From: Wade T.Smith (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 31 Oct 2002 - 04:14:28 GMT
On Wednesday, October 30, 2002, at 05:34 , firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> You mean the Shakers died out rather than reproduce
As was related to me from my visits to Shaker villages, many Shakers
simply left, and reproduced outside of 'Shakerdom'. The ones that
remained did not reproduce, and, in some instances, immigrants were
content to stay. There was no interior reproduction of Shakers.
Some people came to the Shakers not because of their reproductive
beliefs, but because of their austere and idiosyncratic woodworking
styles. This is really the only remaining vestige of Shaker life, and it
is a quite strong one, almost legendary.
> (according to you) the prohibition against engaging in sexual behavior
> was not taught to new members by existent ones, accepted by the
> neophytes, and subsequently retained in their memory?
Again, I have not make my meaning clear, alas. Of course this
prohibition was _taught_, and probably remembered, as we all remember it
now, although we do not act upon it, thinking it foolish. Whether or not
neophytes accepted this prohibition, well, how to know? The ones who
wanted to reproduce, or found themselves incapable of not reproducing,
left, and reproduced as non-Shakers. (Not one of your non-behaviors....)
The ones that stayed lived out their lives as Shakers. To be a Shaker is
to die a Shaker. There are no neophyte Shakers to ask this acceptance
of. Even the condition of celibacy of adherents is losing force among
many religious heirarchies, and was a stricture of relative few to begin
But there are many aspects of Shaker life that have lived on, although
their austerity and elegant wood techniques were shared in varied ways
by many utopian experiments and cabinetmakers.
Shakers made some assumption that there was an attractiveness to their
lifestyle that would attract the wandering, but they were mistaken.
Market forces? Simple unnaturalness? I'm sure much can be said about the
reasons there are no Shakers anymore, but, the simple fact that
attrition was built-in had to be a big part of it. Didn't much matter
what one accepted- if one reproduced, one was no longer a Shaker. Just
as I'm no longer a non-voter.
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