Apostolic Circle
A sectarian group of early American Spiritualists that
claimed to be in communication (through the mediumship of
Mrs. Benedict of Auburn) with the apostles and prophets of the
Bible. The sect also believed in a second advent. James L. Scott,
a Seventh Day Baptist minister of Brooklyn, joined the group
in 1849. He delivered trance utterances in the name of St. John
and edited, jointly with the Rev. Thomas Lake Harris, a periodical
of the Apostolic Movement Disclosures from the Interior
and Superior Care for Mortals.
Not long after, the partnership was dissolved, and in October
1851 the remaining members of the group settled at
Mountain Cove, Fayette County, Virginia. Scott declared himself
medium absolute. Owing to strife and dissension, the settlement
was given up in February 1852. Scott went to New York,
and as Thomas Lake Harris succeeded in arousing the interest
of several wealthy men for the movements, the surrendered
property was repurchased. A new era began in which Scott and
Harris, the first the mouthpiece of St. John, the second of St.
Paul, acted as ‘‘the chosen mediums’’ through which ‘‘the Lord
would communicate to man on earth.’’
Their house was called ‘‘the House of God,’’ and Mountain
Cove was ‘‘the Gate of Heaven.’’ They proclaimed themselves
to be the two witnesses named in Rev. 10 and claimed to possess
the powers spoken of. In one of his prayers Harris said, ‘‘Oh
Lord, thou knowest we do not wish to destroy man with fire
from our mouths!’’ However, the two ‘‘perfect’’ prophets could
not smother the growing discord against their autocratic rule,
and soon the whole community dispersed.
Sources
Cuthbert, Arthur. The Life Worldwork of Thomas Lake Harris,
Written from Direct Personal Knowledge. Glasgow, Scotland, 1909.
Schneider, Herbert W., and George Lawton. A Prophet and
a Pilgrim. New York Columbia University Press, 1942.