Dukh-i-zhizniki in America
An update of Molokans in America (Berokoff, 1969). IN-PROGRESS
Enhanced and edited by Andrei Conovaloff, since 2013. Send comments to Administrator @ Molokane. org
Chapter 5 Post War Problems <Chapter 4 Contents Chapter 6>
- Economy and Demographics
- "Brother Isaiah" John Cudney from New Orleans
- Famine in Central Russia
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Peru, South America
- Delegation to Peru Efsayeff, Potapoff
- Prophets die Klubnikin 1915, Agaltsoff 1920
- 6 Theological Issues
- 18 Men Scout Central Mexico
- New Mexico
Dr. Pauline Young Anton Cherbak Jung-Stilling Youth Neglected U.M.C.A. the only United Spiritual Christian Association updated 3 July 2016 Depression updated 3 July 2016
P. M. Shubin dies
1. Economy and Demographics
PAGE 77 The economic collapse MORE following the end of the First World war boom affected the whole United States including
with the exception ofSouthern California which was at that time enjoying one of its population explosions with the resulting building expansions. For that reason all Spiritual Christians Molokans who returned to Los Angeles from their abandoned farms were able to find employment at good wages in factories, self-employed, the local lumber yards and in the building industry as carpenters. The largest influx were those returning from Arizona in the 1920s, who were the majority of 3 of the 4 Arizona congregations Buchnak, Dzherom (Jerome Junction), Selim. For most, their kingdom was in the city.
While some defaulted, walked away, from their farm loans and store credits, others did not. Rapidly paying off their accumulated farm debts, they proceeded to buy or build homes in outlying communities Belvedere now East Los Angeles, Lynwood, Huntington Park, Maywood, etc. thus beginning a movement that, in time, emptied the Flats area of the Spiritual Christians Molokans mostly due to city renewal (slum clearing) and highway construction in the 1940s.
Planning for what is now Interstate-5 (Santa Ana Freeway) beginning in 1933, included building over the location of "Big Church" (Boyle Avenue and 4th Street) which had to move. Moving the new "Big Church" (cut in half) 1.6 miles (2 miles walking distance) east, psychologically repositioned nearly all the Spiritual Christians from Russia who also moved their congregations and homes independently, to apparently maintain geographical contiguity. Since the 1980s, another mass multi-congregational relocation to white eastern Los Angeles County (Hacienda Heights, Whittier, La Puente, etc) occurred independently, yet appears orchestrated, again, perhaps as a subconscious preservation of spacial cohesiveness.
This movement was not entirely beneficial to them, for although it alleviated to some extent the serious problem of juvenile delinquency that was plaguing them at the time, it also disrupted the regularity of meetingBerokoff skips post WWII sub-urbanization of the more assimilated youth, which left parents in their old neighborhoods. The "serious problem of juvenile delinquency" was mostly addressed by the more progressive immigrants forming the UMCA in 1926 and increased social services from parks and schools.
churchattendance on the part of the young and the old alike, a tendency that was never reversed. People were much farther apart, no longer tight neighbors. Kids dispersed among many school districts.
A majority of elders who could not drive remained within walking distance of their meeting halls, and 3 community stores and a bakery, conveniently clustered near "Big Church" and 2 other meeting halls.
The map (above) shows that many Spiritual Christians born in the US moved out of Los Angeles and branched in 2 directions, spreading into new suburbs east and south. (Demographic statistics in-progress.) The young affluent marrieds could buy an "American dream" house in the new suburbs with modern appliances and a car.
By 1920 these immigrants had 10 to 15 years of assimilation exposure. Many Russian-born, under 25 (born after 1900), were probably well integrated, having lived most of their life in the U.S. The schools, city parks, and non-profit organizations (Y.M.C.A., Y.W.C.A., International Institute) conducted many inter-ethnic programs which celebrated the diversity of immigrants. Beneficiaries of these programs became many of the most educated and affluent religiously moderate families and tolerated interfaith association and intermarriage. By the 1940s their kids were attending the newly formed Y.R.C.A. Bible classes.
The map (above) shows that the location for the New LA Cemetery, incorporated in 1941, appears midway between the two population growth paths, and that the I-5 Santa Ana Freeway marks the psychological southern boundary for all the congregation meeting halls, even today, though many families moved miles south of it.
Spiritual Christians disbursed in urban Los Angeles retained a heritage affiliation with their congregation by village of one's ancestors. For example, if your parents or grandparent's lived in Melikoy village, Kars oblast, you typically remained a member of Melikoy sobranie in Los Angeles. No matter how far away you were, or whether you lived much closer to another meeting hall, you are expected to maintain allegiance with your heritage congregation, unless invited to a special event at another congregation. Similarly Akhta village (Samarin's, Percy Street, now on Pioneer street in Whittier) remained mostly intact.
Some non-Orthodox villages in Russia had more than one congregation of different faiths. For example Selim, Kars Oblast, had two prayer houses: Molokan and Prygun. Most of the Molokane had to move to San Francisco to maintain their faith which was forbidden in Los Angeles, or join a Dukh-i-zhiznik congregation in Los Angeles; while most of the Selimskii Pryguny had their own congregation first in Potter Valley, northern California, then divided with some choosing Los Angles, and others a colony near Tolleson, Arizona, up to 1947, when they re-merged with the Dukhizhisnik congregation near Glendale.
The most schismatic of all groups in the US was Berokoff's congregation from Romanovka, Kars oblast (Podval, Klubnikin's, Shubin's, Clarence Street) which divided into 3 congregations, and redivided. Each division allowed young zealots who were censored, or just anxious to advance, to with freedom on their own new front row.
Changing congregations is not automatic. Unless you were part of a congregational split, to leave a congregation a family is expected to perform a "good-bye" ritual (proschatsta) at your old congregation, and then petition to join your new chosen congregation with another ceremony.
Though it would seem logical and more economical for meeting halls to be dispersed geographically in suburbs nearest were many people lived (Huntington Park, Montebello, Downey, Whittier, Orange County), geographic affiliation was not allowed because it would mix members of different faiths who have established clans and positions, sometimes inherited, in their ancestral congregation. Transference of membership could not be done unless one parts (voluntarily or involuntarily) to join another accepting congregation, or forms their own congregation. The new congregation then must be recognized by enough other congregations to retain affiliation with the Dukh-i-zhiznik religious family of faiths. Not all congregations accept or respect others equally, without prejudice. Due to automobiles, a family is not restricted to joining the closest congregation, but can often attend any congregation as a visitor, though they may not be recognized or respected by their home congregation position. Some drive more than 100 miles to attend "their" meeting.
2. "Brother Isaiah" John Cudney from New Orleans
About this time summer 1921 there appeared in Los Angeles a person who caused quite a commotion among the Spiritual Christians Molokan people, a commotion that was accompanied by considerable misunderstanding and ill feeling among them. This person called himself "Brother Isaiah" but the newspapers soon dubbed him the "Miracle Man". Where he came from no one seemed to know and he was not anxious to divulge the information.
John Cudney was a peddler well known in New Orleans where he lived on a boat on the Mississippi river. His healings attracted huge crowds and police control. An agent arranged for his tour to cure the sick around the U.S. and Canada, where he met Community Doukhobors. His all-white clothes were familiar to the most zealous Spiritual Christians particularly Freedomites, some of whom also dressed entirely white using no animal products (leather) in their non-killing spirit.
A Los Angeles woman who claimed to be healed by him when she was in New Orleans invited him to come stay at her house and heal the masses. Her brother arranged for a no cost hill slope at the east side of Lincoln, northwest corner of Valley Blvd and Soto Street, at a street car stop. The host printed and sold photographs, like the one Kulikoff bought, to pay for his stay, and her brother sold refreshments. Due to a boy dying instead of being healed and too many sick people waiting all day in the hot sun, city departments stopped the daily events.
Brother Isaiah, the so-called miracle man who caused a considerable stir in the Spiritual Christian Molokan community in 1921. Photo Courtesy of Vasili R. Kulikoff.
Click to enlarge Cudney's host sold these cards to pay his way.
A strikingly tall and handsome elderly man of about 70 years, with a long white beard and long hair to match, he PAGE 78 conducted a preaching and healing services in a half open stage atop a hill near Lincoln Park called "Miracle Hill" in his honor. His services were attended by large crowds of curious people up to 10,000 at a time and by many sick and invalids hoping to be healed. As is usual in such circumstances, many of these testified to his healing powers, at times throwing away their crutches and walking away unaided.
Hearing of this the Spiritual Christians Molokans too flocked to the hill top, coming back to spread the news to friends and neighbors. They were so impressed that soon the Maksimisti were Molokan community was deep in a debate as to whether or not he was the reincarnation of Maxim Gavrilovitch. Others contended that he was none other than the fulfillment of a recent prophesy of Afonasy Bezayeff who, on June 5, 1921, or about a month previous to Isaiah's appearance, saw a vision of a star in the heavens with a head resembling a lion and with a tail of a horse, so that people would have difficulty in discerning whether it was that or the other. The name of the star will be "'Star of destruction." Bezayeff 's vision is similar to Revelations
In the midst of these debates Afonasy himself urged the people not to accept the healer nor to go to him to be healed but that those who would go would soon be crawling like crabs.
Nevertheless, it was decided in the middle of August to invite him to the old Klubnikin meeting church building (podval sobranie) to hear him out. He appeared there on a Sunday afternoon all dressed in a white flannel suit and a hat to match the suit.
Without removing his hat, he stood at the side of the table and carried on a monologue lasting two hours. The gist of his talk was to the effect that he, personally, is the man-child born of the woman clothed in the Sun as foretold in the book of Revelations; that the reason he did not remove his hat is that it represents the crown on the head of the woman clothed in the Sun, and that the words coming from his lips is the river flowing from the throne of God and that his body and his PAGE 79 arms that are healing the sick is the tree of life astride the same river as described in Revelations 22. "The woman clothed in the Sun" is a significant theme in the Dukh i zhizn'. The news reported him several times wearing a crown of oranges, which he also did in Canada while seeking contact with Doukhobors.
