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Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Jr., was born on 8 September 1922 in Rochester, New Hampshire, to Lyndon, Sr., and Jessie Weir LaRouche. The family had two other children as well, daughters Lenore Ella and Caroline Shirley. The family lived in a house at 3 Coxeter Square in Rochester until the early 1930s when they relocated to 23 Pleasant View Avenue, in East Lynn, Massachusetts. As a child, LaRouche attended the School Street elementary school in Rochester and both the Eastern Junior High School and then the English High School after the move to Lynn.
LaRouche reports that family life revolved around church:
The center of our household's life was "church work," a disposition my mother had acquired as a minister's daughter, and in which my father supported her to the point in 1978, she collapsed in the illness leading to her death some weeks later. I never liked being classed as "my mother's little man" . . . . However I accepted and adapted to the activities into which I was plunged several nights a week and nearly all day Sundays.
Those who know what Protestant "church politics" used to be will recognize more readily what impinged upon my life during my childhood and adolescence, My mother and father were among the Protestant establishment of 1920s Rochester. Religious figures who wished to have Rochester included in their itineraries were advised to touch base with my parents, and were usually dinner guests at 3 Coxeter Square during their visits to the community. . . . I have met no millenarian's mystical symbolism of the sort with which I was familiar from revival meetings under tents outside Rochester, New Hampshire, decades ago. (The Power of Reason (1988), 11-12, 167.)
LaRouche alludes to the crushing impact of evangelical religion on him as well in the July 1983 EIR "biography" LaRouche: Will This Man Become President? when he says that besides his own auto-didactic reading of philosophy texts from around age 12, "the other strongest influence on his outlook from childhood to adolescence was the King James Bible. 'I carried it around with me more or less constantly, even to school, into my sixteenth year.'" (LaRouche . . ., 96).
Larouche's religious upbringing meant that his school life was turned into living hell as he relates in The Power of Reason (1988 edition) he relates that just as he was going to enter elementary school he was told:
"You are a Friend. At school, boys are going to fight with one another. You will not get into any fights, even if someone hits you." I was stunned. I took in the implications of the words. . . . Having to receive blows without returning them, and being obliged to endure even extreme provocations were an important part of the molding of my experience, but only a secondary part. (13-14).
The LaRouches traced their roots back to French Canada. LaRouche's great grandfather, Antoine, was born and raised in Quebec. His son Joseph was also born in Quebec but immigrated to France. He later returned to North America and settled in New England.
Joseph LaRouche reportedly worked both as a mechanic and pharmacist, and LaRouche describes him as being well-off financially. Joseph's wife was named Ella and they had two children, Lyndon Sr. and a daughter named Edith, who would be named the sole heir to Ella LaRouche's will in the mid-1950s. Joseph LaRouche died in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1931. According to LaRouche, he passed away sometime in his sixties.
In the 1988 edition of The Power of Reason, LaRouche writes of his family background:
My father . . . was the native-born son of a Joseph LaRouche, who had immigrated to the United States, by way of Paris [where he reportedly had played violin in an orchestra -- HH], from a remote region in Quebec. Joe LaRouche, a vigorous bantam of a man, was the son of a violin-maker. He had held careers as a pharmacist and international representative for the United Shoe Machinery Corporation and had accumulated enough to be among the well-to-do. My father's mother, Ella, was of mixed French and Irish descent. During my childhood, my father was employed by the Haverhill office of United Shoe, serving shoe manufacturing firms in a territory centered around Rochester.
My mother, Jessie Weir LaRouche was of mixed English and Scottish ancestry.
The English side of the family, the Woods, were Quakers who had settled in Pennsylvania during the 1670s. My great-great-grandfather, the Reverend Daniel Wood . . . a Quaker abolitionist, had moved from the Carolinas to north of Columbus, Ohio, to become the local squire of a community named Woodbury, in Delaware County. He had run the "underground railroad" station for escaping black slaves in that vicinity.
My mother's father, the Reverend George Weir, had come to the United States at the age of two. His father, a professional Scottish dragoon with traditional affiliations to the Greys, had left Scotland to volunteer in the First Rhode Island Calvary, and to become a familiar of relevant drinking places in Fall River, Massachusetts, after the war. . . . Young George Weir had been caught by an evangelical revival passing through the vicinity, had taken up the ministry and moved to Columbus, Ohio, to run a mission in the skid-row district there. He had married Martha Wood, the granddaughter of the Reverend Daniel Wood, and had spent most of a long adult life until 1940 traveling from one assigned Ohio parish to another as a minister in the United Brethren Church.
