Brother Arnold, as he calls himself, spoke in Portland before a sold-out crowd Tuesday about his life as one of the last three living Shakers in the world. He lives at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, the sole remaining active Shaker community.
Arnold Hadd, who joined the Shakers more than 40 years ago at just 21 years old, spoke with eloquence, expertise and humor as part of the Portland Press Herald’s MaineVoices Live series, which is held at One Longfellow Square.
Brother Arnold fielded questions from the audience and interviewer Press Herald Food Editor Peggy Grodinsky that ranged from “Do Shakers vote?” (yes, but they don’t talk politics) to how he came to — and was willing to — give up a so-called “normal” life and all it entails (career, belongings, having a family, sexual relations, etc.) to live a religious, communal life.
Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village was established more than 200 years ago and was one of three Shaker communities in Maine. Today, it encompasses a museum, library, meetinghouse, shop, orchards, farm and gardens. To Brother Arnold and his fellow Shakers, it is home.
To see a list of previous and upcoming Maine Voices Live events, click here.