Jay Atkinson

On September the 7th, 1943, Harold Dawson Atkinson, Jr. was born. My Mother Florine in her wisdom called me Jay for Junior. I suppose it was she that first prayed for me. I don't remember a time that I didn't feel in my heart that I was a Christian. I knew I had faith. I regularly attended Sunday School, learned the books of the Bible, part of the youth group, sang in the choir, joined the church's Boy Scout troop and baptized at twelve. For me, a Baptist upbringing was part of growing up. Was I saved? Perhaps, but I knew nothing about holiness or sanctification. I may have been saved from the penalty of sin but the power of sin was something that I had not even thought about.

My first remembrance was one of social conscience and I have been attentive ever since. I was not yet five living in Sacramento California and my parents took me to the park with my sister Annette. I was playing with my friend Wesley, he happened to be black and I remember my Dad telling me that it was OK to play with him, just don't hang around those people too much. I recognized it for something that was not right. Dad was a good man right up until his death just this year at 101, Dr. Harold Dawson Atkinson Sr. He followed his father as a Doctor and later took over a nice practice in Menlo Park on the San Francisco peninsula.

To others, I may have been a bit nerdy, short and skinny through grade school. I would be the last picked on the baseball field and the first picked to run the projector. My first stereo was one I built from a Heath kit. School was a drag and I didn't like to study, but I was smart enough to get by. At Menlo-Atherton high school and after, I ran around with my friends, chased girls, raced cars, shot a lot of pool, smoked cigarettes, drank and later, smoked pot. I noticed that the parents of my friends treated me a little differently for some reason; it may have been that I didn't swear and I treated them with respect but I sensed that they trusted me as a good influence on their sons. I got picked on a lot by others but they were always surprised when I fought back harder than they did.

Except what was drilled into me, I had no political views of my own. I grew up in an atmosphere of fear of ungodly liberals and Democrats, a McCarthy age dupe, brain washed enough to think Nixon was good for the country. In grade school, we had drills where we had to duck under the desk and put our heads between our legs to protect ourselves in case an atomic bomb dropped on us. I thought it was funny when I learned later that this was just a way of kissing your ass goodbye. I was afraid to see Kennedy elected yet pleased when things went on even better; I loved him and cried the day he got shot.

My friends were worldly just like myself but not bad kids. I would invite my friends from school to church but when I brought girls, it turned the gossip heads wagging and an acute awareness began of judgmental church people thinking the worst of me. My first true love was a pretty blond girl there, her parents were among the head waggers, they disapproved and she was forbidden to go out with me. I wanted to wait on the sex thing, but we were in love and through the act of separation and sneaking out, godly innocence grew intimate. The splendor and pain lasted a while and ended with the kind of trauma that never fully healed. True love never dies and when your heart is broken into bits, it might grow back crooked. I forever blamed the bitties at church. Right or wrong, that brought the final severance from churchianity; I never lost my faith but had to get away.

My friend Dick had a Corvair. We were vacationing in Lake Tahoe and on the way back, he was driving too fast and had to slam on his brakes to avoid the car in front doing the same; the car fish-tailed, jumped the divider and flew into the downhill traffic. As we were broad-sided, I felt an angel of the Lord push me to the other side of the car. Seat belt laws today would have killed me for sure, the door had folded over my seat and the roof had buckled into the dashboard; that angel saved my life. Of course it may have been the momentum before the impact but the knowledge that it was providential remained. It never occurred to me at the time that God may have a plan for my life but it did get me to thinking.

In 1964 I joined the Marine Corps reserves to dodge the draft. I never wanted to have to shoot anyone and especially didn't want anyone shooting at me. It only took me a second after signing to realize the mistake I made and hated the corps to the core. I was nick-named the skater, slide out of any kind of work, never volunteer, make myself invisible, only got noticed when I messed up. I remember well our final ceremonies after boot camp graduation, marching down the parade grounds all in step and saluting the dignitaries and flag and such. An overwhelming sense of pride came over me for our country. I wasn't much of a Marine but I loved America and still do. Later, during infantry training, I was sent to the Captain's office for talking down to a Sergeant and saw a notice for clerk typist and tested for it. While the other Marines were running up to the top of Ol' Smokey with full pack and rifle and learning how to kill, I was an office pinky typing DD214 discharge papers all day. A few years later I was back there in summer camp joining the troops who were marching against the Vietnam war. I talk to Vietnam vets now and some treat me like I was among the ones that spit on them when they came home but it wasn't like that.

