RELIGION LIBRARY

Shakers

The Shakers (the common name for the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing) were a Protestant, millennial sect founded in the 18th century C.E. in the United States. The Shakers traced their origins back to the "Shaking Quakers" in England who were noted for their energetic and loud worship services including shaking, shouting, dancing, and speaking in tongues. After suffering persecution, Quaker Ann Lee had a series of revelations in which she understood herself to be the female half of God's dualist nature as well as the second Incarnation of Christ. In 1774, Lee moved to the United States with eight disciples and founded a community in New York based on an elaborate theology emphasizing simplicity, hard work, and celibacy. Within five years the group grew into a community of several thousand members. After Ann Lee's death in 1784, the Shakers continued to thrive under the leadership of Eldress Lucy Wright and Elder Joseph Meachem who created a unique social organization including communities of celibate men and women having all material possessions in common and living together in dormitories. Over the next decades, Shaker villages spread throughout New England as well as to Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. In spite of requiring celibacy of its members, Shaker villages continued to grow and by the 1840s, the Shaker church had over 6,000 members. However, by 1900 the movement had fewer than a thousand members. The Shakers are noted for their unique, simplistic style of architecture and furniture, as well as numerous inventions.

Quick Facts

Formed 1747
Adherents 3
Deity God (Trinity)
Sacred Text Bible, writings of Mother Ann Lee
Origin England
Headquarters Sabbathday Lake, ME (USA)
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