He concluded his monologue by stating that he is now seeking a place to which he must lead his people, a place where the resurrection is to take place, further stating that in his opinion the Spiritual Christians Molokans are his people and invited some of them to look over a tract of land he had in mind. This invitation was ignored completely.
At the conclusion of his talk he invited all the sick to come forth to be healed. Several seriously sick elderly people and one boy of twelve who was a complete invalid, both mentally and physically, came forward. All the older people announced that they felt better after his manipulations, but alas, several months later all died from their illnesses. When the crippled boy was brought to him, Isaiah realized immediately that it was a hopeless case and refrained from attempting a healing. The boy too, died shortly after.
Following this performance the Spiritual Christians Molokans gradually lost interest in him. Although there were a few instances where hopelessly sick people sent their handkerchiefs to him by mail for a blessing and hoping to be healed, but to no avail.
Thereafter the city health authorities prevented him from assembling large crowds in the open spaces and, after being shunted from one place to another, he disappeared without trace not, however, without leaving some spiritual scars in the minds of some Spiritual Christians Molokans as a result of the debates.
"Brother Isaiah" Cudney, so-called "Miracle Man," is disappointed as a result of the difficulties he has met in securing a city park at which to hold his "healing" meetings, and unless citizens offer private ground for his gatherings, the healer may desert Los Angeles and return to New Orleans. " 'Isaiah' May Go Home," Los Angeles Times, 7/12/1921, p. II-6
3. Famine in Central Russia
A further and a more serious dissension arose among in the Spiritual Christians Molokans Community in the fall of that year as a result of the world wide concern for the famine stricken people of Russia.
Millions of people were literally starving to death in the Ukraine and the entire southern part of Russia because these two great grain producing regions on which the whole nation depended for its cereals, suffered a complete crop failure for lack of snow and rain during the growing season and, since PAGE 80 this region was the scene of the terrible conflict between the Red Bolshevik armies and the white armies of Denikin and Wrangel who were fighting their cruel civil war, all reserves of food were shamelessly destroyed.
Whether or not there were any reserves of wheat in other parts of the country Siberia or the North none knew except the heads of the government. In any case, the seven years of the nation's tribulation wars, revolutions and the civil war so disorganized its economy that it became an utter chaos and, as a consequence, no foodstuffs were able to reach the affected areas. So the millions were starving as the heads of the nation's government quibbled with other nationsAmerica and others over the terms by which to allow their proffered relief to enter their borders.
At this time a man by the name of Beloussoff and a woman known only as "Tovarish Rakhil" (Comrade Rakhil) appeared among in the Spiritual Christians Molokans community of Los Angeles to organize a famine relief among them. While so occupied, they succeeded in introducing their so-called parliamentary methods of conducting meetings. The meetings were held frequently to discuss means of collecting the relief offerings. The form of the meetings This was the leading cause of the dissension.
The leading elders were opposed to the intruders because their methods were in complete variance to the traditional Prygun and Maksimist Molokan methods of free discussion which was usually followed by a unanimous agreement when all signified their assent by shouting "Blaag Soviet" (good counsel). However, a certain element of the younger educated and assimilated generation were ready and willing to accept the innovation, governed perhaps by their sympathies with the communist regime in Russia. The youth were taught Parliamentary Procedure and Robert's Rules of Order in school.
In addition to these reasons, many, perhaps a majority, opposed the whole idea of sending relief to the Soviets on religious grounds. But in spite of this opposition and despite the fact that the opposition refrained from participating, a consider able sum was collected, truck-loads of beans and other foodstuffs PAGE 81 were purchased in conjunction with other elements of the non-Maksimist Molokan, Russian-born population of the Boyle Heights area and on the first week of December, 1921, it was shipped by steam ship to the Volga region of South Russia.
At the same time, the participating faction sent along a delegate, Ivan M. Seliznoff, ostensibly to distribute the shipment properly but also to scout out the living conditions under the new regime and to report the same to his friends in America who were convinced that the new regime was building a workers paradise there.
A few days before Seliznoff left with the shipment, on December 14, 1921, an official of the Near East Relief Society contacted the elders through Dana W. Bartlett urging them to extend a helping hand to Molokans in Trans-Caucasia where a terrible famine was also raging. This appeal could not be ignored for it meant saving the lives of people of the same faith, flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood, in many instances of brothers and sisters and even of mothers and fathers.
The official was immediately invited to a meeting where he related some awful scenes in which people were dying of starvation in the streets of towns and villages and of typhus that usually accompanies such calamities.
The people were wholly convinced of the truth of his story when he named well known Spiritual Christian Molokan villages where he was present, therefore his appeal could not be ignored. When he proposed that the Near East Relief Society would duplicate everything the Spiritual Christians Molokans would contribute, either in money or in food stuffs, they immediately took steps to coiled a fund to purchase clothing and provisions, assessing every able bodied family $25.00 and urging those who were unable to contribute that much, to give as much as they were able.
All agreed to participate with the exception of the faction that was already sending a large shipment to the Volga region. These refused in the mistaken belief that no Spiritual Christians Molokans were PAGE 82 left in Trans-Caucasia, claiming that all had moved to the Kuban region. Actually about 1% of all Spiritual Christians (~3,000 of ~300,000) migrated to America, not including ~7,500 (~1/3) Doukhobors who moved to Canada. In 1900 estimates for Spiritual Christians in the Russian Empire ranged from 200,000 to over a million.
To complicate matters, Maksimist Afosay T. Bezayeff uttered a prophesy at this time, in effect forbidding aid to any part of Soviet Russia, not even your own flesh and blood saying that, by helping the Soviets we would be nourishing a black horse that will trample us under its hooves in the end.
Berokoff did not apply this old prophesy to his current time to discuss nuclear war with Russia. See: Nuclear holocaust, Chapter 9, page
A tradition rooted in this old prophesy lingers today, known by zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki as "Zion versus Jerusalem." Examples of this rule are expressed by The Heritage Club who do not donate to foreigners, and most diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki who will not visit the Former Soviet Union or recognize congregations there in fellowship. If diaspora Dukh-i-zhiznik financial aid is collectively solicited it must only go to "our people" (nashi), practicing Dukh-i-zhizniki, typically to build a meeting hall, while individuals are unrestrained to give to family and friends in the FSU.
There followed three months of acrimonious debate, some supporting the prophesy and others just as fervently siding with the decision to send help, basing their stand on Jesus' parable of the good Samaritan and on the 25th Chapter of Matthew, etc. Every gathering of whatever nature was a continuation of the debate, compounding the already bitter feelings in the community.
Russian Molokan Relief Society warehouse, 172South Utah street. The Los Angeles Times provided free advertising. Most donations reported were collected from Americans, not Russians.
Nevertheless, the collection of funds and the purchase of provisions and second hand clothing continued without a let up during the winter. On March 17, 1922 a large consignment of beans and clothing was shipped directly from Wilmington on the S.S. Kentukian to the Black Sea port of Batum for distribution by the Near East Relief Society to the Spiritual Christian Molokan people in Trans-Caucasia. Many grateful letters of acknowledgment were later received from those people.
Only a very small minority refrained from participation in this communal act of charity, but even these, with one or two exceptions, privately managed to ship bales of second hand clothing or sums of money to their relatives.
4. Juvenile Delinquency (More on pages 89+)
Simultaneously with these charitable activities, the community was deeply concerned with the growing problem of juvenile delinquency. More and more Spiritual Christian Molokan homes were grieving over the loss of a daughter or a son deserting the home to marry outside their heritage Spiritual Christian faithPAGE 83 Naturally
a non-Molokan. Younger children too who now out-numbered the married, were frequently running away from home, seeking adventure elsewhere and eventually becoming wards of the Juvenile court.
and correctlythe elders, parents and every one else blamed the city environment for these evils , not themselves. More than 1000 had tried to live in isolated rural colonies, but most returned due to economic failures. Los Angeles at that period of its history was not the small, sleepy city of 1905 but a large metropolis of over 500,000 population and the world capital of the moving picture industry, an industry whose malignant influence permeated every country in the world and every young person therein, not excluding the Spiritual Christians Molokans. Therefore, they Molokan people sought some avenue of escape from this influence.
Unfortunately, however, there was no unanimity to their efforts. The zealots were
community wasdivided into three factions, while the broad spectrum of diverse assimilating descendants of Spiritual Christians were less concerned with the zealots.
- There was the faction clamoring for return to Russia, believing that the removal of the Romanoff dynasty meant the end of all misfortunes of that afflicted nation.
- A second group insisted that the proper place to go was not Russia but within the confines of Turkey or Persia, basing their belief on the prophesies of Maxim Gavrilitch Rudomyotkin who wrote that the chosen people will gather in the valley between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates,
- while the third and the more numerous group insisted that neither of the above lands were yet ready to receive the chosen people nor was the time ripe for it but that we should seek refuge temporarily somewhere in North or South America.
No one followed through on the first two plans, while those hoping to try the third plan were further divided by a variety of proposed refuge destinations and the prophets delivering them.
5. Peru, South America
At about this time early 1920s a certain Mr. Tommenotti, an owner of a concession to a large tract of land in Peru, near the Amazonian River town of Iquitos, appeared among the Spiritual Christians Molokans accompanied by a local land agent who was well acquainted with Spiritual Christian Molokan aims. They offered to settle a large colony of Spiritual Christians Molokans on Tommenotti's land at $3.25 per acre on very easy terms.
The proposition succeeded in stirring up considerable interest in the land hungry people, especially after the prophet Afonasy Bezayeff uttered a prophesy in favor of the movement. Meetings called to hear Tommenotti were crowded, but his unsympathetic demeanor and unbending attitude plus his refusal to PAGE 84 finance a trip for delegates to the location of the concession reversed the interest against him personally but not against the idea in principle.
At the same time in the midst of the agitation, a prophesy contrary to Afonasy's was uttered by another prophet who proclaimed that "of all those who would migrate to Peru only 10% would be able to return without harm".
