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161 The verse from the prophet Micah that had captured my imagination would be inscribed under my ­ father’s name on the cornerstone of the Roofless Church, as it exemplified Lee Blaffer’s belief in the fulfillment of dreams if the dreamer worked hard enough and with constant integrity. Back in 1822, Father Rapp had chosen for the pediment over the entrance door of his brick cru­ ciform church “Unto thee shall come the golden ­ rose,” from chapter 4, verse 8 of Micah. My own King James Bible reads “first dominion” instead of “golden­rose”: And thou, a tower of the flock, The stronghold of the daughter of Zion Unto thee shall it come the first dominion. Neither is there any mention of the golden ­ rose in other translations of the Bible that I had consulted, from Roman Catholic to contemporary ChaptER 18 Cornerstone Dedication 162 New Harmony, indiana Lutheran. I was puzzled for many years, and no one I knew could provide a clue. One day in the late 1940s, I received a letter from an old gentleman in Maine who wished to sell some articles that had descended to him from Harmonist relatives at Economy, Pennsylvania. He had heard that people­ were beginning to care about New Harmony on the Wabash, and he hoped I would be interested. Indeed I was, for among the objects, he listed a ­nineteenth-­century German Bible. The Bible arrived in an old shoebox, not wrapped neatly in tissue paper but within two oversize silk handkerchiefs, one imprinted with “George Rapp,” the other with the name of his adopted son, “Frederick Rapp.” The other trea­ sures—silver coin spoons with long handles and a ­ coiled-­ straw circular bowl, called a dough basket—arrived in a larger box. I made haste to locate the verses from Micah and someone to translate the German into En­glish: And thou, Tower of Eden, a stronghold of the daughter of Zion Your golden ­rose will come, the former dominion, The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. I was particularly grateful to have a Bible with Father Rapp’s version of the golden ­ rose, which I learned came exclusively from an early Martin Luther translation. For Father Rapp, the golden ­ rose of the millennium was also an emblem of quality for goods manufactured in his three separate but similarly inspired colonies. Pieces of woven cloth from a Harmonist loom, whether silk or linen, that did not meet Father Rapp’s high standards would not be stamped with his chosen imprint. A pound of butter , a sack of potatoes, or a case of “high wine”—the Harmonist euphemism for whiskey on its way to New Orleans—would bring better prices if they ­were stamped with the golden ­rose of quality. Perhaps any ­close-­knit group intent on perfection leaves some of its energy behind. The artifacts with genuine Harmonist fingerprints reinvigorated me. The discovery of the original passage from a Rappite’s own,­well-­worn German Bible gave me the nod I needed to continue my efforts in New Harmony. It also provided me with an honorable retreat from the maze of historical research, for which I was not trained. I have a reverence for scholarship and for those who wear its gown with humility, but buried Cornerstone Dedication 163 trea­ sures ­ were not for an amateur like me. Sometimes my journey would have to be over land, my knapsack remaining light. My search would focus on quality, not the realm of historical artifacts and data. Again, the continuation of lines from T. S. Eliot stayed with me like an unshakable song: And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flame are ­in-­folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the ­rose are one.1 The golden ­ rose became my guide: “Unto thee shall come the golden­rose.” I have often wondered why George Rapp chose that par­ tic­ u­ lar verse from Micah. Did it symbolize for him the golden rule of right conduct? Was it Frederick’s idea, a reference to the ­so-­called golden mean, honored by architects who sought true proportions? Or did it imply respect for the gold bricks that backed our currency? After all, our three patriarchs— Rapp, Maclure, and Owen—­ were not indifferent to the financial rewards of honest labor and prudent investments. Nor should we who live in New Harmony today forget that, as we try to remain...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253016638
Related ISBN
9780253016249
MARC Record
OCLC
903357020
Pages
400
Launched on MUSE
2015-03-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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