My idealistic nature yearned to make social changes amid a wayward generation and I chose police science in college; it went well as far as the administration of justice but turned cold with law enforcement. I was there to try to change things as I saw them and they were doing their best to change me. I was living in the Santa Cruz Mountains; my girl friend broke it off because I told her not to swear so much. I went into town for some drinks to nurse my pitiful self and that was the first time I remember getting so drunk that I couldn't remember all that happened. Anyway, I landed in jail for the night which didn't go well with my police science counselor. Wasn't much of a student anyway, put in another year and quit. I turned my hand to sales and worked for an insurance company owned by W. Clement Stone. The training there led me to several motivational books and I developed a fondness for inspirational literature.

There were many sins in my life as a young man and listing them is not part of this short biography but I never felt that I was a sinner. I had faith but I also remember wanting to run away from the spiritual parts of Jesus. I remained a light-weight compared to what the others of my generation were doing but it was the San Francisco Bay Area party time of the sixties and I chose to party.

This boy went from high school greaser to Santa Cruz beach bum pool shark to week-end hippie during that decade. I would have had long hair but monthly reserve meetings lasted until 1970. We were based at the San Bruno unit near San Francisco during the peace movement and anti-war sentiment was stronger here than anywhere. During one of the summer camps, we heard that the other companies in the regiment were forbidden to talk with anyone in our unit. One evening, someone handed me drumsticks and a wash tub and we paraded through the camps with guitars and cymbals singing, "We Shall Overcome." During one of the reserve meetings, we had an instructor going on about a great type of percussion bomb that left the buildings intact and only killed people. It was horrific to hear the obvious disregard for human life and several of the guys just walked out of the class in disgust. The instructor was stunned but kept right on teaching, I stayed to hear the rest. I excelled as a field radio man but as a bad Marine, busted and separated into a re-motivational group with 11 others called the shit-bird platoon; everybody made jokes about the dirty dozen. We accidentally on purpose got lost on an week-end exercise in the woods for the whole day soaking up the sun and smoking dope and the noncoms made a really big stink about it to the brass. They tried to activate us and ship us over to Viet-Nam but we organized, got an ACLU lawyer and they quickly sent us back to our units. That exercise in organized activism stuck with me big time.

That was my life as a week-end warrior once a month, many other week-ends were happily spent in San Francisco attending rock concerts at the Winterland and Fillmore Auditoriums. I first got high at a Donovan concert in 1967, he came onto the stage dressed like an angel in white and gold and the euphoria seemed like a genuine religious experience. The San Francisco sound had rocked the world and the world's greatest performers would come and rock us some more. I still consider those times as among my most favorite memories and happily, some things never change. Something soon however, would make all things as nothing.

I took up with a poor little rich girl and I'm not sure which, but it was either to piss off her boyfriend or her mother that we ended up getting married. My police and military training landed me a job in industrial security as a classified document control clerk and the secretary there had a copy of "Good News for Modern Man," the New Testament. I asked her if I could read it and she gave it to me to keep. I learned a lot of Bible stories when I was young, memorized verses and books of the Bible but never actually read it, once started I could not put it down. I cried when reading the Sermon on the Mount; the words of Jesus spoke the kind of truth that bared my soul and opened my mind and heart to God. While driving the company van to the Post Office with a load of classified documents, I started experiencing conviction. I lifted my eyes up to heaven and cried out to God - "I'm sorry." That was all I said when suddenly a spiritual sensation came over me in a way that I never knew existed. Every fiber of my body, every molecule and nerve cell was suddenly alive to an awareness of God. In a matter of moments, I received end time visions and given the keys to the kingdom and the wisdom of ages. Tears of joy came down my face and I was shouting and praising the lord for the first time. They never taught me that in Sunday School! I could hardly contain myself to those around me, I remember one day, a sensation of my feet not touching the ground.

