Journey to America
Help from the Indians
| The Shakers
were seen as odd and disruptive people, and on one occasion in 1770, were mobbed and
thrown into the Manchester prison. Everyone except Ann and her father had been released
after one day. They were treated harshly and given little food. An amazing occurrence took
place while Ann was in prison. She saw Jesus Christ in open vision, who revealed to her
the most astonishing views and Divine manifestations of truth, in which she had a perfect
and clear sight of the "mystery of iniquity," the root and foundation of all
human depravity, and of the very act of transgression committed by Adam and Eve in the
Garden of Eden.
While in prison, Ann became a new woman filled with spiritual strength. She described her vision to the rest of the society when she was released from prison, attacking sex as the source of all corruption. According to Shaker historians, her exhortations were delivered with "a heart-searching and soul quickening spirit that seemed to penetrate every secret of the heart." She also said that in her vision she received a light concerning the depravity of human nature and believed that "the weakness of the flesh" contributed to the seven worldly sins: lust, greed, vanity, sloth, envy, gluttony, and blasphemy. Anns followers titled her "Mother" after listening to her account, and they knew there was something special about her form then on.
|As Shaker membership increased, their attack on the Church of England for "condoning marriage" and because of its indifference to the suffering of its people; increased as well.|
For the next several years, the Shakers continued to be persecuted by the people and authorities of England, especially Ann. Once, she was chased by an angry mob that knocked her down with clubs, kicked and reviled her until "a certain nobleman" who was passing by on his horse, stopped and rescued her. Another time she escaped her pursuers by lying all night on the ice of a frozen pond. Another incident occurred when her own brother, who felt disgrace by her public behavior, beat Ann over her face and nose with a staff. She said that she felt and saw the bright rays of the glory of God, pass between her face and his staff and she never felt a thing. Because Ann survived so many trials and tribulations of persecution, her followers believed she had godlike powers and claimed she was the woman described in the twelfth chapter, first verse in Revelation where it says: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars."
|There was one occasion when Ann had been put into a madhouse, and she claimed that Jesus told her that she was his anointed successor on earth. In other words, she was the second coming of Christ as a woman. She told her followers how when this took place, she could actually feel Christs blood running through her body, and that when she speaks, it is actually Christ speaking through her. Ann announced to the people of Manchester: "I have been in fine valleys with Christ as a lover. I am married to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my head and my husband, and I have no other! I have walked hand in hand with Him in heaven." Manchesters authorities became fed up with Anns accusations and arrested her once more on blasphemy charges. Her accusers told her that her tongue must be bored through with a hot iron and that she must be branded on the cheek. She was led before the four most learned ministers in those parts. They asked her to speak in tongues. She told them that they must wait for Gods power to move her; for it was by the operation of the power of God that she spoke in other tongues. "Soon after, the power of God came upon me and I spoke to them in many different tongues of the wonderful works of God. These men, told the people not to hurt me. But the mob were not satisfied; their rage increased, and they said we must be stoned to death. The mob, however, was unable to hit any of the Shaker members that were present, and the people finally decided to give up and let the people live.|