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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Carl and Mary Thompson, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Importance of faith in Mary Thompson's life

In her family, religion and faith were integral parts of childrearing. Mary Thompson talks about how things have changed since she was a child and then describes the important role faith continues to play in her life.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Carl and Mary Thompson, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JIM LELOUDIS:
Did the family get together to read the Bible?
MARY THOMPSON:
Not all together all the time, but my mother would get some of us around. Some of them was always out playing, but she taught us thataway. My daddy was a good man, but he left everything, even the teaching, up to Mama, and he done the work. But they taught us what the Bible said we should do. What's taught a child stands in their mind the rest of their life. That's one thing I don't think ever leaves you; it'll keep coming back. And I believe your conscience will bring it back to you if you start doing things you oughtn't to, because I can't say that I've been an angel all my life. And I don't think anybody else has. But I never have been one. But still, if I was tempted to do things wrong, my teaching's what my conscience that I didn't do it. And I believe in teaching a child the way it should go. But then they taught more in the homes than they do now. And another thing, we were taught in the schools. We had our devotion; we was taught the Bible; we had to learn Bible verses in the school. We always had prayer and devotion every morning before we started, and we were taught what was right and wrong in school. They're not taught that now. When they took the Bible out of schools, they … [END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A] [TAPE 2, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
JIM LELOUDIS:
So if the parents didn't do it, you say the schools then would kind of pick up on it.
MARY THOMPSON:
That's right. The schools taught it. We had the teaching of the Bible and prayer and all in school, and now they have dope and cursing and sex and everything else now in school. That's the difference in the schools. That's what's ruining so many children, too, today. Schools back on, if they can't get it in their homes, at least they could get it in school if it was in schools. They'd get a little bit of it. At least they'd know there was a God, and they'd know that there's a Bible, and they'd know what's right and wrong, if they were taught it in school. Now I'm not saying you should teach denomination in school; I'm not part of that. But the Bible should be taught in school, and you should have prayer in school, and teaching right and wrong in school. And there wouldn't be so much meanness if there was. My daughter's a study hall teacher at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, and she says that it's awful, what's in school today. She tells me more than anything else. Of course, I hear other teachers talking about it, too, but she tells me the way they do in school. She says it's just surprising the way the children is doing in school today. And that's what makes our country, the children, so what are they going to be in the future if that's what they're going to have in schools? You think we're old-timey; we are. And we might be boresome, but we believe in being clean and believe in the Bible. And I believe if the schools would go back to prayer in school, it'd be better, too. I hope Senator Helms gets his bill through. Might be it's gone so far, it might… I don't know, though; the Lord can do wonders. So it might be that He can still turn the world around and turn the morale around in schools. Of course, it takes a little bit of parents to do things, too, but where so many of them don't have the parents to do, they could at least help some of them in school.
JIM LELOUDIS:
As you said, the church was real important in your life.
MARY THOMPSON:
Sure. We went to the Baptist church. There was a Methodist church there on the village, too, and so once in a while we'd play hooky and go to the Methodist because some of our friends would be going there. We really wasn't Methodist, but lots of our friends was Methodist. I'm one of these that believes that the denomination don't take you to Heaven. But now my parents was hard-shell Baptists. They believed the Baptists was all there was.( ) [Laughter] But I'm not thataway. I believe in the Bible and the Lord. The denominations helps because we've got to have something to follow. But our church was important in our lives. In fact, everything we did, all our entertainment and all, had to go through the church or the school. We wasn't allowed to go out and be rough like some.
JIM LELOUDIS:
How do you feel personally that God's been active in your life?
MARY THOMPSON:
He's been wonderful to me. If I do things wrong, I know that I can always come back to him. It's hard to say, but I really think that everything I got come from the Lord. I give Him credit for it, anyway. Our strength, we're able to do. I was in an awful fix with heart trouble, and I've got now to where I can go around and walk, and doing wonderful. I think the Lord is all we are, in my life.