The Road to the House of Never
In January of the year 1787, the Cazrina, Catherine the Great of Russia, left the Winter Palace on her way to the Summer Palace. It was a 1000-mile journey. She traveled in a bright and colorful entourage.
This brilliant monarch of Russia knew that there was poverty, suffering, and deprivation in her nation. She knew that many people lived in hell-like conditions and yet she knew far less than she should have known.
Her then favorite advisor, General Potemkin, was an extraordinary man in many respects, and he made an extraordinary effort to see that Catherine never saw the true conditions of Russia as they traveled.
All along the route she traveled, beautiful fake towns and villages were established. Beside the Dnieper River, gaily dressed and apparently well-fed peasants were a part of staged scenes of bucolic bliss.
These same actors were then moved down the river day after day, from one fake village to the next to make Catherine believe her beloved Russia was happy, content, and well fed.
Behind these "Potemkin Villages" constructed for her benefit was untold misery and deprivation. Surely Catherine was not completely deceived by Potemkin's efforts, but it was much more comfortable (and comforting) to think of her Russia as it appeared to be than to see it as it really was.
William Booth discovered hell one night when he couldn't sleep. He tossed and turned, and then he decided to get up and go for a walk. He journeyed into a part of London he had never walked through--the poor section.
He spent the rest of the night there, seeing sights and smelling odors he had never before experienced. When he arrived home in the early hours of the morning, his wife Katherine was almost frantic, asking, "Where in the world have you been?"
To which he replied, "Katherine, I've been to hell. I've spent the night in hell." He then told her what he'd seen and smelled. Then together, that very ...
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