For reasons which I understand only partly, I acquired more of my character from a blending of my two grandfathers than from either of my parents. In part, both grandfathers were very strong personalities, far more so than either parent. Although my father had a strong sense of humor by spurts (my mother did not) for a hearty sense of humor, few I ever knew could rival the two grandfathers. (8-9)
Lyndon LaRouche Senior as a technical consultant. Here he was invited in 1952 by the Bata shoe manufacturer in Bataville (Lorraine, France).
LaRouche's father, Lyndon, Sr., relocated his family to Lynn in 1932.1 LaRouche father worked in the shoe industry and that his father had been "a road man for United Shoe during part of his career" as well as an inventor and consultant for the shoe industry. From a 14 December 1985 New Solidarity (NS) obituary:
LaRouche, Sr., was born in Haverhill, Mass., in June 1895 to Ella and Joseph LaRouche but spent his boyhood in Lynn, Mass. He first worked for the United Shoe Machinery Company but quit in 1931 to create a new business in Rochester, NH. In 1938, he created Lyndon H. LaRouche Research first in Lynn and then in Boston. His son, Lyndon, Jr., and daughter Lenore worked with the firm, and LaRouche, Jr., was a consultant from 1947-1952.
From 1938 until his recent death, he was a technical consultant to the shoe industry in the US and abroad and worked especially in Europe during the postwar reconstruction period. He was also a technical consultant for the Department of Justice after World War II in an antitrust action against the United Shoe Machinery Corporation. He died at the home of Lenore and Wesley near Washington, D.C.
Both LaRouche and his wife, Jessie (who died in Mass, in 1978) were members of the Society of Friends. In the 1930s, LaRouche, Sr. wrote a tract called Present Day Quakerism in New England, which still upsets the American Friends Service Committee.
In a 16 July 1976 NS article on his childhood, LaRouche reports that Joseph and Ella LaRouche were Roman Catholics but that Lyndon, Sr., converted to Quakerism during his youth. He then married Jessie Weir. She reportedly came from a 160-year old line of Carolina and Ohio Quaker abolitionists on her mother's side of what LaRouche dubbed the "Quaker squirearchy."2
Jessie's father, the Reverend George Weir, however, was a Quaker. LaRouche describes him as a Scottish-American United Brethren minister, who had served as a skid-row missionary in Columbus, Ohio, during his youth.3 The Church of the United Brethren in Christ was an evangelical Protestant sect that, like the Quakers, opposed slavery while also being strongly committed to pacifism.4
LaRouche reports that he was raised by the evangelical – or "Orthodox" – wing of the Quakers and spent his youth preparing for the Quaker ministry.5 Yet the family frequently didn't often worship in a regular Quaker meeting hall. LaRouche reports that while he was "steeped in the evangelical tradition of that [Orthodox] current of the Society of Friends," most of his early religious experiences took place in Baptist and Congregationalist churches" – in particular in the basement of the Congregational Church located on Main Street in Rochester, New Hampshire, because the Orthodox Quakers had too few people to afford their own meeting hall.6 In his book The Power of Reason, LaRouche writes that "I knew little more about the Society of Friends until I was ten years old" or around the time the family relocated to Lynn.7
After the LaRouche family relocated to Lynn, Massachusetts, they attended services at the Lynn Quaker Meeting on Silsbee Street.8 As Orthodox Quakers, they bitterly opposed an important brand of Quakerism first promoted by Elias Hicks, a Long Island farmer who broke from the "Orthodox Quakers" in 1827.
