This week we delve into a topic we’ve been promising to cover for some time, the Second Great Awakening. This was the religious movement in the United States that spawned the Mormons and Adventists as well as the evangelical factions of more mainline churches. It truly was a time when American Christianity came into its own. As always, though, we’ll complicate things a bit and talk about the First Great Awakening and other religious movements before the founding of the United States.
This week we wrap up a very brief introductory history of Mormonism in America. We continue the story from the previous episode with the church’s reaction to the murder of Joseph Smith. We trace the rise of Brigham Young and the infamous Utah War. We end with the twentieth century church and its transition from fringe group to conservative religion.
Join us for the first in a two-part series about a uniquely American religion, the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, or Mormonism. In this episode we discuss the origins of the religion and the competing threads of official church history, non-official folklore, personal accounts, and governmental records and interactions to construct a more complete picture of how this religion developed.
We continue our exploration of the history of cults in America this week with a discussion of two infamous groups from the 1990s: The Branch Davidians and Heaven’s Gate. Both cults ended in the deaths of their charismatic leaders, but the trajectories were quite different. If you’re interested in the militia movement, UFOs, Nike sneakers, Star Trek, the Book of Revelations, the FBI, or how to get cheap real estate in Southern California you should join us this week!