About The Author Henry T. Beyer Jr.

I was born in the city of New Orleans in the year 1912. We were a family of ten children who were reared under extreme difficulty and had to endure hardships due to the drinking and gambling of our father. The background of my family was shrouded in the darkness of sin with hoodoo, superstition and spiritualism. Mediums, card reading and fortunetelling are deeply rooted in New Orleans, and my own family practiced them. My grandmother was a medium. I have seen the time when her house looked like a clinic with so many people coming to see her. Many times, I watched through the keyhole and saw her go into a trance, then come out of it after a minute or two and appear physically exhausted. Many people agreed with what she told them about themselves, and I heard many testify that she had healed them and had been a great help to them in solving their problems. I personally brought a lady to see my grandmother. I sat there tense as she went into the trance. She told the woman much about herself that she totally accepted.

Evil influences dominated my life from infancy. One cannot fully understand the darkness of the evil that surrounded my life; it was being passed down from generation to generation. Gamblers and drunkards made up a large percentage of my family. When I was eight or nine years of age, I learned to handle a deck of cards, and many times I spent an entire night watching the family gamble. The very atmosphere of my home life was polluted with gross immorality. The vulgarity that fell from the lips of my family was appalling. The vile stories and unclean jokes lingered in my mind for years. I regret to say that these awful things gripped me in my early years and had a major influence on me. I became an habitual gambler and a heavy drinker, living a lifestyle of self indulgence. I spent my time on Sundays playing semiprofessional baseball. Some of my teammates went on to the Major League.

It was during the summer of 1937 that I picked up a little Bible that lay around the house. It had possibly come from the Lutheran school that one of my brothers had attended. I remember that, when I first opened it and began to read, everything seemed foggy and hazy. The next day, I found myself reading it again, but still without understanding. This went on for a month or two, even while I was coaching at a Catholic school. I began to memorize verses from the Bible, along with a word or two from the dictionary. I had never known that people memorize Scriptures, but later found that hundreds of the Scriptures I memorized were frequently used by Christians or quoted from the church pulpit. I continued in this vein until I began to feel something strange come over me that I could not understand. I had never heard of conviction. I often felt like crying; a sense of loneliness would steal over me. Many times in a nightclub I would become miserable and would wish I could be alone. Had I met someone who was interested in the souls of men to talk with me about the Saviour and His love, I am sure it would have been easy for them to lead me to the Christ. I can say that no one talked to me about my soul. I was ignorant of what it meant to be born again or to be a new creature in Christ Jesus. Months passed with this same feeling pervading my soul.

Then came New Year’s Eve, a big day of celebration in New Orleans. It was that particular night that I was walking downtown to begin my celebration. My girlfriend was working in her father’s grocery and barroom and couldn’t get away until after midnight. I was alone. I lived about a twenty-minute walk from the place of celebration. I walked about halfway, then halted in my steps. For some unknown reason, I could not proceed a step further. I felt miserable and was on the verge of crying. My heart was burdened and crushed by a feeling I cannot adequately describe. I turned around and started back home, heavily burdened, still not realizing what was happening to me. I lived in a two-story house at 542 South Tonti Street. When I reached home at about 11:45 p.m., I went immediately upstairs to my room. I opened my Bible, fell on my knees and began to read and cry, unaware that people ever prayed to God anything other than memorized prayers. I began to pray to God in my own feeble way by telling Him how sorry I was for my sins, and how I wanted to be a better boy and live for Him. Never had I been taught that people must confess directly to Jesus to be forgiven of their sins. I had always been taught that as long as a person takes communion, he is always ready for heaven after going through the purgatory flames for sins in this life, regardless of how he has lived. For fifteen minutes, I cried and confessed to the Lord. Then I heard whistles blowing and firecrackers bursting and people shouting gaily, “Happy New Year!” After the noise subsided, I rose to my feet feeling like a different person. From that very moment, my attitude was changed. The things which I had craved I no longer wanted, and the things which had held no interest in my life I began to long for. I began to have a creative desire to read and study the Bible. I then lost the desire to associate with my former companions and friends. I found the great truth of the Scriptures, Hallelujah! II Cor. 5:17 says, “Old things are passed away.” I began at once to live differently and to desire that others might know of this great event that had taken place in my life. I put all of my spare time to good use studying and reading the sacred Scriptures, which now had new meaning.

During this time, I spoke with a stutter. I sought to correct this problem with God’s help and began at once to go through vigorous training. I started to educate myself because, at the age of thirteen, I had quit school and had assumed the responsibility of supporting my family; therefore, I lacked even a grammar school education. This self education became very important when it was time to attend seminary.

One Sunday night, while walking along Canal Street, I heard strange music playing from a distance. As I drew near, I noticed some people in rather peculiar-looking uniforms playing musical instruments and singing happily. They began to preach about Christ, and I listened intently to the service. This was when I first learned that the Salvation Army was a religious organization. They invited me to attend their church. I later joined the Salvation Army and attended their seminary. After graduating, I remained in the Salvation Army for about a year. I met people in the Nazarene denomination and later became one of their pastors, then an evangelist. By the grace of God, over time, I led almost my whole family to Christ.


Henry T. Beyer Jr.

Bread Of Truth Book
    “Bread of Truth”