The split inside the Society of Friends between the minority Hicksite and Orthodox Quaker majority triggered a real crisis in the denomination. Hicks first created a scandal when he rejected the literal authority of the Scriptures and claimed that Jesus was "no more than a man."9 Hicks' followers also opposed the Orthodox attempt to identify Friends' teachings with traditional Protestant ideas. They claimed that the Orthodox wished to weaken the "Inner Light" doctrine in order to make Quaker doctrine more "mainstream." For this reason, Hicks and his followers also opposed any Orthodox involvement in the various evangelical Bible and missionary societies that were being created throughout 19th century America. Hicks claimed that "these Bible Societies, and Missionary Societies and Associations, set up in the wisdom of man must all fall to the ground; they must be broken to pieces." Friends must not have any contact with such "works of darkness" since these groups "are more pernicious to the real spread of the true gospel of Christ, and more oppressive, than all the gambling and horse racing in the country." By the early 1900s, the American Society of Friends was divided among the small but influential Hicks grouping; the majority Orthodox Quakers; and another branch of Conservative Quakers known as the Wilburites.10
In World War I, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was established. The AFSC became a personal bete noire for LaRouche's parents apparently because the AFSC was seen both as a secular social work organization operating under religious guise and also because it had worked with the Wilson administration during the war. Many of its members were also from the strongly liberal wing of the wealthy Quaker elite. In The Power of Reason, LaRouche writes of the AFSC:
The AFSC was defending its desired interest. . . by proselytizing and factionalizing within the Society. The AFSC was associated in this respect with the substitution of a doctrine of social works for the Friends' faith and theology.11
The crisis for the LaRouches was particularly acute precisely because at this time there was a drive by all factions inside the Society of Friends to reach some kind of reconciliation and finally end the bitter disputes that had plagued the organization for a century and which had led by the 1920s to a rapid decline in general membership (with the Hicks group being the worst affected). The LaRouches, however, opposed any attempt at theological compromise even as they railed against the AFSC.12
LaRouche's father first begins his polemical attack against the AFSC in the early 1920s. He even accused the group of trying to develop a pro-Bolshevik faction inside the Society of Friends.13 Some of the background to the family fight with the AFSC also seeps out in an interview in the November 1986 issue of San Francisco Focus. Asked, "So you had a liberal Quaker upbringing?" LaRouche replied,
Oh, it wasn't liberal at all. It was evangelical. We were not liberal Quakers. There are liberal Quakers, I know – the American Friends Service Committee et al. I never liked them, and I was right on that one. (Laughs.) But the evangelical Quaker position is the traditional Quaker position.
Yet at its root, the conflict between the LaRouches' and the "liberal Quakers" in the AFSC involved money. From the Labor Committee published book, The New Dark Ages Conspiracy:
LaRouche's parent were involved in a battle for many years to prevent the Friends Service Committee from misappropriating funds which had been left in trust to the Society of Friends for the furtherance of the Christian religion. This principled struggle subjected him and his father to the kind of targeted harassment that taught him to recognize a British dirty operation at an early age. More important, his parents' staunch Whig conservatism gave him a more intimate connection with that tradition than many other less fortunate people of his generation.14
This dispute with the AFSC involved the "Austin Crosman Trust Fund," which had been set by a wealthy uncle of LaRouche's mother who had been a prosperous shoe-box manufacturer. LaRouche's parents claimed that the money from the fund "disappeared" in 1928-32. They also said that they had some rights to the money that Crosman and another Quaker had given to the Society of Friends for "religious education."15 Instead, the "AFSC faction within the Silsbee Street Meeting" used the money presumably to finance their own social work activities.16
In The Power of Reason, LaRouche tries to justify his father's views about the AFSC this way:
In effect, the AFSC substituted the asserted "good" of social-work practice in itself for a religious view. During the 1930s, the leading spokesmen for the Committee within the Society represented a secularized (anti-religious) "Quakerism," whose rationalized connection to "Quakerism" was an irrationalist libertarian interpretation of the range of content of the "Inner Light."17
(Presumably the "irrationalist libertarian" Quakers were the Hicksites.)
In the 1988 edition of The Power of Reason, LaRouche explains the dispute over the Austin Crosman Trust this way:
By my twelfth year [after the family had relocated to Lynn, Massachusetts -- HH] my parents and their friend Dr. Leroy Austin were involved in a raging fight with the AFSC. The Austins had been friends with my parents. It had been Dr. Austin's father and my mother's uncle who had established the Austin-Crosman trust fund, the fund which had vanished. My parents and the Austins wished that the AFSC would act to restore the fund so that the sum might be used to meet some urgent requirements of the consolidated Friends meeting in that city, the Silsbee Street Meeting House. (18)
LaRouche further explained:
One of George Weir's sisters, Jennie, had married a wealthy shoe box manufacturer in Swampscott, Massachusetts [presumably Crosman]. . . . The particular importance of the shoe-box fortune was that it was part of the chief trust fund on which the Lynn Society of Friends depended, a fund which had vanished, in part to the nominal advantage of the liberal American Friends Service Committee during the course of the early 1930s. Thus as a surviving representative of her uncle's family, my mother was part of the Lynn Friends' squirearchy, and supported by my father, a nemesis of the American Friends Service Committee. (14-15)
"PRESENT DAY QUAKERISM IN NEW ENGLAND"
The acrimonious conflict also helped inspired LaRouche's father, Lyndon, Sr, to write a pamphlet entitled Present Day Quakerism in New England under the pen name "Hezekiah Micajah Jones." The 1937 pamphlet begins:
What follows in this article should not be misconstrued as a personal attack by any group among the Quakers towards another group or groups within the Society.
"Jones" then continues,
Again, no evidence will be introduced for the reader's consideration unless it is based on facts so obvious that anyone may be impressed with the true state of affairs.
