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New book on Burned Over District, edited by head of Joseph Smith Papers, published by Cornell


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9 hours ago, Hamilton Porter said:

It seems like those who work at church HQ produce the best scholarship because they have ready access to archives.

This looks like a great background for D&C study.

https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501770548/new-yorks-burned-over-district/#bookTabs=1

9781501770548.jpg?auto=format&w=198&q=20

For decades enemies of the church have been insisting there was no great religious revival around the Palmyra, New York area at the time of the First Vision, and that the prophet Joseph Smith made the whole thing up in order to make his claim of religious confusion leading to his claimed encounter with God more plausible. It’ll be interesting to learn what the authors have to say on the subject.

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5 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

For decades enemies of the church have been insisting there was no great religious revival around the Palmyra, New York area at the time of the First Vision, and that the prophet Joseph Smith made the whole thing up in order to make his claim of religious confusion leading to his claimed encounter with God more plausible. It’ll be interesting to learn what the authors have to say on the subject.

Good point, this may have apologetic value. 1820 is at the heart of the revival period.

Although I haven't seen anyone make that argument lately. Maybe it died out.

Edited by Hamilton Porter
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In New York's Burned-over District, Spencer W. McBride and Jennifer Hull Dorsey invite readers to experience the early American revivals and reform movements through the eyes of the revivalists and the reformers themselves.

Between 1790 and 1860, the mass migration of white settlers into New York State contributed to a historic Christian revival. This renewed spiritual interest and fervor occurred in particularly high concentration in central and western New York where men and women actively sought spiritual awakening and new religious affiliation. Contemporary observers referred to the region as "burnt" or "infected" with religious enthusiasm; historians now refer to as the Burned-over District.

New York's Burned-over District highlights how Christian revivalism transformed the region into a critical hub of social reform in nineteenth-century America. An invaluable compendium of primary sources, this anthology revises standard interpretations of the Burned-over District and shows how the putative grassroots movements of the era were often coordinated and regulated by established religious leaders.

Edited by Hamilton Porter
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1 hour ago, Hamilton Porter said:

New York's Burned-over District highlights how Christian revivalism transformed the region into a critical hub of social reform in nineteenth-century America.

Does the book discuss what the issues were that led to social reform? Were the people concerned with robber barons, unfair bankers, oppressive bureaucrats? I wonder if people were migrating westward because of economic disasters (like the Smith family fleeing failed farms due to unusually cold climate).

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11 minutes ago, longview said:

Does the book discuss what the issues were that led to social reform? Were the people concerned with robber barons, unfair bankers, oppressive bureaucrats? I wonder if people were migrating westward because of economic disasters (like the Smith family fleeing failed farms due to unusually cold climate).

You've been reading your Saints, good job.

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3 hours ago, Hamilton Porter said:

; historians now refer to as the Burned-over District.

I hope Cornell corrects this before publication.

Anyway, this book looks like it will be a good supplement to Whitney Cross's 1950 study, also published by Cornell University Press. But I don't expect it will have much to say about Latter-day Saints, who played no role at all in the revivals or in the antebellum social reform movements (temperance, antislavery, women's suffrage).

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3 hours ago, Nevo said:

I hope Cornell corrects this before publication.

Anyway, this book looks like it will be a good supplement to Whitney Cross's 1950 study, also published by Cornell University Press. But I don't expect it will have much to say about Latter-day Saints, who played no role at all in the revivals or in the antebellum social reform movements (temperance, antislavery, women's suffrage).

All those phenomena set the stage for and affected Mormonism.

Edited by Hamilton Porter
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7 hours ago, teddyaware said:

For decades enemies of the church have been insisting there was no great religious revival around the Palmyra, New York area at the time of the First Vision, and that the prophet Joseph Smith made the whole thing up in order to make his claim of religious confusion leading to his claimed encounter with God more plausible. It’ll be interesting to learn what the authors have to say on the subject.

Really?  I have never heard of anyone questioning the burned over district era.  Do you have any references? 

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1 hour ago, sunstoned said:

Really?  I have never heard of anyone questioning the burned over district era.  Do you have any references? 

"A search fails to find a story regarding the revival excitement that Smith later claimed was the reason why he went to the grove to seek God in prayer, and received this fantastic vision."

https://www.namb.net/apologetics/resource/the-truth-about-mormonism/

 

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4 hours ago, Nevo said:

I hope Cornell corrects this before publication.

Anyway, this book looks like it will be a good supplement to Whitney Cross's 1950 study, also published by Cornell University Press. But I don't expect it will have much to say about Latter-day Saints, who played no role at all in the revivals or in the antebellum social reform movements (temperance, antislavery, women's suffrage).

Cornell Press has the potential to become for LDS history what University of Illinois Press already is, for obvious geographic reasons.

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1 hour ago, sunstoned said:

Really?  I have never heard of anyone questioning the burned over district era.  Do you have any references? 

"According to the historical evidence Joseph Smith could not have been stirred by an 1820 revival to ask which church was true, since there was no revival in 1820 anywhere near Manchester, New York, where he was living. A revival as described by Joseph Smith did occur there beginning in the spring of 1824. However, this then seriously disrupts Joseph's whole story, because there is not enough time between the First vision and the 1830 publication of the Book of Mormon for all the events described in the First Vision story."

https://mit.irr.org/new-light-on-joseph-smiths-first-vision

Edited by Hamilton Porter
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2 hours ago, sunstoned said:

Really?  I have never heard of anyone questioning the burned over district era.  Do you have any references? 

