History of the Restoration Movement

Mitchell Ray Palmer, Sr.


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Reflections On A Great Loss

During the long Thanksgiving weekend just passed, brother and sister Mitchell Palmer of Cordova, Alabama, became part of a grim national statistic - both lost their physical lives in an auto accident near Jackson, Tennessee. Brother Palmer was a highly educated, highly motivated, sound gospel preacher! Sister Palmer will be remembered as a noble Christian lady, wife and mother by all who knew her. We join with the entire brotherhood in mourning their untimely passing. We grieve for their injured and orphaned children - our constant prayers are theirs.

In times and circumstances such as these we who are of the faith are forced to rely on what one author has termed "the elastic 'X' or unknown quantity of faith which enables Christians to perform admirably under grievous circumstances." In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul affirmed the resurrection of Christ. He too employs that "elastic X" when he says: "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (1 Cor. 15: 19.) He goes on in 1 Corinthians 15:22 to remind us that " . . . all die . . ." But . . . in Christ shall all be made alive." Again, "the elastic X" of Christian hope and faith plus the witness of inspiration directs our hearts toward ultimate life and victory.

Needless to say, it is natural that earthly separation from loved ones should cause bereavement. This was the case even in Jesus' life when Lazarus died - "Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, behold how he loved him!" (John 11:35, 36.) Yet, next we find Jesus crying "with a loud voice, Lazarus come forth." (John 11:43.) "And he that was dead came forth.. . " (John 11:44.) I cite this account because in it we find those round about realizing anew God's presence. The passing of loved ones can prompt this reaction on our parts as well if we believe his promises: " . . . it is appointed unto men once to die . . ." (Heb. 9:27.) This is an appointment we shall all keep. But let us remember also Hebrews 13:5: "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Realizing this same divine truth Joshua of old was able to approach his own death with philosophic calmness as he said: "I am going the way of all the earth . . . not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you." (Joshua 23:14.) Brethren and friends, we are abundantly blessed daily by people such as the Palmers. We would certainly err if we failed to allow them to influence our lives for good a last time by their memories and examples causing us to realize God's promises and presence.

Events such as the deaths of loved ones can cause us to experience a deepening of faith in God through drawing nearer to him. The Psalmist prayed this prayer: "From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the pock that is higher than I." That "rock" is the sovereignty and sufficiency of Jehovah. After all was said and done Job was able to say: "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." (Job 1:21, 22.)

May we be as wise and faithful as Job in the midst of seasons of great loss so as to not sin "nor charge God foolishly."

-Alan Cloyd, The World Evangelist, January, 1975, p.3

Directions To The Grave of Mitchell, Betty & Daughter Shirley Palmer

From Birmingham, Alabama head northwest on Hwy 78 toward Memphis. About 40 miles from Birmingham you will arrive in Jasper, Alabama. In Jasper you will need to take the Hwy 5 exit. Proceed up the ramp and turn right on Hwy 5 (Ninth Ave.) About 3/10ths of a mile Hwy 5 will bear to the left toward Haleyville. Continue to the left on Hwy. 5 for about a mile and the Walker Memory Garden Cemetery will be on your right. Go into the cemetery and approach the cemetery office. Go past the fountain and continue toward the rear of the cemetery. Go about three-quarters of the way between the fountain and the first turn ahead (about 75 yards), and stop the car. The Palmer plot will be on the right and close to the edge. It would appear that the Palmer's twelve year old daughter was involved in the car accident, as she followed them in death only weeks after their deaths. Shirley is buried beside her parents.

GPS Location
33°51'40.3"N 87°17'40.0"W
or D.d. 33.861195,-87.294434

Shirley Michelle Palmer

Betty Patricia Palmer
March 24, 1935
November 30, 1974

Mitchell Ray, Sr.
Aug. 21, 1935
Nov. 30, 1974

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