More Mask Material

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

The debate has not stopped. The “data” keeps coming out. The “spikes” do what they do. And, this China Virus is not going away any time soon. I started reading about pandemics around January 30th, when I published my first article on them. And, there I briefly mentioned the then-almost-unheard-of “corona virus.” I have not stopped reading since.

I noted John M. Barry’s landmark work, The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History (Penguin Books, 2004). This book was hailed immediately upon its release. Upon the news of the “spread” in Europe, Doctors, much like today, interpreted it as everything from “don’t worry” to what amounted as a need for “ruthless measures” – basically a call to grind to a halt social activity. And….there were the “masks.”


Joseph A. Capps was an M.D. He was working on an “innovation” called the gauze mask (211, op. cit.). Capps was encouraged to write a research paper on the invention by Preston Kyes. Capps did. In the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), August 10th, 1918 Capps article appeared (‘Measures for the Prevention and Control of Respiratory Infections in Military Camps’). With some tracking down, I found that very article (Barry gives the wrong page numbers, but the correct Issue of JAMA – which are Aug. 10th, 1918, Volume 71, No. 6, pp. 448-451). After listing several diseases communicated through “secretions of the nose and throat” and thus, “Talking, coughing, and sneezing force a fine spray of mucus and bacteria into the air which may directly infect another person and which contaminates clothes, bedding and furniture.” “Crowding…facilitates the transmission of these infections and explains their rapid spread in army camps.” Capps noted how the mask was used in the Durand Hospital by surgeons, and refers to another article in JAMA by G. H. Weaver. Yes, I am mentally unbalanced when it comes to research, so I looked that up, too (I recently tracked down the location of the Holiday Inn Jimi Hendrix stayed in for his March 27th show in Muncie, Indiana, 1968 – the Delaware County Fairgrounds – blog coming later on that adventure!). Capps, after referring to that article (January 12th, 1918, Vol. 70, No. 2, p.76 of JAMA), stated, “…the face masks for patients has never been practiced.”

They started the “experiment” at Camp Grant, which is now the location of Seth Atwood Park in Rockford, Illinois. It was where the whole “mask” thing began, although it is not “known” for that (until now – I might be the first to note its historical importance in terms of the “history of the mask” because this was not Barry’s focus). Now, the patients were ordered (they were military folks) to wear the masks at all times upon entrance into the medical facility. Smoking was banned because that required taking off the mask. All items touched by the patient were sterilized – single use required immediate sterilization of anything touched. Ruthless measures. A guard stood by for sections of the patients and watched their every move so as to note anything that had been touched or handled.

Now, keep in mind the dates here. This issue of JAMA is August. Capps began his “experiment” in January-June 1, 1918. Between September 23rd and October 1st, 1918 – 4000 troops were infected with Spanish Influenza. 1000 died. The camp was overran. Barry continues to recount the horror – with every stringent method applied, “It did little good” (213, Barry). From that Camp, thousands of soldiers left for Camp Hancock in Georgia. The problem: asymptomatic profile. The latter part of 1918 and coming into 1919 was a sheer nightmare for Americans everywhere. Schools closed. Businesses closed. The most recent studies of estimation is that between 550,000 – 675,000 Americans, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, black, brown or white, men and women, girls and boys died (incidentally, “race” was never touted as a factor or a blame as some are attempting to use that today -but we have become more stupid, too). The US population at that time was 105,000,000 (397, Barry). A “comparable figure” today with a world population of 7-8 billion would be about 80,000,000 deaths. Today’s “guestimation” by the experts hypothesized in Barry’s well researched book that was written in 2004 (and hailed by JAMA) stated that “if a new influenza virus” came along it would infect several hundred million, possible over a billion. The Center for Disease Control estimated that within the US, “40 and 100 million sick.” (450, Barry). That’s with all that we know. So far, we have not touched those numbers.

But, back to the masks. In the article cited by Capps above, ‘The Value of the Face Mask and Other Measures of Prevention of Diphtheria, Meningitis, Pneumonia, etc.,’ by George H. Weaver of Chicago (Durand Hospital), we find several interesting facts. Oh, by the way, in Chicago, “Churches were left off the list for the time being, since no religious services would be held for at least three more days. In the end, Chicago churches were not required to close, although clergy were asked to keep services short and their buildings well ventilated” (Article). From June 1, 1916 “the practice of wearing gauze masks covering the nose and mouth” began, reports Weaver. Masks were worn “once” until washed and sterilized. Any sign of moisture on the mask caused for immediate replacement. Any time an infected patient was cared for directly while wearing a mask (nurses), upon completion of whatever care, the mask was replaced. It was never used throughout the day, all day (seems to be just plain old common sense, eh?). Under these very strict conditions, certain supposed infections which nurses would contract routinely from patients before the implementation of masks, “almost disappeared”. So, what happened? The pandemic hit hard in the Fall of 1918 in Illinois.

