A people extraordinarily given to unusual religious beliefs

The Rochester (New York) Democrat and Chronicle posted an interesting article about the Rochester area during the religious fervor that earned it the title, “Burned-over District.” Though not the focus, the article puts the birth of Mormonism within its cultural context. To foster some conversation and whet your whistle, here’s a short excerpt:

”Strange cults, psychic currents and extraordinary religious fervor rippled and roiled all across central and western New York during the first half of the 19th century. It became known as the “Burned-over District,” and within it ran a ‘psychic highway’ — a roughly 25-mile-wide belt along the Erie Canal, from east of Albany to west of Buffalo.

“Within these boundaries, writes Whitney R. Cross, congregated a people ‘extraordinarily given to unusual religious beliefs, peculiarly devoted to crusades aimed at the perfection of mankind and the attainment of millennial happiness.’

“At least seven new religions, sects and communes were established in the ‘Burned-over District.’ They included the Shakers near Albany, John Humphrey Noyes’ religious commune at Oneida and the Society of Universal Friends at Dresden and Jerusalem.

“They included the Millerites, who had a strong following in the Rochester area. They were convinced that the world would end on April 23, 1843, and then on Oct. 22, 1844 and, despite the obvious miscalculation, strongly influenced later Adventist religions.

“They included Joseph Smith, who established a new religion near Palmyra. Mormonism, eventually transplanted west, became the most successful of American-born religions.”

Though late LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley said the beginning of Mormonism was unique (Church News, 11/7/98 2), Joseph Smith’s claims of visions and angelic visits were not at all unusual. He was but one of many making such claims, gathering followers, and beginning new religions.

For more information see A Familiar Spirit.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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60 Responses to A people extraordinarily given to unusual religious beliefs

  1. Michael P says:

    Very interesting…

    I look forward to the discussion…

  2. Apollo says:

    Here’s a direct link to the full article: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008806020321

    It seems the context of the article is to show how Rochester’s residents were the catalyst for change that swept the entire United States of America.

    The snippet above cuts off the next two paragraphs which, in my opinion, describe the whole point of the article. Here are the next two paragraphs for convenience sake:

    “Moreover, this “crucible of ferment,” as Emerson Klees has so aptly called it, helped fuel significant reform movements on the nation’s political stage: the temperance campaign, for example, and women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery.

    It is an illustration of how “the minds of one era help to form the destinies of succeeding generations,” Cross notes. “Neither the causes of the Civil War nor the origins of national prohibition, to cite only two prominent examples, can be thoroughly understood without reference to the Burned-over District.””

    It is a very interesting article and I’m glad the Mormon religion can be associated with the positive changes to the nation that came because of the “burning-over” that occured in that district.

  3. Michael P says:

    I think Apollo misses the point of the selection. Its point is to say that Mormonism was born out of a trend of other new religions based on the areas spiritual hunger. It is but one of many new “religions” that sprang up and is not alone in its time.

    This only, then, raises questions as to its veracity. Kind of like the veracity of the many new age beliefs coming out today, it is not alone.

    As to your pride in its being a part of such a movement, I’d personally be more concerned if it were true rather than a product of such a wonderful movement.

    The rest of the article does not take away from Sharon’s point, by the way.

  4. falcon says:

    You always cause me to scour through all of my historicl resources when you bring things like this up. Christian History magazine is one of the best. In the issue dealing with Charles Finney it says “The whole area where Finney was then preaching has been referred to by historians as the ‘burned-over district’; a reference to the fact that the area had experienced so much religious enthusiasm-from revivals and new religions, to cults and spiritualism-that the district had been scourched”. By-the-way, at his conversion Finney went into the woods. According to the account in his Memoirs, around this time he decided that he must settle the question of his soul’s salvation. Having gone alone into the woods, he knelt by a log and wrestled with God in prayer, and was instantaneously converted. The event was so dramatic that Finnney later recalled that he experienced what seemed like waves of liquid love throughout his body; it so affected him that he explained it in intimate detail when he was at an advanced age. “I then penetrated into the woods, I should think a quarter of a mile…..As I turned to go up into the woods, I recollect to have said ‘I will give my heart to God, or I never will come down from there.’ I had gone into the woods after an early breakfast; when I returned to the village, I found it was dinner time.’ Finney was commissioned a missionary in 1824.
    Finney’s conversion led him to a life of serving God, bringing the Good News of salvation through Jesus Chrit to spiritually needy people. While Mormonism led people to a different god, a different gospel, and social/cultural practices that were at odds with the Bible, Finney stayed true to his calling in Jesus Christ.

  5. Nay'mo says:

    It is obvious that LDS took hold and spread far more than the other faiths that came out of that region. It would seem that to the early believers and followers of JSmith, the doctrinal differences would be just as radical as the other religious spring-ups. Over the many years since the LDS cross-country move, the LDS faith has turned towards more and more of the mainstream Christian words and phrases. The current terminology gets hung up on a lot during Christian/Mormon debates, because both sides use the same words but have completely different meanings.

    What made the LDS faith originally take hold? What made people of this region open to new belief systems completely foreign to anywhere else in the country? Is their a similar parallel to how the gospel was spread in Acts?

  6. subgenius says:

    Unfortunately, again, most people disregard the source and rely on other people’s comments on the matter, much like denominations. The Rochester paper is commenting on the Whitney cross book titled “The Burned Over District”. Again taken out-of-context is Sharon’s reference above.
    Chapter 8 of Cross’s book is titled “The Prophet” and discusses the Mormons. He frankly states that the LDS movement is “unique” amongst all others at that time – which is a contradiction to Sharon’s bias comment above of “not that unusaul.” Though this book is academic at times, it does provide good reading and may either enhance your knowledge of the Mormon origins or swell your ego-driven cynicism.

    The opening from Ch.8:
    “THE Mormon Church, having survived and grown in the last hundred years as did none of its companion novelties, interests the present generation far more than any other aspect of Burned-over District history. Yet its impact upon the region and period from which it sprang was extremely limited. The Saints made their first westward removal immediately upon founding the religion and when they numbered not more than a hundred persons. The obscurity and scarcity of local material on the subject reinforces the logical conclusion that few western New Yorkers could have been seriously aware of the episode. In this respect it contrasts strongly with the other omens of the day.In another way, however, Mormonism comes closer to being the true oracle than other developments in the inaugural years just before 1831. It was the first original product of the common circumstances which would breed a train of successors within the Quarter century. It predicted what was to come, whereas the larger simultaneous excitements merely heated the cauldron from which future experiments would boil. “

  7. subgenius says:

    “contrast strongly”….”far more than any other”….these are not statements made about other revivalists in that time and area….does this not seem unusual? thus Sharon’s point falls dull.
    The actual point of the article that Sharon references above has little to do with Mormons and more to do with Catskills folk history. This is a poor lead-in for new subject matter relevant to this board.

    the author, Whitney R. Cross, titled his book due to the numerous fires that would be built at revivalist activities.

    because it is a true church of Jesus Christ.