Nevertheless, it was agreed to send a delegation of two to Peru independently of Tommenotti. A petition was also drawn up requesting the government of Peru to grant the Spiritual Christians Molokans a concession of their own to colonize and further asking for an exception from military service as well as an exception from import duties on all farm implements and other necessities for a certain period of time provided the agreement to colonize could be consummated.
5a. Delegation to Peru Efsayeff, Potapoff
A delegation composed of Petro G. Efsayeff and Vasili T. Potapoff was selected and the petition was signed by a large portion of the heads of families. Only those abstained who were bent on returning to Russia.
The delegation left for Lima, Peru in high spirits, hoping to negotiate a tentative agreement with the government in Lima and from there to proceed on mule back across the Andes, to descend to the Amazon River and thence by boat to Iquitos to the location of Tommenotti's tract of land.
But alas! The journey in the high altitudes of the Andes proved too arduous for men of their age. Without receiving anything definite from the Peruvian government, they nevertheless decided to see Tommenotti's land. They succeeded in crossing the summit of the Andes but part way down the Eastern slope, they became disenchanted with the country and decided to return without finding a tract of their own or of seeing Tommenotti's concession. And so this attempt at colonization, like so many others, ended in a dismal failure.
5b. Prophets die Klubnikin 1915, Agaltsoff 1920
PAGE 85 The Spiritual Christians Molokan community of that time were was blessed with numerous personalities of strong character who held the esteem and respect of the people for their moral, spiritual and intellectual qualities. But men with these qualities are generally strong in will power and stubborn in their convictions. Before his death in 1915, Klubnikin's prestige was strong enough to discourage overt clashes of personalities. Following his death the individual most highly regarded in spiritual matters was Nikolai Ivanich Agaltsoff who was considered a sage and was respected as a prophet and a strong moral force. Unfortunately he passed away in 1920, only five years after Klubnikin.
Philip Mikhaeich Shubin
Click to Enlarge
Following his passing the implied leadership was assumed by Philip M. Shubin who, being about 65 years old, was at the peak of his intellectual power. He stood as a bulwark against repeated attempts at proselytizing by neighboring sects, and repelled them with his powerful logic and profound knowledge of the scriptures. Vasili Tikhonich Sussoyeff was also a greatly respected elder, morally and intellectually equipped for spiritual leadership. Many others were conspicuous for their qualities; Ivan G. Samarin, Mikhail P. Pivovaroff, Ivan F. Golubeff, plus a goodly number of younger men who later became heads of congregations in their own right.
Among all these, however, there was a meek and mild mannered individual who took no part in community discussions, who had no pretensions of leadership but who exerted tremendous influence in the brotherhood because he was a fit vessel which the Lord God periodically conveyed His messages to the Spiritual Christian Molokan Brotherhood. Afonasy T. Bezayeff, although burdened with family misfortunes since his arrival in America (two of his young sons died in an epidemic of diphtheria in the first year of his arrival and he was not allowed to bury them with the proper Maksimist rituals church services because of the epidemic), he was never embittered but bore his misfortunes cheerfully and PAGE 86 labored mightily in the tasks imposed upon him by his Maker.
5c. 6 Theological Issues
Being influential however, these individuals 'were likewise stubborn, consequently it was inevitable that in trying to solve the many major theological issues confronting the brotherhood, clashes of personalities would occur, clashes that eventually resulted in ill feeling detrimental to the well being of the brotherhood.
These theological issues, in addition to the (1) question of Peru and (2) aid to the famine stricken in Russia were:
All these issues boiled down to hermeneutics, two different Dukh-i-zhiznik interpretations of the Scriptures:
- (3) What did the Russian Revolution mean to us?
- (4) What or who was or is the Antichrist?
- (5) When and how will the dead be resurrected?
- (6) What is the Millennium going to be like and when will it come to pass?
It was contended by this faction that as soon as the Bolsheviki completed the work of cleansing the Russian land of its idols and false dogmas, they will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and will receive the Holy Spirit after which we will return to our fatherland to build the Millennium there.
Other leaders defended the diametrically opposite view. Relying on the 13th chapter of the Book of Revelations (Bible), the 10th and 15th chapters of the sixth book of Maxim Gavrilich PAGE 87 and the 16th chapter of the works of David Yesseitch, they argued that the Bolsheviki were admitted atheists, therefore they could not be doing God's work but rather they were the forerunners of the army of the antichrist who will soon appear in person and, after destroying all monarchies, he will install his false republic and will proceed to force all Christians to accept his anti-Christian doctrines and to persecute without mercy all who will dare to oppose him. That be will gather all foodstuffs of his realm into his warehouse and deny it to those who will refuse to receive his mark on their right hand and on their foreheads.
The faction defending this viewpoint argued powerfully that according to the writings of Maxim Gavrilich Rudomyotkin, the true Christians will find a refuge from the persecutions of the Antichrist in the lands bordering Mt. Ararat, or somewhere between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.
It is plain therefore, that this latter group of leaders anticipated the appearance of the antichrist in the flesh, in the person of a super-powerful individual who will manage to consolidate the rule of many nations in his own hands, thus becoming a world-wide dictator controlling the world's food supply by which he will hold the people of the world in his power.
The opponents of this view maintained that the antichrist has been active since the beginning of the fourth century A.D. imprisoning, exiling, torturing on the rack, burning at the stake and otherwise persecuting those "which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ which is the spirit of prophesy."
Do we not see, they argued, that no one religion now has the power to compel others to conform to their doctrine on pain of death? Therefore the powers of the antichrist are being gradually taken away from him and he will soon be confined to a dungeon for a thousand years as the Book of PAGE 88 Revelations tells us. The millennium will soon be established on earth for already we see signs of its coming. Have not wars been outlawed by world powers? Is not the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages prohibited? Do we not see with our own eyes the phenomena of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on peoples throughout the whole world?
These questions, coupled with question of the resurrection of the dead, were debated and, at times acrimoniously argued for many years. They did not subside nor cease until the death of some of its leading protagonists. Almost always the proponents defending the literal or fundamentalist side of any issue were led by Vasili T. Sussoyeff and Ivan F. Golubiff while the opposite or spiritual concept was usually taken by Philip M. Shubin and Mikhail P. Pivovaroff and others.
These debates were resumed whenever or wherever a group of zealots of any Spiritual Christian faith Molokans were assembled for any occasion, even involving the youngest age brackets. Naturally the proponents of each side attracted their own adherents, either by force of their logic or by their differing personalities. But although they made thew meetings very interesting and even exciting, they did not settle anything, for it is quite clear now that on most issues both sides were mistaken to a marked degree.
The incarnate antichrist has not yet made his appearance nor have the communists shown any signs of becoming Christian or of accepting the Holy Spirit. The manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages has been resumed with a vengeance, bringing with it the use of drugs and chemicals far more harmful to individuals and nations than alcohol ever was.
Wars have not been abolished. On the contrary, they are now much more frequent and a hundred times, nay, a thousand times more destructive to life and property. On the other hand no serious attempts were made to find a refuge PAGE 89 in the Near East principally because there does not seem to be any there. On the contrary, many Spiritual Christian Molokan families from Persia (Chapter 8) have since that time found a refuge here, and a country that had never at that time figured in the debates or even considered as a haven Australia (Chapter 9) is now a home for approximately 25 families who are convinced that it is the second refuge for the Spiritual Christian Molokan people from the coming nuclear holocaust.
Meanwhile, the temporal worldly affairs of the brotherhood proceeded as usual. After the Peru fiasco it was more and more concerned with the problem of juvenile delinquency, a problem that was growing steadily worse. The solution to the problem was still believed to be in a mass removal from the city.
6. Chihuahua, Mexico
Soon another attempt was made in that direction when, in the summer of 1923 a possibility of a colony in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, presented itself.
Relevant news reports just before the summer of 1923:
- 1920 November 25 "Mexico Agrees to Receive 10000 Russian Settlers," New York Times Arrangements for the settlement of more than 10000 Russian Mennonites in the States of Campeche, Tabasco and Oaxaca, before the first of the year have been made. ... The colonists are to purchase Government land and have the right to conduct their own schools and teach their own language and religion. [+ military exemption]
- 1921 February 11 "Mexico Offers Big Opportunity To U.S. Cameron Declares," Arizona Republican, page 8 .. General Obregon is recognizing the importance of encouraging foreign immigration .. The government now offers free transportation from the border to point of destination for colonists, free importation of machinery, household goods and livestock and 50% reduction on freight rates. ..greatest consideration to the encouraging of foreign immigration into Mexico." .. Colonization of the millions of fertile acres of Mexico by Americans is especially desired, according to Senator Cameron, who pointed out that German [Anabaptist] immigrants have recognized the advantages and are hurrying to take up lands; that a delegation representing 60,000 [Anabaptist] Russians recently visited the state of Chihuahua and is now returning to Russia to make its report, and that the Mennonites of Canada recently sent a third delegation into Mexico, which is now making investigations. While not discouraging these immigrants, the leaders of the Mexican government expressed their preference for the incursion of progressive agrarians from the United States.
- 1921 November 30 "Mennonites Soon To Quit Canada For North Mexico," Madera Mercury (CA), page 3 1000 to begin and 11,000 total led by Bishop Wall, of the Hague district, Old Colony faith, Saskatchewan ... their land in Canada must be vacated by December 1, 1922. ... sold 85,000 acres. ... taking $14,000,000 in cash, or about $15,000 net cash per family on the average. ... There are about 30 different sects of Mennonites ... these are distinct another 11,000 who purchased land in South America. ...
- 1922 January-April
- 1922 October 7 "General Market Criticism and Comment," by Ben S. Allen, Pacific Rural Press, page 396 ... Drought in Chihuahua, Mexico has inflicted great suffering on the large Mennonite colony recently established there. While the Mennonites are splendid farmers, many of their well wishers felt that they made a great mistake in selecting a hot dry section for their new home in Mexico....
