The Koreshans were light years ahead of the rest of the nation and most of the world when it came to equal rights. In the Koreshan belief system, God was both male and female. God reportedly told Dr. Teed, their founder, that women were to be treated the same as men (gender equality) and everyone was to be treated equally (human rights and racial equality).
However, as the Koreshans understood and practiced it, equality had more to do with job opportunities, equal pay and education, and they did not regard all people with absolute equality.
One example of this practice of equality was how the Koreshans paid their workers. Instead of paying members for work performed for the Unity, workers were paid with “credits.” At this time in history, a woman made two-thirds of a man’s wage, even if she had been doing the same job longer and did it better. However, in the Koreshan Unity, women could take almost any job offered within the Unity. Credits for men or women were worth an identical amount—one credit for one hour’s work, which could be used as money and traded for goods at the Unity store. This was in addition to the food, clothing and shelter all members received.
Matters of political or religious importance, as well as the governing of the Unity, were left to Teed. Still, all Unity members could “have their say” in these matters, however that did not mean what they had to say would be accepted by Dr. Teed, who was after all a self-proclaimed prophet and Messiah.
One new and forward-thinking concept within the Unity was to allow women to not only enter into businesses but manage them as well. In fact, seven women, known as the Planetary Council, ran all the business affairs of the Koreshan Unity, and others managed other Unity businesses from time-to-time.
Another facet of the the Unity was Adult Education; their school, the Koreshan Pioneer University, allowed adults to attend. Men or women—including minorities—could enroll in the Koreshan school and learn useful skills.
Perhaps the Koreshan Unity was not a perfect society and did espouse some non-traditional beliefs, but when it came to equality, they were a shining example for the rest of the world.
To learn more about the Koreshan Unity and its leader, Cyrus Teed, read The Allure of Immortality, available from our online store and visit the park. Click here to purchase contactless park passes.