    I appreciate the notion that you referenced Whitney Cross’s work as well as his person. His work in history has always been a positive influence in mormon historical studies, within mormon and non-mormon circles.

  8. falcon says:

    Whatever Whitney R. Cross titled his book based on is immaterial to the common definition or impression or understanding that is used concerning the term “burned over” in the particular time in history being referenced here.
    James Johnson, in his biographical article Father of American Revivalism, says that if Andrew Jackson was America’s political hero, Charles Finney was her religious one. He was credited with 500,000 conversions. Finney grabbed the Gospel from the dry, stuffy practitioners of his day and took it to the common people. He did, however, have a large impact on professional people; doctors, lawyers and businessmen. Finney’s ministry began at the end of the Second Great Awakening in America around 1824 the time period referenced in the article above.
    So the point is, during these times of religious revival and fervor, false teachings and false prophets, false movements and counterfit religions will appear. The apostle Paul spoke to the believers that even from their own congregations would come people who would lead others into heretical and destructive doctrines and practices. The believer in Christ has to be on constant alert concerning this. The attacks from false prophets come on the Bible, the person and work of Jesus, the nature of God and salvation as a gift of God received by faith a part from any works. Believers in Christ need to keep in the front of their minds a template of the essential truths of the Christian faith by which to judge the claims teachings, doctrines and practices of religious preachers. Such preachers, who base their authority on visions and revelations they claim to have had that run contrary to the essentials of Christianity, need to be rejected. It’s not unusual for people to be fooled by charismatic and magnetic personalities. That’s why a firm understanding of the Christian faith is needed, especially during times of revival.

  9. Michael P says:

    Sub, the point of the article is to group all these things together in the folk history of the region, and Mormonism is a part of that history. It is not separate, and it is not exempt. It grew from the same tendencies that grew the other faiths.

    Falcon actually gave an account of Charles Finney’s conversion. It has some remarkably similar aspects to Joseph Smith. Why did they come out so radically differently?

  10. falcon says:

    The time period we are referencing here in American history, saw a movement of counter-culture Christianity. This was manifested by the development of “radical” utopian communities that sprung up across the early frontier. The fifty year period prior to the Civil War saw about 120 social experiments. Out of these perhaps less than fifty became celebrated. The success of the groups was temporary. Among these groups were the Oneida community in New York, the Shakers in Kentucky, Brook Farm in Massachusetts, Amana in Iowa and a black utopia called Nashoba in Tennessee.The Mormons shared the traits of many of the utopian groups. That is, they shared property, they expected Christ’s second coming, they had their own “special revelation” like the other groups. Like the other groups, they had a charasmatic leader in Joseph Smith. The self-conscious innovator was a common denominator in all of the groups. The leader’s vision of utopia was the creative force behind the community. The leader also exercised a firm will which imposed order on the adherents.
    Without referencing any group in particular, the surrender of one’s will is not an uncommon requirement for membership. Once the revelation is accepted the questioning must stop. Dissent and questioning is not tolerated. Obedience to the order is imposed by the leadership. In many groups, damnation is the price of leaving. In listening to a woman who had been trapped in a polygamist cult, it was interesting that she said she left when she figured that hell couldn’t have been any worse than life inside the group.
    The late Walter Martin who wrote many books including “The Kingdom of the Cults” use to say “Question everything. Even what I tell you.” There’s a false sense of security that can be created by being a member of a religious sect and it comes at the cost of surrendering your will. It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slave

  11. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Just to clarify,

    “Joseph Smith’s claims of visions and angelic visits were not at all unusual. He was but one of many making such claims, gathering followers, and beginning new religions.”

    Of course there are aspects in which the LDS Church may be considered unique, but the point taken here refers directly to the birth of Mormonism. Also, please note that the Rochester paper was not “commenting on the Whitney Cross book” as suggested by subgenius, it was quoting Whitney Cross as one of at least six authors the journalist referenced in the article.

  12. subgenius says:

    i am not in rebuttal of the article, but rather Sharon’s summary point within the context of this blog. Mormonism is coincidental to this part of history, but it is the exception, not the rule. The obvious difference between Finney and Smith is that Finney was unable to organize a true church of Jesus and thus his converts were lost to the diluted masses of Baptist, Methodist, etc. The subtle difference is that Finney was exclusive to “Faith” without regard for works or obedience.

    you fail to comment on the obvious endurance and emergence of the mormon church from that era. Your cookie-cutter philosophy on surrendering will is simplistic and unapplicable. We are not talking about cults. Perhaps you know the topic of the following verses:
    Matthew 10:39, Rom 8:28, Matthew 11:28-30, Phil 4:6, Rom 12:1, etc…Also, the meaning of “burned over…” is material, and your comment reflects the ease by which so many take things out-of-context for their own purpose.BTW, are you saying that Finney was the most successful “false teacher” and “heretic” of that time period? Nevertheless, a revival, from Finney, is necessary when the church is “sunk down” or as we mormons said, apostasy, and thus was organized into the true Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Thus Finney, thoug close, is retired to relative academic obscurity and “systematic theology” and LDS continues on.

    no clarification was needed. The statement you quoted is false.
    The begining of mormonism IS unique. I repeat the reference in my post above whereas the word “unique” is used to describe the mormon movement at that time. To claim that the LDS church founder was one of many doing the same thing is flawed (ie. Fish swim in the ocean, dolphins swim in the ocean, therefore dolphins are fish? or are they mammals).

  13. Michael P says:

    It is the exception that it continued, not that it was born. There are I am sure a myriad of reasons why it kept on, such as a strong successor to Smith. That it continued does not necessity its veracity. Finney brought many to Christ, remember, which is the church. The church is not Baptist, or Methodist, or Catholic, or Presbyterian, or Lutheran, or LDS for that matter. The church is Christ, and in that sense, Finney succeeded greatly.

