I wrote The Memoir of John on toilet paper during the time I was an electrical engineering student apprentice with the English Electric Company in Preston. The reason for starting it appears to be that I sometimes found myself with very little else to do at work. There is an entry in my diary for Tuesday 5 August 1969, which reads as follows:
Morn[ing and] aft[ernoon]: Did NOTHING.
And Thursday 14 August 1969:
[I] took 2¼ hours off in [the] toilets.
The actual writing began on Tuesday 12 August 1969:
Work… [I] talked to Ossy about [the]
H[oly] Sp[irit], after he had read what I’d written on a piece of toilet paper when I went to the toilet. This was in [the] Field Coils Shop. He’s a bit doubtful about the Baptism [in the Holy Spirit].
And there is an entry for Tuesday 23 September 1969:
Work. A lot of time wasted through the inspector I was with taking time off. I went to [the] loo and wrote “memoirs”.
The pieces of toilet paper were originally glued together into a long scroll, but in June or July 1975 I cut them up and stuck them on sheets of paper, book-style.
I.1.When Stanley Smith
was pastor of the Full Gospel Church, it was decided that we
should have a special meeting, convened
When Stanley Smith was pastor… He
was appointed minister of the Full Gospel Church
in 1951, and to the great sorrow of the church
died suddenly & unexpectedly in February 1969 at
the age of 57. The events related here took place
that those wishing to be “baptised with the Holy Spirit could
pray. 2.And it
was a few weeks before the Day of Pentecost. 3.Several people were gathered,
we began to kneel and pray for God’s blessing. 4.I prayed in my heart and in
whispers, for I was afraid to do otherwise. 5.Then someone put
their his hands
shoulders, and immediately I felt power
emanating from the places where his hands touched my shoulders. 6.It was like heat flowing from those
filling my whole body; it was like “pins and needles”, and they
flowed and filled me from head to toe, so much so that I could feel
the feeling in
teeth. 7.And I
was moved by this Spirit to praise the Lord. With every breath, I
voiced praises to God. 8.I was being driven to do so, and
yet, I suppose
I could have stifled it, had I wanted to.
9.This experience was new to
*———————————* had been told very little about it.
text originally read “was uninitiated and”, which may be
Consequently, I did notunderstand what it is that had been
happening to me.
II.1.Let me turn my mind back to the first month of that
2.My friend Christopher suffered from epileptic fits.
3.A few days
Any of several different types of recurrent attack
produced by disor- ganised electrical activity in the brain. The
condition may be in- herited or occur as a result of brain damage
following an injury—either at birth or in later life. An
epileptic “fit” starts when the sufferer has an “aura” of being
dissociated from her immediate environment. There is then shaking of
the limbs on one side of the body, followed by spasms of all the
muscles, with the head being thrown back and the eyes
staring unseeingly upwards. This un- controlled jerking leads to
uncon- sciousness for one or two minutes, during which the body may
continue to jerk spasmodically and there may also be a loss of
control of the bladder. Treatment for epilepsy is by means of
anticonvulsant drugs which suppress the fits. These have to be taken
for a continuous period of time until there have been no fits for at
least three to five years. Then the amount of medication taken
can gradually be reduced.
previously I had seen
him: suddenly, he collapsed on the floor and lay still. Then he
to twitch; his arms
and legs began to beat frantically on the floor; his teeth ground
together and he growled. 4.After some
time he lay still again, then he started
shaking again. 5.Later he gained consciousness again, a
bit shaken and worn out, not remembering what had just happened, and
none the worse. 6.Then why were
dangerous if he felt none the worse? 7.Because one time he had fallen into a boating lake
and nearly drowned; another time he had pulled a
pan of water on to
him; one time he had fallen down stairs. 8.These fits endangered his life.
Not to mention
the prejudice of folk against epileptics, and the threat to their
livelihood that they suffer.
Evening, 13th January 1965
III.1.And now we were on our
way to the great city of Manchester
on a train.
2.For we had seen a film
on television a few weeks before, from Manchester, where they were
saying that Jesus was alive, and that if people would
him, then their sicknesses would be cured, like Jesus
cured diseases.* 3.And while we had
he was on earth in the flesh.
walking from our home town
(2.1.70) or from
Cleveleys to Thornton
Thornton, to Cleveleys,/\I had
King Georges playing fields.
