Jemima Wilkinson

From Academic Kids

Jemima Wilkinson (November 29 1752 - July 1 1819) was a charismatic evangelist who preached total abstinence to her congregation of "Universal Friends."

As a young woman, she was beset by a debilitating illness which culminated in a fevered ecstatic trance during which she sermonized, and subsequent to which she collapsed and was declared dead. After having been already placed in a coffin she revived and knocked on the inside. This propelled her to claim that she was an incarnation of Jesus Christ, and preach a regimen of strict abstinence, which she may have, according to some stories, only imperfectly observed herself.

She preached to residents of Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, finally settling with her congregation in the state of New York in the Finger Lake area.

After her death, her body was left unburied, to await her raising from the dead, and the faithful retained this expectation for decades, despite visible decay of the body.

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