Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 July 2009
Some forty years ago, Frederic J. Turner, the eminent American historian, called attention to the fact that the religious life of the frontier has not been sufficiently investigated. Since then, much important work in this field has been done. One aspect of the religious life of the frontier, however, has been almost entirely neglected, that of Swedenborgianism, or, as followers of the Swedish prophet prefer to say, that of the New Church. Emanuel Swedenborg was born in Stockholm in 1688. Since we are approaching the two hundred fiftieth anniversary of his birth, now is an opportune time to investigate a hitherto neglected influence, very potent on the American frontier during the nineteenth century.
1 Memorial to the Diet, Nov. 17, 1760. Quoted in Tafel, I, 503.
2 Address to the Councillor of Mines, S. Sandels, upon resigning the presidency of the Academy of Sciences. April 24, 1782, p. 93. Quoted in Tafel, I, 493–4.
3 Economy of the Animal Kingdom, (The Soul), no. 535.
4 Heaven and Hell, no. 64.
5 True Christian Religion, no. 55.
6 The Soul, no. 557.
7 Arcana Coelestia, no. 8118.
9 Arcana Coelestia, no. 2604.
10 Cf. True Christian Religion, nos. 796–800, for his view of Luther, Calvin, etc.
11 Spirituai Diary, no. 4777.
15 The record of these purchases is in the office of the County Recorder of Iowa County, Iowa. The sources for the remainder of this article are found in a large number of interviews, and in a lengthy correspondence with descendants of the Jasper Colony. This correspondennce is in possession of the author.
16 On June 1, 1932, a kind of co-operative modified communism was adopted whereby the members of the colony own shares. The common kitchen and dining halls have also been replaced by the individual family kitchen and dining room.