Anne's Meetings and Statements Enrage Local Officials
Anne did not wait long before she arranged to hold meetings in her home to summarize the sermons heard at the First Church of Boston. Women were not usually permitted to participate in many ". . . religious and government affairs," but Anne slowly gained the ". . . respect of Puritan leaders" (Rau 2-3). The meetings, as with the ones in England and on the Griffin, were originally meant for women only. This soon changed. Anne's meetings became very popular and men started attending. Anne was a wonderful orator and her words captivated the crowds. Eventually, in 1637, Anne conducted the meetings twice a week (Anne 3).
During this time, Anne's meetings attracted a Boston newcomer, Henry Vane. Vane arrived in 1635 on the Defence with the new minister for the First Church of Boston, John Wilson. Vane readily accepted Anne's ideas and attended her weekly meetings. Wilson, on the other hand, was adamantly opposed to her teachings. Wilson was one of the leaders who helped expel Roger Williams from the colony in 1635 when his ideas grew too wayward (Anne 4). Wilson would have a hand in Anne's fate as well.
As the meetings grew, Anne began infiltrating her personal views and beliefs into the summaries of Cotton's sermons. The ministers of Massachusetts taught the Covenant of Works. Anne believed this was a lie and wanted the Covenant of Grace to be taught. Anne often told her followers to hear the inner voice of God and not look toward good deeds to be absolutely positive about salvation. This statement enraged the local officials. How were colonists supposed to respect the church and state officials if they thought their laws were lies (Slavicek 1)? Anne excited the officials once again when she proclaimed only two Boston preachers were teaching correctly: John Cotton and John Wheelwright. Anne pronounced these men were preaching the doctrine of religious freedom (Anne 4).
In 1636, Vane was elected governor of the Massachusetts colony. The colony was already divided over Anne and her meetings. John Winthrop, a founding father of the colony, longed for a city that was ruled by one religious belief and sought to rid Anne's views from the colony (Anne 4).
"Antinomians," Wheelwright Placed on Trial, and the Synod or