The Youth's Guide in Zion was originally published by the Shakers in 1842. The work is attributed to Elder Elisha D. Blakeman of the New Lebanon, N.Y., Shakers.
The era when it was written (late 1830s to early 1850s) is known as "The Time of Mother's Work" or the "Era of Spirit Manifestations."
"Mother's Work" takes its name from the era's attempt to reinvigorate the Shaker church and to learn more about Mother Anne Lee, the founder of the Shaker church. The earliest Believers (the Shakers' name for themselves) were concerned that the newer converts would not be able to feel the intensity of the faith.
"Mother's Work" became a time of intense spirituality and a prodigious production of gift drawings and gift songs that added to the nature of faith and worship at many levels.
Elder Joseph Brackett's song "Simple Gifts" and Eldress Hannah Cahoon's drawing "Tree of Life," came from this time period.
The Youth's Guide in Zion states on its cover that it was "given by inspiration." Inspiration was the root of the gift songs and gift drawings, as well.
The author, Elder Elisha was a caretaker for the young as well as a craftsman, broom maker, joiner and printer. He also served his Shaker community as a family deacon and as an elder.
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