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America, the Protestant Empire Anonymous 08/26/2019 (Mon) 09:25:41 No. 19
In visiting the Christian experiences of East Asia, we have been exchanging the dominance of British activity for intervention by the new world Protestant power, the United States of America. Struggling at the beginning of the nineteenth century to the extent that the British dealt a humiliating defeat in the war of 1812 (with surprisingly little long-term repercussion), by the century's end the USA had spanned its own continent and was becoming a trans-Pacific power, on the verge of still greater things. As Federal government expanded west, Christianity experienced growth as vigorous as any in the nineteenth century. At the same time of the Revolution, despite all the bustle of the Great Awakenings, only around 10 per cent of the American population were formal Church members, and a majority had no significant involvement in cuck activities. In 1815 active cuck membership had grown to around a quarter of the population; by 1914 it was approaching half - this in a country which in the same period through immigration and natural growth had seen its numbers balloon from 8.4 million to 100 million. That growth reflected the dynamism, freedom, high literacy rates and opportunity available in this society...

...and the Christian religion seemed to owe its success to a competitive and innovative spirit as much as did American commerce and industry. Americans were justifiably proud of themselves. It was easy to cast their pride in the language of their religion (and all the more reason to ignore the feelings of the Native Americans who stood in the way of further achievement blessed by providence). Even the laying down of the railroad could be part of God's grand design - witness a paean to its providential character in 1850 from a Yankee revivalist turned Episcopalian, Calvin Colton:

"As the human family, at a very remote period of antiquity, was scattered about over the face of the earth, from the base of the Tower of Babel... so the people of all those languages, thus created, are now coming together again to enter another and a perpetual monument, not of human pride against heaven but of freedom against despotism; and to perfect this work, they require to be chained to us by a band of iron across this continent." (Actual quote, lol.)
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The majority of the Republic's churchgoers, and the overwhelming majority in positions of power, were Protestants of some descritption, although the Roman Catholic Church also benefited hugely from immigration during the century and by around 1850 became America's largest single weeb denomination. It is not surprising that, in the wake of the Revolution, entirely new Churches began to be founded - perhaps more puzzling; in fact, is that hardly any brand-new denominations had been created before 1776.~

