Taxonomy of 3 Spiritual Christian groups from Russia:
Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki
books, fellowship, holidays, prophets and songs.

Классификация трёх духовных христианских групп: молокане, прыгуны и дух-и-жизники
книги, общение, праздники, пророки, и песни.

by Andrei Conovaloff — Draft In-Progress: (Started: 2012; last updated 7 May 2024) 
Comments, corrections welcome — Administrator @ Molokane. org
— Link:
Some parts of this long text are duplicated, and being edited as time permits.

Changes mainly in Malakan places, animals and foods

  1. Introduction
  2. Spiritual Christian Groups
  3. “Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians” in 1902, 1904, 1907
  4. Is Molokan one faith, many faiths, an ethnic group, or a non-Russian nationality?
  5. Three Faiths Today
  6. New Label : Dukh-i-zhizniki
  7. Analogies
  8. Diaspora "Molokan" myth label created by 2 people
  9. Name confusion
  10. Web sites by and about Spiritual Christians
  11. Classification
  12. Other classification systems
  13. Research methods

The purpose of this simple
Taxonomy (classification system) is to
  • Explain (how, why, when, where, who) the many myths and misnomers of "malakan" and "Molokan" were created, transformed and misused.

  • Present an empirical classification system for these 3 Spiritual Christian groups from Russia —
    1. Molokane ("dairy-eaters" during Russian Orthodox fasts) — The term was first used about 1708, then popularized beginning in 1765 in Central Russia (including Tambov oblast).* Before 1765, Simeon Uklein separated from a tribe labeled with the heresy ikonobortsy(57), with his family** and about 70 of the best singers to evangelize along the Volga, in central Russia, mainly in Samara Governorate (Самарская губерния).

    2. Pryguny (jumpers, leapers) — Loosely consolidated about 1833 in northeast Taurida governate, Novorossiya (New Russia, now South Ukraine, Zaporizhia oblast) among Russian heterodox (sectarians) and others, from Pietist and charismatic movements transferred from Europe and Central Russia, and some Orthodox(77) and shamans. Though charismatic, ecstatic and mystical spiritual dancing tribes existed in Central Russia before 1833, the new Prygun label first appeared in print about 1856 after many were resettled and concentrated in Transcaucasia.

    3. Dukh-i-zhizniki (Spirit-and-Lifers) — Founded about 1928 in U.S.A. The documented faiths began to emerge 2 miles west of Glendale AZ from 1911 to 1915, in a settlement of recent immigrants from Russia, including a descendant of the sister of a Prygun prophet Maksim G. Rudomyotkin (1818~1877), at what is now 75th Ave and Griffith Lane. The Arizona zealots somewhat amalgamated with other faiths in Boyle Heights district, Los Angeles CA in the 1920s as a few leaders of various Spiritual Christian faiths from Russia in Los Angeles clashed while trying to compile religious texts.(87) Their final text was organized with guidance from 2 professors at the University of Southern California.(88) Dukh-i-zhiznik is a Russian-language denominational designation neologism formed in 2007 to accurately label these new religious movements (NRM) which must use their 1928 religious text Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' (Книге солнца, дух и жизнь : Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life) in addition to the Russian Synodal Bible, to perform Maksim's "new ritual". Their label — Dukh-i-zhizniki — comes from the draft name and popular short title for this Russian language book (Dukh i Zhizn' : Spirit and Life), and provides a unique accurate identifier of these new Russian-American faiths.

Please properly use these 3 transliterated Russian terms in honest respect, to set the record straight. Avoid confusing English labels, except to define the original labels in the Russian language. Avoid extensive misinformation and disinformation published after 1900.

Though all of these 3 groups, and sub-groups, use the Russian Synodal Bible ritually opened on their meeting tables, only Dukh-i-zhizniki require it, without a cross embossed on the cover. Molokane and Pryguny can use any Russian Bible. Molokane have the least ritual. Dukh-i-zhizniki impose the most ritual rules, insist on their own religious texts and songs, and typically avoid other faiths and tribes.

Other Spiritual Christian (non-Orthodox, folk-Protestant, sectarian) groups with origins in Old Russia that resettled in North America (Adventisty, Baptisti, Dukhobortsy,*** Evangeliki, Pyatidesyatniki, Shalaputi, Subbotniki, Svobodniki, Shtundisty, etc.) are not the focus of this taxonomy, though they were all often called malakan, and Molokan in error. Old Orthodox faiths (Old Ritualists, staroobryadtsy, Old Believers, staroverie) are raskolniki, not Spiritual Christians, and are also confused as malakan. And Molokane have mistakenly been called "old believers" probably because their faiths are "old". Too many journalists and scholars confuse the various groups of Spiritual Christians from Russia because they are somewhat historically related but extensively divided and evolved over time into many distinct groupings. The Summary Charts below will help identify 3 major groups.
Etymology of Tambov is from tomba, a Mordovian Moksha term for "deep pool of water," referring to the vast wetlands in the province. A myth among American Dukh-i-zhizniki is the origin of their faiths is from the phrase tam Bog (там Бог : God is there), falsely implying that their religions and prophet M.G. Rudomyotkin are from a place with a holy name.
** Uklein joined this tribe of ikonobortsy and married the daughter of its leader, Ilarion Pobirokhin. In 1785, 20 years after he left, his former tribe whose leader was his father-in-law, was labeled with the new heresy of dukh oboret' : spirit wrestling/ fighting.  
*** Dukhobor is a romanized spelling of the Russian духобор, and the U.S.A. Library of Congress catalogue index keyword for this group. The most common Canadian spelling is "Doukhobor." The most accurate plural is is Dukhobortsy.

   Spelling and Pronunciation Guide, and Relative Distribution
Russian / English (Italic)

enPR mä-lō-kän'
IPA mɑ.loʊ.kɑn'

  * This is label best matches people who use the short name for their religious text. In the past I simplified the spelling to духижизник (dukhizhiznik) which in Russian can be interpreted as духи-жизник (dukhi-zhiznik) meaning spirit/perfume life/living, and is very misleading. Therefore 2 hyphens are needed in Russian and English —  дух-и-жизники, Dukh-i-zhizniki. In Russian the terms do not need to be capitalized, but I do it in English to indicate they are a name, or label.
** U.M.C.A. : United Molokan Christian Association, a misnamed Sunday School and youth social organization, that published booklets of transliterated songs.
*** For Spiritual Christians who retained their ancestral Ukrainian and/or Southern Russian dialects, Prygun/ Pryguny must be pronounced as Prihun/ Prihuny (Pree-hoon/ Pree-hoo-NEE).(6)

^ Contents ^

Summary Charts in 4 Languages — English, Russian Русский , Spanish Español, Turkish Türkçe
These 3 Spiritual Christian groups are easily identified by their characteristic liturgies used during prayer-worship services.

Dukh i zhizn' Christ's God's Yes




Dukh-i-zhiznik1 X

1. Founded in America. All Maksimisty are Dukh-i-zhizniki, but not all Dukh-i-zhizniki are Maksimisty.
Most adapted from Russian folk songs and borrowed from German Protestants.
3. Not during worship service, but often during meals at weddings, funerals, child dedication, holidays
4. Open canon, a sacred text that can be modified by continuous revelation through their prophets.
Each congregation has 1 or more prophets. There have been at least 200 prophets since 1928 in all congregations around the world. Prophecies of only 4 prophets were published in their Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' (1928 religious text in Los Angeles). Over 100 prophesies are written in secret notebooks shown only to trusted believers.
6. In Taurida Governorate in 1833 they organized. But the label first appeared
in 1856 describing tribes in Caucasus .(84)

Эти три
группы духовных христиан можно легко определить по их различним характеристикам.

Дух и жизнь Христа Бога Есть






1. Основанная в Америке. Все максимисты – дух-и-жизники, но не все дух-и-жизники максимисты.
2. Большинство взято из русских народных песен и заимствовано от немецких протестантов.
Поют во время обеда на свадьбах, похоронах, кстинах и праздниках..
Священный текст который может быть непрерывно изменен через откровения пророков.
5. Каждое собрание имеет по меньшей мере одного пророка. С 1928 года во всех общинах по всему миру было по меньшей мере 200 пророков. Пророчества только 4 пророков были опубликованы в их Книге солнца, дух и жизнь (священная книга от
1928 г.). Более чем 100 пророчеств были записаны в секретных тетрадях и только иногда эти пророчества показаны самым надежным верующим.

Estos 3 grupos cristianos espirituales son fácilmente identificados por sus liturgias característicos usados durante los servicios de oración de adoración.

La Biblia
Dukh i zhizn' de Cristo de Dios
Molokan X


Prigun X


Dukh-i-zhiznik1 X

1. Fundada en los Estados Unidos. Todos los Maksimisty son Dukh-i-zhizniki, pero no todos los Dukh-i-zhizniki son Maksimisty.
La mayoría fueron tomadas de canciones populares rusas y tomadas de los protestantes alemanes.
No durante el servicio, pero a menudo durante las comidas en las bodas, funerales, dedicación niño, días de fiesta.
Abra canon, un texto sagrado que puede ser modificado por la revelación continua, algo similar a cánones de los Santos de los Últimos Días.
5. Cada congregación tiene uno o más profetas. Ha habido por lo menos 200 profetas desde 1928 en todas las congregaciones de todo el mundo. Profecías de sólo 4 profetas fueron publicados en su Knig
a solnste, dukh i zhizn' (Libro del Sol, Espíritu y Vida, 1928 libro sagrado). Más de 100 profecías están escritas en cuadernos secretos, que se muestran sólo a los miembros que creen en el espíritu.

Bu 3 Manevi Hıristiyan gruplar kolayca dua-ibadet sırasında kullanılan karakteristik ayinlerinde tarafından tespit edilir.

Kutsal Kitap
Dukh i zhizn' Mesih'in Tanrı'nın Evet





Dukh-i-zhiznik1 X

1. Amerika Birleşik Devletleri'nde kurulmuştur. Her Maksimist bir Dukh-i-zhizniki olan; bazı Dukh-i-zhizniki Maksimisty olan.
En çok Rus halk şarkıları uyarlanan ve Alman Protestanlar ödünç.
Değil hizmeti sırasında, ama çoğu zaman düğün, cenaze, çocuk özveri ve dini yemekler sırasında..
4. Onların peygamberler aracılığıyla sürekli vahiy tarafından değiştirilebilir bir kutsal metin.
5. Her topluluk, bir ya da daha fazla peygamber vardır. Ddünyadaki tüm cemaatlerin içinde 1928'den beri en az 200 peygamberler olmuştur. Sadece 4 peygamberler kitapta yayınlandı, Kniga solnste  dukh i zhizn' (Güneşin Kitabı, Ruh ve Hayat, 1928 kutsal kitabı). 100'den fazla kehanetleri gizli dizüstü yazılır, sadece kendi kutsal ruhuna inanan üyelere gösterilen.

1. Introduction

This Taxonomy answers 3 questions :
  1. Why do thousands of people around the world, who are not Molokan by faith, many despising Molokane, confusingly and falsely claim to be Molokane?

  2. If not Molokane, what and who are they?

  3. Where are they now?
Neither question has been asked, nor answered, before this simple Taxonomy.

Short answer to question 1:  Why do so many falsely call themselves "Molokan"?
  • To hide a complicated, confusing and illegal history in Old Russia, which misled descendants' understanding of their origins.
  • Only Molokane were given permission to migrate to North America in 1900, therefore all had to claim to be Molokane to legally migrate. Most lied, or falsely believed they were Molokane.
  • They falsely claim that "Molokan" is the same as malakan.
  • The incorrect term "Molokan" is easy to pronounce, remember, and avoids explaining their actual secret complicated faiths.
  • The term Molokan was erroneously spread around the world in print to label many non-Molokan groups.

Captain P. A. Demens
and P. V. Young, independently and sequentially intervened to help diverse groups of economic immigrants from Russia who resettled in the United States and Mexico. Both Demens and Young also immigrated from Slavic countries to the United States with family, spoke Russian, quickly learned English, and established high profile professions in America. I present evidence that they intentionally confusingly mislabeled all Spiritual Christians from Russia in Southern California as "Molokans" for different altruistic reasons. Below I show that both Demens and Young were powerful vectors for propagating the mythical identity of these immigrants from Russia.
  • From 1898 to 1910, Captain P. A. Demens advocated immigration, integration(19), employment and colonization of Russians. From 1900 to 1910, he asked President T. Roosevelt to be appointed the public relations representative for these immigrants from Russia to divert them from Canada to Los Angeles. He knew and admitted that only a few were Molokane (about 34 people who all moved to San Francisco in 1906), but Demens only used that one umbrella term as a simple catchphrase for all Spiritual Christians from Russia in America in all his correspondence, until he died in 1919. I have not found any evidence that he called them a "Brotherhood" or "Pryguny", labels used by the first Spiritual Christian settlers who arrived in Los Angeles beginning in 1904, and often cited by them to the press.

  • From 1923 to 1944, Professor P. V. Young did social science research, and advocated assimilation(19) and education to reduce juvenile delinquency, arrests, discrimination; and avoid detention, deportation and sterilization for the immigrants. She knew her research subjects were mostly varieties of Spiritual Christian Pryguny as shown in the title of her 1932 book, mixed with other faiths. She does not explain why she nearly exclusively used the false Molokan term in all her English publications and discourse. Apparently she could not find any substantial history of Pryguny, so she substituted Molokan history with a false claim that they were almost the same as Pryguny. She, with Dr. Kristofovich, apparently misguided Ivan G. Samarin to publish in the 1928 Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' that the many non-Molokan Spiritual Christian faiths in Los Angeles in the 1920s were "Molokan," while scrambling a few references about various faiths in Russia using secondary sources to create a new pseudo history, which Samarin appears to have reluctantly signed and published.(61)
Short answer to question
  What and who are they?

They are many different Spiritual Christian faiths. About 1% migrated to North America. After 1928 many fake Molokane became Dukh-i-zhizniki, some remained Pryguny, and with other Spiritual Christian faiths, continued to use the simple malakan label imported from South Russia, but wrongly misspelled as Molokan.(57) Most descendants in North America have assimilated into the "melting pot", some in Australia.

Short answer to question
  Where are they now the active congregations?
  • Molokane are mostly in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, with less in Moldavia and the United States (1 prayer-meeting hall in San Francisco, California). Non-practicing Molokane and their descendants probably number close to a million world-wide. Many joined organized Christians faiths.

  • Pryguny are most all in Russia (most in Stavropol province), 1 congregation in Adelaide, South Australia. Congregations existed in the U.S.A. and Mexico up to about 1960, the last in Oregon ceased about 2013.

  • Dukh-i-zhizniki are mostly in South Russia, central Armenia, Australia (SA and WA), the Pacific Coast of the United States (only in southern and central California, and central Oregon), and a very small group in Uruguay, South America.

  • There is no hybrid faith correctly called "Molokan-Jumper," nor "Catholic-Jew", nor "Baptist-Mormon", nor an animal called a "dog-cat," or fruit called "banana-grape." But there was a cartoon TV-show called CatDog.

Why should you, a reader, care about this simple Taxonomy?

Do you feel like:
  • I don't have time for this?
  • It's so-oo bo-oo-oring to read? 
  • I don't need this.
  • It's stupid.
  • It's not what I was told. 
Or, you can read on if you care to understand how and why some of your fake history was created in Los Angeles to protect your immigrant ancestors more than 100 years ago.

Today you have no worries mates, but you need to know who you are now, and compare yourself to who your ancestors were in their own place and time. They did not carry a telephone-TV-computer in their pocket, and those before them did not have a telephone (some believed it was an evil thing), and before immigration most could not imagine such devices, or steam powered trains and boats. Most could not read or write.

Those with a desire for knowledge may binge read this to the end and want more, and check periodically for updates. Dukh-i-zhizniki set in their zealous beliefs will ignore this for various personal reasons. They don't need it, and it is too much to read. It is religiously false to them.

I am trying to apply hard science methods to soft science. In other words, I'm trying to use what I learn from developed natural sciences to social sciences, and present it to you in a way that you might understand.

If you are an educated person, you can skip this section. If you barely finished high school and believe education "robs the spirit"(91) then you are probably not reading this. But, if you have read this far, I commend you for seeking knowledge. I don't expect you to accept my explanations here, but ask you to please continue with an open mind. Maybe you will check my references, go to libraries, travel to the F S U  and do your own field research. Warning: this will be a lot of reading, surprises, travel and thinking. I've been doing this research since about 1970.

Selling Dukh-i-zhizniki or Pryguny as Molokane is false advertising. Dukhobortsy in Canada have a similar problem.(28)

Can you imagine working with someone who has very little vocabulary and refuses to learn any new words? For many people, education is such an uncomfortable burden that they avoid learning. Many Dukh-i-zhizniki oppose education, especially for girls.

Can you imagine someone who calls everyone "dude," never learning peoples' real names? Wouldn't life be so much simpler if we just all call everyone "dude"? That's so much easier than remembering Vassili Ivanovich, Mikhail Kondratich, Parasha Petrovna, ... It's even easier than "dude dudovich".

Imagine a dude who doesn't know many words and always calls a #2 Phillips screwdriver a "stick," a shop broom a "stick," or a 15" pipe-wrench a "stick"? How can you work with him? Every tool with a handle he calls "stick." Would you get the tools yourself, or teach him a few new words?

Imagine that your spiritual friends hear that "yellow-tail tuna are running at Long Beach." They chartered a boat and invited you. You take your gear, pay, ride out into the ocean. The boat captain stops at a school of barracuda claiming they are tuna. "They are all the same," he says. "They swim, have a head and tail." Would you complain? Call him stupid? Demand your money back? What?

Is borshch really cabbage soup, beet soup, tomato soup, potato soup, carrot soup, or something else? Broth, salt, pepper? Why call it borshch? If you did not know what borshch is, how can you ask for it?
  • If you ask for broth soup, what will people think you want?
  • If you ask for potato soup, what will people think you want?
  • If you say you want tomato soup, what do you think you will get?
  • What if you ask for beet soup?
  • Maybe "Russian soup" of which there are 100s of recipes.
  • And, most Eastern European cultures make similar soups.
If you know that borshch is a combination of many ingredients, because you learned that word long ago, you would never think of calling borshch anything else. The same analogy applies to dukhovnye khristiane, "Spiritual Christians"(57), and fruit. For example, consider this analogy list (not in any order):

Spiritual Christians Fruit
 Rubbish Dumpsters*** 
  • cabbage
  • beets
  • tomatoes
  • broth
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • salt and pepper
  • etc.
  • maksimisty
  • subbotniki
  • khristoverie
  • molokane
  • dukhobortsy
  • pryguny
  • dukh-i-zhizniki
  • sionisty
  • i.t.d.
  • apples*
  • oranges
  • bananas
  • grapes**
  • kiwi
  • peaches
  • nectarines
  • etc.
dumpster, 2 cu. yd.
dumpster, 4 cu. yd.
dumpster, 6 cu. yd.
dumpster, 8 cu. yd.
dumpster, 10 cu. yd.
dumpster, 15 cu. yd.
dumpster, 20 cu. yd.
dumpster, 40 cu. yd.
* 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world, and 2,500 varieties are grown in the United States, 100 commercially.
**  Dukh-i-zhiznik
farmers near Kerman CA know there are many varieties of grapes which cannot be substituted for each other.
*** Dumpster sizes were added for fun. What if Dukh-i-zhiznik rubbish men in Southern California tell their customers that all rubbish dumpsters are the same, and charge 1 price no matter what size is used or length of time it sits, or how far they have to drive. That same simple logic is applied to their faith where everyone gets the same single label no matter how different they are.
The table above shows examples of 4 classification analogies for the categories : Borshch, Spiritual Christians, Fruit and Rubbish Dumpsters. Each category term represents or contains many items (ingredients), and neither Borshch, Spiritual Christians nor Fruit are homogeneous. In Borshch one can easily recognize most of the separate vegetables, and taste the salt and pepper. I forgot about sour cream.

Similarly, one can easily discern among various branches of the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians, even if they live in the same or adjacent villages, or neighborhoods. Though each tribe performs similar rituals during their meetings, they have different books, holidays, positions, songs, prayers, etc; and, they have different attitudes, beliefs and behaviors among and between tribes. Today the authentic Molokane are a fairly specific faith with some variations mainly due to geography (location, host country and language). Molokane are identified by their holidays, songs, and books, distinct from Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki. They are as distinct as apples and oranges.

For a simple analogy, one should not confuse, for example, The Church of Christ of Later Day Saints, Southern Baptists, and the Russian Orthodox Church(77) because each of these faiths recites the Lord's Prayer and baptizes in water. You know they are not the same for other reasons, and neither are Molokane, Pryguny or Dukh-i-zhiznki the same, nor are the many different tribes of Dukh-i-zhiznki.

Unfortunately an outsider cannot easily determine who is of what faith or tribe by appearance from a distance, or up close unless they know what to look for, and ask. All the tribes may dress about the same, speak similar dialects, eat similar foods, perform similar rituals, etc. There is no way to categorize them until they conduct a religious service, or are quizzed about their liturgy, and checked against the Summary Charts above. Then they can be quickly identified using this taxonomy. Most outsiders cannot do such fact checking. Most do not meet the various Spiritual Christians during their religious service. The outsiders rely on and are misled by erroneous published literature and informants who do not know how to define their own faiths, and/or are hiding their faiths.

Example: In 2019, a Dukh-i-zhiznik named Ivan from Southern California, a truck driver delivering cars, met the Subbotnik presbyter Mihael Morozov in Portland, Oregon. I had met Morozov in Portland when I surveyed all the Subbotniki congregations there in 2018. Morozov phoned me to tell me this story. The Dukh-i-zh-i-znik had a beard, spoke some Russian and was friendly with the Russian speaking Morozov. Ivan bragged that he was a "Molokan", and his "church in Los Angeles" has "2000 members". Morozov was interested to meet these alleged Russian-speaking Christians, and got Ivan's phone number, later called and asked when could he visit. Ivan immediately changed his story claiming he actually attended a small "church" and I would have to ask his "preacher" for "permission" to invite a guest. Morozov called Ivan several times with no answer. Perturbed, Morozov phoned me in Arizona to ask what happened.

I met Morozov several times while researching the Subbotniki of Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. When we first met at his Saturday evening meeting, Morozov chose to interview me and my Russian Molokan wife before his congregation, with many questions. During that one week trip in August 2018, we met most of the 10,000 Subbotniki who immigrated to Oregon and Washington within the past 10 years. They sing several Bible verses similar to Dukh-i-zhizniki and Dukhobortsy. Some of the presvitery raise their hands during prayer at the end of the evening meeting, ending Sabbath.

Morozov had no problem inviting an unexpected guest to the front, and he comfortably cancelled his regular service to use all their time to conduct an educational interview. He heard a couple of historians were touring their congregations and he wanted to make the most of our short time together. We both learned a lot about each other's history and faiths, as did his congregation. His congregation embraced interfaith Christian fellowship.

So, how should I answer presbyter Mihael Morozov why truck driver Ivan from Southern California bragged, acted friendly, then hid? I had to explain that Dukh-i-zhzniki are not Molokane, and they do not behave like other Christians. The number 2000 probably refers to all Dukh-i-zhznik congregations in the U.S.A. and Australia who attend during holidays. Why did Ivan not call back, or answer the phone? He was embarrassed, ashamed that he lied, and did not ask for permission to bring in a ne nash guest who speaks fluent Russian and knows the Bible well.

Readers should explore:
  • Why would people who are not Molokane, and know they are not Molokane, continue to say they are?
  • Why hide your real faith?  (Unless you believe and obey that M. G. Rudomyotkin ordered you to hide it from non-believers.)
  • Why do outside writers (especially journalists and academics) who do not know the differences among these faith tribes, and never meeting them, or meeting a few, continue to say they are all the same?
Habitual mistakes

Many people habitually continue a mistake to be consistent with previous mistakes, to not confuse the listener-reader. "Don't rock the boat."

What if Aristotle lied and said the earth is flat, because that's what most people believed in his time, and he did not want to upset or confuse them. But, Aristotle knew they were wrong and told them the truth. About 100 years later (240 B.C.), Eratosthenes estimated the circumference of the earth with perhaps less than 10% error. Many refused to believe the facts. Even today, there are a few flat earth societies.

Another common example is people who continue to say that Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples, Native North Americans and First Nations, and over 200 named tribes/bands in North America are from India — Indians or West Indians. Many journalists now try to avoid this offensive mistake when possible and use terms like Native Americans, Indigenous people, tribal, etc., except when "Indian" happens to be part of an official agency name.

Not knowing the right words is silly, like calling all animals with 4 feet and a tail "cats" because you don't know the other names (dog, horse, mouse, sheep, wolf, etc.); or, a dude not knowing the names of their tools, calling everything "hammer" that has a stick handle.

Not knowing alternatives is dangerous in professions where we expect expertise. Would you trust a doctor who did not know the difference between carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma and blastoma? What if the doctor did not know the difference between arms and legs, or left and right? Would you trust a pharmacist who gave you any pill no matter what your prescription said? If not, then why trust the religious elders, journalists and professors who only know one term and definition for .... the reason I present this Taxonomy — to make sense out of non-sense.

A simple historical classification system (below) accurately defines confused sub-groups of non-dukhobor Spiritual Christians, who, a century ago were told by Demens and Young and I. G. Samarin in Los Angeles that they should all falsely claim to be "Molokans" in America no matter what or who they were in Russia, or became in America. Though many resisted this name hijacking, the false identity transformation was gradually adopted until it passed a tipping-point after W.W.II, probably because:
  1. In 1905, P.A. Demens wrote and spoke that these immigrants in Los Angeles wanting to colonize Hawai'i were all "Molokans" whom he simply described as white(25), literate, hard-working, Protestant farmers. (Later he explained why they were not what he first claimed.)
  2. In 1926, Pauline Young, a graduate student at the University of Southern California, continued to claim they should all be called "Molokans" who needed social intervention. She continued to promote the "Molokan" term to the press, students, government and professionals for decades.
  3. In August 1926, a youth organization organized by 12 families and encouraged by Pauline Young, falsely named the United Molokan Christian Association (U.M.C.A.), while the rarely seen by-laws specified that membership is limited to Spiritual Christian "Jumpers." Pryguny. 2 years later Pryguny began to transform into Dukh-i-zhizniki, and the by-laws were never changed as Pryguny were extinguished.
  4. In the 1930's several youth published a few editions of a newspaper titled the "Flats Gazette" which broadcast the term "Molokan".  
  5. In 1937, the U.M.C.A. began an annual picnic held in August at Brookside Park, Pasadena, next to the Rose Bowl. The first picnic featured a girls' beauty and talent "queen" contest, about which some elders objected. For decades thousands attended, including Molokane from Northern California.
  6. In August 1940, "The Origins of the Molokan Sect," a bi-lingual article was published in the Souvenir Program, United Molokan Christian Association 4th Annual Picnic. On page 1, the phrase духовные пригуны (spiritual jumpers) appears once under the larger font Russian name for the U.M.C.A., with no English translation. No labels appear for any other Spiritual Christian tribes, nor is there any mention of Molokane in San Francisco. Photos show all men without beards.
  7. In August 1941, the title of the Picnic Program is transformed to Молоканское Обозрение : The Molokan Review: A Russian Molokan Annual Review. with a bilingual article: "The Teachings of the Molokan Religion", and a Russian article: "Молокане в Америки" (Molokans in America); again no mention of other Spiritual Christian tribes, nor of Molokane in San Francisco.
  8. U.M.C.A. identity propaganda was extensive. The Molokan Review continued with 9 annual issues, 10 total including the first "Picnic Program."
  9. In 1948 and 1949, the last 2 editions of the Review had an extensive bilingual article: "Dogmas — Principles of the True Spiritual Christian Russian Molokans, Since 1803, Comprising 27 articles." In contrast, an article about "Ivan Gurievich Samarin" showed an "exact reproduction" of one of M. G. Rudomyotkin's hand-written notes used in their Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn'. In English these people claim to be "Molokans", but they use and obey a Russian language religious text not used by real Molokane and rarely seen by them.
  10. Assimilated members were apparently embarrassed and afraid to describe themselves as Pryguny, "Holy Jumpers", or with other terms.
  11. They did not know their history and believed whatever they were told.
  12. Followers of the Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life) believed they were ordered to keep their real faiths secret and only report to outsiders that they are pacifist "dairy-eaters" (no matter what they do in private).
  13. Confused and/or lazy American outsiders (ne nashi, journalists, professors) preferred one simple label, which they did not question.
  14. Real Molokane 400 miles away in San Francisco did not object enough.
  15. Real Molokane were not welcome to educate Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki, Klubnikinisty, Maksimisty, Sionisty, Novyy israil, etc. about the real Molokan faith.

In 1956, the first edition of the "Molokan Directory," which was distributed more than the Review, contained a false title and a short false history on the last page, which was reproduced on every update of the Directory for the next 20 years.

I was born in 1948 and was deceived by the false "Molokan" label most of my life. But over time, as I visited various congregations in North America, I could see the distinct divisions between the Spiritual Christians in Canada and the USA, and between Northern California and Southern California, and among many of the congregations and within congregations in Southern California and Arizona. After 1992, during my trips to Russia, I got to know my relatives (father's first cousins) who sat on the front rows of 3 different congregations in Pyatigorst, Stavropol, Russia — Molokan, Prygun (dukhovniye) and Maksimist (which uses their 1934 Kniga solntse, dukh i zhin' in place of the Bible). The Pyatigorst Prygun congregation, with some of my Molokan relatives as guests, performed my marriage ceremony in 1997. Many were excellent singers. I am fortunate to have known many in my parent's generation in Russia well before they died. 

Who am I to speak?

Some may think I am wrong for revealing, even challenging, my own heritage tribes about facts they never heard before from "the elders." Some may see and/or call me a bad person, an agitator, a heathen, and/or a heretic. I see myself as a researcher, a scientist seeking truth and facts. I hope to help heal fear, lies, and shame. I seek factual reporting and media transparency. The false label(s) confuses histories of diverse faiths which are not Molokan. The solution is simple — learn your actual histories and correctly use a few new words.


Who are Spiritual Christian Dairy-eaters?

Dukhovnye khristiane-molokane (Духовные христиане-молокане : Spiritual Christian Dairy-eaters) is a registered religion with an international organization and headquarters in south Russia, North Caucasus. Members of this organization are officially internationally recognized as "Molokan." Descendants of real Molokane, especially those who have not joined another faith and remain close to practicing relatives, also use the term.

Contact — контакт
Websites — сайте*
Союз общин Духовных Христиан молокан             
ул. Школьная, д. 75
с. Кочубеевское,
Кочубеевский р-н
Ставропольский кр.

Phone/ тел: 8-86550-22640
сдхм.рф (youth news, events, history) (archived newspapers, journals, books, video, audio, documents) (news, history, blog)
молокане.рф (genealogy, congregations) (Ivanovka communal farm, Azerbaijan)

: Весть (Vest' : News)
Video Channel: sodhmvr

Head-Presviter: Vasili T. Schetinkin
Union of Spiritual Christian Molokan Congregations
67 Shkol'naya street
Kochubeevskoe town
Kochubeevskii district
Stavropol'skii territory
Russian Federation
Click for MORE
       *  Several of these Russian websites still confuse Dukh-i-zhizniki with Molokane.

Molokane (named about 1765 in Central Russia) are the oldest, largest and the most documented and organized today of these 3 confused Spiritual Christian groups. Before the term Molokane, many were often called ikonobortsy. Molokane today have a central hierarchy (a bureaucracy, religious/spiritual and temporal), published contacts and content on the Internet, meetings, conventions, buildings, museums, interfaith representation, and a long a history of publications in Russia. They are Bible-centered folk Protestant Christians in Russia, not Orthodox.(57)

A more accurate label from the perspective of the Old Orthodox Church for this faith is Ne-postniki (Non-Fasters), because they are folk-protestants in Russia who do not comply with the approximately 200 fasting days required by the Russian Orthodox Church. Their label originated from their heresy of not fasting (ne-postniki, нe-постники) especially during Lent (Great Fast). Instead of fasting they were seen consuming their normal diet which included dairy (molochnye) products, like milk (moloko : молоко), sir (сир : cheese), brynza (брынза : cheese), tvorog (творог : like cottage cheese), kefir (кефир), ryazhenka (ряженка), toplyonoe (топлёное молоко : baked milk), prostokvasha (простокваша : soured milk).

The only people in the Russian Empire exempt from obeying the Russian Orthodox Church fasting laws were registered Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, indigenous tribes and foreigners. Other citizens by default were required to obey the religious-state laws. By not obeying the fasting laws they became outlaws, criminals, heretics, sectarians (sektanty).

Unfortunately most descriptions of folk-protestants stress what they objected to — icons, priests, candles, wine, Saint days, about 200 fasting days, etc.— but not listing what they retained. Spiritual Christian Molokane retained about 10% of the Orthodox rituals (prayers, psalms, holidays, tapestry, rug, etc.). Dukhoborsty in Russia retained more Orthodox holidays (Calendar of Doukhobor Holidays in the Caucasus, by Jonathan Kalmakoff.), most of which were abandoned by the third who moved to Canada.

Much misunderstanding results from erroneous newspaper news and publications about migration of Spiritual Christians from Russia to North America around 1900. Too often Molokane are confused with Dukhobortsy and many other sects (or "malakan") that pretended to be Molokane when they fled from Russia, and/or arrived in California. Only about 500 Molokane (100 families) migrated to California in the early 1900s, where most settled in San Francisco and Northern California. After February 1906, there was never an organized Molokan congregation in North America except in San Francisco (meeting hall established in 1928) and later in Sheridan (north of Sacramento). Numerous old reports of organized Molokan congregations in North America outside of Northern California are false, though small clusters of Molokan families temporarily lived in Oregon, Northern California, New Mexico, and Baja California.

In the 1930s to 1940s, a congregation of diaspora Molokane existed in the Russian section of Harbin, Manchuria. I met one family that moved to San Francisco. In Fresno, I was introduced to a woman who lived in Harbin who told me she had childhood friends there who were Molokane and Dukhobortsy and that many moved to Japan.

In the 1980s, when I asked Ethel Dunn, who lived near Berkeley, California, how she learned of Molokane in San Francisco, she said that a friend of hers introduced her to a Molokan man living in nearby Oakland, who then indroduced the Dunns to the congregation in San Francisco. I met this man, named Nozhen, who told me that in the 1950's about 50 Molokan families from Harbin, China migrated to Perth, Australia, where they assimilated.(63) His brother was the presbyter in Australia. I recall that Nozhen told me his brother's last congregation was in Sidney.

Coincidentally, also in the 1980s, I learned from American Maksimist William W. Prohoroff that in 1964 when his family flew to Australia to live, they were met at the airport a group Australian Molokane who read in their newspapers about "Molokans" (Dukh-i-zhizniki) moving to Australia from America. The Australian Molokane and Maksimisty from American soon realized they were completely different faiths and never kept contact.(64) Years later, Paulina (Bahgdanov) Slivkoff met an Australian Molokan who came to the University of West Australia to hear her speak about her master's thesis which was mistitled to be about "Molokane".


The Russian term molokan(1) unfortunately has too often been
confusingly, falsely and vaguely misused when referring to diverse non-homogeneous religious Christian groups or sects, any dissident in Russia, any old faith, or any migrant from Russia to the Caucasus and their descendants —
  • "Molokan" is the original correct term for the authentic Spiritual Christian Molokan faith since 1765,

  • "Molokan" is often confused with the similar sounding malakan,(57) a label developed in the Caucasus which evolved into an umbrella term, referring to any old-faith or dissident peoples from Russia in Transcaucasia, even after they leave the Caucasus.
The term Molokan should be used only for the registered Spiritual Christian Molokan faith.(2)

For clarity and historic accuracy, the umbrella terms for "folk-Protestants in Russia" — dukhovnye khristiane, Spiritual Christians* — or sectarians** in or from Russia should be used when generally referring to an unknown or mixed religious group(s) of non-Orthodox, non-Jewish, non-Muslim and similar folk Protestant faiths and/or groups in, or from, Old Russia, and/ or their descendants. Their ancestry can be a mixture of Caucasian and Asiatic people; including Armenian, Chuvash, Finn, German, Mordvin, Russian, Tatar, Ukrainian, etc.(71) 

* The term "Spiritual Christianity" (Russian: dukhovnoe khristianstvo : духовное христиаство) specifically refers to "folk protestantism in Russia," referring to 100+ types (many named) of sectarians (Russian: sektanty : сектанты). "Spiritual Christianity" was used by Molokane (молокане) and other Orthodox heretics to describe themselves, and was popularized in scientific literature by Moscow Professor Alexander Ilyich Klibanov (1910-1994), a historian, religious scholar, and pioneering researcher of religious and social movements in Russia.

I find that writers describing peoples in the Russian Empire, extensively overlap the meanings of these 10 terms(57)  (clustered here by similarity):
  • Religion — (1) folk-Protestants = (2) Spiritual Christians
  • Russian ethnicity — (3) malakan (Russians resettled in South Russia)
  • Russian but not Orthodox — (4) heretics = (5) sectarians = (6) sektanty = (7) heterodox
  • Protesting the Orthodox faith — (8) ikonobortsy (iconoclasts) = (9) dissidents =  (10) non-conformists (including of the Old FaithStariovery)
At least 100 different ethno-confessional groups, sub-groups, and sub-sub-groups may have evolved from the people and tribes labeled by these terms, and were probably more than 10% of the population of Imperial Russia. No one term can easily identify them because they differ and evolve by time, place, leader, and clan; and individuals can change affiliations within a few months. Some individuals claim identities in 2 or more tribes.

** The Russian word "sectarians" (sektanty : сектанты) as used in Imperial Russia meant "Russian but not Orthodox" or heretic, "non-Orthodox Russian". Do not confuse the Old Russian meaning of "sectarian" with the modern English meaning of the words: sectarians, sect, cult.
Who are Dukh-i-zhizniki and Pryguny?

By definition all Dukh-i-zhizniki use the religious text: Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn', prayer book of Maksim G. Rudomyotkin, and Sionskiy pesennik (Songbook of Zion). No other faiths in the world used these religious texts. Use of these books is the easiest way to identify Dukh-i-zhizniki.

Dukh-i-zhizniki were named in 2007 though formerly founded about 1928 in the U.S. by a variety of zealous Spiritual Christian tribes who immigrated from Russia to Arizona and California, including all Maksimisty, Novo Israili, Sionisty, Klubnikinisty, many Pivovarovsty, many Pryguny, and a few converted former Subbotniki and Molokane. At that time, some could claim affiliation to multiple tribes due to intermarriage and ambiguous knowledge of the origins of their heritage and faiths, which continues today (2023). Most Dukh-i-zhizniki to not call themselves by that term, but they all know that their congregation, or family's faith, uses the book, in short called: Dukhi i zhizn' (Spirit and Life).

I have witnessed differences and clashes between Dukh-i-zhizniki and Pryguny my entire life. I grew up attending the Dukh-i-zhiznik congregation in Arizona, among zealous jumping Maksimisty, and among their congregations in Southern California. Though my parents could not explain why we were treated as 2nd class members, my relatives in Russia explained that my Conovaloff family were Pryguny in Saratov Oblast, Central Russia, before resettling in Selim village, Kars Oblast. My Prygun heritage did not originate in Novorossiya. My grandfather's New Salem colony in Arizona was Prygun, and was continuously criticized by some of the Maksimist congregates as being an inferior separate faith for not embracing their prophet M. G. Rudomyotkin. When he visited Los Angeles, my grandfather Jake D. (Yakov Danilich) Conovaloff attended the Aktinsky sobranie (Samarin's, Percy Street) with about 5 Prygun skazatel'i (talkers, speakers) who ignored the text of M. G. Rudomyotkin and did not jump. In Arizona the separation between Dukh-i-zhizniki and Pryguny continued after the 2 congregations merged about 1947.(83) Discrimination became acute in the 1960s after a Maksimist prophet, Fred "Stretch" Slivkoff, anointed my father to be the next presbyter, a position which the son (David William Tolmachoff) of the standing elder presbyter believed he should inherit. Due to the volatility of these Maksimisty, my dad waited, serving as assistant presviter for more than a decade before the position was opened by the death of D.W. Tolmachoff and no one else wanted to "inherit" it. The real reason was lack of education. No one else could recite all the prayers.

For several years prior to 2007, I variously called the faiths that used the book, called in short, "Spirit and Life" as: "Spirit and Life users", "S&L-users" and "Spirit and Lifers." I knew from my many meetings with Molokane and Pryguny around the world that they did not use this religious text. Most had never heard of it. The very few Molokane who ever examined the book said it has nothing to do with Molokane, nor was of interest to many Pryguny who remained steadfast (postoyannie) to their faiths.

About 2005, I realized a Russian word was needed and asked several Russian immigrants in Arizona for a translation, or a word that describes these faiths. After years of discussion, my wife Tatiana Nikolaeyevna one day said дух и жизники — the perfect word for "people who use the Dukh i zhizn'." Of course! Russians make chai in a chainik. The companion that orbits earth's path (put') is a sputnik. And the Saturday people are Subbotniki.

This new word must be transcribed with hyphens — as dukh-i-zhinziki — for clarity in Russian. Without the hyphens, it could be misunderstood as 2 words, representing 2 things, rather than the name of one book.

Discussions with several colleagues who are still in the habit of using the wrong word, finalized this new term. The term is not capitalized in Russian, but capitalized in English as a proper label.

Since about 1915, the new ritual sacred texts of future Dukh-i-zhinziki, which, with the aid of Dr. P. V. Young, transformed through about 7 draft versions and was finalized in 1928 as a Russian language religious text : Книга солнце, дух и жизнь (Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' : Book of the Sun Spirit and Life). The short form — Dukh i zhizn' — is a draft title from an early print version with a leather cover, which resembled a leather covered Bible. This book never satisfied all the various tribes, and was intensely contested by Mike P. Pivovaroff for omitting his writings.(65) This book defined the beginnings of new religious movements because the Los Angeles prophet Afonasay T. Bezayeff, while filled with the Holy Spirit declared that it must be placed on their altar tables next to the Russian Bible, as a third testament in addition to the Bible. When each congregation placed the book on their table was not recorded. It was never uniformly accepted by all members. Some believed it replaced the Bible, some rejected it, while most accepted it somewhere in between those extremes.

The Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' was slightly modified about 1934 by the zealous Molodoe sobranie (young people's gathering) and exported to Spiritual Christians remaining in Kars province, Eastern Türkiye, and Soviet Armenia. The new book converted most all the Maksimisty in those areas and the most zealous Pryguny and a few similar faiths to form their own Dukh-i-zhiznik tribes. Though these various zealot faiths adopted the new 1928 ritual book sent from Los Angeles (customized for them in 1934), they mostly remained separate tribal faiths, and sub-faiths, to this day because each congregation has its own historic geographic territory, oral history, lead elders, prophets, singers, band societies and clans. Similarly the Dukh-i-zhinzik tribes in the United States, Australia, and Uruguay have maintained cordial separation.

Dukh-i-zhizniki were officially founded about 1928 in the U.S.A. (Arizona and California, not in Russia), as new religious movements which use the Russian language religious text in addition to the Old Russian Bible with Apocrypha. The Dukh i zhizn' (short title) defines and separates Dukh-i-zhizniki from all other faiths in the world, which many believers demonize as the "666 false faiths." Congregations that use the Dukh i zhizn'  are mostly loosely networked and transformed Spiritual Christian faiths not in koinonia (unity, fellowship, brotherhood, partnership, full communion : единство, братство, товарищество, полное общение) with any other faiths, nor Molokane nor Pryguny, and many not with each other. They have no uniform liturgy, no central office, no hierarchy, no public phone number, no annual meetings nor general meetings, no official representatives or central organization,(7) no official website or centralized world-wide network, no logo or flag, and no representative journal nor newsletter.(40) They have no missions or missionaries, do not recruit non-heritage members, and forbid interfaith contact.

Though each Dukh-i-zhiznik congregation has one or more prophets, only the writings of 4 prophets (+1 added in an optional supplement) born in  Russia are published in their religious text: Kniga solnste, dukh i zhin' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life, 1928). Oral and notebook prophecies of perhaps 100 other prophets exist, and about 200 prophets have been active since 1900. Since no inter-congregational congresses are held, leadership is often entrenched and authoritarian by geographic location and congregation. Separate congregations often have autonomous meeting halls near each other, even across the street from each other. Intermarriage, if allowed, among Dukh-i-zhizniki is scrutinized; and brides typically must join the groom's congregation.

To contact them, one must approach each congregation, organization and group separately and preferably verbally in person, because they typically will not respond in writing, even if they they personally know you. Few have easy-to-find agents or addresses. About the best contact an outsider can get is with one, or a few individuals, who may only speak unofficially and/ or in secret. Outsiders, even members of other Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations and organizations, may be immediately turned away, treated like an intruder at a private or secret meeting for members only. Dukh-i-zhizniki in the U.S.A. and Australia formally prohibit (scorn) inter-faith and public exchanges by members, while those in the Northern Caucasus typically welcome a guest and participate in events organized by regional government.(8) Some of the most zealous practicing Dukh-i-zhizniki today have preserved their oral history of oppression from the 1800s by the Russian Orthodox Church, and hatred of it. Many express group behavior similar to a selfish herd and an "introversionist sect."(9)  to maintain a spiritual presence "in the world, but not of the world," somewhat like "old order" Anabaptist faiths.

What became the Prygun (jumping) movement heresy is rooted in in Central Russia. Some influencers may have been called Skakuny in North Russia, perhaps due to contact with visiting enthusiastic Protestants from Europe and/or from indigenous shamanism. In the early 1800s, many non-Orthodox Russian heretics were exiled, and/or voluntary migrated, to the Molochnaya River area, Taurida Governorate (south Ukraine), with other mixed tribes of indigenous Spiritual Christians from Russia and Protestants from Germany. By 1833, during a drought and unrest, some zealous people from different tribal faiths (German and Russian) cross-fertilized (shared) spiritual enthusiasm and some aggregated into new faiths during and after "an outpouring of the Holy Spirit" reported in oral histories. By 1840 many were offered land in the newly acquired Transcaucasia, where the term Pryguny (jumpers) was first used in print about 1856.(84)

Pryguny are historically a somewhat intermediary weak evolutionary link between many sectarian groups and Dukh-i-zhizniki who reformed in America 100 years later. The Prygun faiths were further influenced by preceptors of millennialism and pietism from a variety of foreign (mostly German) faiths in south Russia. The complex origins of these multi-hybrid tribal faiths are much less documented than other Spiritual Christians because tribes, groups and adherents were were isolated, migratory, fragmented, illegal and hid. Russian reports variously described heretics as beguny, pryguny, shalaputy, sionisty, skakuny, stranniki, stundisty, vedentsy, among other terms; and in English as jumpers, holy jumpers, leapers, noisy-nose-breathers, knowers, hoppers, bouncers and dancers. These terms attempt to describe their fluid ecstatic religious enthusiasm. Many voluntarily migrated to the Southern Caucasus after 1840 with other Spiritual Christian faiths as colonizers, and/or to live near Mt. Ararat, and/or to get to Mt. Zion, Palestine (Israel). In the Caucasus they got a warmer climate, more land, religious freedom, and about a decade of exemptions from military duty and taxes.

