He had sought both medical and psychiatric advice on this problem over a number of years, but nothing had worked.
In those days there was no such thing as a sex therapist and his main advice had been to “pull himself together and snap out of it.” Sound advice, but not much use to poor old Andy.
Every few years, it seems, conservative religious groups, quiescent or unnoticed, come blazing back onto the national scene, and the secular press reacts like the bad guy in the 1971 western Big Jake who says to John Wayne, “I thought you were dead.” Wayne drily answers, “Not hardly.” Now, in The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, Frances Fitz Gerald answers the recurrent question, “Where did these people [mainly right-wing zealots] come from? Evangelical religion is revival religion, that of emotional contagion.
But she does direct us to the right starting point, to the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Great Awakenings, major religious events in our early history when the word “evangelicalism” came into wide American use.
John Humphrey Noyes so fervently believed sleeping around could lead to immortality that he convinced 300 people to join him in a utopian socialist community built on that very principle, in upstate New York.
As he saw it, promiscuous “interlocked contact” between men and women—in the form of a polyamory scheme he called “Complex Marriage”—would generate enough spiritual energy to propel the human race into some sort of electrically powered, divinely connected eternal life.
”Her family’s Oneida Community lineage was a staple of Wayland-Smith’s upbringing, though her later research revealed a far stranger story than what she gleaned as a child, wandering through the 93,000-square-foot Oneida, NY “Mansion House” Noyes and his followers once occupied. ’ the narrative would say, ‘These are your ancestors, and they were these social reformers who thought that all people should live equally, and they created this utopian community experiment.’”Outside of a vague awareness that Oneida’s members practiced “something called Complex Marriage,” Noyes’ wilder theories about sex and God never came up.
The great Samuel Johnson said of Whitefield, “He would be followed by crowds were he to wear a night-cap in the pulpit, or were he to preach from a tree.”The crowds were astounding because they were self-assembled, gathered outside the normal parish structures. It was symbolically important for the people to be “going out”—an exodus from the ordinary, including the ordinary religious formalities (ordained ministers, ecclesiastical garb, liturgical ceremony, a reverent hush in the congregation).
He had tried often enough, but in spite of everything he just could not get an erection when with a woman.
Andy had discovered that he could only get an erection by being beaten with a whip, and the beating had to be severe.
follows the Community from its origins in Noyes’ perverse Christian reveries, through its three-decade existence beginning in 1848, and into its equally improbable afterlife in the 20th century as Oneida Community, Limited – a prosperous silverware manufacturer led by descendants of the original families.
In a phone interview Tuesday, the author admitted she’s often asked, “When did your parents sit you down and tell you that your ancestors had been these crazy sex perverts?