The Shakers started in Manchester in 1747. They were so-called by their opponents because some of them experienced bodily agitation while worshipping. (Similar to the Quakers, then.)They were united by their belief if Christ’s second coming. Their leader, Mother Ann (Ann Lee, 1736-1784) experienced visions and was imprisoned for her views. Because of their persistent persecution, the Shakers decided to emigrate and in 1774 they all arrived in Albany in New York state.
By 1850 there were 6000 of them. Now there is just one colony in Maine.
They observed the following rules:
- community of goods
- simple lifestyle
They believed that:
- God embodies maleness and femaleness
- All men and women are called to holiness
- Sex is a covenant with the devil and the cause of all human suffering
- Christ will not return to earth in the flesh.
Morris, J.M. & Kross, A.L. “Historical Dictionary of Utopianism” Scarecrow Press (2004)