The New International Encyclopædia/Perfectionists

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PERFECTIONISTS. The name adopted by John Humphrey Noyes (q.v.) and his early followers. Their first settlement was at Putney, Vermont, the native place of Noyes, whither he retired soon after beginning to preach his peculiar views in 1834, and where he gradually gathered about him a small school of believers, beginning with the members of his own family. A Bible-school was begun in the winter of 1836-37, a chapel was erected, and the members of the community spent much time in study and were active in writing and publishing in advocacy of their belief. In accordance with the teaching of Noyes, they held that Christ had actually returned to earth before the close of the Apostolic Age, that His work of saving from sin was complete, and consequently all who were willing to accept His divine reign lived “no longer under law, but under grace,” and could do no wrong. The aim being to live together as one family, all possessions were held in common, and a system of complete communism was gradually worked out, involving the institution of ‘complex marriage.’ The community was broken up in 1847 by the opposition of their neighbors. The members who held together founded the Oneida Community (q.v.). Consult Hinds, American Communities (Chicago, 1902).