  14. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Subgenius, I think you are straining the point. Joseph Smith was one among many who were claiming visions, gathering followers, and beginning new religions in that general time and place in American history. This was not unique (i.e., unlike anything else) nor was it unusual (i.e., not commonly occurring). If he claimed more visions than others, or gathered more followers than others, or moved his group en mass where others did not, his claim of visions, his gathering of followers, and his founding of a new religion remain somewhat unremarkable for that time and place.

    It sounds to me as if Whitney Cross, in the quoted passage, is saying that because of the growth of the Mormon Church, it interests people more in our day as it relates to the history of the Burned-over District; and the limited impact of Joseph Smith’s religion on the region in the mid-1800s contrasts strongly with the greater immediate impact caused by Smith’s contemporaries. The quote from Mr. Cross’ book does not seem to conflict with my statement about Joseph Smith’s visions, etc.

    It might be helpful for those who disagree to state exactly how Joseph Smith’s claims of visions, his gathering of followers, and his beginning of a new religion were unique or unusual in the environment in which Mormonism was birthed.

  15. traveler says:

    Greetings Subgen,

    I must disagree with your comment, re “The begining of mormonism IS unique. I repeat the reference in my post above whereas the word “unique” is used to describe the mormon movement at that time.”

    Mormonism arose from a climate of significant materialistic, spiritual and political chaos, as did the spiritual ‘experiments’ such as “Christian Science” “Seventh Day Adventists” and “The Shaker Movement” as noted above. What determined the sucess of J. Smith and Co. may well have been the fact the leader of that movement died before his charisma faided. He encourged his followers to move (whenever things got ‘difficult’ – you know, law suits, bank fraud, – that sort of thing…)to various “promised lands” and kept them unrooted and entirely dependent on other believers. By avoiding the pesky influences of any “non saints” and keeping the impression of being part of a “holy people” in addition to his personal charm (which should NOT be underestimated) JS kept his people enchanted through his life.

    BY ought to get a great deal of credit for keeping the fragmentation to a minimum.

    I feel that to deny the significant influence of the “Burnt Over District” on JS and the roots of LDS is superscillious and unwarranted.


  16. falcon says:

    Anyone reading this, who is in a group that teaches that you are going to outer darkess (ie damnation) if you leave the group should run, not walk away as fast as possible. You are in a cult. By surrendering your will to the group you are giving up your freedom and ability to live your life outside of the tyranny of control the group demands. You can be free in Christ. Free from having to perform endless rituals and conform to the demands of leaders that hold to a form of religion but are void of the Spirit of God. To be complete in Christ, totally accepted by the Father by what Jesus did for you, is to be set free from a group that always expects more from you but gives little in return…but guilt for falling short of the groups demands.
    The topic of the article dealt with a period of time known as the Second Great Awakening in America. It is true that God’s people go through periods of decline and renew. It can be thought of as spiritual mountains and valleys. This happens not because God’s Spirit can’t sustain the higher life, but because the decline causes God’s people to pray for growth and power. The periods of awakening also have a large impact on society in general. The important thing to remember is that with the truth of God being proclaimed and with religious fervor being felt, many false prophets and teachers enter the picture. So as Chrisitans we need to hold fast to God’s Word. Paul’s instruction to Timothy is vital: “….instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies….” God’s Spirit can drive out fear. Our security is in Christ, a part from the sanction of a religious group. No religious group has control over the destiny of our soul. That’s between the individual and God.

  17. mobaby says:

    I must offer a word of caution regarding Charles Finney. I believe he has had a much wider and more profound influence upon Christianity than did Joseph Smith ever has. I believe Charles Finney is one of if not THE root source of much heresy today – all of it revolving around his “new measures” to persuade listeners that were based on psychology, a works oriented gospel, and personal morality – and a lack of emphasis on the cross and Christ crucified. Emotion, works, a message of personal morality (even if not personally practiced)…hmmmm what other religion does this sound like???

  18. dj1989 says:

    I can’t help but think about how many impostors there were during Christ’s time, claiming to be the Messiah, as well as new religious “sects” who taught to have a better belief system than the mainstream Jews of the day already had. Josephus mentions many such groups during the days of Christ. If we are to look at it through the lens of the Jews, they considered them all to be different sects of false religions… all inspired by the devil himself. But as it turns out, one of these so called “messiahs”… one of these leaders inspired by the devil, actually happened to be the Messiah, even Jesus.

    The Jews had many reasons to believe that the mainstream, traditional way was correct. If one were to teach them the gospel as God intended it, they could reason against it through some sort of scripture or tradition. But, we all know that it wasn’t correct. Jesus was correct. The Jews simply didn’t understand the scriptures that they had in their hands. The Jews (the traditional group) was wrong. The other “sects” were wrong. But Jesus’, who appeared to be leading people away from God’s chosen people, and to be a leader of a sect himself, was correct.

    In context with this thread, I would submit two things: 1) There is a precedent set in regards to God trying to change things up, and 2) the backlash by traditional religious groups.

    I don’t believe a single point Sharon has made is relevant to whether or not the LDS faith is correct or incorrect. The only thing it is relevant to is that it goes against the religious tradition of the larger group of believers of the time, which at least in Christ’s day, is exactly how God had it come about.

  19. David says:

    1300 years prior, in another part of the world, a religious milieu gave rise to another new religion. Its founder was pious though he did not belong to any particular sect. He had an angel appear to him; that angel gave him the words to a holy book. In less than two hundred years since that first encounter, his religion spread from Spain in the west to India in the east. I am sure by now you have guest that the man was Muhammad, his book the Koran, and the religion Islam.

    To be fair, some parallels could be drawn between Christianity. It was forged in a religious milieu. Religious melting pots often give rise to new belief systems. What all three have in common is they gave birth to new scriptures. All three claim to be the true religion of Yahweh.

