Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Free-Love, Open-Marriage Sect to Visit President Trump's White House

Not quite, but there is some history behind this story that "America's last flatware maker, an Upstate New York company, has caught the attention of President Donald Trump as part of his effort to boost American manufacturing" — Trump invites Upstate NY flatware maker, America's last, to White House.

The company in question, Sherrill Manufacturing, "was founded in 2005 when Matt Roberts and Greg Owens bought the factory and equipment from their former employer, Oneida Limited," which "originated in the late-nineteenth century in Oneida, New York" and "arose out of the utopian Oneida Community," who, "believ[ing] that Jesus had already returned in AD 70, making it possible for them to bring about Jesus's millennial kingdom themselves, and be free of sin and perfect in this world, ... practiced communalism (in the sense of communal property and possessions), complex marriage, male sexual continence, and mutual criticism."

Complex marriage?
    The Oneida community believed strongly in a system of free love (a term Noyes is credited with coining) known as complex marriage, where any member was free to have sex with any other who consented. Possessiveness and exclusive relationships were frowned upon. Unlike 20th-century social movements such as the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s, the Oneidans did not seek consequence-free sex for pleasure, but believed that, because the natural outcome of intercourse was pregnancy, raising children should be a communal responsibility. Women over the age of 40 were to act as sexual "mentors" to adolescent boys, as these relationships had minimal chance of conceiving. Furthermore, these women became religious role models for the young men. Likewise, older men often introduced young women to sex. Noyes often used his own judgment in determining the partnerships that would form, and would often encourage relationships between the non-devout and the devout in the community, in the hopes that the attitudes and behaviors of the devout would influence the non-devout.
    To control reproduction within the Oneida community, a system of male continence or coitus reservatus was enacted. Noyes decided that sexual intercourse served two distinct purposes. The primary purpose was social satisfaction, “to allow the sexes to communicate and express affection for one another”. The second purpose was procreation. Of around two hundred adults using male continence as birth control, there were twelve unplanned births within Oneida between 1848 and 1868. Young men were introduced to male continence by women who were post-menopause, and young women were introduced by experienced, older males.

    Noyes believed that ejaculation "drained men’s vitality and led to disease" and pregnancy and childbirth "levied a heavy tax on the vitality of women". Noyes founded male continence to spare his wife, Harriet, from more difficult childbirths after five traumatizing births of which four led to the death of the child. They favored this method of male continence over other methods of birth control because they found it to be natural, healthy and favorable for the development of intimate relationships. If a male failed they faced public disapproval or private rejection
"Complex marriage was abandoned in 1879 following external pressures and the community soon broke apart, with some of the members reorganizing as a joint-stock company," whose heirs will visit the President. The Oneida Community and their free-loving ways may be gone, but two other Burned-Over District heresies from the same time, Mormonism and Adventism, have gone global.

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