20 September 2013

research notes: Shaker worship was loud and unruly

"Shaker worship was loud and unruly. It involved singing of an impassioned kind, very out of kilter with the great British tradition of mouthing hymns in a combination of boredom and respect. What the Shakers would have lacked altogether, from an orthodox point of view, is any sense of spiritual etiquette. Indeed, as the writer in the Virginia Gazette had pointed out, they didn't scruple at using folk tunes, some of which had distinctly racy connotations. This was home-made religion, which would have offended the decorum of the established churches and, perhaps more importantly, challenged the class structure and social regulation that were implicit in it."

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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