The Sects That Rejected 19th-Century Sex

Why Three Religious Groups Traded Monogamy for Celibacy, Polygamy, and Complex Marriage

Disconsolate after his beloved’s marriage to another man in 1837, a young seminarian named John Humphrey Noyes declared in a bitter, anti-love poem to his ex:

I will not give you back your heart,
I’ve wooed and fairly won it,
And sooner with my life I’ll part,
You may depend upon it.

Not content with mere verse, Noyes would go on to turn his emotional anguish into a theological critique of the institution of monogamous marriage itself (or as he once called it, “Egotism for Two”). Condemning monogamy as “simple” and replacing …

God Save the Capitol

How a Cold War Spiritual Arms Race Led to the Jan. 6 Plot to Overthrow the Government

“I am here by special divine appearance, a living soul,” Pauline Bauer stated in federal court this summer while standing trial for crimes including violent entry. “I do not stand …

The 2022 Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize Explores Place | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The 2022 Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize Explores Place

Since 2012, We’ve Honored Works That Visit Landscapes Both Real and Imagined

Since 2012, the Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize has recognized the U.S. writer of a poem that best evokes a connection to place. Zócalo is now accepting submissions for our …

Did the Pandemic Rejuvenate Christianity? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Did the Pandemic Rejuvenate Christianity?

Away from the Headlines, Believers Across California Scrambled to Adapt—And Underwent Some Startling Changes

Judging by news coverage, the only religion trend originating in California during the pandemic was of conservative evangelical COVID denialism and defiance.

One California church, South Bay United Pentecostal in …

How Early Americans Narrated Disease | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Early Americans Narrated Disease

This Tradition of Storytelling Around Illness Still Pushes Us to Grieve—And Imagine a Path Forward

In April, as COVID-19 marched wearily into its second year, my mother became suddenly and unnervingly ill. Barely coherent, she was hospitalized.

Only a couple of days earlier she had …