In the early 1700s. All over northern Europe, people dissatisfied with the rituals and ideals of the Lutheran Church began to rebel and separate from the Church. These sects placed great emphasis on the personal religious experience of the believer. One such sect, the Community of True Inspiration, held the belief that God still worked and spoke through His followers as He did with the prophets of the Old Testament. Led by Christian Metz, they hoped to find religious freedom in America and left Germany in 1843 to settle in Buffalo, NY. The Society they set up there was called Ebenezer. All property was held in common. As the society prospered they soon outgrew the area that was available to them, and in 1855, they moved into an area along the Iowa River. The first settlement was Amana, but by 1863 there were 6 more villages. Much like in Ebenezer, all property here was owned communally. But as the world progressed, as advances in technology, World War I, and the great depression came, their way of life became economically and socially impossible. In 1932 the members of the Amana Society voted to abandon the communal system and instead make their investments in the land more modernized in a profit sharing arrangement. This separated the economic aspect of the community from the church. The Amana Church Society continues to be the religious foundation of the community.
The Amana colonies had many rules and beliefs they lived their lives by. Starting with communism and evolving into cooperative capitalism, these rules and beliefs helped them become the longest lasting communal society in history. They believed in celibacy, even in marriage. Marriage was not encouraged, and had to follow certain rules. Therefore single and widowed women were respected. The Amanas separated church and state. Their clothing was plain to discourage envy and they lived simply. Women were forbidden to wear their hair loose and had to sit apart from men at public...