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John of Leiden was an Anabaptist leader from the Dutch city of Leiden. Raised in poverty, young John became a charismatic leader who was widely revered by his followers. According to his own testimony, he went to the German city of Münster, arriving in 1533, because he had heard there were inspired preachers there. He sent for Jan Matthys, who had baptized him, to come. After his arrival Matthys – recognized as a prophet – became the principal leader in the city. Following a failed military attempt on Easter Sunday 1534, in which Matthys died, John of Leiden became King of Münster until its fall in June of 1535. The conventional view is that he set up in Münster a polygamous theocracy, best known for a law John passed stating that any unmarried woman must accept the first or any requests for a husband, with the result that men competed to acquire the most wives.

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John of Leiden was an Anabaptist leader from the Dutch city of Leiden. Raised in poverty, young John became a charismatic leader who was widely revered by his followers. According to his own testimony, he went to the German city of Münster, arriving in 1533, because he had heard there were inspired preachers there. He sent for Jan Matthys, who had baptized him, to come. After his arrival Matthys – recognized as a prophet – became the principal leader in the city. Following a failed military attempt on Easter Sunday 1534, in which Matthys died, John of Leiden became King of Münster until its fall in June of 1535. The conventional view is that he set up in Münster a polygamous theocracy, best known for a law John passed stating that any unmarried woman must accept the first or any requests for a husband, with the result that men competed to acquire the most wives. More...

 
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