Those in the Caucasus grew in numbers and continued to unite and divide into various tribes while incorporating new beliefs, songs and rituals from other faiths, mostly from neighboring Anabaptists and descendants of Pietists who migrated from Europe to South Ukraine and the Caucasus, and from local Protestants, and perhaps Jewish-like Krymchaks and Crimean Karaites. From Liudi Bozhe (God's people), and German heupferde (hoppers) and tanzende brüder (brother dancers), some probably retained, or learned, variations of heavy rapid breathing while jumping and jerking in the spirit, and roaring and ranting, sometimes "half-naked" (without shirts?). Each congregation typically has one (leader) or more prophets. From German Protestants (Duchy of Württemburg) and missionaries, and Novo Israili (New Israelites), they apparently adapted and borrowed songs and millennialism, which continues today in year 2022. From Subbotniki (Saturday people) and Readers (Karaites) they added holidays and Old Testament customs. Some appear to have adapted song melodies from neighboring Muslims. In the late 1800s, the Maksimist tribes discarded nearly all of the holidays retained from Orthodoxy (Christ's holidays), maintained today by Molokane and Pryguny and transformed to new faiths. In general today, Pryguny are somewhat similar to Pentecostals, but not evangelical — no missionaries. Those who migrated to North America after 1900 were converted to Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths after 1928, or forced to abandoned their heritage faiths.

Today, Prygun congregations only exist in the Northern Caucasus of the Russian Federation. Diaspora congregations persisted in the U.S.A. in Arizona and San Francisco, California, up to 1950; among immigrants from Iran (Persia) in Los Angeles up to 1958; and in Mexico up to the early 1960s. The last active congregation in Los Angeles migrated to Adelaide, South Australia, in the 1960s, where it persists today with no contact with any congregation currently in the Russian Federation. In the 1970-1980s in Woodburn, Oregon, a congregation of 5 Dukh-i-zhiznik families "reformed" to a Prygun faith and published a newsletter (Besednyik, discontinued); and stopped meeting about 2013 after their presbyter Kapsof had a stroke. Congregations in the Republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan resettled to the Russian Federation due to the the Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988-1994) and ethnic cleansing. I have personally visited most of the active Pryguny in the world, and my Prygun and Molokan relatives from Pyatigorsk, Stavropol province, conducted my wedding in Yessentuki, at my Molokan wife's family apartment.

Using the 1997 Johnstone definitions for sect and cult, Molokane and Pryguny are sects, and Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations are many cults. All 3 groups are heterodox, not-orthodox, and many Dukh-i-zhizniki venerate and/ or revere select prophets and historic relics. Analysis with other classifications systems of religious movements is in-progress.

Common to all 3 groups

All 3 groups have retained about 10% of their heritage from old Russian Orthodox rituals and folklore (select beliefs, prayers, prayer rug, hymns, melodies, food, dress) and discarded 90% of which the most emphasized are: icons, candles, priests, saints, most holidays and nearly all fasting holidays. Less noted is how much non-Christian (pagan) folklore was retained by Spiritual Christians from their old Russian heritage.( XXX )

To an outsider or a non-Russian speaking heritage member, the differences between these 3 religious groups may seem minor, if at all detected, which is why so many have been fooled into thinking they are all "essentially the same".(Dunn 1972 xxx)  

I have attended and participated in services with many congregations of these 3 faith groups in the United States and Former Soviet Union. All were similar enough for me to easily know what to do, how to act, where to stand or sit, to sing along, and speak as a guest. I recognized similar prayers, songs and melodies, dress and rituals in all 3 types of faiths. I am sure any of the congregants I met could do the same if they visit other tribes, but they rarely do because they know the differences.

All 3 groups use a Russian Synodal Bible during meetings (sobranie) from which they read aloud and sing Psalms and verses (hymns). The lead elder men sit on 1 to 3 sides of an altar table either in the corner or center mid-wall of the meeting room (depending on room size and congregation custom), with the religious texts on the table, laid open in a row before the presbyter (presviter) and other elders at the table (prestol). The arrangement of books and ritual format is most specific among Dukh-i-zhizniki.

Women and men sit separate on back-less benches (which are easy to move and stack), either face-to-face or at right angles if the meeting room size permits and that is their custom. Meetings can be in private homes, communal halls, or outdoors. Women wear a head covering, with long sleeved full length dress, some with aprons. All services around the world begin with The Lord's Prayer in Russian, singing Bible Psalms and verses in Russian, and speaking in the language of the majority of the elders of the congregation.

When members approach a meeting hall entrance, they wait for a group to accumulate where they may greet each other, then elder men proceed first, followed by younger men, then the women, all in age and gender order. Typically deference is given to the oldest or dominant male in each entering group, as they arrive. They may greet outside, or in a coat hanging hall entry corridor, a vestigial narthex, vestibule. Upon entering the main meeting hall, the lead elder recites a short prayer and all proceed to sit on benches in their position, men around the table (choir, speakers, readers, presbyters, prophets), and women in their position or section. Later, as more members enter, depending on the congregation and what they are doing, all seated may stand in common prayer with the entering people, or pause until the newly arrive are seated.

None of these 3 religious groups have missionaries, or paid religious positions or staff, probably because they did not have these illegal positions in Old Russia and continued the behavior as traditions. All religious work is voluntarily and self-learned, by laypeople. In the Former Soviet Union, congregations with a separate prayer house often have a resident security/property guard, often a pensioner who gets rent in exchange for guarding the prayer hall. In the U.S.A., coreligionists are hired for meeting hall janitorial services. In the U.S.A., only the Dukh-i-zhiznik elementary school, Hacienda Heights CA, has paid staff; and their cemeteries mostly hire non-white laborers because many believers obey a commandment in their Dukh i zhizn' to hire "Arabs" (people of color) to become wealthy, and to touch a dead body is considered "unclean." Therefore, zealous adherents refuse to volunteer to perform community service manual labor. Zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki forbid their members from aiding members of other faiths whom they believe to be "non-believers" or heretics of their particular Dukh-i-zhiznik faith.

By 1960, all Prygun congregations in the U.S., except one in San Francisco which merged with local Molokane, were extinguished or converted to a Dukh-i-zhiznik faith, while the majority who did not conform to their rules and rituals were rejected, and/or harassed to extinction. Though a congregation may be coerced into placing these sacred texts on their alter table, not all congregants personally accepted the books as divine, yet many maintained paid Dukh-i-zhiznik membership for family tradition, cultural and social reasons.

In the 1970s, 5 heritage Dukh-i-zhiznik families in Oregon, who had no personal knowledge of Pryguny in the Soviet Union, and 2 were Pryguny from Iran, united to "re-form" their own version of a Prygun faith by (1) rejecting the divinity of the book Kniga solnste dukh i zhizn'; (2) performing their service in English (Russian optional), using selected translated songs and prayers formerly learned while Dukh-i-zhizniki; and (3) somewhat recognizing the former abandoned Americanized Christ's holidays. After meeting house-to-house for about a decade, they bought a meeting house at 995 Belle Passi Road NE, in Woodburn, Oregon. Their self-reversion to Pryguny was severely scorned by zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki as heresy and apostasy which was inflamed when they mailed a free newsletter, Besednyik (sic: Besednik), for more than a decade (1980-1990s) to over 4,500 households listed in the mislabeled 1980 Молокан Directory (better title: 1980 Directory of the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians from Russia: Comprising many faiths), of mostly American Dukh-i-zhizniki. Intense verbal attacks and lack of leadership talent deterred much wanted similar English Prygun or English Molokan congregations from forming in Southern California. In the early 2000s they started a website, which was online for a few years. The Pryguny of Woodburn discontinued meetings about 2013 after their presbyter Kapsof had a stroke.

I also visited congregations of Spiritual Christians from Russia not in this taxonomy — Dukhobory in Canada and Republic of Georgia, Subbotniki in Oregon and Washington, and Baptisti in Arizona and Russia — and found many of the similarities among these very different faiths common with the 3 groups of this taxonomy. Are they all "essentially the same."

A simple analogy about how Spiritual Christians are similar and different is driving a car. Most readers have driven many different cars in their lives. After you first learned to drive one car, how much trouble was it to learn to drive a different make and model car? Most people would say that all cars are pretty much the same, yet they are distinctly different, and given different names, and numbers to identify them, especially when you need to buy a replacement part. Most cars have 4 wheels, an engine in the front, storage in the back, seats, windows, steering wheel, lights, etc. Remember cars first started with a crank, then a floor button, then keys, and  now dashboard buttons. Are they the same, or different?

Who/what are malakan?

This phonetically transliterated term was used in English as early as 1819 by William Allen, who visited sectarians in Saratov, Central Russia. In September 1821 Ebenezer Henderson met 3 "Malakans" in Mozdok, South Russia.

In Old Russia, and continuing in the Former Soviet Union and now the Russian Federation, the term malakan has 2 general meanings, depending on context.
  1. It is the native spelling (in Azeri, Armenian, Turkish, and other Caucasian languages) for White settlers from Russia in the Caucasus, many of whom were various ethno-confessional faith groups of peasant Spiritual Christians(57) who tended to cluster in their own villages or neighborhoods, separate from natives, typically dressed and spoke Russian or another language not native to the Caucasus. Many came from the Molochna River area in South Ukraine, northeast of Crimea, therefore malakan would identify their origin (from Molochna). The term could also apply to white ethnic Germans, Ukrainians, Estonians, etc. from Russia in the Caucacus from Molochna, or from Central Russia. It is a hyponym, a catch-all, umbrella term.
  2. Any pacifist, dissident, military slacker, lazy person, vagrant ... Many malakans in South Russia and Transcaucasia were pacifists and dissidents
Today the general term malakan is widely used in Southern Russia and the Caucasus to refer to the non-indigenous, mostly heterodox Christians(57), who resettled from Russia beginning in the 1800s. These various malakan peoples are known for their outdoor farmers' markets residential districts called malakanka, and some who bred the malakan horse and malakan cow, and made malakan cheese (Turkish: malakan peyniri), malakan potatoes and malakan pickled cabbage. Most all labels continue today, except for the nearly extinct cow and renamed streets.trie

Characters in several Russian novels and short stories were labeled "molokan" or "malakan" to infer pacifism, morals, cowardliness, dissidence, etc.

Other meanings for the spelling of malakan occur in the Middle East and Asia, and it is a surname in several nationalities. Research in-progress.

Malakan places, animals and foods

Many places and things in the Caucasus are named "malakan" (molokan, malokan, ...) for the malakan people who created them. 
  • places : farmers markets (bazaars), streets, a garden park, ...
  • animal breeds : horse, cow
  • food : cheese (malakan), potatoes (malakanskaya, ruskartoe), pickled cabbage (solyonaya kapusta, sauerkraut), honey (beekeeping)
Many types of malakane lived across Russia, but this term was mostly used beginning in the 1800s when they entered the Pale of Settlement in Southern Russia, New Russia and the Caucasus. They lived concentrated in villages mostly, but not exclusively, with other tribes of malakane. These non-native villages did not have a special term, like shtetl (штетл) for Jewish villages.

The general use of malakan is as broad and non-specific as the general use of jew, asian, indian, or colored people — each term attempts to cluster huge populations to separate them from other populations, while a multitude of divisions exist and evolve over place and time within the populations.
  • All Spiritual Christians are malakane, but not all malakane are Spiritual Christians(57).
  • All Molokane are malakane, but not all malakane are Molokane.
— Places
markets (рынок : rynok ; базар : bazar) existed north of the Caucasus mountains in the Russian Empire, later called the Former Soviet Union (Post Soviet States); and now Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia-Alania, and south of the mountains in what is now Tbilisi, Georgia; and Baku, Azerbaijan. Now there's a market and soccer team in Vladikavkaz, and in Baku 2 restaurants and a hotel with the label.

Click to ENLARGE
Click on image to ENLARGE. "Malakanksiy" Market, 9 Gertsena street, Vladikavkaz, Russia. The photo-enhanced sign says: "Products, Ready Kitchen, Household Chemicals (cleaners); and telephone number". See the store on Google Street View 2021.

  • In North Ossetia–Alania, the Vladikavkaz Malakanский market was active when I visited there in 1992, where it existed for more than a century in the early Molokan district. The large outdoor market appears to have been reduced to a large indoor market. In January 2020, the Malakanka soccer team won second place in the "Istok" games.(103)
  • In Georgia, east of the main Tbilisi the train depot, the "malakan square" (malakan ploshad) nickname remains in use, but the adjacent Molokan streets (#1, #2) are renamed respectively Pirosmani and Gogol streets to promote a national artist and writer to tourists, instead of Russian peasants. Niko Pirosmani painted several scenes of Molokane, and one in 1905 was labeled "Kytyozh molokan" (Molokan feast/ spree).
  • In Azerbaijan, the large malakan market on the east boundary of the Baku "Old City" was moved to a location north of the main train depot to convert the original 2-acre market area to an ornate city park which, despite 3 official name changes, is still most popularly known as Malakanka today. Malakanskiya street ran east along the north side of the Malakan garden-park. See map below. In the Malakan garden park is the (Own Milk) Özsüt Molokan restaurant. Across the street to the east is the Molokan Inn Hotel. At the southwest corner, across the street is the Malacannes restaurant.
  • In Eastern Türkiye, Malakan horses, cows and cheese (photos below) were created in Kars oblast. The horse is a registered protected breed. The dairy cow is rare and interbred now. The cheese is popular in Türkiye under different trade names.
  • In Central Russia in the old Samara city, there was a Molokan Orchard district, properly named after the Spiritual Christian Molokane who lived there.
Click to ENLARGE
Click on map to ENLARGE. In Baku, Azerbaijan, Malakanskaya street ran east from the north side of the Molokan Garden. The name was changed by the Soviets in 1923 to January 9 street in memory of the 1905 "Bloody Sunday" protests in Moscow, and in 1946 to the current name of Khagani Alley/Street.(104)

"The last Malakan people [Lapin brothers] in Kars province, Türkiye,
who are originally from Russia and their pure Malakan Horse."(36)
One type of Malakan cheese,
made in Kars province, Türkiye.

Beginning in 1926, after the 1921 Treaty of Kars, the Soviet Union (Russia) voluntarily repatriated thousands from abroad, including most Molokane, Dukhobortsy and Novyy israili and some Pryguny in Türkiye, leaving all the Staroobryadtsy and more than a thousand of the most zealous Spiritual Christians from Russia in Türkiye, many of whom were converted to Dukh-i-zhizniki after 1930. Most of the repatriated Molokane, Pryguny and Dukhobortsy were given adjacent tracts of barren land in east Rostov oblast, Russia, where they established farms and produced dairy products before being stopped by Soviet collectivization in the early 1930s. I visited this area in 1992 and found one Prygun congregation, the rest were Molokane, no Dukh-i-zhizniki.

— Animals

The Spiritual Christian tribes who remained in Turkey (now Türkiye) were offered land to continue breeding their outstanding horses and cows and manage the state agricultural experimental farm just outside the capital of Ankara.(82) That farmland is now the Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo. Had these tribes taken the offer, they could have remained in Türkiye as respected agriculturalists. They may have refused for any or all of these reasons:
  • Because the Maksimisty among them must live close to Mt. Ararat and did not want to move farther.
  • The most expert breeders were among the majority of Molokane who already moved to Russia in the 1920s.
  • They did not want to move from farms and homes they built and lived in for generations.
  • Different conflicting faiths and sub-tribes would have to work together against their will.
Divided in Türkiye

The migrations of parts of several different Spiritual Christian tribes from Kars to North America (1889-1912) and the 1920s migration to Russia, left most all Spiritual Christian villages around Kars partially vacant. To avoid inter-ethnic conflicts, the government attempted to separate the remaining Spiritual Christian tribes from other ethnic Muslim tribes and Turkish citizens by concentrating them into 3 clusters in and near the 3 villages of — Yalınçayır (Zührap, Ol'shanka), Atçılar, and Çalkavur (Chalkavur-Chakmak), shown in the map below right, with yellow markers. In the 1960s when Dukh-i-zhizniki in these 3 villages were repatriated to Stavropol krai and Astrakhanka oblast, Soviet Union, they remained separated by faith tribes and further divided. Though all use the Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn', and dress and sing similarity, they remain separated by history and new disagreements.

Again, the majority of Spiritual Christians — Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki — in Kars province, Türkiye, in the 1960s who chose to repatriate to the Soviet Union were already divided into 3 major branches with which they identify today (2024).
  • Yalinchayir — Yalınçayır  (Zührap*, Ol'shanka*),
  • Atchilar — Atçılar
  • Chalkavur — Çalkavur (Chalkavur-Chakmak*)
             * These 3 village labels were carried in oral tradition to Los Angeles.

After moving to the Soviet Union, the Molokane and Pryguny from Kars did not separate per the above 3 branches as much as the Dukh-i-zhizniki, who remain distinctly separated and further sub-divided into the 2000s. If you meet a Dukh-i-zhizniki in Stavropol'skiy krai or Krasnodarskiy krai, ask which of the three groups they are from. If you are a member of "Big Church" in Los Angeles County, California, your ancestors may be from Ol'shanka (#1 above, as is my wife's family).

The most zealous tribes will not attend another tribes events, nor permit outsiders in, and avoid other tribes while walking on the street. I've seen this behavior in Stavropol'skiy krai. Many do not know the location of the meeting places of the other branches, and they not be familiar with those people, therefore avoid them. Similar behavior exists among Dukh-i-zhiznik tribes in America and Australia.

When American Dukh-i-zhizniki visited their coreligionists (our people) in Russia, and they are hosted by a member of one of the 3 branches, they will only be taken to congregations of their hosts branch,ignoring all Molokane, Pryguny and about two-thirds of the Dukh-i-zhizniki. This happened with John Alex Kochergin, from Kerman CA, in the 1980s when he raised money in the USA to donate Bibles to all Malakan congregations in Russia. His escort was an Atchilar presbyter who claimed to know everybody, all Malakane in Russia, but drove Kochergen past most of the congregations. (Told by my relatives in 1992.) In 2007, I was in Levokumko, Stavropolskiy krai, for a week and was hosted by Olga Samarin, director of the museum in the next town with a large Malakan display. Her family was Yalinchayir, and her husband Molokan, and the town attorney. They were the most educated couple in town. As her husband was driving me around town, he heard that someone from America was visiting. Within a few minutes he learned that Morrie Pivovaroff, from Kerman CA, and and Peter Partnoff, from Fresno CA, spent the night, visited many people, and already left, being driven by the same Atchilar guy who drove Kochergen 20 years earlier. Some time later I visited Morrie an told him what he missed and why. Most of the Molokane, Pryguny, and Yalinchayir-Dukh-i-zhizniki knew I was in town, but not the Atchilar-Dukh-i-zhizniki. These branches and denominations have different channels of communication as those in America and Australia.

In Türkiye a huge population of Old Orthodox (Old Ritualist) Staroobryadtsy remained at Lake Manyas in western Türkiye who did not repatriate to Russia in the 1920s. In the 1960s most were lured to the Soviet Union to some of the same rural districts in northeastern Stavropol krai as the Spiritual Christians from Russia in Kars Province. Because they formed costumed choirs and folk dance clubs willing to perform in public, they have become more well known in Russia and abroad under different names, sometimes confused with Malakan Nekrasov Cossacks, Cossacks, staroobryadtsy, Old Ritualists, Old Believers, Staro very, etc.

After 1930, most of the Spiritual Christians from Russia who remained around Kars were Pryguny and Maksimisty, the minority were Molokane and other faiths. Most all of the most zealous tribes of Spiritual Christians from Russia  transformed into separate tribes of Dukh-i-zhizniki in the mid-1930s after shipments of a revised Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' arrived from Los Angeles, California, sent by the "Molodoi sobranie" (young people's congregation) in the Flats area. Many Pryguny and all Molokane who remained in Türkiye rejected the new book as a religious text; and, after moving to the Soviet Union in the 1960s, they were continually insulted by the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki for not converting. The most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki in Russia also condemn those who moved to North America for abandoning their spiritual homeland.(82)

Spiritual Christians from Russia, particularly the most zealous tribes are very divided around the world, but the term malakan is attached to legacy products and places, as if produced by one unified population and faith. The names of those individuals who did the first animal breeding and first cheese making was never recorded for history, as far as I know.

Malakan horses are descended from draft (work) horses, some brought from Ukraine, and local draft horses in the Caucasus. They are one of the 14 major horse breeds indigenous to Türkiye and now protected by law.

— Food

Cheese and honey

Spiritual Christians from Russia are credited with popularizing cheese and beekeeping in the Kars area, north eastern Anatolia. In the 1960s, before the last (2nd) repatriation of Spiritual Christians back to Russia, they were known for their malakan cheese, described as similar to Gruyère cheese.

Malakan cheese is now labeled "Kars peynir" (Kars cheese) to promote the local cheese industry. In July 2015, I walked into one of more than 60  cheese and honey specialty shops in Kars — some across the street from each other — and  asked for malakan peynir (malakan cheese). The Turkish clerk immediately pointed to the refrigerated dairy case. There it was a  large round flat roll, about 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds). The taste is mild, and texture firm when cold, soft at room temperature, somewhat similar to low-moisture, whole-milk, mozzarella cheese. Some batches of malakan cheese have holes (photo above) due to dust contamination which does not occur with cheese made from pasteurized milk.

[Insert Photo]

The clerk then showed me a large Turkish book about malakane in Kars. I was surprised to see this book on display and pointed to my name and photo in the credits.(49) The clerk made a phone call, and the co-author soon walked in, introduced himself. We took a photo together, and walked about 2 blocks to meet the author Vedat Akçayöz. See more about these men and book in Spiritual Christians from Russia in Türkiye.

The original Kars dairy and cheese factory was established next to what became the village of Novo-Vorontsovka (now Boğatepe), Kars Oblast. The village was founded by Spiritual Christians resettled from Voronstovka, Tiflis guberniya (now Tashir, Armenia). Their large village in Armenia was known for its voronstovka potatoes. In 1905 Voronstovka (Tiflis) hosted the the All-Russian Congress of Spiritual Christian Molokans, celebrating 100 years of religious freedom, which thousands attended and a group photo was made.(48) At least one former Spiritual Christian house remains inhabited in Boğatepe, Türkiye, and is a monument to the builder.

In the late 1880s-1890s the Kars cheese factory, established by Swedish investors, was conscripted to teach cheese making to locals, including resettled Spiritual Chrstians. Those selected to be trained at the factory were to return to their respective villages and teach the skill to others. Probably because the communal immigrants from Russia, the malakane, could work communally as a village, they were the most successful at producing the most cheese. Hence, the legacy of malakan peynir.

In the 2010s, the cheese factory was conserved and converted to the Cheese Eco-Museum Factory for tourists and students, with a working dairy and cheese factory to train industry workers. 50 miles northeast of the Factory, across the border in Georgia, Spiritual Christian Dukhoborsty are still milking their own cows for 2 cheese factories (42) they have operated since Soviet times, a skill they also acquired 200+ years ago. During Soviet times, after Kars was returned to Türkiye, Dukhobor-made cheese was shipped to Moscow.(35) It is my observation that among Spiritual Christians in North America today, more Dukhobortsy eat their own home-made cheese than Dukh-i-zhizniki and Molokane combined.

Only a few rural Spiritual Christian families who migrated from Russia to the USA established dairy and cheese operations using skills that may have been learned in Kars. The largest was the Shakarians Dairy, Downey CA, (3,000 cows in 1943) then the Ivan Treguboff dairy west of Glendale AZ (on 75th Ave, between Camelback Road and Bethany Home Road). In the 1920s a commercial cheese factory was established by Ivan Alek. Tolmachoff, west of Glendale AZ, who supplied Safeway markets; and his family and kids were nick-named "cheese" — "John cheese", "Bill cheese", etc. There were at least 3 smaller family dairies. Chernabaeffs near Shafter-Wasco CA also made cheese, mainly for family and relatives, not sold commercially. In Arizona, my grandfather Jake (Yabov) Dan Conovaloff had a small heard up to about 1950 and a dairy barn; and our neighbor Pete Ivan Treguboff had more than 100 cows which he milked most of his life near near Tolleson AZ (Thomas Road, west of 91st Ave). After the 1960s there was a large dairy in Tulare County California owned by John Fred Valov (1926-2013); two dairies were started and failed, by the sons of Jack and Doris Tolmachoff, the first with stolen goods animals, feed and medicine, and the other rented.(52)


In the Republic of Georgia, a variety, or varieties, of potato grown and sold by Spiritual Christians was/were called malakanskaya (малаканская) and vorontsovka (воронцовка). These potatoes from Russia were also called, and still called, ruskartoe (a contraction of the Russian words for "Russian potato" — russkaya kartorshka) and “kartoli” (slang). The village of Voronstovka (now Tashir, north Armenia) was founded in 1844 by settlers from the Molochna River district of Novorossiya who were given about 35 square miles (22,400 acres) by a Georgian prince. It may have been the largest Spiritual Christian village in the Caucasus and was located between the cities of Erevan and Tiflis, now on the south side of the Georgia-Armenia border. The 100-year anniversary celebration of religious freedom for Molokane was held here in 1905. Some Spiritual Christians moved from Voronstovka to Novo-Voronstovka, which became the cheese center for Kars Oblast (described above).

Turkish historians document that their potatoes most likely were introduced from Russia, probably by Spiritual Christians from Russia (malakan Dukhobory, Molokane, Subbotniki, Pryguny), because both (immigrants and potatoes) arrived about 1878 across the eastern border in Kars Oblast, and one variety was called by the Russian term: kartoli. The Russian word for potato is kartofil. Close enough. Though potatoes were promoted across Asia Minor (Anatolia) in the 1880s as a "bread substitute and as animal feed" they did not arrive in Istanbul until about 1900 after a 5-year drought and famine.(79)

Pickled cabbage

Malakan pickled/ salted cabbage (solyonaya kapusta : солëная капуста) is the specialty product of Fioletovo village, Armenia, collective farm (kolkhoz), hometown of the Dukh-i-zhiznik saint-prophet-presviter M. G. Rudomyotkin (1818~1877). During Soviet times, the village (named Nikitino before 1936) branded their pickled cabbage in large (~500 liter) wood barrels painted burnt-orange. Vendors sold salted-cabbage fresh scooped from their painted barrels in many bazaars (markets). Barrels were painted burnt-orange to deter barrel theft and it became a brand identity, a logo, one could easily see from a distance.

Truck caravans with barrels stacked 2-high formed a convoy that drove from Armenia, north through Georgia, into Stavropol territory and the Northern Caucasus, where the orange barrels were widely distributed to bazaar vendors, and empties brought back. The orange barrel brand of Malakan solonye kapusta is still widely known in South Russia.

An Armenian diplomat working in the U.S. and visiting Arizona, told me that he savors for Malakan solonye kapusta every time he visits Armenia. He said: "It's so delicious. At the rinok (market), when you go down the line of babushki selling pickled cabbage and sample taste each one, then you get to the Malakan — ahh-hh — nothing compares" he exclaimed. For younger readers: He was like, "Ahh-hh — nothing compares."

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Georgia restricted commercial trade from Armenia to Russia, which devastated the cabbage business in Fioletovo. In 2007 I witnessed 2 Dukh-i-zhiznik families, who resettled in Stavropol, Russia, from Armenia, complete within 50 feet of each other in the huge "Ludmilla" bazaar complex in Pyatigorsk, Stavropol territory, each with an orange barrel; while other families from Fioletovo sell in Stavropol and Kislovodsk cities. The largest operation outside of Armenia is by a family from Fioletovo, resettled in Stavropol city, who told me the crispy type of cabbage grown in Armenia cannot be grown north of the mountains. Because local pickled cabbage is tougher and not sweet, they had to diversify to appeal to more customers. So they grow and sell mushrooms, cucumber pickles, carrots, and other vegetables which they ferment and store in a refrigerated building.

Farmers in Fioletovo will appreciate the economic and brotherhood support if Dukh-i-zhizniki in the USA and Australia would import pickled cabbage (no export duty) to be served as a stable during communal meals and at home. But, Dukh-i-zhizniki outside of the Former Soviet Union believe only they are saved, and their congregations will probably attack or insult any congregation to tries to do business with those left behind, and will not financially support them due to differences among the various Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths and non-Christian behavior among assimilated families. They are like: "Why bother", or "I don't have time for that."

These malakan places, animals and foods were named after the malakan peoples. All Spiritual Christians in/from Russia are malakane, but not all malakane are Spiritual Christians in/from Russia

Malakan peoples

In 2000 perhaps 13,000 malakan peoples (Spiritual Christians from Russia) and their descendants were in the South Caucasus of the former Soviet Union.

    Estimated populations, year 2000



Türkiye 1,000

Another estimated 100,000 Spiritual Christians from Russia resettled from the South Caucasus to the Northern Caucasus, most to Stavropol and Krasnodar territories, some to Rostov oblast and Central Russia. Many joined or revitalized indigenous congregations that never migrated to the Caucasus.

The 2022 Russia attack on Ukraine probably dispersed Spiritual Christians from Russia back to the Southern Caucasus, and affected all Molokane and their descendants in Ukraine, thousands at least.  

Who are they?

The ancestors of malakan people were orthodox heretics, who called themselves Spiritual Christians in Russia. Many were moved from Novorossiya and Central Russia after Russia began colonizing the Caucasus, after 1840, to get more economic benefits (more land, no taxes) and religious freedom offered for colonizing the new territory. They are neither creeds, nor sub-creeds of one faith or religion. They are many faiths of mostly heterodox (non-Orthodox), mostly White people intermixed with other peoples (Asiatic, Northern Europe, Germanic) from many places in the Russian Empire who were mostly collected in Novorossiya, then migrated to the Caucasus. The exception to non-Orthodox are the old rite Orthodox, Old Ritualists, who are also considered heretics to the New Orthodox. Most malakane lived in groups or clans, often in their own villages, or sharing a village with other heterodox people from Russia who met for the first time in the Caucasus, often clashing, some inter-marrying.

Malakan is an etic term used by indigenous Caucasian peoples referring to the "new invasive settlers from Russia" —  a foreign group, "them" (chuzhikh grupp), "outsiders,"outgroup, ne nashi, aliens. In a similar xenophobic manner, before 1700 in the Russian Empire, all western foreigners in Russia were called Nemtsy (dumb, those who can't speak our language), no matter what their actual nationality; and this term meant both Germans and stupid, because few could understand them. It was more insulting than Americans today who say: "It's Greek to me" when they don't understand something. In a similar fashion, a single derogatory term is used in the American Southwest "... to refer to (any) foreign citizens living in the U.S." — "wetback" (morjado).

Do not confuse the general category malakan with the Spiritual Christian Molokan faith. These 2 words sound alike, appear to be cognates, and are too often confused. The origin of Molokan is from the heresy of eating dairy (molochnye) products, probably morphed into a pun about nursing infants (molokane) who are too immature to understand religion. The origin of malakan is probably from a geographic river area in South Ukraine, northeast of Crimea, the Molochnaya (Molotchnaya).

Malakan originally was a demonym (gentilic) for "people from the Molochnaya (river area)" who were moved to the Caucasus(30) by the thousands. Molochnaya (German: Molotschna) is the river delta and territory in south Ukraine northeast of Crimea. Molochnaya means "milky" in Russian, which referred to the abundant dairy grazing land. In the native language Cuman (Polovtsy), the area was called syutana, meaning "nurse, mother."(31) For most of a century, many descendants of Spiritual Christians in the southern republics of the Soviet Union and who migrated to the U.S.A. from the Caucasus, retained an oral history that their label (malakan) came from ancestors who lived in "Milky-waters."(32) I was told by Molokane who remained in Central Russia that they never heard this rumor until they met Molokan refugees from the Caucasus and South Ukraine who were repatriated to Central Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Most settlers in the Caucasus from Russia called malakan were illiterate and did not know much of their history, nor how to define their faiths. They probably accepted the default geographic label, emic, from within their groups, like I did when some people who did not know, or could not remember my name, nicknamed me "Arizona" from my 1952 Ford car license plate, when I moved from Arizona to Los Angeles in 1966. The old car and my country manners excluded me from most of LA-UMCA parking lotters who socially valued sporty cars and surfers.

For years a few guys in Los Angeles would only call me "Arizona" to probably impress among their peers that I was an outsider in their Los Angeles territory, and that my name was not important. To them I represented a different tribe. Also, the Los Angeles presbyter George Samarin stated to me several times that, although I attend his Aktinsky congregation on Percy Street along with my grandparents (father's and mother's), and his congregation married my parents, he considered me a member of the Arizona congregation. After my grandparents died, Samarin's assistant presviter Harry Shubin differed with Samarin and repeated invited me into his kitchen work brigade (parti). After Harry Shubin died, I lost my contact. 30 years later, Samarin's congregation refused to bury my parents who were married by their original congregation, declaring simply they were not "dues-paying" members. See more egregious shunning behavior reported by Paul J. Orloff in the section below: Variety of Dukh-i-zhizniki.

In the late 1700s after Russia conquered the south Ukraine, called New Russia (Novorossiya), incentives were given to state serfs (controlled by the Tsar) to settle the area. In 1789, Anabaptists (mostly varieties of Mennonites and Lutherans) from Germany were given huge priority settlement sites, military and tax exemptions, their own German-language schools, and allowed to live as they wished. Much is documented about the Molotschna Mennonites and their neighbors from Germany. Similarly, incentives and invitations were then given to the state serfs across Russia (about half the rural population of peasants in Russia). Many state serfs were also Spiritual Christians, many in secret, and welcomed being removed from central Orthodox areas, and thousands voluntarily accepted the offer, particularly the extra land and temporary military exception. The resettlement policy was somewhat similar in intention to the Homestead Act of 1862 in the U.S.A. and in Canada, The Free Grants and Homestead Act in 1868 to disperse colonizers into territory being taken from indigenous tribes.


In 1802, Dukhoborsty were given land on the west side of the Molochna River, then Molokane and other heretics were given land mostly on the east side, south of the Anabaptists from Germany. Part of the origins of what became Pryguny probably occurred south of the Molochna Colony, northeast of Crimea. In the area were Subbotniki, Shalaputy, Shtundisty, Novoskopsty, some newly arrived, and other non-Orthodox indigenous faiths (probably including Khlysty), descendants of Bogomils, Apocalyptic Anabaptists from Germany, and Jewish-like Krymchaks and Karaites; the most zealous of whom probably contributed to what would later become the Prygun faiths. Today only Molokane continue to maintain their heritage faith in the Molochnaya area, Ukraine, were I visited 3 active (of 15 former) meeting halls in 1992, during the International Conference of Spiritual Christian Molokane.

By the mid-1900s, the easy to pronounce term — malakan — expanded into common usage in South Caucasus languages (Turkish, Azeri, Armenian, etc.) to refer to any peoples similar to malakan, any indigenous non-Orthodox faith (heresy, sekt) from Russia, and later into a general term for all Russian-speaking settlers from anywhere in Russia, including staroobryadsty (Old Ritualists), all Spiritual Christians and their descendants. Most of these malakan peoples were resettled by the Russian government, lived in their assigned villages, exhibited non-Caucasus cultures from Russia (dress, food, language, lifestyle, housing, etc.), practiced their own faiths and were prohibited from proselytizing, though some outsiders joined and intermarried. Like white (72) European settlers in the American West, they were distinctly lighter-skinned, some with brown or blond straight hair; and grey, hazel and blue eyes, in contrast to the dark complected indigenous tribes who dressed and spoke different languages, had different faiths and ate different foods.

For more than 175 years in the Caucasus, the definition and use of the word malakan has evolved and broadened over time and place to a vague and fuzzy term meaning most any old Christian faith group from Russia in the Caucasus, not native to the Caucasus. Many malakan peoples in the Caucasus today falsely believe they are not Russian, rather a unique race, because they have their own label and heterodox (non-Orthodox, implying non-Russian) faiths.

Beginning in 1880, for 30 years, news articles and books in the U.S.A. began to report about persecution of indigenous protestant-like faiths in Russia which became well-known in the West, particularly the Stundisty — "... the Stundists regarded themselves as the Society of Friends (Quakers) of Russia, as men who truly believed that all violence, nay all assertion of power, is inherently evil."

In March 1905 non-Dukhobor Spiritual Christians (Pryguny, Molokane, Subbotniki, ...) were called "Stundists" in the Canadian press which announced that 200,000 were coming from Russia to Canada; but they were diverted to Los Angeles by Demens.

In May 1905, Los Angeles Presbyterian church leaders assumed the arriving Spiritual Christians were called Stundists (Stundisty) and were affiliated with Presbyterian missionaries whom they read about in Molochna (sometimes called neo-molokane). To help with the Russian settlement process the Presbyterian church assigned their Russian-speaking Rev. Teichrieb to minister "to their spiritual need as far as possible."(99)

On Sundays at the Bethlehem Stimpson-Lafayette Industrial School, which served as the first main meeting house for Spiritual Christians from Russia in Los Angeles, Rev. Teichrieb conducted services in Russian for about 5 years, and may have converted some to the Russian-speaking Presbyterian church in Los Angeles. When the first group of real Molokane arrived in Los Angeles, their presbyter was Rev. Teichrieb, until January 1906 when 34 Molokane left Los Angeles with 86 other Spiritual Christians, mostly Pryguny, to Hawaii. By August 1906, most all the Molokane returned to San Francisco, where they stayed. Up to about 1910, Rev. Teichrieb only referred to the Spiritual Christian faiths remaining in Los Angeles as Stundists. He was reassigned to another foreign parish at the north edge of Chinatown probably because the Spiritual Christian tribes from Russia (a) viewed Teichrieb as an outsider, (b) each tribal faith cluster, mostly based on their village of origin, insisted on conducting their own rituals with their own anointed or appointed leaders, and (c) by 1910 most Spiritual Christians from Russia were living on the east side of the Los Angeles river.

All of the general faiths terms shown in the chart below and more were probably called malakan at some time and place. Also many of these faiths in Central Russia were called Quaker and/or Mormon, because authorities suspected such "infectious" heresies were imported from foreign countries.

Malakan Definition Changes Over 3 Centuries.
1840s+ 1900s
People from Molochna
Similar to malakan, non-Orthodox faiths Any old faith group from Russia
Caucasus  Russia Caucasus
Russia, USSR North America Caucasus Former Soviet Union
North America
 - Large Party
 - Small Party
 - Undecided

 - Community
 - Independent
Dukhobortsy Dukhobortsy Dukhobortsy
 - Community
 - Independent

Svobodniki +
Sons of Freedom

Extinct: Sons of Freedom,
Molokane Molokane
 - Obshchei
 - Donski
 - Shtundisty
 - Obshchei
 - Donski
 - Shtundisty
 - Shtundisty
Molokane Molokane Molokane



Noviy skopsty Skopsty Noviy skopsty* Skopsty

Khristovschina* Khlysty

Pryguny Pryguny*
 - Shtundisty


 - Shtundisty

Stary israil'
 - Novyy israil'
Stary israil'
 - Novyy israil'
Novyy israil'*
Noviy israil Novyy israil'*
 - Shtundisty


 - Shtundisty

Dukh-i-zhizniki *
Dukh-i-zhizniki Dukh-i-zhizniki Dukh-i-zhizniki
Subbotniki Subbotniki Subbotniki
 - Shtundist

Yegovisty Yegovisty

Baptisty Baptisty Baptisty Baptisty Baptisty Baptisty ***
 - Nekrasovskie
 - Nekrasovskie
Staroobryadtsy Staroobryadtsy
 - Nekrasovskie
 - Nekrasovskie
 - Nekrasovskie
 - Nekrasovskie

Kwaker Kwaker Kwaker
Russian Quaker


Mennoniti Mennoniti




* After 1928 in the United States and Caucasus, many Pryguny, Sionisty, Noviy israili, Maksimisty, and other immigrant faiths from Russia transformed or converted to new Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths, or abandoned their heritage faiths.
** In ecclesiastical denunciatory literature, Khristovoverie (people who believe in Christ), or Khristovshchina (the faith of Christ) or Khlystovshchina (Whips), then shortened to Khlysty.
*** By the 2000s these groups have self published extensively about their own history and tribes which corrected much of the misunderstandings about them. 

Each general faith group in the chart above has a different history by time and place, some with many factions. Many interacted with each other forming hybrids and new faiths; even with Russian Orthodox. Some moved back and forth between faiths several times, mostly to get privileges. They all changed over time, mostly synchronous with their surrounding cultures and government policies. Today, most are extinct, and their descendants assimilated, so few vestiges of practicing members remain. Compare to the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing (Shakers), 2 remained in January 15, 2017.

Below is a Venn diagram (not to scale) showing how Molokan is a subset of malakan.
All Molokane are malakane, but not all malakane are Molokane.
Because the term malakan is phonetically similar to Molokan, the 2 terms are too often confused, thousands of times. See Wikipedia examples in Turkish, Azeri, Armenian (Մոլոկան), ...

For one example, in 2011, English-language journalists began to falsely report that the ancestors of celebrity personality Kim Kardashian were "Molokans" or "Molokan Jumpers," implying the same for her. Actually her folk-Protestant Armenian grandparents joined the Spiritual Christian Pryguny faiths (not Molokane) while in Kars oblast, Russia (now in Türkiye) and some of her relatives who migrated to Los Angeles converted, after 1928, to their own Dukh-i-zhiznik faith tribe, but were shunned by more zealous and racist non-Armenian Dukh-i-zhiznik faith tribes. Several of Kim Kardashians relatives are buried in the Spiritual Christian "Old Cemetery", East Los Angeles; and a few intermarried with non-Armenian Pryguny and may be buried in the cemetery on Slauson Ave. However, Kim Kardashian was raised in private Catholic Schools (Orthodox). Her erroneous false history stories are copied, recopied, blogged and edited many times with mis-information, partially fake news to sell pay-per-click advertising. While it was correct in the Türk language to report her ancestors were malakan from Kars, reports in English and other languages failed to accurately translate and define the religious history of her ancestors (sloppy journalism). It is correct to say that her great-grand-parents were Armenian folk-protestants who left the Armenian Apostolic Church, some of whom joined a branch of the Spiritual Christian Prygun faiths in Kars Oblast. Her grand-parents migrated to Los Angeles with other non-Orthodox Spiritual Christians from Russia and continued their version of a Prygun faith, which eventually divided into about 3 congregations in the Armenian and Russian languages, and one or two congregations used the Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn'. Her father did not remain in any Prygun or Dukh-i-zhiznik faith for his family, married out, and raised his his kids as Americans. Up to 2019, Kim Kardashian professed to be Christian with no membership in any congregation. In 2015, she and her husband took her oldest daughter to Jerusalem to be baptized at the Armenian Cathedral of Saint James. In October 2019 her sister Cloe, Kim and 3 younger kids were all baptised in Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the main Armenian Apostolic Church (30 miles north of Mt. Ararat, 10 miles west of Erevan). Drawings of this ancient Armenian cathedral by "boy prophet" E. G. Klubnikin appear in the Kniga sontse, duk i zhizn' on page 702, illustrating the furture kingdom of believers.

Characteristics of Indigenous Faith Groups in Russia Confused as malakan, 1700-1900.

Faith Group
Named Use Bible
Spiritual Christians
Water Baptism
1867 yes yes

Dukh-i-zhizniki2   19283 yes yes

Dukhobortsy4 1787 5

Khristovoverie6 1680s
yes yes
yes yes
Maksimisty 1850s

Molokane 1765 yes

Noviy israil' 1840s yes

1856 yes

Shalaputy 1840s

yes yes

1757 ?
yes yes
yes yes

Staroobryadtsy 1660s yes

1858 yes yes yes

Subbotniki 1650s
yes yes

? yes

  1. Ecstatic movements, spiritual dance, hop, skip; and holy/spiritual visions, prophesy, voices, revelations, ... — Christian mystisim
  2. Many faiths and creeds
  3. Founded in 1928, but name coined in 2007.
  4. Five major divisions — 3 in Russia, 2 in Canada, plus offshoots and sub-groups
  5. Bible not used during services, though most psalms memorized and sung are from New Testament, and Community Dukhobortsy declare they are members of the Church of Christ..
  6. In ecclesiastical denunciatory literature, Khristovoverie (Christ-faith) was called Khristovshchina (Christs) or Khlystovshchina (Whip swingers), then shortened to the simple Khlysty (Whips).
  7. Pronounced Yehovisty. Also called Ilyintsy, Jehovists, Sect of the Right-hand Brotherhood, The Message of Zion.

Spiritual Christians speak a variety of Slavic Tongues (dialects) and their own dialects, and sing in a variety of styles, depending on the origin of their ancestors and the geographic path of their migrations. Most studied and documented dialects are among branches of Dukhoborsty in Canada. An extensive long-term study of dialects of the staroobryadtsy has been conducted by Drs. Richars and Tamara Morris in Woodburn, Oregon.

Diagram from: Dillingham, William Paul. "Immigrant Races or Peoples: Slav (Slave), Slavic, or Slavonic ," Reports of the Immigration Commission, United States Immigration Commission (1907-1910), page 274.

Nearly all of the Spiritual Christians who migrated to North America came from the Caucasus and brought with them the Southern Russian dialects, like Don Kossack Balachka. Some, including all Dukhoborstsy and many Pryguny came to the Caucasus via the South Ukraine, carried Ukrainian dialects, and their descendants brought those dialects to North america.(34)

Not shown in the diagram above are the Old Church Slavonic dialects often preserved as special religious terms among some Spiritual Christians, and especially among Staroobryadtsy. who did not arrive in North America until the 1960s. The language and dialect preservation is more prevalent in diaspora populations who were removed from Russia about 1900. Use of Old Slavonic has caused divisions among some Molokan and several Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations.

Spoken Languages

Spiritual Christians who immigrated to North America around 1900 mainly spoke Southern Russian dialects of limited vocabulary, sometimes mixed with Old Slavonic and Ukrainian words and phrases. Some were also fluent in Armenian, Moravian, Georgian, Azeri, Turkish, Farsi and other languages common in South Russia in 1900. Baja Californian Spanish is spoken by all raised in Mexico since 1905, and some raised in Arizona since 1911. Farsi is also spoken by those raised in Persia (Iran) after the 1917 Revolution, and immigrated to the USA around 1950. A few individuals learned other languages in school, the military, and while working in foreign countries.

