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Your evening longread: The last living members of the Shaker religious sect

It’s a coronavirus-free zone as we bring you an interesting longread each evening to take your mind off the news.

EVERY WEEK, WE bring you a round-up of the best longreads of the past seven days in Sitdown Sunday.

And now, every weeknight, we bring you an evening longread to enjoy which will help you to escape the news cycle. 

We’ll be keeping an eye on new longreads and digging back into the archives for some classics.

The last living Shakers

The Shakers are a sect that is over 200 years old. In 2019, a journalist visited the last two members of the sect, Arnold and June.

(Commonweal Magazine, approx 20 mins reading time)

Arnold and June are celibate, own property in common, and confess their sins to each other. These are the essential “three Cs” of the Shakers, modeled on the chaste, communal life of Christ. To become a Shaker, you must be debt-free: no mortgages or student loans. You must also be a pacifist. Shakers are wary of nitpicky dogma, and their theology is simple: God is love; Christ’s return is experienced spiritually by anyone open to the “anointing spirit of God.” Shaker faith seems to be more an emulation than a rigid creed. Arnold and June, like the Shakers before them, believe they have found the best way of living, a literal heaven on earth. 
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A Shaker reenactor welcomes people to the former Centre family dwelling in the Shaker village of Pleasant Hill.

A Shaker reenactor welcomes people to the former Centre family dwelling in the Shaker village of Pleasant Hill.

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