Martin Stephan and Fourth Generation Stephans

In the mid 2000’s we fourth generation Stephans raised the bar to a new level. Both Phillip Stephan and I became intensely absorbed by our Great-great Grandfather, albeit independently. When we compared notes, the reasons for our mutual passion were almost identical: we were tired of hearing the same old negative stories and poisonous “facts” repeated, which drove some Stephans to change church synods, denominations or even leave the church. Like Theo Stephan and Pastor Koepchen, we wanted to set the record straight. With my help, insights and support, Phil worked on his book about Martin Stephan. We conducted numerous long discussions by phone. As fate would have it, I accompanied my partner Julie Sibson to take care of her dying mother in England in 2007. The following year, Julie and I exiled from the US to Germany.
In 2009, Philip finished his bold book. A truer picture of what happened to Martin Stephan emerged. The era of Forster domination ended. Phil uncovered unknown or suppressed facts, shattered many myths, revised some tales, questioned conclusions considered holy by the LCMS and gossiping members.
In the same year cousins Phil, Luke, Robert, Tom Stephan and I flew (from Germany) to St Louis to meet the President of the LCMS and other church officials. All of us fourth generation Stephans, we offered a proposal for reconciliation between Stephan decedents and the church. Our efforts were futile.
No conclusion does not mean the matter rested there. The inquiries, emails, and phone calls from Germany and abroad concerning Martin Stephan reached a critical mass. I realized there was still more work to do beyond Phil’s book. The family exchanged oral history. No one else knows these facts–and as mentioned earlier, I have most of the relevant primary documents in my possession. Sadly, Phil died in 2016.
The only person to carry the baton was me. Thus my historical, literary blog.

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