John Humphrey Noyes Biography
Born on September 3, 1811, John Humphrey Noyes came from a well respected home. His father was a Dartmouth graduate and a congressman. The environment he grew up in was also highly religious. Noyes however, did not immediately identify with religion and it was not until years later, after he too had graduated from Dartmouth, that he began to be interested in theology. He then attended divinity school with the intention of becoming a minister.
Noyes began exploring a new form of salvation he called Perfectionism. He claimed that he was 'free of sin', which alienated many and lost him his license to preach. He then returned to Vermont, where he preached, gained a following, and began to practice complex marriage.
In 1847, Noyes moved his community to Oneida, New York. The community followed Noyes's teachings and managed economically through agriculture and industry. Their most controversial practice was that of complex marriage, where no two individuals where exclusively attached to one another. There were some other sexual practices within the community that also garnered criticism, like "Male Continence" and "Ascending Fellowship".
In his later years, Noyes faced legal troubles. After multiple arrest warrants both for adultery and statutory rape, Noyes finally fled to Canada where he remained until his death in 1886.
Hillebrand, Randall. "The Oneida Community." New York History Net. 20 Feb. 2008.
Hogan, Kathleen M. "John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Perfectionists." American Studies. The University of Virginia, 28 July 2007.
Martin, John H. "John Humphrey Noyes: The Oneida Community." The Crooked Lake Review. Fall 2005.