Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"Burned-Over District"

An old nickname for this part of New York State, as explained by Adam Gopnik — I, NEPHI:
    Mormonism was just one of countless sects dating from the Second Great Awakening, that period of the early nineteenth century which saw the first expression of the kind of hyper-emotional, revivalist Methodism that has remained the signature style of American Christianity into our own time. Smith’s part of upstate New York was called, Gutjahr tells us, “the ‘Burned-Over District,’ because the region was so often swept by the flames of the Holy Spirit.” All the sects had their own creeds, visionaries, and beliefs; they ranged from the Millerites, an upstate cult whose founder taught that the world would come to an end and Jesus return on March 21, 1843, all the way to the Oneida Community, whose members believed that Jesus had already returned and given everybody license for free love.

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