Utopia & Sex

JOHN HUMPHREY NOYES was a man of great vision–a deluded and selfish vision–yet one which inspired others to forsake their ordinary lives to join him in Christian communism.

Sharing looks good on paper.

Noyes was a magnetic man who believed in “healing energy.” He believed, like most 19th century perfectionist utopians, that the kingdom of heaven would be ushered in, not by trumpets and angels, but by good Christian men and women.

Noyes, in a dark night of the soul, convinced himself that he was to lead humanity (or at least a bunch of Americans) to this new heaven on earth. As their leader he would share his revelation (after marrying a dowdy but financially secure woman) that the first system of marriage illustrated throughout Genesis was now obsolete. Hadn’t Jesus told the SADDUCEES there were no marriages in heaven?

nymphs_finding_the_head_of_orpheus
Nymphs Finding The Head Of Orpheus

As above, so below was Noyes’ mantra. There were healings and possibly some good times. Mediocrity was seen as a special characteristic–one that kept people humble–even as Noyes’ enjoyed more and more power. By decreeing himself highly trained in love-making and instituting a “training program” by which young men were taught self control and the right way to sexually please women without getting them pregnant, Noyes’ embraced selective breeding and women’s rights.

What could possibly go wrong?

A friend of mine who grew up in a free love commune said it was a terribly unstable and lonely place for children. He noted the feel was more like a harem than anything heavenly. Dowdy women often footed the bills. Good-looking men were fought over.

john-william-waterhouse-the-easy-chair
Lonely child?

I lived with a couple who believed in no special god. They believed only they created the universe. They believed in wind turbines and open, communistic marriages. These beliefs reflected in their real lives looked something like this: hatred for those who weren’t as highly educated and environmentally aware and an underlying aggression toward each other over sexual slights and unmet needs.

Noyes had magnetism. Women wanted to have sex with his magnetism. His wife had to be convinced his revelations were from God.

The community did make nice silverware.

Does free love  work for anyone? I have only anecdotal evidence that it does not.

RELATED: VISIT JOHN HUMPHREY NOYES’ 19th CENTURY COMMUNE: SEX AS GOOD MEDICINE

ONEIDA SILVERWARE

READ ABOUT BUCK CRENSHAW’S ADVENTURES AT A 19th CENTURY COMMUNE

 

 

17 thoughts on “Utopia & Sex

    • Eisenhower said “beware of the military industrial (and I would add media and educational) complex.”

      Hoax is just another word for conspiracy, isn’t it? Conspiracies have actually taken place since the beginning of recorded history so I wonder at how shocked we are when we find our politicians corrupt (dare I say evil in some cases).

      I think humans are wired to seek God, but we so often seek gods in human form. Our idols lead us astray whether they be democrat or republican.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Reflected in many current snake oil salesmen, no matter their “faith.” The tragedy is, as you note, the very sad children of such false partnerships. I tend not to believe anyone who says they have the ultimate answer, because all they want is ultimate power. People are flawed. I prefer the friendships of those who are humble; they seem more genuine.

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    • Humility is so underrated. I agree. The problem with the you’re okay, I’m okay approach to life is it can lead to no self-reflection. I did have a lot of fun getting into the mind of a manipulative, power-obsessed religious leader in my third novel featuring Buck as protege. I surprised myself with how enjoyable it was being that kind of person if only briefly. There’s a certain freedom in being a jerk.:)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How can children thrive in FREE LOVE? Which is mother? Who’s father with now?
    I don’t think it works….I hope not as it’s so against societal order and morality and good feelings brought by values which honor the raising of children, their protection, etc.

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    • Let’s face it, it’s hard enough to love our own kids sometimes. 🙂 “Shared” kids is a recipe for neglected ones. You see it all the time in teaching. Certain kids take longer to know or just don’t have the skills to get the attention–imagine if they were competing all day and night?

      The instability of the adults’ lives and relationships are a disaster for kids even if it feels fun and exciting for the grownups.

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