Imagine my chagrin as I read his very own words and discovered that what I believed was not true! The Appleseed Journal is a journal of Johnny Appleseed's words from his own journal from the year 1843. An manuscript was found from John Chapman (Appleseed) that with some editing has been presented in this book The Appleseed Journal.
What then did I learn through the 92 pages of this journal?
Was it true that Johnny Appleseed had a passion for planting apple seeds and trees? Indeed. He also had a passion for herbs and natural ways of healing oneself from various conditions.
BUT was he a Christian pastor? Well...not really, at least not as in following the God of the Bible. He was a strong believer in the work of Emanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborg was the founder of the Church of New Jerusalem.
While I cannot agree with the doctrine contained within the journal I can agree with a few things.
1. John Chapman made good friends. He worked at keeping them.
2. He was true to his calling in life. He felt best out in the woodlands tending to the things of the natural world. He freely gave and sold apple trees and seeds to anyone he met. He bought or leased land so that he could plant his apple trees or seedlings as the land expanded.
3. He was an evangelist. Once he learned about Swedenborg he talked about him and his writings every chance he had. He continually sought to turn conversation around to the man and his writings and called him a great man. I have to admire the fervency and wish I had a bit more of it in my life.
4. He helped folks out whenever he could. Teaching them what herbs to grow or where to find them in the woods. He taught folk how to use hem as well.
5. He acted as a go-between for the natives and the white people.
It was an interesting read. It didn't take me long to go through it. Below is a truism from the book. :) It is one of the things that Johnny Appleseed and I could agree on... GOD is the one who does the work.
Well.. yes and no. Yes in that it teaches you more about Johnny Appleseed and some of the things he thought about. He unabashedly tells you he's a confirmed bachelor as the life he was called to was not conducive to having a wife. He happily tells you that less is more and having too many trapping hanging on to you just slows you down. He expounds on the greatness of Swedenborg.
It would be a great book to read with a highschooler and ask them to point out to you, with reasoning, why some of the doctrine that Johnny held to was wrong. AND if Johnny got anything right in his understanding of God and his relationship with us. It gives a good glimpse into some of the history of that time period and shows how Swedenborg's writings were received.
Would I give to a youngster just learning to formulate his own belief in God and say read it without any input? NO. It's an easy enough read that my lad could read it, but it's not a book I want him to read until his reasoning and understanding skills have improved.
Is it a good background book to read for doing a lesson on Johnny Appleseed? For sure? I learned a lot reading this book. :)
Author: Dr. Steward Bitkoff
Publisher: Abandoned Ladder
Reviewed for: Ascot Media.