Clipped From The Weekly Wisconsin
A SECfiET BELIGION, - . * ' • .:'• .- . • / V • -' : "Truth Knowers" of Kenosha Are Gathering in Many Recruits to Their Belief. Kenosha, Wis., Oct. 31.—[Spe«ial.]— The'one topic of interest in Kenosha is the impending battle between the representatives of the Protestant churches and the leaders of the sect known as the "Truth Knowers." The sensational demonstration against the sect which occurred at the Methodist church on last Sunday evening has made the fight between the churches and the sect one of paramount interest. Within the past twenty-four hours the members of the secret sect have mustered a crowd of believers in the city. Among the members of the society, ore to be found many of the best-known people of the city and not a few of them have been recruited from the pews of the churches with which they are now in open warfare. One of the ministers said this morning, "I have lost three members to the sect during the past week." What the .belief of the Truth Knowers may be is a hidden secret. None who have ever passed the portals of the belief have been found who would divulge the secrets learned in the mysteries of the temple. The sect is of recent growth and the society in Kenosha is said to be the second strongest in the West. It is impossible to tell how .many members the society has in this city as only the leaders are known, and they have not volnteered to speak of the strength of the society from a numerical standpoint. One of the Protestant ministers stated today that he thought the society had fully 500 converts in this city. They have no meeting place, but gather at the home of cue of the members, where the regular weekly lesson is given. In this manner the present controversy arose. One Stoyan Strogroff Vatralsky was invited to become a member of their cult and when he had attended all the lec- •tures up to the last one of the course he resigned from the society and he was at once taken up by the churches. He consented to give an expose of the doings.^of the cult. Vatralsky is a man of great education. A Bulgarian by birth, he graduated from Oxford and then came to this country and graduated from Harvard with the highest honors. Being a man of independent fortune, he has made a specialty of the study of religions and has been in all parts of the world for this purpose. A few months ago he came to this city and took a modest room in the outskirts of the city. It was stated at the time that he had conie to familiarize himself with the doctrine of the "Truth Knqwers," a new sect. He took the lectures for some time, but when the followers demanded that he take the oath of secrecy he cut himself off and at once appeared as the opponent of the sect. He went to the ministers in town and explained his reasons for remaiuing in the city. He said that the "Truth Knowers" were nothing more or less than followers of Mohammed and that they were doing a great harm to orthodox religions in the city. Churches were thrown open to him and in a few weeks he became a champion of orthodoxy. None of the churches in the city have been large enough to hold the crowds which have turned out to hear him. He has also appeared as a defender of the faith in the city papers and finally he decided to make the -whole teachings of the order public. This declaration raised a howl of protest from the sect and they at once branded him as a traitor to the cause and claim that in every word he utters he is betraying a sacred confidence. But the Bulgarian is not to be turned from the path and yesterday afternoon he forwarded to Chicago a challenge, asking Dr. Khrella, the leader of the "Truth Knowers" in the United States, to meet him in joint debate in this city in the" near future.