I learned that this was the Baptism with the Holy Ghost. Of course I am saved and know that I am saved but this was a spiritual confirmation beyond simple faith. When the Lord touches you with power like that, there is no doubt. I went back to the Good News and finished it in three weeks, coffee breaks, lunchtime, in the evenings, soaking in every word. I started going back to church too, the bitties were still there but they didn't bother me as much. I got a pocket King James Version of the Bible and started reading it from Genesis. When I read Solomon, I trusted the words not to lean upon my own understanding and when I read to ask for wisdom, I asked with faith. I read the words of Paul that said desire to prophesy and prayed for the gift. Giving my testimony of Jesus to a friend one evening, I felt the spirit of God touch my lips and teach him things that I had never learned before. I understood even as I spoke that this was the gift that I had asked for. Right from the start, end-time prophecies fascinated me the most and I started studying eschatology and reading devotional books.

It didn't go so well on the home front and the marriage didn't last but a couple more years. Her mother had moved down to the Hollywood Hills into another home she purchased and left her opulent Atherton home for us. I made the decision to commute to San Jose and attend Bible College there and that ended it. I was thrown out of the house and she quickly took up with someone else. I cried some and left it behind to start things anew in San Jose, never to return.

Bible College was frankly quite a surprise. There was no way that I could deny the spiritual experience that I had encountered and this sectarian denomination dismissed it as emotionalism. Since I was going through a divorce, I was treated by some there as a fallen man and the head wagging started again. I could not deny the present existence of spiritual gifts but they taught that they had died at the completion of the New Testament. A few of the teachers were good, others legalistic, Bible only, extreme fundamentalists. Many students were right out of high school from the same illiberal church denomination, others out of the Jesus movement. All this and I come along with a progressive humanities and intellectual bent with an opposing millennial position. God was teaching me personally of a future restoration among a church that taught it had already happened with them, so I could recognize the difference. The spirit was indeed there, I followed after love and found it in the faculty as well as the students. More and more however, God would teach me to see through divisive attitudes and the spirit bore witness to the truth amid exclusivism and legalism.

I thanked God that He had baptized me personally with His Holy Spirit and not through the hands of man. I thanked Him that He had taught me about spiritual gifts through love and not through the confusion and particularisms of denominational bias. God loves us and wants to be using us for the work all the time. I know I got feelings at times that I am not worthy enough to do the Lord's work when there is any sin left in my life and then I feel far from Him. Problem is that we all sin and no one can be used by God if we all felt that way. The work of that negative spiritual force in our lives is to make the Lord's work through us ineffective, yet grace keeps us going in the spirit enabling us to put failures behind and press on to the higher calling with renewed confidence. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain so we go for it and God feels near us again. I was learning these things, some the hard way but thanking God anyway.

Still in school, I wanted to marry again. Learning through the past, I wanted God to make the choice this time. I actually wrote out a wish list to God for what I wanted in a perfect wife and He provided me with my lovely Barbara. I sometimes wish that I could have made the list longer but we have been together for over 35 years now. Son Jeremy is living and working in San Francisco and daughter Jenna in Los Gatos, married to Chef Andrea Giuliani from Italy and the parents of our granddaughter, Maya Celeste.

I had always shown deference to the poor and tried to help them. I quit Bible College when they refused to allow their auditorium to be used to distribute food for the poor to ransom Patty Hearst. I worked as a Fuller Brush salesman door to door while going to school, I had read that Billy Graham sold fuller Brush while He was in seminary and I wanted to try it. After I left school, I donned a tie to manage a crew, my success motivation training helped me a lot. I also wanted to do something in the community and was introduced to the San Jose Jaycees in 1974. Taking to that quite quickly, I made an impact through some significant community service programs and city hall goings on. I really didn't care about making money but thought of myself as a golden boy in community affairs and would love to read what they said about me in the newspapers, unless it was bad.

