Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So, Lottie Moon didn't starve herself to death...

...and every December we've been promoting a myth about her all these years?

Such is the conclusion of Regina D. Sullivan in a new book on Lottie, Lottie Moon
A Southern Baptist Missionary to China in History and Legend

Quote below from ABP's article Opinion: Lottie Moon, a missionary in history and legend

The legend of Moon’s death from starvation on the mission field has played a central role in how she has been remembered, especially since the myth of her Christ-like sacrifice is essential to Southern Baptist mission fund raising. Through painstaking research I was able to locate the origins of this mythology and explain how it formed and bloomed into legend.

Moon did not starve herself to death nor did she give all of her money away to famine relief, as has been popularized in denominational publications since the early 20th century. It is, indeed, ironic that Moon’s active life, her call for female equality and her support for female organization have been overlooked in favor of the starvation myth.

Heavens! What would the SBC be without our cherished myths?

I look forward to reading this book. I presume that the author will be straightforward about Lottie's breaking her engagement with Crawford Toy over his liberalism.


Anonymous said...

I just bought the Kindle version of the book. I'll read it and let you know (unless you read the hard copy before I finish it).


Stephen Fox said...

One of Momma's favorite verses was I would not have you ignorant brethren.

What will the dogma of Lottie's relationship offer for the most inquisitive youngsters who come through the fellowship of FBC Stathem.
I would tell them about the excellent discussion on NPR last couple months on NPR Diane Rehm show, about the great novels of Marilynne Robinson, Gilead and Home. There is not one scintilla of doubt in my mind that the discussion on NPR about Experience and Dogma would be at the center of faithful discussion between Toy and Moon were they with us today.
I have links for you and your blog audience including Jerry Vines in the SBC Trends site of
I hope you and David Miller listen online and join the discussion soon.
And Dochuk and Williams still go begging.

Your friend

Stephen Fox
Yoknoptawpha USA

D.R. said...


If you are still pastoring FBC Statham, then it's crazy we haven't met. I am only about 10 minutes down the road at Cleveland Road Baptist in Bogart.

William Thornton said...

My question is about the book cover photo (or artwork). I don't think there are too many photographs of Lottie Moon and I've never seen one that looks like this.

Does the book explain the photo? Is it an actual photo or an updated old photo. The most used photo shows Lottie with a rather prominent jaw.

William Thornton said...

Put the author's photo in the ABP story side-by-side with the one above and...well, see for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Poor Lottie and what other revealing truths do we know about Annie?

KP said...

"The 1891 photo of Lottie Moon is part of the Robert Spencer collection at Scottsville Museum." (Scottsville, Virginia) A few minutes of research goes a long way. The cover is an authentic photo of Lottie. See:

William Thornton said...

KP, thanks for the link. Regina Sullivan, a trained historian and thorough research, notes that the cover is undated and is not a photo but a "charcoal portrait by a relative." The museum estimates the undated "photo" at 1891.

I'd like to know more on this.

Regina Sullivan said...

I have so enjoyed the comments on your blog. I just want to add that my family, friends and I also noticed that my photo and the book cover drawing seem to favor a little. Believe me, it wasn't planned! LOL

William Thornton said...

Thanks for the comment, Regina. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.