Ann Lee was born in Manchester
England on February 29
. Not much is known about her youth, but 'at a young age' she was put to work in a textile mill
. At 22 she joined a society of Quakers
who adapted some practices of a Protestant
group known as the Camisards
(or French Prophets
), such as uttering predictions, going into convolutions
, and trances
On January 5, 1762 she married Abraham Standerin, by whom she had 4 children, all of whom died in infancy. This was not a happy marriage, which probably influenced her later religious views.
In 1770 she was thrown in jail for disturbing the peace in church. While incarcerated, she had a vision of Christ, and later seems to have become convinced that she was The Second Coming of Christ.
On May 19, 1774 she and seven followers set sail for America, fleeing religious prosecution. Among these followers were her husband and her brother.
They set up in Watervliet, New York, and became the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, or the Shaking Quakers, or most familiarly, the Shakers. (Good node. Visit it).
One of main points of Shakerism is No Sex. Mother Ann was convinced that sex was sufficient reason to go to hell. (In her own words sex is "a covenant with death and an agreement with hell").
Needless to say, a society won't last very long with out new members coming into it (especially in the 1700s), so the Shakers were open to new recruitments. They are known for allowing anyone to join, and considering all to be equal, regardless of race or sex. They also adopted orphans.
Other things characteristic of Shakers are going into convulsions, dancing, shouting, prophesizing in tongues, singing without words, etc. (Hence the name), and living in communes called colonies.
Mother Ann died in 1784 on September 8.
An anthropology teacher.
http://automaticwriting.com/Chapter_45/chapter_45.html (Good site)