I’ve been meaning to write about this one for quite some time. This is truly one of those cases where the truth is stranger than fiction! By some incredible twist of fate, it turns out that a small group of PA Dutch farmers in the backwoods of Chester county PA in the mid 1800s were espousing 1960’s “Counter-Culture.” Makes one wonder exactly what crop it was that they were growing on their farms!!!
The story starts with a man named Theophilus R. Gates, who was born January 12, 1787 in a small town in Connecticut. By most accounts, Theophilus was a bit of an oddball and probably a social misfit. He supposedly suffered from hallucinations as a child, but became an itinerant school teacher and eventually a spiritual adviser. In 1837 he wrote and published pamphlets on his religious convictions. The basis of his beliefs centered around the idea that conventional marriage is repressive to both the man and the woman. Both would be happier if they could have relations with whomever they chose, whenever they chose. Their commitment to each other could last a day, a week, or a lifetime, but if at any time they found someone else they would rather be with, they were free to leave. He somehow twisted this concept around and claimed that it was God’s will. Continue reading