- 1923 January 1 "Colony Has Christmas Week Long : Local Russians Wind Up Holiday With Celebration at Settlement House," Los Angeles Times, page I-6 A holiday week for the benefit of the Los Angeles Russian colony on the East Side closed Saturday night with a street party at the Marvimon House settlement, 154 North Clarence street, attended by hordes of children and a crowd of social service officials, librarians, literary folk and others interested in the work of the settlement.
18 Men Scout Central Mexico
As usual, a three man delegation (troitsa : троица) made a preliminary survey of the locality, bringing back a favorable report. Following this a second delegation that included Philip M. Shubin, Ivan G. Samarin and a younger man, Markei A. Bogdanoff, was dispatched.
This delegation was accompanied by 15 men who volunteered to drive there in their own cars and at their own expense, showing a serious interest of the community in the proposition. This large group was almost unanimous in their favorable impressions, the delegation even concluded a tentative agreement with the sellers but, alas, the community in Los Angeles would not accept the terms of the agreement and this matter too, was dropped because there was no one to push it. Life was more comfortable in their kingdom in the city.
It was the last large scale attempt made at colonization by the Spiritual Christians Molokans of Los Angeles. Only a minor attempt was made after that. About a dozen families tried their luck at colonization near the north edge of Maxwell, 20 miles south of the town of Raton, New Mexico but, because PAGE 90 of the great depression that began in 1930, and difficult irrigation, it had no chance of survival and was abandoned after about 5
twoyears. Half of their land is now in the Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge.
Thereafter those who seriously intended to leave the city, did so as individuals, concentrating their efforts in the near-by San Joaquin Central Valley, California.
7. Dr. Pauline Young
But the perplexing problem of juvenile delinquency would not disappear, in fact it was progressively getting worse with each passing year. A study of cases appearing before the Los Angeles Juvenile Courts made by Dr. P. V. Young showed that in 1915 only one Prygun Molokan boy was involved in delinquency but in 1918 there were 15, in 1922 there were 26, in 1924 there was 84 and in 1926 there was an astounding total of 130 Prygun Molokan boys before the courts, of whom 104 were tried for offenses against property, that is, petty larceny, grand larceny, safe blowing and robbery.
Crime and Immigrant Youth, by Dr. Tony Waters, Department of Sociology and Social Work, California State University, Chico, (Sage, 1998) page 38.
A similar study of a two year period between November 31, 1927 and October 31, 1929 showed that 49 Prygun Molokan girls between the ages of 13 and 18 appeared before the same courts, 35 of whom were involved in sex delinquency and the rest in lesser offenses. Apparently no one was aware of the real seriousness of the problem that these statistics showed. That it was bad every one could see but how bad no one really knew until Dr. Young's book appeared in print. Even then these revelations were so shocking the majority refused to believe them, blaming the author for exaggerating the situation although, with these exceptions, the book presented the Dukh-i-zhizniki Molokans in a very favorable light.
Reasons for unawareness of the extent of their youth problems involve several factors (not in order):
In Young's book the worst reports were omitted or censored, and 24 pages were quoted from the new 1928 Dukh i zhizn'. She was extensively documenting this immigrant culture for the first time in English and gathering information useful for analysis, establishing her career, and aiding further social services for welfare and assimilation. See: The Pilgrims of Russian-town Seventy Years Later, by Stephen E. Scott, Old Order Notes, No. 26, Fall-Winter 2002, pages 7-34; and Dr. Pauline V. Young in Taxonomy of 3 Spiritual Christian groups: Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki books, fellowship, holidays, prophets and songs.
- Not understanding Parents did not understand enough English and/or American law to comprehend the crimes.
- Hiding the problems When kids were arrested, or had a mental illness, their families typically did not talk about it and/or disowned them.
- Priority for income Many parents ordered kids to not attend school, or drop out early and work. Money was needed to bring relatives from Russia, and/or to return to Russia, and/or to support a large family, while waiting for instructions from religious leaders. Kids in the city learned to get money many ways.
- Avoiding the world and education Parents' fear of the world, not integrating, and ordering kids to not socialize with outsiders (ne nashi) caused kids to form gangs for self-protection and socialization. Many of the gangs became sports teams recognized by city parks.
- Bride-selling scandal Parents became outlaws and "undesirable immigrants" for arranging and not registering marriages.
- Old World culture The most zealous, least educated, and least integrated, retained negative attitudes formed in Russia against the government telling them what to do. Only the Holy Spirit can command them.
Both she and her husband attended the new School of Social Administration at the University of Chicago, with an advanced research program for poverty, immigration and juvenile delinquency. In 1918 Pauline Vislick (22) graduated and married graduate student Erle Fiske Young (30) the following year. She was born in Russian Poland, he in the US. Both were Jewish, and met as he was working on his Ph.D. She worked at several different agencies for about 4 years as a sociologist, primarily with Slavic immigrants. In 1923 or 1924, she moved to Los Angeles to enter the graduate program in the Sociology Department at the University of Southern California, the best new program west of Chicago. After Erle Young got his Ph.D., about 1926 he was hired as a teacher at U.S.C. Because she spoke Russian and had worked with Slavic immigrant groups, she took on the task of documenting the mysterious Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia. He became Assistant Director of the school of Social Welfare. They worked as a team. A major project for Dr. Erle Young was compiling a national database of juvenile delinquency cases from major cities to help analyze a huge growing problem with immigrant youth across the country. His graduate student-wife collected the data he needed for Los Angeles as part of her thesis, therefore she needed to gather summary data from the youth arrest cases in a format that he could use for his national study.
Due to social discrimination and juvenile delinquency faced by these immigrants in the Flat(s), the Youngs, along with others, probably advised and guided the Spiritual Christian elders to organize youth programs not done in Russia, in addition to what the schools and city parks were already doing. Hence, the Dukh-i-zhiznik molodoi sobranie (youth meeting) and Prygun U.M.C.A. appear about the same time with separate programs by 1926. The most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki hated the non-traditional U.M.C.A. which they perceive to be heresy, until many dominated the organization after 1980.
Nevertheless, the only remedies urged by the elders, in addition to an exodus from the city, was an intensification of religious church programs for the young people, a commendable program as far as it went but, seen at this distance the problem was far more complicated than the brotherhood leaders were accustomed to deal with. Back in the villages of Russia such PAGE 91 simple programs were adequate because the problems were simple village offenses. Any infractions of Prygun Molokan behavior were immediately dealt with by the village elders, usually by having the guilty one punished by having the father administer a whipping to the guilty one in public, a very effective method in a village where the population was 100% Spiritual Christian Molokan and where the most serious offenses were surreptitious drinking and card playing by unmarried youngsters.
But self-administered justice was impossible in a large city and in cases involving violations of state and city laws. Moreover, there was now a language barrier between the parents and the children as well as between the children and their congregation
To overcome the barrier, Russian language schools were tried periodically and just as frequently abandoned through lack of attendance and financial support. Only those children attended regularly who needed it the least. The majority of American born Spiritual Christian Molokan children simply had no interest in the language of their parents and spoke English among themselves exclusively, to the utter despair and frustration of the parents who could not understand them. Neither threats nor cajolery could induce the children to speak nor to read Russian. In contrast to the most zealous Spiritual Christian families, the non-zealous faiths (Molokane, Subbotniki, etc.) more rapidly assimilated in sports and school, with no intention of returning to Russia.
8. Anton Cherbak
It would be a mistake to infer that because the parents could not speak English, they were a group of uninformed or ignorant peasants. Some
The majoritysubscribed to Russian language newspapers. During the first years (1909-1915) one such newspaper The Tikhij Okean Тихий океан (The Pacific Ocean)* was published in Los Angeles by a political ιmigrι by the name of Anton Sherbak (Anton P. Cherbak, born 1867, died in the U.S.S.R. Aug. 1930 or Aug. 1940, as a political prisoner; also spelled: Cherback, Scherbak, Shcherbak, Shterbakoff, Щербаков : Scherbakov). He was of the party of Social Revolutionaries and enjoyed a good reputation among the people for the newspaper and providing free general education classes in his "Russian University" sponsored by the Bethlehem Institutions. But there were not enough literate Russian speaking people in Los Angeles to support a newspaper and the most zealous probably did not want him, so he moved his paper to San Francisco in 1915 where he continued to publish until the Revolution in Russia when he returned to the Soviet Union where he died. His wife and kids remained as neighbors to the Demens family in Alta Loma-Cucamonga.
* No copies of any Tikhij Okean newspapers have been found yet in any U.S. archive or library. If any reader knows of copies anywhere, please inform administrator (at) molokane.orgIn December 1910, Cherbak tried to organize a 50-square-mile land purchase widely publicized as "near Santa Barbara" for all Spiritual Christians in North America to live as they were asking, in nearby separate rural villages on their own isolated territory. The land was probably in the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, around Solvang, which was sold to Danish immigrants immediately after Spiritual Christians withdrew. The project failed because 12 immigrant leaders could not agree, or cooperate. Information collected so far indicates that railroad tycoon Henry .E. Huntington was involved in a plan to get these undesirable immigrants out of Los Angeles. The conflict and failure of this grand colonization project appears have been a major reason Cherbak moved to San Francisco, probably to work with more civil immigrants from Russia.
In San Francisco his aide and apprentice publisher was Vasili S. Fetisoff, a Molokan who later organized a congregation, taught Sunday School, and led an attempt to return to Russia in 1923 which returned in 1927.
PAGE 92 But the immigrants from Russia Molokans continued to subscribe to the Russkoe slovo v Kanade
Russkaie Slovofrom New York and which was published in Canada perhaps Русское слово в Канаде (Торонто, 19511972). These newspapers kept them well informed concerning world events.
Though some major Russian language newspapers and journals were distributed by mail, in libraries and at international news stands in the US, including , it appears that only a few actually subscribed, else families would have boxes of them. My grandfather J.D. Conovaloff at times had a few Soviet papers, I recall seeing Pravda; and for a few years he subscribed to Iskra by USCC Doukhobors.
