Lea Zikmund and James Douglas Whitfield
DescriptionLea Zikmund (23) and her new friend James Douglas Whitfield (69) talk about James' deep religious practices, religious visions he has had, and what he wants his grandchildren to know about living a life of faith.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Lea Zikmund
- James Douglas Whitfield
StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.
00:05 My name is Leah Sacrament today. I am 23 years old. Today's date is Saturday, February 29th of 2020. We are in Fresno California the name of my interview partner is James Whitfield and he is a new friend of mine. But my name is James Douglas Whitfield. I was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, February 2nd. Did I say something? I didn't finish saying? Oh, okay. You want to scrub that or what? I was giving my date of birth to 21951 in my age of 69 years old.
00:55 And I'm here right now in Fresno, California.
01:01 And I'm at the storycorps speaking with Leah and I'm really excited about this opportunity to share.
01:12 Some things that have happened in my life Thanks James. So I know that you were saying you wanted to encapsulate some of your life and who you are since I was thinking we could just start at the beginning. Do you want to talk to me about where you grew up in Arkansas? I am the Seventh Son of Thomas Jefferson's Goodfield and when I was born they didn't allow African-Americans black people who color people are going to call it in Arkansas to go to the regular hospital. So I was born in a nursing home. Will you recall him senior citizens homes nursing home?
01:57 Now that's why I was born and brought you a large family. We were all raised in church. My father died when I was seven.
02:07 And my mother died when I was 14, but she used to take us around to seeing as a as a family after my father died. And I want to put this in here cuz I have my grandkids to remember this we used to sing. My name is James. My name is James.
02:32 Let's just not think of in a minute.
02:37 But anyway, I'll get back to that one. But anyway, I just want to be at my grandkids to understand now, I would like live for you. If you wouldn't mind to address me St. James because
02:53 When I had my first Vision that I had was after my father passed when I was seven and I don't know if you are familiar with Chinaberry trees, but they're these big old gnarled trees that have these green berries on it under the Chinaberry tree. There was some wings and they were they have straps on them and they were fire and I didn't think much about it then but my second Vision that I had was when I was in college, they have this book you can probably get it. It's called visualisations and it teaches you how to visualize and so I took the time to go into a deep sleep meditation at Apple State, I guess would you call it and I asked a question. I wanted to see Angels, okay.
03:53 What happened was either you go down and I went down this elevator that got out of the first floor basement and there's this big movie screen.
04:03 And when I looked on the movie screen what I saw in this greymist were two figures and they were basically stick figures but if you're familiar with the yin-yang symbol that the one that's okay. Now, the yin-yang symbol is it is it has one side has a black back yellow white. But they're like children and they they nestled within each other and it's like they continuously go round and round.
04:34 Well, that's an Eastern thought it's like positive and negative energies are in constant motion, right? But when I saw my angels there till drops were facing each other.
04:48 They were like instead of going around around they were like facing each other and they made the head of the Angel and it was a they have stick shoulders and so on and what they did, they told me to learn how to fly and their voice was like it's lot of times it's described in the Bible like trumpets all Rushing Water and that's the way their voice was. It was like to learn how to fly. Okay. So that's the second Vision. I was about thirty I say about 3334 and what did you do after that experience? Did you tell anyone? I have been I've been as an artist. I have painted several different Renditions of that.
05:42 So and I have tried to explain it to people because nowhere have I seen that image duplicated. It was only in my dream of my Visions have I seen that image and no place else? So I believe it was something that the spirit gave me to deal with and it wasn't meant to me was was that
06:09 Instead of the two forces being in constant motion as an angel there at rest.
06:19 You're at peace and rest.
06:22 So that's that was the message that it kind of gave me. Okay, and did that.
06:29 Did that make you think of your parents then?
06:32 No, my parents their transitions were.
06:39 They've never been a source of of a negative energy for me. I've always known that one day. I'd see him again. So it was I was never really had any.
06:52 Problem with that. I haven't I bet I've had several brothers who passed away sisters who died but death to me is strictly a transition and it's not
07:06 This is not anything to be sad about.
