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The Religious Affiliation of U.S. President
Dwight D. Eisenhower


From: "Dwight D. Eisenhower" article on Wikipedia.com website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwight_D._Eisenhower; viewed 1 December 2005):
Eisenhower's family originally belonged to the local River Brethren sect of the Mennonites. However, when Ike was five years old, his parents became followers of the WatchTower Society, whose members later took the name Jehovah's Witnesses. The Eisenhower home served as the local WatchTower meeting Hall from 1896 to 1915, when Eisenhower's father stopped regularly associating due to the WatchTower's failed prophesies that Armageddon would occur in October 1914 and 1915. Ike's father received a WatchTower funeral when he died in the 1940s. Ike's mother continued as an active Jehovah's Witness until her death. Ike and his brothers also stopped associating regularly after 1915. Ike enjoyed a close relationship with his mother throughout their lifetimes, and he even used a WatchTower printed Bible for his second Presidential Inauguration. In later years, Eisenhower was baptized, confirmed, and became a communicant in the Presbyterian church in a single ceremony on February 1, 1953, just weeks after his first inauguration as president. In his retirement years, he was a member of the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

From: "Gettysburg Presbyterian Church" webpage on Gettysburg.com website (http://www.gettysburg.com/communit/gpc.htm; viewed 1 December 2005):

The "Church of the Presidents", visited by Lincoln and joined by the Eisenhowers, invites you to visit and/or worship with us in our active and historic church located in downtown Gettysburg...

Gettysburg Presbyterian Church began its work in 1740 in a log structure situated three miles west of town, at the present site known as Black's Graveyard. The congregation moved to the present location in 1842. The original building consisted only of a sanctuary. During and immediately following the Battle of Gettysburg, the church along with many other public buildings was converted into a temporary hospital...

On February 1, 1963, President and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower became members of the church. The pew President Eisenhower occupied was so marked with a plaque. The church also has an Eisenhower Lounge containing prints of paintings and memorabilia of the late President.

The Gettysburg Presbyterian Church was selected for a special citation as American Presbyterian and Reformed Historical Site No. 94 and is registered by the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia.

Source: Jerry Bergman, Ph.D (Northwest State College, Ohio). "Why President Eisenhower Hid His Jehovah's Witness Upbringing" in JW Research Journal, vol. 6, #2, July-Dec., 1999.
URL: http://www.premier1.net/~raines/eisenhower.html
See also: http://www.eisenhower.utexas.edu/listofholdingshtml/listofholdingsJ/jehovahwitnessesabilenecongregation.pdf

Abstract:
It is commonly reported even in authoritative works about President Eisenhower that he was raised as a River Brethren by parents that were active in the River Brethren church. In fact, Dwight D. Eisenhower was raised a Jehovah's Witness, a [group] commonly called Russellites or Bible Students until 1931. His mother was active in the [group] from 1895, when Dwight was five years old, until she died. Eisenhower's father was also an active member, although after 1915 he eventually no longer considered himself a Witness.

All of the Eisenhower boys left the Jehovah's Witness religion when adults and openly opposed major aspects of Watchtower teaching, although some of the values they learned from their Bible studies probably influenced them throughout their lives. Some Watchtower values may even have been reflected in Dwight's statements against war made in his latter life. Nonetheless, the Eisenhower's endeavored to hide the full extent of their mother's and family's Watchtower involvement although they did at times admit their affiliation with them. The reasons why the Eisenhower boys took great pains to hide their early Watchtower associations are discussed.


Dwight D. Eisenhower
Source: Jerry Bergman, Ph.D (Northwest State College, Ohio). "Why President Eisenhower Hid His Jehovah's Witness Upbringing" in JW Research Journal, vol. 6, #2, July-Dec., 1999.
URL: http://www.premier1.net/~raines/eisenhower.html
See also: http://www.eisenhower.utexas.edu/listofholdingshtml/listofholdingsJ/jehovahwitnessesabilenecongregation.pdf

Abstract: It is commonly reported even in authoritative works about President Eisenhower that he was raised as a River Brethren by parents that were active in the River Brethren church. In fact, Dwight D. Eisenhower was raised a Jehovah's Witness, a sect commonly called Russellites or Bible Students until 1931. His mother was active in the sect from 1895, when Dwight was five years old, until she died. Eisenhower's father was also an active member, although after 1915 he eventually no longer considered himself a Witness.

All of the Eisenhower boys left the Jehovah's Witness religion when adults and openly opposed major aspects of Watchtower teaching, although some of the values they learned from their Bible studies probably influenced them throughout their lives. Some Watchtower values may even have been reflected in Dwight's statements against war made in his latter life. Nonetheless, the Eisenhower's endeavored to hide the full extent of their mother's and family's Watchtower involvement although they did at times admit their affiliation with them. The reasons why the Eisenhower boys took great pains to hide their early Watchtower associations are discussed.
Eisenhower's mother was a strong pacifist, a position traditionally associated with a belief that she belonged the River Brethren. See:
http://www.presidentialavenue.com/de.cfm
http://www.bookrags.com/biography/milton-eisenhower/

From: Peter Roberts, "Dwight David Eisenhower" page in "God and Country" section of "Science Resources on the Net" website (http://www.geocities.com/peterroberts.geo/Relig-Politics/DDEisenhower.html; viewed 29 November 2005):

Religious Affiliation: Presbyterian

Summary of Religious Views:
Eisenhower's family background was Mennonite (River Brethren), and he was raised in an intensely religious home environment. There are stories in circulation that when Eisenhower, as youth, suffered a life-threatening infection, the family prayed day and night over him, but family members insist such stories are greatly exaggerated, and that the overall level of prayer did not appreciably increase. Eisenhower himself called such accounts "ridiculous."

Eisenhower was the first president to officially join a church while in office: on 1 February 1953, he became a member of the National Presbyterian Church.

Views on Religion and Politics:
The words "under God" were added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the Eisenhower administration.

Quotations:
"In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war." -- Flag Day speech, signing bill authorizing addition of the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, 14 June 1954

"We are particularly thankful to you for your part in the movement to have the words 'under God' added to our Pledge of Allegiance. These words will remind Americans that despite our great physical strength we must remain humble. They will help us to keep constantly in our minds and hearts the spiritual and moral principles which alone give dignity to man, and upon which our way of life is founded. For the contribution which your organization has made to this cause, we must be genuinely grateful." -- message to the Knights of Columbus meeting in Louisville, 17 August 1954

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Webpage created 23 July 2005. Last modified 1 December 2005.
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