Millennial Church, AlethiansGeneral Information
Beginning in England at a Quaker revival in 1747, the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, also known as the Millennial Church, or the Alethians, came to be called Shakers because of the trembling induced in them by their religious fervor. Led by James and Jane Wardley, the so - called Shaking Quakers were a minor religious sect until Ann Lee became the head of the movement.
Mother Ann, as she was known, believed that she had received the feminine principle of the deity. Following imprisonment for her unorthodox views, she experienced a vision and led (1774) a small group to the United States, where they established (1776) a community at Watervliet, N Y Mother Ann made a number of converts, and after her death (1784) they established further communities under the leadership of Joseph Meacham and Lucy Wright. By 1826 there were 18 Shaker communities with about 6,000 members in 8 states. Their peak period was 1840 - 60. As revivalism declined after the Civil War, so did the fortunes of the communities. By 1980 the Shakers were almost extinct.
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Henry Warner Bowden
E D Andrews, The People Called Shakers (1953); E D / F Andrews, Work and Worship: The Economic Order of the Shakers (1974); N R Campion, Ann the Word: The Life of Mother Ann Lee, Founder of the Shakers (1976); H Desroche, American Shakers(1971); D Faber, The Perfect Life: The Shakers in America (1974); D W Patterson, The Shaker Spiritual (1979); J Sprigg, By Shaker Hands (1975); A White and L S Taylor, Shakerism (1904); J M Whitworth, God's Blueprints: A Sociological Study of Three Utopian Sects (1975).
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