Martin A. Larson
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Martin Alfred Larson (March 2, 1897 in Whitehall, Michigan - January 15, 1994 in Phoenix, Arizona) was an American populist religious freethinker and Christian historian specializing in its origins and early theological history, best known for his assertion that Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were Essenes. Originally from a fundamentalist Christian 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, after which 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 constructs a complete historical theory of the origins of Christianity and the genesis of its theological controversies, detailing its evolution from the pagan cults of Osiris and Dionysus to modern times. This includes a synthesis of ideas, deities, and personalities that show how they combined to favor the rise and dominance of Christianity over religious competitors such as Mithraism, which lacked a human founder and excluded the general public, and Manichaeism, which invited the general public but lacked a deified founder. The thrust of his work is to show that Christianity evolved from pagan religions and Judaism rather than arose full-blown from the mind of a single religious prophet. Although he had no advanced degree in the subject, his works were popular with Freethinkers, and he defended his theories to his death.
A longtime friend of historian Harry Elmer Barnes, Larson was a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee of the Institute for Historical Review's Journal of Historical Review from its first issue in 1980 to his death.
Larson was also a tax critic and tax expert who was popular with the Tax protester movement for his books on the tax immunity of organized religion, the Federal Reserve, and how to fight the IRS. 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".
He spent the final years of his life with his wife Emma in Phoenix, Arizona.
- The Modernity of Milton: A Theological and Philosophical Interpretation (1927)
- The Religion of the Occident: Or, The Origin and Development of the Essene-Christian Faith (1959). His 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, examining the soteriology, eschatology, and ethics, and the Messianic concept which make up Christianity.
- Liberty Lobby Presents The Great Tax Fraud: You Can Say Goodbye Forever to Your Income Tax (1965)
- The Essene Heritage; Or, The Teacher of the Scrolls and the Gospel Christ (Philosophical Library, 1967, Library of Congress catalog card no. 67-19183). Claims that Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were Essenes. www.jstor.org review
- The Great Tax Fraud: How the Federal Government Favors the Rich and Exploits the Masses (1968, B0007E793A)
- Praise the Lord for Tax Exemption: How the Churches Grow Rich, While the Cities and You Grow Poor (with C. Stanley Lowell) (1969)
- When Parochial Schools Close: A Study in Educational Financing (September 1972)
- Tax Revolt: U.S.A. (1973 1st ed., Library of Congress catalog card no. 72-97025).
- The Federal Reserve (Devin-Adair Publishing, 1975) ISBN 0-8159-5514-6
- The Religious Empire: The Growth and Danger of Tax-Exempt Property in the United States (1976) ISBN 0-88331-082-1
- The Story of Christian Origins (1977) ISBN 0-88331-090-2. Revised and expanded ed. of "The Religion of the Occident" 1959.
- The Continuing Tax Rebellion (1979) ISBN 0-8159-5220-1
- The Essene-Christian Faith: A Study in the Sources of Western Religion (1980, 1989) ISBN 0-939482-16-9. Larson's views on the development of the Essene movement.
- The I.R.S. vs. The Middle Class (1980) ISBN 0-8159-5824-2
- Martin Larson's Best (1984) ISBN 0-935036-06-7
- New Thought: A Modern Religious Approach (1985) ISBN 0-8022-2464-4. A historical overview of the New Thought movement, giving it origins in the European Enlightenment of the 18th century.
- How to Defend Yourself Against the Internal Revenue Service: A Handbook for Use in Protecting Personal Assets (1985)
- Jefferson: Magnificent Populist. A collection of quotes from Thomas Jefferson, organized into Larson's categories.
- 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