    What separates Christianity from the two is it claims an unbroken line to the first man. Mormonism claims a total apostasy and that “plain and precious truth” have been left out of the Bible. Islam used to claim an unbroken line until hundreds of years of interaction with Christians forced Muslims to realize that both the Bible and the Koran cannot be correct (even though Muhammad claimed that he brought no “new-fangled doctrine’’). Matthew 16:18

  20. falcon says:

    So, in an “awakening” who gets “awakened”? Well people who have fallen asleep spiritually. These aren’t unbelievers, but believers who have pushed the spiritual snooze button. They know Christ as their Savior, they’re saved, but they’ve nodded off. Well then, who gets “revived” in a “revival”? We often say that someone who has fainted or maybe knocked-out, is unconscious, needs to be revived. It’s a little more serious condition than being asleep. Spiritually, these folks could be considered believers, having had committed their lives to Christ at one time, but perhaps their life style isn’t consistent with their faith. OK then what about apostates and heretics and those who follow their teaching? Well these folks are in a whole different category. They are not saved, but they may think they are; holding fast to a form of religion.
    In the Gospel of John the third chapter, a leader of the Jews, Nicodemus, comes to Jesus at night. Metaphorically we could say he was spiritually in the dark. He was concerned about the status of his soul. He had a form of religion, but something told him something wasn’t right with his soul. Jesus told him he had to be born again. Nicodemus was confused, thinking of being born in the physical sense of the word. Jesus instructed him that unless he was born again spiritually, he couldn’t enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was confused. He didn’t get it. He WAS religious. Jesus said “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
    Jesus warned about false teachers. The effect of their false teaching is that their followers are religious, but they aren’t born again. To be born again means to give our hearts in faith to the only one who can provide salvation, Jesus. This isn’t religion. It’s a relationship. Being born again has little to do with a religious brand name, but has everything to with faith. Tell God today that you want that relationship with Jesus. Give yourself wholly to Him

  21. subgenius says:

    maybe your initial point was already ‘stretched’?
    Quote an article that speaks of folk history and the generalization of an era. Reference a few statements from a casual source, then uses those to contradict the claim that the beginning of Mormonism was “unique”. However, the assumptions for this contradictions are flawed. They assume all were formed in the same manner and source. Gathering followers is forming, so that is no indicator for your point.
    Christian Science, Millerites (7th Day Advent), Shakers(quaker), etc… none of these experiments had “visions” relative to their beginings – LDS did. None of these experiments had origins from the Gospel of Jesus and His organization of church – LDS did. None of the others were as persecuted or as controversial – LDS was. None of the other founders were known to be in search of a true church during this awakening – LDS was. But please, help me understand what others formed from “visions”, what others organized their church after the one organized by Jesus.

    What ‘organization’ religious or otherwise, encourages dissent or encourages its memebership to resign? Your diatribes are often amusing but frustrating due to lack of engaging in any contrary discussion (no response to my Bible verses above, as usual). Your summations may be considered ‘false-teaching’ and ‘strange doctrine’. U think many are here that are not devoted to Jesus?

    the success may also be attributed to the truth in the LDS church.

    well said

    did you have a point?

    It is in the fact the “exception” all around.

  22. falcon says:

    The Third Great Awakening was started in 1857 and was known for its emphasis on prayer. During this Awakening 10,000 peope in New York City alone gathered together daily-even left work-to pray. The same thing was taking place all over the country, in small towns as well as in great cities. What was remarkable about the gatherings was that there was little preaching done. People gathered often in silence. There was an over whelming attitude of glorifying God. One account tells of a European cargo ship that sailed into New York harbor during the awakening and was boarded by the harbor pilot, who was a Christian. As he guided the ship into port, he told the captain and crew what was going on in the city, and a great hush fell over them all, which seemed to him the power of the Spirit. By the time they reached the dock, most of the crew had committed their lives to Christ. The New York Times reported that Dr. Henry Ward Beecher had devotions at Burton’s Theater that was drawing 3,ooo people. On one occasion as he was reading Scripture, he heard singing from an overflow prayer meeting that was taking place….in an ajoining barroom!
    The Spirit of God will work even here to draw those who need to know Jesus…to Him. Someone is reading this and you have a hole in your soul big enough to drive a truck through. You’re “religious” but all of you efforts leave you spiitually hungry and thirsty….empty. The Good News is that Jesus told us that He is the Bread of Life. He can feed your spiritual hunger. Jesus told us that He is living water. He can quench your spiritual thirst. This is the Jesus of the Bible that you can have a personal relaitonship with. You can pray to Him….you can talk to Him. He will send you the Comforter…the Holy spirit…to guide you and encourage you in your spiritual walk. The Blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Just like the Great Awakenings of the past, you can have your own spiritual awakening today.

  23. traveler says:


    You stated
    the success may also be attributed to the truth in the LDS church”

    Okay… This sort of response is really discouraging, especialy from you Sub – I was looking for something better that the old “Non Falsifiabilty” argument.

    Sadly this comes back to the flaw in all Religions – the inability to offer up a rational basis for a devotion to “a ghost (or multiple ghosts) in the sky”.


    Just Believe!
    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

    no thanks.


  24. David says:

    I had a few points in mind Sub. First, I actually agree (to some extent) with your point that there were some aspects of Mormon beginnings that were not shared by other groups of that time. Besides, coming out of a sectarian milieu does not prove falsehood.

    However, Mormonism’s origins, in some ways, bear resemblance to that of other religions of the same time and locality (burned-over district) and those throughout history . . . like Islam. I think you go too far when you claim that none “of the other founders were known to be in search of a true church during this awakening”. This seems to go against every tape and play put out by your church that has the various Christian sects claiming to have the only truth or be the only truth (confusion corner). It is hard to say what the intentions of the various founders and adherents of the sects in the burnt over district were, but I think it would be fair to say that at least some were in a search for truth.

    The point of Mormon Coffee is to spark dialogue and as such I have know problem with the topic of the thread. But if I had to state my hang-ups with Mormonism, I would start with the same one that I would take with Islam (as well as others) . . . Both faiths insist on an historical disconnect. Both maintain that between the earthly ministry of Jesus and the appearance of their founder, a total apostasy took place (the Great Apostasy is foundational to Mormonism). This goes against the testimony of scripture. Some would say that scripture itself has been corrupted. This introduces numerous philosophical problems from which both groups suffer. For many in these groups, the Bible must have one foot in legitimacy and one foot out. To be completely true, or to be completely false would render their belief system false.

  25. Michael P says:

    In fact, huh?

    If its a fact, you can prove it and demonstrate it.

    (I know, I know, back to that whole proving thing again. We just can’t seem to get past it, can we?)

  26. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Emmanuel Swedenborg, Ann Lee, and Jemima Wilkinson (to name a few) all claimed visions that led them to start their particular religious groups. They claimed visions of God the Father, of Jesus, of angels. They said they were called and set apart for their ministries by God. They claimed to receive new revelation. They all said they were commissioned by God to begin new churches. They all based their faith on Jesus Christ. Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science) claimed she was to “reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.” Millerite Ellen G. White claimed numerous visions that she said confirmed Adventist doctrines. All of these new churches were considered controversial and many were “persecuted.” I repeat (for the last time here), Joseph Smith’s claims of visions and a calling from God to begin a new religion were not unique or unusual in that time and place.