Many born in Russia subscribed to and bought Russian language literature. When it opened in the 1920s, about 25% of the holdings in the new Boyle Heights Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library were Russian-language books and periodicals, and the library hired Russian-speaking staff. Parental support for Russian language literacy nearly vanished during the Cold War (1940+) when it was considered unpatriotic, especially during the 2nd Red Scare and McCarthyism (1947-1956). Spoken Russian was primarily limited to people raised by Russian-born parents, and not passed on to the grandchildren to facilitate their prosperity and assimilation. In contrast, the most zealous Dukh-i-zhiznik families indoctrinated their children by rote memorizing songs, prayers and verses, with no formal grammar instruction. The Russian-literate immigrant society had by the 1960s transformed into a few who recited Russian to perform religious rituals.

In Canada, retention of Russian literacy has been a goal mostly achieved by Community Dukhobortsy in British Columbia, Canada. For decades "Russian School" was held after elementary classes, and in secondary schools where Dukhobortsy were teachers or on the school board. A few school districts in the Kootenay area of British Columbia offer immersion K-12 Russian classes to serve children of U.S.C.C. Dukhobortsy, Sons of Freedom, and recent immigrants. Also groups of about a dozen college students every year were given stipends by Obshistvo Rodina, Moscow, to attend university in Russia.(66

In the U.S.A., it was common for descendants of assimilated Spiritual Christians in college to enroll in at least beginning Russian, and several managed to complete advanced Russian, while a few were Russian majors. I know of only 3 descendants of Dukh-i-zhizniki, all girls, who attended Soviet universities. All were on stipend, the same program offered to Canadian Dukhobortsy.(50) After 1980, the Hacienda Heights U.M.C.A. incorporated a non-profit Dukh-i-zhiznik "Molokan Elementary School" (M.E.S.) that still teaches their Dukh-i-zhiznik ritual songs and prayers in Russian, but very little, if any, Russian grammar. Major goals of the M.E.S. was to indoctrinate kids in the Dukh-i-zhiznik rituals, and isolate them from contact from outsiders ( ne nashi).

In the 1990s, since perestroika, about 50 Spiritual Christian immigrants, mostly Dukh-i-zhizniki, have been sponsored from the Former Soviet Union, most from Armenia, and divided between the U.S.A. and Australia. The goal seemed to be more to import Russian-speakers than pure humanitarian altruism. Several came as families, more as brides, and very few men came to marry. Due to their modern Russian language lacking of Old Slavonic terms, and moderate religious stances, they initially were not moved into many "front row" positions. About 2010, most of the "front row" (pristol) of the Samarin-Percy street-Pioneer street" congregation is dominated by immigrants from Armenia. Most in from Armenia in Australia have split into their own congregation, due to religious and language differences. Those in the U.S.A. are not fully accepted in all congregations. Some are insulted by native zealots, like my wife, probably because she is of educated and integrated Molokan origin, though she has many Dukh-i-zhiznik relatives in Southern California and in Russia.

In late 2017, the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki were purging their newly conquered Hacienda Heights-U.M.C.A. territory of ne nash literature, including Russian language books not published by them, and other items, following a decade of reckless attacking and shunning perceived ne nash and "unclean" people and objects.


About 30% of all Mennonites in Russia migrated out from 1870 to 1880 due to new requirements for military service which was not mentioned when they first arrived.(97)
"There were two waves of emigration from Russia to North America: the first, in 1873, saw ~18,000 Mennonites arrive in Canada and the American Midwest. The second wave occurred in the 1920s. Of the 25,000 who left Russia during the second wave, ~21,000 ended up in Canada."(97)
In comparison, about 1% of all Spiritual Christians (sectarians, sectanty) in Old Russia migrated to North America from 1899 to 1930. Most came from the western  Southern Caucasus, location of perhaps one-tenth of their total populations in 1900. See: Reasons for migration, Dukh-i-zhizniki in America, Chapter 1.

The first migration wave was large and quick due to the intervention of Lev. N. Tolstoy and leadership of The Society of Friends, London UK. In 1889-1899 on 7 ships about 7,400 (1/3) of the most zealous and persecuted Dukhobortsy (spirit-wrestlers, Doukhobors), mainly followers of P. V. Verigin, (Veriginisty) migrated to central Canada from the Southern Caucasus; and, by 1930 about of 8,700 had arrived in Canada on 79 ships. The majority 2/3 of all Dukhobortsy remained in Russia.

       Dukhobor Migration to Canada (60)

In 18999, about 85% of the Verigin Dukhobortsy (about 2/3 of all Dukhobortsy) left South Russia in one year. Five years later beginning in 1904, another smaller wave of non-Dukhobor Spiritual Christians began to leave Russia because in 1901 they got the "same deal as Doukhobors" to move to central Canada with the same military exemption, to live on block grant farm and range land in their own villages. But, P. A. Demens who had been critical of Dukhobortsy migrating to Canada instead of the United States, intervened and diverted all of the non-Dukhobor Spiritual Christians to Los Angeles, except for a few who intermarried.

Compared to the approximately 8,700 Dukhobortsy, probably less than 2,500 (~30% of the Dukhobor count) of non-Dukhbortsy arrived in groups over a 7+-year period (1904-1912). (See: Dukh-i-zhizniki in America, Chapter I: The Migration.)

The migration of non-dukhobor Spiritual Christians was much smaller, and more fragmented, chaotic and uncoordinated than the migration of the Verigin Dukhobortsy. Every clan has their own oral history of how their ancestors arrived. Most landed at Ellis Island New York, and took a train directly to Los Angeles, the first groups led by Demens. Some ships landed at Galveston, Texas, while other ships delivered immigrants to Angel Island, San Francisco Bay. Some ships took passengers directly to the Panama Canal zone, perhaps to sell them as laborers if they could not pay their fare, and many of those managed to travel north to settle in Mexico. Some were offered communal farm land in Panama, which they rejected. Some went to Brazil, where some stayed in South America, while others crossed the continent, climbed the Andes mountains to the Pacific ocean where they got a ship to America. Some arrived in Canada, then crossed at Winnipeg south into the U.S.A. to Los Angeles. After 1906, most Molokane clustered in or near San Francisco, and most of the other Spiritual Christian tribes from Russia clustered in or near Los Angeles, or Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.


      Spiritual Christian Migration to America  (chart in-progress)

During these migrations to North America, most Spiritual Christians were called "Russian Quakers" in the press, and often "Mennonites." Sometimes Spiritual Christian Dukhobortsy were called Molokans, and sometimes Spiritual Christian Pryguny and other faiths were called Dukhobortsy. At first the terms did not seem to matter, as long as the readers generally understood they were dissident immigrants from Russia, sort of like Protestants (folk protestants). In Canada the collective term for Spiritual Christian was simplified by outsiders to 45+ various spellings of "Doukhobor". In the U.S.A. the term for "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" was falsely simplified to "Molokan," causing international confusion for more than a century, which this Taxonomy corrects. Note that the term "Molokan" has been misspelled more than 60 ways in English print.

Click to ENLARGE During the second wave of immigration of the "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" to the U.S.A., all were mistakenly announced and promoted simply as Molokane, though most were varieties of Pryguny and other non-Molokan faiths, including Dukhobortsy. Reasons for fewer Molokane emigrating are listed in Dukh-i-zhizniki in America, Introduction. Though some resisted this false identity and tried to correct the mistake, they were repeatedly conditioned by advisers and agents to only use the short false collective name of "Molokan," probably to simplify their complicated identities and hide their actual faiths, to counter discrimination and avoid deportation during decades of nationalism, religious bias and bigotry, and later anti-communist sentiment in North America.

In the 1950s, when I attended elementary school in Arizona, all our parents told us to report that our religion was "protestant" on government forms. They were ashamed of the connotation of the words "Russian" and "Molokan," and more so if they had to explain Pryguny, Skakuny, Jumper, Davidisty, Maksimisty or the Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn'. These post-WW2 families contrasted with the immigrants who, during WW1, summarized the Maksimist and Davidist faiths and books in English for the local school and government officials. Later John K. Berekoff in Los Angeles edited and published this summary to explain this new religious movement to the generation born in America. See: Berekoff, John K. Book of Prayers and Songs, 1944.

Overcast in fear, the false Molokan label became ingrained throughout the 1900s into the collective memory of Dukh-i-zhizniki who forgot and/or censored their embarrassing oral histories and identities to their descendants and surrounding public. The cover-up was exposed after the breakup of the Soviet Union and reorganization of the Molokane faith internationally in the 1990s. Only then would the numerous Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths began to realize they could no longer falsely claim the Molokan faith label forever in public, though the false term persists among themselves and on recorded documents, deeds, signs, etc, and they continue to fool naive journalists and scholars, including themselves with deceptive advertising.

In North America, the single label "Molokan" was first naively internationally popularized in 19051 by journalists in St. Petersburg, Russia, that that 200,000 Molokane will all migrate to North America, due to petitions received, following Dukhoborsty. Then Russian agents in Los Angeles (Demens and Cherbak, 1905-1910), and professors (Young, U.S.C. 1926-1932+) primarily used the single simple term to promote, document and shelter immigrating mixed tribes of immigrants from Russia as a valuable breed of safe White Protestant Christian immigrants (72) — tall, healthy, strong, honest, intelligent, literate, sane, sober; but not criminals, not anarchists, not Bolsheviks, not communists, not socialists, not traitors, not Jews (Hebrews), not Pentecostal Holy Jumpers/Rollers, nor fanatic pagan religious cults — a false history.

The false single simple label probably allowed the advisers and agents:
  • to falsely claim all the immigrants are The Molokane who were given religious freedom by the Tsar in 1805 and in 1904;
  • to falsely claim all the immigrants are The Molokane named by Lev N. Tolstoy in his internationally published letters to the Tsar in 1899-1900, to either give religious dissenters religious freedom and lower taxes/rents, or allow them to emigrate;
  • to falsely claim all the immigrants are NOT the "Dancers" (Pryguny), who were denied religious freedom in Russia.(15);
  • to falsely claim ALL were the tens of thousands of Molokane incorrectly announced in the international news (1904-1905) to be migrating to Los Angeles, when U.S. business wanted more White Christian Protestant literate skilled laborers and farming colonists;
  • to promote all the immigrants as wholesome White Protestant Christians (not pagans, not Catholic or Orthodox), experienced farmers, hardworking cheap White labor, ideal permanent colonists and potential good citizens; not the stereotypical illiterate unskilled South-eastern Europeans;
  • to present them as a useful, healthy, quality breed (not like lower class Jews, Hebrews; Asians or colored people) with good genes, and protect them from sterilization threats by eugenicists;
  • to hide their various secret illegal strange faiths and rituals, some of which were similar to controversial emerging charismatic Pentecostals (Holy Jumpers/ Rollers) in California, and Orthodox Russians and Hebrews-Jews;
  • to differentiate them from all other aliens and unpatriotic immigrants from Russia on the U.S. west coast being investigated, arrested and deported as anarchists, Bolsheviks, communists, Wobblies, reds, etc.;
  • to differentiate them from the zealous nude protesting Spiritual Christian Svobodniki ("sovereign people" mistakenly called Doukhobors) emerging in Canada (1902-1906) who were denied mass entry into the U.S.;
  • to differentiate them from ~8600 Ukrainians (Galatians) interned (jailed) from 1914 to 1920 by Anglo-Canadians who feared all immigrant Germans and Ukrainians were enemy aliens;
  • to differentiate them from "Community" Dukhoborsty who from 1919 to 1956 were disfranchised from voting in British Columbia, and from 1936 to 1956 voting Federally in Canada, but not "Independent" Dukhoborsty in Saskatchewan;
  • to differentiate them from Mennonites, Hutterites and Dukhobortsy from Russia who were banned from immigrating to Canada from June 1919 to June 1922;
  • to differentiate those in Southern California from the related 34 Spiritual Christian zealots jailed in Arizona in 1917-1918, and the 6 absolutists imprisoned in Kansas 1918-1919;
  • etc.
The above list is a brief simple outline of a complex history of hiding from discrimination, which somewhat attenuated with the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, yet persists in the minds of the most zealous and afraid today. Though the public relations ploy of Dukh-i-zhizniki hiding behind the "Molokan" label worked, in that none were deported or interned, and most all integrated,(19) the false label persists today due to a vast number of incorrect publications since 1900, and generations of inbred fear, shame, misinformation and disinformation about their histories, scrambled faiths and identities. Because so much of this published and oral history is unclear and confused, the certainty of information in this Taxonomy will be rated as fact, a correlation, or inference; and what data may be missing, as time permits.

Similarly in Russia, being classified as Molokan qualified a non-Orthodox sect for privileges under the new evolving 1905 ukaz for religious and civil freedom, which was denied to "perverse" zealot groups similar to khlysty, like the Pryguny and Maksimisty. Therefore on both continents, non-Molokane simultaneously hijacked a false Molokan identity to get privileges, hide and continue the camouflage today.

Unfortunately today, many of the most zealous and vocally aggressive Dukh-i-zhizniki stubbornly falsely retain a belief that they actually ARE Molokane, even boasting they are the "true" authentic version of Molokane. How did this happen? First marketing, then generations of inbred fear and shame to reveal the truth. If  you are one of those people, you better quit reading this now, because you are probably afraid of the facts. Caution: Continued reading will upset you, and/or upset zealots with whom you discuss this new information. So if you continue reading, don't tell any one who might insult you for knowing more than what you are supposed to know.

Naming Old Russian sects

Since all Russian sectarians are ethnic "Russian" they have no ethnic group name — no ethnonym. Russian scholars often refer to them as ethno-confessional faiths (ethnic religions), but without a specific ethnic identity. In the 1980s historian Ethel Dunn told me in the that she thought "Molokans" in the United States should be designated an official ethnic group, but I never learned if or how she would cause that to happen.  

Exonym versus endonym     xxxxx

In the Russian Empire since the 1400s, many ethnic Russians (those not Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist) who refused the mandatory Orthodox faith for ethnic Russians called themselves and/or were called dukhovnye khristiane (Spiritual Christians)(12) or other terms. The Russian Orthodox Church, government, historians and journalists called them sektanti (sectarians) and described them by various alleged characteristic heresies (eresi) and traits —
  • dukhobortsy : духоборцы — spirit/ spirits/ soul-wrestlers/ strugglers/ fighters/ champions/ warriors
  • Ilin'sty : Иллиньцы  — followers of Kapitan Ilin' who debated with and was noted by M. G. Rudomyotkin while they were in jail 
  • khristovshchina, khristovoverie : христовщина, христоверие  —  the faith of Christ, Christ-faith; short insult hostile label: khlysty : хлысты — whips, flagellants
  • kvarkeri : куакеры (Society of Friends, Quakers)
  • Maksimisty : Максимисты (followers of Maksim Garasimovich Rudomyotkin (1818~1877))
  • Malyovansty : малёванцы (followers of Kondratiy Alekseyevich Malyovany)
  • molokane : молокане (dairy-eaters; milk-drinking infants in religion)
  • mormoni : мормоне (Mormons)
  • Popovtsy : Поповцы (followers of Popov)
  • pryguny : пригуны (jumpers)
  • shalaputy : шалапуты (lost their way, took wrong turn in life)
  • skakuny : скакуны (skippers, leapers, hoppers)
  • skoptsy : скопцы (castrates, self mutilators)
  • strigol'niki : стригольники (shearers, cutters)
  • stundist : штундист (hour worshipers)
  • subbotniki : субботники (Saturday people)
  • zhidovstvuiushchei : жидовствующие (Judaizers)
  • etc.
Government, journalists and historians sometimes confused these different faith movements with each other and the international Tolstoyan movement, or naively just use a few names of sects to refer to all of them. The overall published documentation of the secret, illegal and charismatic sectarians is a tangled mess of overlapping and inconsistent labels with too many generalizations, and very little science. Compared to research of Protestantism published in Western countries, very few people have researched archives in Russia to untangle the sparse history of the Orthodox heresies and published in English.

More than a 100 descriptive labels were used for these non-Orthodox faiths, which should not be confused with the Old Orthodox faiths of staroobryadtsy (Old Ritualists) which refused to modernize, or reform to new Orthodox rituals ordered in the 1600s, yet remained Orthodox. They are unfortunately commonly called Old Believers, a term sometimes mistakenly applied to dukhovnye khristiane, which is also an old belief (100s of years old).

Some dukhovnye khristiane adapted their exonym by combining terms, like dukhovnye khristiane-molokane, dukhovnye khristiane-dukhobortsy, dukhovnye khristiane-pryguny. Some of the alleged labels were not correct, rather referred to Western sects, like kvarkeri (Quakers) and mormoni (Mormons), and many were misclassified or had no label. Many changed labels to get privileges. Many did not know what to call their illegal faith(s). Combining labels is like saying: "fruit-apple-Red Delicious", "fruit-apple-Granny Smith", "fruit-apple-Gala", etc.

By 1900 there may have been as many as a million followers of such non-Orthodox protestant-like faiths in the Russian Empire, about 1% of the population. A major problem for the census managers was how to label them, if and when they were identified in a location. They were a huge administrative problem. Official committees were assigned to investigate, report and propose remedies to save their souls, resulting in guidebooks for converting them to Orthodoxy, and conflicting changing regional policies for governing heretics which varied by time and place.

xxxxx something to be added

The sectarian problem in Old Russia was legally somewhat similar to the drug problem in the U.S.A. today. About 10% of the population in Old Russia resisted the Orthodox reformation (raskol), and about 1% were sectarians (sektanty). About 10% of the U.S.A. population had a drug use disorder, and about 1% used crack cocaine in 2016. All of these are illegal offenses subject to arrest and jail, but too big for government to solve, or cure; and policies differ over time and place. If people hid in Old Russia they could worship in non-Orthodox ways, but if caught they were punished with a misdemeanor (like possessing a small amount of marijuana for personal use). If they openly proselytized or recruited new members, they were charged with a felony (like a drug dealer who sells or gives drugs to others). If people hide in the U.S.A., they can use drugs. Would a drug dealer or user immediately trust anyone, or allow photos of their illegal activity? This analogy may help the reader understand why some Dukh-i-zhizniki are so aggressive to uninvited outsiders attending a service, or anyone taking photos. They retain oral histories of government abuse minus the context of why their ancestors were arrested in Old Russia. If one zealot convinces his congregation to be secretive, he can incite others to attack other congregations to obey his zealous standards, while allegedly attributing his fears to the Holy Spirit.

Adding to the confusion in Old Russia, many exonym terms like molokan, kwaker (Quaker), Stundist were often interchangeably used to describe any religious dissident, as synonyms. The term zamolokanil (замолоканил : molokanized) was ".. a common reference to a group that was getting disenchanted with the Greek Orthodox church, and in a manner similar to that of the Dukhobortsy was waging a struggle against the Church and therefore called 'Molokans' for lack of another term."(10) The most famous writers in Old Russia popularized the word "molokan" in their works when generally referring to pacifists, wimps, heretics, law-biding citizens (do-gooders), dissidents, etc.; and different readers and translators would interpret the usage of the blanket term "molokan" in Russian prose context differently. [Examples in-progress.]

In 1805 the original Spiritual Christian Molokane were given religious freedom in a decree (order, Russian: ukaz) — Petition to the Tsar Aleksander Pavlovich, July 12, 1805. In 18__ Dukhobortsi got a different decree. Other smaller Spiritual Christian faiths were not named in these decrees. Pryguny were not named in the 1805.  Pryguny were named more than 50 years later, about 1856, although they began to aggregate about 1833. Freedoms for Subbotniki were given in a separate decree, and Dukhobortsy and Molokane each got separate degrees for settlement territories. [Research in-progress.]

The Spiritual Christian Pryguny-Skakuny (Jumpers-Leapers), a new heresy faith movement, allegedly founded about 1833 (perhaps also called shalaputy) was variously labeled about 1856, about 90 years after the Molokan label appeared (~1765). Members often lived near and were known to aggressively recruit among other Spiritual Christians and faiths, and probably also wanted the 1805 freedom of religion for themselves. Some falsely claimed the label "Molokan." Many may not have realized they changed faiths or could accurately label their own faith. Pryguny evolved from a zealous union of several faiths, tribes and nationalities in Central Russia, later concentrated in New Russia in the Jewish Pale of Settlement, now the South Ukraine, Zaporizhia oblast, during the famine of 1833, with a focus on the Apocalypse in the "South," Palestine.(13), while neighboring Pietists from Germany choose an Apocalypse location in the East.(23)

It was common for exiled Orthodox sectarians and Jews in the Russian Empire to change faiths to get a privilege, often declaring conversion to the Orthodox faith to get a work or travel permit. Some sectarians changed faiths several times before arrest, which recorded their identity-changing practice.(14) The 1897 Russian census counted Pryguny as a separate group. Many times Pryguny testified to the government and reporters that they were not Molokane. [Examples in-progress.] Some Dukh-i-zhizniki today hate Molokane for whistle-blowing, reporting that their Prygun ancestors impersonated Molokane.

"Molokan" misnomer spread in America, by Demens and Young


The generic non-specific Molokan misnomer was first popularized in the United States beginning in January 1905, apparently solely due to Captain Peter A. Demens (1850-1919). As a respected authority on Russia, correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, and organizer of an informal committee in Los Angeles to settle immigrants from Russia, he simply promoted them all as "Molokans ... The cream of the Russian people." He was anxious to bring them all to Southern California, and invested about 15 years of effort and a lot of money. To "sell" these peasants to city officials he whitewashed them(25)(72), apparently to protect them from white Christian nationalism. Within 2 years of their mass arrival, by the end of 1906, they failed as a group to deliver as Demens bragged they would. Many Molokane moved to San Francisco. Many Pryguny and some Molokane went to Mexico and most of the other faiths stayed in Los Angeles.

In 1910, after interviewing many who returned from Hawaii, Demens published his analysis in the Russian newspaper Tikhi Okean as to why the Hawaii experiment failed, and gave up on them to spent more time with his family and business. In December 1910, the editor of Tikhi Okean, Anton Cherbak, apparently with help from Demens, widely promoted a report that all Spiritual Christians from Russia then in Canada, Mexico, and Los Angeles had agreed to relocate to land near Santa Barbara, California. Huge stories with pictures appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Herald and many newspapers, but the event never happened. 

Demens was probably most impressed with the real Molokane who may have come in early 1905 from Harbin, China, during the Russo-Japanese War. They were much more educated and better dressed than the other faith tribes. The first real Molokane to arrive did not look like peasants; the men did not have beards, and dressed in suit and tie. Their leader John Kurbatoff had a camera. The first Molokan women did not wear peasant clothes, nor did they constantly cover their heads with a scarf unless needed. They appeared like Europeans, very different than the Russian peasant Pryguny and others from the Caucasus.

[Photo of first 34 Molokane, probably from Manchuria.]

Demens was probably afraid the most zealous non-Molokan Spiritual Christian faiths could be discriminated against or attacked by racist Americans, as the Svobodniki (after 1920 called Freedomites and Sons of Freedom) were in Canada who marched in protest in 1902, sometimes naked. He knew first-hand that many American whites (72) hated colored people and foreigners, and many people hated Catholics and emerging Pentecostals (Holy Jumpers/ Rollers).

For simplicity, Demens promoted them using the single, easy to pronounce, unique word "Molokan", rather than their 1904 official label: "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) Americans would be confused to hear the complicated truth, that they were mixed dukhovnye khristiane (Spiritual Christians) from Russia, mostly Pryguny, Klubnikinisty, Maksimisty, with minor groups of Molokane, Subbotniki, Stundisti, Sionisty and Noviy israili, and others, from about 2 dozen villages in 5 districts in Transcaucasia, Russia, and most never met until they arrived to Los Angeles.

Demens marketed them with a simple one-word, easy to pronounce brand identity; and he told W.A.S.P. American business men and politicians exactly what they wanted to hear. These immigrants from Russia were all one homogenous group of "Molokans," Russian for "milk-drinkers" not alcohol-drinkers, new law-abiding citizens, cheap White labor and ideal Bible-believing Protestant colonists, to deter objections and attract charity. It worked. Everyone believed his story, at first.

Demens devoted more than a decade inviting fellow countrymen to California and personally trying to help them get settled. He traveled across the U.S.A. several times, inspected Dukhobor settlements in Canada, scouted and negotiated land in Hawaii, wrote letters, published articles, hosting groups at his houses, contacted the President who appointed him an agent, traveled with them, negotiated with fellow railroad tycoon H.E. Huntington who offered 30,000 acres north of Los Angeles, volunteered 1000s of hours. No matter what he did, many immigrants were not satisfied and fought among themselves. After about 15 years Demens and his colleagues gave up trying to further help these diverse dukhovnye khristiane (Spiritual Christians) from Russia who eventually erased Demens and his friends from their oral history, which is now being restored here. Demens died in 1919.


In the mid-1920s, sociology student Pauline V. Young (1886-1977) an immigrant Jew from Russian Poland who graduated from the University of Chicago and had worked for several social service agencies in Chicago helping Slavic immigrants, moved to Los Angeles with her American Jewish husband, sociologist Dr. Erle F. Young, also from the University Chicago. He got a teaching job in the Sociology Department at the University of Southern California (U.S.C.), where she enrolled in the graduate program. At the time U.S.C. had the most robust sociology program on the west coast. Pauline spoke Russian, had experience working with immigrant Slavic populations, and chose to continue the research begun by Lillian Sokoloff a decade earlier, and Wycliffe a year before, on the fragmented population of folk-Protestants from Russia in East Los Angeles (today called Boyle Heights). Her refugee Russian-Jewish background probably appealed to those Spiritual Christians who favored Old Testament laws, and her husband needed data on this cohort of juvenile delinquents. Though she was not hated or feared by zealots as a "pork-eater," and understood many of their holidays, facts published in her 1932 book angered many.

Why Switch Pryguny to Molokane?

Though Young correctly defines her subjects as immigrants from Russia who call themselves Spiritual Christian Pryguny and use a new ritual book called Dukh i zhizn' (in short), she strangely overwhelmingly mistakenly, or on purpose, calls them "Molokans" in all her publications and lectures. She never met Molokane in Northern California. Her mislabeling extensively spread the misnomer initiated by Demens 2 decades earlier, and continues today as a false history.

Careful study of her text reveals that she found no history of Pryguny to fill her thesis with background information. Since her thesis committee would have critically commented about a huge gap in her research, I suspect that in despertion, she added the history of Molokane to the Pryguny, Maksimisty, Klubnikinisty, Sionisty, etc.who had no written history, and claimed they were all the same people because some of her informants testified they were "Molokane", which she extrapolated to the entire population. Her graduate committee did not speak Russian, could not have double checked her facts, and naively assumed she was completely honest. This deception greatly simplified her work with many citations of Molokane, not Pryguny.

Ivan G. Samarin apparently trusted her scholarship and copied much of her false history into the 1928 Kniga solntse, dukhi i zhizn', with some protests at the time. (61)

Today we know much more about the fragmented and little documented zealous tribes of Spiritual Christians in Russia, like Pryguny, and that they are definitely not the same as Molokane.

The history deception that Pauline Young committed in her thesis, book and papers is like one claiming that members of the Church of Jesus Christs of Later Day Saints "won" the label Baptist because they perform total imersion in a tub of water, therefore we should from now on only call them Baptists, not Mormon, not L.D.S; and their history is the same as all Baptists, except they have a few extra religous texts and their own prophets.  "... and if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you,"

Upon learning English, many immigrants who lived in their ethnic enclave in Los Angeles probably became afraid and ashamed to be known by their actual Russian faiths — such as Pryguny or “Jumpers” in English, Sionisty and Noviy israili about which local Jews protested in court, or by any other term except “Molokan,” though their religions were not Molokan and the most zealous despised Molokane. Unfortunately their originally preferred correct general term "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" faded from popular usage by WWII, perhaps sounding too common or American for those who chose to live in America, and/or to vague, and/or to long to say. In contrast, the most zealous Russian-born Maksimisty who believed they will return to Mt. Ararat before the Apocalypse, and planned to leave soon, falsely called themselves Pryguny, and were not concerned with establishing themselves in America nor hiding their faiths and ritual books. Most of the assimilating youth were occupied with school, sports and socializing in a metropolis, were not taught Russian, were excluded from sobranie politics because they were not married, and most were not interested in memorizing and performing mystical rituals in a foreign language.

Young predicted the immigrant cultures from Russia would fully assimilate by 1960, 25 years after publishing her book in 1932. By 1960, more than half were fully assimilated, and by 1980 more than 90% were not easily distinguishable from middle-America. By 2000, the relatively few who continued to learn and perform Dukh-i-zhiznik rituals closed their congregations and societies from outsiders (ne nashi) and non-dues-paying members whom they often scrutinize, sometimes with harrasment. 

Read much more about Pauline Young below.

Resurrection of Molokane in Russia

In 1991 during perestroika, Molokane in the Former Soviet Union (F.S.U.) resurrected as a legally registered faith. Some Prygun congregations in the F.S.U. registered with the Molokane to gain official status, but Dukh-i-zhizniki did not, and have not as of 2024 while falsely claiming to be Molokane. (Researchers and journalists, beware of this deception.) Diaspora Molokane in San Francisco and Sheridan, California, joined the international organization and held international visits. Though all Dukh-i-zhizniki were curious about news about real Molokane, none joined the international Molokan organization because they knew they were not Molokane, and the most zealous obeyed a Maksimist creed which opposed the Molokan faith.

By 2000, about 90% of the descendants of Spiritual Christians around the world had abandoned practicing their heritage faiths. In the west (USA and Australia) many joined (or attended) local Protestant denominations, especially megachurches, which offered trained clergy, free literature, broadcast lessons, child care, youth groups, comfortable seating and educational services in English.

In 2005, not one Dukh-i-zhiznik attended the 200th Anniversary of Religious Freedom communal meeting in Stavropol' province, Russian Federation, hosted by the Molokane, though many Pryguny attended and also attended the previous celebration in 1905.

In 2007, most Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations in Russia agreed that the easiest way to differentiate themselves from the organized Molokane is to honestly identify their faiths with their common ritual book (short name: Dukh i zhizn') despite the many differences among themselves. The meaning of this new label was clear to them when shown a list of all congregations in the world being compiled. If they wanted to be published in a world directory of Spiritual Christian congregations, they did not want to be shown in print as Molokan, Prygun, Dukhovniye, Subbotnik, or Dukhobor, rather as Dukh-i-zhiznik. No other identity label was suggested, nor has been submitted (as of October 2016). But, orally, mostly among members, they call themselves Molokane, because it is

In America, extensive repetition of the "Molokan" misnomer for a century has unfortunately semantically changed, or brand-jacked, the original meaning into a broad erroneous generic term, which if used, will always need an awkward and confusing explanation, presented as a compound term: Original Molokan, Jumper-Molokan, Russian-Molokan-Jumper, Charismatic Molokan, Molokan-Prygun, Constant-Molokan, Maksimist-Molokan, … Molokan-Molokan. It is ridiculous to use false variable compound terminology when one exact word will do.

Imagine you only know the word "cat" for a 4-legged mammal, because you don't know the other names (dog, horse, mouse, sheep, wolf, etc.).  To label different animals you might say: "cat-cat", "cat that barks", "big cat, run fast", "small cat, hide in holes", "fuzzy cat, say baah", "cat cry at night". This is similar to pidgin English, and Native American expressions like "iron horse" for a steam locomotive.

The "Molokan" term is so widely abused that some scholars, and many reporters and government officials, falsely think Molokans are a type of Orthodox or Old Believer faith (misnomer for Old Ritualists : staroobryadsty). Occasionally the term is mistaken as a non-Russian nationality. No wonder many authentic Molokane feel they are misrepresented in the press, by historians and zealous impersonators. Their confused identity has hindered the Molokane from getting recognized for their actual faith, and from getting land in the F.S.U. to build meeting halls.

Use correct labels

It's much simpler, honest, informed and Christian, to use one correct term for each faith group, rather than hiding behind a false label popularized by those who assimilated(19) in metropolitan Southern California and are afraid to reveal their heritage faiths, or define them.

Use of the very broad Americanized "ethnic Molokan" term for any Russian immigrant (Orthodox or not) should be avoided, and substituted preferably with the original term (transliterated Russian: dukhovnye khristiane, English: Spiritual Christians) or the historic Russian Orthodox pejorative term (Russian sectarians). Though many Russian-literate readers will recognize these correct terms, writers (journalists, students, scholars) should always define them.

Use of the pejorative adjective postoyannie (постоянние : constant, steadfast, unchanged, original) for Molokane should be avoided, because it is a relative condescending descriptor, not a title or label. Some Pryguny were misled to believe that it means "no jumping allowed."(Bushnoff, Fedor. "Hill memories: Letters to the VIEW," The Potrero View, December 1971, page 2, column 2.)

Some Dukh-i-zhizniki use postoyannie in an accusatory sense to infer, or state, that Molokane have committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit because they do not jump.(Rudomyotkin, M.G. Verse 16, Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life, Book 4, Article [Story] 6, page 279.)

Of all the faiths who call themselves Molokane, only the official international Molokan organization youth host a Molokan website — сдхм.рф. To date, only 3 other web sites in Russia are hosted by Molokane, while this one ( is the only website in English with extensive content about Molokane around the world. Many temporary web sites were started by Dukh-i-zhizniki who falsely identified themselves as Molokane, and the few which persist are commercial or somewhat clandestine, requiring registration, as does an e-mailing list. Internet searches for the term "molokan" in any language return a mixture of web pages, articles and photos, most about Dukh-i-zhizniki who claim to be or are mislabeled as Molokane. Readers beware!

Again, the purpose of this Taxonomy is to explain in detail how the misnomer was created, why it should not be used, because it is offensive and inaccurate, and to present a simple classification system of 3 unique terms for these 3 different faith groups of Spiritual ChristiansMolokan(e), Prygun(y) and Dukh-i-zhiznik(i). In respect, and for honesty in journalism and scholarship, please use these 3 simple terms as a standard.

  1. Proper transliteration from Russian (молокан - молокане) into English : Molokan (singular) - Molokane (plural). Many spelling variations and typographical errors occur in English print (68 counted): Holokano, Malacan, Malachite, Malakan, Malakane, Malakani, Malakany, Malakanys, Malakon, Mallakus, Malikoffs, Malokan, Mokan, Mokans, Molachen, Molakani, Molakanes, Molakanis, Molecans, Molicans, Molikans, Moliken, Molkanes, Molkani, Molkans, Molikon, Mollakane, Mollakin, Mollican, Mollicans, Mollikan, Molliken, Molloccan, Molocan, Molochan,* Molochani,* Molocons, Molokai (Hawai'ian island), Molokaian, Molokam, Molokana, Molokanas, Molokanen, Molokaner, Molokanes, Molokani, Molokanies, Molokanis, Molokanist, Molokano, Molokany, Molokanye, Moloken, Molokhan, Molokhani, Molokhans, Molokian, Molokone, Molokons, Molokov, Moloknes, Malokanian, Molokanin (website), Molowakan, Moluccans, Molukans, Mullican, Mullikens, Molluccan, ...   Other languages have variant spellings Turkish : Malakan, Malakanlar (plural), Malakas (error); Spanish (Mexico) Molakanos (plural), French : Les Moloque, Molochan; German : Der Molokanen,
    * The variant "Moloch(s)" was used to accuse Dukh-i-zhizniki southeast of Los Angeles of Satanic Child Abuse in 1985.

    • Молокан(e) has been variously translated from Russian into English publications at least 8 ways:

    The insulting term "dairy-eater", a hostile label, may have been chosen for this heresy by Orthodox clergy in 1765 as a pun to both (a) describe their non-fasting heresy, and (b) state that they had as little an understanding of Christianity as nursing infants. Also, neighboring Dukhobortsy, along the Molochnaya River, considered their faith to be superior to people who depended on the Bible, who they called "nursing infants", not on the spirit of God within, the inner light of God. (Ezekiel 36:26 and 27)

    Other meanings and origins for the Russian root word molokan, malakan (молокан, малакан, малаканка, молоканка) include:
    • People of the Milky-waters (Молочная) river in South Ukraine which often has a chalky color due to high mineral content, and is named from translating it's original Cuman-language name (Syutten : nurse, mother) which describes the rich alluvial soil in terms of productive dairy land the watered pastures provide abundant milk from cows/ sheep/ goats/ horses*
    • malo kanulo, "few have disappeared" (literally: "little has sunk [in water]"), a phrase segment attributed to Tsarina Elizabeth describing the Molochnaya district in the 1800s were sectarians were resettled and remained*
    • nursing baby animal
    • white mushroom, a poisonous variety
    • a milk storage shed or room (102)
    • milk-weed or thistle, which oozes white sap
    • nickname for a very light, almost white-skinned, person, like "Whitey" in English

    * The first 2 origins have been widely spread within Spiritual Christian oral history. The first myth is somewhat common in the United States, and the second in the Former Soviet Union.

  2. "Confusion as to the nature of ethnicity often results from the lack of an adequate typology of ethnic groups and identities." — Definitions And Dimensions Of Ethnicity, The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples, by Wsevolod W. Isajiw, on Multicultural Canada. This essay goes further to examine the origin of the confusion and untangle it, providing a comprehensive explanation of the typological definitions.

  3. Historically, all ethnic Russians should be Orthodox by faith because Orthodox Russians believe that salvation for Russians (those not Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist) is impossible outside of their official State Church. In Old Russia, abandoning the Orthodox faith was viewed as abandoning one's Russian nationality and citizenship, hence the myth in Armenia that dukhovnye khristiane are not real Russians because they have their own religions. (Grigorian, Mark. "A Handful of Russia in the Armenian Highlands," Hayatsk Yerevanits (A View from Yerevan) 2/23, Feb 2000, pages 20-23.) The ancestry of many Spiritual Christians is from a mixture of indigenous races and tribes, not all "Russian", and even Russians are not a homogeneous pure breed. Similarly, all "Americans" (those who live in America) are not a homogeneous pure breed, nor are Australians, whose populations are mostly descendants of immigrants.

^ Contents ^

2. Spiritual Christian Groups

Over 250 ethno-religious congregations of Spiritual Christians around the world today that are too often mis-labeled as "Molokan" are actually of 3 different religious groups — 2 denominations of Molokane and Pryguny; and diverse new religious movements of Dukh-i-zhizniki. The mistaken label is sometimes applied to other Russian sectarian faiths, Russian Jews and Russian Orthodox. How to identify which faith is which is super simple.

These 3 Spiritual Christian faiths is are easily distinguished by their liturgysongs, holidays, books and rituals.
In the Americas and Australia, they are also easily identified by location.

Dukh i zhizn' Christ's God's Yes





Dukh-i-zhiznik1 X


1. All Maksimisty are Dukh-i-zhizniki, but not all Dukh-i-zhizniki are Maksimisty.
Most adapted from Russian folk songs and borrowed from German Protestants.
3. Not during service, but often during meals at weddings, funerals, child dedication, holidays
4. Open canon, a sacred text that can be modified by continuous revelation, somewhat similar to Latter Day Saint canons.
About 200 prophets since 1900, but only 4 major prophets in their Dukh i zhizn' (religious text). Each congregation has 1 or more prophets. Over 100 prophesies have been recorded in secret notebooks shared with the most trusted members.
This taxonomy uses the transliterated original labels from Russian (shown in italics) because the historic Russian terms have long-established definitions. I deviate from Russian by capitalizing the labels, common in English but not capitalized in Russian. Lax translation to English, sometimes intentional, has altered original Russian meanings. For example, Spiritual Christians in Tsarist Russia never called their meeting location a tserkva (church), a term only applied to Orthodox Church buildings. In English the word "church" is used by Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants, but not in Russia where only the Orthodox faith was legal. Because non-Orthodox faiths were illegal before 1903, most were not allowed to have prayer buildings. The major exception was in Blagoveschensk (Far East) where Molokane dominated the economy and politics, and built a large molitvenyi dom (молитвеный дом / дом молитвы : prayer house, prayer hall, assembly hall, gospel hall) or obschii dom (общий дом : community hall, assembly) for a sobranie (собрание : meeting, gathering, assembly); similar to Gospel Hall. Currently in Ivanovka, Azerbaijan, the term tserkva (церква : church) is used during interviews with young reporters who do not know their Russian historical terminology.

The most significant semantic translation shift in the U.S. is that the Russian term Molokan is never translated in a title or legal document as “Dairy-eater,” but Prygun is translated as “Jumper” on many legal documents while never using the Russian term. Since these faiths originated in Russia, the transliterated Russian terms should be used exclusively to preserve their original Russian meanings. The English should only be used to help define the Russian term, not replace it.

In Old Russia (before 1900) these three faith groups, and the Dukhobortsy* and others, historically called themselves Dukhhovnye khristiane (Духовные христиане : Spiritual Christians). Similar to European Protestants, these groups opposed about 90% of Russian Orthodox Church (ROC, Pravoslanoi, Православной — “right worship”) doctrine.(77) For being Russian and not Orthodox, these dissenting faiths, when identified by authorities, were ruled by the ROC to be heresies (eresei : ересей), sektanty (cектанты : sectarians), sekty (cекты : sects) [from Latin secare : to cut or cut off], and given many labels which described their deviation. Over 100 labels have been used to describe dissenting sects and schismatics,** which comprised at least 10% of the Russian population by 1900.

In 1900, sectarians (non-Orthodox) totaled about 1 million, or 1% of the total population of the Russian Empire. In some areas along the periphery about 80% of the local population opposed the Church. The new territory borders were heavily populated by German immigrants, and Russian settlers, mostly sectarians, schismatics, and retired military. In Russia no Germans were Orthodox, except by rare intermarriage or conversion.

Often several labels are applied to the same people or different peoples, which adds to historic confusion, especially when the subjects use different labels or interpretations than authorities — for example: Luidi Bozhe (God's People, People of God, Christ-faith) versus Khristovovery, Khristy, Khlysty (Whips, Flagellants, self-castigators). No one in Old Russia ever self-identified by saying: "I am a khlyst," according to Dr. Clay who did his Ph.D. thesis about this religious movement.(11)

People often migrated and intermarried, changing their religious affiliation. Some Spiritual Christians adopted the ROC labels self-redefined, like Dukhhovnye khristiane-molokane. These 3-word labels were often shortened to the latter term used by the ROC, like molokane.

* Spiritual Christian Dukhobortsy in Russia divided into 3 groups named by size and leader. The most zealous third who moved to Canada further divided into 3 different major groups by leader and obeying new laws. See Taxonomy of Spiritual Christian Doukhobors (In-Progress).

** Note that raskol'niki (schismatics, раско́лники) — Starovery (Old Believers), better called Staroobriadtsy (Old Ritualists) — are also often called “sects” in English but rarely in Russian. In 1900, about 10% of the Russian population were raskol'niki. In the late 1800s, Western journalists often used “sect” in a broad manner to refer to a particular religion, like "Russian Orthodox sect" or "Mormon sect." Some reporters today confuse Molokane with Old Believers, probably thinking the term means “old faith.” For a comprehensive overview of Russian sectarian history see: A.I. Klibanov, History of Religious Sectarianism in Russia (1860s-1917).

In 1906, after the failure of the Molokan Settlement Association in Hawaii, "Molokans" were ridiculed as "Adullamites," a "primitive Christianity," "vagrants," and "worthless."

Unlike those who document them, practicing Molokane and Pryguny in Russia and San Francisco, California, never confused their own faiths. Historic records indicate that confusion about who or what is Molokan began in the U.S. immediately upon immigration in mid-1904 to Los Angeles, California, of relatively small numbers (less than 1%) of total Spiritual Christians whose leaders from Russia declared they were a united brotherhood of various Spiritual Christians. The first such label in print was "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians," which was modified after 6 months, in January 1905, variously adding and/or deleting: "Jumper," "Pryguny," "Molokan," "Russian," "Sectarian," and "Brotherhood." (Research in-progress.)

The mixture of various non-Orthodox Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia in Los Angeles could have described themselves by many terms used in Russia in 1900, and upon immigration when they first met other faiths (tribes, bands), such as:

  1. Akhtinsky (from Akhta village, Erevan guberniya)
  2. Baptisty (Baptists)
  3. Buchanatskiy (from Buchanak village, Erevan guberniya)
  4. Darachatskiy (from Darachak village, Erevan guberniya)
  5. Davidisty (followers of David Evseich Bulgakov)
  6. Dukhoborsty (Spirit-wrestlers)
  7. Dukhovniye  (spirituals)
  8. Evangelisty (Evangelicals, Evangelic Christians)
  9. Ikonobortsy (Iconoclasts)
  10. Ierusalim (Jerusalem)
  11. Klistovstchina, Khlysty (Whips, Flagellates)
  12. Klubnikinisty (followers of E.G. Klubnikin, died 1915, Los Angeles, U.S.A.)
  13. Lyudi bozhii (People of God, used by #6 and #11)
  14. Maksimisty (followers of M.G. Rudomyotkin (1818~1877))
  15. Melikoyskie (from Melikoy village, Kars Oblast, same as #21)
  16. Molokane (Dairy-eaters during Lent, the Great Fast)
  17. Nazarei, Nazareny (Nazarene)
  18. Novomolokane (New Molokans, Shtundists, Presbyterians, Evangelicals)
  19. Novyy israil'  (New Israel)
  20. Obshchei (Communal)
  1. Pivovarovsty (followers of M. P. Pivovaroff)
  2. Prokhlyadnenskiy (from Prokhlyadnaya village Kars Oblast, same as #15)
  3. Pryguny (Jumpers, Leapers)
  4. Rudomyokinisty (Rudomyokinites)
  5. Salemskiy (from Salem village, Kars Oblast)
  6. Sion, Sionisty (Zion, Zionists)
  7. Skakuny (Leapers, Hoppers)
  8. Staroobradsty (Old Ritualists) (better term)
  9. Staroverie (Old Believers) same as previous
  10. Shtundisty (Shtundists-Presbyterians)
  11. Svobodniki (sovereign people, after 1920 called Freedomites)
  12. Svobodnye Khristiane (Free Christians)
  13. Subbotniki (Sabbatarians, Saturday People)
  14. Tolstoyan (followers of Lev N. Tolstoy)
  15. Veriginisty (followers of Peter Vas. Verigin,
    "large party" of #6 Dukhoborsty )
  16. Vodiyanie (water baptizers)
  17. Zhidovstvuyushchiye (Judaizers, same as #22, #32)
  18. etc.
Many of the descriptions above are not tight definitions, and differences between the labels may be slight due to significant cross-over of traits. Also, a person may claim multiple identities. For examples; my mother's mother, Sasha A. Shubin, identified as Akhtinsky-Prygun-Molokan; my father's father, Jake D. Conovaloff, identified as Salemsky-Davidist-Prygun, and his wife (my grandmother) was a Salemsky-Molokan. Many Dukh-i-zhiznki in America, while pretending to be Molokane, proclaim among themselves to really be combinations of Maksimisty, Pryguny, Sionisty, and Novyy israil', often not mentioning Christian.

To report or imply that all these different groups (bands or tribes) whose ancestors immigrated from Russia are collectively one huge homogenous group of "Molokans" is non-sense, obviously not correct, but has unfortunately happened too many times and continues as a convenience for writers and speakers who are either uninformed, misinformed, non attentive (lazy), or intentionally misleading the reader.