In addition to newspapers, some many Spiritual Christian Molokan men and even some women were well read in the works of Lev Tolstoy,* Dostoyevskiy, Gorky and other well known Russian writers. Translations of Milton's "Paradise Lost" (Потерянный рай) and Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" (Путешествие пилигрима) as well as Stowe's "Uncle Toms Cabin" (Хижина дяди Тома) were also well known to some of them, especially those whose parents allowed them to continue on to high school and/or use the public libraries.
* Because Berokoff only mentions Tolstoy here once as a writer, he may not have been aware of his huge impact on freedoms for all Spiritual Christians.The Bethlehem Institutions had a small library and reading room, which closed with the institution in 1914. By that time the Spiritual Christians were populating The Flat(s), east of the Los Angeles River closer to a new branch of the Los Angeles Public Library which provided a huge quantity of Russian language publications. The Boyle Heights Branch, established in 1903 at 1973 E. 1st street (now at Golden State Freeway), soon devoted 1/4 of its shelf space to Russian language books, magazines and newspapers for the immigrants. Most of the Russian language patrons were probably a variety of Jewish faiths. By the 1920s it became a Carnegie Library and moved to larger building 3 blocks east, at 2200 E 1st street (corner of Chicago street), and was open daily. The number of Russian language books greatly increased in the 1920s. By the mid 1920s the most popular foreign language books in branch libraries were Yiddish and Russian, and Russian was the 4th most popular foreign language in all the Los Angeles libraries. In 1919-1920 the Library stocked 1029 Russian books, which circulated (were checked out) 1,410 times. In June 1932 Russian books peaked at 5436, and circulation peaked at 6,901. The Foreign Language Department stocked 30 languages, had Russian speaking staff and offered free adult education classes in Russian. Worldly Spiritual Christians could have attend these classes to accelerate their integration and prospects for employment.
In 1888 Tolstoy promoted the "bread labor" («труд ради хлеба насущного») philosophy of Subbotnik T.M Bondarev.
In October 1895, three months after Doukhobors burned guns, Tolstoy petitioned Tsar Nicholas II to stop persecution of Doukhobors, which was published in the major newspapers around the world.
In December 1896 he updated his petition to Tsar Nikolas II, also published around the world; and rushed to finish his last novel, Resurrection (1898-1899), as a serial which netted income of about $17,000, which he donated to the London Society of Friends (Quakers) who arranged for the migration of about 1/3 of the most zealous Doukhobors from Russia. Tolstoy paid for about 23% of the expenses for the first 4 boats from the Caucasus to Canada; the Canadian government paid half the expenses.
Non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians in the southwestern Caucasus were concerned for their fate during the protests, arrests and migration of 7,411 (1/3) of their Doukhobor neighbors, and sent Tolstoy 2 identical petitions representing 8,000 people (Erivan 3000, Kars 5000), which he apparently forwarded to St. Petersburg. In 1900-1901 Tolstoy twice petitioned for freedoms for Spiritual Christians, naming Molokane, not Pryguny. After 1/3 of the Doukhobors left the Caucasus, mostly the non-Molokan Spiritual Christian faiths followed who were more restricted in Russia, had no direct contact with Tolstoy, and assumed a false "Molokan" identity in the new world.
9. Jung Stilling
But the book with a religious theme that enjoyed the widest popularity and even reverence among the Prygun elders previous to the publication of Утренняя звезда (Utrennyaya zvezda : Morning Star, by Kobsev and Shinen)
The Book of Spirit and Lifein 1915, was a fictional magazine serial later published as a 3-part book on a mystical subject written by a German writer, Stilling Jung (Johann Heinrich (1740-1817, Hans Heinrich Stilling, Jung-Stilling, Johann Heinrich Jung). Its title in the Russian translation was "Ugroz Sviet Vostoka" (sic : Ugroz svetovostokov : «Угроз световостоков» (1806-1815) 12 volumes Part 1 (Volumes 1-4), Part 2 (Vols. 5-8), Part 3 (Vols. 9-12) but in German it was "The Menace of the Eastern World", which was published first in 1795 1813. It dealt with a religious subject which was interpreted by some readers Molokan eldersas a prophetic book concerning God's chosen people, their wandering from place to place in Europe and finding eventual haven in the Near East.
The original German title is: Der graue Mann, eine Volksschrift ("The Common Man, the people's writer"), 30 issues published 1795-1816 by Stilling until his death, and continued by others to issue 42. Selections translated from Russian to English in 2002, online as: Menace of the Eastern-Light, the Man in the Grey Suit. In 2003, two American scholars summarized: "In the wake of the French Revolution, Jung-Stilling in his popular series of tracts Der Graue Mann (The Common Man) and his more popular novel Das Heimweh (Longing for Home), issued a call to Christians to repent of their unbelief and love of luxury and indicated that the church of the last days would be saved by turning toward "the East" (that is, toward Russian and Eastern Orthodoxy)."(Zimdars-Swartz, Sandra and Paul F. Zimdars-Swartz, University of Kansas. "Apocalypticism in Modern Western Europe" in The Continuum history of apocalypticism by Bernard McGinn, John J. Collins, Stephen J. Stein, page 608.).
Several religious sects, or groups, literally believed the fictional stories and took action to prepare for the end of the world, the second-coming of Christ, and the Apocalypse by moving to a place of refuge. Two of these economic-religious treks have been well documented in 1817 Pietists left Wuerttemberg, Germany, to Russia; and in 1835 from New Russia to Turmenistan. Both treks undoubtedly influenced neighboring people who were ancestors of founders of the Pryguny and similar sects, their converts and descendants.
Similar to their Anabaptist German neighbors in Russia, some Spiritual Christians interpreted the word "East" as a "compass direction" to a "place of refuge" (ubezhishche : убежище). In 1890, many followers of M.G. Rudomyotkin wanted to move east from the Caucasus to Turkmenistan, "Tika", but most could not survive. (Breyfogle, Nikolas. Heretics and Colonizers, pages 302-303.) Old Ritualists also had visions of a "paradise" in the Far East of Russia; as shown by young families who recently moved from South America to the Far East.* In the 1800s, the Russian obsession with their unexplored East appears similar to the American obsession with their unexplored West; in both countries pioneers could find wealth and freedom at the far uncivilized end of their vast unexplored continent. The migration of unwanted Later Day Saints in the American West has been compared to the migration of heretic Old Ritualists and sectarians to the Russian Far East: "The story of Mormon settlement in the American West parallels that of the Russian sectarians."**
* "Its Population Falling, Russia Beckons Its Children Home; Some Old Believers repatriated from Uruguay to Russian Far East," New York Times, March 21, 2009.The book magazine was widely quoted in debates and discourses to support the belief that the Maksimisty and Pryguny Molokans must eventually find a haven in Persia or Turkey. Only one copy of the book was available in the community. It was evidently the property of Philip Mihailovich Shubin but it was borrowed back and forth by so many people that it is now black with age and use.
** Religious Flight and Migration (Религиозные гонения и миграция), Frontiers (Границы), National Library of Congress.
However there was a small portion of Maksimisty Molokans who refrained from reading any and all literature, strictly obeying the injunction of Maxim Gavrilovitch who instructed his followers that all books except the Holy Scriptures were "poisonous", and should not be read.* But the children, because of the language barrier and mandatory education, were not aware of this and in their own minds believed that their parents PAGE 93 were backward, therefore, they drifted farther and farther away from the influence of the home. After school hours many boys would walk uptown to sell newspapers or to shine shoes on the main streets of the city, at the same time learning the ease with which small trinkets could be filched from the department store display counters, bringing them home to brag about to their friends and also acquiring other evil habits from outsiders (ne nashi)
non- Molokanboys and men on the down town streets, frequently returning home too late in the evening to absorb their Molokan home atmosphere.
* Rudomyotkin, Maksim G. "Towards the Handling of the Books", Article 28, Book 14, Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life, page 628, translation by John W. Volkoff, 1983.10. Youth Neglected
Other boys, who were not so occupied after school hours, would find attractions and adventure in the near-by river bed*, in the freight yards and other mysterious and interesting places that had to be explored; while yet others were ordered by their parents to take their home made wagons and bring back fire wood from surrounding warehouses or freight yards for the family cooking and heating stove and a possible banya (steam bath, sauna). These juvenile occupations, although helpful to the economy of the household, were, by their very nature, detrimental to their habits because the local environment where such activities took place, was not morally healthy.
* Before it was cemented in 1938, the Los Angeles River had sandy beaches, plants and animals. Recreation included hiking, swimming, rock throwing, sand digging, animal catching, picnics, socializing, fighting or sitting alone. North of The Flat(s), where the river bed was much wider, many, like Rev. Dr. Dana Bartlett, wanted the city to create a huge park, which never happened. Land on the river bank north of Utah Street School was used as an open dump, which invited scavengers.It must be admitted that the children were not always to blame. Many parents neglected their many offspring, perhaps on the mistaken theory that life of a youngster in a city was not much different than life in a village, therefore, if the parents grew up into good Spiritual Christians Molokans there was no reason that their offspring could not do just as well. In addition to the city streets, alleys, warehouses, dumps and railroad yards, there was the far more insidious influence of the local and downtown moving picture theater to which the teenagers flocked on Saturday night and Sunday afternoons. The stories that the children absorbed from these moving pictures undermined the influence of the home more effectively than the city streets because they glamorized the girl who fled her PAGE 94 home and eloped for "love" and excited the adventurous instincts of the boys by portraying a bandit or an underworld character as a hero.
So the strict morality of a Spiritual Christian Molokan home was gradually supplanted by the loose environment of a city street; the parental influence by the moving picture drama, the father image (for the boy) was being supplanted by a cowboy hero, and the mother image for the girl by the so called heroine of a society drama. At the same time the simple and sometimes drab furniture of a Spiritual Christian Molokan home appeared at a great advantage (especially to the impressionable eyes of a young girl) when compared to the luxurious home of her heroine as depicted in the picture drama.*
* Berokoff, John K. "The Movies-Good or Evil?" Молоканское Обозрение : The Molokan Review, August 1947, pages 8, 13.But the unsophisticated parents did not know this. Very few of the older Spiritual Christians Molokans ever saw the inside of a theater or a picture show. They were entirely absorbed in earning a living for the family. In the evening the mother was too busy with her washing, ironing or sewing and even baking while the father rested from his hard day at the lumber yard, the junk yard or other physically exhausting labors and was too tired to devote much time to his family which generally was a large one; eight, ten and more children in a family was not uncommon at the time. Sundays, of course, were devoted to the sobranie
church, again leaving the children to their own devices.