In case you want some more redneck bait..

https://cesletter.org/debunking-fairmormon/first-vision.html

"The historical record shows that there was no revival in Palmyra in 1820. There was one in 1817 and there was another in 1824. There are records from his brother, William Smith, and his mother Lucy Mack Smith, both stating that the family joined Presbyterianism after Alvin's death in November 1823 despite Joseph Smith claiming in the official 1838 account that they joined in 1820; 3 years before Alvin Smith's deat"

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6 hours ago, Nevo said:
10 hours ago, Hamilton Porter said:

; historians now refer to as the Burned-over District.

I hope Cornell corrects this before publication.

What's it called, then? Burnt over district?

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I think some people ignore the fact that when Joseph speak of religious revival in 1820 in the area of New York where he lived he is looking at the matter through the eyes and experience of a 14 year old.  How many 14 year olds know the distinctions between what one group might call a revival over another?  Like a 14 year old would be an expert on these things.   If Joseph was like most young boys, he may not have been paying too much attention to religious movements when he was 9 or 11 or 12 years old.   He probably was doing other things that boys his age did and ignored whatever the adults in the community where doing.  Perhaps a 40 year old who had a lot more experience with the community and religion would have characterized the situation going on to be slightly different than one that a 14 year old would view it.  What is important is not what these religious "revivals" were doing to the actual community in terms of people being converted to this or that group but how Joseph perceived and characterized the events going in a 14 year old perspective.  Whatever was going on initiated the spark in his young mind regardless of how we might view it on our own eyes or perspective. 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

I think some people ignore the fact that when Joseph speak of religious revival in 1820 in the area of New York where he lived he is looking at the matter through the eyes and experience of a 14 year old.  How many 14 year olds know the distinctions between what one group might call a revival over another?  Like a 14 year old would be an expert on these things.   If Joseph was like most young boys, he may not have been paying too much attention to religious movements when he was 9 or 11 or 12 years old.   He probably was doing other things that boys his age did and ignored whatever the adults in the community where doing.  Perhaps a 40 year old who had a lot more experience with the community and religion would have characterized the situation going on to be slightly different than one that a 14 year old would view it.  What is important is not what these religious "revivals" were doing to the actual community in terms of people being converted to this or that group but how Joseph perceived and characterized the events going in a 14 year old perspective.  Whatever was going on initiated the spark in his young mind regardless of how we might view it on our own eyes or perspective. 

 

 

I have no dog in the fight as to whether or not the revivals happened when claimed by Joseph, but we should remember that he did not write down what happened when he was 14, rather he wrote it down much later on in life, several different times, with different versions each time, with the benefit of knowing what had happened between the time he was 14 and when he wrote the current version. 

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On 4/30/2023 at 1:54 AM, sunstoned said:

Really?  I have never heard of anyone questioning the burned over district era.  Do you have any references? 

This goes back a long way.  

Mormonism - Shadow or Reality , 1987 Fifth Edition, p. 156 (bold font and ellipsis in the original) : 

Quote

In 1967 the Utah Christian Tract Society published Wesley P. Walters' study, New Light on Mormon Origins From The Palmyra (N.Y.) Revival.  In the forward to this work, Mr. Walters states:  "Mormons account for the origin of their movement by quoting from a narrative written by their prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1838.  In this account he claims that a revival broke out in the Palmyra, New York area in 1820...  

"Information which we have recently uncovered conclusively proves that the revival did not occur until the fall of 1824 and that no revival occurred between 1819 and 1823 in the Palmyra vicinity."

It goes on and on, citing from Walters' work.  The same basic theme is also found on pages 15-41 of Inventing Mormonism, H. Michael Marquardt & Wesley P. Walters (1994).

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11 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

I think some people ignore the fact that when Joseph speak of religious revival in 1820 in the area of New York where he lived he is looking at the matter through the eyes and experience of a 14 year old.  How many 14 year olds know the distinctions between what one group might call a revival over another?  Like a 14 year old would be an expert on these things.   If Joseph was like most young boys, he may not have been paying too much attention to religious movements when he was 9 or 11 or 12 years old.   He probably was doing other things that boys his age did and ignored whatever the adults in the community where doing.  Perhaps a 40 year old who had a lot more experience with the community and religion would have characterized the situation going on to be slightly different than one that a 14 year old would view it.  What is important is not what these religious "revivals" were doing to the actual community in terms of people being converted to this or that group but how Joseph perceived and characterized the events going in a 14 year old perspective.  Whatever was going on initiated the spark in his young mind regardless of how we might view it on our own eyes or perspective. 

 

 

This is no longer an issue. The Palmyra Register has reported a revival meeting in Palmyra in 1820. But they only reported it because someone died.

Edited by Hamilton Porter
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1 hour ago, Hamilton Porter said:

He was illiterate at the time.

Don’t you think that is overstating the lack of education in his life?  He was capable of reading the Bible, after all.

Edited by Calm
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6 minutes ago, Hamilton Porter said:

When he was fourteen? No. 

Illiterate generally means he couldn’t read, not just he wasn’t a good writer/speller.  He was reading the Bible, James in particular, which then got him out to that grove.

Edited by Calm
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