With these preliminary niceties out of the way, the pamphlet begins with a jab at the now seemingly pro-Communist Hicksites:
The most insidious form of Hicksite Quakerism, and its most damaging aspect to the Society, is the open endorsement and preaching by many of our leaders of the principles of Communism. The writer can count on his fingertips the number of preachers in New England who are not pro-Communist. . . . Ben Gerig, Harold Chance, James Coney, Harvey Jones, Edward Kelsey, and scores of others are forcing Communism on us. . . . Social service apparently takes the place of religion. It is not enough to do one's work well; it is necessary to help others.
In attacking social work activism as "Communism," LaRouche, Sr., was defending what he calls one of the "great central teachings of Orthodox Quakerism." This was the notion that in order to achieve salvation all that was needed was "for man to admit his sinfulness and hopeless estate, and that he can be redeemed only through acceptance of Him [Jesus]."18
"Jones" next turns to the AFSC:
We now come to another outlet for Quaker money and Quaker social work; namely, the American Friends Service Committee and its affiliates, the Emergency Peace Campaign. Here again we have another outgrowth of the communist or liberal Quaker. That the American Friends Service Committee is a Red organization would be hard to disprove. . . . Ray Newton of the AFSC called a meeting in Boston . . . with one big idea in mind . . . saying that he had several hundred thousands of dollars at hand to use for the cause of peace, and would the Communists and Anarchists, the Socialists and the Liberals, and the scores of other organizations represented care to help him spend that money for the cause of peace? The one thought Ray Newton reiterated was that the AFSC or the American Friends Church would act as a religious dynamic force for the Communists and others.
LaRouche's father next alludes to the Austin Crosman fund that had supposedly "disappeared":
Another degeneracy among New England Quakers is the impression of a $200,000 swindle. That is to say that New England Friends are minus $200,000 in the way of trust funds. Whence this money has gone, no one has told us . . . no more money should be given to the AFSC until the testimony of the Orthodox Friends is soundly noted.
LaRouche, Sr., next warns about purges inside the New England Quaker community:
In New England in churches build by Orthodox Quakers and financed by Orthodox Quakers, only a person that accepts Orthodox Quakerism has a right to the name "Christian." [But due to the followers of Elias Hicks] There is evidence to prove that persons no matter how gifted, but who unfortunately are possessed of Evangelical or Orthodox views, are being disqualified from being recorded as ministers. . . . Is he a Hicksite, or is he an Orthodox or Evangelical Friend, the only kind of Quaker who has a right to be within our New England yearly meeting?
Yet there is no possibility of compromising with the Hicksites; instead, they should be purged from the community:
But the Orthodox Quaker will not join hands with the ungodly, nor will he go down into Babylon and join forces . . . . It is also vital that all un-Orthodox ministers be removed from our pulpits. There is only one hope for New England Orthodox Quakerism and that is a renewed interest in and expression of the power of the Blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The pamphlet even includes a somewhat oblique attack on the Jews. Referring to a Quaker peace conference held in Philadelphia, "Jones" writes:
Here again was an attack made on one of the governments opposed to Communism.19 [And at another Quaker peace conference held in Providence, RI] it is interesting to note the reception given to the speakers on the same program. One of these was Kahil Totah of Palestine. . . . Kahil Totah's criticism of the Jews was not in much favor; but it must be admitted that Kahil Totah spoke well and authoritatively, and that his attitude should be given more consideration . . . .20
"Jones" concludes his 10-page philippic:
All Orthodox Friends should insist in their different Meetings that if Hicksites and communist Quakers want to preach their doctrines, they must go elsewhere. It is also vital that all un-Orthodox ministers be removed from our pulpits. This is only one hope for New England Orthodox Quakerism and that is a renewed interest in and expression of the power of the Blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
(Ironically, as we shall see, the only Quaker "purged" from the Lynn pulpit was Lyndon LaRouche, Sr.)
