1884 New York Times on the Faithists

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1884 New York Times on the Faithists

Post by Admin on Wed May 28, 2008 7:11 am

November 21, 1884 The New York Times
THE SECT OF FAITHISTS.
THE FOLLOWERS OF OAHSPE AND SOME OF THE PLANS AND PRACTICES.
THE TIMES has received letters from people in the South making Inquiries about the Oahspe Lodge of Faithists. The correspondents state that the agents of this sect have been trying to get hold of land In Virginia and West Virginia, but that Southern people looked with great disfavor on such organizatlons, and that many were strongly opposed to the colonization in the South of that sect. A Times reporter who called at the headquarters of the Faithists, at No. 128 West Thirtyfourth-street. was told that James Clark, the Secretary of the Oahspe Lodge of Faithists, or Dr. Newbrough, a dentist, as he is known In this city, was away at Las Casas, New-Mexico, where he was engaged In founding a colony of Faithists. Dr. Newbrough achieved some notoriety in the latter part of 1882 by publishing Oahspe. which he claimed was a new Bible, written while under the control of spirits. Dr. Newbrough is a well-built man with large drenmy eyes, and is very slow In his movements.

On the evening of Oct, 20. 1882, a number of people assembled by Invitation at his house to examine Oahspe, his new inspired Bible. Ha told the audience that he had been engaged en the work for nearly two years. In the Spring of 1880 he was seized with an Impression that he must write the book, so he sat down with paper and ink before him. No sooner bad he taken up his • pen than a bright light enveloped his lingers, and he felt sure that this light was similar to the one that Moses had seen in the bush on Mount Horeb, for he became still more strongly impressed, and believed that the light would communicate with him. Accordingly. he touched the paper with his pen, when his hand began gliding along with a force which he could neither control nor regulate. He was satisfied that this power which controlled his hand was writing some revelatIon for him and the rest of mankind, but he did not know what the writing was, for he could not read It because the light would not let him, and he did not know the contents until the book was ready for the printer. The work could be best carried on at sunrise, and as soon as he set down to it the light enveloped his fingers, and remained there for a quarter or half an hour, when it would disappear, and he would have to stop writing, as his fingers would he cold and stiff. When all was ready money began to pour In from unexpected quarters—from England, from Boston, and other places. A roll of greenbacks wrapped up In a piece of paper was left at his house, and he then felt another impression that the money had been sent to publish the book. One or two of those present at the meeting said that they bad examined the manuscript and had come to the conclusion that it had been written In hieroglyphics, for they bad deciphered the legend in the hieroglyphics in Central Park, and Dr. Newbrough’s writing bore a wonderful resemblance to those Egyptian hieroglyphics. One of the party declared that he had studied the book and believed that it had been written under the control of some supernatural agency, for no man could ever write such a work.

The Oahspe Bible Is a large volume, of about 900 pages, and was published by an association of seven members, whose names, however Dr. Newbrough would not give. It seems to be a mixture of Indian and Semitic religions, with a dash here and there from modern writings that questioned the accuracy of dates given in the Bible. The style is sometimes that of the English of the King James version of the Bible and sometimes modern. It claims to• give the history of the earth and• heavens for 24,000 years, and is said to have been written in the words of Jehovah, the Great Spirit and Creator, and His angel ambassadors. Dr. Newbrough said that the book. was not Intended to supplant other Bibles and religions, but to set forth a history of all religions going back 24,000 years. and that it explained the private affairs of angels and their relation to mortals. The agreement between the seven members of the association, whose names he had refused to give, called be said, for $100,000. The association or Oahspe Lodge of Faithists, as they call themselves issued•a circular explaining their doctrines and roles, and giving specimens of their prayers. The Faithists believe In colonising foundlings and orphans In communal houses from 800 to 1,000 in a community, and in bringing up the sexes together, on herbivorous diet, so as to give them better opportunities for marital selection. With regard to marriage, while they claim to be monogamists, the Faithists declare that they have nothing to do with the world’s people, who are joined together by Satan. In their prayers they carefully: expunge the names of Jesus or Christ or •Saviour. Among their printed rules of conduct are such as the following “Never enter the ‘house with dirty shoes;” ‘ “Make your voice as • musical and sweet as possible;” ‘ In opening and shutting doors, windows, etc., do so with as little noise as possible;” “Do not take more on your plate than you can eat” Among. their prayers or zerners are expressions and figures of speech familiar to Bible readers and In use in the Orient. As, “I put away my shoes, and make my feet like riven snow.’ Another zerner, referring to Faithlsts’ food, says: “Neither doth enter my mouth fish nor flesh, nor intoxicating drink, nor kill I for my stomach’s sake.” They have even prescribed a prayer for a dead man—”Let me sing to Jehovah, I that am dead.” They claim that the great waste lands in the West and South will ere long be owned and:.occupied by people who will espouse:their principles. They have their headquarters in this city, but have,hardly any following here. They have given no intelligible idea of what they want or seek to accomplish.

Published: November 21, 1884
The New York Times
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