Eulogy for Jeffery Mock
(February 22, 1976 to April 30, 2021)
by Stuart DiNenno
This was originally read during a memorial service at Jeff’s graveside in Milton, Georgia on Saturday, May 15th, 2021. There have been some changes and additions to the original.
I met Jeff Mock approximately 12 years ago in a church in the Atlanta area, a congregation of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing). We were already largely in agreement on theological matters at the time which is why we were both in that church. But I attended there only sporadically and really did not begin to know Jeff very well until about six years ago when we reconnected through social media. Jeff was a member of the Free Church but became disappointed with it and his physical condition would not have allowed him to attend, even if he had wanted to do so. Nevertheless, he remained a member in good standing to the end of his life.
Later, we became the best of friends. In the last two or three years of his life, we used to talk on the phone almost every day. He rented the back half of my house during the last six months of his life (early November 2020 until the day of his death on April 30) and I was his nightime aide, so we became much closer during that time.
I got to know much about Jeff’s life in our many long discussions, and it surely was a difficult one. He spent much of his childhood in Lithonia, Georgia where his parents enrolled him in the local public school, which racially was almost entirely black, so he was a target and was constantly having to fight off attackers, often more than one at a time with little help. And because he was small, only about 5′ 5″ and 120 lbs., he sometimes took vicious beatings — one time being knocked unconscious in the school bathroom. Nevertheless, he was able to withstand all of it and many times he successfully went on the offensive against boys bigger than himself, when one of his friends or one of the neighborhood girls were in trouble. He was especially zealous for the defense of women and he told me about how he once almost clubbed a black boy to death who had dragged a white girl off into the woods near his house.
Jeff also had many health problems because of a genetic disorder and these began to be increasingly manifested in early adulthood. In fact, Jeff likely would have been a professional pool player if he had been healthy. In his late teens and early twenties, he traveled around the Southeast playing in tournaments and defeated some well-known professionals, but Jeff had to quit because the games were timed and he could not move fast enough from one shot to the next, and travel itself was becoming difficult for him.
Jeff had bad lungs from two bouts of double pneumonia, and during one of those two events he “flatlined.” That is, his vital signs ceased for two or three minutes. The genetic disorder that I mentioned was a debilitating muscle disease known as central core myopathy, which is somewhat similar to muscular dystrophy, and this also led to severe scoliosis, which is curvature of the spine. This, in turn, further compromised his breathing because it caused his spine to press against his left lung. He became increasingly sickly over the years and this was exacerbated by both poor hospital care and neglect at home. During the last two years of his life he was limited to either lying in bed, during which he could not breathe without a machine to aid him, or being in what I call a praying position with his elbows on the bed and his knees on the floor. This is the condition Jeff was in when he came to live with me. He was emaciated when we moved him in and he never could regain much weight. Jeff also could not sit in a wheelchair for very long because he said it was too uncomfortable, which I believe was Jeff’s way of saying it was too painful. There was much pain and suffering in his life, including the humiliation of a man with a very independent spirit being reduced to a high degree of dependence on the aid of others.
But Jeff was resourceful and made good use of his time, and even though he was unable to do any physical work, he found ways to support himself through doing work on the computer, and buying and selling computers and phones on the Internet. His long periods of isolation also became a blessing to him because it gave him the time to do a great deal of reading, and he became very theologically and biblically knowledgeable.
Jeff was an uncompromising seeker of the truth and he was never afraid to go wherever it led him. This included embracing the unpleasant truths about racial matters and about mankind in general that the modern churches shrink back from, due to them being infected with egalitarianism, and this brought him into conflict with other professing Christians. Jeff also was an ardent evangelist. I know that he led two of his home health aides to Christ, and I believe that he was instrumental in bringing one of his best friends, Jeff Melton, to faith. And it is likely there are others that I don’t know about.
Jeff greatly valued his Southern heritage and desired to follow the example of the heroes of the Confederacy such as Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Nathan B. Forrest, Jeb Stuart, and Jefferson Davis, among others.
Two of his favorite Stonewall Jackson quotes were:
“Without God’s blessing I look for no success, and for every success my prayer is, that all the glory may be given unto Him to whom it is properly due. If people would but give all the glory to God, and regard His creatures as but unworthy instruments, my heart would rejoice. Alas, too frequently the praise is bestowed upon the creature.”
“Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”
He also liked the following Jeb Stuart quotes:
“I rejoice to say that I still have evidence of a Savior’s pardoning love. When I came here I had reason to expect that many and strong temptations would beset my path, but I relied on him, whom to know is life everlasting, to deliver me from temptation, and prayed God to guide me in the right way and teach me to walk as a Christian should.”
“Fear God, men, and you will have nothing left to fear.”
