Anti-Shaker - Anti-Shakerism Today

Anti-Shakerism Today

During the twentieth century the Shakers went into significant decline, so hostility to Shakerism did as well. Although never a large denomination, their influence had been disproportionate due to their skills at seed businesses and their general productivity. However technology and culture changed so by the 1970s the faith had been reduced to a scattering of elderly women.

This decline led even ex-Shakers to view them in relatively positive terms. This began in the 1860s as toward the end of her life Mary Dyer had difficulty making friends among apostate Shakers. They viewed her as too harsh and her son never reconnected with her furthering the discomfort with her. As the group declined further most viewed them as being, at worst, as sexually repressed eccentrics who at least made nice furniture. A more common view saw them as quaint or even idyllic.

There remain small elements of the Christian countercult movement that still use the Shakers as an example of a cult. Robert S. Liichow links it more to real or perceived New-Age cults. Lastly some indicate the term "Shaker" itself is an abusive one and that the proper term is "The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing," although as with the Quakers, that issue has largely ebbed.

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