The Spectrum of Apostasy: Mormonism, Early Christianity and the Quest for True Religion in Antebellum America

Matthew Bowman

Matthew Bowman, “The Spectrum of Apostasy: Mormonism, Early Christianity and the Quest for True Religion in Antebellum America,” in Approaching Antiquity: Joseph Smith and the Ancient World, edited by Lincoln H. Blumell, Matthew J. Grey, and Andrew H. Hedges (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2015), 229–45.

Matthew Bowman was an associate professor of history at Henderson State University and the author of The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith and The Urban Pulpit: New York City and the Fate of Liberal Evangelicalism when this was written.

When the Mormon journalist W. W. Phelps opened a press in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1831, he brought The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into the rough and tumble world of Christian tractarians, journalists, theologians, memoirists, and missionaries. All these groups had spent the decades since the American Revolution constructing a nationwide machine capable of depositing reams upon reams of the printed page before the American public. Protestant organizations like the American Bible Society and the American Tract Society harnessed local networks to create a close to national distribution system in the 1820s and 1830s following the extremely successful Methodist Book Concern that began in the 1780s.[1] Protestants primarily passed along the Bible, but accompanying the scripture were innumerable periodicals, tracts, biblical commentaries, and histories of Christianity. These texts were designed to show how both Bible and Christian history should inevitably tend toward evangelical Protestantism.[2]

Christianity in early America was a religion based in print, one obsessed with text, words, disputes and witnesses. This was the case for several reasons. For one, Protestantism had a particular obsession with language because the Word of God was the primary mode through which God interacted with the world, from Genesis 1 through Jesus Christ. Following the Epistle to the Romans, evangelicals who believed that faith comes through hearing the Word found their devotion to the Bible easily transferrable to tracts, textbooks, and histories. Second, Common Sense theology, a system of thought derived from Scottish philosophers popular in eighteenth-century America, gave these believers a hermeneutic with which to approach these words. Common Sense theology taught that the evident meaning of any particular passage was the correct one—and at a more abstract level, that any mind could look at the text and come to that same correct conclusion, because all human beings had been endowed with the power to perceive the meaning of the scripture.[3] In other words, there was a single correct interpretation of any text, and all readers of good will should arrive at it. No wonder, then, that evangelicals sought insistently to proclaim the truth of evangelical religion in as many newspapers and textbooks as possible.

Thus Mormon periodicals such as the Times and Seasons and the Evening and Morning Star, tracts like those by the theologian and missionary brothers Orson and Parley Pratt or the vigorous pamphleteer Benjamin Winchester, and even full-fledged books like the Book of Mormon itself and Parley Pratt’s A Key to the Science of Theology should be understood and read as one side of an ongoing American discussion about what Christianity actually was and how human beings could learn about their religion. For many evangelicals, the answers to these questions were theoretically obvious: Common Sense theology led them to an evidentiary reading of their faith. If a person could marshal enough proof, derived from unquestioned sources like scriptures or the history of the church, he or she could demonstrate the validity of evangelical Christianity. But practically, the task proved far more difficult because Protestants of various sorts often found themselves in disagreement over the truths they believed to be self-evident.

The Mormons were quite aware that they were wading into a debate; a perusal of any of their printed works will find Mormon authors vehemently responding to long forgotten evangelical tractarians. But this was not to say that they did not depend, in part, on the tropes, ideas, and language of the evangelical world around them. From the beginning, Mormonism, like evangelical Protestantism, was a religion based on texts, and Mormons shared with Protestants Common Sense assumptions about them that they could be easily read and their true meaning grasped. This was true in the conceptual sense. Mormonism was created in the intertwining of two now canonized narratives: the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s personal history, a version of which was canonized as part of the Pearl of Great Price in 1880. To early Mormons, these historical narratives wielded the new religion’s greatest authority that its historical claims were revelatory of the ways in which God worked. Ultimately, the cosmic, providential history of the people in the Americas and the narrative of Joseph Smith’s own life taught of the dependence of human civilizations on God’s graciousness, that this dependence coexisted with the inevitability of corruption and decay, and that the constant problem of human fallibility could be resolved through the cycles of God’s periodic intervention in human history to restore true religion. I will here argue that the way Mormons understood the cyclical processes of sacred history shaped how they engaged with the variety of Protestant evangelical historical narratives.

