Heresy and humbug: Mormons, Millerites, and the Protestant evangelical definition of religious freedom in the Burned Over District, 1830-1845

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Cummins, Brendan
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : Universtiy of Lethbridge, Department of History
The idea of religious freedom was one of the hallmarks of early nineteenth-century America, but it was not truly universal. Despite denominational differences, mainstream white evangelical Protestants formed a body of unified believers that defined “true” American religion. The Burned Over District of central New York would give birth to two religious movements, Mormonism and Millerism, that challenged the position of evangelical religion in the spiritual consciousness of the nation. The Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and the followers of William Miller’s end time prophecy were inspired by, but moved outside the boundaries of, established evangelical theology and practice. In reacting to these movements, evangelical denominations went beyond cooperation to try to forge a unified congregation of believers. In the face of religious movements that posed real challenges to their prominent position, mainstream evangelical denominations like Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians responded in strikingly similar ways, belying the notion of religious plurality.
early nineteenth century America , evangelical Protestants , Millerism , Mormonism , religious freedom , religious plurality , Freedom of religion -- United States -- New York (State) , Freedom of religion -- History -- 19th century , Mormon Church -- History -- 19th century , Mormon Church -- Relations -- Evangelicalism , Evangelicalism -- Relations -- Mormon Church , Millerite movement -- History -- 19th century , Millerite movement -- Relations -- Evangelicalism , Evangelicalism -- Relations -- Millerite movement , Evangelicalism -- History -- 19th century , New York (State) -- Church history -- 19th century , Protestantism -- United States -- History -- 19th century , Religious pluralism -- United States -- History -- 19th century