The Pilgrims were different, critical of the status quo and refused to act like normal people so they were seen as a threat to law and order. King James threatened the Pilgrims, "I will put down this Puritan devil even if it cost me my crown. I shall make them conform or I shall harry them out of the land or worse." The Pilgrims and the Puritans were Abel and the Church of England was Cain. Because it persecuted the Pilgrims, England was destined to decline, and America would rise as Gods blessings shifted from England to America.
Pilgrims - a cult
The Pilgrims were what today would be called a cult. William Bradford was 12 years old when he was witnessed to by a member of this "cult." He went with his new friend to a meeting and joined immediately. He was an orphan who was being raised by his two uncles. They violently objected to him associating with radicals. But Bradford was like a rock and soon moved in with the Brewster family. William Brewster treated him like a son. They would remain best of friends until Brewter's death 40 years later.
These Pilgrims, like all "cult members," have guts. They were looked upon as being dangerous. They were spied on, arrested, and jailed.
It is a myth that the pilgrims did not enjoy life. They were very religious people with a high moral code, but they also relished family, friendship, work, food, music and singing. They were passionate, but disciplined people from the lower or lower middle class. They were simple people - most were illiterate farmers. Bradford was self-educated. He loved books and even studied latin, greek and hebrew so he could understand the scriptures better by reading them in their original instead of through translation.
Bradford begins his journal, the neglected classic, Of Plymouth Plantation, by saying, "I shall endeavor to manifest in plain style ... the simple truth in all things." The Church of England was the state church and the religious leaders used the power of the state to crush any other religious views. Bradford writes that his group, called the Separatists, broke away so "that truth prevail and that the churches of God revert to their ancient purity, and recover their primitive order, liberty and beauty."
The authorities were angered at their noncomformity and used "tyrannous power, to persecute the poor persecuted church ... [yet] it was most needful that the fundamental points of religion be preached in those ignorant and superstitious times." The result, he said, was that "Religion hath been disgraced, the godly grieved, afflicted, persecuted, and many exiled. Sundry have lost their lives in prisons and other ways."
"At this day the man or woman that begins to profess religion and to serve God, must resolve himself to sustain mocks and injuries even as though he lived amongst the enemies of religion." He says that when "godly and zealous preachers" converted people by "travail and diligence" and helped these new converts to become "enlightened by the Word of God, and had their ignorance and sin discovered unto them, and began by His grace to reform their lives" these new believers were immediately "both scoffed and scorned."
Pay the price
He wrote that they spent years "with much patience" and "with heavenly zeal for His truth ... as the Lord's free people" doing their best to "walk in all His ways" and to keep fellowship together. But it was hard. He says, "And as it cost them something this ensuing history will declare." This is a lesson in perseverance. Religion and politics are very emotional topics. God wants Christians to witness. That means to carry a cross. It means we must upset people with new ideas. We have to pay the price. There is a "cost." And for so many in human history, like the Pilgrims, the cost is extremely high.
He wrote that "After these [harassments] they could not long continue in any peaceable condition, but would be hunted and persecuted on every side." After Brewster lost his government job and many suffered other attacks because they couldn't keep their meetings secret, they decided to go to Holland, where there was an amazing thing - freedom of religion. In all of human history this was rare. God was again helping the Pilgrims as much as Satan was trying to kill them.
Bradford is a true hero, a great role model, a great patriarch. As one writer said, he "was indeed a gifted leader of unusual inspiration, kindliness, and acuteness, a devout religionist to be sure, but a thinker as well as a doer." He cared for all people, even Indians. He was Christ like. He was even 30 years old when he landed at Plymouth to become the true spiritual ancestor of America.
He voraciously read the Bible at twelve. As a teenager, he wrote to his uncles saying that if he was taking an "ungodly" course that could endanger his life or make him lose his inheritance of land from his father's estate that he would receive at the age of 18 then they would be giving good advice. But he told them he was taking a godly course and has made his decision in his "calling" very carefully, and he will never change his mind. He wrote to them saying, "Were I to endanger my life or consume my estate by any ungodly courses, your counsels to me were very seasonable; but you know that I have been diligent and provident in my calling."
The pattern throughout history is that when a new messenger from God appears, it is often young people who accept the new and improved truth easier than their parents. This is logical. We all get into habits. And as we get older we get set in our ways. We find comfort in ritual and tradition. The problem is that people get in a fog mentally. Satan puts people to sleep. People are usually intellectually and emotionally lazy. It is just too much to get out of their comfort zone and stretch. We all want to feel secure in our beliefs, but it is dangerous to relax. Jesus said carry a cross, not eat and drink like the people did at the time of Noah. We are always at war with Satan. Satan blinds us to this.
God's messengers sound military like. Jesus was a fanatic. Billy Graham would be aghast if he saw him. People, over time, water down the founders of religions. Jesus is now seen as a quiet pacifist who plays with children and sheep. The truth is that he scared the hell out of people. He was loud and tough. In other words he was like Sun Myung Moon. The religious leaders hated him. He was absolutely the last thing they thought the Messiah would be like. But people, thanks to Satan who rules this world with a vengeance, forget that God always works in miraculous ways.
