Galen Beale


The stories of Believers who fought for the freedom of their country and then dedicated the remainder of their lives to a faith based on communalism, celibacy and pacifism are inspiring. One of these stories is told by Elder Henry Blinn in his epic two-volume history of the Canterbury Shakers. In his history, Blinn highlighted one of the larger personalities from the founding generation—an unusual early Believer named Peter Ayers who had been fortunate enough to meet Mother Ann several times. Blinn’s journals took particular notice of the Believers who knew Mother Ann, and his stories of Ayers embedded him forever in the Canterbury Shaker village story. This larger-than-life man was also highlighted by Isaac Hill in his publication Farmer’s Monthly Visitor. Together, these references to Ayers show how the Shakers’ sacred stories were edited, enhanced and confirmed.

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