Corky’s Testimony


All the Grand Truths

Merrill “Corky” Evans


I quit the police force after joining the Seventh-day Adventist church in 1950. After a series of God’s providences, I got a job at a propane company in Hood River, Oregon. For 18 years I sold and installed propane appliances, and drove a propane gas truck. My wife, Phyllis, had a good job at a department store. I was active in the church, and gave many Bible studies in the community. I felt I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do.

Eventually, the propane gas company I worked for merged with another, and we moved to Brookings, Oregon. There, in 1972, while hoisting propane tanks onto a truck, I had a heart attack. I was only 47.

At the hospital, the doctor told Phyllis, “I want you to know there’s nothing we can do to save him.”

The church elders came, knelt around my bed, anointed me and prayed. Up until then, my heart monitor registered a flat line, with only an occasional blip. Twenty minutes after prayer, my heartbeat was regular. I was in the hospital 30 days.

After my heart attack, we were wiped out financially. I lost my job. We lost our beautiful home. God kept shutting doors. The doctors declared me permanently disabled. My retirement savings evaporated through a legal technicality. My total disability pay amounted to $210 per month!

I was at rock bottom. We bought my sister-in-law’s little house in College Place, Washington, and rented the basement apartment to college students.

Needless to say, I had given up Bible studies, for myself and with other people. My faith was severely tested. One day, feeling completely broken, I fell to my knees in prayer and said, “Father, I don’t understand what You are doing to me. I thought I was doing what You asked me to do.”

I spent my days home alone while Phyllis worked. Discouraged and angry, I worried my life away. God knew what He was doing, but I didn’t. I got very mad at Him. There wasn’t an answer to my prayers for my finances, or for healing of my heart. There was just nothing. When the Bible says the enemy comes in like a flood, he can (Isa. 59:19). I guarantee he can.

One morning God and I had a fistfight. I hit God, and He hit me, until I was on the floor, screaming my heart out to Him. Then I got on my knees and prayed, “Father, if I’m going to save my faith, I’ve got to get back to studying and sharing, but I don’t know what to study.”

I got up off my knees, walked across the room and saw an old Review and Herald magazine lying there. I opened it up. “The Truth Satan Fears Most,” a headline read. Then this paragraph caught my eye: “The archdeceiver hates the great truths that bring to view an atoning sacrifice and an all-powerful mediator. He knows that with him everything depends on his diverting minds from Jesus and His truth…. The subject of the Sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill.” (The Great Controversy, p. 488.1-2)

I said to myself, “Well, there’s something I could study.” If I had known that day where my study would lead, I would never have started. For I never intended to be a teacher or a preacher of the Sanctuary. I needed it for myself. But if it hadn’t been for the Sanctuary study I got into, I think I would have been dead long ago. I was grieving, worrying myself right into the grave. So I started in on my study. I didn’t have all of Sister White’s books, but I started with the King James Bible, a concordance and the Conflict of the Ages series.

I got so interested in my subject, that people began giving me various books on the Sanctuary. I read them all, but was troubled. They didn’t agree. I wanted something solid for my feet. One day I was very strongly impressed to stick with Inspiration. I looked at all those books people had given to me. They were full of good ideas by good people, but they were not inspired like the King James Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.

As soon as I returned the books to the people who had been so kind to give them to me, my confusion began to disappear. I stuck with the Spirit of Prophecy and the King James Bible. The Sanctuary began to open up, and I couldn’t keep it to myself! I shared it with the college boys who rented my downstairs apartment, then the people in my Sabbath School class. Before I knew it, I had two classes of my own going on, twice a week.

One day I woke with a start. “Corky, what do you think you’re doing? Here you are, an uneducated man, sitting in the shadow of a superb educational institution, trying to teach this very difficult subject.” After that, I lied to people. I told them the classes couldn’t continue, because my heart was hurting me and I wasn’t physically able to teach. But that wasn’t the truth at all. I just didn’t think this was a work God wanted me into.

Then God “kicked me around” for awhile and I confessed I had lied. I made a deal with God. I said, “If You want me to do this work, You furnish the students.” All I had were some handwritten notes of my ongoing study, but I shared what I was learning. It has always been my policy to wait for people to come to me.

All day, while Phyllis was away at work, I sat on the living room floor with my books and papers. I sorted my notes and tried to organize them. I was invited to prayer meetings and home meetings to present my material. Then we were asked to camp meetings, churches and schools, where I presented the Sanctuary message. We worked hard during the summers, but when winter came we stayed home. With a damaged heart, I didn’t want to get stuck on the road.

In winter I did home meetings — two a day. This teaching schedule kept me studying, because people asked difficult questions. Along the way, God raised up helpers to type my notes into a syllabus. It takes about 54 hours to cover the material I’ve developed.

This is not a one-man work. The Sanctuary message was not given to a select few; it was given to the entire church. We all need to understand and know the subject of the Sanctuary. The Holy Spirit is pleased to open the Sanctuary theme to any sincere student.

The Sanctuary work has been my life, my joy. I can honestly say that if God wanted to give me my big house back, my good job back, and put us where we were in 1970, I wouldn’t trade even one page of this Sanctuary message for all those things. I believe the Spirit of Prophecy is absolutely right when it says that the Sanctuary message contains the complete Plan of Redemption, all “the grand truths” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 367.2). I have found it so.

In 1992 I had a second heart attack. I’ve had two open-heart surgeries, and I live with about 22 percent of a functioning heart. There’s no medical possibility I should be alive. Each new day is a gift from God.

I’ve been teaching the Bible for about 30 years. It’s the light of my life to share this Gospel truth. Nothing matches it. Sanctuary study is the best medicine for heart trouble. As long as I keep working on the Sanctuary, and my work isn’t finished, I can’t die!

—Corky Evans

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