Before I conclude, Barry strikes a few more lines concerning the nature of a virus (he called it a hunter on a mission; a bug that is as determined to get into a host system as a squirrel is to get into a bird feeder – it eventually succeeds).

Page scan of sequence 30
One of the earliest articles I could find on the construction of what is now the common mask, JAMA, April 6, 1918

Barry notes the utter chaos that ensued in the Fall of 1918 at Camp Grant. Each patient and the staff were all masked and sterilization was in place. Still, the numbers of infection and deaths rose shockingly. “It wasn’t enough” (Barry, 214). After noting that “public trust” in the Medical Profession (mainly through AMA and its still respected publication, JAMA) was only recently established (remember, this is 1918 – decades before “scientific” advancements were just coming into focus in medicine whereas before, what was called “quackery” or “medicine voodoo”). Medicine was supposed to be the “cure all”. That fell apart. “The masks worn by millions were useless as designed and could not prevent influenza. Only preventing exposure to the virus could” (Barry, 358-359). There were three “waves” of the Influenza killer from 1918-1919. San Francisco fared well in the second wave. A newspaper ad read, “Wear a mask and save your life”, adding that it was “99% proof against” the virus (Barry, 374-375). The Red Cross gave out 100,000 masks. San Franciscans were celebrating in the Fall of 1918 that they had ridden the wave and come out relatively unharmed. They took every precaution. “They were the mistaken. The masks were useless….the city had simply been lucky. Two weeks later, the third wave struck” (Barry, 375). It was, after all was said and done, the epicenter for one of the highest death rates in the US. Needless to say, “The overwhelming majority of victims, especially in the Western world, recovered quickly and fully” (Barry, 378).

So. What now? How long with this new corona virus do its thing? The one thing that appears missing from Barry’s marvelous book (reminding you again that it was written in 2004) is that during the 1918-19 plague, politics did not really play a hand. Neither did “race.” No one was “blaming” the current administration (Woodrow Wilson, who largely did not “respond” in any overhauling measure – dealing with the tail end of World War 1 in November, 1918). What would become the Eighteenth Amendment, the prohibition of alcohol, was fiercely debated from 1917 to January of 1919 in Washington and abroad. A year later, 1920, booze was illegal. A world war, an Amendment, and women on the verge of voting (1920). The ant-prohibitionists were the “evil” of society for a time. “Convince the majority that they faced wicked people and the miscreants rights disappear” (Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History, James A. Morone, Yale University Press, 2003, p. 316). The “majority” and the “wicked people” ebb and flow with the issue always being a morality that is in the hands of whatever tasty wave happens to be in full swell and curl. “Moralizing politics rolls right over the liberal limits…what counts for evil? The answer is contested, changing and constantly up for political grabs. Moral politics in the United State is hotheaded and unstable” (ibid., 317). That’s how things work because morals cannot be dictated by the Paternal State, as everyone would say in their own way: except for my own times when the Paternal State happens to be dictating my morals with which I agree. And one cannot say, “well, the law says.” If America has shown anything it has shown this: laws change. And, yet, Americans got through it (and women got to vote). Provided that God in his Grace steers us through his wrathful displeasure and gives us yet another reprieve in his patience – to either go on sinning, or fall on the knees in worship – we will make it out of this. Mask or no mask. Republican or Democrat. Liberalism and Leftist ideology, or biblical politics. The fight continues. The dying will die. And the living will have to manage when we look back on this year and wonder, what the hell was that? Right now we are engaged in a culture that views the President as Doctor, Scientist, Theologian, and Global Healer and Chief. That wasn’t the case in Wilson’s day. Thus, we have accepted something in the air that has changed our perspective on “what’s the Government supposed to do” about my condition and problems. What may happen is that we will get a Government that says this: This is what you will do. You have no choice. Let us wait upon the Lord to see what He will bring us.

….By the way, I still don’t wear a mask.

