Abraham Lincoln Bible reveals new details about his faith at the end of his life

President Abraham Lincoln has been known as a 'village atheist' since he was a young man.

Return To Article

Commenting has temporarily been suspended in preparation for our new website launch, which is planned for the week of August 12th. When the new site goes live, we will also launch our new commenting platform. Thank you for your patience while we make these changes.


  • CMTM , 00
    June 26, 2019 8:04 a.m.

    RE: The Atheist –“You know, I don't believe in Santa, but I still hang a stocking from the mantel each Xmas”.
    In the Greek language and alphabet, the letter that looks like an X is the Greek letter chi / Χ (pronounced 'kye' - it rhymes with 'eye') which is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, Christos.

    The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian

    His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus ("Saint Nick")

    Did you know Joseph Smith rebuked and rejected St Nicholas=(Santa Claus) who was one of the bishops who signed the Nicene Creed. “…. all their creeds were an abomination in His sight: that those professors were all corrupt." JS History 1:19.

  • AmkaProblemka South Jordan, UT
    June 26, 2019 7:49 a.m.

    I wonder if people from his town did talk of him as the "village atheist," because he wouldn't go to church.

    People who learn and think and grow can't be stuck with a label about a part of their life that describes their whole life. Once upon a time, CS Lewis was an atheist. Both men had a great deal of integrity, which means when they came across information that challenged the way they thought, they didn't ignore it. They learned from it.

    I worry about appeals to authority and the desire to have great historical figures in "our camp." Or the idea that only people with our beliefs could have done great things or been progressive. Or the idea that we should just leave history alone.

    It is good for us to learn the stories of people, not to prop up our beliefs or judge them worthy/unworthy of our insipid praise, but to evaluate our own thoughts and actions and their consequences and maybe improve ourselves a little.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    June 25, 2019 4:11 p.m.

    You know, I don't believe in Santa, but I still hang a stocking from the mantel each Xmas.

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 24, 2019 3:09 p.m.

    ute alumni - me thinkest that thou art straining at gnats.

    My point was not that Joseph Smith started "his own" religion - my point was that like Lincoln he was disaffected with the religions of the day - which of course led him to the restoration of the gospel. It would be ridiculous to claim that Joseph was and atheist based on his rejection of the local congregations, just like it's ridiculous to claim Lincoln was an atheist just because he was unhappy with the religions of the day. You have to consider their entire body of work.

    I was not "totally" wrong - you just misinterpreted what I said. Imagine that ;)

  • CMTM , 00
    June 24, 2019 11:29 a.m.

    RE: eastcoastcoug During this time, Lincoln is reported to have said, "The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma."
    Quotes like this one have led to the belief among some that he was an atheist, but even early on, that was simply not true.

    While in office, dealing with the Civil War, among other issues, religion began to play a greater role in Lincoln's life and there is evidence that he began to accept Christian doctrine.

    Regarding his intention to join a church, according to an affidavit signed under oath in Essex County, New Jersey, February 15, 1928, by Mrs. Sidney I. Lauck, then a very old woman, Mrs. Lauck said:

    "After Mr. Lincoln's death, Dr. Gurley told me that Mr. Lincoln had made all the necessary arrangements with him and the Session of the New York Avenue *Presbyterian Church to be received into the membership of the said church, by confession of his faith in Christ, on the Easter Sunday following the Friday night when Mr. Lincoln was assassinated." *A Creedal Church. e.g.. Nicene Creed

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    June 24, 2019 9:56 a.m.

    @THEREALND,

    The full quote is: “The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.”

    I'm a lifelong believer in Christ, and I would agree with Lincoln on this statement about Christian dogma and 'complicated' creeds. Seems his disagreement was mainly with the organized religion of the day. He quoted the Bible and talked about prayer and God quite consistently in his speeches and writings.

  • CMTM , 00
    June 24, 2019 8:30 a.m.

    From the original Fox news article. Abraham Lincoln Bible surfaces, offers clues to his religious beliefs. By Caleb Parke, Fox News

    The neighbor was the Rev. Noyes W. Miner, a Baptist minister who read the book of Job at the Republican president's funeral. On the back, the first lady inscribed: “Mrs. Abraham Lincoln to N.W. Miner, D.D., Oct. 15, 1872.”

