Home of Truth

A desert utopia awaiting the end of days, guided by spiritualist beliefs in communication with the dead.

Religion: New Thought
Founder: Marie Ogden
Founded: 1929
Ended: 1942
Location: San Juan County, Utah
Other Names: Home of Truth School of Christianity

In the early 1930s, Marie Ogden founded the Home of Truth, a utopian religious intentional community, in the desolate deserts of southeastern Utah. Driven by a profound spiritual awakening following the death of her husband, Ogden turned to spiritualism, a belief system asserting the dead could communicate with the living, offering moral and ethical guidance. Her spiritual quest led her to establish a commune dedicated to seeking “Truth” and preparing for the Second Coming of Christ, which she believed would save those residing within her community from apocalyptic events.

Marie Ogden and her initial group of 22 followers settled in a remote area to create a society based on their spiritualist beliefs. They sought to live simply, without the modern conveniences of electricity or indoor plumbing, embodying their vision of material simplicity. The community was divided into three sections: the Outer Portal, the Middle Portal, and the Inner Portal, with the latter considered the spiritual epicenter where members would be shielded during the apocalypse. The inhabitants, whose numbers swelled to around 100 at the peak of the settlement’s popularity, engaged in communal work, with men tending to farming and prospecting for gold, albeit unsuccessfully, and women performing domestic chores. All members contributed their possessions to the commune and adhered to a lifestyle devoid of alcohol, tobacco, and meat, following Ogden’s directives.

The commune garnered attention and notoriety with Marie Ogden’s claim of direct communication with God through her typewriter, a practice known as automatic writing. This communication included revelations and instructions for the community, such as preparing for the end of days and the peculiar belief in resurrecting the dead. The most infamous instance involved Ogden’s attempt to revive Edith Peshak, a deceased member, through a process that involved regular washings in salt solution and “feeding” the body with milk and eggs. Despite these controversial practices, Ogden’s intentions were not deemed harmful by those who knew her and her community. The Home of Truth was characterized by its openness to outsiders and amicable relations with nearby residents, contrasting with the more insular or secretive nature often associated with cults.

However, sensationalized media portrayals and the eerie practices surrounding death led to a decline in the community’s population. By 1937, following a failed promise to resurrect Peshak, the majority of members had left, disillusioned. Ogden remained at the site, continuing her spiritual practices and contributing to the local newspaper until she sold it in 1949. She passed away in 1975, and the Home of Truth eventually became a ghost town.

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