  27. dj1989 says:


    I’d like to reply to your comment that both faiths (Islam & Mormonism in your example) insist on a historical disconnect. Somehow that is a problem for you. You mention that it goes against the testimony of scripture, which I’m not sure how.

    Let me first say, that I do not believe that a disconnect from traditional religion proves or disproves veracity of Mormonism, Islam, or any other faith (though it seems that you feel that a disconnect shows a faith to be untrue) But, a disconnection from the traditional faith does have an incredibly important similarity that shouldn’t be ignored, and should be included on the list of reasons to question the traditional religion…. and that similarity is that Jesus himself made a disconnection from the religious tradition of the Jews (who had many solid reasons for believing that they were God’s chosen people)

    Were not the Jews God’s chosen people? A people whom God not only chose, but made covenants with that they would be His chosen people? This is the point I was trying to make in my last post. God has set a precedent. When religious traditions of man break down the original and pure intention of His law & His covenants, He doesn’t “reform”, or “awaken”, etc. He begins outside the confines of the worn out traditions. He did this in the days of Jesus. Mormons claim that He has done it again in our time. This is what Jesus meant when he said that new wine cannot be put into old bottles, because the old bottles break and both the bottle and the wine is ruined.

    Now if the Jews can completely lose God’s approval as His chosen people after time and tradition crept into their religious tradition, is it POSSIBLE that the same could happen to Christianity? Is it POSSIBLE that it already has happened? YES & YES. (Especially after 2,000 years) There is no precedent that humans can keep God’s word pure over so much time. With scriptures or without scriptures. The Jews had scriptures. However, the opposite is quite the case.

  28. Michael P says:

    DJ– The Jews didn’t lose anything. Your premise is off to a bad start. They are still God’s chosen people. The difference is that the message is opened up to everyone (actually, it always had been). What Christ did was to give a final sacrifice so the laws that governed gaining forgiveness (ie ritual sacrifice) were ultimately fulfilled.

  29. subgenius says:

    Emmanuel Sweedenborg was dead by 1772, no church cretaed by him, not relevant to this article or our discussion. Mary Eddy no visions, and no relevance except wanting primitive organization, again wanting to organize does not discount unique beginings. Jemima was dead by the height of revivalism, she practiced voodoo, went into trances, not visions. Again, your point is based on an obscure 3rd-world newspaper column speaking about folk history. Weak assumptions made at best. Ellen G White was not the founder of millerites….it was miller. I enjoy your topics but this fell a little short.

    sorry, to disappoint, i will do better. actually i assume to not only see the man behind the curtain, but get in there and see what he is doing.

    Read the BoM and Bible, go to ward meetings, walk and talk with the LDS members that speak true to you, and that will be your proof. Or, you can ask me specific questions, and i will reply.

  30. traveler says:


    You responded earlier – “traveler
    sorry, to disappoint, i will do better. actually i assume to not only see the man behind the curtain, but get in there and see what he is doing.”

    I was referring to “The Wizard of Oz” and I doubt that THAT is now part of the BOM,D&C and POGP collection?
    Is it?

    Good to chat with you!


  31. falcon says:

    In second Chronicles 7:13-14 God says; “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” God is talking to His people. He is giving them the remedy for spiritual lethergy and sin. Trying times like our own Civil War, often drive people to their knees seeking God. Here are some facts about the spiritual awakening that took place during the Civil War: *Major revivals broke out in the Civil War armies. In the Union Army, between 100,000 and 200,000 soldiers were converted; among Confederate forces, aproximately 150,000 troops converted to Christ. *A “Great Revival” occurred among Robert E. Lee’s forces in the fall of 1863 and winter of 1864. Some 7,000 soldiers were converted. Revivals also swept the Union Army at that time. Sometimes prieaching and praying continued 24 hours a day, and chapels couldn’t hold the soldiers who wanted to get inside. *Millions of tracts were distributed to soldiers during the war. The U.S. Christian Commission alone distributed 30 million tracts.
    Sometimes people get saved during a great move of God’s Spirit. But individuals also meet God a part from great revivals or spiritual awakenings. What’s important is that people know that God calls us to a personal relationship with His Son Jesus Christ one-on-one. And when we come to Christ we don’t need to attach all of the baggage that religion can bring. Freedom in Christ means freedom from useless religious works, requirements, procedures, and scurtiny. To know Christ personally as Savior is to know that when we die we are with Him for eternity. We don’t have to flash any religious merit badges to move up the ranks. We are as saved as we are ever going to be and complete in Christ, when we trust in Him.

  32. David says:


    Could we not agree that if the scriptures tell us that a complete apostasy will not happen and if someone says it has happened then that person is a liar? The gates of hell will not prevail against God’s church. Jesus said it; I believe it.

    I believe you missed the point that the disconnect is not from traditional religion but from true religion. I think we can agree that the 12 apostles had the true faith. The disconnect comes when one says that they are lousy teachers. So bad that within a few generations the faith was lost. This is a poor reflection on Rabbi Jesus too.

    In the gospels, Jesus put himself squarely inline with the previous prophets. Where did Jesus mention a total OT apostasy? Not to be found. The parable of the vinedressers illustrates this beautifully. Jesus attended synagogue and told those he healed to go to the Levitical priests.

    Furthermore, Jesus never ever questioned the textual integrity of the Tenakh. He readily quoted from it and saw Himself as the summation of it. Some of the religious leaders of that time were straying from the true faith via their traditions, but it was Jesus who quoted scripture over-and-against their traditions (like the corban rule).

    When did the Jews ever completely lose God’s approval? The Messiah Himself took on Hebrew flesh. The New Covenant was first given to 12 Jews. The early church was comprised mostly of Jews. The disconnect that you think appears in the scriptures actually reinforces the veracity of them; you reference that which is, at times, alleged to be corrupted. Where in the OT does God indict the priesthood for being totally corrupted? Where in scripture does it say scripture can or has been corrupted? Neither the OT nor the NT knows of a complete apostasy. In fact, some verses say such a thing won’t/can’t happen.


