Reverend John Smyth Hugh Piggot was the leader of the organization known as Agapemone. Initially, he claimed to be the second advent of the Messiah. However, in 1902 he announced to his congregation to stop searching for God in the heavens, as “he is present among you” referring to himself.[i]
Claiming to be the Messiah is one thing, but claiming divinity was not taken well by some people. The indignation for the Oneness of God held by the Promised Messiahas prompted him to send a warning to Piggot to retract his blasphemous statement.
Dr. Joshua Schwieso a lecturer at the University of the West of England also makes mention of this incident. Dr.Schwieso conducted extensive research regarding the Agapemone. He states, “We can see traces of Agapemone activities in India in 1902…in this very year another claimer to messiahship in India, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, chief of Qadian, Punjab, published an announcement in which Pigott was given a warning that…….if he did not abstain from his claim to godship then he would immediately be destroyed/turned to dust and bones.”[ii]
Let us now turn to the actual prophecies of the Promised Messiahas concerning Piggot. In November 1902, the Promised Messiahas saw in a dream concerning Piggot, some books on which it was written three times: Tasbih, Tasbih, Tasbih (Holiness belongs to Allah) and then received a revelation:
“Allah is severe in retribution. They are not acting righteously”
This revelation indicates that the present condition of Piggott is not good or that he would not repent in the future. It can also mean that he would not believe in God, or that what he has done by telling such a lie against God and planning against Him, is not good. The part [Allah is severe in retribution] shows that his end will be doomed and he will be afflicted with God’s chastisement. Indeed, it is a very daring thing to claim to be God. [iii]
Similarly, the Promised Messiahas said regarding Piggot and his claim, “I, therefore, warn him through this notice that if he does not repent of this irreverent claim, he shall be soon annihilated, even in my lifetime, with sore torment proceeding from God and not from the hands of a man”.
Some people raise the allegation that the Promised Messiahas passed away in 1908 whereas Piggot lived until 1927. If Piggot was a liar and deceiver was he not to pass away before the Promised Messiahas. In reality, the words “even in my lifetime” show that the door for repentance is open. If Piggot retracted from his statement and did not accept the Mubahila challenge (prayer duel) this would not come to pass. But if he had accepted the challenge then surely he would have died during the lifetime of the Promised Messiahas. But we observe that when Piggot received the challenge and warning from the Promised Messiahas he remained silent and lived in isolation.
“The flamboyant Messiah of Clapton became the quiet, gentle pastor at Spaxton”.[iv]
[i] The Hackney and Kingsland Gazette, Wednesday 10th September 1902
[ii] Deluded Inmates, Frantic Ravers, and Communists: A sociological Study of the Agapemone, a sect of Victorian Apocalyptic Millenarians, p.171
[iii] Tadhkirah pg.596-597 (Eng.Trans) 2018
[iv] The Temple of Love by Donal McCormick, p.97, 1962, The Citadel Press, New York