07:10 But get to this third Vision cuz I don't have a whole lot of time. My third visit was what I went to Chicago. I have my first wife when I was in college. I met her when I was like 22 had two sons. We stay together about 7 years and then we split up and I went to Chicago to start my acting career cuz I was acting major.
07:37 And so I have a tryout at the Belmont Theater in Chicago.
07:45 At the
07:48 I think it was a Steppenwolf theater, but it was the Belmont. I know they're Belmont theater.
07:54 I was at 7 I have some of my friends from college had arranged for me to be able to be there.
08:02 But the problem is I had no money. I had no transportation.
08:07 So I was sleeping Outdoors at the time. I got kicked out of my apartment by some friends of my wife. They kick me out and close the door.
08:19 So I'm I'm I'm still
08:22 Pushing through so I was sleeping. I don't know if you know anything about Chicago that but there's a street called Ashland.
08:34 There's a
08:37 Little park there
08:39 And it was nice and warm. So I was sleeping on the ground and I woke up about 5, and I said, okay. I'm going to my house. I don't know how I'm going to get there, but I'm going to go to my audition.
08:56 Okay, on my way to my audition. I said to myself if I could see you in a scented Master. Now the ascended masters are people like in look he ascended, you know, he didn't. He ascended and I'll Jesus ascended and now there been several St. James St. James St. Germain. He's an ascended master. So that's that's been several recordings of of of Spiritual Beings who have going around death Elijah, you know, they were caught up and went to God without dying.
09:36 So are you know, I here I am about I'm still in my
09:41 I'm still in my early thirties, and I decided I'm going to
09:48 Y'all start walking from from?
09:55 67th Street and Ashland all the way to the beach to get to the Lakefront at Lakeshore Drive.
10:04 Okay, I'm young. I got all kind of energy. So I start off I get to the Lakeshore before the sun comes up. I just thought I'd give you some rest. So I go down around the Bay Area there and it's so quiet the waves are hitting the Latino slapping against the Rocks. This is beautiful. So I laid down and I went to sleep but then when I woke up the whole sky was full of this cloud cloud in the cloud. It was a face and the sun was in its mouth and is sending massive look down at me and said what you want to see I mean in fear, I mean the feared destruct me and from that point. I kind of pulled back on what I would ask to see
10:55 Cuz that was quite a bit to be a horse to be saying now the reason why I wanted to get those out because
11:06 I want my grandkids to understand that you can live in this physical world, but you can have access to spiritual life. And that's one of the things I really want them to understand when I was a member of Life Center Church in Chicago. There was a pastor there named T L Barrett. He is the founder of the church and I stayed there about 12 years and when I was ordained by him, he ordained me St James and that's why I go by that why I signed all of my paintings St. James, but I don't use it as a label because
11:51 Many people don't want to me. They don't understand of the saint is just simply a person set apart by God. They're not I'm not I don't have to be dyed and create three miracles in the Catholic church does not define. What a saint is they do for themselves, but many of the early church members will call Saints do Best Buy carry back now.
12:19 I want you to know I've been married four times and finally got wet this right. I believe this last marriage, but my second marriage is I was married to Amelia about 23 years and the young man you saw just now he's one of one of my sons from that marriage and love that's that's good. But
12:47 I'm a
12:50 I'm feeling pretty good about where I am. But I just wanted to make sure that I got somebody information out about my spirituality. So you said you feel like you've gotten it right this time what's different about can you tell me about your current wife will
13:14 What what happened? What happened was when the towers Twin Towers fell back in 2001?
13:26 I was a Furniture salesperson making very good money, but I have been cheating on my wife my second marriage.
13:38 And remind me to put put a note in that to go back to that. But anyway, she was.
13:48 She had refused to be intimate with me because of my health issues I had.
13:57 Seal feed COPD I have issues and
14:04 You know, I wasn't able to function like I used to physically so I was in a real bad spiral.
14:14 And one of the young ladies that at my job she was one of the managers.
14:19 She was like something out of a magazine. I mean fine and she used to tease me, you know about tennis shoes like a woman's woman. So I started talking to her and I told her you know, I said, I just feel bad cuz I no longer intimate with my wife and I know I don't want to die without having some intimacy, you know being able to touch a woman again.