Author: Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

Samuel M. Frost has gained the recognition of his family, peers, colleagues, church members, and local community as a teacher and leader.  Samuel was raised in the Foursquare Gospel tradition and continued in the rising Charismatic Movement of the early 1980’s.  While serving in local congregations he was admitted to Liberty Christian College in Pensacola, Florida where he lived on campus for four years earning his Bachelor’s of Theology degree.  It was there under the tutelage of Dr. Dow Robinson (Summer Institutes of Linguistics), and Dr. Frank Longino (Dallas Theological Seminary) that he was motivated to pursue a career in Theology.  Dr. Robinson wrote two books on Linguistics, Workbook on Phonological Analysis (SIL, 1970) and Manuel for Bilingual Dictionaries: Textbook (SIL, 1969).  It was under these teachers’ guidance that Frost entered into his Master’s studies, being granted a scholarship for Greek I and II at Pentecostal Theological Seminary, accredited, in Cleveland, Tennessee (adjunct of Lee University).  Frost completed his study under Dr. French Arrington, who used the text of J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Greek for Beginners. Frost studied Hebrew for two years under Dr. Mark Futato (author, Beginning Biblical Hebrew, Eisenbrauns, 2003) and Dr. Bruce K. Waltke (author, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, Eisenbrauns, 1990) at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida. With combined credits from PTS and RTS, Samuel completed his Master of Arts in Christian Studies and Master of Arts in Religion from Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida under the direct tutelage of Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, co-author of the well reviewed work, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism (Whitefield Media, 2005) with Dr. Gary Crampton (and Foreword by the late, Dr. D. James Kennedy).  Dr. Talbot also oversaw Samuel’s Dissertation, From the First Adam to the Second and Last Adam (2012) earning him the Magister Theologiae (Th.M.) degree.  He also helped put together A Student’s Hebrew Primer for WTS and graded exams in Hebrew. Samuel’s studies lead him into an issue in the field of Eschatology where his scholarship and unique approach in Hermeneutics garnered him recognition.  Because of the controversial nature of some of his conclusions, scholars were sharp in their disagreement with him.  Frost’s initial work, Misplaced Hope: The Origins of First and Second Century Eschatology (2002, Second Edition, 2006 Bi-Millennial Publishing), sold over four thousand units.  While arguing for the Reformation understanding of sola Scriptura as defined by the Westminster Confession of Faith, Frost’s book launched a heavily footnoted argument for a total reassessment of the doctrine known as the Second Coming of Christ.  The conclusion was that the events of the war of the Jewish nation against their Roman overlords in 66-70 C.E. formed the New Testament authors’ eschatological outlook, and went no further than their own first century generation; a view otherwise known as “full” or "hyper" Preterism.  Internationally recognized Evangelical author and speaker Steve Wohlberg remarked, ‘On the “preterist” side today…we have such influential leaders as Gary DeMar, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., David Chilton, R.C. Sproul, Max King, James Stuart Russell, Samuel M. Frost, and John Noe.  To these scholars…the beast is not on the horizon, he’s dead” (Italics, his)” (End Time Delusions, Destiny Image Publishers, 2004, page 133).  It should be noted that only Noe, King and Frost supported the “full” Preterist position. Thomas Ice and co-author of the best selling Left Behind series, Tim LaHaye, quote Frost’s work, Misplaced Hope, as well in their book, The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming under Attack (Harvest House Publishers, 2003, page 40).  Dr. Jay E. Adams, who single handedly launched “a revolution” in Christian Counseling with his work, Competent to Counsel: An Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling, (1970, Zondervan), also wrote an analysis of Frost’s work in Preterism: Orthodox or Unorthodox? (Ministry Monographs for Modern Times, INS Publishing, 2004).  Dr. Charles E. Hill, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, wrote of Misplaced Hope that Frost, “attacks the problem of the early church in a much more thoroughgoing way than I have seen” (When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper Preterism, Ed. Keith Mathison, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2003, ‘Eschatology in the Wake of Jerusalem’s Fall’ p. 110-ff.).  There were several other works as well that took the scholarship of Frost seriously, like Ergun Caner in The Return of Christ: A Premillennial Perspective, Eds., Steve W. Lemke and David L. Allen (B&H Publishing, 2011). Because of the controversial nature of Frost’s conclusions on these matters, it was difficult to find a denomination within the Church-at-Large to work in terms of pastoral ministry.  That situation changed when Samuel was called by a Bible study group in Saint Petersburg, Florida to found a congregation.  