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This conviction has led the Brethren historically to practice non-conformity, non-resistance, and non-swearing.
Every Brethren believer must live in a way that exhibits to the world the truth and love of Christ.
Historically, this means that Brethren did not believe in any particpation in government, to the point that they would not obtain a marriage license and those who did were shunned.
For instance, on February 14, 1776, Alexander Mack Jr., the son of the founder of the Brethren faith writes in a letter that he is shunning his daughter, Sarah, because “she married outside of the brotherhood” and secondly “because the marriage was performed with a license and third because her husband had not quite completed his apprenticeship.” Brethren seldom registered deeds and often did not file wills.
Worse yet, at least for the genealogist, they didn’t keep church records of births, baptisms, marriages or deaths.
John Whitney Ferverda, my grandfather, was raised Brethren, married a Lutheran woman and their compromise was the Methodist church.This history explains the tight-knit sect that became both accustomed and immune to public outrage and pressure from outside of the Brethren church.Pressure to confirm from inside the Brethren church was another matter.From the article about Philip Jacob Miller, I’ve excerpted the portions relevant to his Revolutionary War service, and added information, as follows: The Revolutionary War Philip Jacob Miller lived through the Revolutionary War in Washington County, Maryland, taken from Frederick County in 1776.