14:50 So she said okay. You can come see me but she was already dealing with somebody so she had a boyfriend already. So that's the darkest part of my life was going in and out of her apartment when he would come in. I will go out I couldn't wear any cologne. Okay, cuz he like smell my cologne and I wound up as spiritual as I was I wound up giving her 10% of my income. I will make and get money, but but she
15:24 She wouldn't see me unless I gave her something financially.
15:30 You know, so
15:32 You know, I I I I went along with it for a while.
15:37 And then I just decided Well, I'm not going to do this anymore. So I went out of school to attend the Twin Towers fell. I lost my job. I lost my wife and I was in a bad spot my eyes one of my eyes were already a blinded.
15:55 So what I did was I just put all I had in my in my Toyota my Toyota and I told you all this is what is it called Taurus my Ford Taurus and came out to Fresno when I came out to Fresno my sister live here my sister my brother and so I started a new life and I said to myself I was going to only concentrate on my Ministry my art and my theater I was going I was going to work for anybody else I was going to do I was just one concentrate on those three things.
16:28 So after I became disabled then that was able to focus on that.
16:34 Then I met a young lady who?
16:38 I had a teenage daughter.
16:42 And I got married we got married, but she
16:46 Had a problem with teenage daughter had a problem with me and she you do I set out to keep us apart and she won the eventually so that wound up in a real bad spot again real bad place. Spiritually. You don't never go off as mother and daughter and leave me at home alone and stuff like that and my help still wasn't getting any better.
17:16 So I divorced from that.
17:19 And then I was I was going to this church and they asked me to pick up this young lady for church.
17:27 And I hear out now.
17:31 Play my 50s 50 something and she was 10 years younger than I was but she had had a lot of children. She was kind of settling her ways and she was in the ministry and I said to tell her I said Rosella. Can you tell me if it's any young ladies here that I can talk to about? You know, maybe going out. She said look at me what I look like is wrong with me why you asked me to find somebody else here? I am I'm single and it was so cute. I was just captivated by her honesty and
18:10 Take care of me when I had a gastric bypass surgery after we got together before we got married. I had a gastric bypass surgery.
18:21 And she took care of me. She stayed with me and I was like a baby in a in a crib. I mean she did everything for me.
18:31 And I just knew I said anybody who loves me like this who can give me this kind of attention take care of me.
18:40 You know, I can't leave her. I can't cuz my second wife won't ever be back at that point, but I said no I can't I can't disappoint them right now that young lady for even got married. Her love was so strong here giving you know, and that's why I say, I mean I did it right this time because she's never fail to
19:03 Comfort me stand by me and and we have a good life. I'm really excited about it. Now why I asked you for the pain that
19:14 I want you to know that somewhere in my thirties and forties. I had a chance to go to Israel and Cairo. I spent two weeks in Israel, and we went to you know trips and I had a chance to go see the Pyramids in Cairo. I had a chance to actually go inside of one and you know, I was stoked, you know, I mean, this is the greatest day is good ever happen to me was what would be to go inside the pyramids and when they when they will give him that or what this was not I was over in the corner by myself going. I was just you know, it was the greatest thing in my life would be to get a chance to go and you know that be involved in that because of my
20:11 I'm just made the spirituality.
20:16 Yeah, so now I I also am I minister at the Church of God in Christ beautiful Zion. I preached to every fourth Sunday at the 9 a.m. Service.
20:29 That's what I do and I just did a couple of art shows here in Fresno that are how I don't know if you know about that, but so I'm I keep busy.
20:41 And I asked me a couple more. I'll take my time as of yet. We have more time. I'm curious if there's anything in general that you would want your grandchildren to know about you and maybe you can talk a little bit more about your art or what your religion means to you. Maybe things that you talk about when you are preaching.
21:05 Well, I want my grandchildren to know.
21:11 That there's been a James Whitfield.
21:16 We we we met we looked at ancestry.com and went back to I think it was the turn of the century 1808 James Whitfield.