As interesting as the "Jones" pamphlet is, what may perhaps be most fascinating of all is that on the last page of the pamphlet there are stamped the words,
Bracketing the name The Independent on both sides are two tiny fleur de lys, symbol of France. It appears that Lyndon, Sr. – either alone or with others – may have run a right-wing publication called The Independent out of Manchester. From 1932 to 1937, LaRouche's father regularly commuted between Lynn and Manchester, where his late grandfather reportedly owned some businesses. During these years, his father largely lived in New Hampshire and only spent the weekends with his family in Lynn.21
The LaRouche family's right-wing religious proclivities were no secret. Years earlier, they helped sponsor an anti-Communist evangelical preacher in the 1920s. LaRouche relates this incident in a NS piece about his childhood, where he described his parents as "good, average, God-fearing evangelical Christians." He relates that his parents once sponsored the talk of an unnamed evangelical Christian woman who specialized in anti-communist diatribes. She spoke in the basement of the Congregational Church in Manchester. LaRouche recalled her as being in the "Gerald Winrod" tradition. The Kansas-based Winrod (dubbed the "Jayhawk Nazi" in the press) was a well-known leading Protestant fundamentalist. A fierce anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist, Winrod attacked the Illuminati as part of a Jewish-Satanic conspiracy against Jesus.22
THE VILLAGE STREET SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
In 1941 Lyndon LaRouche, Sr, was expelled from the Lynn Friends Meeting on Silsbee Street, an incident first reported by Vin McLellan in the 29 January 1974 issue of the Boston Phoenix.23 McLellan states that
In October 1941, the elder Mr. LaRouche was ejected from the Lynn Friends Meeting for obstreperous actions in defense of the principles of the fundamentalist wing of the Quakers. Before the war, there was a split in the New England Friends Meeting between the fundamentalist sects who took the Bible literally and believed that a rigid dogma should be enforced and the more liberal Unitarian-oriented factions. During and after the war, negotiations reunified these groups with the understanding that dogma was not to be enforced.
An amateur historian of Quakerism named Austin Meredith years later examined a box of records from the Lynn meeting stored at the New England Historical Society and found reports from the Quaker Board of Overseers. One of them states:
We believe Lyndon H. LaRouche is guilty of stirring up discord in this meeting; that he is responsible for circulating material injurious to the reputation of valued Christian workers; and believe that his conduct brings the Christian religion into public disrepute.
Although Meredith seems to incorrectly assume that the LaRouche in question was the son and not the father, the Lynn complaint is clearly directed at Lyndon, Sr. In protest, the rest of the LaRouche family also quit the meeting although they were not formally expelled.
The LaRouches continued to reject any idea of reconciliation with the broader Quaker community. After the war, the LaRouches seem to have formally broken with the rest of the Orthodox Quakers, who had accepted a compromise that allowed both Orthodox and Hicksite Quakers to worship together in the same meeting house by putting doctrinal differences aside. Instead, the LaRouches founded their own church, a Boston skid-row ministry where they preached to the down-and-out much as Jessie Weir's father, the Reverend George Weir, had preached to skid row sinners many years ago in 19th century Ohio.
From The Boston Phoenix:
Mr. and Mrs. LaRouche were strong partisans of a rigid fundamentalist position and protested the proposed reunification, according to Quaker meeting members, even to passing out broadsides attacking those of differing views.
After Mr. LaRouche was "disavowed" by the Lynn Meeting, his wife and 19-year-old son, Lyndon, Jr., resigned. Shortly after that, the LaRouches became involved with a mission in the South End of Boston called the "Good Samaritan."24 They stayed active with it until, in the mid-Fifties, they took control and reorganized it as The Village Street Society of Friends, an independent fundamentalist Quaker group. According to Mr. LaRouche, Sr, his son, Lyndon, was one of the incorporating officers of the church [this was while LaRouche was simultaneously a member of the SWP] and is still an officer.
LaRouche's parents, in short, created their own religious sect to promulgate their views much as their son would create his own secular sect years later to preach his own doctrines!
From his new position as head of the Village Society, Lyndon LaRouche, Sr., continued to churn out attacks on the Friends in a pamphlet entitled Pacifism or Christ by "Cadbury Furnas (Lyndon LaRouche, Sr.). It was published by the "Village Street Society of Friends, 48 Dwight Street, Boston, Mass. USA" (with "additional copies at 75 cents a dozen" also available from the same address).
In it, we learn this about pacifism:
Pure bastardy seems to identify the birth of the world "pacifism." No language lays claim to it, not even the broad-minded French. In short, pacifism is as international in name as in ideology. And it definitely identifies a movement that reared its flag during the early days of World War No. 1. This with reference to Gilbert Canaan's "Pink Roses," H. G. Wells' "Mr. Britling Sees It Through," G. Lowes Dickenson, Bernard Shaw, and a flock of other British writers and statesmen. Romain Rolland also dealt with this movement, but Britain seems to hold title to the birthplace of pacifism.25
According to Irving Babbit, pacifism represents a new ideological variation in Romanticism in turn originating with Plato, Bergson, Engel[s], Karl Marx, and like sources. Regardless, ideologically pacifism offers a new and international social order spelling worldwide peace and harmony for all mankind.
