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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with John Thomas Moore, October 18, 2000. Interview R-0142. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Beginning married life with a troubled woman

Moore allowed God to guide him and provide for him from an early age, he recalls. God chose his career path and his wife, telling both Moore and his future wife that they were meant for one another. His future wife's troubled past and the couple's blood seemed to say otherwise—Moore remembers the strange sequence of events that attended their efforts to get blood tests in anticipation of their marriage. The blood tests did not produce the desired result, but the two married anyway.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with John Thomas Moore, October 18, 2000. Interview R-0142. 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

CHRISTOPHER WEBER:
When you were that age, what were your hopes and ambitions?—
JOHN THOMAS MOORE:
[interrupting, speaking sharply] To wait for the Lord and go do what the Lord say do. Do whatever he want. Wherever he want me to go, that's where I travel. I joined the Church of God of Prophecy and became a pastor. Then I pastored in Virginia, Chapel Hill. One day they put me in (Douglasville), send me here and here and yonder. I enjoyed that. I used to work with the City. I had a full-time job with the City, and I told them: "I can't stay here long, though, because I got to work for the Lord." They're going, "What are you talking about?" [unclear] I said, "Y'all talk all you want, but I got to work for the Lord. He got another job for me. He said he'd supply my needs and takes care of me, and I believe what he said. He done that, brother. He really done that. I have nothing to worry about. Then later on I got married. I got to bring that in. [claps] I went to Burlington with my brother in Christ. He was pastor there. I went there and went to his church. He said, "I got a young lady I want you to meet." I said, "Why do you want me to do that?" He said, "All the other young mens and ladies are married, and I think you would be a good match as well." I know that they was, but I wasn't quite ready for that—don't rush me. He said, "Well, I think you need to." So I kind of took him at his word, you know. [Laughter] I was twenty-two years old, and it was getting time to sort of get interested in females. I went on and everything; we got acquainted and talked. There was this convention up there. Bishop McKinley said, "I want you to preach." So I preached and I was just in the high way of preaching, anointed [unclear] . The church was full, and this young lady came in, and the Spirit said, "That's yours in a vision." I looked around, and none of the rest of them was saying nothing. I kept on, and it said, "I said, 'That's yours, yours in a vision." I said, "Yes, Lord." So after the service I talked to the Bishop—not Bishop, but Reverend Henderson. He said, "I'll introduce her to you." We get to talk a little bit, and she say, "When I came in the church and you were just preaching, the spirit spoke to me and said you was mine in a vision." I said, "Wait a minute. Those are the same identical words he spoke to me. That's why I'm talking to you." She said, "That's what it said to me." So we went on right there and the two of us, we was married. She didn't know that much about me, and I didn't know that much about her, but the Lord had spoken. I believed in God and what he said. He said, "Them who I put together let no sinner cut them apart," So I sent on and got married and got along fine. I thought—we thought we was doing fine. But as we was arranging to get married, we had to have the blood tests and all that stuff. I was working over there at Blue Light Restaurant, shift cooking—
CHRISTOPHER WEBER:
Over there on Erwin?—
JOHN THOMAS MOORE:
No, on Roxboro Road, out there where Walmart and all that on the corner now. It used to be a Blue Light Restaurant out there. Buses used to come out and turn around there and go back to town. All back there in Bragtown, cause they had to walk from Bragtown. So I said, "I'm going to my home doctor," which was doctor [unclear] Horton. He was the county doctor then. I went and told he said, "Wait a minute. What is wrong with you? Don't you think you're going a little bit too fast?" I said, "Doctor, I met this young lady but I'm supposed to get married; I know I'm supposed to have the blood test." [exhaling deeply] He sat down and said, "I don't feel like this is right for you. I don't think you need to do this." I just kept on. He said, "Well, I'll do it." He took the blood test and he said, "It ain't going to pass. Y'all blood not going to match." I said, "I'll get back in touch with you." That next day, it came out in the paper that Dr. [unclear] had died of heart attack.