I was elected President of the Jaycees after two years, proclaimed is a better word since no one challenged me. I was on City Hall committees, served as commissioner and got heavily involved with responsibilities that when listed, looked like a campaign brochure. About this time, I shed the tie, quit work to spend more time in the community and started canvassing for a political coalition spawned from the Industrial Areas Foundation in Chicago. It was here that I was exposed to Saul Alinsky and his book "Rules for Radicals". Reading it over three times, it didn't change my thinking, it refined it. Ironically, I was fired from the coalition by being too controversial in my other activities. Close to being considered as an appointee to a vacant council seat, I did something that changed everything; I took a public stand against homosexuality. All I did was openly be against permitting a gay's rights parade with the attitude that it is one thing to have the freedom to be gay and that it was another to flaunt immorality down our city's streets. When it was approved, I walked out of the city council chambers never to return. Even ran a stupid campaign for Mayor but certainly God would have other things for me to do. I tried a few things, ran a community newspaper for a while, tried getting a ministry going and helped in the homeless community. Nothing stuck but all served to give me experience that would be needed later on.

Around 1980 and 81, I started receiving visions and insights concerning disunity in the church and a coming restoration to apostolic authority. With the visions came clear understanding about the lies, delusions and false authority that the Mainline, Pentecostal and Evangelical churches were teaching to disrupt unity. What really amazed me was the thought that it was up to me to do something about it and I was again reminded that I had a last day ministry to prepare for. I argued with the Lord that I would have to be Elijah for this ministry to happen and suddenly a fresh spiritual baptism came over me. Again, every nerve cell in my body was aglow with a sudden awareness. This time was different than the first in that as I prayed and lifted my hands up to heaven, I felt power going through the palms of my hands - both ways.

From then on, it was confirmation after confirmation. I was able to be in church and call down the spirit, I attended black holiness churches in those days. It did not even have to be in church, there was the time visiting in a mental house, or on a bus, or even at a street corner if I asked to sanctify the area. Some were elated, others fearful. I started listening to prophetic broadcasts on black radio stations and getting prophecy through them just for me, they would know I was there and cried out Elijah as I prayed in spiritual power. As I asked the Lord certain questions in spirit filled congregations, an audible interpretation gave the answer. I had no idea at the time that the Elijah anointing would be a collective company with many under the same calling and for some time after, I would look for and expect the other witness called to minister with me. I have grown much since then but still know that any one of us should act like we are the sole voice in the wilderness crying out in preparation for the way of the Lord.

What I really wanted to do was write a book but felt that I was ill prepared and knew that no one would be interested unless I could back up what I believed. That's when I really started studying. Starting from early church history, I observed where the Lord spoke through His true prophets and where the institutional churches went wrong. I began building a library and yellow marked everything that I would need to refer to later. I had been a technician at the time but got into the trades simply because I wanted to work with the homeless and train them; that never happened in a big way and painting was a meager living but I was able to help people with work as I went. I spent a year and a half on the streets around this time living in the back of my truck. That's another story.

My mind was devoted to study and several years into it, I stumbled upon a group of used books on liberation theology. This third world response to oppression from a theological perspective really opened my eyes to understanding what God was doing beyond my rose-colored American glasses. A new revelation illuminated the Babylonian church that I had already rejected by giving it form and substance through theology. In that it was from the left didn't bother me a bit, I firmly believe that we are our brother's keeper and the mark of the beast is firmly on the right. The understanding of praxis made the Biblical prophets alive with contemporary insight and it confirmed the progressive and social thought that I had from the beginning.

Getting through almost 400 books in my spare time through 15 years, I then got hundreds of 3 X 5 cards and started indexing all my yellow marks into topics. During my study, I read a Catholic book on grace and asked the Lord to show me how far grace extends. Maybe I misunderstood competing voices but I started going out shooting pool again, with all the drinking and what came behind it. Couple times a week is all, never back to back but generally irresponsible and the police picked me up DUI three times.

I have had problems with overdoing certain things most of my adult life. I learned that if there were problems in my life that I will not or cannot give up, I have to be strong in the Lord in spite of them. For a while it was too easy to have the feeling of unworthiness and it would interfere with my study, which was the worst part, the devil throwing things back. I persevered and in the process able to get a handle on problems. Paul had his thorn in the flesh yet taught about laying aside the sin that so easily besets us. Deliverance is best, it leads to practical holiness and power but then again, we do have the freedom in Christ to do what we wish as long as it does not control us, hurt someone else, get in the way of the Lord's work, lead to base things, or make another person stumble because of the bad example. I learned that wisdom is knowing how far we can take that line of reasoning.