Although Jeff’s body was failing him even from early adulthood, he always had the spirit of a warrior. He understood the battle and did not flinch from it but rather ran towards it to engage. He knew who the worst enemies of Christendom were and he was not afraid to name them and speak out against them. Jeff sometimes thought that God had put him in his weak bodily condition to keep him from doing something rash because he was the type of man who would have tried to hunt down and kill some of the devils who are instituting all the propaganda and promoting all the perversions that have destroyed our society. I remember several times that he spoke of the need to establish a resistance movement. He had experience putting together political organizations through the Southern nationalist movement and believed that he could have organized a resistance group if he had been healthy.
As I said earlier, Jeff was very knowledgeable in theology, having used his time in disability to read many great works. He was always helpful to everyone who was seeking knowledge, as many of his friends online would testify. I learned many valuable things from Jeff and we came to be of one mind on all religious, social, and political matters.
Jeff was of a sweet disposition, always polite and thankful, and never complaining about his condition, even to the end when he was gasping for breath. And he never gave up fighting for life. He was unafraid of death and knew that he would not live a long life but he believed it was his duty to keep fighting and hang on to do the work of the kingdom of God as long as he was able.
It is easy to fall into the error of looking at the afflicted Christian and start questioning whether God really loves him. We have a tendency to think of God’s blessings in terms of health, wealth, and prestige, and when we see someone who has none of these things, we can begin to doubt that he is in God’s favor and maybe even believe him to be cursed. But the Bible tells us that the opposite is more often the case. It is, “the ungodly who prosper in the world” (Psalm 73:12), while God’s people, in many instances, have little or nothing.
One very clear example is the parable spoken by Jesus Christ in Luke 16:19-31. In the parable, we have a rich man of whom it is said that he “was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day” while a man named Lazarus was a beggar who was laid at the rich man’s gate and was said to be “full of sores and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.” How many would have looked at the outward circumstances of the two and believed that Lazarus was the one who was loved by God? Most would have made the mistake that Job’s friends made when they looked upon him in his afflicted condition and assumed that Jeff must have somehow offended God or even believed that he was hated by God. But the parable clearly tells us that the rich man was the one hated by God and the one who went into torments, while Lazarus was received into God’s presence and into a state of eternal blessedness.
A similar point is made in the following quote from R. L. Dabney, one of Jeff’s favorite theologians, which was taken from a letter to his mother dated March 22, 1862. It was written just a few years after he had lost two of his sons, a month after his sister had died in his arms, and a few days after he received news that his good friend Dabney Harrison had been killed in combat:
“There is no solace to a benevolent mind in knowing that others are suffering. But there is much consolation in the fact that the path of sorrow and bereavement along which we travel is the same one along which God’s people have travelled usually. For thus we have an answer and medicine for that feeling which is too apt to arise under great sorrows, that surely God must be our enemy, seeing he seems to have such a peculiar controversy with us. It is in refutation of this feeling that the Apostle Peter says, ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.’ He would remind us that for God’s own children to suffer, even though it be severely, is no novel thing. ‘Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.’ This road of bereavement is the one along which all the Bible saints travelled, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David, and, above all, our Saviour. Yet they got safely home, and so may we.”
Thomas Brooks, an English nonconformist preacher from the 1600’s said “What God our Father wills is best. When He wills sickness, sickness is better than health. When He wills weakness, weakness is better than strength. When He wills poverty, poverty is better than wealth. When He wills reproach, reproach is better than honor. When He wills death, death is better than life. All the afflictions which come upon the child of God are from the One who knows best and has sent them in love; therefore, murmur not before Him.”
I consider Jeff to have been the model Christian man and I believe it was his life of suffering that made him reach a high level of santification. William Jenkyn, an English Presbyterian minister in the 1600’s said, “As the wicked are hurt by the best things, so the godly are bettered by the worst.” I believe the latter was the case with Jeff. He was purified through his afflictions. Also, being not from a Christian home and knowing nothing about Christianity in his youth, it seems unlikely that he would have ever come to faith if he had been healthy and spending his life roaming around the country from pool hall to pool hall, so I do believe that Jeff becoming disabled at a young age was a providential path to his salvation and an example of the fact “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
It is both a sad day for us and blessed day for Jeff. We have lost a good friend and a faithful soldier in the Christian army, but Jeff has left behind all his suffering and gone on to a better world. As David speaking by the Holy Spirit in Psalm 16 said in regard to being with God, “in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11) Paul, who had been “caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words” knew that to depart this life and be with Christ is “far better”(Philippians 1:23), and Jesus Himself promised the thief on the cross, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise,” so we need not have any doubt that although Jeff’s body is in the grave, His spirit is with God.
Much more could be said about Jeff, and about those Christians who also have suffered in this life, but for now I just want to say that I am pleased and honored to have known Jeff Mock, and to have had the privilege of doing what little I could for him. He was my Christian brother, my friend, and my soul mate and I miss him greatly. In closing, I will read one of Jeff’s favorite Bible passages, which is Psalm 27:
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
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Blessed and impressed! So many need to hear the meaning and power and purpose of suffering! Thank you!