4.2. JOSEPH SMITH JR. AND MORMONISM
The most complex and aberrant apocalyptic scenario of the Second Great Awakening was conceived within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism). It is no secret that religious fanaticism is a relative of idiocy. But Mormon theology – based on the life, the experience and the teachings of Joseph Smith Jr. – simply defies history and insults common sense; nobody has ever succeeded to form a cult based on historical and religious fabrications of such magnitude.
Smith spent his adolescence at Palmyra, in a poor family of farmers in the west of the “burned-over district.” The young Smith did not join any religious community, but he intensely studied the Bible and he was influenced by the folk religion (local ethnic) practiced by his parents. In 1820 this 14-year-old boy became obsessed with the issue of spiritual salvation. Confused, he decided that it was best to seek divine help. One day he went in one of the nearby forests and began to pray passionately. According to his own account, there he experienced what it is now known as the “First Vision”: he felt that he was overwhelmed by an invisible malefic force, but at the last moment two radiant beings appeared in front of him. One of these beings told Smith not to join any of the existing churches because all of them had faulty doctrines and he was to wait until further instructions would be given to him.1060