Murdering Holiness explores the story of the "Holy Roller" sect led by Franz Creffield in the early years of the twentieth century. In the opening chapters, the authors introduce us to the community of Corvallis, Oregon, where Creffield, a charismatic, self-styled messiah, taught his followers to forsake their families and worldly possessions and to seek salvation through him. As his teachings became more extreme, the local community reacted: Creffield was tarred and feathered and his followers were incarcerated in the state asylum. Creffield himself was later imprisoned for adultery, but shortly after his release he revived the sect. This proved too much for some of the adherents' families, and in May 1906 George Mitchell, the brother of two women in the sect, pursued Creffield to Seattle and shot him dead.
Jim Phillips is director of the Centre of Criminology and a professor in the Faculty of Law and Department of History at the University of Toronto. Rosemary Gartner is a professor at the Centre of Criminology and the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto.
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