A "Sacred Mountaintop" In Alabama
"If you don't believe this is holy just smell of it”
Rev. David Terrell
Mountain top refuge in the last days
"If you don't believe this is holy just smell of it. I made it myself. The Lord gave me the formula for it," proclaimed Reverend David Terrell as he passed a white gallon jug of "holy oil" around to his cadre of ministers during a revival service on a mountain top north of Collinsville, Alabama.
The occasion, attended by several hundred followers and curiosity seekers, marked the 14th anniversary of Rev. Terrell's conversion in which he claimed that after 40 days of fasting, Jesus came down to him on a beam of light through the roof of a mobile home and held hands with him.
Many of his followers called their mountaintop in north Alabama "Mt. Zion" from the Biblical reference because they believe that "in the latter days" the mountain top will be one of the few places of refuge from whatever may befall the world.
Terrell claimed to have had a vision while passing through the area about the "coming of hard times" which he believes will coincide with the Biblical prophecies in the Book of Revelation.
"We are right now ripe for the Anti-Christ except for one hope," and he sees his movement as part of that hope.
"My people are going to have to move into the country and learn how to survive, make their own clothes," Terrell said while urging his followers to keep old clothes and shoes, save newspapers for compost bins and fertilizer and use coal oil for lamps.
He recalls when, early one morning, an audible voice told him, during prayer, that if he would begin a fast he would receive supernatural assistance.™
"The Lord appeared to me, you've got to go back to the apostles to find this gospel - the last message to a dying world - the last messenger."
And Terrell boasts, "I want you to know that I am one of those sent ones. Jesus sent me with this revelation to this generation. I was born into the world for this purpose, to fulfill this generation . . . to restore to you the kingdom of God, to open your eyes, to turn you from darkness to light, to turn you back to the living God."´
Land values jump
Real estate brokers in the area said that land sales skyrocketed when the followers came into the area in the late 1960s and early '70s to buy up land on their "Mt. Zion."
In nearby Fort Payne, Alabama a reporter with THE TIMES-JOURNAL said population figures indicated a 28 percent increase during the time in which the church followers were moving into the area.
Since the Biblical account of Christ's ascension and Him telling his disciples that he would one day return; there have been a steady stream of preachers, prophets and doomsday seekers proclaiming the end of the world is near and convincing enough followers to some remote mountaintop or desolate desert site to await a lift into heaven.
Terrell was convicted by a jury on four counts of willfully attempting to evade federal income taxes from 1976 through 1979 and was sentenced to three concurrent 10-year prison sentences.
His stepdaughter, Donna M. Johnson wrote a memoir of her life and times with Terrell on the now famous "Sawdust Trail" titled "Holy Ghost Girl". In the first line of the book's prologue she opens, "Donna, I don't know if you're coming to the funeral, but I heard Daddy's gonna try to raise Randall from the dead"
The book traces their lives in the 1950s and 1960s as their tent revival made the round of communities and towns as Terrell brought his message and built a "family" of around 70 - progeny from his wife, followers, mistresses and fellow preacher's wives!
She states in her book, "I believed (he) was a prophet and a healer. I knew he was a liar and an adulterer."
Texas Observer writer Robert Leleux noted, in a Jan. 12, 2012 review of the book, that no matter what one thought of Terrell, he is probably "the last of the great tent-revival preachers of the fabled Sawdust Trail" which many itinerant preachers and faith healers traveled around the South during the late 1940s - 1960s.
Terrell continues that ride and maintains a ministry and social presence on the internet, has built up an impressive list of churches but regrets to inform everyone that the ingredients for the "Holy Oil" is no longer available and remaining supplies will only be used for ministry use.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Wayne Ruple