If you go here, you can listen to the testimony of one Mary Katherine Baxter. Mary ministers at the National Church of God in Washington, D.C. ‘Her services are characterized by miracles and other demonstrations of the Holy Spirit.’ Mary is clearly somewhat more beloved of God than most of us, as He lets her in on stuff the rest of us are not allowed to know, and she has been vouchsafed sneak peeks of Heaven and Hell. On You Tube you can learn about her visits to both places, with especial emphasis on the latter. Now you don’t (believe me on this) want to listen to all fifteen instalments, so here’s a brief summary.
Hell is located in the core of the Earth, and has the shape of a human body – shades of Swedenborg here. Jesus took MKB there for three hours a night for thirty nights, and it’s pretty much what you might expect. It’s real nasty. My Goodness, it’s bad. The Damned are nothing but near-skeletons, their skin burning on their bones and then regenerating even as it is consumed by fire and glowing maggots, for their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Demons have lots of inventive methods of torturing them and they moan and writhe and scream and beg Jesus for mercy. No deal, though; it’s too late for that now. He's a great finger wagger, is Mary's Jesus, full of shoulda-dones, and despite the warm lart she perceives in his arze, they ain't a blame thang he kin do. Heaven, on the other hand, is even nicer than Disney Land, if you can imagine that, and when she went, Mary saw a trumpet thirty feet long and a piano forty foot across, and people spend their time (no shortage of that) dancing to music of all nations. So it’s all good, clean, wholesome fun up there and you know which one you want to go to when you die after listening to all this. The Lawd willuv opened up yur arze.
Far more interesting than Mary Katherine’s semi-literate maunderings are the comments appended to the videos by You Tubers. For every one denouncing her as bat-shit crazy or shamelessly on the make, three or more extol her and sing the praises of Jesus, who saves men from this torment without end, if only they will bow down to him. People really do believe this Grand Guignol fantasy of Hell, and really do think God is to be joyously worshipped for providing us with an out, rather than despised and rejected out of hand for having created Hell in the first place. I have been unable to resist commenting myself, now in earnest, now flippantly, and I get smacked down most times by people who take this stuff mighty seriously, and would have me look to my soul. This sort of thing:
‘This was a powerful move of God. I guess it takes a person filled with the Holy Ghost, saved and sanctified to discern it.’
Meaning not me, obviously.
‘Chose this day whom you will serve. Either its God or Satan, one or the other. It seems as if you love the world more than God, and you will die in your sins if you do not repent.’
One contributes this piece of inspirational poetry:
‘follow the satan and you shall see
the flames of hell for all eternity
turn your back from god and you will get
tormented day and night in the darkest pit
christ died for man , woman and all
so that none of us would have to fall
follow satan the serpant and liar
and your body will burn forever in fire
So understand what god have meant
before its to late you should repent.’
I like the way he rhymes 'get' and 'pit'.
‘I see that you cannot tell when Jesus reveals things through mankind. Do you really not believe Jesus is behind the revelation of Mary Baxter and others? I can figure out which side you are on, do you still follow Satan? Do you watch porn, get drunk, having sex and not married? The truth lies in your answer.’
Spot on about the porn, booze and sex there, although I don't actually get drunk having sex.
I would like to know how these people manage to reconcile their idea of a loving and compassionate God with their belief that Hell exists, and is condign punishment for anyone who does not believe in Jesus. It’s rather like defending Auschwitz. I used to know a few Evangelicals when I was about fourteen. I attended Bible study meetings where these kind people sat in the hosts' cosy living rooms, praying, discussing and having tea and cakes, the gas fire puttering, all of us somehow managing to ignore the smoke and flames and screams of Hell that we were enjoined to accept and see, by some feat of logic-chopping, as the creation of a just God. I just want to know now how ideas of Hell and Just God can sit peaceably side by side in anyone's mind. A conclusion I am trying to avoid is that they simply lack imagination, empathy and maybe intelligence, but that is too sweeping. Anybody?