William Booth founder of The Salvation Army

Millions of people in 118 countries are helped by The Salvation Army, founded by William Booth, who was born APRIL 10, 1829.

At the age of 13, he was sent to apprentice as a pawnbroker. His job made him aware of poverty, and the humiliation and degradation people suffered.

He became a Christian in his teenage years and spent time trying to persuade others.

At age 2

6, William married Catherine Mumford and together they founded The Christian Mission to minister to the poor, drunk, outcast and wretched on the dirty and dangerous streets of London’s East End.

They fought to end sex-trafficking and teenage prostitution in England. Catherine Booth said:

"I felt as though I must go and walk the streets and besiege the dens where these hellish iniquities are going on. To keep quiet seemed like being a traitor to humanity."

The Booths helped expose a child prostitution ring that took advantage of poor families by buying their young girls with the false promise of a giving them a better future, but instead sold them to brothels throughout Europe.

Those profiting from the prostitution entangled the Booths in a much publicized trial. The Booths were absolved of any charges and the publicity increased their public support.

With the help of Josephine Butler, the Salvation Army worked to pass England’s Criminal Law Amendment Act in 1885, raising the age of consent, which before was only 13 years of age.

In 30 years, the number of the Salvation Army rescue homes grew from one in Whitechapel to 117 homes around the world.

William Booth stated:

"The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and Heaven without Hell."

Beginning in 1880, Catherine Booth grew concerned over "sweated labor" shops where women and children worked long hours in very poor conditions, particularly in match making factories where white phosphorous was used.

Exposure to white phosphorus caused one’s skin to yellow, hair to fall out, and phossy jaw, where the jaw glowed a greenish-white color, then turned black and rotted away, leading to death.

The Booths efforts led to the adoption of safer matches which were struck on sandpaper.

William Booth said:

"We must wake ourselves up! Or somebody else will take our place, and bear our cross, and thereby rob us of our crown."

By 1879, The Salvation Army had grown to 81 mission stations staffed by 127 full-time evangelists with over 1,900 voluntary speakers holding 75,000 meetings a year.

William Booth was awarded an honorary degree from Oxford. He met King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace, Winston Churchill, and was awarded the Badge of Honor on behalf of the city of London.

In 1880, The Salvation Army opened work in the United States, followed by missions in France, Australia, India, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, and Jamaica.

William Booth traveled to America where he met President Theodore Roosevelt and opened a session of the United States Senate with prayer.

William Booth wrote:


"While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight-while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, where there remains one dark soul without the light of God-I’ll fight! I’ll fight to the very end!"

Growing blind, William Booth finally died in 1912. Over 150,000 people viewed his casket with 40,000 attending his funeral, including the Queen of England.

In 1904, William Booth’s daughter, Evangeline, became the Commander of The Salvation Army’s United States forces.

Under her leadership, The Salvation Army not only evangelized, but organized programs for unwed mothers, the homeless and disaster relief, especially after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and in U.S. Army canteens during World War I.

For The Salvation Army’s work during th

e war, Evangeline Booth was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919.

In 1934, Evangeline became The Salvation Army’s International Commander-in-Chief, leading work in 80 countries.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent her a telegram, September 4, 1934, saying:

"Please accept my sincere congratulations on your election as General of the Salvation Army throughout the world.

In these troubled times it is particularly important that the leadership of all good forces shall work for the amelioration of human suffering and for the preservation of the highest spiritual ideals."

FDR concluded:

"Your efforts as Commander-in-Chief of the Salvation Army…have earned the gratitude and admiration of millions of your countrymen."

William Booth had stated:

"What are you living for? What is the deep secret purpose that controls and fashions your existence? What do you eat and drink for? What is the end of your marrying and giving in marriage-your money-making and toilings and plannings?

Is it the salvation of souls, the overthrow of the kingdom of evil, and the setting up of the Kingdom of God?

If not, you may be religious…but I don’t see how you can be a Christian."

-From American Minute

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