You have to know Ed Deppner to understand what makes him tick. The church he belongs to specializes in prophecy. After fathering his first son from Emily, anxiety set in when he continued hearing hell fire and brimstone sermons. It made him more than ready for Christ to come back and proclaim him and a slug of others [the] chosen ones.
I agree with Ed that the flames of hell are no laughing matter. It smarts like heck by just sticking your finger in a flame—let alone having your whole body submerged in fire for eternity. With all such nonsense that’s been going on throughout the ages, one can’t help but maintain that a literal belief in the Bible may endanger your life and health.
Ed liked the idea of the Divine promising to make a new earth. That part of the Bible Ed likes best. I believe he is allergic to high places, like heaven. He always talks about the new purified earth, where he can grow a crop of wheat in a day and have flour made into bread all before sunset. Quite an improvement from our old sinful world.
Now remember, there is nothing wrong with Ed’s brains. His mind is sharp and remembers everything that happened in his life. He badly needs to be de-programmed. But the cost does not guarantee a cure. Predicting Christ's return on a certain date was and is popular in some religious organizations. Ed was no exception. He even had Jesus’ landing pad figured out. Also the zero hour for Christ’s return was set by prophet Ed.
Now let’s go back to a warm day in October, 1926. Sugar and Emily were told they had to get ready to meet Jesus. As a five year old, Sugar got all excited and wanted to wear her prettiest dress so Jesus could see how pretty she looked. Emily had made it for her. She remembers vividly the pink dotted swiss with rows of ruffled lace.
With Bible in hand, Ed blazed the way up a rock bluff. Seems like most biblical events took place on high spots. Father Deppner prayed all day. Sugar remembered that little two year old brother got bored and started playing with The Bible. Mamma Emily tried to retrieve the pages that got torn out. Not knowing when the ‘show of shows’ was to take place. Sugar got tired and started setting on rocks and getting hungry.
Late afternoon the railroad section crew could see the Deppner family on the bluff and reported it to Grandpa who lived nearby. Grandpa took the two kids home and filled them up with food. They returned back to that holy rock pile and stayed ‘til Grandpa came back again and told Ed to take his family back home as Jesus wasn’t coming.
I visited with old Ed in March, 1989 about him making his family wait for the ‘Second Coming’. He verified the incident on what Sugar remembered as a child. It was indeed 1926 when he took his family up to his ‘Mount Sinai’. Upon questioning, Ed just figured his timing was off. (An understatement)
A comment taken from Sugar’s diary: “It seems like dad, (Ed) has been confused over religion most of his life. He could never be moderate. Now, in his 90’s, it still goes on and on, as he disagrees with his own church friends. And types his version and sends copies here and there. Poor dad, too bad he can’t find peace of mind in his religion.”
Hearing old Ed Deppner trying to figure this heaven and hell stuff out, causes me to smile in knowledge that as a nonbeliever, I am free from nervous anticipation of sanctum that was invented by man and shall never be.