Lilian Barbara Yeomans was born June 23, 1861 to Amelia and Augustus Yeomans. Her family was originally from Montreal, Canada. Her father was a physician and they moved to the United States in 1862, when he became doctor for the Northern Army during the Civil War. He died in 1878. Lilian decided to follow in her father’s footsteps, and so she attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to become a physician. Her mother, who was a woman of strong character and personality, joined her at the University and began studies to become a doctor herself.
Lilian graduated when she was 21 and passed an examination to practice medicine in Manitoba, Canada in 1882. Her mother graduated in 1883 and joined her daughter February of 1885 in Winnipeg. They specialized in women’s and children’s health issues. Lilian was surrounded with the problems of the poor and the unemployed. She served prostitutes, visited prisons, worked with alcoholics, and dealt with the social breakdown of people in a rapidly growing city. She also became addicted to drugs, which she had easy access to as a physician.
Dr. Yeomans said that if anyone would have asked her how she managed to become a drug addict she would have had one response: “Thorough my fault, through my most grievous fault.” She had experienced salvation in her younger days, but under the heavy stress of practicing medicine and doing surgery she would take morphine, or other drugs, so that she could sleep. She was extremely aware of the dangers of this habit, having treated addicts in her own practice. She believed that she had it under control, until the terrible day she discovered that the drug was the master and she was the slave. She was taking drugs at levels 50 times of those prescribed for an adult male.
Dr. Yeomans tried to quit numerous times. She said that if she managed to go 24 hours without them that she would go into withdrawal where she had heart palpitations, hot and cold sweats, nausea, racking pain, mental delusions, intense cravings, and an inability to even stand. She made at least 57 attempts do break free of her addiction. She would throw away the drugs swearing to never use them again, only to be driven back into them. She sought medical help and attempted medical cures. None of which made any difference. Her health was disintegrating and one nurse described her as “a skeleton with a demon inside.” She prayed day and night to be delivered, but she did not believe that God really healed people.
Dr. Yeomans came to the point where she was bedridden. Her doctors would not take away the drugs, for fear that she would just die. She came to John Alexander Dowie’s healing homes in Chicago in 1898. She was left alone for long stretches and turned to the Bible for solace. God began to speak to her, not just in a single verse but throughout the entire thing. She read in Job about healing, saw God’s heart in Genesis that God called us to walk in His image, saw in Exodus that there were “no feeble among them” in the wilderness, that Deuteronomy called for ritual cleansing of lepers, Numbers showed sickness being dealt with through prayer, sacrifice, and atonement, and many others.
It became clear to her that the Word of God had healing as a part of every section, not just some but every section. She also came to the realization that she was healed. Her craving for drugs was gone and her health returned. She never again took drugs. The truth of God’s healing power became a reality, which she shared from that time on. The January 22, 1898 Leaves of Healing Magazine lists both Lilian and her sister Charlotte Amelia (Amy) as being baptized by Dowie at Zion Tabernacle.
The Definition of a Drug Addict
In the words of Dr. Lilian B. YeomansPerhaps somebody says, “What is an addict?” I am glad to answer that question because I am in a position to give you a definition of an addict that you will not find in the dictionary or in an encyclopedia. I went down into the deepest depths and I know. An addict is the most abject slave on God’s earth. There is one thing that is dearer to the human heart than anything else, and rightly so, and that is freedom.
God wants us free. Jesus Christ came to set the captives free, forever and ever; to preach deliverance to them that are bound, and He has called us to do the same thing. That longing for freedom that we find in the human heart is God given, yet the addicts are the most abject slaves in existence. It is a dreadful thing to be a slave to a man or woman; it is an awful thing to be a slave to your own passions, your whims, your caprices, but the morphine or heroin addict is a slave to a drug and to the demon power that lies back of the drug.
I tell you I never met a morphine addict yet who didn’t know there was a personal devil. You will get acquainted with him as he pulls the fetters that bind you until they tear into your flesh.
Excerpt from 1913 “Latter Rain Evangel” magazine. Reprinted with permission of Healing and Revival Press.
Dr. Yeomans gave up her medical practice and decided to become a missionary among the Cree Indians in Northern Canada for a time. She held evangelistic meetings throughout the U.S. and Canada and taught and spoke on the healing power of God. She was a friend and supporter of A.B. Simpson as he made the transition into faith in God’s healing power.
It is recorded in a 1904 Alliance magazine that she was supporting mission work in Winnipeg and holding healing meetings. Her testimony was published in the Alliance magazine in 1908. She led thousands of people to believe God for their healing and salvation. After her mother died in 1913, Dr. Yeomans and her sister bought a large home with money they had inherited. This house was designed as a “faith home” similar to the one run by Carrie Judd Montgomery, with whom Dr. Yeomans had a long-standing relationship. They would read scriptures on healing to the sick, and would tell them to speak these Scriptures over themselves. Their goal was infuse people with the knowledge that God still heals today. They had some very remarkable healings.
In her later years she taught at Aimee Semple McPherson’s Bible school. She was on staff for the L.I.F.E. Bible college under McPherson. She taught classes that included Church history and divine healing. She published several books in the last 20 years of her life. She lived in a small house in Manhattan Beach, Calif. with her sister Amy and adopted daughter Tanis. People would come there to receive prayer for healing. She came into contact with Charles S. Price, possibly while he visited Angelus Temple and taught students there. She spoke at a healing meeting with Dr. Price in 1930 at Lake Geneva Camp, Alexandria, Minn. She was also included in an article in his Golden Grain Magazine. She died when she was 85, on December 9, 1942. Dr. Price and Carrie Judd Montgomery gave memorial addresses at her funeral.
This article was reprinted with the gracious permission of Healing and Revival Press. You can visit them online at www.healingandrevivalpress.com.
Photo courtesy Healing and Revival Press and Flower Pentecostal Heritage