Monday, February 9, 2009

Did Abraham Lincoln Meet Joseph Smith?

Since Mr. Kowalski has already mentioned Abraham Lincoln in the post below, I thought it might be both fun and appropriate to continue the theme. In my opinion this is a breath of fresh air, since we rarely exit the era of the founders on this blog.

As mentioned below, Lincoln's faith is seen as anything but orthodox. The man never officially joined a church during his life. With that said, this should not automatically insinuate that Lincoln was a man without faith.

In a recent email from a friend of mine was a link to an interesting piece regarding Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln. And while these two men share very little in common, I was struck by some of their similarities. As most of you know, Smith was himself a bit of a religious rogue, who never joined any one church. Instead, Smith founded his own religion, which as Jon Rowe has pointed out on numerous occasions, can be compared to the religion of many key founders. This comparison is not made in the sense that the founders shared the same beliefs as Mormons (though there are a few similarities with a select few founders) but from the fact that both Mormons and many founders are seen as "heretics," being that they are not followers of traditional orthodox Christianity. In this respect, the same can be said of Lincoln, who in the following article (you an access it by clicking here) may have met the Mormon prophet on more than one occasion. If so, did Lincoln develop an interest (albeit a very loose one) in Mormonism? From his writings, Lincoln was quite kind to the "Mormon plight." Could Lincoln have developed a sympathy for a religion that was as unorthodox as the 16th President himself?

In any case, I hope you will enjoy the article. It's a small detour from our traditional topics, but I still find it quite interesting!

1 comment:

David said...

Brad, Richard Bushman (who I imagine many of your readers are familiar with) gave a presentation comparing Lincoln and Smith at the 2005 Sperry Symposium, and concludes that while they probably never met, there are some fruitful avenues for comparison. Here's the link to the mp3: