By Ronald M. Enroth
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His words and decisions became synonymous with God's. In 1904, the members of Shiloh created a large banner containing a testament of faith, a pledge of allegiance, which all the members signed. The initial tenets would be familiar to most evangelical Christians today, but the last items on the list were unquestionably unorthodox. 8 Obedience to Sandford's will was nonnegotiable and absolute. "9 Any sign of willfulness or independence was destroyed. The preoccupation with creating an army for Armageddon required soldier-like responses.
When they left, they left destitute. Some were unable to face the real world again and returned to Shiloh. Years of dependence did not make it easy for people to make their own decisions and fend for themselves. Those who did return were shunned, isolated in remote houses until they had earned forgiveness. Merlyn Bartlett left twice. She could not endure the condemnation after her return. " The wrath of God fell not only upon those who dared to leave Shiloh. Parents of children who escaped were punished, and so were those who failed at parental discipline.
Members who traveled abroad usually started out with less than five dollars in their pockets. Everything was done in faith. Somehow they managed. Frank could always mysteriously come up with large amounts of cash, seemingly out of thin air. The Shiloh movement expanded briefly at the turn of the century when several foreign missions were established in England, Alexandria, and Jerusalem. These branches were shortlived and unsuccessful, though missionaries struggled there for many years before being called back.