Nonresistant or pacifist? the peace stance of the conservative Kanadier Mennonites, 1874-1945
Kliewer, Victor David
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This thesis argues that the conservative Kanadier Mennonites, who first came to Canada in 1874, were committed to absolute pacifism. This commitment--one of the basics of their faith--caused major tensions with the host society, notably in times of war. In this thesis I investigate three kinds of resources, each offering a different perspective on the pacifist conviction of the conservative Kanadier Mennonites. The first consists of three migration accounts; the second includes six sermons; the third is a unique set of minutes of the "Aeltestenrat"--the Council of Elders--which record the deliberations of the church leaders who met with government officials to negotiate the alternative service program for conscientious objectors during World War II. The documents demonstrate that the conservative Kanadier Mennonites were not socially or politically engaged pacifists but that their commitment to absolute pacifism was an integral part of their overall understanding of being Christian.