Oneida: From Free Love Utopia to the Well-Set Table

51q5s+4UhjL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Lorraine Berry at The Guardian:

In 19th-century America, a number of utopian communities, oblivious to the defeatist etymology of the word utopia (Greek for “not” plus “place”, or “no-place”), were established, mostly throughout the north-east. Amos Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May), Robert Owen and a group of transcendentalists all tried their hands at creating separate communities of peace and understanding. All of these efforts failed fairly quickly.

The exception was the Oneida community, founded by John Humphrey Noyes, in the Leatherstocking region of central New York state. The region had already surrendered its secrets to the young Joseph Smith when he discovered the gold books of the angel Moroni buried in a drumlin near Palmyra, and founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Oneida, which is located 80 miles to the east, provided a home for Noyes’s nascent Society of Inquiry when its members fled from Putney, Vermont in the 1840s after Noyes’ doctrine of “complex marriage” offended the local townspeople.

more here.