And so this vicious spiral continued its upward course. The neighborhood was rapidly acquiring an unsavory reputation. The police authorities appealed to the Spiritual Christian Molokan elders for cooperation in combating the problem and the elders countered by a petition on Sept. 27, 1924 to the District Attorney to clean up the neighborhood of bootleggers, but to no avail. It was not until the Spiritual Christians Molokans began a process of decentralization by moving to outlying communities that any improvement could be noted.* In 1927 the total number of boys appearing before the juvenile courts fell to 109, in 1928 the PAGE 95 figure rose again to 122 but in 1929 the number fell to one half of the 1926 level; only 65 boys were apprehended and appeared for a hearing in the courts.
* Other contributing factors are the founding of the U.M.C.A. in 1926, molodoi sobranie (a zealous youth assembly), and increased social services from government (particularly in school and city parks) and non-profits (charity groups, Y.W.C.A. International Institute, Y.M.C.A., Los Angele Athletic Club, ... ).This process of decentralization was not a conscious act on the part of the brotherhood to improve the situation but, conscious or not, it did a considerable amount of good by eliminating the local moving picture show, the well known corners and the adjacent, convenient and tempting area known as "the Oakes lot" as an assembly point for adventurous forays for the boys. The City Parks and Recreation Department also helped by utilizing part of the Oakes lot as a neighborhood playground.
The most decisive act to combat the problem, however, was taken by the rising new generation of assimilated community leadership who came to America as young boys and girls of school age and who were now fathers and mothers of growing children themselves, for it was now over 20 years since the first group arrived in America.
These young men and women as a rule came from the better oriented families, hence they were better able to withstand the lures of city streets. After a short period in local schools they secured work permits and a few years later married at the proper Spiritual Christian Molokan age of 19-20 years to girls of similar backgrounds. By 1925-1926 they were mature young men with recognizable talents, many of whom were occupying responsible positions in business enterprises other than lumber yards or similar exhausting jobs of their fathers, consequently they were acquainted with both sides of life of teenagers in a large city and were not unacquainted with ways of combating their problems by more practical means than their fathers.
11. U.M.C.A. United Spiritual Christian Association
This organization should have been named U.S.C.A. United Spiritual Christian Association but the by-laws limited it to the Prygun faith, which was extinguished by Dukh-i-zhizniki. Had the board of directors understood the multi-faith dynamics of their constituency, as outlined in Taxonomy of 3 Spiritual Christian groups: Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki, and have formed a trust to manage the organization with the most able and educated directors, it probably would have grown from serving about 700 families in the 1970s to 2000+ by the turn of the century, and probably remain forbidden territory for the most zealous Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths
In 1926 1927 a group of these young men being gathered at a friend's house for dinner, began the customary discussion of the problems foremost in their minds, namely; how to retain PAGE 96 the loyalty of the Spiritual Christian Molokan children to their congregations church. In contrast to other such discussions, this one resulted in a decision to take active and practical measures towards the desired goal. About a dozen were present and all signified their willingness to participate by subscribing to a fund for establishing a young people's center and agreeing to issue a call for others to join in the undertaking.
The idea caught on. Many others signed up and the group formally organized itself by securing a charter from the State of California as a non-profit organization, choosing the name "United Molokan Christian Association." Об'единенное Объединенное Молоканское Христианское Общество (духовные прыгуны), (Obʺyedinennoye Molokanskoye Khristianskoye Obshchestvo (dukhovnyye pryguny)
In 1976, I interviewed 2 men from the 12 founding families, James Haprov and Hurey (Harry) Slivkoff, which was published in that year's "U.M.C.A. Picnic Program."
Slivkoff said that he lost 4 of his young children in his house fire in Arizona before 1920. After he moved to Los Angeles, he said his heart went out to every Russian kid in the Flat(s) whom he adopted as his own. He was shocked to learn that unattended kids, who had no place in Sunday meetings (sobranie), were attending a Russian Baptist Sunday school, in a mission church on Gless street, behind the Klubnikin-Shubin-podval sobraniia on Clarence street, across from what is now Pecan playground. Some adults joined this congregation.
Truckloads of Russian kids were transported to and from Sunday school, where they got puppet lessons and rewarded with candy for good behavior and attendance. Slivkoff summarized: "If Noah can build an ark to save PIGS, then we can build an ark to for our own kids!"
In the early 1920s, a dozen families joined in meetings to discuss problems with their youth and unanimously voted to form an organization to rent or buy property. Slivkoff said they all put their hands in a pile and said, "All for one, and one for all!"
The first location, according to Slivkoff, was a vacant store on Whittier Blvd (then Stevenson Blvd.). Then they moved to two adjacent building in the Flats at 143-145 South Utah Street, a half block south of First street. They held Sunday school and a Wednesday evening program, all in Russian.
In the 1940s, several members of the Young Russian Christian Association (Y.R.C.A.), a clubhouse sponsored by 3 women missionaries, began attending the free Bible Institute of Los Angles (B.I.O.L.A.). One of these first B.I.O.L.A. students was the oldest son of the president of the U.M.C.A., John Samarin, and was invited to teach Sunday School. Bill John Samarin and his buddy Alex Wm. Patapoff agreed to teach at the U.M.C.A. if only in English, because the kids were not fluent in Russian, nor were the teachers.
After graduating from B.I.O.L.A., Bill J. Samarin married a fellow student, joined the Brethren faith, and they became Brethren sponsored missionaries in Africa.
For the next 20 years, Patapoff and Y.R.C.A.-ers coordinated the U.M.C.A. programs, growing it to the 3rd largest Sunday school in California, 10th largest in the nation. (Verbal report by John Kotoff, U.M.C.A. Sunday School Coordinator 1960s )
When the Utah street buildings were taken in the 1940s to clear slums for low income housing project, the U.M.C.A. temporarily moved to the building in front of "Big Church," then to 1059-1065 S. Gage Ave, where it remained until 1980.
Slivkoff said that the U.M.C.A. logo was copied from the book: Книга солнце, дух и жизнь (Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn', Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life) page 697. The image also occurs in the earlier book: Утренняя звезда (Utrennyaya zvezda : Morning Star). Slivkoff said he drew one of the versions, which to him represented calling people from the four corners of the world (North, South, East, West).
The "4 trumpets" image drawn by Klubnikin above resembles ancient stone-cross carvings and Armenian coins found throughout the territory where he lived and traveled. Archeologists and tourists have posted photos on the Internet of nearly identical images carved in stone in the Mount Ararat area. The images are typically variously called Byzantine cross, stone-cross, Armenian cross-stones and in Armenian: khachkar.
Oldest examples of the Christian cross in Armenia. (Yererouk, Tigranakert, Surp Nshan)
Later (in the 12th-14th century) it was also used on coins of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.
(The Red Color of Armenian Garments and Rugs, PeopleOfAr, November 13, 2015 Images at end:
"Click here for Additional Information")
1. Arzap standing hole stone #1 (p. 80) *
2. Ornate Eli cross stones (p. 82) *
3. Yererouk, by Christian31, Panoramio
4. Medival Armenian cross stone, by Zorik Galstyan, Shutterstock
5. Etchmiadzin Cathedral, Armenia, Wikipedia
* From the Eli archaeological site (318, page 73) south-side of Mount Ararat in: Başaran, Cevat, Vedat Leleş, and Rex Geissler. "Mount Ararat Archaeological Survey - ArcImaging", Bible and Spade, v21/n3, Summer 2008, pages 70-96.
U.M.C.A. membership was originally limited to Pryguny: "Article IV: Membership, A. Eligibility. Only persons eighteen (18) years of age or older of the "Russian Molokan Spiritual Christian Jumpers Faith" are eligible for membership in this Association." By-Laws, United Molokan Christian Association, 1974, page 5. After the Prygun faiths were eliminated by Dukh-i-zhizniki in the 1960s, the By-Laws were not changed, yet the membership is now illegally limited only to Dukh-i-zhizniki.
Though the original logo drawn by E.G. Klubnikin signaled people "into Zion," the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki cast out a prophesy that "the Devil danced on the roof" of the UMCA. The most Maksimist would not set foot on the unclean ground until the early 1960s when Alex Patapoff was removed as coordinator, and Ed Liege and Pete J. Berokoff became Sunday school teachers for teen boys. For the next 20 years the organization was overtaken by zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki who controlled the newsletter and transformed the buildings into their own private elementary school at the new location in Hacienda Heights.
A program was developed for conducting a bilingual Sunday school services for smaller children in which qualified singers taught the children Prygun Molokan songs in Russian and other qualified persons conducted classes to teach the Prygun Molokan religion in both the Russian and English.* A concurrent program was developed for a mid-week assembly for teenagers which was also to be bilingual in the same manner as the Sunday school. Neither of these programs were designed as a sobranie
churchin the ordinary meaning of the word but rather as a place where the children would become better acquainted with Prygun Molokan background, traditions and beliefs and also as a meeting place for teenagers of both sexes with marriage as the ultimate goal. But nobody knew their Prygun history, so the easier-to-find Molokan history was plagiarized and mixed with what would soon become various debated Dukh-i-zhiznik histories.
* The Prygun faith includes holidays, notably Rozhestvo (Birth of Christ), which were banned by Maksimisty then adherent Dukh-i-zhizniki.A vacant store premises in the "Flats" area was rented to begin with and the idea proved itself as sound and feasible immediately by a full attendance of youngsters of all ages. Hurey Slivkoff reported this store was on Whittier Blvd (then called Stevenson street) where he installed donated school desks, which he screwed to the wood floor. Even the store basement was used for classes.
