that if they were asked, this German protestant congregation or any other would gladly and willing open up their house of worship for all to see.
A tolerant man.
Dr. Marbach went to the Episcopal bishop and this man showed great willingness to allow the immigrants to use his church. American churchs for the most part also serve as schools and usually the upper floor is used for church services while the lower floor is used for classroom instruction. On Sunday, March 3rd, Bishop Stephan entered the Episcopal church to deliver a church service. Along with the congregation members there were many other Germans to avail themselves of the prized oratory talent of the bishop.
By this time vestments suitable for a bishop had been procured along with vestments for the other pastors. These new robes were not the the simple priestly cassocks worn by the protestant ministers in Germany. They were more like those worn by Catholic priests. As already mentioned, the best materials available including the finest linen, which had been purchased in Bremen, were used. A full bishop's costume had been orders from designs rendered by the painter Pfau as commissioned by M. Wege. The silver and heavy gold-plated neck chains made for the bishop alone cost 100 dollars of hard-earned cash. Here one gets an idea of the unnecessary expenditures
covered by the community's funds.
Stephan's sermon might not have lived up to expections and in the next issue of the German newspaper there was an article from one of St. Louis' respected German citizens, watchmaker and jeweler Heinrich Koch:
Anzeiger des Westens - March 9, 1839
The author of the letter in the 19th issue of your newspaper, who identified himself by the Christian title of "a tolerant man," thinks that he is smart enough and sufficiently familiar with the so-called influential people of the Stephan sect that he may reproach the Germans of this city for their biased notions about the sect and its leader without having all the facts. However he ignores certain facts by not addressing them — most likely out of too great a sense of tolerance. — In your newspaper, where you and others describe the public sentiments of the citizens of St. Louis concerning the Stephanists, no articles have yet to appear which are not based on solid grounding in fact. For this reason the facts remain unrefuted. Instead the author issues sighs about the ever broadening sentiment of disbelief and the decay of customs and morals to such an extent that one is forced to believe that Stephan's mitre of office and the ever-growing movement are good things.
Indeed, putting all suppositions aside, the undersigned permits himself to declare that
the man who submitted this letter is just as guilty of ignorance concerning the prevailing dark spectre surrounding this sect and its situation as those he accuses. Either his ignorance is feigned out of some special interest or he too is so blindly fettered to the chains of religious prejudice that he believes every priest or minister is a supporter of social and moral rectitude.
To do him justice I will admit that the management of the affairs of this commhnity rest in capable hands. Certainly there is intellect, and something much more than intellect in making so many people indifferent to their own best interests that they let their ministers hire them out for 25 cents a day and then conscientiously turn over their hard-earned wages to them. It takes a lot of brains to hold back active and capable people, who could make themselves much more independent of their clergy by their own work, and force them to seek their daily bread from sympathetic people. It takes brains to make entire families eat old meat, which can't be sold at the market and to tether women to carts and make they haul them through the streets like four-legged creatures to the shock and dismay of the public while their spiritual masters sit comfortably in well furnished rooms and feast upon veal and crown rib roasts at the expense of their congregation. — I repeat, it is for these reasons that I admit that these fine men possess intelligence, and they certainly do not need
a "tolerant man" to come to their defense if they find themselves assailed in an improper manner.
In the opinion of this "tolerant man" all Mr. Stephan had to do was let himself be heard in order to dispel public prejudice. This man's wish was fulfilled when this past Sunday a public sermon was held, however it did not produce the prophetized result and the public's "preconceived notions" remained unchanged even through the priests did everything in their intellectual power to convince us that the members of this community were being treated as responsible human beings and free men.
Since the "tolerant man" had attempted to raise the hopes of the public concerning the character of the clerical superiors, I believe it is appropriate to render a candid verdict after having heard the voice of the prophet. The undersigned delivers his verdict as follows:
1. Instead of hearing fine oratory, he found merely less than inspired rhetoric concerning those issues so important to the speaker.
2. It occurred to him that the prophet had made a laughing stock of himself by comparing himself to Abraham and offering a prayer for the well being of the beloved ministerial superiors.
3. In the opinion of the undersigned, he considered the speaker an inconsiderate man for his insults about our German fatherland. There can be no comparison between conditions back in the old homeland and what he hoped to find here.
In conclusion the undersigned will bring it to the attention of the
"tolerant man" that he has not put for sufficient effort to convince the undersigned that neither bias nor ignorance to the facts rule him. In the latter case, it's simply a matter of whether nor not he is willing to listen to the truth.
Dr. Gempp, former physician to the prince of Reuss-Lobenstein-Ebersdorf and a capable man in his field, attended the bishop for his throat and neck ailment. Scarcely was his eminence healed when he recommenced his beloved evening walks, which he was accustomed to take in Germany. But the bishop was cunning enough to make the activity seem as politically correct as possible. He was frequently harassed by the mob. From Indian Hill people could see Stephan's windows and some of them threw rocks at his apartment. Now he took a member of the congregation with him to act as lookout. Those people who had only known him by name and had not lived near him in Germany now thought that the slanderous gossip spread about him in Saxony was untrue. Since they themselves had escorted him now and not detected anything unseemly, they spread his praise and considered him a martyr for his faith. — However Stephan proceeded slowly forward to recreate the old pattern. He soon began to take two, three or more escorts with him on his nightly strolls until he had his
Go to pages 54 - 58
Copy of text provided by the Concordia Theological Seminary Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825
Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks