“Popery in Protestantism” American Sentinel 14, 21, p. 320.

POPERY is the religion of human nature. But nature calls for a pope, and loves to be led by one. But only the divine nature, the nature conferred by Christianity, that frees men from the influence of the … popery. And as Protestantism, in the nominal sects is not synonymous with Christianity, but embraces the numbers in whom the divine nature has not supplanted in the human, it is only to be expected that in such Protestantism there will be seen outcroppings of popery.

The system of Mormonism is nominally Protestant, but represents popery full-fledged. Popery is seen wherever the word of finite man is laid down as of blind authority in matters of conscience; and of this instance are, unfortunately, not at all scarce, on scales greater of greater or less magnitude, in the nominally Protestant bodies.

Just now public attention is being called to an example of this kind in the city of Chicago. This example is furnished by the “Zion” Church of Dr. Alexander Dowle. In making note of this growing religious institution, a late issue of the N. Y. Independent says:—

“What requires serious warning is the new development which proposes to erect this Zion of Dr. Dowle, into a financial, perhaps political, organization very much like that of the Mormon Church. In a late number of The Leaves of Healing, which is Dr. Dowle’s organ, he issues an order, as general overseer, to the members of his ‘Christian Catholic Church in all parts of the world. It is on the subject of tithes, and it commands that every member shall contribute a tithe of his income for the purposes of the church. These tithes go to Zion’s Storehouse, and are administered by Dr. Dowle and his assistants appointed by him. For he is apparently an absolute dictator of this remarkable denomination, as absolute as ever was Brigham Young. This is the way he lays down his commands for tithes:—

“‘I have no fear of being misunderstood, and it is only wicked and unregenerate hearts that could doubt my statements. Zion is no place for those who do not trust their general overseer, and who will not obey his Lord and Master’s commands.

“‘Elders, evangelists, deacons or deaconesses, and conductors of the gatherings of the friends of Zion, will please read these words to all members in conference assembled. I also charge such officers to report immediately any who will not obey, and who speak disrespectfully of or dispute this order.

“‘This order must not be discussed. It must be obeyed.

“‘Immediate suspension will follow disobedience, and, if there is not repentance and obedience, then who shall cut off all who so conduct themselves from those who are enrolled in Zion.

“‘Obligations to family, obligations to the State and business obligations and debts of every kind, must not be dealt with until the whole tithe has been sent into Zion’s Storehouse.

“‘God must be first, and God must be last in all things. [321]

“‘No matter what the consequences may be, I have issued this letter at God’s command, and I am prepared to part with nine tenths of the fellowship should it be necessary.’

“He allows no discussion. He declares that others ‘cannot know the needs of the field as I do here at headquarters,’ and he adds:—

“‘I hereby solemnly call for the resignation of every member who wilfully disobeys these plain commands of God, and of myself as his overseer.

“‘That human nature can long submit to such over-topping audacity we could not imagine had we not seen it actually exemplified in Utah. We are not surprised to see that last week two evangelists and one elder were removed for cause.’ His organization is likely to break down on the side of its very ambitious financial schemes, and as Archbishop Purcell nearly wrecked the Catholic Church in Cincinnati with his banking and his building. He says he has, in the ten years he has been in this country, ‘spent more than a million dollars in God’s work,’ and has used for himself and his family less than a quarter of a tithe of his income—that is, less than $25,000. When religion goes into great financial schemes it leads either to great tyranny or to a great collapse.” [334]

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