A long-lasting celibate utopia, which believed the end times had already begun

1747 - present

Drawing of a typical Shaker religious service, which was very lively and included organized dances

The Shakers were one of the most famous utopias in American history. They believed that the second coming of Christ was already happening through them and banded together to form communities throughout the northwestern United States. In accordance with this apocalyptic vision, they saw themselves as the Kingdom of God on earth, embracing celibacy, perfectionism, pacifism, and communal ownership of property.

After the industrial revolution, the Shakers struggled to keep up with modern technology. For this reason and their commitment to celibacy, membership started to decline, and the organization officially closed its doors in 1965. Today, just a few Shakers still exist in a small community in Maine, and defunct villages are popular tourist attractions that remind visitors of simpler times.

Religion: Christianity

Denomination: Other

Founder: Ann Lee ("Mother Ann")

Founded: 1747 in England

Size: 6,000 members in 19 communities (1840)

Location: United States

Also called: Shaking Quakers; United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing (USBCSA); United Society of Believers

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