Ulan wrote: ↑
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:17 pm
Good point. Of course, we don't know how much Lucian exaggerated.
We still have some that do the same thing today. When I was in my junior year at college (1976/77), a small liberal arts college operated by the United Brethren Church, there was this buzz going around about a church in Fort Wayne Indiana where the pastor operated a rather large Televangelistic ministry.
Some of us jumped in someone's car and we drove out (about an hour) to see him in action. Very large and spacious and modern looking church building with all sorts of fancy TV cameras and monitors. The guy preached for a couple hours, with faith healings, etc. He must have asked for 4 alter calls where they'd pass the plate for donations, and I later read that he took in between church service and donations phoned-in by a nationwide network of TV viewers over 1 million US dollars per service. He also had a second service during the week. One girl in our group, who was IMO seriously depressed, even pledged money she didn't have. I just felt that he was exploiting the emotions of people like her, although all the others seemed to love him.
This is different, of course, than what Perigrinus was said to have done, which was to make a name for himself as a confessor/martyr, with many Christian congregations coming to help out the martyr in his imprisonment. Roman jailors were not immune to bribes (some accounts of imprisonments and trials admit they slipped the jailer money to get access and bring food and dress, bedding, etc. for their comfort in prison). It sounds like a cult following in his case, if
we can trust the account in Lucian's book Passing of Perigrinus
Fiction writers often revise true things to fit their fictional narrative. Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet
, contained a long flashback to Mormons in Utah doing really weird things (weirder even than the actual practices of the LDS). They (Mormons) did NOT endorse the despicable practices Conan Doyle included in his book plot.
That wasn't to say that some Mormons had not massacred encampments of native Americans and a group of competing settlers here and there, as cases like these are documented. Everyone had heard about their one-time practice of polygamy. It had become well known that they held theological views that were very different than the somewhat stodgy Anglican faith, but since most folks were not in possession of the actual facts, Doyle made a lot of stuff up. Would we reconstruct LDS beliefs and history from Conan Doyle's account? I hope not.