“Why do you
not go to this place?”
next day, he had come round to our house, saying, “We must go
tonight. 5.For I have had a dream,” he said untruthfully,
“The next day” is
not correct. Read “a few days later”
grandmother appeared to me, telling me to go there.” 6.And I had wondered anxiously whether I should go, but I
had been won over by his strong persuasions, and in
friend Peter, who was there, had agreed to go along.
train got to Bolton, and we took a bus into Manchester. 8.And
we did not know where to go,
were alone in a strange city. 9.Then Christopher suggested
that we should go to the Granada studios, for Granada had screened
the television programme. And we agreed.
10.But it was only a night
watchman who was there, and he did not have access to the files, and
he could not tell us where this church, “Sharon”, was. 11.So
we walked away,
12.But we did not have anywhere to stay, so we went back
to the watchman and asked him if he knew where we could stay the
11.So we were exceedingly dis- appointed.
12.But then Christopher
noticed a sign in the
church yard; it was a notice giving the address of the Pastors.
13.We read the notice, which gave a
telephone number, and quickly rang the
14.Pastor Williams’ wife answered the
telephone; upon our explaining the situation she said that usually
they did not have prayer for the sick
midweek, but seeing
we had come a long way, she said that Pastor Williams would see us
at half-past four, which was in an hour.
15.1.77 would see
us for half an hour at half past
15.How long, how eternal that hour seemed! As we
wandered through the slums of Moss Side, we wondered if it would
16.However, soon it was
we were at the
Pastors’ house, standing outside the door. 17.But who should
knock? We were very frightened, and did not dare knock. 18.For
we thought that the
psychic, for on the television programme he had dis- cerned what
diseases people had. 19.However, a man arrived at
the house, and after we had
we were, he invited us in. 20.There the Pastor met us,
in a front room, and there we told him how we had come
from Blackpool without our parents’
15.1.77 No, he
didn’t: he went round the back, suggesting that we ring the front
and we told him about Christopher, how he had fits. 21.Then
the Pastor bade Peter and me kneel on the floor and pray for
stood with Christopher in front of us. 22.He then laid
his hand upon Christopher’s forehead, and commanded the epilepsy
to leave him “in the name of Jesus”.
fell to the floor, as if struck down by the power
of God. 24.And we thought he was dead or that there
was something wrong with him. 25.But
Williams took him by the hand and raised him up, and asked him how
he felt. 26.And Christopher said that he felt easier.
27.And Pastor Williams told Christopher not to say
himself had cured him, but to say, “With his stripes”, that is,
those of Jesus, “I am healed.” 28.Then he took us up
stairs, and his wife prepared us some tea,
BAKED BEANS ON TOAST 1.4.75
and we ate gladly. 29.Pastor
Williams explained the work of “Sharon” in towns all over the
country where people had been healed by the power of
(bite lip so as not) (involuntary smile)
Substitute the following Pastor Williams
told us that since the showing of the film on television the
church had had visits from people from all over the north
of England. He said, “We’ve had people from Leeds,
Wakefield, Sheffield…” Any moment now, I thought, he’s going
to say, “Barnsley.” “…Doncaster, Barnsley…” At his mention
of Barnsley, I had to bite my lip because I couldn’t help
smiling. — 1980. Chris’s form
master H Ellis Tomlinson or “Toss” as he was called by them, was
known to lampoon Barnsley. He said things like “The
palm-fringed beaches of sunny Barnsley.” Barnsley thus became a
trigger to great mirth between Chris and
30.Going from that place we
were thrilled and happy and overjoyed, and leapt for joy and ran
in our rejoicing. 31.For we no
longer “believed”, as we said; we now
knew that God was real, that he had healed Christopher. 32.Yes,
we knew. How happy the revelation, for that [is what] it was!
(Note: Find out all
dates of events and date manuscripts.) I have no
doubt that I must, sometime around then, have made my calling and
election sure by calling on the name of the Lord.
