When Samuel Parris was forced to resign as the minister of Salem Village church and leave town in 1697 (see biography entry and box on p. 71), he was replaced by Joseph Green. More sophisticated and accepting than his predecessor, Green immediately tried to heal the community. He preached forgiveness in his sermons and even changed the seating arrangement in the church, forcing former enemies to acknowledge one another. He also brought justice to victims who had been ignored by the courts. In 1703 Green formally reversed Martha Corey's excommunication (forced removal) from the church (see Chapter 4), thereby restoring her reputation and assuring the relatives of other executed people that their loved ones would not be damned to hell (according to the Christian concept of eternal punishment for sins after death). In 1712 he revoked the excommunications of Rebecca Nurse and Giles Corey (see Chapter 4). Although Green's efforts helped the community eventually recover from the devastation caused by the trials, Salem remained a symbol of fanaticism and injustice. As time passed the trials became etched into the collective conscience of an emerging nation, a warning against the extremes of human nature.
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