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Maurice Henry Waterfall's Conscientious Objector statement for the Second World War.



I feel this task of presenting my beliefs in a statement to be a difficult
one.  It would be easy to quote as my beliefs a multitude of texts
from the New Testament & other books in my library, but they would
be of little value to you in assessing the nature of my particular mind.
Perhaps the best way would be to sketch briefly the influences which
have worked to make my mind what it is.

My family on my fathers side goes back to the very beginnings
of the Society of Friends & my mother became a convinced Friend
after marriage.  I was thus brought up in a Quaker home & my
father had a particularly powerful influence on the formation of my
ideas.  I was educated at Ackworth & Bootham, both Quaker schools,
where the liberal free-thinking outlook made me extremely critical of
any ideas or beliefs before accepting them.  During the years 
which followed, my reading & thinking followed more materialistic lines
influenced to a certain extent by the writings of H.G.Wells & others; but 
I felt spiritually unsatisfied during all this time.  During the 
last four years I have come to realize as a result of personal
experiance that man cannot exist in his own strength alone, but is
dependant on God for his guidance.  It is the inattention to or
deliberate ignoring of Gods will that has led the world to the state in
which it now finds itself, & I become more & more convinced that 
the only solutions to the problems which beset mankind are
through the teachings of Christ.

I cannot presume to preach to people of far greater experiance
& more unquestioned integrity than myself, but in my own view, was
for whatever purpose or in however righteous a cause is utterly
incompatible with the Christian ethic.  If war is wrong then
military training is as wrong as it is useless, & compulsion for these
ends seeks to override the sanity of human personality & to form
men's consciences for them or deny them altogether.  In spite of the
fact that the majority of my fellow-countrymen think along different lines
I am convinced that the highest service I can render to my country
& to the world is to continue to interpret Christ's message according to
the Light within.

If I may at last quote from a statement issued during the
last war by the Society of Friends & equally applicable today:-
"Backed by these convictions, we hold the moral law of gentleness & 
forgivness & love to be unconditionally binding upon us now.....
It is our present sinning & stricken world that needs these redeeming 
messages in word & life.  May we be faithful to the vision!   It bears
with it a grave but splendid responsibility."

Feeling in common with other Friends the compulsion of a higher
authority than the state, I feel bound to ask for unconditional
registration as a conscientious objector; as being the only course
compatible with my beliefs.

M.H.Waterfall

Owner/SourceAnne Hazel Pennington
Datecirca 1939
Linked toWATERFALL Maurice Henry

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