Pacifism is the alternate to a supreme being, thus pacifism becomes the implacable foe of the Christian faith; for wherever and whenever pacifism enters the Church of Christ, the Christian faith departs; no coexistence. Accordingly, your pacifist is possessed of no religious scruples, and in common with the communist, and they do get on well together, all desired ends justify the means.
For nearly sixty years, the pacifist ideology has plagued religious denominations, including Unitarians, Baptists, Methodists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Dunkards, Mennonites, Episcopalians, Quakers, Seventh Day Adventists, Congregationalists, and even Roman Catholicism. Most of these accept the general leadership of the American Friends Service Committee, the world's leading pacifist organization, one that dominates the general body of the Society of Friends. So strong is this domination that the Quakers have become largely, as indicated in one of the Quaker journals, an ethical movement engaged in social service. Apparently, the Quakers now function to lend a religious halo to the pacifist movement. Convictions of Alger Hiss and Klaus Fuchs so persuade.
Few dare oppose this pacifist movement. To do so has resulted in disownment even of a Quaker conscientious objector who previously, over this issue, had been given a contract assuring him and others to freedom of religious belief and practice. The pacifist element soon saw to the breaking of this agreement, following such words as, "He won't support the work of the American Friends Service Committee, so let's put him out!" Also, some officers in the Society of Friends who opposed this and other pacifist activities in the Society soon found themselves out in the cold.
Today, this pacifist organization proudly calls itself the social agency of the Society of Friends in whose name all kinds of social activities are being carried on. One will find these pacifists on college campuses, labor movements, civil rights activities, in secondary school groups, worldwide social rehabilitation units, and the like. And, Quaker Meeting Houses are used to carry on pacifist propaganda, [and] even attracts Patriotic American organizations, including the American Legion.
It has been admitted in Quaker publications that members of the Society of Friends need not be Christians, and many are not. In fact, it seems that the Society of Friends is a most useful means of securing draft exemptions as members of a religious body. Indeed, it is now safe to predict that increasing hordes of young men of military age will enjoy exemptions from military obligations under this guise of religion.
"Cadbury Furnas" concludes,
The points made here are less to testify against pacifism as a movement any more than communism. Rather, it is the apparently shocking deception of pacifism as an alternate to the age-old Quaker religious peace testimony that stimulates these words. In short, this is a testimony to the priceless heritage of the early Quakers who found a way of life based on eternal truth as expressed in the Living Christ.26
In the 1988 edition of The Power of Reason, LaRouche explains his father's views this way:
The issue between the Christian and liberal factions within the Friends national organization, the so-called Five Years Meeting, was focused on the fundamental difference between the religious "conscientious objection" to military service of the evangelical Friends and the pacifism of the AFSC and the liberals. The pacifist view was not only akin to Bertrand Russell's, but the liberal Friends had been directly associated with Russell from early during the present century. . . . In contrast, the religious Friends' doctrine of "conscientious objection" was one closely linked to a Calvinist notion of God's Will. My parents and other religious Friends saw the pro-Soviet leanings of the AFSC and the liberals' pacifist political dogma as essentially inseparable; essentially my father was correct in this estimation.
This quarrel within the Friends played a large contributing part, but only a contributing part, to my own process of breaking with the theology of the religious Friends. The factional affray into which I was drawn as a principal even during my early adolescence forced me to think through the theological issues. Through this process, I came to reject the Friends' view that God is accountable for human history. I came to the view that God holds man accountable for human history . . . . (19-20)
When not attacking his religious foes, LaRouche, Sr, occupied at least part of his time contesting his mother's will. Although Joseph died in 1931, his wife Ella lived till 1957. Ella LaRouche made sure to disinherit her son and give all her money to her daughter Edith. At the core of the conflict seems to be a deep hatred between LaRouche's hyper-religious mother Jessie and her mother-in-law Ella that rapidly grew worse after Joseph LaRouche died of cancer. From The Power of Reason:
About the time the second sister was born [LaRouche's youngest sister Caroline Shirley], the conflict between my mother and my father's mother not only became obvious to me, but was a focal point of intensified disturbances within the family order itself. It became worse after my grandfather, my father's father [Joseph], died in 1931. . . . After that, things in the family grew progressively worse. The hostility between my mother and grandmother deepened, with my father caught between, sometimes left with only rage. It grew worse.(40-41)
During the 1920s and 1930s, the LaRouches were relatively well-off financially and Joseph LaRouche seems to have accumulated a fair amount of money. From the 1988 edition of The Power of Reason:
Although my family was relatively well-off during the 1920s and scrimped through the 1930s Depression years without the devastating crises many other households endured, the intellectual standpoint of my family was "genteel poverty." It was as much a family tradition as anything else. My mother had been raised in a minister's household and Joe LaRouche, although well-to-do, believed in a Canadian-French variety of miserliness. Joe LaRouche was generous . . . but he had a strong belief in "keeping down expenses." My father, who lacked his father's unquenchable self-confidence, was, I think quite naturally, stingier than my grandfather. . . . There was the general level of Joe LaRouche's standing in the community. He was a man whose achievements, status as a landlord, international travels, independence, and carefully stored accumulation of wealth, made him a man whose opinion was to be reckoned with both among his French-speaking cronies and the other circles in which he moved. (14)
In 1931, Joe LaRouche died. As Lyndon LaRouche relates in the 1988 edition of The Power of Reason, "beginning the day of his funeral, there was a squabble over the division of his estate. I was stunned by this." (11) Incredibly, the LaRouches would squabble over both Joe LaRouche's estate and the estate of his wife Ella, who only died in January 1957. The feud may even had a theological dimension since Ella LaRouche remained a staunch Catholic while LaRouche's parents were hardcore Protestant fundamentalists. In any case, LaRouche's father even launched a court case after Ella's death contesting her will.
