Quakers, Mormons & Christian Science: Non-Conformist American Sects

Mormon Settlers in Utah

1. Journal of George Fox, founder of the Quakers

While Fox lived in England, his Quaker followers came to America with William Penn to found the colony of Pennsylvania. There they instituted the first public sch0ols, the first penitentiary for prisoner rehabilitation, the first alms house for the homeless, the first mental hospital, the anti-war movement, and the anti-slavery movement. They taught that Christ is the "Inward Light" given to every person. We may have covered the light over with sin, but the purity of Christ's light is our real nature, if only we accept it consciously. Then we recover our original innocence.

Now I was come up in spirit through the flaming sword, into the paradise of God. All things were new; and all the creation gave unto me another smell than before, beyond what words can utter. I knew nothing but pureness, and innocency, and righteousness; being renewed into the image of God by Christ Jesus, to the state of Adam, which he was in before he fell. The creation was opened to me; and it was showed me how all things had their names given them according to their nature and virtue.

I was at a stand in my mind whether I should practise physic for the good of mankind, seeing the nature and virtues of things were so opened to me by the Lord. But I was immediately taken up in spirit to see into another or more steadfast state than Adam's innocency, even into a state in Christ Jesus that should never fall. And the Lord showed me that such as were faithful to Him, in the power and light of Christ, should come up into that state in which Adam was before he fell; in which the admirable works of the creation, and the virtues thereof, may be known, through the openings of that divine Word of wisdom and power by which they were made.

Great things did the Lord lead me into, and wonderful depths were opened unto me, beyond what can by words be declared; but as people come into subjection to the Spirit of God, and grow up in the image and power of the Almighty, they may receive the Word of wisdom that opens all things, and come to know the hidden unity in the Eternal Being.

(Journal, Chapter 2)


2. Book of Mormon: Testimony of Joseph Smith

It would be presumptuous to give a short synopsis of such a complex religious revelation, foundation of the Latter Day Saints Church, also known as Mormons. In the pattern of Old Testament Prophets, Joseph Smith received the revelation of God and Brigham Young founded the settlement in Utah that is now the center of the LDS Church. The Mormon Church is Christ-centered but distinct from Christian orthodoxy. Following is the account of the first revelation to Joseph Smith.

“On the evening of the . . . twenty-first of September [1823] . . . I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God . . . .

“While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.

“He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrists; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.

“Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.

“He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.
“He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;

“Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted Seers in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book."

3. Mary Baker Eddy's 'Lord's Prayer'

A uniquely American form of Christianity, Christian Science is founded on the teachings of Eddy(1821-1910), who taught that spiritual mind, enlightened by the love of Christ, is the creative force that governs the material world. Spiritual mind can heal any sickness in the body.

Only as we rise above all material sensuousness and sin, can we reach the heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness, which is indicated in the Lord's Prayer and which instantaneously heals the sick. Here let me give what I understand to be the spiritual sense of the Lord's Prayer:

    Our Father which art in heaven,

    Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,

    Hallowed be Thy name.

    Adorable One.

    Thy kingdom come.

    Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present.

    Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

    Enable us to know,--as in heaven, so on earth,--God is omnipotent, supreme.

    Give us this day our daily bread;

    Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections;

    And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

    And Love is reflected in love;

    And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;

    And God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth us from sin, disease, and death.

    For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

    For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All.

    Science and Health
    , 16:7-17:15