Love For His People Editor’s Note: The email reprinted in full below came to me today, May 3, 2020. After getting a few others similar to this on our “Comments” page, I decided to publish this one. As much as I support our President, Donald J. Trump, we must get the right story out so as not to mislead anyone in any way. If we say we stand for truth, we must do so.
Also, I truly pray that President Trump reads the Bible, whether the one his mother gave him or another, for wisdom and understanding as he leads this country. The whole truth is written in God’s Word.
And thank you, Lilian Campbell.
I have re-printed her email to me in full, below, as she quotes from several reliable sources.
Ahava and shalom,
Steve Martin, Founder/President Love For His People in Charlotte, NC USA.
I can emphatically state that I am not a left wing person giving Clarence Sexton a hard time about his video. I am a conservative Christian and I am not speaking or spreading lies about the Bible.
I do not live in America. I’m an 83-year-old widow, born in Scotland, living in Canada, and a Christian….old-style Christian…Conservative in politics, conservative in my views of the Bible. My husband was born on the Island of Lewis.
What REALLY troubles me is that so many Evangelicals (American-style) do not seem to recognize the damage being done to the cause of Christ by disseminating what is inaccurate and presenting it as truth, or refusing to call out a President for anything because he belongs to the party they wish to have in power, I presume. That is giving ammunition to the hostile left.
I do not know if you belong to that category or not as I first landed on your site a few minutes ago, but I am not a left winger trying to spread lies about the tape that was unintentionally put on social media as I have just found out on your page. The President has nothing to do with this tape and I am not accusing him.
In my own mind, I gave Dr. Sexton the benefit of the doubt when I saw the video on a Scottish friend’s Facebook page. I did some research. I tried to comment on his video to tell him his information was inaccurate when I had done my research. Others had in glowing terms, added comments to the Sexton video, but I couldn’t get my comment on to the page, even after subscribing to the site.
I then did a Facebook search, found Dr. Sexton’s Facebook page, and let him know the information he had was inaccurate. I think I copied the letter written by Tom Lennie and which I sent to you a few moments ago.
Tom Lennie is an expert on Revivals and the author of books on Revivals. You can check him out here: https://www.christianfocus.com/contributors/531/tom-lennie
It was really difficult to get a message on your Facebook page and very difficult to explain anything in 180 characters.
I tried to explain why the video about President Donald Trump’s Bible should have been removed. It was inaccurate. I am hoping that when the speaker related that story he was misinformed and not deliberately compiling what would have been an interesting story if it were true. It isn’t true and is full of inaccuracies, though it would have played well in 2020 electioneering campaigns. Hopefully it was not compiled with that purpose in mind.
The Lewis Revival that the speaker references under Rev Duncan Campbell is of the period 1949 to 1952. Donald Trump was born in 1946. The helper to Rev Duncan Campbell was a Duncan MacPhail, not a Duncan Smith and he was converted in 1950. The two old women called Smith were not aunts of Mary Ann Smith MacLeod, Donald Trump’s mother. Nor was Donald MacPhail known to be a cousin of Mary Ann. There are thousands of Smiths on the Island of Lewis and those Smith ladies were not sisters of Mary Ann MacLeod’s mother.
They were all Gaelic speakers including Rev Duncan Campbell. The Smith Bible would have been Gaelic . It is quite possible that those women spoke no English…my husband (I’m now a widow) who was born on the Island of Lewis in 1931 spoke no English until he went to school and had to learn it there. My husband was a Campbell but is not related to Rev Duncan Campbell, nor was Mary Ann’s mother a sister to the two Smith ladies. The Islanders on Lewis are very well aware of who is related to who and can be trusted when they say that there is no connection between Mary Ann and the other people mentioned in the story.
Donald Trump proudly shows off the Bible given to him by his mother in 1955 e.g. in this video:
The Bible that the President used at his inauguration (along with the Lincoln Bible) is this Bible. In a close up of the swearing in, it can be seen that it is an English Revised Standard Version. The RSV first appeared in 1952.
