Creffield and the Holy Rollers made page one headlines from 1903 to 1907. When I was researching Holy Rollers: Murder and Madness in Oregon’s Love Cult I spent months transcribing hundreds of articles. I’m not sure why I was so obsessive. Maybe it was my way of immersing my self into a cult without joining one. Anyway, I’m posting them all for those who are really interested in the story, or are interested the history of journalism, or are interested in how a scandalous story played out in the "media" in a by gone era. Since I no doubt made typos and unconsciously corrected papers' typos, these web pages should not be cited in anything serious (e.g. your dissertation). For such projects they should only be used as starting points and you should refer to the original sources. If you want a shorter version of the story, buy my book. Enjoy.

August 4, 1906: Creffield Greatly Hurt True Religion


Evening Telegram (Portland) 8/4/1906 p4

Greatly Hurt True Religion

Such Men as Creffield Are Pitied, but Censured by Rev. Palmer.

Dowie Is One of Greater of These, Says Portland Minister.


(In a box)


Such men as Dowie give inspiration--if it can be called inspiration--to such men as Creffield. Dowie is the father and these are the sons. He is the greater and these are the lesser lights.--Rev. Ray Palmer, Baptist Evangelist, of Portland




“Influence of people such as these on Christianity is demoralizing in a degree much greater than the general public understands,” is the stern arraignment of Edmund Creffield, self-styled “Joshua,” by Rev. Ray Palmer, a prominent Portland minister. “I have not had an opportunity to see Creffield, but his actions lead one to believe that he is insane. If he is mentally deranged, he is to be pitied. But where a person has full control of his mental faculties and urges upon the people and urges upon the people any ideas of religion other than those of Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible, that person tears down the foundation stone of morality, good government and the world’s advancement.


“Impostors, that’s what they are!”


Rev. ray Palmer, former pastor of the Second Baptist church, of this city, but now engaged in evangelical work, uses strong language against purveyors of new and strange religions. Speaking of their influence, he said:

The influence of these people and their fake religion cause outside and neutral people to become disgusted. It leads people farther from the narrow path. We always have these things to contend with in all churches.


“Radical teachers believe they receive revelations direct from God. Instead of building up morality, they are tearing it down.


“This class of men and women seem to have the lowest kind of ideals. After a time they come to a point where they say they cannot sin, but that is just when they are sinning the most. Christianity is the most practical thing in the world.


“Such men as Dowie give inspiration--if it can be called inspiration--to such men as Creffield. Dowie is the father and these are the sons. He is the greater and these are the lesser lights. Young Darling, of prominent Portland parents, who lives like a wild man in the foothills near Los Angeles, is another of these religious fanatics.


“Christianity would be much better off if there were some way to take care of these men, but this is a free country, and I suppose we shall always be bothered and have to contend with such characters.”



Seattle Star 8/4/1906 p5

Will Defend Mrs. Creffield


W. A. Holzheimer has been retained to defend Maud Creffield. The selection of Mr. Holzheimer was at the instance of Will H. Morris. While it is not decided, it is generally thought that insanity will be the defense.

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