I got an old 286 computer with only three programs on it, a DOS word processor, index card manager and Windows 3.0. That was all I needed to type most of the references and historical text into topics. As soon as I had the research notes down into the database, the World Wide Web came along. I had all the necessary tools and technical prowess at my disposal to put together a 500 page web site just by converting my work into html. A web site was uploaded in 1996 that began a process of correlating, editing and a fairly quick infusion of my own writing. God had me putting together the Latter Rain Page 15 years before there was a web to put it on. The historical content with progressive prophetic identification and its inevitable controversy ranked the Latter Rain Page high in the search engines and a writing ministry dialogue began.

I became interested in the latter rain right from the start but was sheltered with the family, Bible and my library and didn't know that there was an actual latter rain revival until I started reading about it on the internet. I was pleased to learn that what God had been teaching me, He had also been teaching others but I have never been part of the divergent latter rain "movement." What I learned independently was that the traditional church had taught me somewhat differently than the Lord did through the Bible, and the end time latter rain outpouring and harvest conformed to my initial vision. I remember that Elijah thought he was alone but the Lord told him that there were many that had not bent the knee to Baal. What I want to do is empower others, my own weaknesses slow me down but my writing on the web is here to stay. That is why I seek out friends. Once you understand, action responds toward a spiritual direction. The enemy seeks to destroy our resources in the short time there is left, so, he takes us off in other directions to waste our time. It is an exciting time for us, if we indeed are on either end of that empowering force.

Barbara was working for WorldCom in San Jose, they decided to move the office to Dallas and she had to find another job. She had steadily been receiving stock which we were now able to keep or cash in. It was rising in value but I had a foreboding feeling and told her to sell, the stock market is about to crash. The market didn't crash but WorldCom did a month later. Although we did OK, it was still not enough for a down payment in San Jose so we bought a home in Stockton in 1999 just in time before the housing bubble here. My parents had been living here and my Sister and her family are also here.

There is an online Bible College here in Stockton and I met Pastor Ron Moore who got me into the books again. With previous Bible College credits, life experience and articles I had already written, I was able to get my Bachelor of Theology fairly easily, then a Master of Ministry. The learning went well because of the quality of Ron's encouragement. I was a member of Ron's Pentecostal church there for a while but left when he moved away. I needed more along the vision that the Lord had given me so I joined the Brethren Church here in my neighborhood; I thought it was a progressive peace church but it turned out quite the opposite so I left there too. Sad that friends are left behind but we can all come out with love and it is always good when I see them again.

I believe that the majority of professing Christians have taken the right wing mark and haven't a clue, so it is hard to fit in. The church is in sad shape all around, captive in the delusion of Babylon for sure but I choose not to give up on her, just call her out. On vacation recently, I read a book classic called "Discourse on Free Will" by Desiderius Erasmus and answered by Martin Luther. Erasmus wrote something I want to share with you, "if you want to straighten a curved stick, you bend it in the opposite direction." Kind of where I am. I kept going from church to church trying to find one that goes along the straight path with not much luck and for me, I have to take a position much father left than I would if I we were all on the same path. It is a precarious position and I can understand when people see me as too much of a radical. On the other hand, libertines see me too conservative. You can especially see this on the dialogues I have on the latter rain list, I have taken extreme positions against other extreme positions to bring the dialogue to any kind of moderate consensus. I feel that I will have to wait for a while before people catch up to the kind of moderation that will satisfy me. The Lord has to do it. On one hand, the right wing insanity repulses me and on the other is the licentious behavior that repulses me too. More and more I feel that I just don't fit anywhere short of glory. The purest form of church is separate from the world but not nearly as much as I would like it to be. Can't judge though, I am not where I would like to be either so I just try to love people as I can.

Sometime soon, I should like to finally write my book and share my vision. I feel God telling me that if I take special care of my Website, He will take care of the book when the time comes. We shall see what the future holds.

My fellowship has been at the Holy Cross United Methodist Church for the last two years. I enjoy and love the people and the liturgy and the Methodists have a great rapport with Social Justice. My assertiveness there should be through a Wesleyan holiness doctrine of the second work of the Holy Spirit and belief in the Bible as it is written, but it is mostly not accepted, too conservative; at the same time, progressive thought as a social democrat is too "liberal" for others. The only way to win is to accept them in love unconditionally, so there I am.

Love in Jesus,

Jay Atkinson



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