It is perfectly clear that had there been a such a connection as the video portrays, President Trump would have made full use of it to attract Evangelical votes. He never has made such a claim. Hopefully he won’t start now! It’s the kind of thing that I believe will appeal to him, should he see it.
This video has been spread on social media. I first saw it on a friend’s Facebook page. I did some research as it didn’t ring true to me and found that it was full of inaccuracies so I posted the above video on my friend’s site to show the actual Trump Bible and also a pre-inauguration piece from the New York Times :
By Erin McCann
Jan. 18, 2017
When Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office on Friday, he will do so with his hand on two Bibles: his own, and one used by Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Only one other president has used that Bible for the oath: Mr. Trump’s predecessor.
Thomas Barrack Jr., the chairman of Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee, said in a statement earlier this week that the president-elect “is humbled to place his hand on Bibles that hold special meaning both to his family and to our country.”
Mr. Trump’s personal Bible was given to him by his mother in 1955, two days before his ninth birthday, according to a statement from the inaugural committee. He had just completed the Sunday Church Primary School at the First Presbyterian Church in Queens, where he grew up.
The following letter has also been written by Tom Lennie.
Here is a piece taken from Christian Focus Press to show who Tom Lennie , the writer of the letter re the Trump Bible, is;>>A native of Orkney, Tom Lennie has long held a passionate interest in the history of Christian revivals worldwide. He has written many articles and reviews for journals, magazines and websites, and is the author of ‘Glory in the Glen’, ‘Land of Many Revivals’, and ‘Rousay Remembered’.<< Christian Focus Press. Here is his letter: The MYTH of Trump’s Bible
From Facebook. By Tom Lennie, the author.
The MYTH of Trump’s Bible
A 5-min video-clip, ‘Donald’s Bible’ has gone viral in recent weeks, creating great excitement. It began as a popular story in 2017, and relates to a religious revival on the Scottish island of Lewis some 80 years ago, from 1949-52. The story centered on the remarkable discovery that two elderly sisters involved in that revival were in fact the great-aunts of no less than the 45th President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump himself. Additional details soon got added to the narrative – paving the way for the current video.
It’s an intriguing story for sure. And at first glance it seems quite possible. It’s no secret that Trump’s mother, Mary Anne Smith Macleod, hailed from Lewis. Her own mother’s maiden name was indeed Smith – she lived from 1867 till 1963. This would have been roughly contemporaneous with the lives of Christine and Peggy Smith, who are famed in revival folklore for their lives of faith and intercession.
But sadly the story’s not true. In fact it’s riddled with problems. There are hundreds of Smiths in the Western Isles, and the names Christine and Peggy Smith do not match with Trump’s relatives. Further, Lewis is a relatively small, well-connected island where people know genealogy well, and we are dealing with just two generations. People on Lewis insist that Mary Anne is not directly related to the Smith siblings. (Also, Mary Anne Macleod came from the east Lewis village of Tong, just north of Stornoway; the Smith sisters lived in Barvas, on the west side of the island).
The teenage boy that the video claims the Rev Duncan Campbell became dependent upon during the revival was Donald MacPhail from Arnol. He is incorrectly referred to in the video as Donald Smith. There is no evidence to suggest that Donald MacPhail was a cousin of Mary Anne. In any case, MacPhail’s life of faith and intercession could not have inspired Trump’s mother to name her son after him; the Lewis revival began in 1949 and MacPhail became a Christian the following spring, in May 1950. Donald Trump, however, was born in 1946 – did he live without a forename for the first four years of his life?
