‘A Prophecy Out of the Past’: Contrasting Treatments of Jane Lead Among Two North American Twentieth-Century Millenarian Movements: Mary’s City of David and the Latter Rain
Throughout the nineteenth and into the early twentieth century Jane Lead had faded into near-obscurity in the English-speaking world. However, several waves of Lead reprints still circulated within millenarian circles. Two notable North American groups encountered these texts and incorporated them into their own theologies and writings. Mary’s City of David, an American Southcottian communal group, acquired and read closely most of Lead’s extant works, eventually embedding them into their print canon. The Latter Rain movement, a mid-twentieth century offshoot of Pentecostalism, instead constructed a masculinized version of Lead whose anonymous ‘prophecy out of the past’ was reworked into a voice purportedly coming directly from God that proclaimed the imminent reign of the Latter Rain over earth. These two case studies provide strikingly contrasting treatments of Lead.