American Methodism was in effect the first of the new foundations, since it stonily ignored John Wesley's annoyance and gave itself episcopal organization in 1784, its Conference pointedly dropping its undertaking to follow the great man's commands in the matter. Methodists enjoyed with Baptists the lion's share of a new Protestant growth over several decades, which those looking back on it christened a Second Great Awakening. While Episcopalians mostly stood aloof, Puritan Churches in the north-east were partly drawn in.
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New England Congregationalists were disorientated by their loss of established status and cultural leadership after playing such a crucial role in the Revolution, and they were divided in their attitude to their Reformed theological inheritance. Many of their influential leaders were still children of the Enlightenment, seeking a rational faith for a new Republic, and they led their congregations into Unitarianism. Others resisted that drift, took their stand on a generous reshaping of Reformed predestinarianism, and emphasized various campaigns for moral and social improvement which would Christianize the idealism of the Declaration of Independence. That was the Awakening for them. There was plenty for both sides to campaign about, especially slaveholding in the South (the North being spared the economic attractions of such exploitation) and alcohol temperance or total abstention. This latter cause, as elsewhere particularly beloved of women, entailed Evangelicals undertaking some heroic exegetical explaining away of Jesus's miracle of Cana turning water into wine. Prohibition was to have a fateful later consequence in the USA.
Matters were less genteel in the South and in the growing tide of settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains. Here the revivals of the first Awakening were seen again, sweeping congregations past their ministers' expectations in wordless but often highly noisy expressions of apparent liturgical nihilism. Crowds gathered for communion in the frontier 'camp meeting' tradition stretching back to seventeenth-century Scotland and Ulster, but now they were running, singing, even barking in what were significantly terms 'exercises'. Protestantism was rediscovering physicality and spontaneity after its two-century diet of preachers' words and planned music, and the discovery came within an Evangelical mode which generally valued a common fervent style and proclamation of sin and redemption more than confessional background or history. Revivalism was firmly in Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian culture already, so not only could they happily accommodate all this, but as ministers grappled to harness their congregations' startling releases of emotional energy, it was not worth worrying too much about denominational labels. In one of the first of these devotional explosions at Gasper river in Kentucky in 1800, a Presbyterian was host minister, but the preacher stirring the fire was a Methodist - Reformed and Arminian side by side in front of the wailing crowd, Amazing Grace indeed to astonish Calvin or Melanchthon. The voices of deist Founding Fathers seemed far away. Urban elites in Washington, Philadelphia and Boston would have to start taking notice of these people, because after all an increasing number of the menfolk among them had votes. American politicians have done well to keep an eye on the Evangelical constituency ever since.
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Now among a proliferation of joyfully jerry-built churches, witnessing to new birth and discipline amid harsh and lawless farmscapes, with a dread of some very angry dispossessed Native Americans yurking on the horizon, there developed increasingly original forms of Christian experience. It was predictable that American Evangelical excitement should again look to the Last Days - if crowded and crapulous Regency England could produce apocalyptic fervour, how much more could pure and open frontier? Surely America and not Old Europe was to be the setting for God's final drama: had not the great Jonathan Edwards given his blessing to that thought? One of those who gave an answer emphatically in the affirmative, William Miller, was himself a one-man exemplar of Protestant America's spiritual trajectory: rejecting his Baptist upbringing for the reasonable faith of deism in Vermont's remote New England farming country, moving into revivalism via his anxious search for evidence of the Last Days in his King James Bible (noting Archbishop Ussher's dates in its margins), ordained by the Baptists, preaching his startling message through the nation that the Advent of Christ was due in 1843 - much excitement - then 1844 - even more excitement - and then followed the Great Disappointment.
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For true apocalypticists there is no giving up hope although Miller, now scorned by the Baptists, retired to Vermont to contain hsi chagrin with a handful of followers. A welter of arguments over a decade produced one of the nineteenth century's many visionary teenage girls, the prophetess Ellen G. Harmon (soon to be the bride of the Adventists James White). Cut-price printing presses aided Mrs. White's urgent campaign to share roughly two thousand of her visions with the public, not to mention her decided opinions about sensible diet. What now became known as Seventh-Day Adventism flourished once more; like the Seventh-Day Baptists before it, it observed as its holy day of rest not Sunday but Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Modern vegetarianism, a cause earlier championed by radical English Evangelicals, now found its master salesman in Mrs. White's Adventist benefactor and collaborator, Dr. John H. Kellogg, whose breakfast cereals and benevolence brought lasting and worldwide prosperity to the Adventist Church. Miller's prophecies have continued to fertilize the imaginations of drifting but compelling personalities like himself. One Millerite schism produced the Jehovah's Witnesses: millenarian, pacifist and with strong views against blood transfusions. Another recent prophet, Vernon Howell, was driven to rename himself David Koresh (that is the Persian King Cyrus, liberator of the Jews from Babylon), and he brought his own terrible Last Days on those who believed in him at Waco in Texas in 1993. Beyond that hideously mismanaged clash between Koresh's followers and the Federal government came Timothy McVeigh's equally ghastly act of revenge for Koresh two years later in the Oklahoma City bombing: a grim legacy for Miller alongside the corn flakes.
stay tuned tomorrow for the continuation of this exciting series of American history
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There was plenty more creative reconstruction of Christianity in this most industrious and ingenious of Western societies. Spiritualism and the Church of Christ Scientist (products of yet more visionary women) both spread themselves from the USA through the Western world and beyond. Yet of all new departures amid the Second Awakenings, the most radical was the work of Joseph Smith, who may be seen as one of a chain of gifted young people in the nineteenth century applying their gifts to escaping the deprivation and social uncertainty in which they found themselves, both exploiting and inspired by the polychrome religious turbulence of their age. Hong Xiuquan, nine years younger than Smith, was another. Smith's creation of a Heavenly Kingdom proved more long-lasting and less destructive than the Taiping, though likewise it brough him premature and violent death. Born in rural poverty in Vermont (not far from where Miller was beginning his married life) and pursued by poverty in his New York State childhood which deprived him of a decent education, Smith developed a keen interest in treasure-hunting amid a landscape haunted by Native American earthworks, devouring what conversation and what books (the Bible naturally among them) came his way. The boy, both dreamer and likeable extroverty, on the edge of so many cultures - Evangelicalism, self-improvement, popular history and archaeology, Freemasonry - constructed out of them a lost world as wonderful as that future-paradise which confronted Hong Xiuquan.