VIII.1.Some time later, after I had been filled with the Holy
Spirit, I went to my first prayer meeting. I
was sitting and bowed down. 2.Then I sat back.
3.Suddenly, the feeling that I had had when someone had
placed their hands on my shoulders came again, and filled
my whole body, and I also shook. How glorious was that
when I was at Scarborough camp, in one of the meetings, the speaker
called for those who wanted
to dedicate their lives completely to the Lord to stand on
their feet. 5.This I did, and such a
mighty anointing of the Holy Spirit came upon me that I helplessly
back into my seat again with tears of great joy and
time my joy in the Lord was so great — I was so ab- solutely glad he
had saved me —
I sometimes just did not know what to do with myself or where to
put myself; it was so frustrating not to be able to find expression
for the joy that I had!
IX.1.After these things,
Pastor Smith came up to us (three, I think), and asked us if
we had been baptised if we would be baptised. 2.We
discussed about this, and so agreed.
3.At this time my parents
had started coming to the church. 4.My mother, concerned
and a little alarmed that I had gotten so involved (after being
filled with the Holy Spirit) had
decided to go
to a Sunday morning service, to which I had not gone that Sunday.
5.Soon afterwards in the Sunday evening meeting she
had got saved; and my father, later,
having been to
a number of Sunday evening services, also received Christ.
(Find out the date
when Trevor was converted. Also when he was filled with the Holy
(Find out when Mum
and Dad were converted Poss. the date of my
6.So I was baptised. Before
baptism I bore testimony: “I thank the Lord for saving my soul;
after all, look
what he’s saved me from!” 7.Then I was immersed in the
Cartwright, ([…]ther baptised that night.)
Notes  This
marks the beginning of “Scroll 1, fragment 1”.
 This marks the beginning of “Scroll 1, fragment
 This marks the beginning of “Scroll 1, fragment
 At this point two pieces of the toilet paper Ms. are glued
together. The sameness of the ink and the of handwriting on both pieces,
and the lack of dating on the second, suggest that they were written on
the same occasion.
 This marks the beginning of “Scroll 1, fragment 4” (assuming
that the break footnoted at line
204 is not where “fragment 4” starts).
 Between lines
330 and 331 two pieces of the toilet paper Ms. are glued together. The
sameness of the ink and of the handwriting on both pieces, the fact that
the shapes of the torn edges of both of them exactly match, and the lack
of dating on the second piece, are ample evidence that they are part of
the same fragment and were simply truncated to fit on one page when I cut
them up and stuck them on sheets of paper.
 This marks the beginning of “Scroll 1, fragment 5” (assuming
that the break footnoted at line
204 is not where “fragment 4” starts,and that the argument footnoted at
330 is sound).
At this point two pieces of the toilet paper Ms. are glued together. The sameness of the ink and the of handwriting on both pieces, and the lack of dating on the second, are evidence that they were written on the same occasion. A note attached to “The Memoir of Yahweh-is-Gracious” mentions an “excised piece, cut from fragment 5 of scroll 1”. [Scroll up from this link to see the note.] The excision probably occurred at this point. The missing text, as copied in “The Memoir of Yahweh-is-Gracious”, is given below. I have made one change from memory [bracketed] to restore the text. The copy in “The Memoir of Yahweh-is-Gracious”, however, omitted additional lines, written to introduce Hebrew-style parallelism into the text; these additions are now lost, and I am not able to attempt a
Ah most Noble Strength! I have lost my heart to you, my sister. How will there ever be any one who will compare to you? And what wonderful times we had together! And how you said that you wanted only me! But now I am left with only memories. And how may I forget you, my sweet one? When you have gotten so deep into my heart? What tears, what grief, what despair I have known since you left me! How much I have cried, how much I have longed, and yearned for you! How can I give you up, [O Strength, and Nobility]? For although you go with someone else, my heart still thinks I am the one you go with, and it has never given you up! O the yearning! So much so that I can no longer bear it. Yet I must!
Water: The Ms.
has been carelessly trimmed at the bottom, and most of the word water has been cut
that night: This is written upwards at the left margin of the Ms. The
paper has been trimmed at the bottom; consequently the first syllable of
each of the two lines has been lost.