The term Ikonobortsy pre-dated the term Molokane which preceded the term Dukhoborsty. Lyudi bozhii (People of God) was the self-named term mostly ignored by R.O.C. scholars who favored their heretic labels: Klistovstchina, Khlysty (Whips, Flagellates). These terms are approximate equivalents when referring to groups in Old Russia from the perspective of the Orthodox Church and government : non-Orthodox, hetero-orthodox, heretics, sektanty, sectarians, ikonoborsty, Spiritual Christians, and folk-Protestants.

Several of these terms were specific varieties of folk-Protestant tribes, mostly Pryguny, who came to America — Akhtinsky, Buchanatskiy, Darachatskiy, Davidisty, Klubnikinisty, Maksimisty, Pivovarovsty, Rudomyokinisty, Salemskiy (half Molokane), Skakuny, and others not listed.

Some of the labels (above) have specific meanings when used only among the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki, while the meaning and use of other terms has been forgotten or obscured in their oral tradition. For one example, Ierusalem and Sion are opposites in American Dukh-i-zhizniki oral history. Some Klubnikinist Dukh-i-zhizniki in Los Angeles define Sion as those "saved" by the prophesy of E.G. Klubnikin because they migrated to California from 1904 to 1912 (before the Revolution); and, in contrast, their definition of Ierusalem, is the 99% of Spiritual Christians who stayed in Russia, and are not saved. This is somewhat similar to the definition of "Zion" as used by many Latter Day Saints: "...  to connote an association of the righteous." In contrast, many Maksimisty in Russia believe that those who left for America abandoned "their" (Maksim's) Holy Land near Mount Ararat. In short, each conflicting Dukh-i-zhiznik faith (band, tribe ) believes they are "saved" and/or "chosen" in their own way, in their own place and time, and often defined with their own religious terms unknown to other tribes with whom they do not associate. The only obvious commonality is their religious text (Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn'), which is variously interpreted, as is the Holy Bible.

Individuals could claim or be assigned multiple labels. Except for the term Molokane, many of these labels in America could easily suggest they were a mystical Russian sect, or confused with strange minority faiths often in the national press, labeled as: Quakers*, Shakers*, Mormons*, Jews*, nudes**, the holiness movement (Zion City, House of David, Burning Bush, God's Elect, Bridal Church of the First Born of God, etc.), Spiritualists, or queer (abnormal) radical Pentecostal apostolic religions in North America, nick-named: Angel Dancers, Barking Baptists, Dancers***, Dancing Mania, Flying Rollers, Happy-clappy, High Jumpers, Holy Ghosters, Holy Jumpers, Holy Kickers, Holy Rollers, Hoppers, Jerkers, Pentecostal Dancers, Ranters, Rollerism, Rollerites, Rollers, Tangled Tonguers, Tongue Baptizers, etc. — in general, religious ecstasy
* Similarly, each of these terms are simple misnomers used by outsiders as short, easy to pronounce, one-word labels for a general collection of somewhat similar or affiliated divided faiths, which few outsiders understand.
** Nudes — zealot faction that split from immigrant Dukhobortsy in Canada, who maintained an absolute belief in independence from government. Active for a century, they were popularized in international news for nude protests, burnings and bombings, resulting in sensational press and photos of "nude Douks" and "dirty Douks." As early as 1902 these protesters called themselves svobodniki (свободники, sovereign/ free people) which was Anglicized after 1920 as "Freedomites." By 1918 the Community Dukhobortsy called them goli (nudes). By 1924 the press called them "Sons of Freedom." And they had several divisions mostly ignored by the media.
*** In 1907, the New York Times translated Pryguny as "Dancers": "... the Czar ... in 1904, issued his decree (ukaz) insuring religious freedom to all, with the exception of the 'Dancers', ... "  P. A. Demens could have read this article; and, if he did read it, he knew not to use terms like "Dancers", "Jumpers", etc.

In 1893, a 
The religious forces of the United States, enumerated, classified, and described on the basis of the government census of 1890. With an introduction on the condition and character of American Christianity:
In 1912, a 20-year study was published attempting to list and summarize all religions in the U.S.: The Religious Forces of the United States: Enumerated, Classified, and Described, by H.K. Carroll, Superintendent of the U.S. Census of the Churches, who used census and denomination supplied data. [in-progress]

Carroll Henry K. 1912. The Religious Forces of the United States Enumerated Classified and Described; Returns for 1900 and 1910 Compared with the Government Census of 1890: Condition and Characteristics of Christianity in the United States. Rev. and brought down to 1910 ed. New York: C. Scribner's Sons. 584 pages.

Robert S. Fogarty, Religious Inventions in America: New Religious Movements, OAH Magazine of History, Volume 22, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 19–23,
comprehensive survey of religion in America. Directed by H. K. Carroll, the survey “enumerated, classified, and described”

Vandermeer, P. (1981). Religion, Society, and Politics: A Classification of American Religious Groups. Social Science History, 5(1), 3-24. doi:10.1017/S0145553200014802

Russian-speaking immigrants living in urban clusters on the east side of downtown Los Angeles were fractionated by faith, territory, dialect, ancestry, nationality, intermarriage, education, wealth, etc. By broad faith or ethno-confessional group, they were Jews from Russia, Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Protestant, Russian Orthodox, or non-Orthodox-non-Jewish from Russia (includes : Spiritual Christians, Evangelical Christians, Baptist, Sabattarians, Shtundist, Presbyterian, ...). By nationality many were not ethnic Russians, rather people who immigrated from Russia, of mixed ancestry.

Los Angeles newspapers rarely specified which religious group(s) or nationality or territory they were reporting about as
  • the Russians
  • the Russian colony
  • the Russian community  
  • the Russian Village  
  • Russian-town
  • little Russia
  • Russian Flats
  • the Slav colony
  • the foreign quarter
These labels mostly referred the east-side immigrants who could be any mixture of Armenian, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Russian and/or Slav; and, of different religions.

In the early 1900s, only two researchers tried to document the differences among the various immigrants from Russia — Sokoloff (1918) and Speek (1921); and this taxonomy continues where they left off, 90 years later.

So who was really Russian? A useful explanation appears in an English introduction "About the Book" 2nd paragraph, in Kurto, O.I. Russian World In China: The Experience Of The Historical And Ethnocultural Coexistence Of The Russian And Chinese People. Moscow: Nauka – Vost. Lit., 2013.
The author uses the phrase “Russian people” to name people who speak Russian language and follow Russian traditions, regardless of whether they are of Russian nationality or not and what country their motherland is. The Chinese citizens often call “the Russian” someone who is actually the Ukrainian, the Belarusian, the Caucasian, the Kazakh, etc. So in China every person from the country which belongs to the Commonwealth of Independent States can become “the Russian”.

Kurto avoids using the word “diaspora”. She made a conclusion that all so called Russians living in China now are rather dissociated and don’t like to communicate with each other. All of them have different reasons for leaving their motherlands. And usually they prefer to contact with someone who immigrates to China for the same reason. As a result there is no one single diaspora of Russians in China. On the contrary, there are different  communities in China from Russia consisting of several independent Russian societies. Other nationalities probably cluster in other countries and cities.
For example, while searching for Subbotniki in Portland Oregon in the 2000s we asked people who worked at 2 of the several Russian stores. It seemed that all the store employees were Baptists from Russia who never heard of Subbotniki, and who did not know how many Russian Baptist congregations existed in Oregon. There was no list, no unified Russian Baptist organization, because they came from different parts of the Former Soviet Union. Employees lived among their family, congregants and friends, avoiding outsiders.  

Decades of newspaper research in Los Angeles County, California, finds that the term "Russians" as reported from 1880 to 1950 meant (in approximate order of frequency of use in print):
  1. Any or all of about a dozen tribal faiths of Spiritual Christians from Russia on the east side or south of downtown.
  2. Jews from Russia in Bethlehem district and Boyle Heights who later moved to the far west side
  3. Orthodox Russians in West Los Angeles and Hollywood, including Ukrainians.
  4. Members of the Saint Slava Orthodox Church, East Los Angeles.
  5. People from Russia who lived on neighboring farms in and near Alta Loma.
  6. Germans from Russia who farmed sugar beets near Anaheim.
  7. Spiritual Christians from Russia and Orthodox Russians who lived in 2 areas of San Pedro.
    1. "Happy Valley' district, on 3rd street between Center street and Pacific blvd, and
    2. on Terminal Island
  8. 2 faiths of Spiritual Christian Armenians from Russia in Boyle Heights, Montebello and Downey.
Documentation of sources for the above list is kept in an extensive news literature index maintained by Andrei Conovaloff and shared with a team of scholars. Work in-progress.

Some of the Orthodox Russians (3 and 7 above) associated as Bolsheviks. Some were were called White Russians, with varied meanings. In short, the use of the term "Russian" in Los Angeles county was too often very ambiguous, even when referring to the Russian language and languages from Russia (like Armenian), of which immigrants spoke several dialects, and old and new forms.

Widespread confusion also results from publicity of Pauline V. Young's theses (1926, 1928), articles (1928, 1929), and book (1932) in which she specifically described and mapped people who use the religious text Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn', believe in a prophet Maksim G. Rudomyotkin (1818~1877), were Pryguny before this religious text was published, yet she called them "Molokans" 890 times in her book and nearly exclusively used that term in articles, lectures in class and in public, and in testimony to government agencies. Her use of the the word "Molokan" in print is about 1500 count. Multiply that several times (say 5,000+) for her verbal usage and citations of her work. She never visited real Molokane in San Francisco, did not understand, or ignored, the contextual meaning of Postoyannie which she translated as "Steady", yet she cited both Sokoloff and Speek who documented different groups of people from Russia. It appears that Young may have intentionally camouflaged her Dukh-i-zhiznik subjects to protect them.

Another U.S.C. graduate student documented the Orthodox Russians in Los Angeles, then became a professor at Occidental College (Day, George Martin. The Russians in Hollywood: A Study in Culture Conflict. University of Southern California Press, 1934, 101 pages). Though Day copied the "Molokan" misnomer from his professor Dr. Young, he differentiated among "Molokans" and non-Molokans ("Russian Jews" and "anti-bolshevik political exiles") in his Ph.D. thesis (page 1).

In Los Angeles, all Russian-born groups were represented in the Flats and Boyle Heights districts. Elsewhere in Southern California there were clusters of Jews from Russia, Russian Orthodox, and non-Orthodox non-Jewish peoples from Russian. In 1918, a Russian-speaking Home Teacher, Lillian Sokoloff, published the only general population survey of immigrants from Russian in her school district (The Russians in Los Angeles). Since then no comprehensive census study has attempted to segregate or map all these various Russian-born clusters in Los Angeles as was done in 1980 in San Francisco by graduate student Micheal Tripp.(70). This lack of specificity about "Russians" in California has allowed sloppy historians to lump them together with false labels.

A further complication is that descendants of these immigrants from Russia soon divided among various faiths and by assimilation(19) path — brother marries Russian Baptist, sister marries zealous Dukh-i-zhiznik, son graduates college marries "outsider", daughter marries Prygun but attends "American" Christian church, parents divorce and one remarries "in" the other marries "out." To label all these people "Molokans" in faith is obviously not correct. They are descendants of Spiritual Christians from Russia, who were misled to believe they were something else.

Discrimination of American "Holy Jumpers"
  • In April 1904, months before a migration wave of Spiritual Christians from Russia (mostly Pryguny) arrived in Los Angeles (end of May, early June), American “Holy Jumpers” at the Gospel Mission, 739 Kohler street, were persecuted by residents and by Los Angeles police. After many neighbors complained about disturbing the peace at night, a policeman threatened to dynamite their meeting. Though the policeman was reprimanded, the American “Holy Jumpers” were evicted from the building and denied (freedom of speech) city permits to preach on the street. Their location was 1 mile southwest of the Bethlehem Institutions that aided many immigrants, including Spiritual Christians from Russia.
  • During May-June 1904, 8 families of about 40 Pryguny led by Vasili Gav. Pivovaroff arrived in Los Angeles. In a published translated interview by Konstantin de Blumenthal, Pivovaroff presented his people only as a "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." (Los Angeles Herald, July 17, 1904, page III-6) Pivovaroff did not use any other terms reported in print.
  • In August 1904, American "Holy Jumpers" groups were bullied out of San Bernadino and Redlands, California, which was reported several times in California newspapers.
  • In January 1905, Los Angeles newspapers' false reports of a mass immigration from Russia varied by decreasing numbers, while news about American "Holy Jumpers" intensified:
    • Jan 6 — Police rescued a 16-year old Italian girl from the leader of the "Holy Jumpers" sect at 315 South Olive street, 1 mile east of the Bethlehem Institutions.
    • Jan 13 — 300,000 Russian Quakers coming to Los Angeles county (equal to the county population)
    • Jan 19 — 200,000 Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians, Molokane and "Priguni, jumpers" coming to Los Angeles (equal to the city population)
    • Jan 23 — At (Orthodox) Russian headquarters on Western Ave, a secret Russian army of 200 prepared to return to Russia to protect the Tsar.
    • Jan 25 — The Police Chief is investigating complaints about noisy American "Holy Jumpers" disturbing the peace during frequent gatherings at the new Apostolic Faith Mission, 312 Azusa Street (1/2 block southeast of San Pedro and 1st streets), about 1/2 mile southwest of the Bethlehem Institutes.
    • Jan 27 — "Advance Guard of 15,000 ... 'Molokane' ... Colonize Here"... 200,000 total (equal to the city population) ...
  • In February-March 1905, for 6 weeks, 2000 American evangelicals held revival meetings and marched through the slums to save the sinners and wayward Christians. As many as 400+ Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia could have witnessed the American Christian revival march as more Spiritual Christians arrived from Russia. Bethlehem Institutes hosted the passing revival marchers with drinks and snacks.
  • In July 1906 the Los Angeles Express reported: ".. “Holy Rollers” contemplate making sacrifices of children, to appease the wrath of God, .. timid women are keeping close watch over their little ones ..."
  • Hostility against charismatic spiritual jumping religions was reported in major California newspapers for decades, re-surging several times, causing the urban Spiritual Christian zealots from Russia to further retrench, hiding their faiths in fear of outsiders.
In 1905 in Los Angeles, those who volunteered to host the announced hundreds of thousands of Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia must have been aware that many Americans hated "Holy Jumpers," and advised them not to use that term in English. Yet, the most zealous members of the various arriving Spiritual Christian faiths from Russia insisted on calling themselves Pryguny and "Holy Jumpers" in the news for more than 50 years, while the assimilating(19) majority preferred to hide behind the safer false "Molokan" label.

Despite religious discrimination against fanaticism, and prejudice against illegal and unwanted immigrants, the variety of developing and evolving Pentecostal churches in California provided a somewhat welcoming environment for the most zealous Spiritual Christians. Due to Demens' promotion, in their first years they were temporarily compared to the “founding fathers” of America, the “Pilgrims,” for fleeing oppressive Russian Orthodoxy to form religious colonies in the new country and in Hawai'i. In Los Angeles, many Spiritual Christians attended American evangelical Christian services in local churches and tent revivals, praying, raising hands and jumping (even with Negroes), often with translation from English to Russian. Interfaith visits occurred. The most zealous Spiritual Christian immigrants learned that others in this new world also shared their beliefs about manifestations of the Holy Spirit (spiritual baptism, visions, trances, jumping, raising hands, speaking in tongues, healing, casting out demons), Zion, millennium, and plainness (spartan prayer house architecture, worship, and dress). But the rural peasant heritage traditions of the most zealous in Los Angeles clashed with government and urban life, as it did among the zealous svobodniki (after 1920 called Freedomites) in central Canada.

Many wanted to return home where they had freedom from mandatory education, freedom to arrange marriages, freedom not to register (marriages, births or deaths), freedom to sing and jump all night, and clusters of rural villages of relatives with whom they lived simple lives for generations near Mt. Ararat praying for their Apocalypse. Most important for Maksimisty was their prophesy to join both their leader M.G. Rudomyotkin (Рудомёткин) (1818~1877) and Jesus Christ on Mt. Ararat or to be buried nearby. What was to be a temporary journey for some, to seek fortune and return home, became exile.

In the Summer of 1906, their most zealous prophet in Los Angeles, Afonasy T. Bezayeff, became alarmed about news of the San Francisco earthquake (April 1906) and 3-day fire. After seeing many drunks and destitute people in the Los Angeles courthouse during his son's court hearing, Bezayeff prophesied an earthquake in Los Angeles, because God was going to punish the wicked. He ordered all Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles to flee to the mountains, similar to what M.G. Rudomyotkin did several times before he was jailed in Erevan Governate (now Armenia). Public health authorities intervened preventing a mass panic. Later Bezayeff was alarmed about the mixing of cultures in Los Angeles and, while standing on a woodpile at a lumberyard where he worked (possibly in the San Pedro area), he declared (prophesied) that all Spiritual Christians must close their services to non-believers and stop contact with the false faiths of the world, yet he never moved from Los Angeles and drilled his followers to conduct spiritual marches to City Hall. He also initiated (via the Holy Spirit) placing the new ritual book: Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' on the alter tables of all congregations in Los Angeles after 1928 as a Third Testament to their Old Russian Bible, while some believed their new religious text replaced the New Testament.

Was it Bezayeff who prophesied to burn all photographs? My grandmother Sasha Shubin reported watching people in The Flat(s) dump boxes of family photos into incinerators, in many backyards. She disobeyed the prophesy and kept her photos hidden for decades. A frenzy burning of histories and diaries also occurred among the zealous German Pietist Jumpers (Heufers) in Tavria. (Citation) Many of the behaviors of Bezayeff, as reported by Berokoff and the press, occurred in Russia and appear similar to symptoms of brain disorders.

In Los Angeles, the Americanizing Spiritual Christian youth needed a neutral unique simple identity for several critical reasons, if they were to stay in the city:
  • to facilitate their assimilation and integration(19);
  • to mediate hostility against them as strange religions and foreigners, not to appear as"whiskers," "enemy aliens" or pagans;
  • to prevent deportation back to Russia, as was done to 100s of "undesirable immigrants" from Russia, mainly Jews and Bolsheviks;
  • to prevent repatriation back to Russia, as was done to over 400,000 Mexicans and their American-born children, 1929-1937, launched in Los Angeles (53);
  • to prevent internment, as was done from 1914 to 1920 to 8,600 Ukrainians in Canada; and
  • to prevent disfranchisement, as was done in 1917 to Dukhobortsy in Canada, and others.
The term “Molokan” was undoubtedly selected for its simple-to-pronounce neutrality and uniqueness by those who chose to maintain their various ancestral religious dogma even though they were not Molokan by faith. The word has no difficult consonants or diphthongs, and is easy to pronounce in most any language.

They did not use the English translations of “dairy-eater”, or more common: "milk-drinker", which are confusing and inconsistent if used for a group identity; rather, they kept the Russian term which Demens repeatedly used. Explaining that Molokan means "dairy-eater" could enhance association with whiteness, goodness and health. By habit and wide misuse, the "fake news" propagandist definition broadened to include nearly all non-Orthodox immigrants from Russia in America — hijacking the word for a century from the real Molokane.

During their 100+ years in America, self-use of the terms "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians", “Jumper(s)” and Prygun(y), and New Israel(ites), diminished rapidly, falsely replaced by "Molokan" and variant combinations phrases that always included the "Molokan" term.. Hopefully, use of the descriptive internationally recognized term Dukh-i-zhizniki will increase in this century, the 2000s, with education. It is expected that most Dukh-i-zhizniki will initially be reluctant, even refuse, to officially accept a label that accurately describes their secret faith. The faith will no longer be a secret. They will have to define it by publicly explaining their secret book, as was done in Arizona in 1915 (cite), again in Young's 1932 book, and again during WWII CO hearings, but since forgotten.

After nearly a century of imposing upon and being offensive to Molokane and Pryguny, users of the book Dukh i zhizhn' should take ownership of this international label, a Russian loan-word which uniquely defines only them. Dukh-i-zhizniki have no need to hide any longer, except those who remain indoctrinated with fear and believe they must obey an old order, from Rudomyotkin (1818~1877) in prison to his followers in Erevan guberniya, to hide from the world, while ignoring the fact that they now live in a free country and Rudomyotkin's order for secrecy was made in a different time (about 150 years ago) and place (Old Russia) to people who died long ago.

3. “Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians” from 1902, 1904, 1907

In 1898, the name Christians of the Universal Brotherhood was used by the minority of Dukhobortsy who left the Russian Empire in 1899. The leader of the one-third who left Russia, P. V. Verigin, later incorporated the name Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (CCUB). In 1900, another breakaway group in Canada called themselves the Society of Universal Brotherhood to protest Canadian laws, and to petition to move to the U.S. in 1901.

In 1902, the Rev. Dr. Dana Bartlett met a traveling member of the "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" which he described in his first book, The Better City (September 1907) on pages 79-81. On page 229 he reported "the Bethlehem building .. for a year .. was the meeting place for the Russian Church, known as the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." On page 76A see photo: "Our Russian Neighbors From the Transcaucasus." In this book, Bartlett only used these 2 terms — "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" and "Russians" to describe the immigrants.

Upon arrival in mid 1904, the Prygun leader Vasili G. Pivovaroff introduced his first group in Los Angeles as the "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." No other terms were used to identify his faith other than saying that they were from Russia. In December 1904, when V.G. Pivovaroff performed his first wedding in Los Angeles, the press only identified the "little band of Russian exiles" as "brotherhood" (3 times), while using the term "Russian(s)" 17 times. The first Marriage License shows their faith as "the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians".

In May 1905, Dr. Rev. Dana Bartlett gave a translated lecture to the "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians, composed of Russian immigrants recently settled in Los Angeles." 100 were attending the adult night school, organized by Cherbak as the "Russian University."

By mid January 1905, international news from Europe via New York reported that 300,000 Russian Quakers, "Molokanys", were coming to Los Angeles. The county government was facing a tsunami herd of peasants, which would double their county population. The educated, wealthy aristocrat Russian immigrants already established in Los Angeles (Demens, de Blumenthals, Cherbak, and associates), probably by invitation from government, began to advocate for their fellow country men and branded all factions of immigrant Spiritual Christians in California collectively as “Molokane / Molokans” when speaking to the press and governments. These advisers must have known that American “Holy Jumpers” were hated in Los Angeles, evicted from Southern California, and a policeman threatened to dynamite them. Also, they may not have been openly befriended by the more secretive zealous faiths that planned to return to Mt. Ararat. The press was confused about what to call them — Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians? Jumpers? Pryguny? Quakers? Molokane? Russians? All 6 terms were used with various spellings, and occasionally other terms like Dukhobor and Mennonite. Research in-progress.

Companies which invested in large agricultural colonies for these immigrants from Russia were confounded as to why they did not behave like organized Germans from Russia (many were Mennonites), and immediately divided into groups and quarreled, causing a farm colony to fail before it could start.
  • Oral history by J. K. Berokoff, reports that in 1904 (?) a mystery woman was insulted while trying to give them land and withdrew her offer.
  • In 1906 in Hawai'i, after journalists reported that the “Molokans” were actually 3 opposing groups, Demens telegraphed that “Molokans” in Los Angeles came from "... 5 distinct provinces, perhaps 15 different localities, and 20 to 25 villages .. strangers thrown together .." The first combined Spiritual Christian farm colony experiment in Hawai'i never started and returned within 6 months.
  • In May 1906, the Alaska Native Allotment Act allowed ownership titles of 160 acres each to individual natives if they "give up their cultures and languages."
  • After August 1906 most Molokane, led by those returning from Hawai'i, resettled in and near San Francisco.
  • In 1910 Cherbak organized a meeting of all Spiritual Christians on the Pacific Coast, excedpt Molokane, to help them jointly purchase a ~50 square mile tract, probably in the Santa Ynez Valley (Solvang) for all to settle, as many elders had requested. Though they had the money, Cherbak reported 12 leaders confronting him in Los Angeles resulting in the well-funded huge colony of Spiritual Christians never starting.
  • H.E. Huntington tried to help Spiritual Christians colonize in California, offering up to 30,000 acres, but gave up. Research in-progress.
  • In Arizona there were 4 congregations up to 1920, on more than 8 square miles, and 2 congregations (Prygun, Maksimist) until about 1950.
  • In the 1930s there was a failed effort to unite all in Los Angeles into a bolshaya sobraniya (big assembly, English slang: "Big Church"); only half of the largest 6 congregations joined, excluding the Subbotniki and Armenian Pryguny, though a few intermarried.
  • By the 1940s in Los Angeles, 2 of the congregations that did not join "Big Church" divided, and similar adjacent faith divisions reoccur today in central Oregon and in rural Central California near Kerman and Porterville among the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki.
The trend among Dukh-i-zhizniki is to divide, not unite, wherever they congregate (U.S.A., Australia, Russia, Armenia). Clearly these are many somewhat similar faiths that use the Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn'  and must be described with precise labels and attributes (location, lead elder, origin, etc.) to distinguish their different tribes.
In September 1915 in Los Angeles, Shanin and Kobziv published their first songbook: Пѣсенникъ (Pesennik), По соглосiю Прыгунской Духовной Братстим (Po soglasiyu Prygunskoi Dukhovnoi Bratstim : By agreement with the Jumper Spiritual Brotherhood).

In 1917, V. I. Holopoff, one of the pioneer migration scouts since 1900, entered his religion on a government form as "Brotherhood" with no room to write more; while the Pryguny identified themselves in a petition and letters to the US government as "Spiritual Christians-Jumpers." In 1917 an Arizona newspaper editorial stated:
"Russian religious zealots, called Molokans, or Molokani, .. may be properly termed the Protestants of Russia. They call themselves Spiritual Christians." (Bold added) ("The Molokans," Bisbee Daily Review, June 14, 1917, page 4.)
In 1918, American John Valov reported his religion as "Russian Spiritual Christian" to the Red Cross. This “Brotherhood,” in various forms, published the Dukh i zhizhn' in 1928, and is shown on government letters from 1940 through 1945 (Berokoff, Addenda XVII). After the 1940s the term "Brotherhood" was not used in print. Why? What changed? Fear and/or shame?

After most Molokane relocated to San Francisco in 1906, a tug-a-war over the use of Pryguny occurred in Los Angeles as the younger Americanized generation adopted “Molokan” and/or abandoned their Russian faiths to be American, while a zealous minority trying to publish a religious text transformed into what became opposing and competing Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths, which lacked a label for over 75 years.

The least zealous Spiritual Christians (Molokane, Subbotniki, Armenian Pryguny, etc.), who were marginalized by the more zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki, integrated(19) faster. The term Pryguny was apparently applied publicly to the most zealous, then nearly vanishes in favor of the terms Molokan and/or Russian Spiritual Christian, for all factions, or "Molokan Christian", and eventually to just the single term “Molokan,” with a broad general meaning specific to Southern California.

The "Molokan" label was desired because is was unique, simple, and translated as “dairy-eaters,” probably to project harmless wholesome White Christian Protestant people (25) for the "White Spot of America," Los Angeles, "the best advertised city in the United States." It is strange that this is the only label that these Spiritual Christians insisted must be preserved in Russian transliteration, rather than the English "Dairy-Eater," or more common translation of "milk-drinker," while all other labels are translated, or transformed into more socially acceptable English forms — like "church" for meeting / prayer hall / assembly.


Los Angeles Times

WW1 Objectors to Military Conscription

In May 1917, a group of 261 men "sworn" under oath that they are "Spiritual Christians - Jumpers" by an attorney, had a 3-page petition sent to the Russian Consul in San Francisco, and recorded in the County of Los Angeles. Notice (1) that they all swore a legal oath, and (2) they identify as "Spiritual Christian Pyguny".


This was posted on the Facebook page erroneously titled "Molokan Information" administered by  because nothing is about Molokane in the San Fransisco, the Bay Area or northern California. Most all of the Facebook members are non-Molokans 

The first two pages are here  fbid=3114792018589308&set=pcb.3118136708275931

A copy was

John Kulikoff in Los Angeles in the 1920s, who accurately informed reporters at the Prescott jail in Arizona:"The Holy-Jumpers are not Molokans. ... We are Holy-Jumpers. Molokans do not have the Spirit." (Only Blessed Bread For A Holy Jumper, Prescott Journal-Miner, August 10, 1917, page 5.) This was by one of the few journalists who understood and reported the actual religious identity of those arrested for not registering. 

The Prygun Review

In 9 of the 10 editions of the misnamed The Molokan Review (1940-1949), a version of this title page appears in Russian. It was omitted in the last (1949) edition. Note how the organization is labeled printed in Russian.

A small photo of the U.M.C.A. neon sign is at the top, with the logo in the middle. Yes, it was lit at night glowing orange-red, which probably enraged the most zealoous tribes and helped inspire the prophesy that "the devil dances on the roof". Youth of several tribes were forbidden to attend any U.M.C.A. event until they conquered and dominated the organization after 1980. The sign and the prophecy were mostly forgotten in the 2000s.

Next above is the Russian version of the organization name in big letters, and in parenthesis the real name. 
Объедининное Молоканское Христианскон Обшество (Духовные Прыгуны)
Unified Molokan Christian Society (Spiritual Jumpers)
Similar deceiving use of Russian and English continues today on signs and in print. Dukh-i-zhizniki habitually say one thing in English, and another in Russian, delivering different false labels for their faiths in each language, as if to appease different audiences, and themselves at the same time.

261 Spiritual Christian Jumpers opposed WW1 draft 

This petition was compiled by

WW2 Letter to Russian Consulate, San Francisco

Public signs

Probably because their faiths were illegal in Russia, few of the "irrational" ("Mystical") category of Spiritual Christians from Russia would post a sign on a converted house used for meetings, or a dedicated assembly hall. Compare the side-by side meeting halls for Subbotnik and Romanovka congregations (Klubnikin, Podval) on Clarence Street in the "Flats" of Los Angeles about 1920.

xxxxxx   Insert Photos

Few Dukh-i-zhiznik buildings in Southern California

The false Molokan label probably began to first appear in public view in English on a main street in 1933 when "Big Church" was moved from the Flat(s) to Lorena Street. Signs at cemeteries also mixed the labels, but did not show Prygun or Jumper in English, only Prygun in Cyrillic (Russian).

Since the 1990s several Dukh-i-zhiznik elders have been intentionally mis-reading the Russian term Prygun as Molokan in English to alter and/or fabricate a false history, to intentionally fool those who cannot read Russian.

"Big Church"
Click to
Sign facing Lorena street at "Big Church," 1946: "First United
Christian Molokan Church of Spiritual Jumpers"
Photo: Samarin, P.I.
(ed.) The Molokan Review, v1.7, Los Angeles CA, August 1946, page 17.

Click to ENLARGE
The words "of Spiritual Jumpers" are absent in this
1951 photo of the sign on the "Big Church" assembly.

Los Angeles Examiner, September 24, 1951,

After 1933, the label “Spiritual Jumpers” in English only remained in public view on the front sign (above) of "Big Church" (Bol'shaya sobraniya) facing Lorena Street. The building was the business office for the congregation, were records were kept, often used for membership meetings, funerals, and Sunday School. In the 1960s, I was shown a box of the paid membership was about 700 households.

The Housing Acts of 1934, 1937, and 1949 funded urban renewal projects across the country. Los Angeles "Progressives" to

In the 1950s is was the temporary UMCA, while the Gage avenue site was under construction. used for business meetings, some funerals, a

The building was demolished about 2000 because it was not earthquake safe, and the congregation did not preserve their sign or label probably because they did not feel comfortable/safe with it in public view, and to gain favor with more zealous Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations in Southern California. But the sign on the larger meeting hall farther from Lorena Street lacked the phrase "of Spiritual Jumpers," as if it was a different faith. Perhaps in the 1960s the black letter metal sign on the assembly hall (First United Christian Molokan Church) was replace with a larger sign with white letters.

Into the 1980s, the Russian term Прыгун (Prygun) remained on the first old cemetery sign (below, left), on 2nd Street near Eastern Ave, East Los Angeles. The "Old Cemetery" did not refurbish or replace their sign which misspelled dukhovnykh khristiyan prygunov (Spiritual Christian Jumpers) on top in Russian. In the 2000s, the younger zealot generation in Los Angeles explained to me that they are afraid to be "on display ... in front of the world." The format of the sign suggests that 2 different faiths, labeled in 2 languages, are combined in 1 display Pryguny in Russian, and Molokan in English — though neither is correct. Since 1928, this had been only a Dukh-i-zhiznik cemetery reserved for the most zealous and honored Dukh-i-zhiznik members as determined by and serving a few congregations in Los Angeles county who did not want to mix their dead with those in the new cemetery on Slauson Ave, City of Commerce.

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Click to ENLARGE
Sign at "Old Cemetery," 1980, removed soon after this photo.
Photo: Conovaloff, A.J., The 1980 Молокан Directory, Clovis CA, page 252.
                            to ENLARGE
Sign on "New Cemetery" office, 2011.
Photo: Conovaloff, Andrei.

At the new Slauson Ave cemetery, the Prygun label only appears in public view in Russian on one metal (cast brass) sign (above right), but omitted in the English translation, again showing 2 wrong faiths displayed in 2 languages on 1 sign. The Russian says: Kladbische russkikh khristianskikh molokan-dukhovnykh prygunov (Cemetery of Russian Christian Molokan-Spiritual Jumpers). Contrary to the sign, this cemetery is recorded with the State of California as “Russian Molokan Christian Spiritual Jumpers Cemetery Association, Inc.” Using the words Molokan and Prygun together is like saying dog-cat or banana-apple. Which do you really mean, or do you mean both? In reality neither faith controls this cemetery. It was purchased about 1939 and controlled only by Dukh-i-zhizniki. There are no congregations of Molokane or Pryguny in Southern California, and if there were, they would not be allowed to buy a plot at this cemetery today because only dues-paying members of the official "mother churches" of Dukh-i-zhizniki apparently can buy a plot; however one may be accepted if they testify/ or prove that they were christened in a Dukh-i-zhiznik ceremony, and have a lobby of front row elders petition for their burial.

Sign in Suzdal, Russia

In 1997 and 1999, two American Dukh-i-zhiznik preceptors independently published photos of a monastery jail dormitory museum sign in Suzdal Russia, showing where Maksim Rudomyotkin (1818~1877) stayed from 1860 to 1877. Morrie Moses Pivovaroff (Kerman CA) made a video of his July 1997 heritage tour to retrace Rudomyotkin's life. In 1999 Daniel H. Shubin (then in Shafter CA) published a photo of a similar sign he took during his similar heritage tour to Russia in September 1997. Both deceptively presented and/or claimed the Russian word Prygun is read/ pronounced as Molokan in English, as if they intended to fool non-Russian readers. It's as silly as teaching that the pronunciation/ translation of the Russian word sobaka (dog) in English is koshka (cat). What else have they lied about?

While videotaping the room in a Suzdal monastery prison dormitory where Rudomyotkin allegedly slept, Pivovaroff pointed his camera to a small sign on the outside wall next to the door which clearly read:
Начальник сектов молокан Семён Шветов 1835-1844 гг.
Начальник сектов кавказский пригунов Максим Рудомёткин 1860-1877 гг.
My Russian-born Molokan wife Tanya says these 2 lines could not have been written by a Russian, because 3 words are obviously improperly conjugated. It appears that the Pivovaroff brothers, or their assistants, incorrectly copied a small sign posted inside a display case near the entrance of the museum complex, which Shubin photographed later that year (photo below). The correct Russian is:
Начальник секты молокан Семён Шветов 1835-1844 гг.
Начальник секты кавказских пригунов Максим Рудомёткин 1860-1877 гг.
While videoing their hand-written sign, Morris M. Pivovaroff falsely narrated that his "Molokan" martyr Maksim Rudomyotkin stayed in this [dormitory] room which he could not not believe was "so nice".

Their sign says: пригунов, genitive plural for пригун : prygun. Russian literate viewers could see in the video image that he misread the sign and ignored the Molokan man shown on the same sign, 1 line above, as Semyon Shvetsov. Pivovaroff graciously sent me his video, and I replied with many corrections on a list marking the time and error for him to edit. I do not know if any of my suggestions, maps and data were edited into the final version of the video intended to educate his family.

Click to ENLARGE

Later the same year (1977), D. H. Shubin took a photo of this sign (above) at the same monastery previously visited by Pivovaroffs, which Shubin published in 1999 on page 2 of his Guide to the [Book of the Sun,] Spirit and life with Supplements (253 pages). The image above shows most of page 2 of Shubin's Guide (facing the title page 3), with the sign enlarged to clearly show that Shubin's caption in English clearly misrepresents the Russian text in the photo.

The Russian text translated to English:
Elder chief/ head of the skoptsy sects, Kondratii Selivanov, 1820-1833.
Chief/ head of the molokan sects, Semyon Shvetsov, 1835-1844.
Chief/ head of the Caucasian prygun sects, Maksim Rudomyotkin, 1860-1877. [bold added]
In the photo caption, as published above, the label prygun for Rudomyotkin is obviously omitted. In his Guide Shubin presents no data about Molokan leader Shvetsov nor about Spiritual Christian skoptsy, rather focuses on Rudomyotkin, whom he intentionally falsely claims is of a different faith than what is posted on the museum sign or shown on official archival documents which Shubin reproduced and translated 13 times in his chapter 7. Throughout his Guide Shubin repetitively mis-guides his readers by extensively using a false label in his first 6 chapters (pages 1-87), and last 3 chapters 8-10 (footnotes on pages 159-253).

Among the 68 pages of Shubin's translated archival documents from Russia regarding Rudomyotkin (chapter 7, pages 88-155), the term Prygun(y) (пригун(ы)) appears 13 times; and the term Molokan appears only once as an error, added in small handwritten script on the last document (pages 154-155), a death notice.* All these Russian records report that M.G. Rudomyotkin was a Prygun, and the "chief spreader(24) of the 'Spirituals' (o dukh) or 'Jumpers' (prygun) sect in the Caucasus" (pages 90-91).
* If one reads the death notice literally, that upon death Rudomyotkin abandoned his Prygun faith and converted to the Molokan faith, as edited, then all his writings must be edited to show that at the end of his life he accepted the Molokan faith as better than his own Maksimist faith, and abandoned his "new rituals" to accept the Molokan rituals and holidays. Therefore his published writings in the 1928 Kniga solnste, dukh i hzizn' and his prayers would be void, and his followers must do the same. Or, you can accept that the word Molokan added (written) in small script was a mistake, a clerical error. The added word should have been prygun, based on all the previous documents shown in chapter 7.
In contrast to the archived documents published from the Russian archives about MGR, the text in Shubin's Guide shows the term "Molokan(s)" 108 times, including 18 times joined in phrase (Molokan Jumpers), compared to Jumper(s) appearing separately only 3 times (pages 5, 34, and 51), ignoring the archival documents. In the discussion text and footnotes, the authors of the Spirit and Life are falsely presented 36 times more often (108/3 = 36) with the wrong faiths than their actual faiths — 97% of occurrences (108/111 = 0.973). Also, the Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life is mentioned 76 times, and Rudomyotkin 487 times (333 by name, 154 by "MGR" citation) nearly twice per page (487/253=1.93) on average. Shubin's Guide overwhelmingly shows the intentional false labeling of Rudomyotkin by Shubin, contradicting the Russian records shown in the same book. 

As is, Shubin's Guide misleads his target English-speaking Dukh-i-zhiznik students with extensive labeling bias, translations, and irregular and missing citations; and lacks a comprehensive index. These errors could be corrected in a revised edition.

More valuable to the serious student of M. G. Rudomyotkin wold be a line-translation showing (1)

Readers beware! Are these 2 Dukh-i-zhiznik teachers (preceptors, front-row speakers, bearded elders) — Pivovaroff and Shubin — intentionally misleading their students, confused about their religious history and identity, both, or something else? Their own evidence shows they are blind to the real identity of their spiritual leader, their history, and mislead their students.

4. Is Molokan one faith, many faiths, an ethnic group, white people from Russia, or an unclassified Slavic nationality?

Answer: historically all of the above, depending on who is using or misusing the term, when and where. The context of the term should help readers to interpret which meaning is implied. After a century of misuse in North America the Russian term “molokan” has unfortunately lost it's original meaning in most contexts, which must be restored to make sense of the history of Spiritual Christians around the world and to intelligently discuss them. It's like saying only in Southern California and Oregon, in Australia, Armenia, and eastern Stavropolskii krai, Russia, dogs are cats; but in Northern California, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and parts of southern Russia (western Stavropolskii krai, Rostov, eastern Krasnoraskii krai) dogs are dogs. Why is that? I think it's because the composers of Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' did not know enough of their history to know the difference, or accepted and repeated Dr. Pauline Young's incorrect history, or did not want to know the difference, or did not want to discuss the issue, or needed to hide their actual mixed faiths, or were emotionally and/or intellectually incapable of dealing with these facts, or something else or all of these reasons.

In Old Russia, Molokan was a single, non-Orthodox religion the original faith (Definition 1, below). The word was sometimes used to describe any sectarian (Definition 2) or anyone suspected of having sectarian characteristics (Definition 6). After 1900 in Southern California American English, it was falsely broadly used to label all immigrating non-Orthodox (sectarian) faiths from Old Russia and their descendants, an ethnic group and a different family of religions that opposed the Molokan faith (Definition 4). After 1930 these mistakes were transferred from the U.S. to the Soviet Union and Turkey (now Türkiye) where the most zealous expanded it to label themselves a non-Russian nationality (Definition 5). After about 1980, the most popular definition in Southern California and Oregon was falsely narrowed to mean only the Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths (Definition 3).

The misuses and abuses of the "Molokan" term are very confusing and should be corrected to correspond with the original meanings properly used in the 1800s and earlier, before the label and original identities were corrupted in North America and exported. And the term Dukh-i-zhizniki should be used when referring to the many diverse faith tribes that use the religious text: Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life). This seems like a simple solution, unless you are a zealot, or commanded by zealots, indoctrinated with a false history.

6 Definitions used for the term "Molokan"
  1. Original Faith (CORRECT) — Molokan is the original Russian religion led and/or founded by Simyon Uklein, and labeled about 1765 as a "dairy-eater" non-fasting heresy by the Russian Orthodox Church. Nearly all congregations reunited since 1991 are members of one worldwide organization headquartered in Stavropol province, Russian Federation, with one member congregation in San Fransisco, California U.S.A. and an affiliated congregation in Sheridan. California. No other Molokan congregations exist in Norh America. People who are members of congregations affiliated with the Souiz dukhovnykh khristiane — molokan (S.D.K.M.), Russian: “Union of Spiritual Christian Molokans” (U.S.C.M.), Союз духовных христиан — молокан (СДКМ), are certified Molokane.

  2. Many Faiths (WRONG) — The "Molokan" term became an easy-to-pronounce "catch-all" category used to refer to all Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia in North America. In Russia catch-all terms are sekt, molokan and kwaker; but in Canada the catch-all term is "Doukhobor". In Russia, Spiritual Christians coveted the Molokan reputation and claimed the name, while the Orthodox tried to create a new name for each sect and reused familiar names, often giving groups two or more labels. Upon emigration to North America, many faiths were incorrectly called "Molokan," "Russian Quaker," "Doukohbor" and "Russian Mennonite" among other terms, in the press, and most of the assimilating(19) members either did not know their own identity, or preferred that name and history instead of their own embarrassing history and translated Russian labels. In Los Angeles, the most literate assimilated(19) youth, who filed incorporation papers for congregations and organizations, had more control to choose legal names in English devised to deter investigation and deportation, and protect their careers, while appeasing the lesser assimilated(19) uneducated elders. In Canada, Dukhobortsy were extensively tainted by a breakaway divided group of protestors who had been shown in press photos in the nude, and tried to migrate to the U.S. to join with other Spiritual Christan faiths. Though in the 1920s the breakaway protesting faction in Canada identified themselves as svobodiki (свободники : "sovereign people" later called Freedomites by the press), the most sensationalistic press persistently mislabeled them "Doukhobors" (British spelling), except for those who moved to Los Angeles who blended with tribes mistakenly called "Molokans." To avoid confusion, use the oriSionistyginal Russian faith name, if known, or the original general terms "Spiritual Christian" and/or dukhovnye khristiane.

  3. Dukh-i-zhiznik Faiths (WRONG) — In 1928 in the Boyle heights district of Los Angeles, all tribes of Spiritual Christians from Russia were a population cluster of different faiths, each with their own meeting house. They were either advised, pressured, coerced, or persuaded by dominant elders to all accept and use a new religious text titled: Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn'. Most Prygun congregations far from Los Angeles in Mexico, Arizona, Northern California and Oregon hesitated for decades to adapt this new book. The congregations that adapted the new book did not have a proper label until 2007. Before 2007 they falsely used, and continue to falsely use, the term "Molokan" to define only themselves, while dissing real Molokane with an epithet, often pejorative, Russian nickname: Postoyannie (literally: constants, steadfast, unchanged). Some simply differentiate by saying, we are not those Molokans, we are the "True", "Spiritual", or improved version. When queried, very few Dukh-i-zhizniki have attended an authentic Molokan service. (17

    In 2007, I attended the open house ceremony for the Molokan Center in Kochubeevskoe, Stavropol' territory, Russian Federation, with a few from San Francisco, California. As I was standing on a bench in the corner taking photos, I recognized a pair of young Dukh-i-zhizniki men from Kamenka in the crowd. When I noticed them walking out a side door, I rushed outside to ask why they were leaving so early. They said that they were sent by their elders to see if any of "our people" (Dukh-i-zhizniki) attended, and to invite and bring them to Kamenka (i.e., back to the flock of believers in the "King of Spirits", Maksim G. Rudomyotkin, away from the non-believing Molokane).

  4. Ethnic Group (WRONG) — People who descended from the many faiths, who were falsely told, or assumed by lineage, that their heritage was narrowly "Molokan" instead of generally "Spiritual Christian," repeated the mistake by telling their descendants that they too were "Molokan" by heritage. They did not teach their descendants a Molokan religion because they were not Molokan by faith and knew very little, if anything, about the actual Molokan faith. This unique ethnonym spread to thousands who assimilated,(19) intermarried, and joined other faiths in America. They shared the simple one-word false label and fragments of oral history about a few Russian cultural objects (songs, chay, loshka, rubashka, kosinka, ...), foods (borsch, lapsha, kheb, nachinki, chai, ...), familiar terms (babuniya, dyeda, sobaka, voda, zdarova), etc, as a diverse pretend ethnic group with many conflicting faiths. Descendants of Spiritual Christians should merely state the original Russian name of the faith or group of their ancestors (if they know it), who were collectively all dukhovnye khristiane, Spiritual Christians. When they do not know the exact faith, or village of their ancestors, it is most accurate for these descendants to state something like:
    1. "my ancestors who immigrated from Russia were of a Spiritual Christian faith, not Orthodox," or
    2. "my ancestors came from Russia, but were not of the Orthodox faith, more like folk Protestants" or
    3. "my ancestors were non-Orthodox people in Russian who called themselves Spiritual Christians," or
    4. "my ancestors were non-dukhobor Spiritual Christians from Russia," or
    5. "my ancestors were indigenous folk Protestants in Russia who immigrated before the Revolution, and some were not ethnic Russians."
    6. If you just say: "I'm a Russian-American", most will assume you are Orthodox or Jewish.

