In the early 1900's several families with Pentecostal background began to settle in the south-central Idaho region: Twin Falls, Buhl, Albion, Hansen, and Kimberly. They would meet at each other's homes and the Pleasant Valley Schoolhouse located south of Kimberly to pray and worship.
In 1924, Mattie Crawford held a tent meeting in Boise, Idaho. She was a nationally-acclaimed evangelist who preached the Oneness of the Godhead and the infilling of the Holy Ghost. Her meetings were accompanied by regular reports of miraculous healing. Hearing of her, some of the local Pentecostals went to meet her in Boise and invited her to hold a tent revival in Twin Falls. Crawford arrived in September for a two week revival in Twin Falls; however, due to the meeting's high degree of popularity it was extended for one more week. News articles state there were more than 2,500 in attendance, and it is recorded that a baptismal service was held in the Perrine coulee, an irrigation canal, wherein more than 40 persons were baptized in Jesus Name.
Following her revival meetings, local believers organized regular meetings at a local theatre. The initial group outgrew that location and moved to a larger local hall known as the Bisbee Building. At this time, the assembly was referred to as "The Pentecostal Church" or "The Main Street Mission."
In 1926 two lots were donated for the building of Bethel Temple Church on 3rd Avenue West. A local farmer donated the funds to build the church. Upon its completion in 1926, Brother E.G. Lowe was the first pastor of Bethel Temple Evangelistic Association. Brother Lovell then succeeded him. In Approximately 1930, Brother E.G. Lowe returned to pastor for a second time. Following him was Brother Joe Eads. He stayed for approximately one year here, then left suddenly in October 1931. Upon his departure, the church board made contact with Brother G.T. Haywood of Indianapolis, Indiana about needing a pastor. Brother Haywood recommended Brother B.M. David. Brother David accepted the Pastorate in late 1931 and moved his household to Twin Falls in April 1932. During that interim while awaiting their new pastor, Bethel Temple held many revivals where people were saved and the church grew.
Pastor B.M. David arrived with his wife, Sister Ruth, and housekeeper (later wife) Sister Elvera Strand. He was a very good preacher in spite of a strong accent. He stressed Jesus' name baptism and healing. His wife, Ruth, was a good Bible teacher especially for children. She made concepts and stories in the Bible understandable.
There were many divine healings and miracles of God reported under Pastor David's ministry. There were services where the presence of God was so strong than many recall seeing a blue haze.
Pastor David was of Persian (Iranian) descent and associated with many other Oneness Pentecostal ministers such as G.T. Haywood, A.D. Urshan, and W.T Witherspoon. He was affiliated with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ until it merged into the United Pentecostal Church in 1945 and remained independent thereafter.
Under Pastor David Bethel Temple held some form of church meeting almost every day of the week. One notable weekly event was the radio broadcast of music and Bible teaching. Consistent church growth resulted in several building expansions. In 1955, the Bethel Temple Church building was entirely rebuilt as a brick structure. Sunday school rooms were added to approximately five years later.
In February of 1943, Sister Ruth David passed away. In September of 1944, Pastor David was married to Elvera Strand. Pastor B.M. David passed away while still the pastor in September of 1963.
Brother William Parent of Pontiac, Michigan came for several months after Brother David passed away to help fill in until a new pastor could be found. J.L. Tankersly was selected as the pastor in January of 1964 and remained until 1975.
Pastor Carroll McGruder became pastor in March 1975. He married Priscilla (McDonald) McGruder while he pastored in Twin Falls. Brother and Sister Harold Shepherd assisted in working with young people during this time. The McGruder family remained at Bethel Temple until December 1980.
Brother Allen Picklesimer was saved under Brother Leamon T. Reynolds in 1957 at National City, California. Beginning in 1966 he pastored in Imperial Beach, California. Brother Picklesimer came to Twin Falls, Idaho every fall to hunt starting in 1976.
Bethel Temple Early History Photos