Growth of Mormon Church

Powerful Essays
On, April 6, 1830, a then 24-year-old young man named Joseph Smith Jr. gathered in a small room along with six other people to organize a Church that would change American history. Since the age of 14, Joseph Smith had always been a source of contentment and ridicule by people of all social classes and religions. Ten years earlier, in the spring of 1820, this young boy declared that he had seen a vision, that he had been visited by both God, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

This vision is a cornerstone of the Church that is known today as, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nicknamed the “Mormons”, a religion that was built on the ideals of communal living and strict obedience to religious guidelines, a people that would be hunted by mobs, and that would eventually erect a “sanctuary” of 15,000 “saints” only 13 years after its foundation, a religion that Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum would be murdered for at the age of 38, a Church that would grow from 7 members in 1830, to a congregation of over 11 million in the year 2000.# Why did many early American settlers, both rich and poor, believe in the Mormon doctrines and, by contrast, why did so many early settlers despise these people for their beliefs?

In order for us to understand how the early Mormon Church grew at such a rapid pace, and why this particular new religion survived when many others started with the same fervor, but did not have the staying power of Mormonism, we have to first look at the time and region in which this new faith began. I don’t know if there could have been a time and place any where in the world that was more prepared for Joseph Smith Jr., and the Mormon religion, than western New York in the early 1830’s. At this time in U.S. history, what was called the “Second Great Awakening” was taking place throughout the country,# and western New York had been labeled the “Burned-over District” by a lawyer from New York, named Charles Finney, because it “had been scorched by the flames of religious enthusiasm.”# Revivals and religious fervor were taking hold, and many new denominations were being formed, this area of the country became famous “for its history of revivalism, radicalism, utopian experiments. It was fertile ground for new ideas to take root and spread to other parts of the country.”# Joseph Smith was able to capitalize on this when he founded the LDS Church ...

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