Historical Association of Tobyhanna Township

HATT | PO Box 2084 | Pocono Pines, PA 18350-2084

May 12, 2016



May 12, 2016 • 5:30 p.m.
Clymer Library, 115 Firehouse Road, Pocono Pines, Pa.

Attendees: 51 members and guests
Speaker: Bruce Denlinger, “Ben Franklin’s Religion”

The meeting was held at the Clymer Library at 5:30 p.m. Rick Bodenschatz opened the meeting welcoming all, especially our guests. Jim Burnham led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Rick announced the next meeting of June 9 is off-site, a tour of the Stoddartsville History Center and Cemetery, about 10 minutes north of Blakeslee on Route 115. There will be four tour times: 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Registration is required, Signup sheets are on the registration table and can be done by email or phone. This is a HATT member and their guests event, only.

Rick also announced the July 14 meeting with a presentation by HATT member John Abel, “In the Shadow of History, the Story of John Summerfield Staples,””about President Lincoln’s paid substitute for military service during the Civil War. He was from Stroudsburg.

Rick noted that refrigerator cards and 2016 membership brochures are available, each containing this year’s meeting schedule.

He also stated that there were sign-up sheets on each chair for members to volunteer for various HATT duties, including officer positions, and noted that since there are only two board members returning next year, starting in October, HATT will not be able to conduct business unless the seats are filled to provide a quorum. Rick also thanked those who helped set up the meeting room today.

Lastly, Rick stated with sadness that we will miss John Kaltenthaler, long-time HATT member and supporter, who passed away this past Tuesday. He is survived by his wife, HATT Past-President Freddie.

Rick then introduced Bruce Denlinger, for his presentation of “Ben Franklin’s Religion.”

Bruce introduced Ben as a statesman, inventor, founder of University of Pennsylvania, the library, the fire company, an insurance company, and a printer who was so successful that he retired at age 43. Being raised on the Calvinist religion in Boston, Ben was very conflicted with his religion as a young person and adult. Especially when he moved to Philadelphia to find so many other religions (12) being practiced there.

He wrote a number of papers and booklets discussing the conflicts he was experiencing, and at one point directly conflicted with the Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, which he then left. As he matured, be seemed to be able to resolve some of the questions and conflicts he had.

For example, Ben asks the question if “the World was at first made by a Being of infinite Wisdom, Goodness, and Power “ what may we conclude about God’s present relation to creation? He comes to the conclusion there are only four possibilities:

  1. Either he unchangeably decreed and appointed every Thing that comes to pass; and left nothing to the Course [of] Nature, nor allow’d any Creature free agency. or
    2 Without decreeing any thing, he left all to general Nature and Events of Free Agency in his Creatures, which he never alters or interrupts. or
    3 He decreed some Things unchangeably, and left others to General Nature and the Events of Free agency, which also he never alters or interrupts. Or
    4 He sometimes interferes by his particular Providence and sets aside the Effects, which would otherwise have been produced by any of the Above Causes.

He goes on to say, “ I shall endeavor to show the first three Suppositions to be inconsistent with the common Light of Reason; and that the 4th is the most agreeable to it and therefore most probable true.”

Rick thanked Bruce for an excellent presentation perspective rarely seen and understood of Ben Franklin, and presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Bruce.

Submitted by Rick Bodenschatz