21:32 Registered as one of the slaves. So the name is been around a long time. My eldest son is James. He's name is James and he's also a Ministry least he ministers as the lead one of the lead pastors at the church at a church in Seattle Washington. And so
22:02 I think that being connected to the holy spirit is something that I was born to do and I don't want them to shy away. Cuz a lot of times they didn't I can see my grandkids and not really being exposed to the spirit. Like I was exposed to difficulty cheeks like I have been so I'm kind of concerned that they they may not understand.
22:33 Why they have certain insights and why they they they might feel a certain way. But if they need to they need to understand that.
22:47 It's in our DNA I believe for us to be involved in.
22:54 And then be aware of our surroundings in our spiritual relationship.
23:00 You know.
23:03 I tried to explain.
23:07 That if you think about a person that lives and I and II Skyscraper, the person that lives in the basement has a different reality than the person in the penthouse and you have the same address.
23:24 But he's got a different reality because the person lives in the penthouse and they use a helicopter to land in the airport to go to his place the person that goes in the basement. They have to take a bus.
23:37 And that's the way it is. I believe with our
23:42 Relationship with God
23:45 I believe that God allows has to have deeper and and and insights as we search for him as we try to seek out his wisdom try to seek out his presents and we are given some you know some spiritual insights.
24:07 And I've had my share of quite a few of them.
24:11 Could you describe your relationship with God?
24:15 I'm a boy, I believe. Okay. Let me say this February 2nd is commonly known as Groundhog's Day, right but
24:27 February 2nd is the only day I could have been born because it's the only day that that refers to
24:37 Prophecy, even though his animal Prophecy in the groundhog, you know people's head out see the shadow. It doesn't and predicts. Well is going to have longer winter or shorter winter. He's a prophet me. Does that? Okay? So I believe that that's one reason why I was born on February 2nd, I believe that
24:59 My my mission
25:03 Here on the planet is cholic.
25:07 I'll bring the church the family of God no matter what color or race or denomination bring them together so that we worship.
25:20 It all together. I think it's really sad that.
25:25 Jesus said in my father's house are many mansions if it were not so I would not have told you so what does that bring to mind? That means that end in a house?
25:37 Each Moon
25:39 Is the 20/20 room out a mansion, you know with six bathrooms and I mean this place is huge.
25:49 But it's all good tables in the house.
25:52 Or more importantly the mind of God.
25:57 And so we should not be trying to talk about what what makes us different. We should be concentrating on what makes us more like, you know, we all believe in God, but I believe in the Holy Spirit we all believe in Jesus Christ. That's just believe in those things and stay unified, you know, we don't have to all go to Catholic, you know mass or or stay in church all day long you known and be bumping and jumping all we not whatever floats your boat Harvey want to praise him. He's one Lord One Faith one baptism and that's what I try to do. I go to different churches. I try to attend different Ministries and just try to bring that Unity of a of a he said that
26:54 That's the way that you'll be known by the unity by the love. We have one for another and I believe I that's one thing I really try to try to get done because it's the saying that we you know that the world right now. Could you use a could use a nice in dwelling of the Holy Spirit? And if it if you could look at the people that are called Christians and see that they're in love with each other. That would be a great thing right now. We got so much division in the ministry that nobody wants to hear.
27:34 You know, nobody wants to call themselves Christians or believe there's any difference I said, well, you know, everybody can go there, you know, everybody go to heaven when they die and the one God God loves us all and we ain't got to do nothing. But but live and then die so I don't I don't agree with that. I think this I think we have to
27:57 You don't strive to be.
28:03 Would you like this?
28:05 If I'm going to spend eternity with somebody it should be somebody I like.
28:11 Okay, and so I think that's basically what you know, what what God is saying, you know, if you love me you keep my Commandments you want to spend eternity with me. Then you will like things I like you will do the things that I do you will enjoy being you know with me and I'll enjoy being with you can suck together we can we can we can enjoy things together, but if you out
28:41 You know raising all kinds of hell and
28:45 You know, I don't think God has for that. You know, I often say that people don't want to talk about hell, but
28:55 An overall
28:57 Thoughts If Heaven is always 75 degrees and sunny.
29:05 Something is fueling that that climate something is is keeping it like that. And I think well, that's what hell is hell is it's a huge furnace that never goes out.
