"Most writers have treated these three groups and the social ferment out of which they grew as simply an American sideshow. . . . In this book, therefore, I have attempted to go beyond the conventional focus on what these groups did; I have also sought to explain why they did what they did and how successful they were in terms of their own objectives. By trying sympathetically to understand these extraordinary experiments in social and religious revitalization, I believe it is possible to come to terms with a broader set of questions that affect all men and women during times of crisis and transition."--From the preface
Winner of the Best Book Award, Mormon History Association
This was part of my research for my novel-in-progress, Perfecting Eden, which is a fictional account of the lives of my ancestors in the Oneida Community. Foster's perspective and the long quotations from Oneida writings that he includes were very helpful.
Interesting exploration of three different types of alternative religions and their views on sexuality. The chapters on the Shakers and the Oneida were very interesting and well thought out. The two chapters on the Mormons were less well developed, but the overall book was interesting.