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John Humphrey Noyes
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    (September 3, 1811-April 13, 1886)
    Born in Battleboro, Vermont
    Founded the Perfectionist movement
    Said that the Second Coming of Jesus had occurred in AD 70 and that a sinless life was therefore possible by accepting Christ into one's soul
    Founded the Oneida Community in upstate New York (1848)
    Movement had 300 members at its peak
    He was expelled from Yale's theology school and had his minister's license revoked after he declared himself free of sin (1834).
    One year after declaring, 'When the will of God is done on Earth, there will be no marriage,' he wed a rich heiress (1838).
    At Oneida, emotional attachments, even that of a parent to a child, were denounced as selfish and sinful.
    The Community practiced 'complex marriage' in which everyone was considered married to everyone else.
    He enjoyed being 'first husband' for Oneida's virgins -- some as young as ten.
    He fled to Canada to avoid being busted for statutory rape (1879).
    It's probably just a coincidence, but future presidential assassins Charles Guiteau and Leon Czolgosz were both members of the Oneida Community.
    After his minister's license was revoked, he said, 'I took away their license to sin and they go on sinning. They have taken away my license to preach but I shall go on preaching.'
    At Oneida, the female orgasm was the desired outcome of every sexual encounter, on the theory that the more love one gave, the closer one got to God.
    A few months after exiling himself to Canada, he wrote to Oneida and said it was time to abandon complex marriage and live in a more traditional manner.
    The Community was a financial success, raising and canning fruits and vegetables, and manufacturing animal traps, silk thread and silverware.
    The Community eventually reorganized as the stock company Oneida Limited (1881) and was one of the world's largest producers of silverware through most of the 20th century.
    The Oneida Community Mansion House was declared a National Historic Landmark (1965).

Credit: C. Fishel

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