Skip to comments.In Joseph Smith's day prominent Americans were disgusted with the creeds of Christendom. (excerpt)
Posted on 12/25/2008 9:13:44 PM PST by restornu
In Joseph Smith's day some of the most prominent Americans were disgusted with the creeds of Christendom. Thomas Jefferson said:
I [Jefferson] am a real Christian, that is to say a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus, very different from the preachers . . of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its author never said or did.
They have compounded from the heathen mysteries a system beyond the comprehension of man of which Jesus, were he to return on earth, would not recognize one feature. . . . It is the speculations of crazy theologians which have made a Babel out of religion (Saul K. Padover, Thomas Jefferson on Democracy, 1939, pp. 122-123).
Writing to S. Hales in 1818, Jefferson wrote: "The truth is that Calvinism has introduced into the Christian religion more new absurdities than its leaders had purged it of old ones" (Ibid., p. 219).
On Jefferson's monument in Washington, D.C., is inscribed: "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." If his complete quotation were on the monument it would bring out the fact that Jefferson was speaking against the dergy of his day (Ibid., p. 119).
Benjamin Franklin, replying to a letter from Ezra Styles, president of Yale, said shortly before his death:
As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left it to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes (Carl Van Doren, Benjamin Franklin, 1941, p. 777).
The first great work expressing the deistic feeling in America was Thomas Paine's Age of Reason, considered to have generated the greatest stir of any book of its day. It made clear that Paine was not an atheist as some claimed, but a deist because of the tyranny and bigotry he found in the existing churches (Thomas Paine, Age of Reason, 1793, p. 287).
Speaking of the period in America between 1670 and 1830, renowned theologian Paul Tillich has said, "First among the educated classes, then increasingly in the mass of industrial workers, religion lost its 'immediacy,' and it ceased to offer an unquestioned sense of direction and relevance to human living" (Roland N. Stromberg, Religious Liberalism, 1954, p. 1).
Carlyle has said of the Colonial Period: "An age fallen languid and destitute of faith and terrified of skepticism" (Ibid., p. ix).
Of this time Carl L. Becker has said, "What we have to realize is that in those years God was on trial" (Ibid., p. 1).
On another occasion, Thomas Jefferson said:
The impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, have established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the earth (Peter H. Odegard, Religion and Politics, 1960, p. 110).
It is also true that in Colonial America only about 5 percent of the population belonged to any church and that those who did come to America for religious reasons did not come here initially to seek freedom of religion except for themselves. This is certainly an indictment against religion in Joseph Smith's day.
Peter Odegard also maintains this position:
Nowhere in the old world at the beginning of American colonization was there anything like religious toleration. . . . It is sad but not surprising to recall that even the religious dissenters who found refuge in America were, with notable exceptions, no more disposed toward toleration than the oppressors of the old world Obid., p. 9).
Historian William Warren Sweet says, "The rise of an intense anticlericalism was another cause of opposition to the churches." Further he relates: "The United States began as a free and independent nation with organized religion at a low ebb" (William Warren Sweet, Religion in the Development of American Culture, 1952, p. 92.).
No disrespect to the Founders, but their distrust of organized religion has more to do with Enlightenment politics than a sincere desire to know Jesus. The idea of revolution is based upon an adolescent hostility towards any form of authority, and our American Revolution was no exception. Scripture and Tradition make it plain that the Christian cannot be a revolutionary; he is instead to submit to all Earthly authority as to God, for all authority on Earth is established by God. Should an Earthly authority demand more than the Christian can give, it is the Christian’s duty to simply refuse to comply, and to submit meekly to whatever consequences entail — but never to raise a hand against Caesar. This, not revolution, is the example set by the saints and martyrs.
I really want to respond to your post but to keep it civil I’ll just say that I completely disagree.
Peter: "We did not follow cleverly invented stories..."
Many of the sources you cite would have been just as disgusted with Joseph Smith’s creeds.
What we preach is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the gentiles...
I suggest that you read some Algernon Sidney and John Locke. The founding fathers did. (smile) It's too bad that you can't invite say, James Madison to hear you spout off about his 'apostasy.'
It was not the anti-Christian "enlightenment." It was and continues to be the natural progress of the liberated Christian mind in history, that brought a faithful understanding of natural law and natural freedom to mankind.
See also Deutoronomy, Joshua, and Judges, for the order of man blessed by God, free of authoritarianism. Once again, the founding fathers did.
Of course, they would have hated the religion Joseph Smith invented even more, as the things they didn’t like are stronger in Mormonism than in the religions of their day.
You can meekly submit to a bad government if you like, but I’ll be damned if this Catholic does. I’m fairly certain Jesus would be right there with me and the rest of us.
But the best we can do is not assume Jesus is on our side just because we call ourselves Christian, but to pray we are on Jesus’ side and do the best we can.
They weren’t cleverly invented stories, they were translated from gold tablets that no one else saw, but clearly existed because a guy with a checkered past said so, and could only be read in the dark, and I’m pretty sure just by him, which makes total sense since, well, he’s the chosen one, he didn’t need to prove himself through miracles, though sets of stories were different even though that contradicts what Jesus said(I am the same today, yesterday, and forever) because to my understanding after the original book was misplaced God said he’d tell the story differently, and even though that does fall in line with cleverly made up stories, they clearly aren’t.
No Christian is required to cooperate in evil. To resist a government like Stalin’s or Hitler’s is a positive moral action.
” Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29
Peter to no less an authority than the High Priest when told to stop preaching Jesus as the Messiah.
If that revolution did not occur you wouldn't be able to spout the crap you are stating. Grow up .
Over 200 years ago it was just as easy to spot a phony preacher that hijacks Jesus as it is now. And there are plenty of hijackers out there these days.
I find it odd that when the Mormons wished to setup their own territory and state where they could practice their faith like unto the Quakers and Puritans who left the oppression of the English and European systems of state religions, They were told that they would have to conform to the religious beliefs of the sate, by doing away with multiple wifes. Our forefathers gave their blood for the right to worship different and yet the state that was created has now become like the system that the forefathers fought and gave their blood to set us free from.
I can usually read these versions in daylight!
The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others
It is best to stick to the Scriptures. The rational mind of mankind has been at war with the truth since Eve.
Creeds are not scripture!