Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II in the Pacific

Daws, Gavan

William Morrow, 1994

pp. 115 - 116

American POWs in Japanese camps could get tobacco, but lacked the cigarette papers to roll it in. So the men turned to Scripture. P. 116: “Rolling with religious paper had a whole theology attached to it. A Dutch Jesuit chaplain on Sumatra said the Word of God was sanctified, not the paper, so roll away. Sick men smoked their army-issue Bible after reading it. Or they smoked without reading, and about this the chaplains had nothing to say except that it was better for the men to get the Word in them by inhaling than not at all. For those who were willing to read before rolling, where should they start? An English chaplain said Revelation, which no one understood anyway. The Dutch Jesuit said the Old Testament, then the Acts of the Apostles because they were only practicalities, then the Gospels; leave the Sermon on the Mount for last, and learn it before smoking it.