Salvation on Sand Mountian
The New Yorker stated that Salvation on Sand Mountain was “an extraordinary account of how a journalistic assignment evolved into a spiritual quest.” And I have to agree one hundred percent. Dennis Covington started off in the beginning of the book as an outsider to snake handling, and he ended up becoming an insider to this special way of worship.
Mr. Covington was writing journal pieces for The New York Times, and he heard of the arrest of Glenn Summerford through a Birmingham newspaper. He told his editor about his story idea, and made his way Scottsboro, Alabama. Glenn Summerford was a preacher at The Church of Jesus with Signs Following, and he was “convicted and sentenced to ninety-nine years in prison for attempting to kill his wife with rattlesnakes” (Covington page 1). Dennis Covington drove down to get the scoop on the trial and left with what he needed and more. During Dennis Covington’s stay in Scottsboro, he stayed for a church service in Glenn Summerford’s church. It was not like a Catholic, Methodist, or Baptist service because there was more than one speaker, and there were snakes. This intrigued Covington. And he did not stop at just that one service; he continued to go to other churches and services. He continued his journey because he was pulled in by the Spirit and the liveliness of the snake handling service.
From chapter one and further on throughout the book, we see Covington grow more curious in snake handling. He wonders why they do not get bitten, and why they get bitten. He has his theories, but he comes to the realization that it is the Spirit that decides whether or not you are bitten. Until chapter six, Covington does not seem that he wants to handle a snake, but in chapter six, during the New Year’s Eve service, he was lifted spiritually and wanted handle a snake. And in chapter seven, Brother Carl mention that he looked like he wanted to try handling at the New Year’s Eve service, and when Covington...