    She wrote that Miner was "a friend very much beloved by my husband" and historians speculate the former first lady gave the Bible to Miner as a way to protect her husband's legacy as she had angrily rejected assertions that he was an atheist.

    Miner once wrote that Lincoln “believed not only in the overwhelming Providence of God, but in the divinity of the Sacred Scriptures" and that the first lady told him at Ford's Theater that Lincoln was planning a post-White House visit to Jerusalem to “see the places hallowed by the footsteps of the Saviour.”

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    June 24, 2019 7:29 a.m.

    What difference does it make? Are believers going to do a victory dance if Lincoln was "a bit" of a deist?

  • kbee Syracuse, UT
    June 24, 2019 6:58 a.m.

    @Chancey. The point is maybe today. Yes, probably today too. Lincoln, through letters they found, was surmised to have had a gay relationship. Believing the bible and the 10 commandments does not mean that you are perfect in this world. Nobody is perfect or ever will be. People, like Lincoln, who believe the Bible is inspired of God just live their lives the best they can. You can be religious, believe commandments, and support equality because you love people and you aren't perfect either.

  • Light and Liberty St George, UT
    June 24, 2019 6:25 a.m.

    All the athiests out there, always a little unsure of their universe, still searching endlessly for validation from another source, must find these types of discoveries somewhat disheartening. All paths, no matter far they wander, will lead back to God.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 23, 2019 7:53 p.m.

    Thomas Jefferson has also been labeled a non Christian by some. But there are also writings by him that indicate otherwise.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 23, 2019 7:51 p.m.

    Re Macfarren - Dallas, TX

    Abraham Lincoln according to some was an atheist. Now we know that isn't true. At least when he was near the end of his life that wasn't true according to his own writings.

    I'd say that in newsworthy and informative.

  • Macfarren Dallas, TX
    June 23, 2019 4:00 p.m.

    "Abraham Lincoln Bible reveals new details about his faith at the end of his life"

    How? What details? The headline doesn't match the story. All we know is that Abraham Lincoln received another Bible.

  • GrainOfSalt Draper, UT
    June 23, 2019 1:55 p.m.

    I've read a fair amount about Lincoln and his life, and nowhere have I read that he was called a "village atheist". He did not subscribe to a particular religion, but that does make him an atheist. Even as a young man he was known to quote and reference the bible. The myth that Abraham Lincoln was an atheist is an effort to minimize the role God and his writings had in shaping Lincoln's life.

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 23, 2019 1:24 p.m.

    Sigh... Village Atheist?

    A village atheist is a person who loudly condemns the religion of the local majority but who seldom has any substance to back up their opposition. In other words all the anti mormon bandwagoners in Utah would be considered village atheists by definition. Maybe that's why the author is familiar with the term

    Lincoln however was not an atheist, and no one of note has ever claimed such. The strongest thing you could say about Lincoln is that he was skeptical, and slightly agnostic or disinterested in his younger days; and that he didn't like revivalists. A contemporary of Lincoln's was also skeptical of the current religions and didn't like revivalists. That person started his own church instead which eventually settled in the Salt Lake valley. Imagine that.

  • hbeckett Colfax, CA
    June 23, 2019 12:36 p.m.

    please leave the man alone when past history comes forth just leave it be yes he did believe in god and the history in the bible as evadent to his own statement

  • Chancey Sandy, UT
    June 23, 2019 12:21 p.m.

    @kbee "Obviously a person or leader can believe in the Bible and the commandments and not be labeled a bigot for their religious beliefs"

    True in Lincoln's day, perhaps not today.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    June 23, 2019 11:05 a.m.

    I think its a bit of a stretch to portray Abraham Lincoln as an atheist just because he never joined a church. I think it was the organized religions of the day that he objected to - especially those who used scripture to justify slavery. He was especially disturbed by the death and destruction of the Civil War in which both sides claimed Divine Sanction for their actions.

  • THEREALND Mishawaka, IN
    June 23, 2019 10:58 a.m.

    "The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession" -- Abraham Lincoln

  • kbee Syracuse, UT
    June 23, 2019 9:36 a.m.

    Lincoln said:"In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it, we could not know right from wrong.” Lincoln was not a racist or a bigot or homophobic. He Believed in equality. Obviously a person or leader can believe in the Bible and the commandments and not be labeled a bigot for their religious beliefs.