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Religion and sexuality : three American communal experiments of the nineteenth century / Lawrence Foster.


New York : Oxford University Press, 1981.
ISBN 0195027949, 9780195027945

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Subjects Celibacy -- Case studies.
Celibacy.
Collective settlements -- United States -- Case studies.
Collective settlements.
Mormon Church -- United States -- History.
Mormon Church.
Oneida Community -- History.
Oneida Community.
Polygamy -- United States -- Case studies.
Polygamy.
Shakers -- History.
Shakers.
Trauma's (psychologie)
United States.
Description xi, 363 pages ; 24 cm
Copyright Date 1981.
Notes Based on the author's thesis, University of Chicago.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 341-352) and index.
Summary From the Dust Jacket: From the earliest days of settlement to the present, Americans have experimented with varied forms of communal living, alternative marriage and sexual patterns, and other unorthodox lifestyles. During the turbulent decades before the Civil War in particular, thousands of Americans joined communally oriented religious groups which rejected existing family and sex-role patterns. In Religion and Sexuality, Lawrence Foster analyzes the origin, early development, and institutionalization of three such alternative systems-Shaker celibacy, Oneida Community complex marriage, and Mormon polygamy. These three experiments highlight the process by which individuals and groups can radically change an entire belief system and way of life. Based on extensive research in the primary sources-including the first work ever conducted by a non-Mormon with full access to the central Mormon archival holdings on polygamy in Salt Lake City-Religion and Sexuality breaks new ground both factually and conceptually. Foster presents his findings in case studies, sympathetically yet critically describing the development of each experiment. A comparative introduction and conclusion link the groups to each other and to the antebellum crisis in marriage and family life that led eventually toward more restrictive sexual attitudes. Special attention is devoted to the role of women and the reorganization of sex roles in each of these movements. Although many previous accounts have treated these experiments as failures, Foster emphasizes the factors that allowed each of the groups to create and maintain a successful alternative system for over a quarter of a century. He concludes that these communal experiments reveal a distinctive type of religious creativity which has implications for any period of crisis and transition. In each case, an initial overpowering visionary experience of the prophet-founder led not to psychopathic withdrawal but to an active attempt to create a new and more satisfying way of life.
Contents Part 1: New Heaven And A New Earth: The Millennial Impulse And The Creation Of Alternative Family Systems -- Anthropological perspectives -- Social context -- Millennial response -- Structure of this study -- Part 2: They Neither Marry Nor Are Given In Marriage: The Origins And Early Development Of Celibate Shaker Communities -- English origins of Shakerism -- Early growth of the Shakers in America -- Hostility toward the Shakers -- Organizing the movement -- Tensions of transition -- Second wave of expansion -- Shaker membership: impressionistic perspectives -- Shaker membership: a quantitative analysis -- Daily life among the Shakers -- Spiritual manifestations: crisis and renewal -- Part 3: That All May Be One: John Humphery Noyes And The Origins Of Oneida Community Complex Marriage -- John Humphrey Noyes and his religious quest -- Rethinking relations between the sexes -- Noyes's marriage and the move toward community -- Ideological underpinnings -- New forms of social control: male continence and mutual criticism -- First steps toward group marriage at Putney -- Reorganizing relations between the sexes at Oneida -- Institutionalization of complex marriage -- Daily life at Oneida -- Stirpiculture and the end of complex marriage -- Noyes in retrospect -- Part 4: New And Everlasting Covenant Of Marriage: Joseph Smith And The Origins Of Mormon Polygamy, 1831-1844 -- Four approaches to the origins of Mormon polygamy -- Joseph Smith's sense of religious mission -- Intellectual origins of polygamy before Nauvoo -- Pivotal period in Nauvoo -- Revelation on plural marriage and eternal family relationships -- Reactions to polygamy -- Joseph Smith's plural wives -- Irregularities and forgotten practices -- Liminality and communitas -- Bennett scandal -- Pamphlet defense of polygamy -- Parting of the ways -- Part 5: Puritan Polygamy: Brigham Young And The Institutionalization Of Mormon Polygamy, 1844-1852 -- Role of Brigham Young -- Schismatic challenges to Brigham Young -- Prophet who failed -- Westward migration and the law of adoption -- Public announcement of plural marriage -- Practice of polygamy -- Status advantages for women under polygamy -- Divorce and polygamy in Utah -- Crusade against polygamy -- Part 6: Radical Products Of The Great Revivals: Reflections On Religion, The Family, And Social Change -- Women and the structure of religious authority -- Women and economic life -- Woman and sexual expression -- Ideals of the family, motherhood, and childrearing -- Relations with the larger society -- Causes of decline -- Permanent revolution? -- Appendix -- Notes -- Essay on sources -- Index.
Genre Case studies.
History.
Geographic Area United States
Network Numbers (OCoLC)6447299
(OCoLC)ocm06447299
WorldCat Search OCLC WorldCat
WorldCat Identities Foster, Lawrence, 1947-
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