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Abstract

Throughout the history of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing the sect has welcomed interaction with other communal societies. Sometimes, though, these relationships created problems that neither participant foresaw.

The late-nineteenth-century Shakers’ progressive nature enabled them to discuss their theology in an open manner that allowed for outside perspectives regarding all but a handful of core Shaker principles—celibacy, confession of sins, and community of goods. This openness to new ideas was exercised to perhaps its breaking point in the Shakers’ interaction with Dr. Cyrus Reed Teed. The Shakers may have discussed their theology at a deeper level with the Koreshan leader than with any other outsider, particularly one who was bent on changing their core beliefs.

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