Further, Trump’s own uncle was called Donald; so was his maternal great grandfather. There was no need for Mary Anne to look to some religious revival on the other side of the world for someone to name her son after. In fact, Mary Anne left Lewis in 1930 (not 1936 as the video claims), before Donald MacPhail was even born. That means she also emigrated long before the 1949-52 revival ever broke out on the island. Although she returned to her native Lewis in later years, it is quite possible she never knew that a spiritual revival occurred on Lewis in those years (one of a whole string of revivals to grace the island in the twentieth century). Besides, there were countless other Donalds on Lewis – what select source is privy to her naming her son after one particular Donald over another?
Even if Christine and Peggy Smith were Mary Anne’s aunts, no one has provided a reason for them choosing to donate their Gaelic bible to Mary Anne rather than one of their many other nieces and nephews (Mary was one of ten children). Besides, their bible would probably have been the last thing the godly sisters would have parted with. Well-worn after a lifetime of use, and full of hand-written notes and markings as it probably was, it would almost certainly have been their most prized possession. Rather than post a heavy bible to their niece in the States in any case (they were poor), it would have been more convenient to send a postal order so she could buy a new one.
And that leads to another problem. Mary Anne did give her son a bible when he was young. Rather than being in Gaelic (a language unfamiliar to Donald), it was an English translation; and it was a Revised Standard Version. The RSV was first published only in 1952, by which time the Lewis revival was already coming to a close. Trump’s bible was presented to him at First Presbyterian Church in the Queen’s district of New York in 1955, when nine-year-old Donald graduated from Sunday school there. (Indeed, he swore in on this bible when inaugurated as President in 2017). Trump proudly refers to this as the bible his mother gave him – he has made mention of no other.
The 45th President of the United States of America keeps no ‘Hebrides Revival Bible’ in the Oval Office. On the contrary, as with his mother, it’s doubtful Donald Trump has even heard of the Lewis revival, let alone of his would-be great aunts. The entire story is one mammoth fabrication.
Feel free to share this post, letting others know the truth of the story.<< end Lennie quote
I have had a look at a close-up of the Bibles that President Trump has his hands on as he took the oath of office . Over Lincoln’s Bible(in a cover) is an English Revised Standard Version Bible…you can read the name of the edition on the Bible…obviously the one given to him by his mother in 1955 and first published in 1952.
A further point I can illustrate from my own knowledge of habits in Lewis in the first half of the 20th century (earlier too, and likely well into the second half of the century… I do not know whether this still happens. My husband was one of 3 Donalds in his family…he was the youngest of 4 brothers THREE of whom were called Donald. It was very important to call children after family names….my oldest son is Donald…It wasn’t enough, in some families at least, to call a son after his grandfather Donald,,, but if the other grandfather, the mother’s father, was also called Donald, your second son might also be given the name Donald. In my husband’s family, when he came along in 1931, he was called after a third Donald in the family…likely an uncle…I forget, and never met any of them….and do not remember who the 3 were called after except that they were 3 family members.
To distinguish among them they all got nicknames. Indeed so confusing was the naming among the people of my husband’s time and later that his local area put out a Gaelic Telephone Directory giving the real name and the nicknames of those who had telephones in the area….and obituaries in newspapers would sometimes add the nicknames in brackets after the real name of the person, so that people would know who the person was!
Mary Anne, as Lennie shows , had plenty Donalds in her immediate family…Mary Anne’s brother for example… as Lennie says, “Trump’s own uncle was called Donald.”
Of course the video should be taken down. However innocent Dr Sexton is in his telling of the story, it is not a factual story and one that the Left will delight in quoting against Donald Trump, just as the Right would love to be able to use it, except that they cannot as it isn’t factual.
For the church’s and Dr. Sexton’s own credibility, it is essential that it be removed. Tom Lennie’s letter was sent to me by a conservative Christian, related to a former minister in the Free Church of Scotland.
He does not pass on to me anything that he does not know to be accurate. I just wanted to add some extra information when I read in the piece I quoted above that the ‘left’ is spreading lies in connection with this video. Mary Anne still does have relatives in Lewis, but those mentioned on the tape are not the relatives they are claimed to be.