Shiloh was a Christian commune populated with young adults in search of a spiritual way of life that did not involve drugs and alcohol.
In the late 1960s and beyond, young adults in search of a better or more spiritually meaningful life joined various communes. Some communes were nothing more than drug and sex havens. Some communes had a more spiritual purpose in mind. Shiloh was one such community that united young people through communal living, prayer, and work. Each resident contributed to the cause for the benefit of everyone.
Shiloh – Hippies for Jesus
In 1968, John Higgins and a small group of men and women started the House of Miracles in Los Angeles, California. This group of spiritual independents and visionaries were known as “Long Haired Jesus Freaks”. They went against the grain of traditional organized religion. Eventually, the community moved to Dexter, Oregon and became the Shiloh Youth Revival Center. Shiloh means “tranquility” or “rest giver”. It is also another name for Jesus the Messiah.
Shiloh was a non-denominational Christian organization focused on spiritually enhancing the lives of wayward adults over 18 years old who were lost or discontent with other organized religions. Anyone was welcome into the commune, provided that they do not use alcohol or drugs. The residents were required to participate in daily group prayer services and work to help support the organization financially. All wages were put into the communal fund for goods and services to benefit everyone.
Shiloh was a semi-self-sufficient enclave of young people. There was an onsite farm to help sustain the population. The residents had access to medical facilities.
Young Adult and Hippie Communes
Communal living offered young adults with alternative living and spiritual arrangements. Even though they were legally capable of forming traditional nuclear families, and belonging to traditional religious organizations, they opted to become part of large, extended families with similar ideas, interests, and goals.
Obviously, communal spiritual living was not for everyone. Many people shuddered at the idea of scores of religious hippies living together. Whether folks accepted or condemned their lifestyle, they were living the great American dream of personal and religious freedom.
Hippie, environmental, pagan, religious, and secular communes are still in existence today. However, they are few and far between. They are generally located in somewhat isolated or remote areas. The residents tend keep to themselves.
Unfortunately, sometimes communes evolve into bizarre cults, where the leaders prey upon the members and brainwash the followers into believing outrageous religious doctrines. The Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas was a classic example of the leader, David Koresh who brainwashed his followers.
In 1993, there was a standoff and shootout between the Branch Davidians and FBI. Four federal agents and six Davidians were killed. Fortunately, nearly all communes are not violent organizations. The Waco incident was an anomaly.
Shiloh – A Safe Haven
Shiloh was not a dangerous place or a strange cult. It was cohorts of many young adults seeking their place in the world through communal activities and personal spiritual growth.
It is really no different than when young adults go off to college to discover themselves. The methods are different, but the ends are the same.
There are no right or wrong answers when selecting a spiritual path. But, your spiritual path must never hurt anyone else. Too many extremists injury and kill people in the name of God. This irrational behavior and way of life is completely wrong and is totally unacceptable.
Shiloh was a peaceful retreat and spiritual learning center. The organization dissolved in 1978 due to internal power struggles, which is unfortunate for many wayward young souls today.