Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 14, 1955

A Night In The Hoosegow, Or The Ins And Outs Of Leroy Garrett

Jack L. Holt, Houston, Texas

Brethren, I come before you as one who is alarmed by the latest events and happenings in "our brotherhood." Tragic events have occurred which when duly considered excite the most timid of souls. What with controversies over "cooperation" raging, plus a quarantine campaign being eagerly pushed, all of which is topped off by the flinging of Leroy Garrett into a Tennessee prison, I am made to wonder if we are not losing our "perspective."

Those of us who have opposed the institutional movement have become calloused and hardened by virtue of the calumnies unloaded upon us by the sweet and gentle institutional brethren among us. But I must confess that even a hardened soul such as me was taken aback when I heard of the "brotherly love" extended to Leroy by, the "powers" at Freed-Hardeman in their "invitation" for him to visit the local house of correction.

Leroy, it seemed, kicked up quite a ruckus at the recent brotherhood convention tossed by the "little church of Christ college," at Henderson. The authorities of this institution were lacking in appreciation of this particular ability of Leroy's; they took a dim view of such, and lest Leroy contaminate some of the students with his doctrine, the aforementioned authorities protected these students by requesting the local police to provide hay and fodder for Leroy that night. When Leroy first heard of this "brotherly" request, reluctant and "modest" fellow that he is, he refused to go. When the police arrived on the scene of the crime, they found that the villain had barricaded himself in the confines of the men's wash room and was pleading for diplomatic immunity. But the "powers" of the college did not believe Leroy to be diplomatic nor immune either, as far as they were concerned, and they compelled the officer to make the arrest. By and by Leroy came out of his fort, voluntarily surrendering, and accompanied the officer to the "inner sanctum."

According to reports this fiasco came about because Leroy made himself obnoxious at one of the open forum sessions held during the afternoons of this convention. Now I do not doubt that this report is true for it is well known to one and all that when it comes to being obnoxious Leroy has wonderful ability indeed. But while he may excel in this, I do not believe that his actions justified the college having him clapped in irons. Having read the reports from the various ones who "took it in hand to set forth the facts," I am constrained to believe that his imprisonment was a mite unjust, and perhaps stemmed from some spirit other than that of brotherly love. It further seems that those who tried to picture the "persecuting" powers as men of charity in this action have bent over backwards in their attempt.

If a denominational preacher had attempted to set forth his denominational views during the open sessions, he would no doubt have been answered. No one would have thought of calling the local gestapo into the case. We have long advocated that we stand behind anything we teach or practice and we challenge the sects to take issue with us. Has it now come to pass that the only way we can defeat error is by clapping in irons those who oppose the truth?

It was predicted that Leroy would make capital of this incident, and that he would devote a few ( ?) pages of his publication to an explanation of the affair. In this Leroy did not disappoint his readers, he magnified the incident and himself. He ""waxed eloquent" and displayed his indignation at such treatment. Well, by-passing any comments on the correctness of his account of the facts, I must say I can't blame Leroy for being indignant. I verily believe that being locked in the hoosegow, is not the way to go about greeting one another with a "holy kiss." Moreover, Leroy found that Freed-Hardeman's "open door policy," as far as he was concerned was without policy and the open door led directly into the calaboose.

Leroy's account of the incident was more an autobiography of a self appointed martyr than a statement of facts. The Martyr story, written by Leroy and in which he plays the chief part, almost surpasses the one written by another author named Luke and which is recorded in the book of Acts. Leroy can play the role of a martyr, and methinks that a play based upon Acts seven, which featured Leroy in the role of Stephen, would be a great attraction. Let it not, however, be thought that Leroy is a martyr for the Lord's cause; he is not. Leroy suffers because his peculiar tenets cannot stand the light of New Testament teaching. This is the basis of his real suffering and "this is that," which compels him to be so obnoxious. I have no love for Leroy's teaching, because it is not in harmony with the oracles of God, but I grant him the right to stand up for what he believes, just as I would any other sectarian preacher.

The apostle Paul kicked up a ruckus in quite a few cities, yet I cannot find where he ever prevailed upon local authorities to silence his adversaries. He did appeal to them as a Roman citizen for protection when his life was threatened. Paul was the persecuted, rather than the persecutor. Was this the case at Freed-Hardeman?

While Leroy cooled his heels in the local pokey, prayer was made in his behalf by the president of the school at the lecture services that night. Jehovah was supplicated to be with Leroy, and forgiveness for Leroy was requested. But when the prayer was finished the president did not couple works with his faith; for he left the whole matter in the hands of the Lord and waited till morning to free Leroy. Hence, Leroy spent the whole night on the "insider looking out." Brethren, this whole sordid affair is a disgrace and I do not think the mantle of charity can be draped over some shoulders. I must also admit as did a certain editor of the "overflow variety" that I am ashamed of both of them.