I was born William Elbert Stephens, on March 7, 1932, to Elder E. S. and Sister Rhoda Stephens in Russell County, Virginia. My father tried to serve the Lord as a Primitive Baptist minister for 69 years before his death. One of my favorite recollections as a small boy was riding on horseback with my Dad for twelve to fifteen miles to attend a church service. Many elders would come to visit Dad with conversations on scriptures and I would listen to try to take in what was being discussed, but I was at a loss. For having always believed in the Primitive Baptist religion, I couldn’t understand their passions for which they exerted when conversing on the Bible. Around the age of ten, as I was walking through the woods alone with my dog, I can recall the first time the Almighty God revealed himself to me with the message that I would some day have to go before his people and preach the word of God. What an immense feeling of fear and an overwhelming amount of love I felt at that moment. These same emotions are with me even today.
Martha Ruth Smith and I were united in marriage on July 10, 1954. We have one son and three daughters. I could have searched the world over and never have found a more humble, loyal, or loving companion to share my life with. I so wanted to be a part of the Grand Old Church and hence was baptized by Elder Leonard Barton and Elder Andrew McGlothlin on December 15, 1968 to Shiloh Church in the Sandlick Association. My dear wife followed me in August of 1971 to become a sister of the church. Our lives opened up to a sweetness and love we had never known before. Suddenly we looked at things in a whole new “Light.” Soon after, I was confronted with the burden I’d been carrying since a small boy in the woods — to deliver God’s message. I served as Pastor of Old Carroll Church in Mt. Airy, Maryland for 26 years. As always, with God’s help and guidance, I try to serve and assist the Primitive Baptist Church when, where, and in what way that I can.