CHRISTOPHER WEBER:
This guy who you were talking to—
JOHN THOMAS MOORE:
[excitedly] The doctor, the county doctor. Wasn't nothing wrong with him. I just shocked him so bad. He had a heart attack. [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A] [TAPE 1, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
JOHN THOMAS MOORE:
That afternoon—. Deacon Williams was deacon of my church. Bless his heart, he's dead and gone, too. Him and I was living out there on the farm, and we was farming together. I told him about it, so we went to pick up the young lady, Sister Jean Banks. She said, "I'll carry you to my doctor." I said, "I'll be glad to. We'll try to get together and do what thus said the Lord." [speaking up] Listen, now. This is a miracle, another miracle, another miracle that happened. We got together and were going down the street, sitting there, laughing and talking, and all at once the Lord just began to speak to me. I began to listen to the Spirit. The Spirit let me know, "This is not for you." [exhales hard] I didn't know what to say, what to do. She was sitting there and I was sitting there and Deacon Williams and his wife was sitting there. He said, "What's happened, Bishop?" I sat there just listening to the Spirit of God. God's just speaking with [unclear] . She said, "I don't know what's wrong with Johnny. He ain't sayed nothing to me, ain't trying to talk to me or tell me nothing. I'm just waiting here until somebody can tell me something." I said, "I'm just waiting to nobody nothing. [claps] I'm going to listen to God." Going down the road at a normal speed, [claps] almost sixty miles an hour. I said, "Deacon, look! Look at that tire going down. Somebody done lost their tire of the passenger side on the front." He said, "What in the world is that?" I said, "I don't know." We were all just looking, and all at once the car went and (started) doing like that, [makes bucking motion with his hands] and kept doing it. Then all at once it just dropped. I said, "What in the world?" The Lord said, "I done told you." Then Deacons said, "It was my tire coming by me." I knew it was something the Lord kept speaking to me, and I wasn't sure. I kept sitting there praying. Got to her doctor, and he had a whole lot of people for the same day. So when he got to us he said, "Look, you not going to match her." He came straight out and told me, "You not going to match her." I said, "What you mean, doctor?" "You not going to match her." So she went back and talked to the doctor, and soon in ten minutes he (said), "All right, y'all come in." He took my blood, took her blood, then went on back and done the tests. He said, "I'm sorry to tell you, but yours not matching hers. Your blood are supposed to match. She said, "What are you talking about?" He said, "His blood not matching yours. Y'all not a good couple. Just not. Can't do it." He kept on fumbling around and said, "Well, I'm going to go ahead and let it pass, since you so anxious." I still wasn't saying nothing; I was still hearing what the Lord says, and got to thinking, trying to figure out how I was going to get out of it. [Laughter] I went on, I went on, till we finally, finally got married. While I was at her daddy's home, waiting for her to come down the stairs and getting ready to go to Bishop McKinley, he daddy was talking to me. He said, "This ain't going to work." I kept hearing the Lord speak then. I had decided in my mind to get up and go back to the bus station and catch the bus back to Durham and forget all about it. By the time I got ready to get up and go out of the house, dressed and everything, I said, "O Lord." Spirit started, "I tell you to go to move." [pause] So we went on, and Bishop McKinley talking to his wife, talking, "This ain't gonna work. This ain't gonna work. You don't know. You haven't talked with Ms. Banks. You don't know what we know." So Mother McKinley said, "Let me talk to you, Bishop Moore. I need to talk to you and tell you something." I did not know that Ms. Banks, three or four weeks before, just had came from having a nervous breakdown. [pause] She really didn't know what she was doing or what she was getting into. She already had a child nine years old. Before she had that child, she tried to commit suicide and kill herself. She tried to jump off the top of the house. But for some reason the Lord didn't let nothing happen to hear. When the child was born, one of her legs was kind of afflicted. I didn't know that. I met the child and I love the child. I love children. So we went on and went on and finally we got married.