Who do you think would accept Sun Myung Moon as the messiah first? Young people of college age or Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell? How easy is it for the Pope to hear from Rev. Moon that it is time for the Pope and all the priests and nuns to get married. In fact he will a mate for them himself!
Jesus brings "sword" of truth
Bradford was young and open to new truth. His guardians weren't. Jesus spoke in military terms saying that anyone who follows him will lose their family because not everyone accepts the truth all at once. Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." The Divine Principle explains that Jesus was using a sword to symbolize truth. Even so the truth cuts like a sword, doesn't it?
He goes to say, "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it" (Matt. 34-39).
Religion is heavy. God's way of life is scary. Bradford chose to lose his life for Christ's sake.
It take a few pioneers to break the ice before the ship can go through. It's a dirty job, but some have to do it. It is easier for some than others. Bradford was a historical pioneer.
When he was a teenager, Bradford wrote to his Uncles saying that he deeply wished they would accept him, but if they won't, and they separate, it will hurt "as great as a cross ... Nevertheless, to keep a good conscience, and walk in such a way as God has prescribed in His word, is a thing which I must prefer before you all, and above life it self...."
George Washington and his mother
There are countless examples of families torn apart because of ideological differences. Many brothers fought against each other in America's civil war. Many parents have suffered because their children chose another church or lifestyle. Let's look at one example. The founder of America is George Washington. He is considered the greatest American - the father of America.
What was his relationship with his parents. His father died and his mother Mary never could see that her son was a great man. In Washington: A Biography by Noemie Emery we read that she was a "troubled woman" who "fretted" about "unnamed anxieties that centered on a desire to possess property ... and to possess her children. ... Later her letters would ring an endless complaint -- 'No corn in the corn-house ... I should be almost starved.... I never lived so poor in my life' hinging on the common themes of privation, insufficiency, and loss." She was both "impressive and disturbing, intense in her preoccupations, backing her hesitant decisions with unchanging tenacity of will."
To her children "she showed all her life an inability to take pleasure in their achievements or their company or to recognize them in any way as personalities with identities and troubles of their own. Her total lack of interest in the honors that deluged her oldest child [George] (which she lived to see, dying in 1789) is a peculiar chapter, but her sense of pleasure was as raddled as her eye for pain was keen. But her awareness of the rights of was always shadowy at best. She wrote George, on campaign in the wilderness, for a Dutchman and butter, and her response to his travail in the Revolution was to dun him with complaints about her money troubles and finally to petition the legislature of Virginia for relief." She embarrassed Washington.
He wrote to his mother once trying to educate her on a simple truth saying: "'Happiness depends more on the internal frame of a person's own mind than on the externals of the world.' But Mary, who had no acquaintanceship with happiness, was not about to form one now."
Washington's feelings for his mother was one of "ambivalence: in childhood he was withdrawn; in youth, resistant; in maturity, resigned. His correspondence with (and about) his mother reveals no emotion, except exasperation (and perhaps a saddened tolerance); his visits to her after childhood were infrequent, reluctant, unrewarding, and short. The conclusions to be drawn from this are inescapable; that he moved, as soon as it was in his power, to sever, or at any rate reduce, a connection that had brought him little comfort and a high degree of strain."
Champions of God, like Washington and Bradford, often have parents who drain people. Parents just can't get it sometimes. In Washington: The Indispensable Man, James Thomas Flexner, writes: "Their relationship had always been stormy. Mary Ball Washington's attitudes towards her son's activities in the French and Indian War and in the Revolution had been the same: he was meddling in matters that should not concern him to the neglect of his duty to her. Although he had set her up in a small house at Fredericksburg and seen that she was well supplied with money and goods, she had embarrassed him, when he was away as commander in chief, by complaining 'upon all occasions and in all companies' that she was neglected, left 'in great want.' She even initiated a movement in the Virginia legislature whereby the state would come to the financial rescue of the mother of the Commander in Chief. Washington found her action extremely humiliating and squashed it.
Like so many people, his mother was obsessed with money. Fallen man clings to it. Those who fight for God's new messengers often don't have any or give it away or risk it all for their crusade. This drives the average parent out of their trees. For example, many parents of Unification Church members kidnapped their children because they felt they were brainwashed by some oriental con artist who only wanted their money.
Washington's mother is like so many who are obsessed with money. We read, "After the war, her demands for money became so oppressive and annoying that Washington suggested that she sell her house and live with one of her children. He quickly added that this was not an invitation to Mount Vernon." So, whenever you see a picture of this house which is probably the most famous in America, ponder on the fact that the owner did not want his mother to come there.
Washington fought his war without the help of his mother. Bradford had to fight his battles without his guardians. The followers of Sun Myung Moon have often had to do the same. Their crusade is the greatest in human history. It is nothing less than the building of a one world family. Because they say everyone will speak Korean in that world their parents often go ballistic. Let's learn from history and be open to what sounds like strange revelations and strange movements. Some are crazy, but we must always be on the lookout for revolutionary truths. Jim Jones was just plain crazy. Rev. Moon is crazy for God. If anyone looked carefully they would see the difference.