Christ Covenant Church was established in 2002 operating under the principles outlined by Presbyterian historian James Bannerman’s work, The Church of Christ: A Treatise on the Nature, Powers, Ordinances, Discipline, and Government of the Christian Church (Banner of Truth Trust, 1974, original, 1869).  By-Laws and a Constitution were drawn up in the strictest manner for what was considered an “Independent” establishment of a Presbyterian Church, granted that a “call” was received and recognized by Presiding Elders duly ordained from existing and recognized denominations.  Two Elders, one ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Mike Delores), and another ordained in the Presbyterian Church of America (Dr. Kelly N. Birks, now deceased) tested and reviewed the call, ordaining Samuel on October 20th, 2002, the Twenty Second Sunday after Trinity.  Proper forms were submitted to Tallahassee, Florida with the stamp of a Notary Public Witness.  Christ Covenant Church (CCC) functioned as a local church for five years with a congregation as large as 30 members.  Frost was gaining recognition after Misplaced Hope had been published in January of that year, and conferences were hosted that included debates with another prominent "full" Preterist educator, Don K. Preston.  CCC hosted best-selling authors, Thomas Ice, and Mark Hitchcock from Dallas Theological Seminary; and Dr. James B. Jordan (Westminster Theological Seminary), well-known author/pastor in Reformed theological circles.  Frost was invited for the next several years to speak at over 25 conferences nation-wide, was featured in articles and an appearance on local news in Tampa for one of CCC’s conferences.  The Evangelical Theological Society also invited Samuel to speak at the Philadelphia conference (Frost is currently a Member of ETS as well as Society of Biblical Literature). During this time Samuel had submitted one more book, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead (TruthVoice, 2008; repr. JaDon Publishing, 2010); and co-wrote, House Divided: A Reformed Response to When Shall These Things Be? (Vision International, 2010).  Frost also wrote several Forewords for up and coming authors who were influenced by his teaching materials, as well as cited many times in books, lectures and academic papers.  However, because of certain aspects of Hermeneutics and Frost’s undaunted commitment to scholarship (with always a strong emphasis on the personal nature of devotional living to Christ), several challenges to the "hyper" Preterist view he espoused finally gave way, largely due to the unwavering commitment to Samuel by the Dean of Whitefield Theological Seminary, Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, who continually challenged him.  In what shocked the "hyper" Preterist world, Samuel announced after the Summer of 2010 that he was in serious error, and departed the movement as a whole, along with Jason Bradfield, Assistant Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, Florida .  Christ Covenant Church had dissolved after 2007 while Samuel continued as a public speaker and writer, largely due to reasons that would unravel Frost’s commitment to "hyper" Preterism as a whole. The documentation of Frost’s departure was published by American Vision’s Founder, Gary DeMar, with a Foreword by Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry.  Why I Left Full Preterism (AV Publishing, 2012) quickly sold out its first run.  The book was later republished under the arm of Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry and is sold today (GoodBirth Ministries Publishing, 2019).  Dr. Keith Mathison, Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida, endorsed the book as well.  Samuel has gone on to write, Daniel: Unplugged (Kindle/Amazon, 2019); The Parousia of the Son of Man (Lulu Publishing, 2019); God: As Bill Wilson Understood Him, A Theological Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous (Lulu Publishing, 2017).  He is also active as a certified Chaplain with the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana, and enrolled with ICAADA (Indiana Counselor’s Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse) working directly under Dr. Dennis Greene, Founder of Christian Counseling and Addictions Services, Inc.  Frost’s passion is in the education of the local church on various issues and occasionally works Pastor Alan McCraine with the First Presbyterian Church in Lewisville, Indiana where he periodically is called upon to give the sermon.  He also is working with Redemption Life Bible Church with Pastor Tyler Jackson in New Castle, Indiana.  Samuel, with his wife, Kimberly, helped to establish Heaven’s Bread Basket food pantry that donates food items to local families in need once a month – a ministry of the Session of First Presbyterian Church. Samuel has four children, one step-son, ages sixteen to twenty-eight and has worked part time at Ace Hardware in New Castle, Indiana for over five years.  He has a solid reputation in the community, and has performed marriages and funerals.  He also sits on the Board of the Historical Preservation Committee in New Castle.

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