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Dowie, John Alexander

DOWIE, JOHN ALEXANDER (1848-1907), founder of "Zionism," was born in Edinburgh, and went as a boy to South Australia with his parents. He returned in 1868 to study for the Congregationalist ministry at Edinburgh University, and subsequently became pastor of a church near Sydney, Australia. He was a powerful preacher, and later, having become imbued with belief in his powers as a healer of disease by prayer, he obtained sufficient following to move to Melbourne, build a tabernacle, and found "The Divine Healing Association of Australia and New Zealand." In 1888 he went to America, preaching and "healing," and in spite of opposition and ridicule attracted a number of adherents. In 1896 he established "The Christian Catholic Apostolic Church in Zion," with himself as "First Apostle"; and in 1901, with money liberally contributed by his followers, he founded Zion City, on a site covering about 10 sq. m. on the west shore of Lake Michigan, with a central temple for the Zionist church. In 1903 and 1904, in the course of a visit to the branches of the Zionist movement throughout the world, he appeared in London, but was mobbed. In April 1906 a revolt against his domination took place in Zion City. He was charged with peculation and with practising polygamy, and was deposed, with the assent of his own wife and son. A suit brought by him in the United States district court to recover possession of the Zion City property, valued at two millions sterling, was unsuccessful, and his defalcations were fully proved. Dowie was now broken in health and unmistakably insane; he was struck with paralysis and gradually becoming weaker died in Zion City in March 1907.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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