Thomas Jefferson on religion

‎"But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson

"I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know." -- Thomas Jefferson

I heartily agree with President Jefferson on both points. I am curious, though, to visit a Unitarian Universalist church.

I first became acquainted with the Universalists by reading a book on local (Bethel community, NC) history. Lisa had purchased the book on our first visit here last fall. It was for sale in the tiny Bethel Grocery (a name bigger than the store itself) and was written just a few years ago by somebody Lisa knew. She wanted it for the history, but so much of the area's history is tied in with the Universalist Church that it runs through most of the stories in one fashion or another.

The Universalist Church was a major sect here in Haywood County in the 1800's, going all the way back to some of the earliest settlers. The church later merged with the Unitarians and are now known as the Unitarian Universalist.

But as for the book, it is entitled "At the Foot of Cold Mountain: Sunburst and the Universalists at Inman's Chapel" by Phyllis Inman Barnett. The author was apparently inspired to write the book by the success of Charles Frazier's book and subsequent movie, "Cold Mountain". Barnett wanted to write a real history of real people, not a fictional tale. Cold Mountain itself is a prominent feature of the southern horizon in the Bethel area. I see it every morning on the drive home from work, as it catches the first rays of the sun.


  1. Interesting fact, your uncle Leon and aunt Marilyn belonged to what the called "universalist Unitarian" when they were in Alabama and Texas. they liked it because it was more of a social group than a religion. I never got into the subject with them other than they both had been brought up catholic and it didn't take with them either.

  2. You know, I can see Leon as a Unitarian. Garrison Keillor often makes jokes about Unitarians, portraying them as wishy-washy about the whole God thing, "believe what you want, or not, that's OK too." I like the idea that they reject the usual dogma and in that respect I can see how it might be more of a social club than a church.