Happy birthday, D.M. (DeRobigne Mortimer) Bennett (Dec. 23, 1818 – Dec. 6, 1882)!#Freethinker. Advocate for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. As a boy of 15, Bennett had joined the Shakers. He remained a Shaker for 13 years, until he fell in love with Shakeress Mary Wicks. The two left the community in 1846 so they could marry. After a series of failed ventures, the Bennetts moved to Paris, Illinois in 1873 and founded “The Truth Seeker” newspaper. A year later they moved their operation to 335 Broadway in New York City, where the paper grew into the largest and most influential freethought periodical of the time. The paper’s masthead described their purpose: “Devoted to science, morals, free thought, sexual equality, labor reform, free education, and whatever tends to elevate and emancipate the human race. Opposed to priestcraft, dogmas, creeds, superstition, bigotry, monopolies, privileged classes, oppression, and everything that degrades or burdens mankind mentally or physically.” Bennett believed that “Jesusism,” as taught by the Jerusalem disciples, was the true gospel of Jesus, rather than the “Pauline christianity” that came out of Paul’s missionary journeys through the Greek-speaking world. Buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Heroes Series.