Home » Biography & Memoir » Paul B. Moyer » The Public Universal Friend

March 24 , 2010

The Public Universal Friend

Jemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America


Amid political innovation and social transformation, Revolutionary America was also fertile ground for religious upheaval, as self-proclaimed visionaries and prophets established new religious sects throughout the emerging nation. Among the most influential and controversial of these figures was Jemima Wilkinson. Born in 1752 and raised in a Quaker household in Cumberland, Rhode Island, Wilkinson began her ministry dramatically in 1776 when, in the midst of an illness, she announced her own death and reincarnation as the Public Universal Friend, a heaven-sent prophet who was neither female nor male. In The Public Universal Friend, Paul B. Moyer tells the story of Wilkinson and her remarkable church, the Society of Universal Friends.

Download MBR

Read also


Nationalism and Culture is a detailed and scholarly study of the development of nationalism and the changes in human cultures from the dawn of history to the present day and an analysis of the relations of these to one another. It tells the story of the growth of the State and the other institutions of authority and their…

Wilkinson's message was a simple one: humankind stood on the brink of the Apocalypse, but salvation was available to all who accepted God's grace and the authority of his prophet: the Public Universal Friend. Wilkinson preached widely in southern New England and Pennsylvania, attracted hundreds of devoted followers, formed them into a religious sect, and, by the late 1780s, had led her converts to the backcountry of the newly formed United States, where they established a religious community near present-day Penn Yan, New York. Even this remote spot did not provide a safe haven for Wilkinson and her followers as they awaited the Millennium. Disputes from within and without dogged the sect, and many disciples drifted away or turned against the Friend. After Wilkinson’s "second" and final death in 1819, the Society rapidly fell into decline and, by the mid-nineteenth century, ceased to exist. The prophet’s ministry spanned the American Revolution and shaped the nation’s religious landscape during the unquiet interlude between the first and second Great Awakenings.

The life of the Public Universal Friend and the Friend’s church offer important insights about changes to religious life, gender, and society during this formative period. The Public Universal Friend is an elegantly written and comprehensive history of an important and too little known figure in the spiritual landscape of early America.

Show more...

How to download book

Buy this book

You can buy this book now only for $20.49. This is the lowest price for this book.

Buy book

Download book free

If you want to download this book for free, please register, approve your account and get one book for free.


After that you may download book «The Public Universal Friend»:

Download MS Word:


Download ePub:


Download Adobe DRM: