By Sara Laub
This novel by Helene Holt covers the life of John Lathrop using historical documents and dates up until the time he is exiled to America. Although this man did not come over on the Mayflower with the pilgrims in 1620, he ended up in America before the Revolutionary War in 1634.
With a University Degree, John Lathrop began his career as a minister in the Church of England. He left the church and joined the Separatists since he did not agree with how the bishops denied men the exercise of their own free conscience. King Charles and Bishop Laud were forcing all the people to believe in the Church of England and were punishing, torturing and executing those who opposed them.
Lathrop held secret church meetings for the Separatists and wrote a letter to get the king’s attention to allow freedom of conscience. He then ended up in prison for defying the Church of England. While in prison his wife died and his family suffered since no one wanted to associate with a family that was not following the law. His children begged to have him released from prison and be exiled to America as punishment and permission was granted. He was allowed out of prison to earn the money necessary for passage on the ship. Lathrop settled in Boston, Massachusetts and continued as a minister there.
John Lathrop reminded me of the pilgrims and reading this book has really enlightened my thoughts on being grateful during this Thanksgiving season. The sacrifices people make to allow our freedom is priceless.
Another interesting thing is that there are many people related to John Lathrop including myself. Since his family has been here so long there are many descendants and the author has listed many in the appendix in the book.
We are truly blessed to have all the modern conveniences and freedoms where we live. It’s important to have holidays to remind us to remember and reevaluate.
This quote from the book is an excellent reminder.
“The most cruel exile comes, not from being forced to leave one’s country, but from standing alone in defense of principle while yet surrounded by one’s country men.”