TEXICO CONFERENCE HERITAGE SERIES


Purchase your copy for only $10

The Texico Conference has published its first book in the "Texico Conference Heritage Series" which will be a historical account of Seventh-day Adventist history in the West Texas and New Mexico territory.

Pastor Joe Reynolds, a descendant of New Mexican homesteaders, has written Seventh-day Adventists in New Mexico and El Paso, Texas 1881-1909. It is not story, but a compilation of news about Adventists that Reynolds found in archived secular and church papers of that time. This is the first of three volumes he is currently working on.

Pastor Lee-Roy Chacon's first book on the early Adventist work in West Texas is currently underway. This will be a great collection of historical value for our church.

For a sneek peek into this first volume and how to order your own copy, continue reading the promo below by Carol Schoun.


Religious Liberty Issues in New Mexico’s Early History
 
There were several happenings that affected the life of early Adventists settling in New Mexico Territory and the church’s evangelism: railroads; land grants and homesteading; and the national tuberculosis epidemic. Also, by 1890, most states had Sunday laws – restrictions on what people could do on that day.  It is the latter that is highlighted here.

In 1889, the first evangelistic series was held in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Two of the evening presentations dealt with the separation of church and state, with a special emphasis on the National Sunday Law, which Congress had tried to pass the winter before. The attendance to these meetings was large.

In late 1904, Governor Otero recommended that the Sunday law of New Mexico be enforced. Chief Justice Mills wrote to the sheriff of Colfax County, instructing him to do so.

Knowing of this, Brother Emery K. Cassell of Raton, wrote a letter to the Colorado Conference (which New Mexico Territory was under) advising them of his determination to defy the law and work in his blacksmith shop on Sunday, as a witness to the truth of religious liberty. He did so and was arrested. Cassell appeared in court on March 31, 1905. When asked why he had worked on Sundays, Cassell replied, “I am a Seventh-day Adventist, I work six days a week and keep Saturday as my Sabbath, therefore, I feel I am entitled to work on Sunday.”

When asked if he knew that the Sunday law was a law of the territory, Brother Cassell said, “Yes, I did.”

Again, the judge asked, “Then why did you work on Sunday?”

Brother Cassell replied, “New Mexico law conflicts with the law of God, which requires the seventh day to be kept.”

The judge did not accept Brother Cassell’s arguments and sentenced him to fifteen days in prison plus $28.00, the cost of the court, which he could work off by spending another twenty-eight days in jail, for a total of forty-three days.

Elder H.M.J. Richards (father of H.M.S. Richards, Sr.), a Colorado Conference minister living in Loveland, Colorado, traveled to Raton in early April to see if he could be of help to Brother Cassell. He went into action by writing: (1) a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt; (2) an open letter to the citizens of New Mexico; (3) and another letter to the Attorney General of the United States. Copies of these letters are in Reynold’s book.

In a short time, Elder Richards created so much pressure on all who had put Cassell in jail that the people of Raton became stirred up. After several townspeople paid his court costs, he was freed from jail.

The Colorado Conference also requested that Elder Richards write a tract on this religious liberty situation. It has been reprinted in Reynold’s book.

So, we have a history of religious liberty being challenged in New Mexico Territory and an early example of the importance of the Church’s professional intervention to secure it for a church member.
 
Copies of Reynolds book can be purchased ($10.00) from the Texico Conference, P.O. Box 1366, Corrales, NM 87048 | Phone: 505-244-1611 | Email: texico@texico.org | Attention: Nancy Monge