This fact encouraged the organized group to purchase an old duplex house in the center of the community, on 122 (rear) South Utah Street. The house was remodeled to accommodate up to 300 children at a time and soon an adjoining house 1 door north was bought to accommodate smaller children.
The maps show the location of the UMCA at 122 S. Utah St. (rear units) in the Flat(s) of Boyle Heights, Los Angeles and its size and footprint, in 1930 and 1940. The original rear duplex appears to have been about 1000 ft2, and after enlargement was at least 1500 ft2. Entrance was on the east-side from the alley through 2 doors. Today this property is within the Las Casitas Homeowners Association, 40 condominiums.
By 1932 the U.M.C.A. was growing beyond expectations. At 9 A.M. every Sunday, car after car would drive up to the PAGE 97 front of the building to discharge a group of well dressed, happy young kids who would fill up the assembly hall to capacity while their proud and beaming parents would sit along the side-line benches to hear the children sing the traditional Prygun Molokan songs and recite their lessons in either Russian or English.
The majority of elders* wholeheartedly approved the new approach and gave it their moral support by frequently attending the meetings, speaking words of encouragement at both the Sunday morning and the Wednesday evening services. The juvenile courts and the police department too were heartily in favor of it, recognizing in it a powerful influence to combat delinquency and showing approval with a visit from the presiding judge Curtis Wilbur** of the juvenile court to the Wednesday evening service, being accompanied by a large retinue of probation officers, their wives and other interested persons.
* A significant vocal minority of zealous elders disapproved and organized a competing (Young Peoples' Meeting) where the youth were taught spiritual jumping and prophecy of the Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths.On the other hand, beginning in 1946 there was a strong and active opposition from the zealous minority of the brotherhood who objected on the grounds that Y.R.C.A.-ers* were the primary teachers and did not teach the Dukh-i-zhiznik faith or rituals.
** In 1903, Curtis D. Wilbur was appointed to the California Superior Court where he presided over many hearings involving the Spiritual Christians. Fortunately he was also on the board of directors of the Bethlehem Institutions (closed in 1913) and tended to be lenient with these immigrants from Russian due to the intervention work of Dr. Rev. Dana Bartlett, women's clubs, and volunteers. He was so lenient that the kids from Russia never expected to be jailed for their crimes, rather given probation, until Wilbur was promoted and moved to San Francisco. The new Juvenile Hall built in 1914 and juvenile system after Wilbur left, arrested, jailed and kept delinquent kids in custody. In 1917 women's clubs in Los Angeles funded the first Juvenile Court, headed by Dr. Miriam Van Waters. In 1918 Wilbur was appointed Chief Justice of the California Superior Court; in 1924 he was appointed Secretary of the U.S. Navy; in 1929, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, San Francisco, and Presiding Judge until retired in 1944. His brother Ray L. Wilbur was U.S. Interior Secretary and President of Stanford University.
* This is the only reference in Berokoff's book about Y.R.C.A.-ers, heretics to the faiths of Berokoff and his peers; hated so much that he chose not to identify them by name, because they are "nobody" according to his Dukh-i-zhiznik faith. A History of the Young Russian Christian Association, Rev. Jack Green and it's impact on the U.M.C.A. is in-progress.
Notwithstanding these objections, the U.M.C.A. continued to make progress. Whether or not its influence slowed down PAGE 98 the practice of intermarriages with non-Dukh-i-zhizniki Molokans is still a moot question because nobody has ever compiled any statistics on the point, because Dukh-i-zhizniki are also afraid of any such data collection, though ironically they are eager to know the results when data is collected. Moreover, despite the fact that the Wednesday evening services attracted capacity crowds, there were still hundreds of teenagers of marriageable age who were not reached by its efforts because of lukewarm attitude on the part of many parents, many who wanted their kids to learn English and assimilate in the city and not marry a zealot.
- The U.M.C.A. meetings were not conducted in the traditional Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan* way, that is, the children were not trained to kneel while praying nor were they encouraged by word or example that jumping in the Spirit is a likewise traditional part of the service; the services were merely opened and closed by reciting a prayer in a standing position. It was contended that such conduct was a radical departure from the faith of the Spiritual Christian
Jumpers* Dukh-i-zhizniki and should be stopped.
* It is clear that Berokoff is describing a faith in which "jumping in the Spirit is a likewise traditional part of the service" which is definitely not the Molokan faith. Though this organization was named: "United Molokan Christian Association," not the "United Prygun Christian Association," it's by-laws limited membership to the "Jumpers" faith; whose descendants after WWII, a majority of the membership, were an assimilated non-jumping mixture of Spiritual Christian faiths. By 1980 the majority of U.M.C.A. members were Dukh-i-zhizniki who forced out all Pryguny, Molokane and outside faiths.
- Since we were children of God and in matters spiritual subject to His laws only, a charter from a temporal worldly, non-religous state to conduct ritual church services was not necessary, in fact it would be a violation of the tenets of their faith. Furthermore, Dukh-i-zhizniki they strongly objected to some clauses in the articles of incorporation, in particular the inclusion of the word "club" as an activity of the organization, etc., etc. The Y.R.C.A.-ers always referred to their building as a "clubhouse" and organization as a collection of "clubs" while the most critical Dukh-i-zhizniki called them a religious cult church of evil Jack Green, nicknamed the "Green Frog."
In 1972, my buddy John Walter Bogdanoff wanted to determine how many were "marrying out." He asked me to help by using the largest list of youth names available, the 1960s U.M.C.A. Sunday School student roster and mailing list. We copied it from the U.M.C.A. office files, then added missing names from the Directory, until we had about 900 youth in 3 states (CA, OR, AZ). We tallied 4 groups: (1) "single", (2) "married in", (3) "married out" and/or "don't come around." About 1/3 were in each category. Our source data and ratios were confirmed by several very active U.M.C.A. members who knew most of the families, including my aunt Anna J. Veronin, former Woman's Axillary president. Now, 40 years later, I suspect that a higher fraction is married out, half or more.
However, the incidence of juvenile delinquency fell off markedly from the disgraceful figures of 1926, and continued to decline. Although no systematic study of the problem was made since Mrs. Young wrote her "Pilgrims of Russia Town" published in 1932,* a recent interview with Juvenile authorities elicited the information that the Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan youth are no longer a concern of that department in Boyle Heights, that despite the large increase in Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan population, only two or three boys were in the custody as of March 1968.**
* Wrong. Young continued to monitor Dukh-i-zhizniki into the 1950s. On the last paragraph (page 276) of her 1932 book, she stated: "Continued study of the 'new' Molokan is possible in fact, necessary." In the her textbook Scientific Social Surveys and Research ( 3rd Edition, 1956, page 42) Footnote 1 : "Volume I was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1932. The completion of research for Volume II is awaiting research funds."
Hints for what she meant by "new Molokan" and "Volume II" was revealed in a 2013 interview with Alex W. Patapoff (Whittier CA), a Y.R.C.A.-er and 20-year Sunday School coordinator at the U.M.C.A., who stated that Dr. Young was collecting data for a sequel book to report how the U.M.C.A. was revitalizing their society by attracting assimilated youth with new programs in English. He said she was going to reverse her prediction that these Pryguny were doomed to extinction in the city, but her research papers for the second book were lost in a fire at the International Institute, and book ("Volume II") was never published.
Patapoff summarized that she observed how the U.M.C.A. got a huge organizational boost beginning in the early 1940s when members of the new Young Russian Christian Association (Y.R.C.A.), educated at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (B.I.O.L.A.), were invited to teach U.M.C.A. Sunday School classes. During the next 20 years, to 1962, under the direction of Alex Patapoff and other Y.R.C.A.-ers, the U.M.C.A. grew to become the 3rd largest independent Sunday School in attendance in California and 10th in the nation!(citation) It appears that the Y.R.C.A.-ers were probably Young's "new Molokans."
If Young's second book was published about 1960, she would have missed how the Maksimisty-Chuloshniki systematically bullied the Y.R.C.A.-ers out of the U.M.C.A., installed their own teachers, changed the picnic location several times among private parks, and by 1980 seized complete control, and converting it to a private Dukh-i-zhiznik school. Attendance plummeted and social programs and clubs vanished per Dukh-i-zhiznik doctrine.
** Berokoff does not cite his source, and does not indicate whether he consulted all municipalities where Dukh-i-zhiznik youth live. He was probably unaware of any in jail or on probation outside of his Hollenbeck Area, in which only a few youth of Russian ancestry lived in March 1968, when very few U.M.C.A. youth attended Roosevelt High School. The majority were at Montebello, Garfield and Downey High Schools. About this time, I witnessed several appearances of police at youth parties. In East Los Angeles on Ford street, north of Whittier Blvd., a huge riot-squad of more than a dozen police cars appeared at a house party which was disturbing the peace. In Kerman, I spoke with a local policeman who came to an isolated outdoor party who told me that he rarely arrested the "Russian" kids because it was more efficient to report them to "the elders" who would discipline their own, often with severe beatings. In Arizona after WWII, some of the Treguboff and Tolmachoff roughnecks were so famous for fighting at the Rainbow Ballroom in Phoenix that it was mentioned in the Arizona Memories T.V. documentary on Public Broadcasting.In addition to the results described here, the work of the U.M.C.A. stimulated the efforts of those Dukh-i-zhiznik parents whose sincere convictions restrained them from participation in the organization. These chose their own means to indoctrinate their children in the Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan religions by their own methods, such as conducting a midweek molodoi sobranie and a Sunday afternoon
churchservice in their traditional manner and also initiating a system of singing classes or Spevkas (spevki) in individual homes.
The majority of the most zealous never stepped foot on what they believed to be unclean U.M.C.A. property due to a prophesy: "the Devil danced on the roof." Regular zealous participants (jumpers) at the molodoi sobranie were nick-named "Chuloks," chuloki, chuloshniki (Russian for "sock"), a label popularized after a boy on his knees for a prayer accidentally pulled a gym sock from his pocket mistaking it for a handkerchief, according to Wm. Wm. Prohoroff, as told by his wife Liuba in 2016.