  5. Unclassified Slavic  Nationality (WRONG) — Internal passports were issued in Europe and Russia since the early 1700s to control people and land ownership. Different from western ID's, the Russian papers also included home ownership, children under 14, military status, nationality and/or religion. This data was used primarily to issue land privileges and collect taxes and rents. Spiritual Christians raised for generations in the homeland, where internal passports are essential, are very aware of the legality of their social status, class, ethno-national identity and it's restrictions. In Russia the nationality label to control undesirables was lifted in stages, in 1974 and 2000; but in Türkiye the religion identity remained on passports.(16, page 5) Those isolated in the Caucasus and Türkiye declared their own "nationality" of non-Russian-Orthodox, non-dukhobortsy from Russia, with their "own religion," and this label was incorrectly assigned by the surrounding nationalities and faiths. Their self-identity was probably boosted by out-spoken zealots, and by disinformation published in the new (1928) Kniga solnstse, dukh i zhizn'. In several isolated areas, localized, non-official identities were created, which were transported into Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union. It is a way to put a positive spin on the fact that they historically were undesirable or suspicious non-Orthodox, officially sektanti or heretics. There was no Russian passport nationality category of "Molokan" (or "Prygun", or "Maksimist", etc.) among the 120-150 official nationalities in use.(16, page 14.)

  6. Molokan-like (WRONG) — Anyone with imagined characteristics of a "Molokan" — any sectarian, (Dukhobortsy : spirit-wrestlers), Russian Quakers, Russian Mennonites, Stundists, Russian Baptists, Russian Presbyterians, heretics, vagrants, lazy workers, undesirable immigrants, wimps, pacifists, cowards, slackers, noisy jumpers, etc. These and similar definitions were used by writers and journalists using their artistic license to redefine or distort terms to suit their story. It is up to the reader to figure out what the author implied.

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Ty chey? (Ты чей?)

Ty chey is Russian for: Who are you? (and your parents, and uncles, and grandparents ... ?) This is a common greeting among Spiritual Christians from Russia in America. I was asked this by

The wide and long-term misuse of the words "malakan/ Molokan" produced broad-spectrum religious and political arguments about "who is a malakan or Molokan."

A liberal(18) use allows anyone, whether of descent from the Former Soviet Union or not, to mistakenly declare they are “malakan or Molokan” though they may be descended from a mixture of nationalities, intermarried, joined another faith, water baptized, atheist, served in the military, eat pork/or and oppose the faith of their ancestors. It's almost like saying: "On St. Patrick's day, everyone is Irish," or: "At the malakan/ Molokan Picnic, everyone is malakan/ Molokan." In other senses, the word is as confusing as American Indian, who are not from India, may be on 2 continents (North America, Asia), and comprise any of over 500 tribes (bands), each with their own dialect, land and customs. People from all walks of life and faiths dress up in refined Russian peasant clothes standardized in America, and parade as "Molokans" at a gathering, then go home, take off the clothes and transform back to their American, or Australian, national identity. The show is over. Similarly in Australia, many Dukh-i-zhizniki speak the English language with an American accent at home, and Australian accent among Aussies.

Many of the most zealous conservative(18) extreme users of the Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' only consider “their” (наши : nashi) people, or selected members of “their” congregation and closely affiliated congregations, who profess their own group-accepted beliefs, behaviors, and appearance, to be their mistaken version of "Molokan." Outsiders are forbidden, or bullied, no matter how they dress or talk, who their father is, even other Dukh-i-zhizniki.

Between these extreme population definitions, about 5000 households in the U.S.A. and Australia (~20,000 descendants, assuming 4 per household) were willing to be listed in an English language unpublished 1985 Молокан Directory, though more than half were neither practicing Dukh-i-zhizniki nor Molokane by faith. People falsely affiliated with the "malakan / Molokan" label should be several times larger than that estimate, in the year 2000, perhaps 60,000+. For the current relative populations in the Former Soviet Union, multiply by at least 10 up to 100 times (1-2 orders of magnitude).

Because zealots protested that ne nashi (outsiders) were listed in the mis-titled 1980 Молокан Directory, in the mid-1980s, an unreported census tally of American congregants was attempted by William Alex Federoff, editor of the U.M.C.A. newsletter for 30 years with his sons. He was the only person who sent me a letter stating he did not want his name or family listed in the 1980 Directory. He gave no reason, but when the book was first distributed at the grand opening of the Resident Center in Los Angeles, Federoff briefly confided in person that he wanted to be listed in the next edition. Within a year, to satisfy zealots and himself, Federoff proposed that the next directory should only list nashi, Dukh-i-zhiznik congregation members in good standing, not anyone who wanted to be listed, especially those unclean (nichistye : нечистые) people who married out, eat pork, joined other faiths, served in the military, etc. He requested membership lists from all congregations, probably to print his own directory, was rejected by many congregations and the project was halted.

When I asked my father, the presbyter in Arizona, for his list of paid members, I learned that only a few of the many adherents (attenders) ever paid annual dues, because the most zealous majority officially claimed that they, by their tradition, did not believe in "membership" or worldly lists. Maybe they just did not want to donate, as many did not pay their CPS fees during WWII; while they invoked their family tradition by stating that the Book of Life is a spiritual list known only to God. Due to competing temporal and spiritual fears that government will intervene among the variety of Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths, it is probably impossible to ever systematically collect a census list, hence all population counts are somewhat educated guesses.

Return to Ararat versus Cherbak's Russian University ->
Molodoi sobranie
versus YRCAers ->  UMCA zealots versus Heritage Club -> nash directory versus ne nash directory

The Southern California

The molodoi sobranie (youth meeting, "Young Peoples Church") was initiated 

During the 2000s in Southern California the most zealous congregations, led by the Novaya Romanovka congregation (former Freeway sobranie), purged the Hacienda Heights U.M.C.A. of clubs, youth socials, closed the Heritage Room and sold most of the extensive library collection. In 2017 two new competitive directories were published, one by the nashi, now spiritually clean U.M.C.A., and one by the ne nashi, the Heritage Club. This social division began in 1940s with the formation of the Y.R.C.A. (Young Russian Christian Association) in 1938 on Mott Street in Karakala, opposed by the molodoi sobranie (youth meeting), in the Utah-Clarence street alley at Zegrap sobranie.

implicit associations between ingroup/outgroup

Many YRCAers, initially led by BIOLA graduates William John Samarin and Alex Patapoff, were invited in the 1940s, when Samarin's father was U.M.C.A. president, to organize a Sunday school. Soon Samarin married out, and became a Brethren missionary in Africa, leaving his buddy Patapoff in charge. The U.M.C.A. grew for over 20 years, into the 1960s, to become the 3rd largest Sunday School in California and 10th in the nation.(80

During this time the most zealous Dukh-i-zhinik families forbid their children from ever stepping onto the grounds of the UMCA, due to a prophesy that the "Devil danced on the roof" of the U.M.C.A. I suggest that this prophesy about a devil was probably inspired by the UMCA neon sign, above the entry at the roof, lit at night in a dark ally.

A tipping point occurred in the 1980s due, in my opinion, to the Heritage Club giving away scholarships with no requirement of support for the UMCA or any community service.

Several of the former YRCAers believe that "agape love gifts" must have no strings attached.  

Many YRCAers enhanced the UMCA then began to retire to the Heritage Club, leaving the UMCA too weak to fight off the zealots and their descendants who were self-forbidden were indoctrinated in the Russian

Molokane and Pryguny in the Former Soviet Union have no trouble listing members, keeping log books, and some post a membership roster on their assembly wall. Many Dukh-i-zhzinik congregations now keep a private (secret) membership roster to contact members, and a donation ledger to maintain their non-profit legal status to avoid taxes.

^ Contents ^


"Can you be malakan (Molokan) and Christian at the same time?"

This seemingly silly and ironic question was discovered in the early 1970s by Mike M. Podsakoff, Fresno, while attending the U.M.C.A. summer camp at Hume Lake, Fresno County, in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. Podsakoff grew up in Fresno, and moved to Los Angeles when he got an athletic scholarship to play basketball. He was hired to be Athletic Director of the L.A.-U.M.C.A. (Gage Ave.) where I first met him in the late 1960s.

In the early 1970s, the L.A.-U.M.C.A. added more classrooms and the very popular club attendance nearly stopped during construction. To boost attendance for eligible singles, about 1974 Podsakoff founded what became the "Our Gang" singles club, for which I did most of the promotion. The club was such a success, that I was hired to be U.M.C.A. Athletic Director, and Podsakoff was appointed to the Recreation Committee with Willie Steve Evseff (Alhambra CA) as chairman, and Jay Kalpakoff (Huntington Beach). We worked well together.

During that time, Podsakoff told me about what appeared to be a paradox. He recently discovered a question that always immediately divided people, in Kerman or in Los Angeles, young or old, into 2 opposing groups. Half answer yes, half opposed, and they debated. He said it was hilarious to watch because each time he got the same results — divide and debate — which did not make sense.

Podsakoff's instructions:

  1. Walk up to any U.M.C.A group already in a conversation (standing in a parking lot, sitting at a picnic table or at summer camp; at a wedding meal; at someone's house; anywhere) and interrupt them with this question:
  2. "Can you be Molokan and Christian at the same time?" — Then stand back and watch, or slowly walk away.
  3. The group will immediately divide into pro and con sides, and debate, even continuing after you left. They never ask what you mean by the question, or your opinion. Each person in the group immediately had their own opinion and voiced it.

This paradox proved to be a fascinating repeatable experiment revealing social polarization. We performed the experiment several times in Los Angeles. Each test confirmed Mike's previous observations. Whatever the group was talking about stops, they divided into "for" and "against" Molokans being Christians, and discussed their differences, often passionately, as we backed away grinning. An extra irony is that none of these people in Southern California were Molokane.

How could they always disagree about being Christian, and why? About 50 years ago Podsakoff proved this social polarization existed, but could not explain it. I basically understood the division, had no vocabulary to explain it, and did not further investigate because I did not know how. Today, I can explain this paradox. 

Podsakoff found a litmus-test in which the Dukh-i-zhiznik population immediately self-classified into 2 groups — (1) practicing (religious), and (2) social-cultural (secular). Which group was correct? They both were. Each had different polar points of view on many dimensions. For dimension examples, see Variety of Dukh-i-zhizniki.

The "Podsakoff paradox" can easily be explained using this Taxonomy.

  • Conservative, practicing, fundamental Dukh-i-zhizniki are more ethnocentric and indoctrinated with the "new ritual" (novie obriad') of their prophet M. G. Rudomyotkin and the Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn'. Most avoid higher education, typically believe that they are a chosen few true Christians among "666 false faiths" described by Rudomyotkin. Most demand that their kids marry "ours" (nashi). They teach to be "in the Dukh-i-zhiznik world, but not of the world."

  • Liberal, social-cultural, secular Dukh-i-zhizniki, mostly endorse higher education, have a broad exposure to American Protestantism from media, education, assimilated(19) relatives, ne nash friends, YRCA, Heritage Club, etc. Many of these descendants grew up among assimilated Dukh-i-zhizniki and have experienced that Dukh-i-zhizniki are not typical American Protestant Christians, and some suspect that the most fanatical Dukh-i-zhizniki are probably non-Christian sects or cults. They occasionally enjoy the culture and fellowship of old like-minded friends, food, and cultural reminders of their roots in Old Russia, and memories of the Flats (Boyle Heights). Many do not demand that their kids marry nashi, more often preferring they abandon their confusing ancestral faiths and assimilate with prosperous American Christians. Many are in and of the secular pluralistic Christian world.

Both polar kinds mixed at the L.A.-U.M.C.A. in the 1970s in approximately equal numbers. The most assimilated stopped attending the U.M.C.A. a generation ago.

The 2 groups (social and practicing) did not clash much because before the 1980s the U.M.C.A.s in Los Angeles and Kerman were self-forbidden ground for the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki. The social-secular Christian faction, many of them Y.R.C.A.-ers ("Jack Greeners"), dominated as teachers in Los Angeles since 1938. There were some who could straddled both realms, like the late "Little Al" Shubin, but in limited scope.

During the 1970s, Mike Podsakoff, like many, was bothered by the lack of Christian behavior at the U.M.C.A.s and among most of their "Mother churches." Many who grew up among Dukh-i-zhizniki and gave years of service at the U.M.C.A.s were attacked for being "too American Christian." At least one was ostracized, many were verbally attacked, and many voluntarily left to join "American" churches which have credentialed pastors and professionally managed service organizations.

If tried in San Francisco, the Podsakoff Paradox could not be duplicated. Real Molokane would not divide and debate. Those asked would probably all stare at the person asking the silly non-sense question, and/or say: "Of course we are all Christians;" and, probably give the questioner a lesson in Christianity.

Podsakoff also summarized the amateurish management of our Dukh-i-zhiznik communities with honest humor.

"Oh, you say you have a toothache? Let's go see dyad' Ivan in Montebello. He is a really qualified smart elder with the longest and biggest beard. He sings and jumps a lot. He is a head front row elder on Sundays, and drives a rubbish truck on weekdays. But, on Saturdays he does dentistry on his back porch. He'll fix your teeth real good and cheap. Let's go see him this week to get your teeth fixed, and drink chai."

^ Contents ^

Zealots feared the Gage Ave L.A.-U.M.C.A.

Before 1980, the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki never entered the L.A.-U.M.C.A. grounds (Gage Ave, East Los Angeles) because of their prophecy that the "devil danced on the roof." Children of the zealots would gather on Eastern Avenue, across from the west U.M.C.A. parking lot entrance on Gage Ave, to socialize among themselves while not disobeying their parents' orders to not step inside the fence. Drinking vegetarian* beer and wine was common, evidenced by the many bottles left on the curbs and thrown in the parking lot. I helped U.M.C.A. President Paul Zolnekoff fill half a large 30-gallon trash container with bottles and cans one summer after Wednesday Chai Night.** Every few months a car radio/stereo was stolen, a car antennae broken, marijuana and/or cigarettes smoked, and used condoms discarded. A few guys with hot-rods (fast cars) would peel out or burn rubber on the street, rather than go inside. Once I witnessed tire smoke fill the assembly hall from Jack "Yashka" Kalpakoff's car, from Kerman.

 * Yes, hee-hee, a joke. A few of the most zealous elders were vegetarians, which is why meatless (postni) dishes are served at large meals (holidays, weddings, funerals, christenings).
** To promote attendance for the youth "Wednesday Night" meeting, tea and pastries were served, sometimes ice cream, and elders from U.M.C.A.-friendly congregations were invited to speak. These chai nights typically attracted huge crowds, 100+ youth, and up to 200 in the summer.

Whenever a Dukh-i-zhiznik zealot would accuse the L.A.-U.M.C.A. of indoctrination (being a "church" or teaching American Christianity), it was denied; and the timing of L.A.-U.M.C.A. services did not dare overlap with Dukh-i-zhiznik congregational services. The L.A.-U.M.C.A. ended Sunday School just in time for families to attend their "mother churches."* Most parents dropped their kids off, and some would have breakfast at a cafe while waiting. I've been told by several L.A.-U.M.C.A. officers that about half the families that frequented the L.A.-U.M.C.A., only attended the L.A.-U.M.C.A. and went home afterward, while the "practicing" half of Dukh-i-zhizniki took their kids to their "mother" sobrania, to which they paid dues. A few also attended American churches on many Sundays to hear sermons in English, and/or listened to sermons on TV and/or radio. Though the most zealous branches of Dukh-i-zhizniki historically objected to the U.M.C.A. komitet, they were politically placated by offers to join the Religious Committee, which was said to remotely control the organization via participation of recognized elders, most seated at altar tables (prestol) in a "mother church."

* The "mother church" term may have been retained from the Bethlehem Institutes' use of that term for it's main building on Vignes street.

The religious-political balance shifted when the L.A.-U.M.C.A. (Gage Ave) was sold (mainly due to fear of Mexicans*) to purchase the current H.H.-U.M.C.A. (Stimson Ave, Hacienda Heights) in a White area (72) in their axial eastern sector, radiating closer to the new neighborhoods of the 3rd and 4th generation in eastern Los Angeles County. Families who moved south of Los Angeles were confronted in the 1970s with neighborhood integration facilitated by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (sections 8 and 109) by which people of color began moving into their white suburbs, resulting in a White-flight within Los Angeles County, and to Orange County and Oregon.

* In the late 1970s, I heard several long-time members of the L.A.-U.M.C.A. Womens' Ancillary say that they would no longer attend the organization due to "fear of Mexicans." For several years local Hispanic-Latin youth had been vandalizing the property and cars in the gated parking lot. During the summer of 1974, when I was the Youth Recreation Director for 6 months, I witnessed several attacks. Their flight to refuge in the White suburbs accelerated assimilation of the next generation.

  • While I was painting the rolling bleachers outside in preparation for the U.S.C.C. Doukhobor Union of Youth Choir from British Columbia, a kid shot BBs at me, all missing but close. He ran when I pretended to chase him. I reported to police, who increased their surveillance.
  • Hinges were damaged on a locked shipping container keep during construction to store stuff. I think Al Eagles brought his welding truck and spot welded the hinges and a larger lock was used.        
  • The upstairs rooms were entered through the drywall ceiling by a small kid who climbed up the long water drain pipe that ran from the top roof to the ground on the west-center corner of the building. He got into the attic through a small access door on the east-side that was secured with a tiny lock that could be seen from Gage Ave. There was little to take in the school rooms, but the kids showed how persistent they can be.
  • During several showers eggs and rocks were thrown over the fence at parked cars. Then people had to stand guard in the parking lot during events, especially at night.  

In the 1980s, the more zealous practicing Dukh-i-zhizniki who wanted an exclusive private school for their assimilating grandchildren, began forcing their more civil social (secular) brethren away (as many joined the new Heritage Club) from the H.H.-U.M.C.A to dominate the property, and eventually purged their newly acquired territory and grammar school of perceived heretics. A series of intense purge attacks occurred to assure that the "Jack Greeners" (Heritage Club) and anyone who supported, or appeared to support, the new "Re-Formed" (Prygun) movement in Oregon, would stay away, or be secondary guests, to their new social order within the property. The new H.H.-U.M.C.A. became nearly a totally "spiritually clean" place, void of a "devil dancing on the roof," and Dukh-i-zhiznik zealots could appear with little or no stigma. Sunday School attendance dropped by 90% from its peak in the 1960s. Clubs and Hume Lake camps were banned. Youth were now required to wear kosovorotki (boys) and kosinki (girls) as as Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan Elementary School (D.M.E.S.) and chulok molodoi sobranie ("Young Church", youth assembly, young peoples meeting) continued, mostly replacing the former activities of the traditional Sunday School and "Wednesday Night Church."

Here's testimony from a fellow who grew up in a mixed marriage, and was persecuted by American Dukh-i-zhizniki for being ne nash and at school for being Russian. He questions the hypocrisy of his father's heritage faith, and abusive Christians anywhere. Between two worlds and outside both, by Rasputin's love child, (7/22/2009), 42 comments. (Backup copy.) Such abuses are more common than he knows.


The mistaken use of the term "Molokan" for an ethnic group or nationality must stop and be restored to the original term (dukhovnye khristiane, Spiritual Christian), or the pejorative category term used by the Russian Orthodox Church (sektanti, sectarian). The Russian word Molokan should only refer to members of the registered faith. Since 1980 real Molokane are not allowed to join the H.H.-U.M.C.A.

^ Contents ^

5. Three Faiths Today

This is a summary and review to facilitate identifying major factors of 3 of the Spiritual Christians faiths — Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki. For more detail, see 11. Classification below.
  1. Molokane is Russian for the heresy “dairy-eaters,” named by Russian Orthodox Church (R.O.C.). These dissenters actually refused to fast, and could have been called "non fasters." The Russian word molokane (молокане) derives from the root word molochniye, moloko (dairy, milk products). The heresy was first named in the 1760s in central Russia. The word has a secondary meaning of sucker, a nursing infant completely dependent on its mother, immature; and this double meaning (pun) could explain why the hostile term was chosen, to insult the people as nursing (immature) babies in their faith. Today their main international organization is a registered religion, the Souiz dukhovnykh khristiane — molokan (S.D.K.M.) Союз духовных христиан — молокан (С.Д.К.М.) in English: “Union of Spiritual Christian Molokans” (U.S.C.M.), website: сдхм.рф. The current organization was founded in Moscow in 1990, and transferred about 1994 to Kochubeevskoe, Stavropol' territory, Russian Federation. The only Molokan congregation in the U.S. is in San Francisco, and a semi-active congregation is near Sheridan, north of Sacramento CA; and both are members of the Russian organization. After the 1917 Russian Revolution, a Molokan congregation of refugees existed in Harbin, China; and some of those migrated to Australia, where from about 1940 to 1960 there was a Molokan congregation in Sydney, Australia.(81)

  2. Pryguny is Russian for the R.O.C. heresy “leapers, jumpers” (from Russian: prygat', прыгать = “to jump”). Some groups in north Russia were called skakuny (скакуны, leapers) and by other labels. The Prygun faiths in Russia perhaps partially organized in Central Russia due to  contact with religious enthusiasm of German faiths along the Volga River, then further coalesced in the 1830s in south Ukraine with many mixed immigrant sectarians who were further influenced by neighboring German Protestants, particularly Heufers (Russian: Gyupfers ; Springers, Jumpers). The heresy label of Pryguny was not recorded before about 1856 (per Breyfogle oral statement), though similar beliefs and charismatic jumping existed for centuries in many cultures around the world. In 1865 artist Vereschagin visited "Leapers" in the Caucasus and was among the first to personally document them, and sketch a prophet-presviter. Since no centralized Prygun organization exists, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union some congregations in Russia joined the S.D.K.M. to gain registered status. In North America, at least 4 Prygun congregations remained active into the 1950s (Arizona Selimski to 1947, San Francisco "Holy Jumpers," Mexico (Guadalupe and San Antonio), and immigrants from Persia/Iran in Los Angeles (1950-60). The U.M.C.A. youth organization in Los Angeles followed the Prygun holidays, including holding Rozhestvo (Birth of Christ on January 7, and/or Christmas on Decembr 25) services, until stopped by Dukh-i-zhizniki. Concurrently a new (4th) congregation of Prygun immigrants from Iran (called "Persians") who established in 1950 in East Los Angeles were forced to transform to a Dukh-i-zhiznik faith by the end of the decade. In Los Angeles in 1932, 3 Prygun congregations combined to form Big Church, which was opposed for decades by zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki; officially because the new united congregation had an elected board of directors (komitet, комитет); unofficially, because many Big Church founders and members, though they allowed the Dukh-i-zhiznik religious texts to be placed on their altar table, remained in personal belief Molokane, Pryguny or were of various other faiths and affiliations (like Y.R.C.A.) for which they were shunned, bullied and/or hated by the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki.

  3. Dukh-i-zhizniki is Russian for “people who use the book Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn', in short: Dukh i zhizn'. Dukh-i-zhizniki are much more diverse than the previous two faiths, hence are new religious movements, organized into many small tribes or brotherhoods, that retain traits from many former faiths transferred to new versions of a faith dependent on new religious texts. In the later 1800s, precursors of this cluster of faiths emerged among Pryguny and attracted membership from other sects and nationalities beginning in Erevan guberniia (now Armenia). One leader/presbyter (presviter) of a congregation of Pryguny was Maksim Gavarilovich Rudomyotkin (M.G.R.) (1818~1877), who became a mystical martyr while imprisoned from 1858 to his (alledged) death in 1877. He rejected all other Prygun and Spiritual Christian faiths, creating his own rituals and theology. His notes and liturgy, written while he worked as a scribe in exile, provided the main body of text for ritual books assembled in America. While in seminary jail, Rudomyotkin knew co-prisoner Nikolai Ilyin, founder-leader of Yehowists who published his own religious texts which replace the Bible for Ilyin's followers.

    In the early 1900s, immigrants to America, who revered M.G.R. like a Saint, formalized his “new ritual” by publishing a variety of edited censored documents through 4 to 7 revisions (per oral history) until a final version was published in 1928, undoubtedly with the guidance of Professor Young. The first published version titled Dukh i zhizn' had a soft leather cover, and was similar in appearance to a Bible. The Final 1928 version was titled Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life), for worship as a sacred 3rd Testament, placed next to their Old Russian Bible on their altar tables along with new song and prayer books. Some believed this book replaced the New Testament, and some wanted it to replace the entire Bible. In the 1930s, edited copies of this book were exported to coreligionists in the Former Soviet Union and Türkiye, where it was accepted by Maksimist Sionist, and Noviy israil' congregations, but did not unify them. Conflicting interpretation of the new ritual book caused divisions among users around the world. These are the only new religious movements in the world which exclusively use these ritual books. Most Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations and organizations misuse Molokan (malakan?) in their title, and often state their membership is limited to Pryguny or Jumpers, while rejecting these precursor faiths along with all other Spiritual christian faiths, and instruct their members to not attend services of the Molokane, Pryguny, Subbotniki or any another other "false faith." Some ban attending other Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations for a variety of reasons (below). Rules for acceptance of guests and members vary widely by congregation, elders within a congregation, location and time.

Less than 1% of Molokane have ever witnessed charismatic religious jumping, and fewer have seen or even read any part of the book:Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn'. If allowed to attend a Dukh-i-zhiznik service, Molokane are often intimidated, sometimes disgusted, by zealous Dukh-i-zhiznik spiritual jumping, raising hands, shouting, forced jumping, prophesy, verbal bullying, using non-Biblical ritual books, and singing songs from other faiths, and non-Biblical songs with Russian and American folk-melodies. In contrast, those accustomed to the fast shout-singing, jumping, prophesies, and mystical theatrics of Dukh-i-zhizniki, are typically bored among reserved Molokane limited to the Bible and slow singing with no physical aerobics or spiritual and mystical outbursts. These are very different faiths and cultures. Unfortunately one pretends to be the other, fooling themselves and outsiders.

In Summer 1992, a 30-year anniversary of the 1962 resettlement of Old Ritualists and Spiritual Christians from Kars Turkey (now Türkiye) to Stavropol territory, was celebrated in the town of Novokumskoe. Local government funded the event which was covered on local TV news. Two simultaneous separate outdoor meetings were held for the old-Orthodox and non-Orthodox. The old-Orthodox (Nekrasov) held open services, a parade, and performed religious and folk songs and dances in colorful dress. Spiritual Christian Dukh-i-zhizniki from Türkiye dominated the non-Orthodox meeting and meal, with no parade or performances. All Molokane in Russia were invited. When the newly elected senior Molokan presbyter, T.V. Shchetinkin, arrived from Kochubeevskoe, he was not recognized any more important than a common "guest" and seated in the third row. Years later, after studying the Dukh i zhizn', and meeting others who opposed Molokane while insisting that they were the true Molokane, Shchetinkin declared that they are not Molokane, but he had no label for their faiths. Now you have an accurate label: Dukh-i-zhizniki.

6. New Label : Dukh-i-zhizniki

In 2007 a new and unique label using the popular short title of the religious text Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' Dukh i zhizn' was created (coined, minted) Dukh-i-zhizniki.  Translated from Russian it naturally means "people who use the Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life." or "users of the Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life". 

The major advantage of this precise term is that it cannot be confused with any other family of faiths in the world that do not use this religious text. It's a descriptive term, somewhat similar to saying in English that "Mormons" use the Book of Mormon.

Readers not familiar with the Russian pronunciation can practice on these rough transliterations:
  • singular — dookh-ee-zheez-NEEK — Dukh-i-zhiznik
  • plural — dookh-ee-zheez-NEE-KEE — Dukh-i-zhiznik
In Russian this label makes the most sense compared to the many different inconsistent ways that users of the text have been labeled previously by outsiders and themselves. People who use the Dukh i zhizn' are Dukh-i-zhizniki. In Russian, it is clear, simple, exact, and unique.

The Slavic suffix -nik, is common in Russian, and should be familiar to many readers. For examples: 
  • chainiki (teapots) precisely describes the utensils/pots in which we make chai (tea)
  • musorniki (trash cans) from musop (trash), meaning the thing you put rash in 
  • Subbotniki are "Saturday people". Subbota is Saturday in Russian. See
  • raskolniki identifies people who split (raskol) from the Orthodox Church in the mid-1600s
  • sputnik, the first Russian Satellite, is compounded from s- (with) + put' (way, path) and -nik, creating a term meaning "something with me along the way", a companion (to earth).
In addition to wide use in Slavic languages, there are at least 26 English terms suffixed with -nikbeatnik, peacenik, warnik, refusenik, etc.

I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I did not think of using this obvious suffix for this taxonomy. For two years, since 2005, I periodically asked my Russian-born Molokan wife Tanya(105), and a few Russian-born friends of ours here in Arizona who help me with translations, to suggest a Russian word for these faiths that they knew very little about, but relied on Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn'. One day in 2007, after a moment of inspiration, Tanya said: Dukh-i-zhizniki. It was the perfect Russian word. Ни чево себе! 

How appropriate, and embarrassingly simple, to create a new word in order to describe newly invented faiths based on a book title. After thinking about it for a week she said it must have hyphens to not be confused with other Russian terms. This word was so obvious and exact. Why didn't I, or anyone else, think of it before? Maybe because I am not a native Russian speaker. But, I knew many Russian and English words with the "-nik" suffix. The more I said it and thought about it, the more I liked it. That's applied linguistics in action.

The word was field tested in Russia. In the Summer of 2007, all Spiritual Christians that I interviewed in Russia accepted the new term when presented with a list of all Spiritual Christian congregations in the world, including their congregaton. Congregations that used the Dukh i zhizn' did not chose the identity labels molokan, prygun or dukhobnie, subbotnik, or sukhoi baptist from a list of congregations in Russia. No one said that they they preferred to be called something else, like “our people” (Russian: nashi : наши) or “believers [in the Dukh i zhizn']” (veruschy : верушы). And, congregations that did not use the Dukh i zhizn' did not identify with a book that they never saw or used. It was clear to me that this was the most exact word, easily understood by all Spiritual Chrstians groups of all faiths that I could contact.

The major problem with Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations was how to separate them when many are divided in one village or town. Like in America and Australia, they often use several nicknames to distinguish their group from neighboring congregations, or the congregation that they split from. Many Dukh-i-zhizniki treat other Dukh-i-zhizniki as separate heretic faiths. During my extensive travels, I only encountered 3 zealous congregations, all in Stavropol'skii krai that shun all but members of their own congregation. Two would not let me talk to them. In America several congregations behave with similar exclusivity.


The inside-outside (us-them) distinction is typical among many peoples around the world. For one example, members of a native North American tribe used the autonym Nēhilawē ("those who speak our language") to identify themselves, but among outsiders they used the white man's label: "Cree." In Arizona, what outsiders call Navajo Indians, members call themselves diné "people of the earth" and "man."

When no Molokane are nearby, Dukh-i-zhizniki tell outsiders they are Molokane. Other terms used by journalists include "Old Believers", “extremist” and “maximalist.” Some call themselves Maksimisty (Russian for “followers of Maksim (Rudomyotkin)"), but not all Dukh-i-zhizniki are Maksimisty, and many despise that term. Some call themselves Davidisty, Noviy israil', and/or Sionisty. All alternate labels were rejected in 2007 in Stavropol province, Russia, in favor of their common identity with their religious text, called in short the Dukh i zhizn', hence: Dukh-i-zhizniki.

In the U.S. and Australia the term Dukh-i-zhizniki is new, strange and too exact for those who were indoctrinated since kids to hide from the worldly pork-eating non-believers. For these and other reasons, which they are afraid to reveal or cannot explain, many naive Dukh-i-zhizniki will probably continue to falsely mislabel their faith and institutions as “Molokan,” or “True Molokan,” though history shows that they are not and never were Molokane by faith. Most will continue to say my/our “Molokan faith/religion" unless probed to reveal their actual secret faith, as was done with John K. Berokoff by Dr. Pepricorn in 1968.

It may take a generation or more to establish this accurate term : Dukh-i-zhiznik. The irony is they claim they want religious freedom, but only to be freely dishonest with their identity, and/or to deny or insult the freedom of others. No elder of a congregation is brave enough yet to openly discuss this error, or change their congregation and organization titles or descriptions. Most in the West are blocked with fear and shame, which causes some to be angry that they have been involuntarily outed with an accurate label because they lack confidence of being accepted as a "normal" Protestant faith, given all the facts.

These three religions (Molokan, Prygun, Dukh-i-zhiznik) have a common origin with other folk-protestants from Russia — Anabaptists, Russian sectarians, Spiritual Christians; iconobortsy (iconoclasts) —, they all use the Russian Bible with Apocrypha; and pray, sing, and read in Russian; dress or appear somewhat  similar; but their history, holidays, rituals, liturgy, services, songs, and openness vary significantly and separate them into distinctly different faiths. Members within and between congregations today may be relatives, neighbors, friendly or unfriendly, intermarried, yet differ in behavior and belief, sometimes hostile and/or secretive. If a marriage is allowed between members of these denominations (or an outsider), one usually must convert to the faith of the congregation performing the wedding, then tolerate scrutiny, or abandon their heritage faiths. During the past century, most chose to entirely or partially abandon their heritage faith(s), mostly due to the confusions explained here.

7. Analogies

1. Cars,
2. Fruit,
3. Middle Asia,
4. Jews,
5. Mennonites,
6. Romani people,    
  7. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,
  8. Pancakes,
  9. Pizza,
10. Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations,
11. Indigenous peoples,
12. Defining "cancer"

This section is for Dukh-i-zhiznik readers indoctrinated with the wrong terms, or convinced that whatever their grandfather or elders said, must be correct, without question. Scholars and journalists also take heed. A comparison of several classification systems below illustrates how honestly choosing a simple descriptive method and words greatly aids understanding which group is which. As Christians you must decide for yourself how deceptive you want to be with the identity of your faith(s). In other words, as a Christian you must decide how much you want to lie. The same goes for scholars, journalists, and all other faiths.

1. Cars — To argue ownership of the brand-hijacked label "Molokan," some Dukh-i-zhizniki boast that they are the newest model of Molokane, like a modern car compared to an antique. Some say they are the "True Molokans." They omit, or forget, or did not know that their religious predecessors were from many different faiths, tribes and nationalities, and should claim to be improved, newer, or different versions of non-Molokan faiths. Anyway, they say the Molokane are like the Ford Model-T (1908-1927) that never modernized — steadfast, unchanged, original. But what happened to the Model-T? In 1928 Ford Corporation upgraded to Model -A, and competitor Chevrolet emerged as a separate company (faith) with faster cars (like Pryguny) which used Buick parts (borrowing from other faiths), produced many newer models with automatic transmissions (Malibu, Impala, Camaro, Corvette, Tahoe, Suburban, ... like Maksimisty, Sionisty, etc.) which are like the many divided faiths among the new religious movements of Dukh-i-zhizniki. We recognize these as “cars” (Spiritual Christians) but each model is different in parts, shape, performance, and attracts different buyers (members). Why don't people who own Corvettes call them Model-T's because they are the newest most modern version? Why aren't all cars called Model-T's? Why can't you just get one car part to fit all cars? This sounds silly, but Dukh-i-zhizniki still call themselves the antique term Molokane, which they never were, nor were most of their ancestors, while hiding their actual original terms (Davidisty, Noviy israil', Pryguny, Sionisty, Khlysty, ...) Why don't they call themselves by earlier labels before Molokan : Dukhobortsy, Iconobors, Orthodox, Bogomils, etc? Why didn't they choose their own new and improved name?

2. Fruit What if all "fruit" was locally called apples, and each tribe in the world only had one kind of fruit which they called "apple" because it was the only word they had, or knew, for fruit? They did not know the word "fruit." In the tropics a tribe had long curved yellow apples (bananas). In Hawaii their apples were huge grown on spiny bushes (pineapples). In the Republic of Georgia their apples are thin skinned and orange (tangerines). In central Russia their apples are green (simirenko). Each tribe did not know about the others and only one word was needed as long as they remained isolated in their regional village, and did not travel or see imported fruit. But in the large import market in Europe, where fruit is sold from around the world, each fruit needed a different name to tell them apart. If the tribes refused to learn the international terms, they had problems communicating and trading. If they wanted a banana or grape, they would have to describe which kind the long yellow curved apple, or the small round juicy apples in a bunch. When describing fruit, this seems silly, but it is the way most Dukh-i-zhizniki want to be.

This above reminded me of how people who spoke a pidgin English first described what you call a piano. I found a book published in 2017 (100) that cited 10 various examples of how people who never saw a piano named it in their own language.
  • This fella box you fight 'm he sing-out-out
  • big fellow box spose whiteman fight him he cry too much
  • big fellow box, white fellow master fight him olenty toomuch, he cry
  • Masta i-faitim tit bilong bakis. Godanmn! I save kraisut.
    (The master hit the teeth of the boc, By heck, it could cry out.)
  • box belong cry (shortest phrase)
  • plus 5 more examples used to 1969.

3. Middle Asia — "Middle Asia should not be confused with the Central Asia or Inner Asia." The maps show that different definitions include or exclude vast areas of Asia depending on who is writing and when (Russian Empire, Soviet Union, United Nations, Islamic tribe, professor, etc.) and their topic (ethnicity, geography, religion, language, history, climate, politics). The various terms from different languages describing this territory have vastly different overlapping meanings. Which name is correct? All are correct to the writers, but the readers can easily be misled if they do not know what area was actually intended by each writer, expecially when no map is provided. When Maksim G. Rudomyotkin wrote about Tika (his "land of refuge"), he most likely referred to the area which was originally generally called "place of the Turkic people's" or "Land of the Turks" («Туркестан», Turkestan). The Persian name is Turan: "the land of the Tur." In general it meant land East of the Volga. As more knowledge was documented and dispersed in maps and books, and people were educated, it should be easier to specify this area. Yet, many mistakes are easily made unless a map is provided.

4. Jews — 1000s of books and articles have been published debating "Who is a Jew?" Dukh-i-zhizniki consider themselves somewhat Jewish, eating kosher-like, sharing somewhat similar Old Testament holidays. Changing the word "Jew" in the introductory text of Who is a Jew? (edited in, see archived text) to "(ethnic) Molokan" produces a broad awkward statement no more definitive of "ethnic Molokans" than for ethnic Jews:

Who is an ethnic Molokan Jew is a basic question about Molokan Jewish identity and considerations of ethnic Molokan Jewish self-identification. The question is based in ideas about ethnic Molokan Jewish person-hood which themselves have cultural, religious, genealogical, and personal dimensions. … The definition of who is an ethnic Molokan Jew varies according to whether it is being considered by Molokans Jews based on normative religious statutes, self-identification, or by non-ethnic-Molokans-Jews for other reasons. Because ethnic Molokan Jewish identity can include characteristics of an ethnicity, a religion, … the definition of who is an ethnic Molokan Jew has varied, depending on whether a religious, sociological, or ethnic aspect was being considered. … The issue has given rise to legal controversy, … There have been court cases … which have had to address the question.

Curiously, substituting a few words in the description of ultra-Orthodox Haredi, a fair description for Dukh-i-zhizniki is generated:
Dukh-i-zhizniki are Haredi Judaism is not an institutionally cohesive or homogeneous group, but comprises a diversity of spiritual and cultural orientations, generally divided into a broad range of Dukh-i-zhiznik Hasidic sects, ... These groups often differ significantly from one another in their specific ideologies and lifestyles, as well as the degree of stringency in religious practice, rigidity of religious philosophy and isolation from the general culture that they maintain.

Haredim are currently primarily located in Southern and Central California; Australia; Stavropolskii krai, Russian Federation; and Armenia Israel, North America and Western Europe.

Dukh-i-zhizniki differ from Haredi in that owning a prosperous business is a socio-religious status being blessed with wealth. (Israel Prods Ultra-Orthodox to ‘Share Burden’, New York Times, June 6, 2013)

5. Mennonites — "Mennonite" is also misused, and almost a useless term because there are more than 60 varieties. Let's pretend we know which variety is meant. By changing the word "Mennonite" to "ethnic Molokan," changing "church" to "assembly," adding "informal affiliation" and decreasing the numbers in the summary text of Mennonite, Organization Worldwide (, another awkward definition results which gives the reader no better resolution than the original term: "Spiritual Christian."

The most basic unit of organization among ethnic Molokans Mennonites is the assembly. There are hundreds of ethnic Molokan assemblies Mennonite churches, many of which are separate from all others. Some assemblies churches are members of a conference, others are formally and informally affiliated. Some, but far from all, regional or area affiliations are associated with larger national or world affiliations. Thus, there is no single authorized organization that includes all ethnic Molokan assemblies Mennonite churches worldwide.

Instead, there is a host of separate assemblies churches along with a myriad of separate affiliations with no particular responsibility to any other group. Independent assemblies churches can contain as few as part of 1 family or more than a 1000 members. Similar size differences occur among separate affiliations. Worship, assembly discipline and lifestyles vary widely between progressive, moderate, conservative, Old Order and orthodox ethnic Molokans Mennonites in a vast panoply of distinct, independent, and widely dispersed classifications. For these reasons, no single group of ethnic Molokans Mennonites anywhere can credibly claim to represent, speak for, or lead all ethnic Molokans Mennonites worldwide.

An Anabaptist historian advises: “... it is meaningless to use the same term ‘Mennonite’ to describe differing spiritual traditions whose fundamental values were often in direct conflict with each other ... it will be necessary to use hyphenated terms.” (101) This Newspeak process (social control by language reduction) was coined by George Orwell in 1949 to describe a repressive society, characteristic of Dukh-i-zhizniki.

6. Romani people are not one tribe of "gypsies" but people who appear to have left India about 1500 years ago, now dispersed around the world speaking many languages, and divided into many types far removed from their origins. So which group is which?  

7. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
— Most outsiders call them "Mormon" not L.D.S. because they use the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Let's change Book of Mormon to Dukh i zhizn' and see if that analogous definition makes sense:

The Word of God

Missionaries are not handing out copies of the Dukh i zhizn' Book of Mormon all over the world, even as you read this. So what is this secret book? If it’s given out for free, why do so many
Dukh-i-zhizniki members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints count their Dukh i zhizn' Book of Mormon as one of their most valuable possessions? What kind of book can cause so many readers to change their lives, their minds and their hearts? What kind of book can answer life's seemingly unanswerable questions?

Dukh i zhizn' Book of Mormon is the word of God, like the Bible. It is Holy Scripture, with form and content similar to that of the Bible. Both books contain God's guidance as revealed to prophets as well as religious histories of different civilizations. While the Bible is written by and about the people in the land of Israel and surrounding areas, and takes place from the creation of the world until shortly after the death of Jesus Christ, the Dukh i zhizn' Book of Mormon contains the history and God’s dealings with the chosen people who lived in Erivan governate the Americas between approximately 1850 and 1877 600 BC and 400 AD, and their descendants [who faithfully wait for Rudomyotkin's return.] ...

Most Dukh-i-zhizniki would probably agree, though many disobeyed Maksim Rudomyotkin by leaving Armenia (Erivan governate), with the above text while insisting they have nothing to do with the false faith of L.D.S., or any of the 666 false faiths that Rudomyotkin warns them to avoid. In contrast with L.D.S., Spiritual Christians in/from Russia had no missionary program for the past 100 years, though their oral histories report that many converted up to that time. In America, there are several families of Dukh-i-zhizniki who joined the L.D.S. church and today call still themselves Molokans. In the mid-1970s, a widowed Mormon woman joined the L.A.-U.M.C.A. Ladies Auxiliary, was elected president and honored as "Mother of the Year" — Jean M. Popoff-Batchkoff (1922-1990).

8. Pancakes
— How can one explain and describe pancakes (olad'i), waffles (vafli), and crepes (bliny)? Are they three different things, three kinds of pancakes, or are they all the same single thing? Or, in secret, are they 3 types of bliny? The first is a breakfast dish, the others were designed to be desserts. Do they really need different words? Pancakes, olad'i, are the original version of a thin fried batter bread, flap-jacks. But original Russian olad'i are small and thick, and in America they are a different huge thinner pan-cake. The same batter ingredients can be modified, the form enhanced in a mold, cooked on both sides with impressions, and made thicker and more intricate, but it no longer looks or feels like a pancake even though the batter is nearly the same. Why are those called waffles, vafli, and not pancakes? Add a little milk, kefir, and/or buttermilk and the same batter can be cooked into very thin versions. Those are called crepes, bliny, with many varieties. Are these also pancakes, waffles or something else? Should bliny claim the title of pancake because they are the most varied — rolled, folded, stuffed with many fillings — and so sacred and fancy that they should not have a name? If they are all basically the same material, why not one name for all? If you called bliny waffles, or waffles pancakes, would you be telling the truth? In this sense, olad'i, vafli, and bliny, are as different as Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki.

pancakes, olad'i
waffles, vafli
crepes, bliny

What if you asked for blintsy with tvorog (dry cottage cheese), varenia (jam) and smetana (sour cream), but got oladiki instead? You'd probably get a similar reaction telling a Dukh-i-zhiznik that Pryguny and Molokane in America celebrate Christmas, or most American Jews do not eat kosher (koshur).

9. Pizza — To be fair to debaters, here's another classification example. Though similar to pancakes (round, flat food), pizza is named differently, as a class with sub-classes. If you ask for pizza, you need to specify schema and subschema — bought (fresh or frozen) or home made, brand name, size (small, medium, large, ...), thickness (thin, thick, ...), shape (round, pan), ingredients (many toppings) and style (deep pan, cheese in crust, pretzel crust, ...) — 1000s of possible combinations. Such a multi-variant classification system is useful among neighboring diverse Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations, each distinct from the others. In contrast Molokane and Pryguny do not vary much among congregations

10. Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations — Because Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations tend to be clustered but separate and fragmented, members identify them (somewhat like pizza above) with a combination description of location (state/province, city, district, street), original village, presbyter, former congregation and/or nickname.

In contrast, there are no cities/villages in the world with divided Molokan congregations (except Novokumskoe, Stavropol territory, R.F., after 2005), so they are simply identified by current location (state/province, city/village). The 3 remaining Molokan congregations in Tbilisi cover different regions of the metropolis and often co-meet.