  33. David says:

    The weight of The Great Apostasy cannot be underrated when it comes to Mormonism. Joseph Smith’s insistence on it separated his fledgling flock from the others. However, the support for it in terms of “evidence” or revelation is weak to the point of non-existent. This part just seems to have been glossed over by Joseph and his followers (past and present). It seems like a starting point for many Mormons, but it is one has received little attention. If I were a founder or adherent of a new religion, and part of my claim was a complete falling away then restoration of an older dead religion . . . Well I would have the who, what, when, where, and whys figured out if I wanted anyone to make me seriously.

  34. dj1989 says:


    You write too much! 🙂 But, point by point. The scriptures do not say that a great apostasy will not or cannot happen. It’s true, the gates of hell cannot prevail against God’s church, but in what sense? If it’s in an “ultimate” sense, then a temporary apostasy most certainly agrees with that interpretation, for God’s church will prevail ultimately. So, that is a point that simply comes down to interpretation. But the scriptures do not teach against this idea. But if it is to be read in the “ultimate” sense, then an apostasy is possible, and if it occurred a gospel restoration would be required… which is central to Mormon claims.

    As to whether the Apostles were lousy teachers? That’s a pretty weak point. We’re not talking about losing the faith that was taught after a generation. Frankly we don’t have great records on that in the first place. We’re talking about whether or not their teachings are taught in their pure form after 2,000 years. 2,000 YEARS! Give me a break. Americans in particular should be wary of believing that, because we are keenly aware that the intention of the writers of the US Constitution have been lost in many ways after just 200 years. An apostasy doesn’t at all reflect poorly on Jesus. For the Jews law was written by the finger of God. Yet, after MUCH LESS than 2,000 years, the scriptures and the law were insufficient for the Jews to easily understand the pure gospel or the significance of Jesus. The textual integrity isn’t so much in question, as is the Jews ability to understand the text, which is essentially the case that Mormons make today of Christianity.

  35. dj1989 says:

    As an additional thought… Apostasy is more about the people pushing God out. Here’s a thought: If Christ wanted to speak today, Christians would not accept that message. They can’t. They’ve painted themselves into a corner of strict belief that refuses His intent/disposition to give more. They have effectively limited God’s ability to work.

    The only thing that at least from my standpoint that Christianity can say for itself, is they say “God’s revealed all that’s necessary”. Well, that COULD be true, but it feels more contrived and it contrasts starkly with the history contained in the scriptures themselves. If the scriptures contain a pattern of how God interacts with his children, then that pattern surely doesn’t include the notion that God will stop revealing.

    And to be fair, the scripture as contained in Revelation 22:18-19, has long been dispelled by Christians & Mormons alike as having reference to the entire Bible.

  36. falcon says:

    The total number of people dedicating themselves to the Christian Gospel of Jesus Christ during the “Awakenings” is staggering. The people who God raised up to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ during this time period rolled over any opposition of the false prophets of that time. The message of those proclaiming Christ overwhelmed the heretical and apostate claims, messages and dubious revelations.
    In England on October 7, 1857 Charles Spurgeon preached to a gathering of 23,654 people in the huge Crystal Palace for a national day of fasting and prayer. When Spurgeon was asked about his approach to preaching he said, “I take my text and make a bee-line to the cross.” Spurgeon said, “Saving faith is an immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, resting upon Him alone, for justification, sanctificaiton, and eternal life by virtue of the covenant of grace.” Spurgeons’s own conversion is remarkable. He awoke one January Sunday in 1850 with a deep sense of his need for deliverance. Because of a snowstorm, the 15 year old’s path to church was diverted down a side street. For shelter, he ducked into the Primitive Methodist Chapel. An unknown substitue preacher picked Isaiah 45:22 “look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Spurgeon reported; “He had not much to say, thank God, for that compelled him to keep on repeating his text, and there was nothing needed by me, at any rate except his text. Then, stopping, he pointed to where I was sitting under the gallery, and he said, “That young man there looks very miserable”….he shouted as I think only a Primitive Methodist can, ‘Look!Look, young man!Look now!’ …Then I had this vision-not a vision to my eyes, but to my heart. I saw what a Savior Christ was…Now I can never tell you how it was, but I no sooner saw whom I was to believe than I also understood what it was to believe, and I did believe in one moment.”

  37. jackg says:


    Christians have not painted themselves into any corners. Christ does speak today. He speaks through the Word, and He speaks to us through the Spirit. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). This is the purpose of a triune God. Apostasy is not about pushing God out, it’s about following after heretical teachings. Here’s a thought for you: your premise of the Bible being insufficient for salvation is based on God not being able to protect His word. The wonderful thing about God is that He does His work of redemption through a broken and fallen humanity, the weakest vessel He could ever find. But, His word is still intact, and everything else that tries to supplant it is merely an effort to get Christians to apostatize from the truth that has already been established through the history of the Israelites and the coming of Christ Jesus, who is the new covenant.

  38. Michael P says:

    A common misperception Mormons hold is that God no longer speaks to us. This could not be further from truth, for he speaks to us daily. What it is we do not beleive is that there are any additional plans to lead us to Christ/God. We believe Christ’s death and resurection ended all need for any additional rules or ways to heaven. But this does not mean he stopped talking to us.

    If Christ were to come today? I have often wondered about that, and think many of the religious establishment would indeed miss him. But that is the fault of men, not of God’s message for us left in the Bible.

    Actually, a good book about this is in the novel Eli, by Bill Meyers.

  39. falcon says:

    The nineteenth century was a time of dramatic industrial expansion, urbanization, and economic growth in America. Along with prosperity there were also many ills that plagued society. It was a society that needed Christ. Born in 1837 and with only a fifth grade education, Dwight Moody brought the Word of God to the nation. At the Chicago World’s Exibition in 1893, in a single day, over 130,000 people attended evangelistic meetings coordinated by Moody. During his life, Moody often spoke to groups of ten thousand to twenty thousand people. It is estimated that Moody traveled more than one million miles and addressed more than one hundred million people during his evangelistic career. Moody said, “There is nothing, my friends, that brings out the love of God like the cross of Christ; it tells of the breadth, the length, and the height of his love. If you want to know how much God loves you, you must go to Calvary to find out.” He also said, “The first man that went to heaven went by the way of the blood, and the last man that passes through those pearly gates must go the same way…..We don’t start from the cradle to heaven, but from the Cross. That’s where eternal life begins-when we come to Calvary.” Moody understood the Person and work of the Holy Spirit: “Every dead soul brought to life must be brought to life by the power of the Spirit….The idea of educating people into the kingdom of God is not the way. You may educate them and educate them, but they will be as far from conversion as ever. How many people have come to me and said of some one, ‘I cannot bring him into the light of Christ!’ You can’t? That’s not extraordiary. My friend, you can only bring people to a certain length, and then the Spirit of the Holy Ghost must show them the light; and when he does it, he will do it thoroughly. We cannnot force inquirers into the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit must quicken.”
    You can secure your salvation today in Jesus and know your eternal destiny!

