Mary Dyer: Biography of a Rebel Quaker
Ruth Talbot Plimpton
This is the story of Mary Dyer whose indomitable efforts to seek and find freedom to worship lead eventually to her death. Her quest began when she and her husband sailed from old to new England in 1635. Landing in Boston, they were soon disillusioned by the intolerant practices and beliefs of the Puritans, who considered that all truth could be found in the Old Testament and only there. Variations, from Puritan interpretations of the Ten Commandments, were punished by cruel torture and/or death. Banished from Boston for protesting such rigidity in belief and in practice, Mary was among the group who founded Rhode Island, where freedom in belief and in practice of worship was established. Mary Dyer did not cease from exploring every available form of worship until she discovered the one which spoke the truth to her. On a trip back to England, Mary met George Fox, who gave her the confidence that women had special intellectual and spiritual gifts. Fox encouraged her to become a Quaker and a missionary. She was alarmed by Boston Puritan laws designed to repress and eliminate Quakers. Undaunted, Mary challenged the Puritan intolerance. "My life not availaeth me in comparison with the liberty of the truth."
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