To simplify the naming of Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations in Southern California in the 1970s, the persistent (postoyannie) editor of the U.M.C.A. newsletter, W. A. Federoff, announced his own new naming system — by street only. Federoff argued against what he considered vanity surnames (Buchnoff, Nazaroff, Mendrin, Samarin, Shubin, etc.), archaic village labels (Akhta, Melikoy, Romanovka, Prokhladnoye, etc.), all modifiers (Big, Old, New, Persian, 605, Blue Top), and would only use what he considered to be "neutral" street names. He enforced his new rule by only publishing his new labels in "his" newsletter. So what my babuniya (grandmother) Shubin called her Akhtinskii sobranie, and most called Samarin sobranie, Federoff re-nick-named "Percy street church," which is now called "Pioneer street church" after moving to Whittier from Boyle Heights. Bolshoe sobranie and "Big Church" became "Lorena street church." Now a generation later, most all Dukh-i-zhiznik youth are trained to use the current street nicknames for their "churches" and never learned they were actually meeting or prayer halls (assemblies) with historic village roots. The American street labels erased part of their semantic Spiritual Christian heritage from Russia, hence reducing identity with the Russian Empire and language, replacing Russian terms with local American geographic markers. Eric Arthur Blair would be proud.

I sincerely hope this Taxonomy will encourage historically misguided youth to restore Russian identity back to these mislabeled Spiritual Christian faiths in their generation. The zealots, of course, will resist proper nomenclature.

11. Indigenous peoples — In America the native peoples were mislabeled Indians because early explorers thought they arrived in India. In Australia the natives are called aborigines (Latin: from the original). Outsiders (ne nashi to natives) use these 2 simple words to refer to 100s of distinct cultures with different languages. The people among themselves have 100s of words to accurately identify their tribal/band members and other tribes/bands. With a little education anyone should learn to identify the few faiths of Spiritual Christians in North America and Australia.

12. Defining "cancer"— In March 2012, the National Cancer Institute met to evaluate the problem of “overdiagnosis.” Problems were identified and recommendations made to the National Cancer Institute for consideration and dissemination. On 29 July 2013 the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released 5 recommendations. The second suggestion was widely broadcast in the news:
Change cancer terminology based on companion diagnostics. Use of the term “cancer” should be reserved for describing lesions with a reasonable likelihood of lethal progression if left untreated. There are 2 opportunities for change. First, premalignant conditions ... should not be labeled as cancers ..., nor should the word “cancer” be in the name. Second, ... remove the word carcinoma.” ... revise the taxonomy of lesions now called cancer and to create reclassification criteria ... (Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Cancer: An Opportunity for Improvement, JAMA)
Science-health reporter Lisa Aliferis immediately summarized this news for KQED, PBS Northern California (Cutting Down on Cancer Overdiagnosis: National Panel Weighs In, The California Report: State of Health, 29 July 2013.) Her section sub-headings apply to this taxonomy as I illustrate here:

Reserve the word “cancer” for real cancers — Reserve the word “molokan” for real molokane
“We need a 21st century definition of cancer — “We need a 21st century definition of molokan
    (and Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki)

My wife Tanya, formerly a medical doctor in Russia, was surprised to hear that American medical staff call benign tumors "cancer." In Russia there is no such confusion caused by mislabeling tumors. Similarly in Old Russia, before immigration, the variety of Spiritual Christians accurately labeled themselves, until touring reporters, journalists, colonization agents and social scientists got involved. Though most were trying to help these peasants immigrate and assimilate(19) and/or make a commission for themselves, in the process they misunderstood and scrambled the identities of the immigrants, ignoring how the peasant defined themselves. Now the descendants of those immigrant peasants are still confused.


Many classification examples come to mind. Hopefully the above analogies will illustrate, to even the youngest and/or least educated readers, how choosing the right words can most accurately define these 3 different Spiritual Christian faiths. By following the KISS-principle, the classification system chosen is simple, so each Spiritual Christian religion has a unique one-word original descriptive Russian label, historically known around the world — Molokan(e), Prygun(y) and Dukh-i-zhiznik(i) — ; and all are part of a larger group called dukhovnye khristiane (духовные христиане : Spiritual Christians). These 5 words are all you need.

If the Dukh-i-zhizniki in Los Angeles county, who falsely call themselves Molokans, remain isolated in East Los Angeles county, never attend services in San Francisco or the  F.S.U., only rely on the Dukh i zhizn' and oral tales for history, they can easily believe they are whatever they called themselves within their own closed society. The same applied for those isolated for decades in Türkiye and Armenia. Their hijacked definition can continue as long as they isolate their congregation from education, media (newspapers, books, Internet, TV, radio), outsiders, all worldly contact. If you are one of "them" and have been reading this taxonomy, you are now contaminated with new worldly information — oops — ;-). Don't tell the guy sitting next to you in sobranie, he might insult you, or chase you out. See complaint letters (to be added).

8. Diaspora "Molokan" myth label created by 2 people

The variety of different Spiritual Christian faith tribes beginning to arrive from Russia in Los Angeles in 1905 were soon all falsely called "Molokans" for simplicity. Who did this?

All evidence points to 2 very educated influential people born in Russia, who lived in Los Angeles and invested more than a decade each trying to help these immigrants — Captain P. A. Demens (1850-1919) who initiated the cover up, and Dr. P. V. Young (1896-1977) who continued it.

They never met, and worked on different goals at different times. Demens was most active from 1898 to 1910, about 15 years before Young arrived from Chicago in the mid-1920s to enter graduate school at the University of Southern California (U.S.C.), where her sociologist husband accepted a teaching position, and both remained as professors, retiring in the early 1940s.
  • Demens advocated immigration, integration(19), education, employment and colonization from 1898 to 1910, and died in 1919, at least 5 years before Young arrived. He knew and admitted only a minority were Molokane, among many different faiths tribes, but he only used that single simple word to mislabel all Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia whom he guided to California.

  • Young focused on research, documentation, and delinquency; then advocated for education, behavior change, and assimilation(19) from 1924 to 1950, to avoid discrimination and deportation. Though in the Russian language she stated they are Dukhovnie khristian pryguny, in English she declared they are Molokans, whom she mistakenly said are the same as Pryguny. She apparently helped edit and write parts of the Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn'.
Captain Peter A. Demens

Russian name: Pyotr Dement'ev, Пётр Дементьев, pen-name: Tverstov
English name is pronounced "de-MENS".  Research in-progress.

Demens' involvement with Spiritual Christian colonists from Russia in North America was extensive for at least a decade, beginning about 1898.with Dukhobortsi. Luring Spiritual Christians from Russian to Los Angeles from Canada appears to have been his idea and personal project.

Demens appears most responsible for first falsely and widely presenting in English that all Spiritual Christians from Russia who migrated to Los Angeles were one group of "Molokans,"
despite many immigrants from Russia self-reporting first that they were a "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians," and later groups reporting that they were Pryguny and other faiths. He created his own narrative to get them quickly settled. A small group of about 34 educated middle-class Molokane decided to settle in San Francisco in 1906.

In Los Angeles Demens was known as a credible Russian expert because he was from Russia, was fluent in English, was the only local Russian correspondent for the Los Angeles Times newspaper, had a letter signed by President Theodore Roosevelt certifying that he was the volunteer immigration agent for all "Molokans" coming to the United States(Xxxx citation), and made several trips by train to New York to personally greet and escort groups of arriving "Molokans" to Los Angeles, often arranging their fairs.

After Demens died in 1919, the false "Molokan" label for all Spiritual Christians from Russia in Los Angeles was later spread and reinforced begining in the 1920s by Drs. Young, a husband and wife pair of experts at the University of Southern California. Due to Mrs. Young's publications and lectures, the false "Molokan" label was widely spread, until corrected by this Taxonomy.

Before the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians from Russia arrived to settle in Los Angeles in 1904, there was xenophobia (fear of too many strange immigrants) among civic leaders and the Chamber of Commerce who extensivley advertised for "pious Anglo-Protestants." Probably due to prejudice against Slavic immigrants and American Holy Jumpers, Demens strategical chose the shorter and false code switched label (Molokan), rather than the English "dairy-eater" or any other English terms, to help dispel fear and doubt about the announced huge immigration wave to Los Angeles of thousands of illiterate poor peasant Eastern Europeans.

In Russia and America, Demens developed bold salesmanship skills. Using his talent to persuade people, he defined the immigrants in his own terms, whitewashing(25) them for promotion as one huge group of

  • the most desirable,
  • all-literate,
  • healthy,
  • hard-working,
  • best citizens,
  • White Protestants,
  • not Russian Jews,
  • neither anarchists nor fanatics nor pagans,
  • neither terrorists nor revolutionaries
  • apolitical,
  • clean,
  • moral Christians who do not drink, smoke, gamble, steal, or prostitute.

He needed to convince and impress the upper-class White supremacists and racists — The Establishment — that these immigrants are the cheap "white labor" needed to replace colored labor, and will not threaten the upper-class. They will soon become ideal citizens.

Actually, these incoming immigrants from Russia were neither one faith group, nor all desirable, and many were religious fanatics; but there was a group of about 35 real Molokane among the mixture of early arrivals (perhaps from Manchuria) who were educated, not peasants, well-dressed (neck ties, coats), shaven and very presentable to upper-class White Protestant Americans.

Demens was only available to embellish real Molokane for about one year (1905) in Los Angeles before the cultured group of authentic Molokane chose to resettle in San Francisco, after returning from Hawai'i by August 1906. For about 4 more years, he and others from Russia — mainly Cherbak, Treibcheb, Bartlett, and de Blumenthals — tried with some success to help the non-Molokane, the more zealous Pryguny and other Spiritual Christians who chose to return to or remain in Los Angeles.  

Because Molokane were vastly outnumbered by tribes of Pryguny and other divisions of non-Dukhobor Spiritual Christians, they may have never held an actual Molokan prayer meeting in Los Angeles. 
Molokane have never held a prayer meeting in Los Angeles since January 1906, then they went to Hawai'i. In America after that time only mixtures of immigrating non-Molokan, non-Dukhobor Spiritual Christians, most from across the Southern Caucasus, Russia, tried to reform into congregations. These early congregations merged and divided many times, which is a historical mess never sorted out.

In early 1906, while a group of Spiritual Christians was in Hawai'i, Demens went to Russia as a special correspondent for the New York Times to interview government leaders and report about the new freedoms for religion and land reforms. When he returned to Los Angeles he devoted another 5 years after the Hawai'i failure and division to get them jobs, education, and rural land. Many worked in his businesses (wood mill, commercial laundry, citrus farm, soap factory) and at businesses he recommended.

While very busy with other projects, Demens compiled a report, published in 1910 in the Russian newspaper Tikhi Okean, detailing why and how the Hawaiian experiment failed. (Scanning and translation in-progress.) Also that year Cherbak failed to unite all Spiritual Christians in North America into a large agricultural colony. Extensive news articles announced they were to buy about 50 square miles of land near Santa Barbara. Both Demens and Cherbak, neighbors in Alta Loma,  gave up trying to help the Spiritual Christians from Russia in Southern California. Demens then focused on his family and businesses. Cherbak moved to Berkeley and worked with Molokane in San Francisco. Due to a bride selling scandal in Los Angeles from 1912 to 1915, about half of the Spiritual Christians fled the city to try to form rural colonys. So far I have not found evidence that Demens further aided the fragmented discordant Spiritual Christians up to his death in 1919.

Demens was perfect for the sales task of promoting immigrants from Russia. He was Russian-born, educated, spoke 4 languages, well-traveled, well-read, impulsive, aggressive and successful in business, politically active, and a prolific writer (Russian and English). His family was well connected in Los Angeles society. The oldest of his 5 kids was presented in local sports news as a star high school football player, who then attended the University of Southern California (U.S.C.). The Demens' house in Los Angeles was within walking distance of U.S.C. His wife Raisa and their 3 daughters were active in women's clubs. Peter Demens was THE local pundit about Russia in Los Angeles, mainly reporting for the Los Angeles Times, interpreting foreign politics, culture and war. Though born and christened Orthodox, his humanitarianism was probably Tolstoyan. He knew Russian and American culture, and was most eager to help guide his fellow countrymen to immigrate. He was not shy to ask for help from government and the most wealthy tycoons, and often got it.

Demens was born in central Russia. Both of his parents died when he was a child, and he was raised by his uncle and aunt (mother's sister). He was educated in St. Petersburg, joined the military, married, and tried farming (lumbering) and politics in Russia, but was not satisfied. While attending the 1878 Paris Exhibition he met a cousin who was living in Florida, U.S.A., who praised America and Florida. In 1881 Demens sold his land in Russia to move to Florida intending to farm, then invested in a lumber mill with the 2 founding partners in Longwood, Florida, 15 miles north of Orlando. He soon bought out his partners. In 1886 he was asked to manage the failing Orange Belt railroad which owed his mill the most unpaid debt for rail ties. To complete the railroad he solicited money from wealthy investors. Though many difficulties Demens is credited with building the railroad to St. Petersburg, Florida, which he got to name by "drawing straws". His company registered plans for the town, built the first hotel, railroad pier and train station. By 1888 when most work was complete, bills and investors paid, Demens profit was only $14,400 ($370,000 in 2015 using CPI ).(58)

Demens also tried to be a politician by getting elected as the first mayor of Oakland, Florida, along the Orange Belt railroad, then unsuccessfully ran for state senate. Along the railroad path he named one town Odessa (after a town in Novorossiya, now Ukraine). In Florida he is now most memorialized as the one who named and co-founded St. Petersburg, Florida, and built the first railroad across Florida. Most of the 150 mile Orange Belt railway is now paved rail-rail for bicycling, hiking, etc.

Demens had first-hand experience with discrimination, racism and nationalism on 2 continents. In parts of Russia, hatred for outsiders, dissidents and foreign faiths was common. In the U.S., he first settled in the Deep South where nationalism and bigotry towards outsiders and Blacks (Negroes) was most intense. Lynchings of Negroes was common, and Italians were also lynched. Many Americans considered Italians worse than Negroes. Demens must have learned that American Whites hated non-whites (coloreds) and foreigners, especially immigrants from south-eastern Europe (including Bolshevik Ruskies).

After completing the railroad to the pier on Tampa Bay, he was weak with exhaustion, and afraid he might catch a tropical disease like his partners. A physician prescribed a long rest in a resort area. He moved to Asheville, North Carolina, near mineral springs and the Vanderbuilt's vacation Biltmore Estate, still the largest privately owned house in America. There he built another planing mill, and a small mansion still in use.

He must have read a lot about booming California, and decided to go West to San Francisco where many Russians have already settled. Along the way, his daughter got sick, so they stopped in Los Angeles for a week rest, and never left.

Timeline of Pyotr A. Dementyev

He was born in 1850, into a wealthy family on their estate in north-east Tver Oblast, Russia. Both parents died before he was 5 years old. He had no siblings, and was raised by his mothers sister and her husband.

In 1860 he began school in St. Petersburg, and entered the military in 1867.

About 1871 he resigned from military to private life. He inherited 2 estates between Moscow and St. Petersburg. As a teenager he supervised more than 30 "servants" (perhaps freed peasants) and managed the family forests and lumber business. He married Raisa and was active in local politics, critical of Tsar, and due to a scandal was exiled from Russia.

At the 1878 Paris World's Fair, he chanced upon a relative who already moved to Florida, U.S.A..

In 1881 at age 31 with about $3000, he alone visited the U.S.A. and Florida, studying English during the trip across the Atlantic Ocean by steam ship. He shopped around for opportunity, and decided to continued in the lumber business in central Florida, in the town of Longwood, 15 miles north of Orlando, where he bought a third share in a saw mill and a 80-acre orange grove. Then he sent for his wife and kids. They lived in a shack cabin with no ceiling, much poorer than he had in Russia.

By 1883 he bought out his saw mill partners, and in 1984 he renamed his business. "P.A. Demens and Co. sash, door and blind factory ... was the major supplier of lumber and building materials for much of the area." Demen's mill supplied railroad ties to the Orange Belt Railroad, which ran through Longwood, past Orlando, to Tampa Bay, Florida.

In 1889 he moved to Asheville, North Carolina, a resort town recommended by his doctor to rest, but again he began to buy and operate a wood planing mill. From 1891 to 1895, after an economic recession when prices were relatively low, he intended to move his family to San Francisco where many Russian immigrants lived. They stopped in Los Angeles, he decided to stay there. In the Los Angeles area he soon invested in a steam laundry in the Flat(s) and another planing mill, and used the profits to buy a citrus grove in Alta Loma (now Rancho Cucamonga), in west San Bernadino County, outside of Los Angeles City water-rights.

From 1893 through 1898 an economic depression affected most of the country, most severe in the industrial east, caused by two related economic panics in 1893 and 1896. Though unemployment increased two to five times in various regions of the country, Los Angeles was not affected much until 1897, due to even growth, organized labor, independent businesses, a good wheat crop in 1893, and increased exporting during the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895).(45)

In October 1893 Demens attended the 2nd National Irrigation Congress held in Los Angeles for 5 days. Compared to the first congress, this event was larger, supported by the federal government, and attended by a broader variety of more than 500 experts, businesses, legislators, lawyers, and foreign delegates — the largest ever held in the world up to then. Discussions included proposals to federally fund the irrigation of the last available arid land in Central California, and west of the Missouri River east of the Rocky Mountains (eastern Montana, Wyoming, Colorado) for "settlement ... by Uncle Sam's bona fide children and none others ... there is bound to be a colossal accumulation of wealth in the irrigated belts ... the greatest civilization of this age ... ." Reports included detailed data on irrigation prospects in California and Arizona. 98% of potentially irrigable land in the U.S. was unused — about 1 million square miles.

At that time " ... Southern California ... irrigation has shown the greatest results and developed more rapidly than in any other part of the world," which buffered the region from economic recession. Riverside was the wealthiest city in the U.S. due to irrigation. Demens recognized irrigation farming as a great opportunity for himself and other immigrants from Russia, who also bought farms near his, forming a Russian colony about 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Demens' Russian neighbors (Cherbak, Krystofovitch, Tolstoy) will form the expert committee to aid the Spiritual Christians who will arrive a decade later, beginning in 1904.

The Russian delegate to the 1893 congress was Count Constantin Comodzinsky, St. Petersburg, the representative engineer of the Russian government to the World's Fair held that year in Chicago, which Demens probably attended. Comodzinsky presented his paper: "Irrigation in Russia." After the congress he toured Southern California, probably with Demens who maintained many contacts in the Russian government with whom he networked on 2 later trips back to Russia, in 1896 and 1907.

For decades Demens, under his pseudonym Tverskoi (meaning "from Tver oblast", his home province), submitted articles published in Russian and English language newspapers in the U.S. and Russia. For his Russian readers Demens promoted life in booming Southern California, where Progressivism dominated politics, and the economy thrived due to "location, climate and resources." For American readers he submitted editorials about Russia and Europe to the local press, particularly about the Sino-Japanese War and World War I.

In the Summer 1895 Spiritual Christian Dukhoborsty burned guns simultaneously at 3 locations in the Southern Caucasus to protest war. Hundreds were arrested, thousands relocated, and hundreds died. Lev. N. Tolstoy intervened to advocate for humanitarian freedom for all Russian citizens, especially the persecuted heretics. Demens probably learned of Dukhobor tragedies from the news, his correspondence and Tolstoy's publications.

In 1895 he published a book in Russia: America and the American System of Government, and in 1896 returned to Russia thinking he could help the Tsarist government.

In 1898 he learned that Dukhobortsy were leaving Russia, and invited them to Southern California while sugar tycoons tried to invite them to Hawaii, but plans were already made for settlement in central Canada beginning in 1899 due to advice from Prince Pyotr A. Kropotkin. He was very disappointed that Dukhobortsy did not get a better place to settle than central Canada nor a government which kept its promises to them, which caused the zealots to protest. Demens only appears once in early Canadian Dukhobor history due to his protest to those coordinating the Dukhobor migration to central Canada, particularly Kropotkin; because all the historians and journalists focusing on Dukhobortsy in Canada missed the story that Demens was actively recruiting Dukhobortsy to the U.S. and 3 visited him in Los Angeles in January 1900, which was covered in the Los Angeles press.

In 1899 Dukhobortsy were allotted 773,400 acres (1208 sq. miles) in what is now Saskatchewan where they built 61 villages. By 1930 more than 8,800 Dukhoborsty arrived, with 40+ Pavlovtsty. (Maps by Jonathan Kalmakoff, Doukhobor Heritage Website)

In July 1899, 5 Italians were lynched in Louisiana for serving Negroes before Whites in a store.

In 1900 Demens had house in Los Angeles at 3217 S. Grand avenue (near Jefferson), and by 1909 moved to 1149 W 28th Street (near Hoover). Both residences were about a half mile from the center of the University of Southern California (U.S.C.), which his kids attended. Demens main house was on his citrus farm, 40 miles east of Los Angeles, which is now a historic site.

In mid January 1900 at his house on Grand Ave., in Los Angeles, Demens hosted 3 zealot scouts who somewhat separated from postoyannie dukhobortsy (later called Svobodniki : sovereign people) who were trying to leave Canada to the U.S.A. He escorted them to possible colonization lands and employment starting with sugar beet farming in Orange County, Southern California, then to ranches for sale in Central California, and north through Washington; lumbering jobs; and, sent them to homestead land agents in the Dakotas. He apparently began his next book when they left. Though the svobodniki separatists conducted several protest marches, which were covered in the press, especially when some people took off their clothes, none were allowed to migrate to the United States as a group. Many non-zealous Dukhobortsy did migrate into the United States as individuals, and many stayed, some living in colonies. See

In December 1900, using his pen-name Tverskoy, Demens published a 109-page book : Saga of the Dukhobors (Духоборческая эпопея) in St. Petersburg, to inform Russians about the Dukhobor migration to Canada. He is sad that they are struggling in the snow on sparse land, and promoted California (35 times in the text), where he has lived for 8 years, and testifies that the weather and farming are great. He did not mention that only 1/3 of the most zealous, followers of Verigin burned guns in 1895, 400 arrested and jailed, and about 4000 exiled, as many as half dying due to starvation and sickness, before Lev. N. Tolstoy intervened with 2 open letters to the Tsar. 

About 7,400 of the 20,000 Dukhobortsy were sponsored to Canada which was aggressively soliciting immigrants as farming colonists to populate its central and western territories due to fears that the U.S. will claim territorial land in what is now British Columbia. To protect it's westward expansion, in 1885 Canada quickly built a railroad to the Pacific Ocean.

In April 1900, international news and the 3 largest daily newspapers in California reported that 10,000 "Mollicans" in Russia, pending Tsar's approval, were ready to follow the Dukhobortsy to Canada — 35% more than the 7,411 Dukhobortsy who already arrived. A year later (July 1901) the number of "Molokanen" reported to be soon coming to America increased to 40,000.

About August 1900, when scouts representing non-Dukhobor Spiritual Christians traveled to Canada, Demens was determined to divert this next wave of immigrants from Russia, away from Canada to Southern California. While their first "official" scouts (I.G. Samarin and F.M. Shubin) planned to join Dukhobortsy in Canada (Berokoff, page 19), the second group of "independent" scouts (Agaltsoffs, Holopoff, Slivkoff) were probably personally invited to Los Angeles by Demens, though Demen's name is absent from Berokoff's history.(Berokoff, page 20)

In 1901 disgruntled Svobodniki in Canada began to protest against the newly elected Canadian administration which changed their immigration agreements. In 1902 they organized a well publicized march of 2000 (including many non-zealot Dukhoborsty) to complain against the laws of Canada regarding civil registration (birth, marriage, death, marriage), citizenship "oaths"* and government schools; and they wanted their leader P. V. Verigin to come from Russia, and/or for them to return to Russia. (* They did not know that affirmation could be substituted for oath.)

Demens became very concerned that factions of Spiritual Christians in Canada were misguided by their advisers and complained to their guides and to Lev N. Tolstoy. He tried for about 5 years to bring them to America from Canada, but relatively few came. Some Svobodniki petitioned U.S. President T. Roosevelt to allow them to enter, but were not successful.

In December 1902, P. V. Verigin arrived in Saskatchewan, Canada from his exile Russia. In 1903, the first of many nude protests by zealous goli svobodniki (nude sovereign people) began in Saskatchewan, Canada. By 1918 Verigin announced that what immigrated as Dukhoborsty to Canada, were completely divided into 3 distinct major groups, and he asked for police protection against the "nudes" (injunction against harassment, restraining order) which was ignored or denied.
  1. Independent Dukhobortsy, those with little allegiance to Verigin, 230 families signed for land, took oaths of citizenship, attended public school, etc. Verigin judged them to be marginal Dukhobortsy at best.
  2. Community Dukhobortsy who followed Verigin to British Columbia, beginning in 1908, as the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (C.C.U.B.). In 1934 this largest group was renamed as the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ (U.S.C.C.)
  3. Goli (nudes, 1st label) or Svobodniki (sovereign people, 2nd label, changed to "Freedomites" (1920s, 3rd label) in the press) protested against the worldly Dukhobortsy and government, and were renamed "Sons of Freedom" (4th label) in the press by 1924. Most affirm they are the "true Dukhoborsty" in spirit. Verigin rejected them as his followers because they protested against the worldly C.C.U.B. and destroyed many buildings. By the year 2000 the elder zealots were nearly extinct, and many descendants of zealots have reconciled with the U.S.C.C. to maintain a civil "Doukhobor" identity in Canada.
In Canada, the agitation of the Svobodoniki relative to other "Doukhobors" parallels the behavior of Dukh-i-zhizniki in America relative to other Spiritual Christian groups. Zealots in both countries believe they are the "true faith" and soon (by the 1920s) hijacked the historical label as their own, in the press and in their oral history. Research in-progress.

If the non-Dukhobor Spiritual Christians would have chosen Canada instead of obeying Demens, many more could have emigrated with financial support from Canada for travel, large land allotments and military exemption for 99 years; but they would have to sign for their land as individuals, which they did with few initial exceptions in the U.S.A.(44) One can speculate about the possible interaction among the most zealous individuals from each immigration group if they all met in Canada. To understand the following speculative social humor you need to imagine combining the histories of zealot Spiritual Christians in Canada and California.
  • Would the zealous prophet T. Bezayiff have formed a hybrid tribe of nude jumping Svobodnik-Maksimist protesters marching to Zion, or back to Russia? Doukhobors nicknamed the tallest mountain near Castlegar Gora Sion (Mount Zion)
  • Would a hybrid congregation of community Dukhobor-Pryguny place the Zhivotnaya kniga and Dukh i zhizn', and Bible on the meeting table with "bread, salt and water"?
  • Would all Spiritual Christians from Russia in Canada want to return to Russia in the 1920s, again in the 1930s, again in the 1950s, and in 1960s? Would any prophet be inspired to mention South America or Australia?
  • Would E.G. Klubnikin have lead a pokhod to Krestova?
  • Would there be Jumping Prygun-Dukhobor prophets, raising hands, singing loud and fast?
  • Would there be a United Spiritual Christian Association, or Brotherhood — U.S.C.A., U.S.C.B.?
  • Instead of watching football on TV after sobranie, would assimilated Dukh-i-zhizniki be watching hockey?
  • Would Molokane and Pryguny have their own choirs performing at the U.S.C.C. Union of Youth Festivals?
  • Write your own imaginary guess....
By Spring 1904 the first group of non-dukhobor Spiritual Christians immigrated directly to Los Angeles, led by V. G. Pivovaroff. In Summer 1904 Demens' colleague C.P. de Blumental reported in the press that they called themselves a "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." In December, the first wedding was registered, also identifying the faith as "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." No other label was used, not Molokan, not Prygun, not Sionist, not Davidist, not Noviy israil', not Maksimist, etc.

"By 1904, 1,600 motor vehicles cruised the streets of Los Angeles. The maximum speed limit was 8 mph in residential areas and 6 mph in business districts."(55) The Auto Club of Southern California was organized in December 1900, and began mapping roads in 1906. The Ford Model T began production in 1908.

In 1905, zealous Svobodniki who split from Dukhobortsy were denied to mass migrate to California, though many later moved to the U.S. as individuals and some lived in Los Angeles, probably camouflaged as Malakane.

In 1905, Demens learned that the next group of non-dukhobor Spiritual Christians from Russia were much more divided than Dukhobortsy, and a larger faction were zealots, more like the Svobodniki. Probably to appease worried government officials and to direct them away from Los Angeles, he pretended they were one group, with a simple label — Molokans — a single word, a snappy catchphrase, crisp, brief, and short.

If he could have separated the immigrants, as he might have done with employees, into their own tribal and skill groups, perhaps he could have been more successful at managing them. But he probably did not have enough time to analyze them as they quickly arrived. Perhaps the more educated and better dressed Molokane, particularly John Kurbatoff, may have been recognized by Demens as most qualified to lead the first Molokan Settlement Association. Most of the arrivals were a different class than Kurbatoff's group, obviously peasants and illiterate.

Politically, Demens probably realized that White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (W.A.S.P.s) would be confused to hear the truth, that these immigrants from Russia were mixed dukhovnye khristiane (Spiritual Christians) from Russia, similar to Dukhobortsy, mostly Pryguny, Klubnikinisty, Maksimisty, Pivovarovtsy with minor groups of Molokane, Subbotniki, Stundisti, Sionisty, Noviy israeli, and others, from up to 25 villages in 5 districts in Russia, who never met until they arrived in Los Angeles. To help the reported tens of thousands of incoming immigrants that he worked so hard and long to bring to Los Angeles, Demens needed to quickly dispel fears that they will overwhelm the city. He needed a simple marketing hook, and a plan to divert them away from Los Angeles to places where they were welcome in huge numbers.

Demens accomplished an amazing feat. He convinced thousands of immigrants from Russia to avoid Canada for Los Angeles, to stay or be relocated to their choice of land(s) for their own agricultural colon(y/ies). In Los Angeles he organized a Russian-speaking immigration committee composed of at least 4 well educated and influential people already known and respected in Los Angeles (Konstantin and Verra Blumenthal, Anton Cherbak, Dr. Theodore Krystofovitch, and others). For settlement aid he got agent status in a letter* from President Teddy Roosevelt, and networked with local charities, especially the The Bethlehem Institutes (Bartletts). For financing and land procurement he solicited major bankers, land agents and tycoons in Southern California (I.W. Hellman, Senator W.A. Clark, H.E. Huntington, Donald Barker, ...). Demens preparation and salesmanship assured the civic leaders of Los Angeles that they will not be swarmed by the reported tsunami wave of immigrants, doubling the city population with not enough food or places to live.
* I have not found this letter which was alluded to in the Los Angeles Herald, shown to the Governor of Hawaii, and reported in the Hawaiian news.(95)
He was probably confident that his experience in Florida of hiring and managing thousands of workers to build a railroad, sea port, hotel and layout a new city adequately prepared him for this new task. No reason to panic. Take it one day at a time.

Acting as a middle man, a negotiator, Demens lied and/or "stretched the truth." He had the knowledge and power to control public discourse about them, and created a positive altruistic rumor that they were all safe "Molokans," not svobodninki (mistaken for Dukhobortsy), not Russian Bolsheviks, not a pagan cult, not peasants who will need charity. He arranged contingency plans for diverting most to rural locations. The unconfirmed word "Molokan" facilitated making sense of a complicated scary situation. He needed to protect his immigrants as a group while dispelling their perceived threat and a potential panic by Los Angeles government. He undoubtedly knew that journalists would propagate the one-word, easy-to-pronounce rumor-term (Molokan) with his new definition.

Notice 3 large strange new religious groups resettling in the U.S.A. and Mexico have similar labels that start with the letter "M" — Mormon, Mennonite, Molokan. Demens was a clever salesman. These 3 similar labels were sometimes confused in the U.S., Mexico and Russia. They were all strange new resettling Protestant faiths, 2 from Eastern Europe, that were spelled something like : M-o-n-..., whatever. Initially the press confused all of them in the U.S. and with Doukhobors in Canada.

Why Ma-lo-kan? The first syllable of Molokan (pronounced "ma") is among the easiest to naturally pronounce and most common sounds that babies around the world make, and is part of all adult vocabulary. In many Latin languages it means "breast." Such word origins have been extensively studied, and may have subconscious connections with "mother" in Russian and English.(22) Demens may have been sensitive to the acceptance of this "ma-" word in both languages, therefore he would not use a more complicated word or phrase to pronounce that might be more scary or imposing.

The use of harsh-sounding words (like Prygun or dukhovniye) was not considered polite in upper-class conversation at the time of immigration to Los Angeles. The simplest, nicest-sounding, easiest-to-pronounce buzzword word was the best for promoting (marketing) the immigrants. Decades later, as their Russian language diminished, the assimilated and intergrated descendants of these immigrants may have internalized and expressed affinity for only this simple code-switched loan-word, instead of the English "dairy-eater," to the extent of excluding all historical and accurate alternatives, which may be harder to pronounce with more consonants, and have less emotional appeal (than "ma-ma").

This hijacked "Molokan" term could only endure as long as the population did not know, and/or believe, and/or propagate their actual history; and, their histories remained vague and/or obscured to journalists and scholars. Such propaganda works until the truth emerges, but continues among the uninformed and those who reject information that conflicts with their world view, perhaps due to confirmation bias.

Beginning in 1905, Demens greatly simplified their acceptance by promoting them all as ONE group of soon-to-be law-abiding citizens, all-literate, cheap, strong, tall White labor, and ideal Protestant colonist settlers. To get them out of Los Angeles, or to divert them from coming to the city in large groups, Demens needed the most simple, unique and easy to pronounce brand identity. He knew he was using puffery by selling the "sizzle and not the steak." Though he sincerely wanted to help them, unfortunately they were too divided and soon appeared to be more like sizzle and fragmented burnt hamburger — not steak.

In January 1905, when international news from St. Petersburg, Russia, reported that 200,000 Molokany were coming to Los Angeles, Demens' Russian welcoming committee got busy, probably urged by fears from local government and society. To assure the next batch of immigrants from Russia did not go to Canada, Demens personally arranged transportation and escorted as many groups as he could meet upon their arrival at Eastern ports directly to Los Angeles. To divert thousands from Los Angeles, arrangements with land agents, banks and the government of Mexico were made by Demens and de Blumenthal, also a former Russian officer, and his wife Verra who was well-known in California for raising and sending charity to peasant lace makers in Russia. Agents for Hawaiian sugar plantations with offices in in Los Angeles who did not get Dukhobortsy 5 years earlier, still wanted cheap White labor in Hawaii, and invited Demens to visit the islands in September 1905 where he pitched the best white Russian labor to the territorial government and sugar plantations.

Demens employed immigrants from Russia at his citrus farm in Alta Loma (40 miles east of Los Angeles), and in The Flat(s) at his lumber yard, soap factory and commercial laundry. He invested in a soap factory and commercial laundry, sold some of his interest while maintaining contact with the owners. He also counseled the Russian immigrants for other jobs and for land colonization.

To assure support from government, Demens contacted President Teddy Roosevelt, and was appointed an agent of the President to assure that these Spiritual Christians who were fleeing Russia were not anarchists and get them settled quickly. Vice-president T. Roosevelt became president when President McKinley was assassinated in 1901 by an anarchist with Slavic roots. Demens presented the incoming Spiritual Christians from Russia as part of the needed solution to colonize the American West, to get them official immigrant status, and the best deals, like the varieties of mislabeled "Mennonites" (anabaptists) from Russia before them. The letter signed by President T. Roosevelt appointing Demens as the Molokan agent was mentioned in Hawaiian news, but has not yet been found.

In July 1905, I.G. Samarin and de Blumenthal began negotiations with attorney investor Donald Barker to first rent communal land in Baja California Norte, Mexico, with a guarantee of military and tax exception for 10 years, and passports for new arrivals. If enough immigrants buy into the commune at $50 per family, they will buy the land. Many of the immigrants had no identification papers. The Mexican contract only identified them as "Russian settlers" (colonos rusos), 2 times. They signed an initial agreement in September 1905 (10 days before Demens first scouted Hawaii) which was finalized 6 months later, in March 1906.

In September 1905, Demens visited Hawaii, and returned to Los Angeles to help negotiate a contract with the immigrants and a plantation on the east side of Kauai Island. In November 1905 Demens escorted F. M Shubin and M. Slivkoff (2 kinds of Pryguny) to Hawaii and back, and praised the immigrants only as "Molokans." He negotiated their contract with the Governor, the immigration commissioner, and plantation owner's representatives; and submitted press releases by letter and telegram for publication. He used the "social media" of that time to promote these immigrants.

In November 1905, Demens submitted a long (3 column, half page) article to Hawaiian newspapers sugar-coating the "Molokans" as the “cream of Russia’s population — a desirable class of White residents.” (See: Demens Introduces “Molokans” to Hawaii)  Later he confessed that they were many different kinds of people who never met before they arrived in Los Angeles. In 1910, Demens published his extensive analysis about why the Hawaiian Molokan Agricultural Colony failed — to be translated and posted. 

Apparently at the end of 1905, scores of immigrant Prygun women in Los Angeles who were hired to sew overalls in factories were forced out of work by the emergent Garment Workers union No. 125. While established White workers were fighting for better work conditions and pay, new immigrant scabs were willing to work longer hours, in poor conditions for low wages. The peasants from Russia did not quickly join the labor movement, perhaps due to expectations of returning to Mount Ararat, or leaving the city to a rural refuge. Ethnic tensions against these cheap workers from Russia may have been expressed on the street, in public, for taking jobs from other immigrants.

In January 1906, Demens reported all "Molokanes" will move to Hawaii, abandoning Southern California, but some reporters doubted that those with good jobs will leave. F.M. Shubin signed a letter boasting that 5,000 will arrive in Hawaii directly from the Caucasus, bypassing the U.S. mainland. Not clearly reported was that the large group bound for Hawaii became divided before they left, when Shubin decided not to return to Hawaii but to further explore land in Texas and Mexico. Shubin probably was still getting offers from railroad and land agents for free travel to see land. In February 1906 only about one-sixth (110 of ~700 who signed up for Hawaii, 16%) actually went on the first boat to Hawaii, of which about 34 (one-third, 31%) of the 110 were real Molokane led by John Kurbatoff. The rest were initially led by Prygun Mikhail "Mike" Slivkoff, then divided. The majority stayed in Los Angeles, where other zealots may have been anxious to earn money and return to Mt. Ararat, or another rural area (Mexico, Texas, etc). Shubin returned from Texas disappointed, then extensively scouted Mexico and most of the U.S., but resided in Los Angeles, later opposed the new religious text: Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn', and died in 1932.

Both colonization groups (obschiny) in Hawaii and Mexico argued upon arrival, and tribal congregations remained divided. While the Mexico revolution was starting, taxes were imposed, border crossing was restricted, and life was more difficult than in Los Angeles slums. Land plots were allocated by lottery. Those who got the worst lots looked for better land nearby, while others tried to go to the U.S. Unfortunately, most who immigrated directly to Mexico were stuck, as new citizens of Mexico, with no U.S. passport or visa. Some who crossed the U.S. border illegally were arrested.

Though Hawaii offered more total land than Mexico, settlers would be divided within and among islands, and a year's wait was needed to process homesteads in Washington D.C., which angered some who already got fast easy charity in Los Angeles. In Hawaii, the first 110 were offered about 8.2 square miles of irrigated homestead land for about $5.70 per acre (less than $29,000 total) in what is now Kappa, Kauai. That land is now worth ~$10 billion, ~$100 million/person. Since F. M. Shubin did not return with them, M. S. Slivkoff was the only "Moses" for the non-Molokane, while John Kurbatoff led the Molokane and the Molokan Settlement Association (M.S.A.). Two 2 kinds of Pryguny protested the M.S.A. forming 3 groups, probably with more dissent within the 3 groups.

In Hawaii, on the day of arrival (February 19, 1906), the mother of a baby who died during the trip wanted to go back. It was hot and humid like a banya, and windy; bugs were everywhere. My first of 2 trips to Hawaii was to Kauai in February. As soon as we got to our car rental place and stood outdoors, my wife Tanya said: "It's like a banya."

They arrived in Honolulu but refused to get off the boat, nor to eat a welcoming dinner hosted by a Protestant Christian church. The governor boarded their steam ship, greeted them and loned them a translator who worked for the territory. They arrived on Kauai Island in the late afternoon, were offered dinner but refused, and taken on small train cars to the Makee Sugar Plantation, were they transferred to wagons and carried up hill to the "Japanese camp," located on the north part of present-day Kapaa. 

Hungry, they sadly found that their camp shacks were trashed by angry Japanese workers ordered to vacate. Familiar vegetables for borshch (cabbage, red beets, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots) were not readily available which angered the women. Several men claimed their profession was wagon drivers (43) not farmers. Their above normal pay of $29/month was much less than some got at city jobs in California. Most were not the farmers Demens boasted they were. Many refused to work cutting sugar cane for a year until their land could be surveyed, irrigation provided to each parcel, and titles legally secured from the government. Some Molokane got jobs in Honolulu harbor, Oahu, which led to work in San Francisco harbor later.

When the press questioned why they were divided into 3 groups, Demens replied in a well-publicized statement in Hawaiian newspapers that they were not all the same people, but came from as many as 25 villages in 5 districts in south Russia, and most did not know each other. The press joked that the word "molokaning .. (was).. synonymous with vagrancy." Many Hawaiians were glad to get rid of them while a few testified that some were worth hiring.

In March 1906, P. de Blumenthal and I.G. Samarin signed a resettlement agreement with the government of Mexico for military exception, visas and passports of all arriving Russian colonists. In April 1906 San Francisco is severely damaged by an earthquake after which for the military and charities provides housing and food for the homeless, and huge amounts of cash and material aid is donated and loaned, providing jobs for decades.

In April 1906, Demens writes a long letter, published in 2 Hawaiian newpapers, ...  XXXXXX

In August 1906, within 6 months of arriving in Hawaii in February, all Spiritual Christians returned to California — most Molokane staying in San Francisco, and the rest (mostly varieties of Pryguny and other zealous sects) proceeding to Los Angeles. Records show that Demens knew most were not of the Molokan faith because many insisted to the press in Los Angeles that they were "Spiritual Christians" and/or Pryguny or another faith. Many professed Maksim Rudomyotkin (1818~1877) is their leader, which would become the focus of graduate student Pauline Young's masters thesis 20 years later.

Throughout 1906 Demens and his Russian neighbors focused on the 1905 Russian Revolution, and by the end of 1906 he had arranged an interview with the new Russian prime minister Stolypin.

In 1906, due to new religious tolerance in Russia, Peter Verigin, leader of communal Doukhobors in Canada, went back to Russia with 6 delegates (photo) to meet with Minister Pyotr Stolypin, who refused the meeting, while other other ministers negotiated the return of all Doukhobors to Russia. They were offered land in Altai krai and military exemption, confirmed by Nicholas II, but Verigin declined the offer and returned to Canada in March 1907. A few Doukhobor women who migrated to Canada while their soldier husbands were exiled to Siberia, were allowed to return to Russia to join their husbands.

In July 1906 a new Immigration Act in Canada controlled and restricted undesirable immigrants, making it easier to deport them.(26) Government policy changed from economic to cultural. Zealous Doukhobors calling themselves svobodniki (sovereign people) protested against a rule change to take oaths, own land, mandatory government controlled education, harass Doukhobors and government, but are not deported. Some are arrested for public nudity.

In mid-December 1906, The Los Angeles Times reported: "... Molokane [Spiritual Christians] are not desirable citizens.. many.. penniless.. cannot stay in Los Angeles.." 500 waiting in Texas are to be directed elsewhere. Thousands to leave Russia in May. A half-million acres (781 mi2) was offered to them in Sinaloa, Mexico.

In March 1907, newspapers reported that 3,000 "Molokanes" wanted to settle in one large colony of at least 50,000 acres (~78 sq. mi) near Stockton, California, and that P. Shubin and N. Agalzoff were scouting a similar sized ranch in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.

In May 1907, the New York Times translated Pryguny as "Dancers": "... the Czar ... in 1904, issued his ukase insuring religious freedom to all, with the exception of the 'Dancers', ... "  Demens could have read this article.

In early 1907 Demens dropped everything to go back to Russia to meet Stolypin, his second trip since 1896. When he traveled through New York city, the president of the Associated Press news agency recruited him to be their new Russian correspondent. Demens conducted the longest (2.5 hour) interview with the new head of the Russian government (probably in July-August) which was published a few years later in the New York Times. He may have also met with Verigin and company in Russia.

While Demens was in Russia, the John K. Berokoff family arrives in Los Angeles, when the Dukh-i-zhiznik historian was about 9 years old.

Also in 1907, news of a mass immigration of 200,000 "Molokany" quickly dwindled in steps to a few thousand, about 1% of what was first reported. About a fourth of the incoming Spiritual Christians from Russia (mostly Pryguny) were diverted to Mexico, a fourth (mostly Molokane) chose Northern California after Hawaii failed, a few returned home to Russia. The largest fraction of mixed Spiritual Christians, with few Molokane, remained in Los Angeles slums, which would eventually became their new poly-ethnic enclave of "kingdoms in the city."

What happened when Demens and/or Verigin were in Russia in 1907?  Did they recommend to the government that the expected huge migration of non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians to North America be stopped? Did Demens tell the Russian government that mostly varieties of Pryguny were coming to Los Angeles? If they will return to Russia, Verigin's Doukhobors were offered land in Altai province, as were Staroobryadtsy who already moved there. (Research in-progress.)

In Spring 1907 Maksimist elders in Los Angeles reported they believe in the leadership of Maksim Rudomyotkin (1818~1877), expect his return soon to lead them to their promised land, therefore they will not remain much longer in Los Angeles. Newspaper readers could expect that 2000 immigrants will vanish as quickly as they arrived, which did not happen; nor did 200,000 more arrive from Russia as previously reported.

Though Demens and associates tried to help the immigrants, it appears that the most zealous communalists who wanted to live in rural isolation refused their help. For those wanting to stay in the city, Demens provided work at his businesses or guided them to other jobs. Many girls were placed as maids and house-cleaners for the upper class, who got to know the immigrant girls personally. Numerous inexpensive electric street cars provided transportation.

"September 1907: The Petr V. Ol'khovik family, along with forty "Yakutian" Doukhobors resettle to Los Angeles, California. One year later, the Ol'khovik family permanently resettles in Vancouver, British Columbia." (The Pavlovsty, by Jonathan Kalmakoff.)

After 1908 a major urban renewal project cleared the Flat(s) of shanty slums, and new homes in "street car tracts"(27)  were constructed which wage earners could afford to rent or buy. The poorest evidently moved south of the Flat(s), closer to a Demens' business to the cheapest dirt-floor shantys along Fickett street, a flood-prone gully south of Whittier Blvd (then called Stevenson Blvd) to 8th street. This area became Karakala which extended to Lorena Street.

Though 1000s of Spiritual Christians were directed and co-financed to Los Angeles, Demens and associates were partially successful in aiding their rural colonization. Only the Mexico colonies retained a large population probably because many were isolated in a rural valley for which each paid a $50 payment for a share, the remainder payable in wheat, with a 10-year guarantee of no military draft, and no import/export tariffs. Demens and associates tried very hard to help these immigrants for about a decade, but they were too diverse, resistant, some probably stubborn, and all efforts failed except giving them factory jobs.

