Roger Williams - A Fascinating Early Founding Father - His Secret Code Finally Cracked!

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posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 05:08 AM
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Hello again ATS!

I found this while surfing and it is quite an interesting doorway into several different subjects that ATS folks tend to love - history, the resurrection of the notion of Republics, religious issues, cryptography, and people with vision who tend to go against the grain!

From the Associated Press Article:


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- The obscure book's margins are virtually filled with clusters of curious foreign characters - a mysterious shorthand used by 17th century religious dissident Roger Williams.

For centuries the scribbles went undeciphered. But a team of Brown University students has finally cracked the code.

Historians call the now-readable writings the most significant addition to Williams scholarship in a generation or more. Williams is Rhode Island's founder and best known as the first figure to argue for the principle of the separation of church and state that would later be enshrined in the Bill of Rights.


The article goes on to discuss that graduate students broke the code - and the methods they used for doing so. As far as the contents of the translation go? So far I have only found the following ( included in the AP article ):


From there, Mason-Brown was able to translate scattered fragments, and the students determined there were three separate sections of notes. Two are Williams' writings on other books, a 17th century historical geography and a medical text. The third - and most intriguing - is 20 pages of Williams' original thoughts on one of the major theological issues of the day: infant baptism.

Williams also weighed in on the conversion of Native Americans, implying it was being achieved through treachery and coercion, said Linford Fisher, a history professor at Brown who has been working with Mason-Brown.



(A picture of the actual margin-scribbled code, from the books title page)

Who Was Roger Williams?



Of Roger Williams the person, Wikipedia tells us:


Roger Williams (c. 1603 – between January and March 1683) was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church in America, the First Baptist Church of Providence. He was a student of Native American languages and an advocate for fair dealings with Native Americans. Williams was arguably the very first abolitionist in North America, having organized the first attempt to prohibit slavery in any of the original thirteen colonies.

When Roger and Mary Williams arrived at Boston on February 5, 1631, he was welcomed and almost immediately invited to become the Teacher minister in the Boston church to officiate while Rev. John Wilson returned to England to fetch his wife. He shocked them by declining the position, saying that he found that it was "an unseparated church". In addition he asserted that the civil magistrates may not punish any sort of "breach of the first table [of the Ten Commandments]", such as idolatry, Sabbath-breaking, false worship, and blasphemy, and that every individual should be free to follow his own convictions in religious matters. Right from the beginning, he sounded three principles which were central to his subsequent career: Separatism, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.

As a Separatist he had concluded that the Church of England was irredeemably corrupt and that one must completely separate from it to establish a new church for the true and pure worship of God. His search for the true church eventually carried him out of Congregationalism, the Baptists, and any visible church. From 1639 forward, he waited for Christ to send a new apostle to reestablish the church, and he saw himself as a "witness" to Christianity until that time came. He believed that soul liberty freedom of conscience, was a gift from God, and that everyone had the natural right to freedom of religion. Religious freedom demanded that church and state be separated. Williams was the first to use the phrase "wall of separation" to describe the relationship of the church and state. He called for a high wall of separation between the "Garden of Christ" and the "Wilderness of the World". This idea might have been one of the foundations of the religion clauses in the United States Constitution, and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, although the language used by the founders is quite different. Years later, in 1802 Thomas Jefferson, writing of the "wall of separation" echoed Roger Williams in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association.

The Salem church was much more inclined to Separatism, so they invited Williams to become their Teacher. When the leaders in Boston learned of this, they vigorously protested, and the offer was withdrawn. By the end of the summer of 1631, Williams had moved to Plymouth colony where he was welcomed, and informally assisted the minister there. He regularly preached and according to Governor Bradford, "his teachings were well approved."

Source



After that? Just a simple tale of being influenced by Native Americans, developing a troubling habit of questioning some Church policies, and then being put on trial for "erroneous" and "dangerous opinions" - and then for "sedition and heresy" - trials that both found him guilty.

He was sentenced to banishment - with a suspended sentence, if he'd just stop saying the things he was saying. Instead, he chose to keep speaking! This forced the hand of the authorities, who finally came along to forcibly remove him, only to find:


in January 1636 the sheriff came to pick him up only to discover that Williams had slipped away three days before during a blizzard. He walked through the deep snow of a hard winter the 105 miles from Salem to the head of Narragansett Bay where the local Wampanoags offered him shelter and took him to the winter camp of their chief sachem, Massasoit, where he resided for 3 and a half months.


An abolitionist, free thinking, pro Native, Church antagonizing, Freedom loving early Founding Father of the United States of America. He also started the first Baptist Church in the country too - after having survived the Great Fire of London in 1666.

What a fascinating man! The inclusion of a code that took well over 200 years to crack just adds to it!

For those who aren't familiar with this Founding Father of Rhode Island - or of the influence that he had upon the men who would later claim and create this great Nation of ours. I suggest taking some time to do so. It is well worth the effort!

~Heff






edit on 12/1/12 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 05:47 AM
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Wow it really is interesting to see that atheists have taken up a cause
so very much touted by a religious person, we need more people like
this in religion today, be smart, don't let the world be ruled by religion,
lets all work together to make sure the world doesn't fall into the dark
ages again, have religion, but have honesty and integrity.

On a side note, I have known for a long time the separation of religion
and state was at the behest of religion and not secularists or atheists,
the reason being that if we allow religion to make the laws then its
dependent on what the major religion is in power and not whats actually
moral.

Those who practice religion and ask for it to rule laws have missed the
point, if we let you make laws then how could we stop other religions from
doing the same thing and turning you into the criminal or less wanted
segment of the population, we want this protection for all of us, not just
the atheists, times are getting creepy again, we need to have these
protections in place and enforced again soon.



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 05:52 AM
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I thoroughly enjoyed the read, even if I'm not allowed to read the associated press article. Must be an enemy of the US ha ha.

I can't help but wish what his code had said. That's the really interesting part in all this. What did he find so important to write in a code that took 200 years to crack.



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 11:35 AM
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Talk about frustration! I've Googled this every way 'til Sunday - figuring that surely someone published the translation. But, other than a few board/blog entries ( such as this thread ) And exact copies of the AP article - nada.

That's the modern world for ya, huh? Interesting enough to hit all the major news outlets already - but not important enough to warrant any actual information.


~Heff
edit on 12/1/12 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 11:41 AM
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this is very cool being a native rhode islander!!!! williams from what i know being taught in school also was the one if not olny person who came to the new world who had a fair and peacefull relationship with native americans(untill the british took notice of the nice sea ports RIs coast had) im proud to be from the land that of the free and weird.
this is what i like to see on ats thanks for the aritcle!!!!!!!



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 07:44 PM
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Originally posted by Upthepunx
this is very cool being a native rhode islander!!!! williams from what i know being taught in school also was the one if not olny person who came to the new world who had a fair and peacefull relationship with native americans(untill the british took notice of the nice sea ports RIs coast had) im proud to be from the land that of the free and weird.
this is what i like to see on ats thanks for the aritcle!!!!!!!


I too am a native Rhode Islander and found this thread quite interesting. Thanks for the info Heff and making others aware.



posted on Dec, 2 2012 @ 01:08 AM
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reply to post by Night Star
 


good to know there are others of my land on here. how is the little state? im currently living in the midwest and i dearly miss the ocean.



posted on Dec, 2 2012 @ 09:53 AM
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Originally posted by Upthepunx
reply to post by Night Star
 


good to know there are others of my land on here. how is the little state? im currently living in the midwest and i dearly miss the ocean.



I think we're second highest for un-employment.

Ocean is still there. But you have to be rich to live close by.






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