29:18 This is an otherwise. It's everlasting life and maybe life in being burned to death or maybe life being in heaven, but life energy cannot be destroyed, you know so that you know, God doesn't say he's going to destroy you just said it the other day. I'll be living in eternity under this in this place called hell.
29:43 So, you know, I I don't want to go there has there ever been a time that you've lost your face or strayed from the strong relationship you have with your face now. Yes. I spoke to you earlier about my what I've been guy that was giving tithes to this young lady and all that that's about as far as deep as I went away from my face because I had gotten so entangled in.
30:16 Wanting to
30:19 You know feel needed sexually that I just worship her and didn't worship God. So yeah, that was the darkest time of my life you Latino? Yeah. That was I'm just glad I finally was able to pull away from that because it was very intoxicating men controlling and yeah bad time and what did it I'm curious like when you after that time. Coming back to your relationship with God like what what messages did you need to hear? What thoughts were you having during that time. Because I was raised in the ministry raised in church. So it was not hard for me to go back because one of the stores in the Bible we call the prodigal son where he wasted his living and then when he finally came to himself, he started go back to the father.
31:19 Weather in the father saw him from a distance. He put his arms around him and you know embraced him and loved him. So when I when I finally got to the point where I realized I could not I could not go down this path of your longer. This is not right that it was against my, you know, every fiber of my spiritual big then I had to close everything down and I came out to Fresno and and you know a new place new faces new people and God, you know, he he cared for me. He said to be back in even though I did have some health issues. You know, I have a I have a 1 I have an amputation my left leg and I tell people all the time I didn't get this habitation about being a goody two-shoes, you know, some things I didn't do right if I had done right that I probably would have had my foot.
32:13 But you do you pay for
32:16 Your transgressions, you know, I just thank God that up until this point. He's allowed me to keep my mind.
32:25 If I can just keep my mind, then I'll be grateful, you know to that day.
32:34 To keep my mind, so
32:39 I just want all of them to know all family members friends. Everyone else is that there's that's a joy that comes from accepting Christ as your savior. This is joy that comes and let you know it it it it can feel all the different gaps and all the different negative things. You may have done in life. You can be forgiven. You can. Burns can be lifted, you know, you can you can have greater insights you can you can you know be taken by the oldest vaping I've had several out of body experiences, you know where I've learned how to spiritually fly them. Thanks, but you know, it's just a joy to me to be to give God the glory and to give my life to Christ. It's only thing I can think of that has brought me such Joy.
33:33 And my wife and I we say that we get we didn't use eHarmony. We used G Harmony and other ways God put us together and for that I'm grateful.
33:47 So are we doing is there anything else that you haven't shared with me that you would want to talk about now?
33:56 Well, let's see. We talked about being in the pyramids Egypt Israel.
34:09 You know, I just let me just run this down then I think I'll be done and that is it my studies and everything. I've come across the seven principles of Harm's Hermes the Romans called and Mercury the Egyptians called him talk but no seven basic principles that all religion and all philosophy are based on.
34:37 One of them is God the mind of God. Everything is Hell within the mind of God number twos. Everything is in motions vibration. Let's say 3 there's a rhythm to all things like there's a heartbeat.
34:55 In all that has a rhythm then we have compensation which means that as the pendulum swings this way it will eventually come back and swing that way and then for Monday maybe even 5 I think it is gender does a gender to all things and then six is there a positive and negative in all things.
35:27 And these only different principles and these are written.
35:34 Maybe 6767 thousand years ago.
35:40 But on those principles all things arrest.
35:44 Even Jesus had As Above So Below. He said he said in Earth as it is in heaven.
35:51 And so everything feeds on its own on something else.
35:58 So we have to stand on the Outback. My children will be able to understand where I let grandfather has been and maybe some one of them will pick up the banner and go further than I did and their spiritual relationship with God. That's my hope. Thank you so much for having this conversation with me. There's not anything else. You want to share with me. I just yeah, just wanted to say thank you for coming in and doing this and I'm so happy. I had a chance to do it. I think it's marvellous that you give us opportunity to people to share their oral histories. And what's on their mind. I feel like I'm not going to be in the library Congress.
36:48 You will be thanks St. James. Thank you. Love you.