Creffield and Sacred Science

What the cult leader says is to be be viewed by his followers as--to use a cliché--the God's honest truth. What he says should be thought of as sacred, scientific even, and there is no need to look any further for answers to questions his followers might have. To do so would be unscientific if not down right immoral and loony. "There is no need for a search for truth," Dr. Lifton writes, "and in fact such a search is a straying from the truth and a denial of it." Consequently, seeking an education from outside sources is often discouraged.

"All learning was the work of the Devil," is what Franz Edmund Creffield preached. He told this to Sophie Hartley just before her graduation from Oregon Agricultural College in Corvallis. He also told her that unless she left school, God would smite her. "The professors try to kill you," he said, "and lash you to death with their foul tongues; but you have grown strong and healthy. Hallelujah!"


An excerpt from Chapter Four of Holy Rollers,

a letter written by one of Sophie's teachers, Ellen Chamberlin, who was concerned about the young woman's fate

Oregon Agricultural College"After a two days absence from the class, I asked her brother [Warren Hartley], also attending the College, what had become of his sister Sophie: his answer was evasive, unsatisfactory but I found out she was too taken up with those [Holy Roller] meetings to think or care for school work. One day she came to Dr. Gateh's [the college president's] office and asked if she might pray for him: He assented, called in his secretary, Prof. Crawford and one of the lady teachers for the prayer. Afterwards he told me how beautifully fervently she prayed for him to be more interested in the religious life of his students and do more for their Spiritual welfare. The next day she came at the noon hour to my room. I placed the sobbing girl in a chair, and tried to reason with her but all to no purpose, as before. . . . Glad enough was I to learn her mother from southern Oregon had come to be with her children. But alas, the mother too became a victim of the Satanic influence. . . . A pathetic thing indeed . . . especially so to those who saw and realized what was transpiring yet were unable in their efforts to control the obsession that became so deeply rooted and disastrous. . . ."

Sometime after this incident, Sophie ripped up the graduation dress that she had been working on all winter and left with her mother for the new Eden, a remote camp on the Oregon Coast. Sophie also left behind a gold watch for her father to find--a watch he had given her, and Creffield had taken a hatchet to.

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