The Lexis cite Lyndon, Sr.'s, suit against his sister reads as follows:
CHARLES V. HOGAN vs . LYNDON H. LAROUCHE
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts 337 Mass. 772; 150 N.E.2d
526; 1958 Mass. LEXIS 801 May 19, 1958
COUNSEL: [**1] Michael J. Reardon & John A. Murphy, for the contestant, submitted a brief.
John J. Foley, for the proponent.
[*526] Order denying jury issues affirmed. This is an appeal from an order of the Probate Court denying a motion to frame issues for a jury in the matter of the allowance of a will of Ella S. LaRouche, late of Lynn.
The decedent died January 22, 1957, leaving as her only heirs a daughter Edith Preston, who was the sole beneficiary named in the will, and a son Lyndon H. LaRouche, who contests its allowance. The appeal is prosecuted only in respect to the issue whether the will was procured by the fraud and undue influence of Edith Preston and her husband Herbert E. Preston. From statements by counsel of expected evidence, it appears that, although eighty-six years of age when the will was executed on April 21, 1955, the decedent was a woman accustomed to making her own business judgments, competent to care [*527] for her property, and unlikely to be subject to the influence of others in her disposal of it. It is plain that the averments of undue influence are based mainly on suspicion and conjecture. Flynn v. Prindeville , 327 Mass. [**2] 266, 269. There was no error in the order of the judge. See Neill v. Brackett, 234 Mass. 367; Fuller v. Sylvia , 240 Mass. 49; Hannon v. Gorman, 296 Mass. 437.
In short, Lyndon LaRouche, Sr, had not only been summarily expelled from the Lynn Quaker Meeting but he also had been disinherited by mother in a family dispute that raged on for decades.
ROOTS OF A MARXIST MESSIAH?
When Boston Phoenix reporter Vin McLellan went to visit the Village Friends Meeting in 1974, he spoke with LaRouche's then 81-year-old mother, Jessie. (She would die 4 years later.) Jessie still visited Boston twice a week to teach Bible class at Village Friends. True to the Orthodox Quaker belief in the validity of the Bible, she told McLellan, "You'd enjoy studying the Bible. It's the one book that never makes a mistake."
When asked about her son, Jessie replied:
"You know about the seed and the tree," she said, after a discussion of the Bible. "Well, I'm the seed when it comes to Lindy. I got a letter from Lindy in August.27 Shall I tell you what it said? I will. He said, "Mother, there are many who will never see you who love you for what you have given to me."
McLellan then mentions LaRouche's repeated attack on "mothers" in his Beyond Psychoanalysis series of writings before concluding
I find myself going back again to the oddest knot I've found. Awkwardly and ironically, perhaps his own model for understanding personality explains most. Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Marxist Messiah, is still an officer of his mother's church.
In the course of the 1970s, as we shall see, LaRouche would become less and less Marxist and more and more Messiah. As he did, the seed turned tree would bear strange fruit.
As for Jessie Weir LaRouche, she and her husband kept on running their own Boston-area "mission" until her death in 1978. In the 1988 version of The Power of Reason, LaRouche reports that in the spring of 1978 he went to Europe "until news of a turn in my mother's illness brought me back in mid-1978," sometime around May to be more exact. He then writes on page 212: "When my mother died a few weeks after my return to her hospital bedside, I was unable to attend the funeral -- for security reasons; that really hurt."
1 Lyndon LaRouche, The Power of Reason A Kind of an Autobiography (New York: New Benjamin Franklin Publishing House, 1979), 41.