In 1909 Dr. Theodore Krystofovitch (Demen's neighbor, and a consultant to Lev N. Tolstoy about Doukhobor immigration) was appointed the first American agent of the Russian Imperial Ministry of Agriculture, with an office in St. Louis. Before Doukhbortsy left Russia, Tolstoy asked Dr. Krystofovitch for advice on where they should settle. Krystofovitch rejected Hawaii (too tropical) and California (too expensive), and recommended Canada for comparable climate and its chernozem soil. To get the Doukhbortsy, Canada paid for half of their travel expense, gave military exemption, free land, and supplies and food to survive the first years. He was first on Demens' immigration advisory committee to leave Los Angeles, but kept his farm next to Demens at Alta Loma, and later returned in the 1920s to teach agriculture at the University of Southern California (U.S.C.). At U.S.C. he translated segment drafts of Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' for Pauline Young, which were published in her doctoral thesis in 1929, and book in 1932.

In 1910, Demens responded to an article by Dr. Krystofovitch published in the Los Angeles Russian language newspaper Velikiy Okean (Pacific Ocean), which accused Demens of taking advantage of the Spiritual Christians as cheap labor. Demens responded with a long article about how the movement to Hawaii failed (Тверской П. А. Инсинуаций и действительность (Insinuations and reality). Великий Океан № 10, 1910 — to be translated and posted). Velikiy Okean was published by Anton P. Cherbak who also organized and taught the Russian immigrant adult school he called "Russian University" at the Bethlehem Institution, and he tried to arrange for a joint purchase of a large tract of farm land in Central California along the coast for diverse Spiritual Christians to reestablish their own villages.

During 1910, Spiritual Christians were confronted with their first federal census. The door-to-door canvasser probably agitated the most zealous. In 1920, oral history in Arizona reported that the women chased the federal census counters out of their Darichak village, along the street where the meeting house remains. Residents in the adjacent 3 villages were more compliant.

At the end of 1910 a nationally publicized effort to provide a rural refuge for all Spiritual Christians in North America in a huge colony along the Central California coast ("near Santa Barbara") failed. It appears that H.E. Huntington may have arranged for a ~50-square-mile tract in or near the Santa Ynez Valley (Solvang), as many elders had requested. This offer was earlier arranged by Demens for breakaway Dukhobortsy who were not allowed into the U.S., nor out of Canada, in large numbers. Though Spiritual Christians collectively had the money, Cherbak reported 12 leaders confronting him resulting in the well-funded huge colony never starting. In July 2010, eight congregations in Los Angeles published a notice denying any relationship with Cherbak. Therefore, most of the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians stayed in the city, but not for long.

It appears that about this time, after 1910, five years after the immigration wave began, Demens must have realized no more Spiritual Christians were coming from Russia. The previously announced huge wave of immigration did not occur for many reasons. Despite desires for rural refuge, most of the arrivals remained in Los Angeles. His help was no longer needed or wanted as city services and charities stepped in, and zealots protested efforts to arrange for a single large rural colony.

In 1911, overcrowding in the city self-corrected when the huge concentration of varieties of Spiritual Christians transformed as their Old World culture continued to clash with the New World. In December 1911 a much publicized bride-selling scandal erupted and continued through February 1915, which scared many zealots perhaps 1000, about half the population — from the city in groups to scattered destinations with apparently no inter-group coordination, and little, if any, guidance from Bartlett, Demens, Cherbak or the Blumenthals. For more than 3 years the "Molokan" label became nationally associated with "bride-selling." In 1912, the first publicized registered marriage (since 1904) occurred, while the most zealous in Arizona continued to not register marriages, births or deaths up to 1920 when 2 presbyters were arrested (1 jailed overnight) and fined $300 each.

In September 1911, in Russia, Pyotr Stolypin was assassinated, 2 months after resigning as Prime Minister. His agrarian reforms (1906-1914) improved the economy into the 1920s when Soviet reforms reversed the economy.

About 1911, Cherbak moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work with Molokane and other Russian immigrants there while his family stayed on his farm next to Demens. The Molokan lad Vasilii S. Fetisoff became his aid and apprentice to continue publishing the Russian language newspaper.

De Blumenthals returned to Chicago. Only Demens and Bartlett remained in Los Angeles to assist the immigrants, but most by now did not want anyone's help, and about half fled the city.

From 1911 through 1914, Demens shifted his focus from volunteering to help uncoordinated immigrants to managing his own business, getting railroad access for himself and other farmers in Alta Loma. He lobbied the Central Pacific Railroad to divert 2 miles north from its straight line path from Upland to San Bernadino, which added 3 miles of track to serve his farming district. To offset the extra cost for the railroad, Demens arranged to buy the rights-of-way and raised $19,000 from local businesses and farmers who will benefit. For his volunteer effort to bring the railroad to town, Demens was given the unofficial title of the "volunteer mayor" of Alta Loma. When the track was finished, he donated the last spike for the grand opening. In the 1980s, when the section of track he created was converted into a recreational trail for hiking, biking and horse riding, the track trail and adjacent creek were officially named Demens Creek/Channel and Demens Creek Trail.

In 1912, Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles were in court for “bride-selling” and not registering vital statistics. Sensational stories ran for 3 years in newspapers across the nation. In 1916 a Hollywood movie appeared: "Sold for Marriage" about a young Russian village girl sold for marriage in America. At the same time in British Columbia, Canada, Community Dukhobortsy (C.C.U.B.) were investigated for 4 months by a commission which gathered testimony from 110 witnesses in 7 towns in 2 provinces aided by lawyers and scholars. While the commission substantiated "that the Community recognizes no outside authority, and that it refuses to register births, deaths, and marriages, ... " and refused education, thus violating many laws; it recommended fines to be more effective than jail.(21)

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution established the federal income tax, which may have shocked the most zealous Spiritual Christians. Many had already fled Los Angeles due to the “bride-selling” scandal, and now the government for the first time wants their money. Ironically, many left Russia to avoid rents and taxes; they were economic migrants.

In 1914 the Bethlehem Institutions were closed by the new Municipal Charities Commission for mismanagement. The news shocked friends of Bartlett. The population of Spiritual Christians and Jews moved east across the L.A. River, replaced by Japanese, into the 9th ward, where the major congregations of Spiritual Christians separated, each establishing their own meeting halls and stores, and different social services opened or transformed to provide free aide. A charity medical clinic was created by women's clubs on Rio street at First street, then moved to Utah and First streets. Within 15 years the new Prygun U.M.C.A. and a zealot molodoi sobranie would operate across the street from the maternity clinic.

In 1914, the Young Women's Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.) opened a local chapter of the International Institute, a settlement house for immigrant women, one lot north of 1st street on Boyle Ave, in the midst of the "Foreign Quarter." It was damaged by fire, and relocated to a larger lot a half block south of 1st Street at 435 S. Boyle Ave., where it remains today.

Those who moved east across the LA River and remained in the city were aided by the upgraded Utah Street School, which added a baby nursery, a bath house, a playground monitored after school and on weekends, and meals The kids got free daycare so both parents could work. U.S.C. sociology students continued to visit, assess and help the most needy immigrants. The Americanization program taught domestic skills to girls and job skills to boys. All kids learned to grow garden vegetables. Though many parents ordered their kids to not attend school, truant officers brought them in. Several Prygun elders collected money from parents help pay for nursery babies milk. 

In 1914, Demens shifted his public focus to the war in Europe by publishing more editorials and letters in the press. The large group of "Molokan" immigrants announced in the press a decade earlier stayed home. 99% stayed in Russia. Most of the Spiritual Christian zealots fled the city. By 1915 the "bride-selling" scandal subsided. The immigrants who remained were managed by city and charity services. His decade of service to these countrymen was apparently most successful for those whom he hired or placed for work, and those who attended Cherbak's adult school.

In February 1914 the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington D.C., which was probably mentioned to the school students.

In February 1915, what appears to be the last unregistered bride case appeared in Los Angeles Superior court. The family of Nick Cheechoff abused his wife Mary Ladiou [Ledyaev ?] by performing an exorcism. Hearing announced to determine if Cheechoff will be deported.

From February 20 to December 4, 1915, the Panama–Pacific International Exposition was held in San Francisco.

By 1915, the religious text publishing projects engaged some of the zealots in the city. The process kept them busy evaluating proposals for about 7 draft versions up to 1928. Simultaneously a U.S.C. graduate student and home teacher, Lillian Sokoloff, began surveying the Spiritual Christian parents of her students, and published her report in 1918. The U.S.C. project would be continued in 1924-1926 with an analysis of the religion and religious text(s) by 2 new graduate students, one will be Pauline Young, a Russian-speaking Polish-born Jew from Chicago.

On August 5,  1915, prophet E. F. Klubnikin died and was buried in Los Angeles, Old Cemetery. Many Dukh-i-zhizniki credit his prophecy for bringing their faith to Los Angeles. Zealot oral history ignored the fact that Demens personally diverted them from Canada, and arranged transportation for them to come to Los Angeles, escorting the first groups.

August 20, 1915, was "Cadillac Day" at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, in San Francisco. All cars of all makes are invited to drive to the Exposition, and pick up people along the way, for a huge celebration featuring the new 1916 models. All cars from Southern California met in Los Angeles and were divided into two caravans, one along the coast, the other through the Central Valley. In 1915, 55,217 motor vehicles were counted in Los Angeles County. "The county led the world in per capita ownership of automobiles and continues to do so today."(55)

In January 1916 military exception expired in Mexico. The congregation there from Novo-Mikhailovka (Tiukma, Diukma), Kars, departed for Jerome Junction, Chino Valley, Central Arizona, where they would be known as Dzheromskiy. By the end of 1916 they would abandon Chino Valley and temporarily resettle 3 miles west of Glendale, most leaving within a decade to Mexico and California..

In May 1917, the Selective Service Act sparked a hysteria among Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles who were pacified by the educated Russians who had been working with them. But the most zealous insisted on taking a petition to the Tsar (President Woodrow Wilson) which ignited the most zealous isolated in Arizona, who directed all 34 of their boys (a 35th one hid) to not register. Though the draft protesters identified themselves as "Spiritual Christian Jumpers," again the false "Molokan" label was nationally associated with a new scandal. This time they were "slackers" (cowards, un-American draft dodgers).

In 1919 Peter A. Demens died at his Loma Linda farm, leaving a wife and 8 children. Much more is yet to be learned about him, and documented online as time permits. In January 2020, wife Tanya and I spent 5 days in central Florida

Demens remained in Los Angeles after his colleagues gave up trying to help these Spiritual Christians from Russia. It must have been a huge disappointment for him that most of what he and his friends did to try to help these immigrants failed. He devoted much of the last 2 decades of his life to inviting fellow countrymen to California and personally helping them get settled. He traveled across the U.S.A. several times, escourted groups to Los Angeles, scouted Hawaii, wrote letters, published articles, contacted the President and Lev Tolstoy, and spent 100s of hours meeting and traveling with them. In the end, most of the Spiritual Christians were not satisfied, fought among themselves, and eventually erased him from their oral history; but they did not erase his simple false marketing brand — "Molokan." This deceptive simple label continues today as false history in North America, spread to Dukh-i-zhizniki in the Former Soviet Union, and on to confused scholars and media.

In St. Petersburg, Florida, Demens is remembered as co-founder and railway builder at a public monument, a street and landing named for him, and in a history book published in his honor: Full Steam Ahead! : The True Story of Peter Demens, the Brave Russian Nobleman Who Built the Orange Belt Railway and Founded America's Unique St. Petersburg,  by Albert Parry, 1987. In Rancho Cucamonga, California, his name is publicly displayed at his house, now a historical monument, the Demens-Tolstoy Estate; and on the Demens Creek/Channel and Demens Creek Trail which replaced the local railway he created. In 1990 his memory was resurrected among Dukh-i-zhizniki in a chapter, contributed by Bill Aldacusion, in the 1990 book A Stroll Through Russia Town, by Mohoff and Valoff. His history is currently being collected in collaboration among 6 researchers in the US and Canada. Stay tuned for more.

In the 1980s, Dr. William Parsons, Ekerdt University became interested in Peter Demens whom he studied for more than 20 years.

During the 1995 Centennial of the city of St. Petersburg, Florida, a  

Dr. Pauline V. Young (1896-1977),
was married in 1918 to Dr. Erle F. Young (1898-1953) whom she met at the University of Chicago when she was an undergraduate and he was a graduate student. Both Jewish, they had 2 children, boy and girl, and moved to Los Angeles about 1923, where he was a professor and she was a graduate student, at the new Department of Sociology, University of Southern California (U.S.C.)(94). They worked at U.S.C. until they retired in the early 1940s, then moved to the city of Merced, Central California, where they joined a Jewish congregation and are buried.

Click to ENLARGE

Signatures from Young's master's thesis, page x,
showing that her husband/ professor helped enough to co-sign.
Photos taken for their wedding.

Research in-progress.

Pauline Young did her master's (1926), published papers (1929+), Ph.D. theses (1930) and a book (The Pilgrims of Russian-town, 1932) about Spiritual Christian Pryguny (Jumpers) from Russia in Los Angeles, but erroneously used the term "Molokan(s)" when referring to them 1000+ times in print. She probably advised the establishment of their first youth organization, the U.M.C.A., in 1926, and helped compose and edit the 1928 Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn', the Preface of which appears to be mostly from her research, including the mistake of calling all these people "Molokans".

A major goal of the new U.S.C. Department of Sociology was to document all the nationalities in the city, and she was assigned to the non-orthodox, non-Jewish immigrants from Russian east of the Los Angeles River the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians, an enclave with about a dozen distinct religious tribes.

Her goals apparently were to reassure government and society that these peasant immigrants from Russia were safe white Protestant Christians, not foreign infiltrators, who intended to become productive tax-paying citizens, while she tried to understand and change the behaviors of the immigrants for assimilation. Her main tasks appear to have been to (a) document them, (b) prescribe how to stop the deviant and criminal behaviors of their youth, and (c) to help guide these immigrants from being a burden to society.

After 1920, perhaps a thousand Spiritual Christians from Russia who fled Los Angeles during the bride selling scandal (1912-1915) returned to the big city where life was much easier than farming. She reported they were from Russia, but not not Jews or Hebrews, who will assimilate in a generation;(19) and they will not be a burden to civil society nor degrade social heredity. Many elite Americans feared "Hebrews" (Jews) would degrade them through intermarriage. Her work was needed to advise and guide politicians and educators about their integration and assimilation,(19) and to gather data for her husband's social science research on juvenile delinquency. Her achievements were mostly competent in the new science of sociology, but critically lacking in parts of her reporting, analysis and conclusions.

A major error, or deception, was using one word on the title of her book (above) that they were Spiritual Christian Jumpers (Pryguny) and a different word in the book that they were Molokane. She changed the English word Jumper to the Russian term Molokan, and by repetition Anglicized it as Molokan. She falsified history. Why? I spent decades studying this question.

Though the Russian term Pryguny (genitive plural: Prygunov) is in her 1932 book book title (right, above), Young only identified them as "Jumpers" 9 times in the book text, but 890 times as Molokan(s) — nearly 100 times more — inside the book. She extensively misused the term "Molokan(s)" nearly exclusively in all of her other publications and presentations about them, as did descendants of the immigrants, and all scholars citing her publications who perpetuated this error. Was this an honest error, blunder or oversight; an easy way to finish her thesis on time; or, did she use the false term intentionally to help hide zealous religious traits, cult rituals and prophesies?

While the term Pryguny was extensively used by many of the immigrants among themselves, she used none of the limited published history of Pryguny, and the immigrants provided very little information and/or knowledge of their own history. She apparently decided to save research efforts and time by substituting the word "Molokan" for Prygun, which many of the immigrants learned to use from P.A. Demens who diverted them to Los Angeles from Canada during their immigration and whom she never mentions. I find the omission of Demens odd because Demens' rural neighbor in Loma Linda was the U.S.C. professor Dr. Theodore Krystofovitch who is credited with translating the new Dukh-i-zhiznik religious text for Young's Ph.D. thesis and book.

She had 2 kids at home with a live-in maid, a husband, full teaching schedule, and other duties as an assistant professor. She apparently never examined early Los Angeles newspapers (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Herald) which would have revealed the impact of Peter A. Demens, 25 years before she arrived in Los Angeles, nor did she mention him in her published papers. She also missed the contributions of Cherbak and the de Blumenthals who, with Demens, introduced and aided this "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians".

Why did she not use the Prygun label exclusively in the book, as in the title? Did she use the Russian Prygun term in the book title just to pacify the most zealous non-English speaking elders to fool them in Russian while the English readers got a different label? (Dukh-i-zhizniki also use this two language deception, saying one thing in English and another thing in Russian.)

She also failed to recognize, or understand, that she was documenting the formation of a new family of faiths who began using the new religious text: Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' which she had been translating with Dr. Kryshtofovich, and probably editing. She either missed an opportunity to name the the new faiths of "people who use the Dukh i zhizn'"Dukh-i-zhizniki in Russian — , and complete a translation and publication of their new book for the benefit of the American-born, and scholarship; or, did she purposely avoid further translating the book and naming the new faiths perhaps to accelerate their assimilation? A hint appears in the final sentence of her 1932 book (page 276): " What the next quarter-century will reveal is as yet uncertain, but the present trends indicate that city life eventually fuses even the most refractory sectarian material." Here "stubborn" probably means "stubborn". She appears to predicted that the next generation, in 25 years, would be assimilated, English speaking, and intermarried with other American faiths, which most did, even the most stubborn Spiritual Christians from Russia.

After her research on Spiritual Christians from Russia in Los Angeles, her career work focused on teaching systematic interviewing and data analysis to social science students. She often used her interview data sheets of Spiritual Christian subjects as examples for her lectures and textbooks.

By the 1960s she recognized that not all of her Spiritual Christians subjects assimilated after 25 years, as she predicted at the end of her 1932 book. She planned to examine why and how they persisted, but her notes were lost in a fire and a possible book update was cancelled.(69) Also perhaps, several zealous elders objected to another book which might highlight the "unclean" Y.R.C.A. ("Jack Greners") who helped manage the U.M.C.A. "devils" that attenuated the assimilation she forecast in 1932.

If Young's Prygun name cover up was intentional, what could motivated her to hide the religious identity of Pryguny and other zealous faiths in Russian-town? 
  • Was it because Pryguny did not have the Tsar's permission to migrate, but went illegally by lying that they were Molokane?
    • Therefore, if she identified them as Pryguny, they might be recalled (deported) to Russia?
  • Was it due to social threats in the political environmental of America and Los Angeles during her time in Los Angeles (1920s-1930s)?
    • Hostility toward emerging Pentecostal "Holy Jumpers" similar to antisemitism?
    • Historic association among all Spiritual Christian faiths in North America, particularly the protesting Svobodniki (sovereign people, Freedomites) in Canada?
    • Fear of Bolsheviki from Russia and the the Socialist Party in Los Angeles?
    • The mass raids and arrest of Russian immigrants in Chicago in 1920, and their deportation to Russia, before she moved to Los Angeles?
    • The 1924 bombing death of Communal Dukhobor leader P. V. Verigin in British Columbia, Canada, possibly by the Oregon Ku Klux Klan (K.K.K.) to prevent over 10,000 of his followers from moving to the Willamette Valley, Oregon?
    • Immigration Act of 1924 restricting immigration from Russia?
    • Fear of Los Angeles Mayor Porter (1929-1933 ) who was a senior member of the Ku Klux Klan (K.K.K.) which had an office downtown?
  • What do you think? (Research in-progress)
No evidence can be found that anyone ever formally questioned her reports or false labeling, until here and now (beginning in 2010). In 1969 I discussed the completeness of her thesis with a sociology professor at U.C.L.A. who knew her. He agreed with me that her work had "holes" and more documentation was needed, but we did not discuss any specific errors or research methods, mainly because at the time I knew little about social science research and my major was in chemistry and mathematics. 43 years later, in 2012, I began this Taxonomy and analysis of her work. I copied and began to study her theses at the U.S.C. Doheny Library archive, which are now online.

Beginning in 1910, 52% of the California general population consisted of immigrants and children of immigrants, which burdened the booming area with huge costs to accommodate them. As more housing, employment and social services became available in the Flat(s) (9th ward, Los Angeles), Spiritual Christians from Russia migrated eastward across the Los Angeles River, out of Bethlehem (8th ward). Congregations, that had to meet together at the Stimpson-Lafayette Industrial School, managed by the Bethlehem Institute, or in cramped houses, could meet separately. Utah street school provided free nursery care for babies. L.A. City Parks and Recreation provided free day-care after school by building and managing the school playground (years before Pecan Playground). The schools and charities provided free food and medical care for the needy. All these city benefits allowed both parents to work full-time, while government and charities managed and fed their kids, dawn to dusk at no cost. The Womens U.S.C. sociologists probably recommended special educational buildings at Utah Street School for immigrants — the "Americanization Building" — to teach domestic skills to girls, and the adjoining sloyd workshop to each employable skills to boys. A large Quaker-Methodist mission had been in operation since 1904 at Clarence and Third streets, and 2 more community service settlement houses were on North Clarence street across from Utah Street School. A free medical and maternity clinic was on the corner of First and Utah streets, across the street from both the U.M.C.A. and molodoi sobranie (Young People's Meeting). Compared to their Russian villages, big city life was much easier if you had a job, and all your kids (from babies to teenagers) were fed and supervised at school, dawn to dusk, for no charge. Initially their major problems were cramped housing, language, air pollution, and a congested urban ghetto of mixed nationalities.

In February 1910, "The School of Citizenship" was reopened at 2 locations of the Bethlehem Institutions “to continue the work of making American citizens of the foreign-born people of Los Angeles.” At 510 Vignes street, the "Mother church", most of the students are Russians and Greeks.

In 1911, city life confronted the most zealous Spiritual Christians with drastic cultural and legal challenges to their Old World cultures, which caused many to flee the city to preserve bride-selling, maintain dress and language, and avoid registration (in school, for citizenship; and births, marriages and deaths). In 10 years most will return to the city after adjusting to their fears.

In Fall 1911, the Civic Association of Los Angeles conducted a house-to-house survey of the nutrition of school children. Most ate at school due to poverty. Gardening was taught at school, and 15,000 kids began their own home gardens.

In May 1912 a May Day Song Festival was hosted by the Los Angeles School Department at Temple Auditorium (location of the current Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center). Russian immigrant children would not sing the Russian National Hymn [God Save the Tsar!].

In 1914, the Bethlehem Institutions were closed by the City of Los Angeles for mismanagement. The Rev. Dr. Dana Bartlett was no longer nearby to monitor, advise nor guide the 12 various religious leaders from Russia who moved away from his former neighborhood as he moved his residence to the westside of Los Angeles. In the Flat(s), charities and government expanded social support services for aliens (Armenians, Chinese, Italians, Japanese, Mexicans, Russians, Slavs, Blacks (African-Americans), etc.) and the other poor.

In 1915, a Russian-speaking U.S.C. student and Utah Street School Home Teacher, Lillian Sokoloff, began a 3-year project to teach Spiritual Christian women from Russia how to survive and navigate American life. Her project ended in 1918 with a published report which was continued 5 years later by Pauline Young in 1923. But, the Young's failed to recognize or understand that Sokoloff had identified and documented several different faiths among these non-Orthodox folk-protestant immigrants from Russia which divided them. The majority (94%) of the population that Young surveyed was labeled by Sokoloff as Pryguny. Only 6% were Molokane who had no meeting house, and integrated with non-Molokan faiths.

^ Contents ^

Location of Wislicka family in Poland — 1880s-1913.
Click to ENLARGE

Timeline of Pauline V. and Erle F. Young.
  • 1896 May 30, born Pola Wislicka in Końskie village, Kingdom of Poland (Congress, Russian Poland), between Warsaw and Krakow.
    • Her family was classified as Hungarian (Magyar) Jews.
    • She was the youngest of 4 sisters — Sarah (1887-1970), Rose (1889-1962), Anna (1895-1955), Pola (1896-1977) — and the last to die.
  • 1908, about age 12, her mother died age 42 in Wroclaw village, Poland.
  • 1910, about age 14, her father died age 44 in Radomsko village, Poland. The 4 Wislicka sisters became orphans.
  • 1910, future husband Erle Young, age 21, lived on a family farm in Beaumont, California, with 2 grandparents, 2 parents, 2 sisters (Eva L. 19, Jennie F. 15), 2 cousins, 2 farm hands. He was the oldest of 4 kids. The family soon moved to Illinois, where he attended the University of Chicago.
  • 1913 September 26, Pola Wiślicka, age 17, moved to America with her 3 married sisters (ages 26, 24, 18) They arrived in New York on the steam ship Pretoria from Hamburg Germany. Her American name became Pauline Vislick. The Polish letter "W" is pronounced like the English "V".
  • Somehow they moved to Chicago, and may have been helped by family there or any of more than a dozen Jewish organizations. Beginning in 1910 Chicago became a diaspora center for Polish nationalism and aid for Polish independence.
  • Fall 1915, age 19, just 2 years after immigrating, she enrolled in the University of Chicago, where she majored in sociology, and was active and an officer of the Jewish woman's club.
  • From 1917 to 1918, age 21-22, she worked as a Family Case Worker for the Chicago American Red Cross. Her supervisor was Erle Young (future husband).
  • 1918 September (~22) she married her boss and sociology graduate student, Erle F. Young (age 30), born in America. Both were Jewish. Wedding was in Louisville, Kentucky, probably with his family.
  • 1918 November independence of Poland was proclaimed but the new nation was a shambles and its people were hungry and homeless. American food aid began in 1919. Political and economic turmoil continued for 20 years, then Germany and Russia invaded and destroyed the country. More aid from American diaspora began. Chicago was an American center of diaspora Polish nationalism.
  • 1919, 6 years after immigrating, she graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree (Ph.B.) in Sociology.
  • 1919 October 2, their only son Clarence Lee was born, named after Erle's brother who died in infancy. In 1953, at age 33 Clarence shot his wife and himself, leaving 3 daughters raised by grandmother Pauline, then retired in Modesto, California.
  • 1919, she worked 2 paid jobs for the Federal Department of Labor, and the Illinois State Health Insurance Commission; and volunteered with the United Charities in Chicago in the "Polish district."
  • 1919 August - September, the Communist Labor Party/United Communist Party, and the Communist Party of America were founded in Chicago, then spread to other cities.
  • 1920, on New Year's Day, about 150 alleged immigrant "Red" suspected revolutionaries were arrested in raids in Chicago. Some were probably clients of the Young's social work.  
  • 1920, 7 years after immigrating, she became a naturalized citizen.
  • 1920, husband Erle F. Young became an instructor in the School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago.
  • 1920, Erle F. Young earned a Ph.D. in sociology, thesis: "The Use of Case Method in Training Social Workers."
  • 1920, the new S
  • 1921 August 14, their only daughter Harriet Anne was born, named after Pauline's mother Henriette. She was married twice, had 2 kids (boy, girl) with first husband whom she divorced.
  • 1922, February, Soviet headquarters in Chicago exposed. Local Russians investigated for supporting Bolsheviks.
  • 1923, Dr. and Mrs. Young, and 2 kids (boy 3, girl 2), move to Los Angeles, where Dr. Erle Young was offered a teaching job at the University of Southern California (U.S.C.). They rent a house within walking distance of campus, and hire a nanny-maid to care for 2 kids.
  • 1925, P. V. Young gets a research fellowship on a Boys Work Survey, with Emory Bogardus, founder and chairman, School of Sociology, U.S.C.
  • 1926 May, age 30, P. V. Young masters thesis: "The Social Heritages of the Molokane: Monographic study of the Molokane in Los Angeles." She illogically and mistakenly claimed Pryguny are the same as Molokane, repeating what she translated from subject interviews — misinformation broadcast by Demens 20 years earlier. She ignored a 3-year survey by Sokoloff showing that 94% of her subjects are Pryguny.
  • 1927, in Buck v. Bell the U.S. Supreme Court legalized eugenic sterilization of undesirables, a practice led by California which did 1/3 of all sterilizations in the country. Targeted were the mentally ill and mentally deficient, which could apply to drunks, the poor, and religious zealots among the immigrants from Russia. Sterilization doubled in a decade and continued to the 1950s. Those not sterilized were deported.
  • 1930 June, P. V. Young doctoral dissertation: "Assimilation Problems of Russian Molokans in Los Angeles" (524 pages, 1 map). She mistakenly continues to claim that Pryguny are actually Molokane while focusing on how to assimilate them.
  • 1932, P. V. Young theses are combined and published as a book (full title): The Pilgrims of Russian-town: Общество Духовных Хрисиан Пригунов в Америке, The Community of Spiritual Christian Jumpers in America: The Struggle of a Primitive Religious Society To Maintain Itself in an Urban Environment. She mistakenly continues to claim that Pryguny are the same as Molokane, and failed to recognize that new religions were forming based on the Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life).
  • 1944 Drs. Young have retired and are living in Modesto, California, 90 miles east of San Francisco.
  • 1953 January, their only son Clarence shot his wife and himself in Tracy, California, leaving 3 daughters raised by grandmother Pauline. Both were buried in Tracy, rather than 30 miles east in Modesto.
  • 1953 May, husband Dr. Erle Young, age 55, died and was buried in Modesto CA.
  • 1956-57, P. V. Young served on Executive Committee, Society for the Study of Social Problems.
  • 1960s, a second book about Russian-town was planned but not published.(69)
  • 1977, at age 81, Dr. P. V. Young died and was buried in Modesto CA.
In less than 10 years after she immigrated, Pola Wislicka became Pauline Vislick-Young, and transformed into a professional American, married with 2 kids. She also knew first-hand about intense discrimination of immigrants from Russian in Europe and in the United States.

Socio-political environment of Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles

Since  the late 1800s, Italian immigrants were considered by some to be less human than Negroes. A series of lynchings of Italian immigrants occurred in the South, besides the hundreds of lynchings of African-Americans. Then, as now, many in the South did not like or want immigrants to take their land, jobs or intermarry with them.

In 1912, Community Dukhobortsy (C.C.U.B.) were investigated for 4 months by a Canadian commission.(21) The fragmented Dukhobor population numbered about 12,000 most of whom were falsely reported in the news to be nudists and terrorists.

Discrimination against several populations of Eastern Europeans was widespread in Canada and the United States, which probably concerned the Vislick family and their relatives who immigrated from the Ukrainian border where Jews were restrained, persecuted, assaulted and killed.

From 1914 to 1920 the Canadian government interned 8,579 mostly single men of German, Austrian and Ukrainian ancestry, including Jews and Mennonites, in 24 concentration camps across the country. They were feared as enemy aliens. About 5,000 Ukrainians were arrested trying to cross into the U.S. Several were from Russia.

In 1914, Russian-born Emilio Kosterlitzky was hired by the Department of Justice Bureau of Investigation (B.O.I.), to spy on suspicious aliens in Los Angeles, including those from Russia. He apparently investigated Prygun-owned stores in the "Flat(s)" through the 1920s. He died in 1928 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, 1 block southeast of the Spiritual Christian "Old Cemetery" in East Los Angeles.

In 1915, the first Spiritual Christian hymnal (songbook, pessennik) and first collection of prophesies (Morning Star, Utrennyaya zvezda, Утренняя звезда) initiated in Arizona, was published in Los Angeles, by Shanin and Kobziv — title: Пѣсенникъ (Pesennik), По соглосiю Прыгунской Духовной Братстим (Po soglasiyu Prygunskoi Dukhovnoi Bratstim : By agreement with the Jumper Spiritual Brotherhood). The word "Molokan" does not appear in these 2 books.

Also in 1915, the Adventist prophet Ellen G. White died. It is interesting here to compare a century of progress of Adventists with Dukh-i-zhizniki from 1915 to 2015. In many ways White 's followers (Adventists) shared beliefs and practices similar to various disorganized Spiritual Christian tribes (conscientious objection, vegetarianism, prophesy, fasting, Bible, and no Christmas holiday). In contrast to Spiritual Christian prophets from Russia, White's will appointed a "self-perpetuating board" (a Trust) that took charge of White's estate of spiritual manuscripts, which were conserved, organized, copyrighted, published, translated into many languages and distributed. A small library of books, journals, newsletters, and encyclopedias, were published. Branch offices, schools, and hospitals were built and staffed. Annual conferences and regional meetings were held.(37) During the same 100 years, the developing Dukh-i-zhizniki, who forbid forming a committee (komitet) in 1928, argued and divided, trying to hide their secret faiths from the "world", resisted education and publishing, and had not grown for more than 100 years. In comparison, from 1910 to 2012, Adventist membership grew about 170 times (from 104K to 17.6 million).(38) If Dukh-i-zhizniki in the United States had grown at the rate of Adventists, there would be about a third of a million active members in the U.S.A. in the 2000s. Such large numbers of Dukh-i-zhiniki would scare those who prefer very small controlled congregations, where everyone knows everyone else for generations.

Beginning in 1915, to 1923, the major massacres of the Armenian Genocide occurred in Turkey (now Türkiye) and the Soviet Union.

On 4 July 1915, Americanization Day began, which celebrated the new programs of cultural genocide of all immigrants. The most zealous tribes of Spiritual Christians from Russia had already fled the Los Angeles metropolitan area, to Mexico, Central California and other states. Many in Mexico wanted to return to the U.S., and one tribe made it to Central Arizona by January 1916.

In January 1916, 130 Pryguny moved from Mexico to Central Arizona. The leader V. G. Pivovaroff believed all in Mexico will soon follow and signed up for 10,000 acres in 2 valleys north of Prescott, Arizona. Their irrigation colony failed within the year, most all moved south to join 3 colonies west of Glendale, and 19 men sued the land company. This was the second lawsuit filed by Pryguny in the U.S.A. — the first was filed in Los Angeles for payment of a commission for the 1905 Mexico land sale.

On 14 June 1916, Flag Day began with a Proclamation by President Wilson.

In December 1916, G. E. Rasputin, a mystical holy man, adviser to nobility, was murdered in Russia. His daughter Maria moved to America, and retired in Los Angeles where she died in 1977. 

In February 1917, Community Doukhobor leader, Peter V. Verigin, sent a telegram to the Russian Provisional Government that all his 10,000 followers were willing to return to Russia to farm, if they were given land and military exemption, like offered in Canada.(74)

In April 1917, America entered the European war, later called World War I. A national military draft was called.

In May 1917, Rabbi E. G. Hirsch of the "reformed" Chicago Sinai Congregation, which the Pauline Vislick may have attended, declared he was against Zionism. "Generally, the upper class Jews in Chicago, primarily of German and Austrian heritage, ... were anti-Zionist."(75) Sinai's first Rabbi Felsenthal declared: "Judaism had to be redefined as a modern religion consistent with intellectual progress in the sciences and humanities."  Paula Vislick's reformed Jewish culture may have inspired her to become an American scholar of humanity.

Beginning on June 5, 1917, 34 Spiritual Christian "Holy Jumpers" and Maksimisty from Russia in 4 adjacent colonies on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona, refused to register for the draft and were sentenced to 1 year in jail, in Prescott, Arizona. They all served 10 months, for good behavior and to limit costs. The most zealous 6, refused to sign release papers from jail (including my grandfather Jacob D. Conovaloff) and were turned over to the military police, taken to Fort Huachuca, near Tucson, where they were abused then sentenced to life in military prison. Most all of the news and legal documentation mislabeled these slackers (draft dodgers) as "Molokans", though they stated they were "Pryguny" though some were Maksimisty and other faiths.

While the 34 were in jail, 3 major acts of Congress were passed regarding aliens — the Espionage Act of 1917 (June15), Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 (October 6), and the Sedition Act of 1918 (May 16). Many immigrants were investigated in North America.

In October 1917, the Bolshevik-led Red October Revolution overthrew the Russian Provisional Government. Fear spread around the world that anarchists will overthrow more governments. Nationalist Americans in government, including law enforcement (police), were on alert for any un-American activities by immigrants, especially Eastern and Southern Europeans.

July 4, 1918 was renamed Loyalty Day, after the U.S. entered the war. Immigrants were told to conduct parades, donate to war charities and register for the draft.

In Canada in 1918, goli svobodniki (nude sovereign people) in British Columbia increased public protests against Community Dukhobortsy, causing P.V. Verigin to ask for a restraining order, which was ignored. The protestors were falsely called Doukhobors, who were sometimes called Molokans.

Also in 1918, Lillian Sokoloff, a Home-school teacher at Utah Street School, Los Angeles, finished her 3-year survey of Spiritual Christians for the U.S.C. Department of Sociology which was described in the university newspaper in April 25, 1919 (page 1, column 4, bottom). She conducted the first and only population estimate of the was the different branches of Spiritual Christians from Russia, showing 

In August 1918, American Expeditionary Forces arrived in North Russia and Siberia to aid the Allied Intervention in Russia against the Bolshevik (Red) Russian October Revolution of 1917. Bolsheviki won the civil war in Russia. The Allied Powers withdrew in 1920, and Japanese in 1925. Many historians stated that the failed foreign interventions prolonged the Russian civil war, led to WWII and the Cold War, and poisoned East-West relations forever after.

In September 1918 September the Youngs were married in Kentucky, probably at his parent's synagogue.

From June 1918 through May 1919, the Spanish flu infected about 27% of the world population (~ 500 million), killing about 10% of those infected, mostly the young and elderly. Deaths in the U.S. are estimated to have been from 500,000 to 675,000 people. About 20 infants died in the Arizona colonies.

From September 1918 to June 1919, U.S. Senate Overman Committee investigated communism among Germans and Bolsheviks and other "un-American activities" in the United States. Final report released in June 1919. The Overman Committee inspired formation of the Fish Committee (1930),  McCormack–Dickstein Committee (1934–1937), House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC, 1938), and continuous investigations to 1975 as the Cold War appeared to end.

From March 1919 to April 1920, the Lusk Committee was formed by the New York State Legislature to investigate individuals and organizations in New York State suspected of sedition. State-wide raids were conducted at the Russian Soviet Bureau, the Rand School, the left wing of the Socialist Party and the IWW, 73 branches of the new Communist party, and offices of dozens of radical publications. The results were minor and controversial, resulting in 2 anarchist editors serving up to 5 years in prison, several radical immigrants deported, 5 Socialist Party members of the State legislature expelled, and years of politicians trying to control speech and education.

Beginning in 1919 widespread fear of terrorist acts, world revolution, and protests by immigrant Bolsheviks and anarchists impacted the country. Though most activity was on the east coast, the west coast was not spared —
In 1919, Senator Palmer recruited  J. Edgar Hoover to investigate the terrorists who tried to kill him and 36 other prominent people. 1000s of the Union of Russian Workers were arrested in the New York area and 100s deported, while many left voluntarily. The national news caused scrutiny of most all enclaves of  immigrants from Russia in California, as it did in Arizona after my grandfather and 5 others were released from prison and celebrated as martyrs for not registering for the military draft draft. From 1919 to 1924, about 500 were arrested in California, many given long prison sentences.(67)

In 1919, Community Dukhobortsy (mostly C.C.U.B. members) and Sons of Freedom in British Columbia, Canada, were partially disenfranchised (denied the right to vote) for 37 years in B.C. elections. Indemedent Doukhobors in central Canada could vote.

The United States government had to determine if all these mislabeled "Molokan" immigrants were worthy of citizenship, and who should be deported, if any..

In May 1919, "The Americanization Movement," by Dr. Howard C. Hill, University of Chicago, was published in The American Journal of Sociology (University of Chicago), pages 609-642. The paper summarized a national survey about huge wave of recent immigration, and was probably known by Vislick and Young. Hill reported:
  • Up to 1885, most immigrants were rather similar Northern Europeans, "possessing ideals, customs, standards of living, modes of thought, and religion ... as those of earlier settlers. .. Illiteracy was uncommon; education was highly esteemed ... little tendency to settle in racial groups. ... few obstacles to successful Americanization." (page 610)
  • By 1905 the majority of immigrants (75%) came from Southern and Eastern Europe with high illiteracy, different customs and thought, and many with no intention of becoming permanent residents or American citizens. A huge problem, and typical of the Spiritual Christians from Russia who remained on the east-side of Los Angeles.
  • In 1917, 34% of alien males eligible for the new draft did not speak English, required for completing the conscription exam and forms.(73)
  • Over 1300 foreign-language newspapers were published in the U.S.
  • "The mission schools of the English-speaking churches are also influential among the persons they reach." (i.e. in Los Angeles: Bethlehem Institutions, International Institute, closed in 1914.)
In 1919 the Arizona Spiritual Christian colonies were again accused of being Bolsheviks twice, first in April at the Maksimist colony, and in December while shopping for land in Casa Grande. In early 1920, hooligans were arrested for assaulting and harassing women in the colony. Few incidents occurred in Southern California, due to a large population of cheap immigrant labor and distance from the east coast; the most notable found were 2 bombings in San Francisco, and strikes in Seattle WA and Bisbee AZ; and, the Los Angeles government was mostly dealing with its own corruption.

In 1919 Community Dukhobortsy, Hutterites and Quakers in British Columbia were barred from voting for fear they could swing an election due to their large population.

On 1 June 1919, the Canadian government banned Mennonite, Hutterite and Doukhobor immigration into Canada due to public pressure against undesirable immigrants. These German-speaking and Russian-speaking people who refused military participation were considered a danger to Canada and lacked Canadian values. Order-in-Council PC 1204 amended Section 38 of the Immigration Act: They were "…undesirable, owing to their peculiar customs, habits, modes of living, and methods of holding property, and because of their probable inability to become readily assimilated to assume the duties and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship within a reasonable time after entry." The Order was cancelled in 1923 for Mennonites, and in 1925 for Doukhobors.

During the 15 years, from 1920 to 1935, Spiritual Christians communities in Southern California and British Columbia had to make difficult significant changes to adjust to their surrounding cultures; and, Pauline Young appears in Los Angeles, conducts her research, and publishes. How much she and the various groups in the U.S. and Canada knew about each other's problems can only be guessed as limited to what appeared in their respective local newspapers, because we do not know yet if any news was sent by letters.

In 1920, Pauline Young was enrolled at the University of Chicago, and working with immigrant Russians. On New Year's Day, January 1, the aggressive county attorney for the Chicago area conducted his own surprise raids to arrest communist "Reds" a day before a scheduled federal "Palmer raid" on January 2. The county attorney wanted the political prestige of upstaging the new federal Bureau of Investigation to advance his career, but his raids were terribly abusive. One raid occurred at a Russian adult school well known to Young. At least 80 Russians, many were her clients, and 13 Italians were arrested, squeezed into very cramped jail cells, and not fed for a day. Most all were innocent people illegally taken without court warrants, and some held for weeks before being released. Many were pacifists, including a Tolstoyan, well known by local sociologists, including Jane Addams whose pioneering work with the poor and immigrants was earlier duplicated in Los Angeles by the Dr. Rev. Dana W. Bartlett to organize the Bethlehem Institutes. Young was probably horrified that an American police state suddenly appeared and forced innocent immigrants from their homes and schools, holding them without cause in terrible conditions, then releasing them days and weeks later, and holding some longer for bail.(46)

Could such a raid also happen in Los Angeles among the approximate 2000 Spiritual Christians from Russia whom she would soon be assigned to investigate as a scholar? She must have discussed with her professor husband how they could help prevent a similar raid in Los Angeles. Maybe the raids motivated the Youngs to leave Chicago for a safer city in California.

In 1920 during the post war depression, most of the distant rural colonies formed by Spiritual Christians who fled from the Los Angeles "bride-selling" scandal, failed primarily due to buying poor land and the post W.W.I. recession. Perhaps as many as 2000 returned to the Los Angeles enclave where overcrowding, poverty, juvenile delinquency and truancy, crime, alcoholism, domestic violence, and other strife significantly increased in the Flat(s) area. The huge incoming migration back to the Flat(s) certainly alerted government workers.

"According to a report sent by a Russian-speaking American investigator in California in 1920 (probably Speeks), "With few exceptions, the Russians want to go home. Recently all the Molokans, of Tacoma, San Francisco, Los Angeles and along the coast, numbering several thousand, requested the government to deport them. They claimed that they had been 'cheated' by the Americans in their talk about the 'freedom of America.'"(47)

By the 1920s, the University of Southern California (U.S.C.) in Los Angeles had developed the most robust sociology program on the west coast with close connections with the University of Chicago, which pioneered urban sociology. The new department was founded and headed by Dr. Bogardus, from Chicago, who would soon recruit Dr. and Mrs. Young.

During 1920, many earthquakes occurred in and around Los Angeles, possibly caused by oil drilling. The first widely felt with property damage was in February, July (Inglewood) and the last in September. Earthquakes continued in bursts with the next largest in 1929 (Whittier), and 1933 (Long Beach) killing 133 people and closing the main train depot — La Grande Station, south of 1st Street, west of the Los Angeles River (across from The Flats(s)), where Spiritual Christians from Russia first arrived. American government intrusion into the immigrant culture (mandatory English education; registration of birth, marriage, death) and acts of God disasters undoubtedly fueled songs and oral tradition to return home to Russia for many.

From 1921 to 1923 the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum next to U.S.C., are built. Youngs arrived at U.S.C. in 1923.

1922, February, Soviet headquarters in Chicago coordinates about 200 U.S. affiliates to gather "big money" for Russian Bolshevik government. U.S. government investigates, exposes scammers. Some elected U.S. officials were fooled into helping.

From 1922 to 1926, 3,340 (74%) of the Old Colony Mennonites in Manitoba, Canada, sold their farms and fled to Mexico, to maintain the "religious principles" they had in Russia. Young probably learned of this historic mass migration from other sociology faculty.

In 1922 Russia expected most of the Russian diaspora to return. The Society for Technical Aid to the Soviet Union invited all Spiritual Christians from Russia in North America back to their Russian Homeland (отечество: otechestvo) and offered them land and immigration assistance. By 1926 about 20 Molokane from San Francisco rejoined Kars relatives who were relocated to eastern Rostov Oblast; and 40 families of Independent Doukhobors in Saskatchewan, Canada, joined their families in Tselinskii district, Rostov, on farm land allocated adjacent to the Molokane. During that time, no members of Spiritual Christian faiths who settled in Southern California, Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon or Washington, returned to Russia, though some of the most zealous had visions and prophesies about returning to villages near Mt. Ararat, especially the Maksimisty who believed in the second coming of their prophet M.G. Rudomyotkin (1818~1877) with Jesus Christ.

In 1923, the major massacres of the Armenian Genocide which began in Turkey (now Türkiye) and the Soviet Union in 1914, appeared to have ended.

In April 1923, one of the largest labor union strikes ever was centered at San Pedro harbor. Of 3,000 striking dockworkers, 600 were arrested, including Upton Sinclair for reading the Bill of Rights in public. ... the Marine Transport Workers Industrial Union 510, Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), called a strike that blocked 90 ships in San Pedro. The union protested low wages, bad working conditions, and the imprisonment of union activists under California's 1919 Syndicalism Law. Denied access to public property, strikers and their supporters rallied here at this site they called "Liberty Hill." Writer Upton Sinclair was arrested for reading from the Bill of Rights to a large gathering. The strike failed but laid a foundation for success in the 1930s. The Syndicalism Law was ruled unconstitutional in 1968.

