Did You Know?: Lincoln was an accomplished wrestler: He was defeated only once in about 300 matches, and is enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame.
"....But Mansfield notes other factors besides political calculation that coincided with changes in his faith. Two ministers whose writing he admired and whom he sought out personally shaped his thinking, and he continued to read and study the Bible, a habit learned from his mother. Though he never joined any church, he attended Sunday services of his wife's Presbyterian congregation in Washington – and even a Tuesday evening prayer meeting, listening from the pastor's office so as not to be distracted.
The death of his beloved son, Willie, in the depths of the Civil War might have turned Lincoln permanently from God, but instead confirmed his religious quest, Mansfield argues. Insistently, he asked clergymen for guidance about "the state of the soul after death."
He came to see the unrelenting carnage of the Civil War as God's judgment and punishment for slavery, as he says in his second inaugural shortly before his assassination.
Mansfield notes that "we want conclusions rather than processes, ... conversions rather than religious journeys," and that that can keep us from recognizing Lincoln as "one of our most religious presidents."