Martin A. Larson
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Martin A. Larson (March 2, 1897 – January 15, 1994) was an American populist freethinker and a writer specializing in theological history and the Essenes. Originally from a fundamentalist Evangelical background, he "rejected its dogmas and practices" when he was about 20 years old. Following service in the United States Navy, he graduated from Kalamazoo College in Michigan. He earned a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan in 1927 with a thesis on the unorthodoxies of Milton, whom he found to have rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. He retired from a career in business at the age of 50 to devote himself to private study, lecturing and writing.
Larson's lifelong body of work reconstructs a complete version of the story of Christian origins and its theological controversies, detailing its evolution from the cults of Osiris and Dionysus to modern times. This includes the synthesis of ideas, deities and personalities that historically gave favor to Christianity against religious competitors such as Mithraism, which lacked a human founder and barred the general public, or Manichaeism, which lacked a deified founder. He summarizes the exposition of this story:
And so we see that Egypt gave the world the god-man savior, who was several times reconstituted in the Greek and barbarian mysteries. Persia filled the void with fears of hell, with hopes of paradise, and with the concept of the Last Judgment, and with the expectation of a renovated universe. The Jews and the Brahmanas gave us the priest-state. The Buddhists gave us renunciation, which made sex, family, wealth, labor and comfort into crimes and which made of idle communism and parasitism the saintly way of life. The Greeks gave us democracy and private property, which Pythagoras attempted to replace with a celibate but self-reliant communism. He also popularized the Zoroastrian metaphysics, the Brahmanic-Buddhist eschatology, and the Egyptian-Dionysiac soteriology in the Graeco-Roman world. Plato absorbed the communism, anthropology, and eschatology of Pythagoras, but rejected his celibacy and his soteriology, as well as his concept of religion as a mystery-cult. Aristotle rejected the features of Pythagoreanism which Plato accepted and embraced the concepts of private property and the secular life, in this respect returning to the ideology of Hesiod. The Essenes were Pythagoreans who encased their pagan religious synthesis, which Jesus absorbed, in a Jewish entegument, which he rejected, although He considered Himself one of the prophets of Yahweh; but he incorporated a definitely Buddhist element, not found among the Essenes. In the Gospel, therefore, we find a synthesis of Osirian-Dionysiac soteriology, Zoroastrian eschatology, Buddhist ethics and renunciation, Pythagorean communism, and the Essenic Parousia. (Origins 416-17)
Larson was also a tax critic and tax expert, who authored books on the immunities of organized religion, the Federal Reserve, and the IRS, including a text on The Theory of Logical Expression. His articles have appeared in Parade Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Reader's Digest and other publications, and he had a regular column in The Spotlight entitled "Our World In Conflict".
- The Essene-Christian Faith (1989, 273 pp. ISBN 0-939482-16-9). Larson's views on the development of the Essene movement.
- New Thought: A Modern Religious Approach (1985, 458 pp. ISBN 0-8022-2464-4). A historical overview of the New Thought movement, giving it origins in the European Enlightenment of the 18th century. New Thought broadly describes the set of religions that claim to be based on the Bible and Jesus Christ but which, in Larson's view, reject many basic Christian doctrines : Phineas Quimby, Warren Felt Evans, and Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. Modern New Thought institutions: the Church of Divine Science, Unity, the Churches of Religious Science, and the International New Thought Alliance.
- Martin Larson's Best (1984, ISBN 0-935036-06-7)
- The I.R.S. vs. The Middle Class (1980-02, 209 pp. ISBN 0-8159-5824-2)
- Jefferson: Magnificent Populist A collection of quotes from Thomas Jefferson, organized into Larson's categories.
- The Continuing Tax Rebellion (1979, 273 pp., ISBN 0-8159-5220-1)
- Tax Revolt: U.S.A. (first printing, 1973, 283 pages Library of congress catalog number 72-97025). Why and how Thousands of Patriotic Americans Refuse to Pay the Income tax.
- The Story of Christian Origins (1977, 711 pp. ISBN 0-88331-090-2 ). First published as The Religion of the Occident 1959, this expanded volume details the synthesis of facts regarding the Christian epic, from its pagan origins, Palestinian primary and secondary sources, and age-old religious concepts introduced by the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persions, Buddhists, Greeks, Jews, Phrygians, and Syrians. It also examines the soteriology, eschatology, ethics, and the Messianic concept which make up Christianity.
- The Religious Empire: The growth and danger of tax-exempt property in the United States (1976, 281 pp., ISBN 0-88331-082-1)
- The Great Tax Fraud: How the Federal government favors the rich and exploits the masses (1968, 326 pp., ISBN B0007E793A)
- Martin A. Larson, "How I found out about the Federal Reserve" talk given before the Freeman Institute Century Club, 1982 (pdf file) (File not found, need a new link for this PDF )
- Martin A. Larson, "Who's eligible for tax?" A serial article review of Paul Mitchell, The Federal Zone