Saturday, April 3, 2010
The 2nd Great Awakening started a religious frenzy in the US. It lead people to be much more aware of religion in general. Joseph Smith’s family was right in the thick of this intense religious movement, in Palmyra, New York, part of what was called the “burned over district” because it had so much religious fervor. Joseph Smith’s family background was a little eclectic, in a religious sense. His father was not a big believer in organized religion. He tended toward Universalism in Vermont, where the family lived before moving to Palmyra, but stopped going to church when he relocated to New York. He was, however, a very religious, visionary man. Joseph’s mother had Presbyterian leanings. She had promised God as a young mother that she would be good and go to church if He healed her. She strove to do this. Joseph himself tended toward the Methodist faith, but he was in great religious turmoil. Being young, he had a hard time knowing what to believe. The 2nd Great Awakening directly contributed to Joseph’s First Vision in a very big way. It made him aware, at a very young age, of religion. At the age of 14, he was still young enough to be humble and not think he knew everything. Being afflicted with such religious confusion, he decided to go straight to the source (the Bible), himself. The 2nd Great Awakening contributed greatly to Joseph’s First Vision. In fact, after learning what I have learned about it, how prominent it was in American life at the time, I would say it directly spurned it. I am grateful for the circumstances that brought about the restoration. I am so grateful for the gospel in my life. There are many great religions in this world, many of which manifested themselves in the 2nd Great Awakening, which I think was inspired by Heavenly Father to pave the way for the Restoration. I think that, ultimately, is the way the 2nd Great Awakening is related to the Restoration. It provided an environment that encouraged Joseph Smith to think about religion and pray about it.