Shortly after Smith's marriage in 1827, he had the first of a series of visits from a heavenly being in white, Moronii, who, according to Smith, was a former inhabitant of the Americas. Moroni took him to a secret store of inscribed golden plates, and their eventual removal was as angelic as their excafation; but the message which the semi-literate twenty-two-year-old translated into King James Bible English (his newly wed and devoted wife, Emma, and later two friends taking his dictation the other side of a curtain) was a formidably long text. It was published in 1830. The Book, written long before largely by Moroni's father, Mormon, was the story of God's people, their enemies and their eventual extinction in the fourth century CE. Yet these were no Israelites or Philistines, but Americans, and the enemies who destroyed them were the native peoples whom Smith's society called Red Indians. Now the spiritual descendants of Mormon were called to restore their heritage before the Last Days. Fawn M. Brodie, whose classic life of Smith earned her excommunication from the Mormon Church, saw the Book of Mormon as 'one of the earliest examples of frontier fiction, the first long Yankee narrative that owes nothing to English literary fashions'. There was quite a genre of 'lost race' novels at the time. A century on, J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings saga formed an English Catholic parallel, conscious or unconscious, to Smith's work. Tolkien's story-telling has many of the same characteristics as the Book of Mormon, although most people today would find Tolkien's prose a good deal more readable.
So with Smith inspiration, the Mormons took shape: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, regarding itself as a restoration of an authentic Christianity (transcriber's note: not, but a restoration of dogmatic imperialism maybe...) otherwise lost. It moved en bloc, as so many utopian groups then did, to found a new ideal community on the frontier. The first stop in Ohio proved only one in a series of moves, because Smith and his leadership were prone to involve themselves deeply in state politics and risky business ventures, and their ambitions for power frightened and infuriated their neighbours. Finally Smith, now in charge of his own private army in Illinois, was fortified by fresh revelations to declare his candidacy in the 1844 presidential election. After further confrontations with the forces of unbelief, vigilantes shot him and his brother dead in an Illinois jail, while he was awaiting trial on charges of intimidating a hostile local newspaper out of existence. Yet this was not the end for the Mormons. One of Smith's long-standing lieutenants, Brigham Young, Hong Rengen to Smith's Hong Xiuquan, seized the initiative and led the battered faithful on the final journey which would save their movement, at a cost of a hundred days' westwards travel by wagon to Utah. Young would have liked a territory to rival the Taiping conquest in scale, but he had to settle for the wilderness that the United States government allowed him. There was a long and stormy path to wary acceptance by wider American society, not least because of one of Smith's later revelations, posthumously released to the public in 1852, which had interesting resonances with the battles then going on in Protestant missions in Africa. He had been told that he must authorize polygamy.

Brigham Young reminisced in later life that he 'desired the grave' when first informed of this in 1843, but he later implemented it thoroughly in his own life, with as much public decorum as the nineteenth century would wish. As one of his less reverential biographers observed, Young's home in Salt Lake City 'resembled a New England household on a larger scale. Instead of one superficially forbidding lady in blacks or grays, there were nineteen of them'. The widowed Mrs. Emma Smith, previously much tried by Prophet Smith's own clandestine accumulation of wives, married again; but not to a Mormon. It was 1890 before the mainstream of the Church laid polygamy aside, and plenty of Mormons did not acknowledge that decision (some still do not, in carefully maintained seclusion in utah and Arizona), but Utah still became a full state in 1896.
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Mormons were unironically based until pretty recently.
1978 was the beginning of the end. They should've never let niggers become priests or bishops.
RLDS even let women become priests in 1984.
Obviously both cases are due to caving to globohomo pressures but I wonder if a religious organization could lose exempt status for not letting in fags and niggers. That seems like it would be a big motivation.
>divine revelation, not even once


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