Religious persecution is not a cross I have to bear. Although at times I feel like a stranger in a foreign land when it comes to the beliefs and convictions that separate me from the general populous, I have only to glance backward at history to know that I have been born in an age when I ought to feel gratitude with every waking breath for those who have fought this battle before me.
I brought my two primary-age daughters to an activity at the temple this weekend. They were asked to bring a story of an ancestor to share. We tossed a few ideas around and decided en route to call Mimi—the family’s history enthusiast. Thank goodness for cell phones! And for living in an area rich with history vital to who we are; oral tradition is alive and well. She vivaciously told us the story* of 11-year-old Patience; niece to the well-known Anne Hutchinson, friend and peer to Roger Williams and our great-grandmother, several generations removed.
Patience’s older sister Mary was engaged to be married to a young man named Christopher Holder, who, as a defender of religious freedom was expelled from Boston for being “a common opposer of all authority.” When he came to Boston again in 1657, he and two other young men had their right ears cut off in prison for not listening.
My modern-day church leaders often counsel me with words of wisdom that I have been guilty of not listening to… [and I continue to treat myself to jumbo bags of m&m’s and redbox movies].
Christopher’s future mother-in-law (Patience’s mother) Katherine Scott traveled to Boston to encourage him in his suffering. For her kindness she was publicly whipped with “ten cruel stripes with a threefold corded knotted whip” and thrown into prison.