All in all, and despite the ill feeling between the two opposite faith approaches,* their efforts succeeded in improving the morale of the Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan youth and increased their awareness of their background and knowledge of the doctrines of the Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan faiths with one important exception, namely; neither side was actively concerned about indoctrinating their young boys and men in one of its principle tenets objection to military service. Hence, when the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940
Selective Service lawwas passed by Congress in 1940, very few young men were prepared to cope with it.
* Berokoff is aware of "two opposite approaches" or faiths Prygun (or non-Dukh-i-zhiznik) and Dukh-i-zhiznik. The assimilated Pryguny showed their nationalism when about 600 enlisted during WWI, compared to Dukh-i-zhiznik zealots about 40 of the 76 who chose CPS camps but did not pay their camp fees.PAGE 99 It was believed by some that the terrible conflict of 1914-1918 was the final Armageddon, therefore, future wars were not likely and if by some chance wars should occur, America would not be involved in it. (Wells, H.G. The War That Will End War, 1914.) Furthermore, in the unlikely event that America would be involved, our young men will not be called because we were recognized as religious objectors in the last war and exempted from the draft, therefore, we should not be unduly concerned about it now.
This was an incredible theory in view of the constant sword rattling of Mussolini in the decade between 1923-1933 and also the obvious intent of Hitler to start a war of conquest after he assumed power in 1933.
Others contended that the
warBattle of Armageddon is surely coming but that we must prepare ourselves to escape it by a flight to a second refuge, this time within the confines of the non-pork-eating Mohammedan countries of Turkey and/or Persia where we will be protected from harm by those nations. For that reason people with these views endeavored by every means to indoctrinate their children with their convictions and neglected to prepare them for a possible war in which the United States would be a participant. That war came sooner than anyone anticipated.
But before that war came, the world, including the United States, had to endure a terrible economic crisis that began in the fall of 1929 , during the the beginning of the new Dukh-i-zhiznik faith, and continued until the beginning of the greater crisis of the second World War.
* * * * *
It is not the intent of this writer to delve into the causes and effects of that economic crisis except as it affected the Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan people. It will be sufficient to note here that after the great stock market crash of October, 1929, the factories throughout the whole country began laying off their employees by the thousands, consequently, people who failed to PAGE 100 lay aside a nest egg for a rainy day during the preceding boom years were soon reduced to the level of indigents depending on their more fortunate relatives or on public charity for their daily bread.
A common occupation for many of those unfortunate unemployed during the first year of the depression was to sell apples on the main streets of the cities to the more fortunate ones who were still employed, thus to eke out a living for themselves and families.
As the months dragged on the conditions grew worse and there was no relief in sight. It was not until the spring of 1933 when, following the elections of the previous fall, the new Franklin D. Roosevelt administration began to develop New Deal programs of relief through public works programs and through other measures, when many of the 15 million unemployed were gradually put to useful work, thus reversing the cycle of economic depression.
It was during these three years and the following seven years of the depression that the ingrained Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan habit of hard work and thriftiness proved itself. In the first place the majority of families owned their own homes free and clear of encumbrances, eliminating one cause of hardship and worry. Secondly, in spite of the half idle factories, stores and other establishments, sanitation of the city had to be maintained and this work, shunned by other nationalities through false pride, was not below the dignity of Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan men, so that some
manyof their families were comfortably fed and clothed by the lowly rubbish route. While zealot Dukh-i-zhizniki in metropolitan Los Angles embraced the rubbish and recycling businesses which allowed them to continue their profession before migration as drivers*, their co-religionist farmers considered it "unclean" (ne chisty), an unworthy profession for their faith.
* Their archaic or slang term was drozhki (дрожки), diminutive for drogi (дроги) a dray cart, implying drayage, short-haul trucking by horse-drawn wagon, sit-down work that can be done in less than a day so they can live at home. Their ancestors had little or no experience with irrigation or farming as others had boasted, hence they much preferred a spiritual kingdom in the city.
Other families, lacking this means of support, were maintained by the women of the family who, leaving the children with their men folk, were able to find work either as janitors in the downtown office buildings or as seasonal workers at the local walnut packing plants that were operating day and night shifts during the six months of the walnut harvesting seasons of fall and winter of each year.
PAGE 101 Thus, the Dukh-i-zhizniki Molokans managed to survive comfortably by hard work and thrift during a most difficult decade. With very few exceptions they were able to stay off the relief rolls or the public works projects, a feat that was matched perhaps only by the oriental population of the city.
* * * * *
13. P. M. Shubin dies
The year 1932 was also memorable to the Dukh-i-zhizniki Molokans because it was in the beginning of that year, namely, on January 9, 1932 that the beloved and respected leader, Philip M. Shubin (1855-1932) passed away at the age of 77. He passed away after an illness lasting about three months.
This distinguished man whose role as a leader was foretold by a third party to Philip's mother before his birth, devoted most of his adult years to the service of God and to the Spiritual Christians Molokan brotherhood. He was its spokesman before the rulers in Russia and was twice arrested there for agitating the emigration to America.
Notwithstanding the arrests he persisted in his determination and became the dominant personality in urging the Spiritual Christians Molokan people to heed Klubinkin's prophesy. Upon arrival in America he, together with Klubnikin, exerted his influence on those who were becoming disillusioned with America to have patience during the first difficult years, in fact, urged other young men whose parents were still in Russia, to write to them to hurry their departure before it was too late.
In 1905, he accompanied Demens and Slifkoff to Hawaii to negotiated the contract for the Molokan Agricultural Colony with real Molokane. Instead of moving to Hawaii, he took a free trip to scout Texas. Within his first decade in the US, he accepted the most travel vouchers from the railroads to scout much of the U.S and Mexico. Ironically he remained in Los Angeles, like Berokoff, in their "kingdom in the city."
During his 27 years in America he was the outstanding speaker and orator of the brotherhood with a wide acquaintance among outsiders (ne nashi)
non- Molokans, not infrequently taking a choir of singers to Pentecostal* church meetings where he preached and explained the Prygun Molokan reasons for their migration. It was his wisdom, his profound knowledge of the scriptures plus his wide knowledge of Russian literature that enabled him to repel the periodic attempts by leaders of neighboring PAGE 102 denominations Baptists, Pentecostals, etc. to proselytize the Spiritual Christians Molokan people and whenever their Molokan children became enmeshed with the law the parents immediately turned to Philip Mikhailovich for counsel which was always forthcoming.
* How the Spiritual Christians and Pentecostals met at Azusa Street "Were Pryguny the irst to "Speak in Tongues" in Los Angeles?"
His wise counsel prevailed in most major decisions of the time, especially during the first World War when he boldly counseled the young Spiritual Christians Molokans to comply with the registration requirements of the draft law but to demand exemptions as conscientious objectors through the regular legal channels. (It was said of him that as a young man in Russia he undertook a trip to Tiflis to shop for various household necessities but that while there he met a man who had a trunk full of Russian literature to sell so instead of the household necessities Philip Mikhailovich spent the largest portion of his allotted funds for the books and to the utter dismay of his wife he came back home with only a few of the necessities but as a proud owner of a trunk full of books.)
For these reasons, and despite the serious and sometimes stormy opposition to his liberal religious views, he was mourned by all factions of the brotherhood and his funeral was the biggest in point of attendance than any precious funeral of that time, in fact it called forth a good sized article with photo on the front page in the Los Angeles Times ("Patriarch Laid To Rest," Los Angeles Times, January 12, 1933, page A1).
The old building of the Melikoiskaia Church the largest one available was much too small for the occasion. To accommodate the overflow a tarpaulin was stretched over the entire back yard area where additional tables were set up and a public address system was installed to enable those seated outside to hear the proceedings of the service. (Footnote: This innovation caused such an unfavorable reaction and criticism that it distracted from the solemnity of the occasion and was never tried again.) Public address systems were later often used at UMCA mass assemblies and picnics, and in the Molokan prayer hall in San Francisco for large meetings (weddings, funerals, holidays).
In August 1914, F. M. Shubin testified in Los Angeles Municipal Court that he was "former head of the Russian Church in this city." He explained to Judge Wilbur that the Spiritual Christians "..revolted against him as their leader and as having authority to speak for them." Shubin explained that he was demoted because he gave an incorrectly translated document to the court regarding bride selling and marriage registration allegations, but has submitted a correct one signed by 78 elders. He assured they will obey the law to register marriages, and will no longer discuss the matter ("Russian Explains : Tells Judge Civil Marriage Laws Were Not Repudiated Blames Translation of Statement," Los Angeles Times, August 4, 1914, page II-5).
The unofficial reasons are that Shubin was probably rejected by the most zealous Maksimisty for negotiating with the government, taking oaths in court, and associating with American Pentecostals, many of whom were Negroes. Many Maksimisty are indoctrinated racists, against "araby" (Russian : Arab, dark man. In America : Negroes). There's a pattern of behavior among the most zealous and least educated to have one person represent them for "unclean" non-spiritual legal matters (secular temporalities), then reject that person for being unclean when their essential secular task is finished. After Shubin did their dirty work, he was dirty and not needed.
Due to the arranged marriage and marriage registration hearings which began in Los Angeles in 1911 and continued in the courts and news through 1914, along with city vice (drinking, prostitution, crime), and American dress codes, many zealous Spiritual Christians fled or avoided the city in haste to occupy farm colonies. None consulted with people like the Dr. Rev. Bartlett when negotiating land contracts, perhaps thinking the Holy Spirit was guiding them. When most farms failed, many families returned to Los Angeles. Some rushed back to the city thinking they were all returning to Russia. Hence most lived where their parents never intended when they left Russia in metropolitan slums, surrounded by pollution, crime and other faiths, required to send kids to school and register many times with the government. Their agrarian communal faiths quickly adapted to the easy life of a huge city with cheap public transportation and many new conveniences and amusements factory jobs, market food, beaches, fishing, parks, zoos, theaters, etc. Within a generation, the majority abandoned their agrarian utopia for a "worldly" kingdom in the city.
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Spiritual Christian History
Spiritual Christians Around the World