The religion of true equality
Ann Lee, founder and leader of the shakers
Ann Lee began the Shaker movement after being imprisoned in 1770 in England during a period of religious persecution. She believed that during that time she found religious truth and after being released convinced her husband, brother, and six other followers to follow her to America. It was there that they began a small community with Ann as the religious leader. She led them to gain many followers from around their settlement. They practiced celibacy and believed that they would help bring Christ back to earth with their hard work.
The shakers do not follow the normal tactics for finding new members of their religion, instead of actively searching for converts, instead they simply extend a hand to those that wish to join. Though Mother Ann would go on mission trips into the village, the communities attempted to isolate themselves from the outside world outside of trading goods in villages.
The Shakers demonstrated one of the earliest examples of religious and social equality for all in their society. They were celibate and chose to live isolated from the world, however, they did not isolate themselves from technology and other amenities of the outside world. They were the inventors of many laborsaving devices, including the circular saw and the clothespin. At the same time they were freeing slaves already in their possession and buying those that were believers to free them into their society beginning in 1817. They were revered for their successes, but today only a handful remain in a village in Maine.