For many years (probably since my teenage years), I have talked to friends about the intrigue I have always had about snake handlers and the amount of faith they surely have to “take up the serpent”. Several friends have told me that I should read the 1995 non fiction book Salvation on Sand Mountain written by Dennis Covington. Covington began in about 1991 and through December 1993 traveled the snake handling circuit of Southern Appalachia, becoming one of them.
Interestingly enough in my business travels since March 1, 1992 I have traveled into many of the towns and communities that Covington traveled, worshiped and becoming one of the handlers. So, the likelihood that I have been in such close proximity with many of the people and churches that Covington was with is very real probability. Locations like Grundy, Va., Richlands, Va., Middlesboro, Ky., Harlan, Ky, Kingston, Ga, areas around Huntsville and Birmingham, Al.
Punkin Brown and Jamie Coots are figures that Covington came in contact with. However, Brown was considered the “Tennessee handlers” and Coots the Kentucky group. Covington was more connected to the Georgia and Alabama handlers.
Interestingly enough, Covington who became one of the them for a season. Also, had his eyes opened to their doctrine or their interpretation of the scripture. The timing of my reading of this book is not a coincidence. There always comes a time to evaluate and examine, am I still in sync with the belief of any group or organization that I am affiliated with? That is an evaluation and examination that we all must face at some point. Only with the guidance of God can we get the answer.
I don’t want to ruin the book for you, it is available for purchase in many of the normal used sellers. I purchased mine here through Amazon, I believe.
I found a youtube video of some of the photographs that were used and not used in the book. Enjoy it below, if you wish.