Remarks of Atty. J. Austin Norris Member of the Board of Revision of Taxes, Philadelphia
During Woodmont anniversary celebration whilst in the Tea Room of the Divine Lorraine Hotel, Broad Street at Fairmount Avenue.
September 11, 1958 at 5:43 p.m.
(While FATHER and MOTHER served a few of Their Personal Guests in a little informal service in the Tea Room of the Divine Lorraine Hotel prior to going up to the Penthouse Dining Room, Mr. Norris, well known Attorney, arose to speak as follows:)
Peace, FATHER: (Father replies, “Peace!”) Peace, MOTHER: I’m taking advantage of the opportunity of sitting in here to speak in this room for the first time. I think I have had the privilege of speaking at most of the auditoriums in or near Philadelphia bur this is the first time that I have had the opportunity of being in this most sacred and personal dining room.
FATHER invited me here just an hour or so ago, and, of course, HIS Invitation is a command as far as I am concerned. I have often said in all the eighteen years that I have been associated with the Movement I have never asked FATHER to do any favor that HE has turned me down about; so if it’s midnight, if it’s morning, if it’s noon or afternoon, HIS Request is always a command to me.
I thought here that I might tell you some of the questions and thereby you can measure the concern of the public for the concern of the Movement here– some of the questions that they have asked me because they know that I am FATHER’S Attorney. I think this last year I have had even more questions directed to me than probably any previous year.
The questions run like this: “What kind of Personality is FATHER DIVINE?” Well, I tell them, and I almost know it by rote, my answers to these questions, because they are asked weekly. “What kind of Personality does HE have?” Well, I say here, I don’t know of anyone that’s more genteel that handles as much power as HE does. I don’t know if there’s anyone that is more cultured and refined. I have never heard HIM raise HIS Voice in anger at anyone; have you? (“No,” came the prompt sanction.) I don’t know of anyone who is more considerate of the feelings and the thoughts of others than FATHER DIVINE. I don’t know anyone that’s more humble than HE. I don’t know anyone that puts one person above another less than HE does. Everyone is on the same plane with HIM whether they are big, mighty, or whether they be humble and lowly. I have seen HIM, and I have spent a day just observing these things– a full twenty-four hours –and I have never known anyone that worked continuously so hard as HE does; do you? (“No,” again came the sanction.) And so I tell them the story of the Personality of FATHER DIVINE.
This past year I have been busy almost weekly rebutting the rumors of HIS enemies that HE’s dead. You know, more constantly every week there’s someone even as far as west ofChicago, that calls me to say, “Why, we heard of the demise of FATHER DIVINE.” My answer to that is, HE has never looked better during all of the seventeen, eighteen years that I have known HIM! (Loud applause sanctions this.)
Then the second question they put at me is this: “HE is very rich. HE has all of the money that’s Croesus’, that’s attributed to Croesus.” I said, you’re wrong there. FATHER DIVINE doesn’t have a penny. And HE could be very rich if HE traded HIS Services for wealth; HE could be wealthy, couldn’t HE? (“So true!” came the reply.) And all of these other Christianities and all of these other religious sects, where the money goes to the head. HE reverses the order. It goes to the people! (Loud applause sanctions this.) And they ask me about HIS income tax. I said I don’t know about that but I’m sure HE doesn’t have any because HE has no income.
There’s not a week that goes by that someone doesn’t try to get me to persuade FATHER DIVINE to buy something. Not a week! And I think Miss D. will tell you and certainly FATHER and MOTHER will tell you, that I never transmit those messages to HIM. I say that here, I only handle those matters which HE in HIS Wisdom and HIS Own Divine feelings might feel that I should handle and only those things that HE turns over to me.
Then another question they ask me is, “How old is FATHER?” I said, we don’t talk about age in the Movement. Nobody is old– and, mind you, there’s a new approach to age. People are not measuring age any more by the calendar, they are measuring it by your own physical equipment and mental equipment. Why, I read where a boy died of old age at seven! (Merriment resounds.)
They ask me where HE came from. I said I don’t know and nobody questions where: I said, but I know HE’s here and thank the LORD for that! (Loud applause rings out.)
They read the back of MOTHER’S Article showing that HIS first Marriage and I have had more questions concerning that date!