The Political Climate of Saxony during the Conversion of Karl G. Maeser: With Special Reference to the Franklin D. Richards Letter to Brigham Young, November 1855 | BYU Studies

The Political Climate of Saxony during the Conversion of Karl G. Maeser: With Special Reference to the Franklin D. Richards Letter to Brigham Young, November 1855

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The Political Climate of Saxony during the Conversion of Karl G. Maeser: With Special Reference to the Franklin D. Richards Letter to Brigham Young, November 1855

Author A. LeGrand Richards,

Questions have been raised about Karl G. Maeser's departure from Saxony and whether he was indeed forced to leave his homeland because of his newly adopted Mormon religion. This article explores the circumstances surrounding Maeser's conversion to Mormonism and his sudden departure from Saxony. Evidence from Maeser's own statements as well as accounts written by others involved in his conversion indicate that the Dresden police and Saxon laws were oppressive regarding religious affiliation. A lengthy letter from Franklin D. Richards, who baptized Maeser, to Brigham Young, offers the strongest evidence that Maeser was indeed forced to leave his homeland because of his new religion. The letter, transcribed and published for the first time in this article, has not been cited by those who question the "cloak and dagger" accounts of Maeser's conversion and departure from Saxony.