Shiloh Youth Revival Centers
The Shiloh Youth Revival Centers movement was the largest Jesus People communal movement in the United States in the 1970s. Founded by John Higgins in 1968 as a small communal house – House of Miracles – in Costa Mesa, California, the movement quickly grew to a very large movement catering mostly to disaffected college-age youth. There were over 100,000 people involved and 175 communal houses established during its lifespan.
The notion of "being involved in Shiloh" was not well-defined. Shiloh did not have official membership. The most generous definition of "involved in Shiloh" would include all the individuals who spent the night as guests. Shiloh houses operated like hippy-style rescue missions, in the sense that people who needed a place to stay for a couple nights were welcomed; but the guests were not documented; no identification was asked for; their names were not written down. Consequently, it is unclear how the claim of a hundred thousand people "involved in Shiloh" could be defended.
Two years after the movement's founding, Higgins and some of the core members of the movement bought 90 acres (360,000 m2) of land near Dexter, Oregon, and built a new headquarters which they called "The Land". The movement grew quickly until the mid-1970s when increasing competition and high turn-over rates likely slowed its growth. However, in the spring of 1978, the board members of the fledgling religion forced the resignation of the charismatic leader of the movement, John Higgins, alleging the improper use of the growing funds of the movement. Rather than fight the board's recommendations, Higgins stepped down and the movement quickly dissolved. Several individuals remained on the Oregon property as caretakers, but an eventual legal battle with the IRS over the charitable status of incomes earned by members during the movements existence ultimately led to the complete dissolution and liquidation of the movement and its assets in 1989.
While membership in the movement was voluntary, it was also communal and required substantial commitment. To join the movement, members were expected to make a commitment to Jesus Christ and, in return, they would be given free food, clothes, shelter, and medical care. All members worked together for the support of the ministry, so all wages went into the common fund.
Lost Valley Educational Center is an intentional community ecovillage located on the old grounds of Shiloh in Dexter, Oregon. Areas of focus for the intentional community include personal growth, permaculture, sustainability, and simple living. There is no connection between Shiloh Youth Revival Centers and The Lost Valley Educational Center. They are two distinct organizations.
- This edit was written by Jacob Wegelin, who lived in the communal Shiloh houses from July 1971 until August 1976.
- Goldman, M. S. Continuity in Collapse – Departures From Shiloh. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 1995 Sep; 34(3):342–353.