Zion City, Illinois: Twentieth Century Utopia

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Syracuse University Press, 1996 - Religion - 283 pages
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John Alexander Dowie's religious utopia, Zion City, Illinois, emerged in 1901 midway between Chicago and Milwaukee on Lake Michigan's shoreline as one of the largest undertakings of its kind during the late nineteenth century. From its beginnings in Chicago in the late 1890s, Zion City was the natural outgrowth of Dowie's fertile imagination for the establishment of a Christian community and a movement he believed would usher in the millennium. As a theocracy, Zion City maintained a well-disciplined community where life was based upon Dowie's interpretations of Old Testament regulations of moral and religious matters, and by 1905, it had grown to six thousand Dowietes from around the world, many attracted by Dowie's phenomenal healing ministry. This in-depth look at Zion City is not a study of Dowie the man but of the greater Dowie era, with the city itself as the focus of the work. As Philip L. Cook seeks to discover "why a Zion City?", he finds, "In view of what our citizenry increasingly is calling a crisis in social needs and values, can government really promote 'life, liberty , and the pursuit of happiness' in a culture that attempts to thrive on the freewheeling notion that 'anything goes?' The Zion utopia answered this question with a resounding 'No.'"

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