  40. David says:


    If “my interpretation” of Matt 16:18 is true then a total apostasy is not possible. I write “my interpretation” as it is not just mine but every commentator within the early church. I dare say that we don’t see your interpretation until Joseph Smith. I think we can all see why. Your “interpretation” is not organic to the text, but is one that is ad hoc and born out of apologetic necessity due to a pre-commitment to Joseph Smith.

    As far as textual integrity goes, if you really believe what you wrote then you cannot later question the Biblical text if it violates your position. You stance seems to go somewhat against the grain of traditional Mormonism as the BoM says that “plain and precious truths” are missing from today’s Bibles and an LDS article of faith qualifies belief in the Bible (as far as it is translated correctly). Neither of which are done towards any other LDS scriptures.

    DJ we are not talking even 2,000 years! From the close of the first century to Joseph’s claim of total apostasy is only about 1,700 years. Besides, I have not heard of any Mormons who peg the apostasy at the 16th or 17th century. Most peg it somewhere between the early second to mid fourth . . . Only a few hundred years tops. This part of the Great Apostasy has not been hammered out by your camp as I alluded to earlier, and I see that as very problematic.

    And yes, this would reflect poorly on Jesus and his apostles. If ever there were a great Rabbi and church builder it would be Jesus. So, if we were to expect a teaching to last 2,000 years or more it would be that of The Son and The Holy Spirit. However, Joseph Smith claimed to be a greater church builder than Jesus and His 12 apostles. If you believe Christ’s church can go totally apostate, then according to your logic, that time totally corrupts all communities of faith, we would expect your church to go apostate anytime now. Some claim it has happened already.


  41. David says:

    Your constitution comparison is a good one. I would add one caveat though; the founding fathers had varying political opinions that, at times, cannot be reconciled. I would not say this of the apostles or the Bible.

    Dare I say it is people who have a politic that runs counter to the constitution that claim that it’s original meaning is difficult to impossible to know? Why even have constitutions, or scriptures, in the first place if such is the case? I see similarities between those who would muddy the constitutional waters and Mormons. Oftentimes the constitution is clear and some people just do not want to accept it. The founding fathers, like the ancient Jews and Christians, wrote a lot; we can know what they believed on certain issues. Historically speaking, it would be impossible to (constitutionally) defend extreme gun control just as the unique beliefs of the Latter-day Saints would be impossible to reconcile with primitive Jewish and Christian religion.

    I am not sure if you have conceded the point of a total OT apostasy but I would reiterate that the call of Jesus to the people of the 1st century was of a different make, a different kind, than that of Joseph Smith to his age. Just because some people cannot “easily understand the pure gospel or the significance of Jesus” does not mean that a total apostasy has taken place. Consensus, or great numbers, does not produce or guarantee true religion. Some in ancient Israel did get it and they got in within the confines of Tenakh, synagogue, and Temple.

    Your last point is a bit of a straw man. Some traditional Christians are cessationists but many are not (including me). I have made this point before on this blog. I truly wish Mormons would get that they are not the only ones who believe in continuing revelation. In fact, there were others in the burned over district who were not cessationists.

    . . . lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age

  42. falcon says:

    John Wesley was not a phsically imposing man. He stood five-feet-three inches tall and weighed only 128 poounds. Yet during his ministry, he rode over 250,000 miles on horseback and preached over 40,000 sermons. He preached in the open air to crowds estimated in the tens of thousands. It wasn’t unusual for him to begin preaching at daybreak or before and preach three times a day. When he died in 1791 he had 79,000 followers in England and 40,000 in America. By 1957 there were 40 million followers world-wide.
    What is interesting is that as a young Anglican minister John Wesley was in constant anxiety about his salvation. Friends came to see him and testified that a true living faith in Christ was inseparable from a sense of pardon for all past, and freedom from all present sins. They told him that this faith was the gift, the free gift of God, and that he would surely give it to anyone who sought it. Wesley was determned to renounce his dependence on his own works which he had depended on for hope of salvation. Wesley reported that: “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate-Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ. Christ alone for salvation. And an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
    John Wesley’s spiritual breakthrough came when he realized that he couldn’t work his way to salvation. When he came to trust in Jesus for his salvation, he gained that peace and assurance he was looking for. He went on to preach this message to thousands who in turn found salvation in Christ.
    The Jesus that saves is the Jesus of the Bible. He’s not one of a pantheon of endless gods. Get to know the real Jesus. Receive the free gift of eternal life through faith in Him.

  43. Ralph says:

    Wow, lovely conversion stories about Charles Spurgeon and John Wesley. From what has been written you look to these men as ‘greats’ (can’t think of a better word) in your church. What did they base their conversion on?

    Spurgeon ”Then I had this vision-not a vision to my eyes, but to my heart. I saw what a Savior Christ was”

    Wesley ”…while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed

    I guess no one told Spurgeon the scripture Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

    And isn’t Wesley suffering from a little heartburn? Some antacid would help there.

  44. falcon says:

    America’s Great Awakening was sparked by the preaching of an Englishman in 1739-40. George Whitefield, only 25 years old at the time, brought a storm of revival to America. His farewell sermon, delivered on the Boston Common, was heard by 23,000 people. This was more than the population of Boston and was quite possibly the largest crowd ever gathered in America. Whitefield would awake at 4:00 A.M. and begin preaching at 5 or 6 A.M. In a weeks time, it wasn’t unusual for him to preach a total of 40 or 50 hours. Ben Franklin, who was a friend, estimated that Whitefield’s voice could carry to a crowd of 30,000 people. During his life, it was estimated that he preached at least 18,000 times to a total of 10,000,000 people. What would he say?
    “My dear friends, we have no righteousness of our own; our best righteousness, take them altogether, are but so many filthy rags; we can only be accepted for the sake of the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. This righteousness must be imputed and made over to us, and applied to our hearts; and till we get this righteousness brought home to our souls, we are in a state of death and damnation-the wrath of God abideth on us…….What shall I say to you? Open the door of your heart, that the King of glory, the blessed Jesus, may come in and erect his kingdom in your soul. Make room for Christ; the Lord Jesus desires to sup with you tonight; Christ is willing to come in to any of your hearts that will be pleased to open and receive him.”
    Whitefield’s message could be captured by the saying: “No Jesus, No Peace…Know Jesus Know Peace.”
    The Bible tells us that “In the beginning was the Word.” This Jesus is not a created being. He is fully God and fully man. He is the qualified redeemer in whom we place our trust for salvation. Receive the gift of eternal life today by trusting in Jesus. No church, no sect, no denomination holds the keys to your salvation. It’s just you and Jesus. One on one. Receive Him today.