2 NS 4/29/85. In The Power of Reason, LaRouche writes that his first known ancestor to arrive in North America came to Pennsylvania abound 1670 and that his great-great grandfather had organized against slavery in the Carolinas. (34) These ancestors would have been from the Jessie Weir-Quaker branch of the family.
3 NS 7/16/76.
4 It was the "Bible-thumping" Reverend Weir who first supposedly encouraged LaRouche to become interested in "Mesopotamian civilizations."
5 NS 1/15/85. The leading Orthodox Quakers in America had long ties with their English cohorts and one of the most famous Quaker visitors to America, Joseph John Gurney, was a British banker, moderate Whig, and a leading anti-slavery advocate. See James A. Rawley, "Joseph John Gurney's Mission to America, 1837-1840," in The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 49 (4), March 1963. If I had to guess, I would say that Jessie Weir's roots (on her mother's side) were in the majority Gurney-wing of the Quakers.
6 NS 7/16/76.
7 Power of Reason, 35-36. Given how much energy his family devoted to Quaker squabbles, LaRouche's comment is rather surprising.
8 According to LaRouche, the East Lynn Friends Meeting also merged with the older Silsbee Street Meeting.
9 For my brief survey of the divisions inside the Quakers, I draw primarily on Bruce Dorsey, "Friends Becoming Enemies: Philadelphia Benevolence and the Neglected Era of American Quaker History," in the Journal of the Early Republic, 18 (3), Autumn 1998.
10 In 1918, the Orthodox Quakers claimed some 97,000 members; the Hicksites approximately 18,000; and the Wilburites around 3,700. See Alan C. Thomas, "Present Tendencies in the Society of Friends in America," The Journal of Religion 1 (1), Jan. 1921, 31.
11 Power of Reason, 49.
12 One family foe was the Quaker thinker Rufus Jones. After visiting England, Jones had returned to the U.S. intent on moving the Society of Friends away from pietism towards more towards social-work-oriented activism. Jones and his co-thinkers then helped found the AFSC.
13 NS 7/16/76.
14 The New Dark Age Conspiracy, 352.
15 NS 7/16/76.
16 The Power of Reason, 48. The fund was named in part for George A. Crosman, a Lynn shoe box manufacturer who later became involved in the box business in Maine through his firm George A. Crosman & Sons. Crosman died in 1918 at age 89. He had been a pillar of the Lynn Friends Meeting House for decades and the fund seems to have been set up to honor his name.
18 His father's argument caused problems for his son. When asked by the San Francisco Focus as to when he stopped being a Quaker, LaRouche replied,
Well, I had a big wrestling match about the time I was fourteen . Philosophical wrestling match . . . because the Quaker philosophy is like a radical Calvinist philosophy in some respects — that man should not interfere with the affairs of government. You take care of your own personal affairs and don't meddle in the affairs of the world.
As I shall show, LaRouche's parents clearly worked with right-wing political/religious groups. Yet it is also not hard to see in the classic religious notion of someone who admits their "sinfulness and hopeless estate" and who can only be saved "through acceptance of him" a precursor version of the seemingly "secular" Beyond Psychoanalysis doctrine with LaRouche serving as Logos' representative on earth.
19 As the Spanish Civil War was in full force in 1936, presumably this reference relates to Franco's Spain, Mussolini's Italy, or Hitler's Germany.
20 Kahil Totah was a Palestinian Quaker who ran the Arab College in Jerusalem in the late 1920s and later directed Quaker educational establishments in Palestine.
21 The Power of Reason, 42.
22 NS, 7/16/76. Whether Lyndon LaRouche, Sr.'s The Independent was merely his own quirky mouthpiece or had other contributors as well, however, remains unknown.
23 Chuck Fager, a left-wing Quaker, researched much of the piece.
24 It seems that "The Good Samaritan" may not have been Quaker to begin with but part of some other Protestant fundamentalist sect, possibly United Brethren or Congregationalist.
25 For some reason LaRouche's father particularly hated Wells' book Mr. Britling Sees it Through. In The Power of Reason. LaRouche recalls that "before I was nine," his father "warned me, quite soundly, against the specific immorality of H.G. Wells' Mr. Britling Sees It Through." (39).
26 Given LaRouche, Sr's predilection for print polemics, I suspect there may be more "Cadbury Furness" pamphlets although I only have read this one.
27 "August" was August 1973 and LaRouche either penned it from Germany (during the "Konstantine George affair") or the United States, where he was just getting under way the "Beyond Psychoanalysis" sessions centered on the "witch" image of the mother.
More on LaRouche's genealogy: The Ancestors of Lyndon LaRouche compiled by William Addams Reitwiesner
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