown a bucket of whitewash at him, he couldn't have looked sicker. They never dreamed of us going to jail. They were taking us to the jail in Port Hood. And I said to them, "Now drive as fast as you can. I've never had a drive fast enough to suit me. I'd be arrested if I did." Anyway, he drove pretty fast. The Mountie said, "I think you people are get? ting a real kick out of this." And I said, "If you think I'm doing this for fun • to carry a bag of books and a phonograph and walk up to the top of these Cape Breton hills and then probably find nothing but a police dog • people don't do that for fun. The trouble- is that your priests and min? isters don't want you people to know that Hell is not a place of torment, there's no such a place as Purgatory." And I talked from then on into Port Hood, telling them about Hell and Purgatory. So when we got to Port Hood, they went into the court? house first and explained about it. When we went in the sheriff said, "I understand you ladies are not criminals, we're not going to put you in the jail." They kept us in the jury room. Nice room. I can't remember whether we were there two nights or just one. (Rod was free and went for papers to ap- . peal the case. The two women were released pending the appeal. The case came up a long time afterward in Port Hawkesbury, and even a longer time passed before they learned that they had to go back to jail and complete the last 8 days of the sen? tence. Their lawyer got in touch with the sheriff in Port Hood, and he said, "Don't send women up here this time of the year, it's too cold. You wait until spring." So in the spring Ellen and Rheta went back to Port Hood and presented themselves to com? plete their sentence. They were told to "go home and forget about it.") (But this was before the Second World War. With the war, did things get even rougher for Jehovah's Witnesses?) Rheta; We were under ban. If I came in your house and you said, "Are you one of Jehovah's Wit? nesses," and I said, "Yes" • well, you could call up and have me arrested and put in jail. (Why?) Because our books wer,e
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