The Adepts Of The Sun Of Suns

Nearly all Communistic theories when applied in practice prove

failures, but there seems to be one infallible safeguard--that supplied

by religion. Faith, when mingled with the trials and disenchantments

of life, appears to mitigate them, and communal experiments based on

religious beliefs nearly always prosper. This applies to the

half-religious, half-communal sects of modern Russia, and the principle

has also been
dopted by the American apostles of communism.

One of these, Dr. Teed of Chicago, understood it well, and his sect

was, in fact, merely a religious sect based on the principle of

communal possessions. Its adherents took the name of _Koreshans_,

after the title _Koresh_ (or the sun) boasted by its founder. He,

_Koresh_, "Light of Lights," "Sun of Suns," was called by Heaven to

teach the truth to mortals, and to show them which road to eternal

salvation they should follow in order to prosper upon earth. Founded

in Chicago, the sect moved recently to Florida, and there, from day to

day, Teed had the satisfaction of seeing the number of believers

steadily increase.

He had at first to put up with a good deal of ridicule, for his

teaching, based upon that of Fourier, and incorporating some of the

mystical ideas of Swedenborg, was not at all to the taste of his

fellow-citizens. The doctor then evolved the brilliant idea of

dividing his system into two doctrines--the way to heaven, or the

mystical doctrine; and the way to earthly prosperity, or the economic

doctrine. It was permissible to follow the second without adopting the

first, and the result may easily be guessed. Attracted by the prospect

of terrestrial benefits, believers flocked to the fold, and invariably

ended by accepting the second half of the teaching also (the mystical

doctrine), all the more willingly because their material happiness and

prosperity depended on the degree of their "union" with the founder.

The mysticism of _Koresh_ had some novel features, for the American

doctor saw the wisdom of making use of some of the prestige lately

gained by science. His religion, consequently, was essentially

scientific. He, _Koresh_, was the "unique man," who, thanks to his

"scientific studies" and to "celestial inspiration," could understand

the mysteries of nature. He had reached the summit of scientific

knowledge and the greatest possible human perfection--that is to say,

"sainthood"--and all who approached him were made participators in his

"holiness." Thanks to this gift, pertaining only to _Koresh_, his

followers could "enjoy the bliss of heaven upon earth"; for the Kingdom

of God upon earth was near at hand, and _Koreshism_ was preparing the

way for its disciples.

But what had to be done in order to attain the higher degrees of

salvation? Teed was a sufficiently clever psychologist to know that

nothing fascinates the crowd so much as mysteries and things that

cannot be understood, and he acted accordingly.

His doctrine is so obscure that only those claiming divine illumination

could hope to find their way amid its cloudy precepts. Let us give an


"In recognition of the principal source of the force of the intrinsic

and innate life of the Christian revelation, the _Koreshan_ doctrine

elevates the founder of Christianity to the place of father, become

perfect, thanks to the sacrifice of his son, which it has been given to

us to understand by the flesh of Jehovah."

The believers could give it whatever meaning they liked, and for those

who despaired of understanding this part of the _Koreshan_ revelation,

the prophet kept in reserve thousands of other dogmas, all equally

enigmatic and equally obscure. We will not attempt to discuss them!

The teaching included the attainment of perfection through marriage,

and claimed omniscience for _Koreshism_, which could throw new light

upon all things, including such subjects as astronomy and philosophy.

The earth is not round, light is not diffused, as science teaches, and

man has not five senses, but seven--so said _Koresh_. He described his

doctrine as communistic and co-operative. The use of money was

forbidden, its place being taken by cheques representing the amount of

services rendered to the community.

The colony founded at Estero, in Florida, was almost exclusively

commercial and industrial, not agricultural like most communal

settlements. Electric railways and factories were built--and are still

being built--there, for steam, like money, is banned in the colony of

_Koresh_; while being in possession of a seaport, the _Koreshans_

propose to enter into commercial relationship with the whole world.

The Bureau of Equitable Commerce directs the business affairs of the

community, and at its head is the chief of the Commonwealth (or public

fortune). All the inhabitants share in the general prosperity, and in

order to prevent the more capable individuals from developing into

capitalists, the fortunes of all are carefully equalised by means of a

progressive tax upon income. The land belongs to all, and is

non-transferable, like the factories. No payment is demanded of

new-comers; it is enough if they bring the moral capital of an

irreproachable life, and are good workers; and any poor people who

desire to seek salvation in the colony are enabled to travel to it by

contributions from the public funds. Absolute tolerance of all beliefs

forms the spiritual basis of the sect.

New Jerusalem, the capital of the colony, covers about eighty-six

square miles, having streets four hundred feet in width, and separate

industrial quarters. The business affairs of the community are

undeniably prosperous.