  45. Michael P says:

    OK, Ralph, need I say that our faith involves faith? And need I say the burning is subjective? This is something that can be shared. If that is shared then, we must be separated by something else, at least. What then might that be?

  46. Berean says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am learning a lot from Falcon’s posts regarding the history of some of Christianity’s greatest leaders that brought the gospel message to literally millions of people. Moody, Wesley and Whitefield all preached the same simple message that is still being preached today. This message didn’t need to go through committees by some governing authority for checking and clarifying before dishing it out to the public. The message is simple and it is the one that Christians are desperately trying to give those Mormons that are possibly reading this that are struggling and having doubts about their man-based, works for salvation religion.

    Read the paragraph of Falcon’s last post. That’s it in a nutshell. Forgiveness is offered right now and it’s permanent. Jesus paid the whole price and there is nothing that any Mormon needs to do to add to it. Jesus doesn’t need our help in the atonement process in bringing us to Heavenly Father. Eternal life is a free gift that is offered to anyone that will only accept the payment that has already paid by the Savior of the New Testament.

  47. falcon says:

    The evangelistic movement that John Wesley started, to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, became known as Methodism. God used this group and countless others to bring Christ to spiritually hungry souls. The itinerent preachers became known as Circuit Riders. One such preacher was Francis Asbury. When he answered Wesley’s call, Asbury left for America, and never returned to England. Asbury had only a few years of formal schooling but his discipline and motivaiton were unrivaled. He would arise every morning at four o’clock, he taught himslef Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. He made it a rule to read 100 pages of good literature a day. He would travel over rough and dangerous territory making a complete circuit of the area stretching from Georgia to Maine, and into Indiana. Asbury never married and never had a home. The little that he owned, he could fit into two saddle bags on his horse. It is said that he preached more than 16,000 sermons. Asbury wore out six horses and when he could no longer ride, he traveled in a carriage. Thrveling this way, he covered 270,000 miles. What were the results? In 1780 there had been 42 preachers and 8,504 members; by 1790 there were 227 preachers, and 45,949 white and 11,862 black members. In 1820 the numbers were; 904 preachers, and 256,881 members.
    Asbury said, “I pray to God that there may be a score of camp-meetings a week, and wonderful seasons of the Lord in all directions. …I rejoice to think there will be perhaps four or five hundred camp meeitngs this year.” Describing one such meeting…”The ministers of God, Methodists and Prsbyterians, united their labors and mingled with the child like simplicity of primitive times. Fires blazing here and there dispelled the darness and the shouts of the redeemed captives and the cries of precious souls struggling into life, broke the silence of midnight…”
    Salvation in Christ is for all who will claim it by faith. I pray that the Spirit of God would quicken you to made that decision.

  48. subgenius says:

    Again, The LDS church came from “unique” beginings as the many posts above have illustrated (mainly falcon, thank you). Apparrently all these revivals drew crowds numbering 20,000 to 60,000. People preaching thousands of times a year, preaching around the fire until morning, visions, seizures, tens of thousands of people converted, large festivals, and prominent christian personas. Sounds exactly like the begining of the LDS church. What was Hinckley thinking? Unique? A 14 year old boy’s vision alone in the woods, revelation and translation of another testament of Jesus Christ, public humilation, persecution, conversion of about 100 people, exodus, and subsequent State of Missouri issued extermination…..indeed this sounds like any number of “happenings” during that era. Hinckley sure made a naive statement that the beginings of our church was unique. Everyone has made such excellent arguments to how there was a rather common and stereotypical genesis of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

    i appreciate falcon’s testimony, and i am sure that we all share in his joy. However, your wholesale ‘cut-n-paste’ proselytizing is wearing thin and bordering on condescending, not to mention having no point.

    works for salvation? so you obviously believe that the atonement is your guarantee? That you are free to do anything at anytime? that is amazing – Everyone gets to go to heaven no matter what they do here on earth.

    falcon and berean
    as you use this blog to peddle your diluted and delusional denominational wares, please remember that it is not to late for either of you to change your ways and to come wholly to God on both spirit and body, in both word and deed, with both heart and soul.

    Mormon article of faith number 11 :
    “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

  49. jackg says:


    The only thing diluted and delusional is your thinking. You sit atop a mountain of pride. May God have mercy on your soul.

  50. falcon says:

    There are difinite patterns of spiritual renewal that accompany times of Christian revivals and enlightenments. Awakenings, like those we have been discussing here, are usually preceded by a time of spiritual depression, apathy and gross sin, in which a majority of nominal Christians are hardly different from members of society. The churches seem to be asleep. Then an individual or perhaps a small group of God’s people becomes conscious of their sins. They vow to forsake all that is displeasing to God. As some Christians begin to desire a manifestation of God’s power, leaders arise with prophetic insights. God shows them the causes and remedies of the problems. People begin to be aware of the holy and pure character of God. As Christians awaken, they understand and give themselves to a higher spiritual life. As was the case with the Civil War, an awakening is often used by God for trials to come. There are four basic charateristics to an evangelical outpouring. There is a belief that lives need to be changed by faith in Christ, Conversionism. There is a high estimation of the teaching of the Bible, Biblicism. There is a concentration in theology on the doctrine of the Atonement, Crucicentrism. And finally, efforts go forth for the welfare of the soul’s of others, Activism. Through the awakening and the revivals come conversions not just in ones, but en masse.
    God sends His Holy Spirit to convict and convert those who don’t know Christ as their Lord and Savior. As false teachers and prophets arise, a sharp distinction is drawn between the true Church of Christ and the aberrent and heretical. Although deluted by false prophets and teachers, God sends His Word out in pure, straight-forward terms so that those who have become entangled in a net of deceit, can free themselves and come to Him. A pure, unadulterated relationship with Jesus Christ is there for all who would come to Him in faith. You’re reading this for a reason. Step out in faith today.

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