New journal article out here on the history of (what I argue is) the first eugenics experiment in the U.S–stirpiculture at the Oneida Community. Many scholars, and those otherwise interested, often frame utopias such as the Oneida Community (OC) as “failed experiments.” I think this is a myopic analysis, especially in the case of the OC. The community lasted four decades–that’s a long time to live communally in dedication to principles never before carried out in history. It’s a long time to not have claims to any personal money, possessions, or even blood relatives. And it’s a long time to carry out a novel vision of a new American spiritual society. There were struggles–of course. But what my examination of stirpiculture signals to me is a dedication and follow-through on principles which radically reimagined the definitions many of us take for granted today. Marriage, property, childrearing, conception, reproduction, contraception, non-monogamous relationships–these are just some of the many concepts which were drastically rewritten by the OC and its leader John Humphrey Noyes.
St. Frances Cabrini Shrine
Patron Saint of Immigrants
Manhattan, New York
Niagara Falls, New York
Second Coming House of Prophet Isaiah
these are the seals– 7, this is the ark of the covenant , 7 point star represents God, God is a wheel, Jesus Christ at the bottom of the falls, last chance. the judgement seat of Jesus Christ is on Goat Island–where he will separate goats from the sheep. the Falls will transform into the lake of fire. we are scared China and Russia will use nuclear weapons. United States are protected by God. a black person in the White House? –reason why Barack Obama is in the White House is that he’s the last president. there will be no more presidents.”
in July the small town of Palymra, New York becomes the convergence point for a celebration nearly eight decades old. this is the Hill Cumorah Pageant, a production representing the cumulative effort of thousands of volunteer members from the LDS Church. these individuals forfeit three weeks of their summers–sometimes the only vacation time they have all year–to help construct, produce, and act in a dramatic rendition of the Book of Mormon. there are fire and water effects. there are points in the play when hundreds of newly-minted actors sway and jump in unison to music. there are actors who dramatically writhe as they are burnt alive in paper flame according to pre-recorded narration.
it was the second time i’ve been able to make it to “Pageant,” as they say. but Pageant isn’t just the production at the Hill Cumorah; it’s a larger experience of being in Palmyra where Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith grew up. and watching the unfolding of what many have only read about in the Book of Mormon, on the very site where Smith uncovered the plates from which he would later produce America’s homegrown bible. for me it was the opportunity to stand with Sister Reynolds, a young Mormon woman from Utah nearing the end of her mission, as she pointed out the significance of our tour location at the Smith family farm. “Right now,” she says with bright eyes bordering on tears, “We’re standing between two of the most holy places on Earth.” She was referring to our place between the the Hill Cumorah and the Sacred Grove, where Smith received his first vision.
i first met Sister Reynolds at Book of Mormon Publication Site on Main Street. She took me on a private tour which winded its way between two adjacent townhouses and culminated in a view of a first edition Book of Mormon (see below!).
we’re now in the midst of exchanging e-mail regarding seer stones and early Mormon history, and hope to meet at Pageant again next year.
-I’m researching the Father Divine movement right now and came across this uplifting video from the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Father and Mother Divine held on April 16th, 1996. The context of my research, conducted for a future book by Dr. Victoria Wolcott, concerns the utopian origins of the civil rights movement. Numerous projects of inter-racial cooperation during the first third of the century paved the course for future strategies utilized by civil rights groups. The Father Divine movement not only promoted a racially-inclusive faith, but started interracial co-operative farms in Ulster County, New York, as well as co-op restaurants and business in New York City during the 1930s and ’40s.
Video: The Father Divine Project