"We're not a big party, son. We're just a handful of people sent out to mark the trail and prepare the ground for those who are gonna come after us. By next summer they'll be 100 families on the move. And they're countin' on us to have a crop ready for them. And if we don't, they'll starve, sure as shootin'. That's why we gotta reach that valley before the winter rains come. We been prayin' that we'd be showed the way. It might just be that you boys are the answer to our prayers.... Leading our wagons to the San Juan, to a valley that's been reserved for us by the Lord, been reserved for His people. So we can plow it and seed it and make it fruitful in His eyes."
"That's right, son. That's why I keep my hat on, so my horns don't show. Why I've got more wives than Solomon hisself. At least that's what folks around here say. And if they don't say it, they, they think it."
"Elena de la Madriaga: Ladies and gentleman, it seems like if the only embarrassment here tonight is my presence, if the truth will quiet your unspoken questions, I give it gladly. For five years, I was the woman of the Comanche Stone Calf. He treated me like a wife. The work was hard, the scoldings frequent. And occasionally he beat me. I did not bear him any children. I know that many of you regard me as a degraded woman. Degraded by the touch of a savage Comanche, by having had to live as one of them. You said, why did I not kill myself. I did not. Why, I, I can't. Guthrie McCabe: Well I as hell can. She didn't kill herself because her religion forbids it. You know sometimes it takes a lot more courage to live than it does to die."
"Whenever I'm asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one. To be able to recognize a freak, you have to have some conception of the whole man, and in the South the general conception of man is still, in the main, theological."
"The exterior must be joined to the interior to obtain anything from God, that is to say, we must kneel, pray with the lips, and so on, in order that proud man, who would not submit himself to God, may be now subject to the creature."
"There are only three kinds of people: those who serve God, having found him; others who are occupied in seeking him, not having found him; while the remainder live without seeking him and without having found him. The first are reasonable and happy; the last are foolish and unhappy; those between are unhappy and unreasonable."
"Scepticism is true; for after all, men before Jesus Christ did not know where they were, nor whether they were great or small. And those who have said the one or the other, knew nothing about it, and guessed without reason and by chance. They also erred always in excluding the one or the other."
"Those to whom God has imparted religion by feeling of the heart are very fortunate and are rightly convinced. But to those who do not have it, we can give it only by reasoning, waiting for God to give it by feeling of the heart--without which faith is only human and useless for salvation."
"We do not weary of eating and sleeping every day, for hunger and sleepiness recur. Without that we should weary of them. So, without the hunger for spiritual things, we weary of them. Hunger after righteousness--the eighth beatitude."
"The conduct of God who disposes all things kindly, is to put religion into the mind by reason, and into the heart by grace. But to attempt to put it into the mind and heart by force and threats is not to put religion there, but terror."
"All great religions, in order to escape absurdity, have to admit a dilution of agnosticism. It is only the savage, whether of the African bush or the American gospel tent, who pretends to know the will and intent of God exactly and completely."
"The churches ... have lost much of their authority over youth because they have refused to re-examine their religious sanctions and their dogmatic preaching in the light of modern physiology, psychology and sociology."
"Our rural village life was a purifying, uplifting influence that fortified us against the later impacts of urbanization; Church and State, because they were separated and friendly, had spiritual and ethical standards that were mutually enriching; freedom and discipline, individualism and collectivity, nature and nurture in their interaction promised an ever stronger democracy. I have no illusions that those simpler, happier days can be resurrected."