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.