5 September 2013

research notes: Ann Lee

"The fact that Ann's experience in this respect was normal for her time and class doesn't mean that she herself enjoyed it or approved of it. When she was in her forties, and far away in America, she had occasion to give advice to a poor woman called Beulah Rude, who had five children, hardly an unusual number at the time. `Five! Five!' Ann exclaimed. `When you had one, why did you not wait and see if you were able to bring up that as you ought before you had another? And when you had two, why did you not stop then? But now you have five! Are you not ashamed to live in the filthy works of the flesh? You must go and take up your cross, and put your hands to work, and be faithful in your business; clothe your children, and keep them clean and decent; and clean up your house and keep that in order.' One can picture the poor woman's dismay or even rage at being on the receiving end of such a tirade, particularly since the advice was coming a bit late in the day."

from Ann the Word: The Story of Ann Lee, Female Messiah, Mother of the Shakers, The Woman Clothed with the Sun by Richard Francis

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