Youngs Move to Los Angeles

About 1923, Pauline V. Young, age 29, enrolled in the sociology graduate program at U.S.C. Her kids were very young, boy Clarence 3, girl Harriet 1. They rented a house less than a mile west of campus, at ___, and had a live-in housekeeper, nanny.

She arrived nearly 20 years after the first Spiritual Christians from Russia came to Los Angeles, 10 years after most all had arrived, and 4 years after Demens died. Most Spiritual Christians from Russia had been integrating and assimilating(19) for 15 years, and about 2000 poor failed colonist farmers just arrived (most from Arizona; less from Central California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico and Mexico) which nearly doubled the Spiritual Christian population from Russia in Los Angeles to perhaps 4,000. They were a huge social problem on the booming East side and not likely to abandon the city again for distant farms. Many delinquent youth were a burden on social services. Neither the population nor congregations were united with a hierarchical structure, which hindered communication between these immigrants and government.

Mrs. Young spoke Russian, had first-hand experience with eugenics and ethnic discrimination in Europe and America, and immigrant Slavic populations in the U.S.A. At U.S.C. In 1923 she was undoubtedly the most capable sociology student to pursue the research published in 1918 by Lillian Sokoloff on the fragmented tribes of Spiritual Christians from Russian concentrated in East Los Angeles (today called Boyle Heights), and continued in 1924 by student Wicliffe Stack(86). She could have chosen to study the Russian Orthodox immigrants, or Russian Jews (Hebrews), but they had very few juvenile delinquents compared to the Spiritual Christians. Her Jewish background probably appealed to these various tribes of Spiritual Christians who favored Old Testament laws which facilitated her access to participants.

There are probably two important reasons Young studied this particular group of immigrants: (a) the government identified them as a social problem, and (b) her husband needed data on this cohort of juvenile delinquents. Plus, off all the sociology students, she was the best fit to conduct social science research on the Spiritual Christians from Russia, while other graduate students were matched with different immigrant populations. Within 2 decades most major alien nationalities, minority and poverty areas in Los Angeles were documented by U.S.C. sociology students — a huge body of social research, which was used to guide government and non-profit service policy and train social workers.

She probably was accepted by many of the soon-to-be Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths because she spoke Russian well, could not be rejected by zealots as a "pork-eater," was a small woman (not a big man), understood many of their holidays, and was fascinated about their Dukhi i zhizn' book project.. She arrived about a decade after the educated Russians (Demens, Cherbak, de Blumenthals, etc.) gave up by 1910, Bethlehem closed in 1914, and Sokoloff published her report in 1918, after a 5-year lull of interest from a sincere Russian-speaking outsider. Young apparently did not know, or neglected to report, about the educated Russians who intervened up to 1910. She knew about Sokoloff's report and a Jewish attorney, Mr. Lev, who represented several families in court. Her first task involved examining the new religious text they were debating and trying to compile and republish in about 7 drafts, which they collectively called Dukh i zhizn' in short.

The Youngs arrived to a rapidly growing metropolis with 1 automobile to every 3 people, the highest ration in the world since 1915, and continued

Cars in Los Angeles.
— CARS — in -progress

From July 1923 to 1930, more than 21,000 Mennonites were brought to Canada from Russia, coordinated by the Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization. They were aided by railroad credits for train fares which totaled $1,767,398.68, paid in 1946. During that time, an additional 143 Doukhobors (2%) arrived on 13 ships, but very few, if any, Spiritual Christians came to America.

In 1924 a colony of independent Dukhobortsy (edinolichniki) formed at the north edge of Manteca in the San Joaquin Valley (map), about 65 miles driving east from San Francisco, 100 miles north of Kerman. Young apparently never visited Spiritual Christians outside of the Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles area, though she and her husband retired in Modesto in the 1940s, less than 20 miles south of this Doukhobor colony.  

By 1924, the the the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (C.C.U.B., communal Doukhobors in Canada) had become the largest communal organization of its kind in North America. In early 1924 the C.C.U.B. began to buy land for a huge communal colony near Eugene, Oregon. In October 1924, Peter V. Verigin, the C.C.U.B. leader was killed in a train explosion with 8 others in eastern British Columbia, Canada, less than 20 miles from the U.S border, 112 miles north of Spokane, Washington. Extensive research reveals no definite Canadian culprits, but investigators have not be able to access U.S.A. records from the F.B.I. regarding possible involvement of the Ku Klux Klan in Oregon, who are among the most likely suspects along with possible Soviet spies.

Also in 1924, J. E. Hoover became the F.B.I. director. It is possible that the U.S. Government could have wanted an expert analysis of the new Dukh-i-zhiznik religion and sociology of historically related Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles County, to avoid any similar potential act of terrorism in the U.S.A. Knowing more about these immigrant "sects" from Russia was probably important for national security due to the bride-selling scandal (1911-1915), all boys in Arizona jailed for not registering for the draft (1917-1918) and 6 went to federal prison (1918-1922), only 1 in 200 registered for citizenship (1918), and 2 presbyters were arrested and fined in Arizona for not registering births, marriages or deaths (1920).

In 1924, Dr. Erle F. Young, became a Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California.

In 1924, the Immigration Act of 1924 limited immigration from Russia, and increased migration back to Russia. Though leaders of the Maksimist and Sionist Spiritual Christians in America said they were determined to return to Mt. Ararat, they missed (or avoided) several opportunities to return in the 1920s, made their last attempt in 1939.

In 1925, Young finished her master thesis which focused on the new religious text project — Dukh i zhizn' — being debated and revised. She then worked as a social economist for the State of California, and the following year (1926) her husband accepted a teaching job in the Sociology Department at U.S.C. Her husband was teaching at the University of Chicago where he promoted social mapping and data analysis. At U.S.C. he became the national analyzer of data about urban juvenile delinquents, for which his wife would soon gather the Los Angeles data.

In 1925, a book about juvenile delinquency, Youth in Conflict by Miriam Van Waters, was published, in which the first case reported was about 5 Prygun boys arrested for burglary. The author served as superintendent of the new Juvenile Hall for Los Angeles County (1917-1920), and was appointed the Referee (like a judge) for the new Juvenile Court (1920-1930). While she was writing her book, Van Waters lectured at U.S.C. once a week, where she undoubtedly met Dr. and Mrs. Young. In her 1932 book, Young cites Van Waters once on page 213, and uses her data for "Table IV: Number and Type of Offenses of 24 Prygun Molokan Girls (from 13 to 18 years of age.)", page 214. The fact that 23 of the 24 were in Juvenile Hall for "Runaway and sex delinquency" shocked and/or angered many readers, and some Pryguny denied the facts reported.

The Youngs needed to quickly analyze this alien population from Russia to provide information for social intervention and aid, while other sociologists were performing similar studies of immigrants from other countries in Los Angeles. The Department of Sociology at U.S.C. was developing a team of scientists trying to guide the diagnosis and cure of social ills — alcoholism, poverty, illiteracy, crime, unemployment, teen pregnancy, prostitution, etc. The head of the Department of Sociology, Dr. Bogardus was personally working with non-profits and churches to form non-government organizations (NGOs) to serve the poor, non-whites, and aliens, of which 50+ nationalities and races were identified.

From 1925 to 1932, Young produced 8 publications about Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki — 2 thesis (1925, 1928), 4 papers (1927, 1929, 2 in 1930), and a book (1932). Examples of her unpublished research was included as lessons in her sociology textbook and in several lectures. She planned to update her 1932 book in the 1950s, but lost her source notes in a fire.

In September 1925, the Canadian government subcontracted recruitment and settlement of European farmers in a Railway Agreement. In 1926, Pryguny in Mexico unsuccessfully tried to partner with those in Los Angeles to accept land in central Alberta. Between 1925 and 1929, more than 185,000 Central Europeans arrived under the terms of the agreement.

In 1926 ".. nearly two million Russians are scattered all over the world as refugees, .." (Creston Review, May 14, 1926, page 2), and the rapidly growing population of Los Angeles was about 900,000. In 1926, the Spiritual Christian population in Los Angeles of about 4,000 was about 0.2% of world refugees from Russia, and about 0.44% of the rapidly growing City of Los Angeles. Though these are relatively very tiny fractions, their population was very concentrated in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Ward 9 (east of the LA River), and nearly all their kids attended one grammar school and playground (Utah street), a territory their youth gangs dominated. The Utah playground preceded the Pecan playground. Young used a then slang name for her subjects' territory — Russian-Town — in the title of her book.

In 1926, Spiritual Christians from Russia, mostly Pryguny, in Mexico and Los Angeles began to organize a cooperative migration north to Canada — a pokhod (поход) — with Canadian immigration agents. In 1928, 8 delegates, 4 from each area, toured land east of Calgary, Alberta. Though the land would be homesteaded (cheap), and they were offered a "bloc" of about 100 square miles, the deal probably failed because they would have to fund their own travel and supplies, which those in Mexico could not afford. Those in Los Angeles, were probably not interested in leaving their "kingdoms in the city" for any reason. Had they arrived in Canada before 1904, during the "open door" immigration window, land and travel expenses would have been paid by the Canadian government. This significant event was missed and/or omitted by Young and Berokoff.

In 1926 Community Dukhobortsy in Canada undergo major changes. During a meeting of Independent and Community Dukhobortsy held at Canora, Saskatchewan, Canada, it was proposed that they should move to Mexico. A delegation of about 27 went to Mexico (stopping in Arizona to visit Maksimisty) and returned with an unfavorable report. A majority decided that their next leader shall be the son of Peter Vasilich Verigin, Peter Petrovich Verigin who lives in Russia; and he is invited to immigrate to Canada. Anastasia Holuboff, common-law wife and widow of Peter V. Verigin, having lost the reign, moves to Alberta, east of Calgary where she buys 1.75 mi2 of land for a commune of 165 followers — near the land block offered to Pryguny from Mexico.

In 1926, the United Molokan Christian Association (U.M.C.A.) is founded in Los Angeles. Membership was limited to "Spiritual Christian Jumpers." A major reason for the organization was to provided community-based supervision and guidance of Spiritual Christian youth from Russia to prevent juvenile delinquency by giving the kids distractions, purpose and opportunities. But the elders did not know how to organize it, so they eventually enlisted help from 2 boys who graduated from the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (B.I.O.L.A.), Al Patapoff and Bill Samarin. Samarin's father John was president when he invited the boys to .

In June 1926, the new Central Los Angeles Public Library was opened downtown, built on he site of the State Normal School campus (for teachers) a predecessor to UCLA. It was next to the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (B.I.O.L.A.) which offered free courses, and trained the first U.M.C.A. teachers.

In May 1926, Pauline Young submits her masters thesis: "The Social Heritages of the Molokane: Monographic study of the Molokane in Los Angeles" (219 pages) which focuses on the new sacred text: Dukh i zhizn', a precursor to the final Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' (1928). This first publication about the faiths contains evidence and hints about why she changed their histories. A few notes are listed here in order by page number.
  • Page i — "The present study is presented with considerable hesitancy. ... at times the whole enterprise seemed almost presumptuous."
  • iii  — "A few unsuccessful attempts convinced me that it would be impossible to extract from them their religious beliefs by direct questioning." [She did not realize she was dealing with more than a dozen divided faith groups who constantly argued with each other.]
  • v — "To hope for complete accuracy in dealing with such an involved and vast subject as Molokanism is vain. The writer will be greatly indebted to readers who will assist in correcting misstatements or incorrect inferences. They are a large sect scattered over a wide area. Within this area are numerous groups to a considerable extent isolated from each other. Under these circumstances differences in experience have led to difference in practice. Discrepancies in the stories told by Molokane in Los Angeles are in good part due to actual differences in Russia."

She did not know she was dealing with about 25 different religious tribes with about 12 dominant leaders, who met for the first time in Los Angeles. None were Molokan. She never examined tribes outside of Los Angeles.

On 1927, May 2, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized eugenic sterilization of undesirables (Buck v. Bell), a practice led by California which did 1/3 of all sterilizations in the country. Targeted were the mentally ill and mentally deficient, and could also include habitual drunks, sexual deviants, the poor, and religious zealots among the immigrants from Russia. Sterilization doubled in a decade and continued at that rate to the 1950s. Those not sterilized were deported.(56)

On 1927 May 21, Charles Lindbergh flew solo across Atlantic and landed in Paris, France. In June he and his plane, Spirit of St. Louis, returned by boat to a hero's welcome, prizes and honors. In September he began a flight in his famous plane, across the country to promote himself, and his new book, making 82 stops in 48 states, greeted by 30 million people. June 11 was officially declared a national “Lindbergh Day” with radio programs broadcast coast-to-coast.

On 1927, September 16, Peter P. "Chistyakov" Verigin, arrived in Canada from to lead the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (CCUB, Community Doukhobors) after his father was killed in 1924.

On 1927 September 20, was “Charles A. Lindbergh Day”in Los Angeles. He landed near Montebello at Vail Field with his famous plane, greeted by about 200,000 people. He was honored with a parade of through downtown Los Angeles, seen by about a million people, which ended at the Coliseum filled to capacity at 60, 000. That night he spoke on radio (simulcast on all 6 local stations) to a banquet held in his honor at the Ambassador Hotel. It is certain that most all Spiritual Christians from Russia in Los Angeles heard this news, and many saw his landing, parade, and/or speech.

On 1928 April 28, a bright light named the “Lindbergh beacon” on top of the new City Hall and was ceremoniously turned on remotely by President Coolidge, during a 3-day dedication celebration. Every night the beacon flashed around the city for 13 years, until the US entered WW2 on December 7, 1941. It is certain that all Spiritual Christians from Russia in Los Angeles County saw the beacon at some time.

In 1928 the final version of Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' was published and soon placed (by the Holy Spirit through T. Bezayeff) on the altar tables (stol : стол) of all congregations in Southern California, thus converting all to a new family of Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths. The book was distributed to all non-Molokan congregations in Southern and Central California, Arizona, Oregon and Mexico. It was not accepted on the alter tables by steadfast (postoyannie) Prygun congregations in Mexico and Arizona, while the Maksimist congregation in Arizona welcomed it. The debated collection of edited, censored and revised writings is declared by zealots to be a sacred text.

From 1928 to 1930, demonstrations by Spiritual Christian Svobodniki ("sovereign people", Freedomites, Sons of Freedom) in British Columbia, Canada, escalated and "reached a fevered pitch." They conducted numerous protests with nudity, arson and bombings. "By 1929 zealots [Sons of Freedom in British Columbia, Canada] ... were protesting against any deal on public education by staging nude marches and burning school buildings. To allow their children to be educated by the state was, they said, to make of them 'slaves of Satan.'"(70)

In 1928 a new 32-story Los Angeles City Hall was opened. It was the tallest building in the city up to 1964. From 1929 to 1933, the new city mayor, John Clinton Porter, was a xenophobic, Protestant, populist, and senior member of the local Ku Klux Klan which had an office downtown to protect the city against communism, Eastern Europeans immigrants, and Jews — similar to Pryguny. In the 1920s perhaps up to 20% of US households had a registered member of the KKK, and more were in sympathy. This indicates a politically active anti-immigrant anti-Semite culture in Los Angeles during the first decade that Young was doing her 2 theses, and publishing papers and her book.

In 1928, Young's boss and department chairman, Bogarus, published Immigration and Race Attitudes

On October 29, 1929, "Black Tuesday", the New York Stock Market crashed, and the Great Depression began. It ended in late 1930s.

In 1929-1936, Los Angeles mass deportation of Mexicans. Repatriation of 400,000+ Mexicans and their American-born children from the United States began. Thousands moved through Los Angeles. About 60% were legal citizens. After Depression politicians wanted more jobs for "whites" by eliminating Mexicans. Los Angeles had the largest population of Mexicans outside of Mexico.

In 1930, the first Sionskii pesennek (Сионский песенник : Songbook of Zion) was published in Los Angeles for Spiritual Christians from Russia. Complete title: «Сионский песенник столетнего периода. Христианской Религии Молокан Духовных Прыгунов в Америке. Первое издание в Лос-Анджелесе 1930 года». (The Zion Songbook of the Hundred Year Period. Christian Religion of Molokan Spiritual Jumpers in America. It replaced the 1915 Prygun songbook by Shanin and Kobziv. The book organizers tried included songs to satisfy most of the was mainly published by the newly forming Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths, including songs from Molokane (Northern California), Pryguny, and Subbotniki

In June 1930, Young her submitted her doctoral thesis: "Assimilation Problems of Russian Molokans in Los Angeles," (543 pages), using a false label.

In October 1930, aviator Laura Ingalls, age 25, was first woman to fly across the country from East to West, from Long Island, New York, to Glendale, California. The 30.5 hour trip took 4 days due to 9 fuel stops. In 1935 she did the same coast-to-cost flight non-stop in 18 hours (East to West), topped Earhart's record by flying non-stop from Los Angeles to New York in 13.5 hours. In the 1930s she became famous for setting dozens of women's records, trying to top Amelia Earhart. Unfortunately, in 1941 she was arrested for allegedly being a Nazi spy, and imprisoned for 19.5 months, where she was beaten by several prisoners. Upon release her aviation career was nil. Ingalls lived in Burbank, California, for the last 20 years of her life, dying in 1967.(62)

In 1931, Canada amended the Criminal Code, adding section 205A, to allow for jailing of fanatic Svobodniki (sovereign people, Freedomites, Sons of Freedom) up to 3 years. 

Young's Book Published

In May 1932, approximately 600 Svobodniki (Freedomites, Sons of Freedom) including 365 children were arrested, and 546 convicted, for public nudity. A special prison colony was built for these Freedomites on Piers Island in the Strait of Georgia off Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. In 1933, 570 were jailed, costing many millions of dollars. Most news falsely reported they were Doukhobors.

In 1932, the new Doukhobor leader, Peter P. Verigin Jr., son of assassinated Peter V., was "... sentenced to 18 months in the Prince Albert penitentiary for perjury and tampering with a witness ...", and the government planned to deport him. (59) His deportation was stopped by Peter Makaroff, attorney and Independent Doukhobor.

In May 1932, her book The Pilgrims of Russian-Town, based on her master's and Ph.D. theses, was published. The subtitle of her book was forgotten: "Общество Духовных Хрисиан Пригунов в Америке, The Community of Spiritual Christian Jumpers in America: The Struggle of a Primitive Religious Society To Maintain Itself in an Urban Environment."

Though Pauline Young's subtitle correctly defines her subjects as Spiritual Christian Pryguny (Jumpers) who use a new ritual book called Dukh i zhizn', she overwhelmingly mistakenly calls them Molokans (at least 1500 times) in this book and all her publications, lectures and news reports. Why?  Did the arrests of hundreds of alleged "Doukhobors" and a leader influence her?

How could this happen? Twice she stated there are 200 families of "Molokanes" in San Francisco (pages 16, 262), but she never visited them. It's a mystery why she never met real Molokane and Pryguny in San Francisco who do not use or worship with the Dukh i zhizn', who met in separate halls; or Pryguny in Mexico, or in Arizona where Pryguny met separately from Maksimisty who smuggled the writings of M. G. Rudomyotkin (1818~1877) to America. It appears that she ignored the larger immigration population, and mislabeled it, to focus narrowly on only those who were in and around Los Angeles for most of the decade from 1923 when she arrived to 1932 when the book was published, with a focus on their juvenile delinquency.

Why did she use "Spiritual Christian Jumpers" in the title of her book, then immediately switch to the word "Molokan(s)" used 4 times on the first page of text (page ix)?
  • Was it an intentional switch to conceal the Pryguny?
  • Was she lazy, not interested, pressed for time, so conveniently used Molokan history instead of searching to find the rarer Prygun history?
  • Why did she totally focus on Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles, and not include real Molokane a 12-hour trip away in San Francisco?
  • Was the government only interested in the Los Angeles immigrants, juvenile delinquents, criminals, Bolsheviks and communists?
  • Was she hiding or protecting them from attack by the local K.K.K., and other anti-Bolshevik nationalists?
  • Was it because she could not find any history of Pryguny, and falsely used Molokan history which she could find, and lied that they were all the same faith to fill in the history section of her thesis?
Probably all of the above, but I suspect mostly the last reason. No significant history of Pryguny could be found, so I believe she was desperate to quickly fill out her thesis with something, anything, that would slip by her thesis committee, who knew no Russian or Russian history. It worked, until this analysis and exposé.
The other groups and tribes of Spiritual Christians from Russia did not matter to her since the focus of her study was limited to the research subjects on the east side of Los Angeles and how to assimilate them. She probably thought it was plausible that they all evolved from Molokane, then claimed it was true by manipulating facts. She recast Prygun history, in my opinion, mostly to get her PhD and establish her career as a professor of sociology.

The following is an introduction to a more thorough analysis in-progress. Watch for updates.

Her mislabeling broadly spread the misnomer initiated by Demens 2 decades earlier, providing a fake scholarly endorsement for false label changing which continues up to this taxonomy.

Statistical analysis of her name hijacking is in-progress. Here is a fragment:

Frequency Count of Selected Terms Used in The Pilgrims of Russian-town, 1932.
Term Cluster
Word Counts*
Graph (each bar = 10)
Molokan(s)  819 Molokane 14, Molokani 1, Molokanye 1, milk-drinker(s) 5, Molokanism 50 890
|||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||
Postoyannie  3
Steady 4
Pryguny Прыгунов 1, Jumpers 9, jumping 10 20 ||
Dukhobor(s)  18
Dukhobortsy 1
Spiritual Christian(s) 15 S. Christianity 1, S. Brotherhood 7,
S. worshipers 1, S. believers 3
sect(s)  194 sectarian(s) 61
255 |||||||||| |||||||||| ||||||
colony  115 community 100, communal 37, obshchestvo 3 255 |||||||||| |||||||||| ||||||
brotherhood  117 bratstvo 4
121 |||||||||| ||
I.G. Samarin 7,  P.M. Shubin 4
Bible  21


Spirit and Life  21 Dukh i zhizn' (Duch i Jizn) 4
25 |||
M.G. Rudomyotkin (~1818-1877) 20 ||
E.G. Klubnikin (1842-1915) 6

prophet(s)  33
prophecy 2, prophecies 6, prophetic 3 41

alcohol 2, arrest(ed) 12, assault 1,
communist(ic) 9,  crime(s) 6,
delinquen(t, ts, cy) 82, divorce(d) 9,
drink(ing) 37, drunken(ness) 12,
fight(ing) 36, incorrigibility 2, jail 15,
larceny 3, (im)prison(ed) 10, quarrel 9
reckless driving 1, runaway 1, sex 16,
stealing 3,  theft 2, truancy 7, warrant 4
|||||||||| |||||||||| ||||||||
  * All incidents of the word are counted, including title, contents and index.
**  Though P.M. Shubin was featured with a full-page photo in the front pages (p.iv), he did not claim that the Kniga solntse, dukhk i zhizn' was a holy book.  

The chart above shows that in her 1932 book, Young used the "Molokan" terms 890 times, or an average of 3 per page (890/296 = 3.0) 44.5 times more than the Prygun terms (890/20 = 44.5), 98% of occurrences (890/910 = 0.978). In contrast, she states 8 times that "Jumpers" (Pryguny) is their actual label, and it is the only term shown in her book title, but only in Russian (below). This is like publishing a book titled Собаки (Sobaki : Dogs) on the cover, then on the inside pages saying they are 98% Koshki (кошки : cats) — totally deceptive!

Click to ENLARGE

Note that the transliterated "Pryguny" does not appear in the index, page 293
In English she defines them as "Jumpers" 8 times:
  1. title page: "The Community of Spiritual Christian Jumpers; in America"
  2. page 1:  "... refer to themselves as the “Spiritual Christians of the Sect of Jumpers,”
  3. page 26: " ... named not only from its religious practices — "Holy Jumpers;”
  4. page 34: "This religious ecstasy has won for the Molokans the name of “Jumpers,” which designation they accept."
  6. page 65:  in contradistinction to the “Spiritual Christians of the Sect of Jumpers
  7. page 133: "...Russians —  Holy Jumpers ..."
  8. page 290:  "Holy Jumpers”: Molokans as, 26;

She mentions the Postoyannie / Steady terms only 7 times, 35% as often as Prygun terms (7/20 = 0.35). "Steady" is defined 4 times, twice by referring to the  Dukh i zhizn' (pages 65 and 295). This suggests that she used the Russian term (postoyannie) from the perspective of the Dukh i zhizn'. to generally refer to "those other people" who are specifically identified. In contrast, Molokane call themselves Molokane, from their perspective, which she did not know because she did not visit or interview Molokane. Many Molokane know they are called postoyannie by Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki, but they do not use that term when self-labeling. The term Postoyannie is a hostile label mainly used by zealots to insult Molokane. (Before that, Molokane was a hostile label used by the Russian Orthodox Church to insult selected tribes of Spiritual Christians. Each faith has insults their heretics.)

One Molokan elder and pundit in Russia from Tsaghkadzor, Armenia (Darachichak, Darachak in short) was recorded on video by presbyter Viktor Tikunov explaining to their Molokan youth in Russia: "Why do the Pryguny call us postoyannie? (Why do the Jumpers call us constants/ persistent/ original/ unchanged/ steadfast?) This video may be offline now. In essence, he explained that they call us "constants" for 3 reasons (a trinity):
  • We are constantly (postoyannie) with God.
  • We constantly (postoyannie) pray to Jesus Christ.
  • We constantly (postoyannie) have the Holy Spirit within us,
    therefore we do not need a special person to "jump" for us.
The above reversal of the insult given by Pryguny to Molokane repeats their founding history. In the 1700s Molokane and Dukhobortsy were given insulting hostile labels by the Russian Orthodoxy — "dairy-eaters" during fasts, and "fighters/ wrestlers against the spirit". Each "Spiritual Christian" group cleverly reversed the original description of their heresy to reflect and display their Christianity. "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

Note that Young's frequency of use of the term groups Prygun (20) and Dukhobor (18) are about the same in her book about Pryguny.

If the Youngs had moved to San Francisco instead of Los Angeles, her theses, books and articles could have documented the Molokan congregation as a distinct faith from the smaller Prygun congregation, each with their own meeting hall/ house a block apart on Potrero Hill. She probably would have included the nearby congregations of Spiritual Christian Baptists from Russia, Spiritual Christian Evangelicals from Russia, and Spiritual Christian Pentecostals from Russia. Her book could have been an accurately labeled story of 5 different folk-protestant faiths from Russia on "The Hill". 

Young referred to the religious text Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' 102 times (blue section in above graph), 5 times more than the Bible (21 count). This empirically suggests that the Bible was much less significant to her subjects than the Dukh i zhizn'.

The last row of the chart above (orange), shows how many times she used terms about deviance — at least 276 times. This count suggests that the impact on society by these immigrants appears to be a major focus of her book. Social deviance is also the emphasis of her husband's work. More word count analysis in-progress.

After her passage on page 64 where she summarized varieties of Staroobryadsty (raskolniki), she states:
Consequently, schisms occurred among the schismatics, creating many varieties of independent sects,(3) whose characteristic trait is as difficult to describe as "the contour of clouds fleeting across the sky." (Bold added.)
Next, on page 65, she tries to describe that which is as difficult as cloud shapes — folk-protestant(57), Spiritual Christian faiths:
The Molokan sect, after it was formed from the Dukhobors (Error A, below) divided further; and its most important offshoots are (numbered for clarity):
  1. Subbotniki, or Sabbatarians, or Judaized Russians, who modified Molokan doctrines under the supposed influence of Jewish scholars of the nineteenth century;(Error B)
  2. Molokan Sect of the River Don, who call themselves "Evangelical Christians" in contradistinction to the
  3. "Spiritual Christians of the Sect of Jumpers" (the former subject themselves to the government of the Empire with few reservations and do not refuse to do military service and to take oaths);(Error C) and the
  4. postoyannye [sic], or Steady, who do not jump, denying any religious validity of the ecstasy which sweeps over the individual when under the influence of the Holy Ghost. (Footnote 4. See Spirit and Life, page 21. The resemblance of this sect to the Molokans is so close that they attend the same sobranie and even intermarry.) (Error D)
  1. Molokane were named before Dukhoborttsy, therefore could not have been formed from them. Rather, both groups evolved from Ikonobortsy who probably evolved among various medieval folk-protestant faiths.
  2. Prygun, not Molokan, doctrines and holidays were adapted from Subbotniki. Young extensively confused Pryguny as Molokane.
  3. By placing her clarification of "contradistinction" in parenthesis after "Jumpers", readers may miss her comparison of law abiding Molokan Evangelicals to Pryguny. Later on pages 131-136, she writes that "Molokans" don't salute the flag, refused to register for the draft, take oaths, etc. She did not learn (know or find out) that most Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles registered for the WW1 draft, in contrast to the publicized resisters in Arizona. Molokane in San Francisco displayed both the Soviet and American flags in their Sunday School basement, and during open Russian meetings at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House across the street.
  4. Young failed to realize that the Russian term Postoyannie, which she translates as "Steady", as used by Pryguny (and now by Dukh-i-zhizniki) was intended as a hostile label to insult Molokane for not converting to the Prygun faiths, then to Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths, or to jump with the Holy Spirit. In Molokan Russian jargon one can say that Dukh-i-zhizniki are postoyannie (steady) users of the Dukh i zhizn', implying they cannot separate the Bible from their Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn'. She used an adjective (postoyannie) as a noun, thinking it was the name for one of the faiths. She never visited Molokane in San Francisco, hence this major critical error.

In "Glossary" (page 284), Young defines:
'Postoyannye [sic] — "Steady," a sect within the Molokan [sect] which does not recognize any special validity in "jumping." '
She did not know that the Dukhobor heresy was documented after the Molokane heresy, therefore Molokane were actually formed from Ikonobortsy, as were Dukhobortsy. She did not know that Subbotniki did not modify Molokan doctrine, which is why Molokane were insulted by the more zealous and aggressive Spiritual Christians with the hostile label of postoyannie (steady, steadfast, persistent, constant, unchanged, original). It was varieties of Pryguny who mostly adapted Subbotnik holidays and food laws but did not entirely convert to a full Saturday Sabbath. Her major errors are not realizing that postoyannie is the Prygun-insulting pejorative, a code-word for Molokane, to hide the fact that Pryguny are not Molokane. Was she a "mark" of this linguistic scam?

Why did she let herself get fooled?
Or, was she really fooled?
Did she play along with the definition switch on purpose?
If so, what was her purpose?

Perspective Points of View

Note that her definition of Postoyannie (offshoot 4 above) is from the perspective of the Kniga solnste, Dukh i zhizn' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life), a relative definition. Examples: from the perspective of a dog, a cat is a pest; from the perspective of a cat, a dog is a terrorist; from the perspective of cat, a mouse is food; and, from the perspective of a mouse, a cat is a terrorist and killer.

More troublesome is that after her division of the "Molokan sect" into 4 offshoots (numbered above for clarity), her footnote #4 on the bottom of page 65, —
4. See Spirit and Life, p.21. the resemblance of this sect to the Molokans is so close that they attend the same sobranie and even intermarry.
— appears to imply, citing the Spirit and Life, that postoyannie resemble Molokans, therefore she is including them in a non-scientific scrambling of definitions with Pryguny, using her own umbrella term: "Molokan".

In short, on page 65 Young splits the "Molokan sect" into 4 "offshoots", yet only discusses the 3rd "offshoot" "Spiritual Christian Jumpers" who just compiled a new religious text, Dukh-i-zhizn', creating a new family of faiths, as if they represent all 4 offshoots and have one identity — Molokan.

In my opinion, she failed to properly scientifically classify her subjects.  Why?  Probably due to lack of English, analytical insight, and time.

First, she immigrated in 1913, and was handicapped with English as her second language, as she entered graduate school in 1923 in California, 10 years later. 

Second, she had little time to manage 2 kids, a full load of graduate courses, and conduct complex thesis research and writing. He husband helped extensively with her struggles while conducting his own research and teaching classes.

Though she spoke Russian, it appears that she did not understand that Postoyannie was a Prygun-Maksimist pejorative for Molokane, that Maksimisty and Pryguny are a different faiths, not Molokan, and were transforming into a new cluster of faiths: Dukh-i-zhizniki? If she did understand that she was interviewing at least a dozen conflicting tribes, she chose not to reveal that divisive hostility.

It was as if she was describing apples, oranges, pears, lemons, grapefruit, grapes, peaches, tangerines, kumquats, kiwi, strawberries and bananas, only as apples, while ignoring their significant differences, and avoiding the term "fruit".

Another analogy. It was as if she was discussing borshch by describing and diagramming the ingredients — cabbage, tomatoes, broth, potatoes, onions, carrots, bay leaf, salt, celery, etc. — then declaring it was really "potato soup", ignoring all the other ingredients and avoiding the term borshch.

Would you believe her if she declared that all apples are the same whether round and red, curved and yellow, or round and orange, and small and purple; they are "so close" because they can be placed in the same bowl and eaten with one hand? Would you believe her if she said that dogs make "meow" sounds, hunt at night, and easily climb trees? What if she told you about a new animal called Catdog?

Diaspora Molokane, Subbotniki, Maksimisty, Klubnikinisty, Pryguny, and other Spiritual Christian tribes who immigrated from the South Caucasus (1904-1915) and attended common meetings (sobraniya), could intermarry with the new tribes of Dukh-i-zhizniki because they were all considered by zealots to be of "Zion" for following Klubnikin's prophesy to leave Russia for refuge (pakhod), (Berokoff, page 14), and if they abandoned their heritage faith to be confirmed into a Dukh-i-zhiznik faith. The most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki consider marriage converts from Molokane, Subbotniki and Armenian Pryguny to be lower Spiritual-class members, because they lacked a "Spiritual blood line." Intermarriage with "other" faiths (the 666 false faiths mentioned by M. G. Rudomyotkin) result in ostracism by most Dukh-i-zhizniki.

Young apparently did not realize that the few Molokane in Los Angeles had no prayer hall or presbyter, most assimilated(19) while a minority integrated among Dukh-i-zhizniki, mainly by joining the most liberal "Big Church." They were in plain sight, probably met her, but she could not distinguish who was what.

Only one of her published case interviews mentioned Postoyannie. A woman married out, divorced and married a "Steady" and began to attend a sobranie. She is quoted by Young, page 79:
... on Judgment Day [Day of Atonement, Sudnie den'], I was so inspired by the service that I felt that I must get up and say something. And say I did. I at once realized that I did the wrong thing, as I heard the people around me comment that a woman of my character should hold her tongue in "church." I was humiliated and broken up over it, for I know I am trying to do my best. I am convinced I was right. I just have to keep on trying until they accept me again....
Young's data does not reveal social context, the variety of religious and social politics among and within congregations. The woman quoted above could be in a zealous or liberal congregation. Her family could or could not have "front-row" males whose presence and public contact could provide social-status protection for her. Perhaps only one aggressive person led a verbal attack, and no one intervened. Her fiancial status is not known. Rich families are more respected by zealots. Her "Steady" husband may have had little or no social status within this congregation to defend his wife. He could have been from a prominent family, divorced and remarried. These unknown social variables would affect the subject's group acceptance, and interpretation of Young's interview data.

Young used the "Spirit and Life" book title 25 times, 5 more than the 20 Prygun terms; and when added to the name count of the 2 prophets/elders (Rudomyotkin, Klubnikin) whose writings constitute most of the new religious text, the "Spirit and Life" terms become 51, or 2.6 times (51/20=2.6) the Prygun terms count of 20; and adding "Ararat" (7) and "Zion" (3) increases "Spirit and Life" terms to 61, 3 times (61/20=3.05) the Prygun terms. Of the 3 prophets/ elders, Rudomyotkin is mentioned nearly twice as often as Klubnikin and Shubin combined (20/11=1.8).

Her book is mostly about

Though the "front row" (prestol : престол) position of "prophet" (prorok : пророк) does not exist in Molokan congregations, Young used the prophet(s) term group 41 times.

Young uses the general broader term clusters of "sect-colony-brotherhood" second in frequency compared to the Molokan term cluster; but, even when combined, they compare at 71% of the frequency of the "Molokan" terms ([255+355+115]/890 = .709). She did not know or report that the original label for the first immigrants in 1904 was the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians.

Due to the high frequency of mixing misleading terms and names, typical readers of The Pilgrims of Russian-town mistakenly infer that Rudomyotkin is the main prophet of Molokans who use the religious text Spirit and Life and jump during services, and their kids are delinquents. A myth. Disinformation. Bad Science.

Closer examination, or a historical revision, shows that her subjects were folk-protestant Spiritual Christian Pryguny, as stated in her title, who are producing a new sacred text they first titled Dukh i zhizn'. (Final Russian title in 1928: Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' : Book of the Sun Spirit and Life) They were Spiritual Christians in Russia (heterodox, non-Orthodox Russian citizens, heretics, sektanty [Russian for "sectarians"]), some of them identify as a "brotherhood" community of faiths, not a single faith; but, Young insists on repeatedly labeling them all with an incorrect single term (Molokan), a faith with which she has no personal experience. She never interviewed a Molokan congregant,* yet mentions San Francisco 11 times in her book and presents them all as the same people, based on secondary and tertiary sources. She does not understand that Postoyannie is a pejorative used to dis Molokane, a different faith thriving in San Francisco but extinguished in Los Angeles. The data shows that Young overwhelmingly falsely presented non-Molokane as Molokane. It was like reporting dogs are cats, apples are oranges, red is green, 2+2=5, etc.
* There was never a Molokan meeting hall in Los Angeles, or Southern California, ever.
As a Russian-speaking social scientist, Dr. Young should have recognized that these immigrants were not Molokane. Some were Maksimisty who were insisting that all congregations only adhere to their rituals and new religious text, which some intended to to replace the New Testament. Others were Davidisty, Klunikinisty, Sionisty, etc.

On pages listed in footnote 1,On page 35,  she describes "revelations" and "prophets" which do not exist in the Molokan faith as positions of elders at the altar table (prestol).

Her false label transfer from Prygun to Molokan appears on page 34:
 .. Molokans "jump" and "speak in tongues." This religious ecstasy has won for the Molokans the name of "Jumpers", which designation they accept." ..
Won? Is she really saying that Molokane were "awarded" the name Jumpers, due to their outstanding religious ecstasy? What word was she thinking in Russian? I suspect she may have been thinking of "gained" in Russian, but mistranslated.
  • победа : pobeda = victory, win, triumph, conquest
  • выиграл : vyigral = won a contest
  • завоевал : zavoeval = conquer, win, gain, acquire
In any case, Young was wrong. We now know that the people who were labeled Pryguny in Russia about 1856 came from many faiths, probably heavily influenced by the khristovshchina (христовжина : Christ-faith), who reportedly danced and jumped in religious ecstasy. Pyguny appear to have evolved from a mixture of people from many zealous tribes, probably some with mental illnesses who typically have visions and hear voices.
Master's thesis 1926

The earliest evidence for name switching is preserved in her masters thesis, in which there are the only 2 instances of the word "won" on pages 60 and 77.

The term "won" may have originated from Informant #24, translated on page 60:
"Our refusal to observe the numerous fasts, not less than one-third of the year, won the name "Molokane" for us. We don't object to this name. It shows one of the fundamental differences between us and the Russian Orthodox people.
Above this quote, Young paraphrases the term "won" as "grown out":
It is interesting to note that the Molokane have been named not only from their religious practices - "Jumpers" - but their commonest name has grown out of their food habits "Milk-drinkers."
On page 77, Young states the converse:
Uplifted by a sense of the presence of the Holy Ghost the Molokane fall into ecstatic trances. The following documents show the characteristic form of behavior of the Molokane during religious ecstasy. It has won for them the name "Jumpers", which they have accepted and apply frequently to themselves.
Though Informant 24 said: "(We Pryguny?) ... won the name 'Molokane'", Young reversed the definition to "Molokane ...won ...the name 'Jumpers'." Though unlikely, it could be that elder Informant #24 was originally Molokan then converted to Prygun, which Young does not reveal.

Young claims "Molokane have been named ... 'Jumpers' - but their commonest name ..." is Molokane.
Logically: Molokane = Pryguny = Molokane. This equation contradicts Chart I (below).

Hints about how she may have illogically substituted Prygun for Molokan are in her 1926 masters thesis, beginning with Chart I on page 43.

On Chart I, I marked and numbered 4 things in color to help us understand how she may have been thinking, and not thinking, in 1926. She had never met members of any of these religious tribes, and was trying to make sense from what little was published that she could easily find in libraries. Note that Column I, Raskolniki translates as schismatics, and generally refers to the Old Ritualists (staroobryadtsy), the original (postoyannie) form of the Orthodox which are often called Old Believers, the label term she chose for Column I. Columns II and III are often labeled "Rational" and "Irrational" by other historians, and the Orthodox church called both columns sektanty (sectarians) and ikonobortsy (iconoclasts, icon fighters).
  1. (Green) She classifies Molokane and Pryguny in different column categories, with 2 different column labels (II Rationalists, III Mystics). Good.
  2. (Blue) Ikonobortsy included most sektanty, heretics who opposed icons, columns II and III. which contradicts her statement at the bottom of page 43 : "The Old Believers and the Mystics overlap." I suspect that she may have been referring to tribes of Bezpopovtsy who were also classified as Mystics, like the Filipovtsty.
  3. (Orange) On pages 51-52, she lists these 5 "offshoots of the Molokan sect" but not Pryguny. Her list of 5 offshoots is wrong. Postoyannie is the Prygun insulting nickname for Molokane. She apparently did not know that in Los Angeles all Spiritual Christians from Russia were called Stundisty by Rev. Teichrieb, the Russian-speaking Presbyterian missionary assigned to minister to them during their first 5 years (1905-1910); but in Ukraine, Shtundisty were an offshoot of Anabaptist evangelism among their non-German neighbors, which affected some from the Molokane, perhaps called Noviye Molokane (new Molokans). On page 65 she asserts that Subbotniki are an offshoot of Molokane, but others say the Judiazing heresy was labled in 1480, and the Subbotnik label appeared in the 1820's. Evolving from Ikonobortsy, we know that Molokane were first persistently labeled about 1765, then Dukhborsty were labeled about 1785. In February 2019 Dr. J. E. Clay, Arizona State University, reported that in 1708 Dimitri of Rostov used the term "molokane" to refer to people who disobeyed the Russian Orthodox fasts, particularly Great Lent. Instead of using the Russian term ne-postniki for "non-fasters", the non-fasting heresy was was specified as  "dairy-eating."
  4. (Brown) These are the 2 major divisions of Staroobryadsty (Old Ritualists, "Old Believers"). 3 groups in column I and 1 in column III are varieties of Bezpopovtsy. Khlytsy (khristovshchina), also called the "Quaker heresy", pretended to be Orthodox in public, but were secretly a non-Orthodox tribe with characteristics similar to the later Pryguny.The ectsatic spiritual dance of khristovshchini appears to have transferred in Russia to the Maksimist tribe, brought to the United States, and on to the new Dukh-i-zhiznik religious movement.
Chart I (above) clearly shows that the Young's knew Molokane (Column II: Rationalists) and Pryguny (Column III: Mystics) were classified differently. What scientific evidence did she find to declare they were the same? None, except a man in the Flats saying we are Molokane. QQQQ Why then did I. G. Samarin and editors of the Kniga solntse, dukh i zhin' believe or accept her analysis that they were "rational" Molokane, not "mystical" Pryguny, not a "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians", not new faiths with a new book; and publish a summary of history from her masters and doctoral theses in their religious text and place it next to the Bible on their meeting tables?
The Young's probably did not meet John Kulikoff in Los Angeles in the 1920s, who accurately informed reporters at the Prescott jail in Arizona:"The Holy-Jumpers are not Molokans. ... We are Holy-Jumpers. Molokans do not have the Spirit." (Only Blessed Bread For A Holy Jumper, Prescott Journal-Miner, August 10, 1917, page 5.) This was by one of the few journalists who understood and reported the actual religious identity of those arrested for not registering. 

Note the editors of the 1928 edition of Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' signed (endorsed, authored) as Братскiй Союзъ Духовныхъ Прыгуновъ (Bratskii Soiuz Dukhovykh Prygunov : Fraternal Union of Spiritual Jumpers (page 8 Russian, page 4 English), not as Molokane. Their Prygun identity ironically contradicts the first line of the the Foreward on the previous page: "To the United Brotherhood of Spiritual Molokan Jumpers in Los Angeles America"; and it entirely contradicts the following history chapter ("Essay on the Religion," pages 11-64), which present the history of Molokane, giving the false impression that this book is about Molokane. This contradiction, though in plain site, appears to be overlooked by most all Dukh-i-zhizniki.

I can find no logical reason for this deception except that she was confused by the people she interviewed, who were of many Spiritual Christian tribal faiths, and she was forced to write something, anything, in a limited time, while raising 2 kids. She apparently took an easy path, rather than say honestly there is no Prygun history that I can find, she decided to claim they are all Molokane , Thoughand stuck to this story.

Where did she get Chart I? Probably to keep track of what she was reading about all the vague non-Orthodox faiths in Russia. She evidently made notes and this summary diagram became Chart I. It shows a taxonomy of her study subjects, as she may have understood them, in context of other heresies in the Russian Empire she found in literature. This was an excellent method that she really screwed up, in my opinion.

Notice the 3 column headings: I, II and III. The Raskolniki (staroobryadtsy) are in column I (except Filipovtsy). Two kinds of Spiritual Christians (Rational and Mystical, or irrational) are in columns II and III, which the government treated different, hence the labels. Contrary to the chart title "Classification of Chief Russian Sects," typically only columns II and III were labeled sektanty (sectarians) in Russia, except the Flilipovtsy who were    many of whom were also called ikonobortsy and heretics by the Church and government; but many called themselves dukhovnye kristiani (Spiritual Christians), and in the mid-1900s historian anthropologist A.I. Klibanov called them "folk-protestants ".(57)

The rational sects (column II) were more tolerated by the government and judged by the Church to be susceptible to rehabilitation. They were offered incentives to move closer together and populated the newly conquered borderlands in the south and far east. For much more, see Dr. Breyfogle's 1998 doctoral dissertation and 2005 book: Heretics and Colonizers; and our overview with links at:  Q81: How much did Freemasonry influence Doukhobor theology?, Spirit-Wrestlers Blog, 21 October 2018.

Irrational "Mystics" (column III) were more "irrational", "infectious" and dangerous, because they contaminated the Orthodox population with fanatical heretic (non-Orthodox) ideas and needed to be isolated, quarantined, from the general population of healthy Orthodox believers. They were more likely to be arrested and/or exiled to the farthest territories from Central Russia, and monitored. Notice that Pryguny are in column III. Filipovtsy were the most irrational type of Old Ritualist.