This web site is designed as a forum and exchange of information, discussion, documentation, review, clarification and evaluation of the Saxon Emigration led by Pastor Martin Stephan (1777-1846). Pastor Stephan's contributions and those of his descendants to the founding and development of the Lutheran Church Missouri are essential to the life of this church body and to church history.
The authors of this web site hope to generate and compile all known historical records about the life of Dr. Martin Stephan and his descendants, including books, articles, tracts, letters and documents from anyone who is interested in this history and is willing to share this information.
We appeal especially to the descendants of the Saxon Lutheran Emigration to share oral history and documents which may further enhance our knowledge of Martin Stephan's ministry and his leadership of the Saxon Lutheran Emigration. There are varying accounts of Martin Stephan's life, of the emigration and events following his expulsion from the emigration colony in Perry County Missouri, and the life and ministry of his son, Martin Stephan. Some of these accounts agree but many do not. Some works and historical accounts have never been made public or translated.
The authors of the web site invite only those who are motivated by graciousness and the truth, to revisit this history. We invite comments on the Martin Stephan and Saxon Emigration story which are insightful, thoughtful, positive and non-judgmental. Too long have biased and unscholarly writings been allowed to dominate the commonly held belief in LCMS circles about what Martin Stephan did or did not do during the years of his organisation and leadership of the Saxon Emigration.
The story of Martin Stephan presented by such sources has been allowed to stand largely unchallenged until the Stephan family, as a united front, decided to contest those conclusions and assumptions made about the Saxon Emigration and its leader, Bishop Martin Stephan.
Too often have I heard from synod members that the story about Martin Stephan's (forced) expulsion from the Saxon colony must be correct, because after all, that story has existed in (uncontested) scholarly writings, books, articles and hearsay for 170 years. Fortunately, new supportive voices and historical documents have emerged that shed a different light on the existing canon.
The Objectives of this web site then are:
1. We wish to review the historical events of the Saxon Emigration so that the facts concerning this emigration and Bishop Martin Stephan's contributions can be reevaluated as to their historical accuracy.
2. We desire to honor the work of Martin Stephan and his descendants for their contribution in creating a Lutheran Church in America.
3. We want to make any new material translated into English available to scholars and historians who desire to make public previously unpublished information of these events and people.
Naomi Stephan, Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org