Church histories were a popular type of tract. They were providential in perspective, meaning that their authors believed that God, not humanity, was the motivating force behind historical change. They wrote to show how historical events illustrated God’s unwavering intentions for humanity, as Jonathan Edwards’s title to his History of the Work of Redemption demonstrated.[4] Therefore, the way they described the progress and preservation of Christianity illustrated what true Christianity should look like.

Ironically, much of what the Mormons had to say about the history of Christianity echoed the major theme of conventional Protestant narratives: the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church.[5] Both Mormon and Protestant tracts often pointed out how the simplicity and beauty of New Testament theology eventually succumbed to the abstractions of Greek philosophy. The fraternal community of early Christianity gave way to the pomp and power of the Roman Empire. And finally, the great mass of believers was kept in ignorance of scripture and made to serve corrupt leaders who styled themselves as the leaders of Christianity. Parley Pratt echoed this story when he described Jesus’ Apostles as being in contest “with the Jewish rabbis, or with Gentile superstitions; in short at war with every religious establishment on the earth.” He went on to mourn that the “Mother Church” these men created eventually repressed its own reformers while “the ignorant masses are made to believe they were the very worst of men.”[6]

Even though Mormons like Pratt leaned heavily on Protestant historians in their writings, it is possible to overstate the case. Protestants offered a variety of reasons for why God allowed this corruption. John Calvin, for instance, argued that the Bible showed that God periodically allowed his elect to lapse into captivity in order to teach them humility.[7] But to Mormons, Protestantism itself was just an extension of that captivity. After all, Joseph Smith’s increasing fascination with rituals and ordinances made standard Protestant attacks on priesthood and the paganism of Catholic ritual taste slightly sour in Mormon mouths. The situation was simply that Mormons needed an apostasy because they needed a restoration of the church. In other words, it was plausible in the Mormon mind that the church had to be torn down in their history, in order for it to be rebuilt. The Mormons, unlike Protestants or Catholics, did not believe that the primitive church had survived. Thus, the Mormons tended to interpret the primitive church in their own way: it was neither a Catholic institution, nor a purely individualized Protestant utopia. Instead they emphasized that the early church was a haunted minority, even in its own time, sustained by a unique relationship with God. While most Protestants glorified and idealized the primitive church, Mormons also saw it marked with tragedy. It was an essentially prophetic institution, blessed by divine communication, and thus it was aware of its own imminent apostasy.

In antebellum America, there was a wide spectrum of Protestant opinions about the early church. Among the most popular of the church histories that circulated in antebellum America were Joseph Milner’s History of the Church of Christ and Johann Lorenz von Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History. Milner, a pietist Anglican, and Mosheim, a high church Lutheran, both wrote exhaustive narratives of Christian history from the time of Jesus through the eighteenth century. Mormon apologists such as Winchester, the Pratts, and others were familiar with their work and those of other Christian writers, including William Jones, a Baptist who wrote a history of various marginalized Christian sects and the Catholic apologist John Millner, (not Joseph). Also extremely popular was the British Protestant Charles Buck’s Theological Dictionary, which contained extensive entries on various historical topics. Though it’s easy to lump together all of these writers (except perhaps the Catholics) into a generic “Protestant” or evangelical view, they often disagreed amongst themselves, and as we seek to understand how the Mormons used them, we should be attentive to the ways in which the Mormons both invoked their authority and exploited their disagreements and weaknesses.

Milner and Mosheim might serve as two ends of a spectrum. Therefore, the gap between their interpretations can be used as an example of the historical space that the Mormons sought to create for themselves. Moshiem, as a cleric, academic, and advocate for high church Lutheranism was essentially sympathetic to the importance of an institutional church, though he believed that “the church cannot be represented with more perspicuity and propriety than under the notion of a society. To such a society many external events will happen which advance or oppose its interests, and accelerate or retard its progress.”[8] The church for Mosheim was an essentially human attempt to put the perfection and divinity of the gospel into practice. Thus, for him, the early church was subject to error and messiness, but it was always sustained by God’s providence. Mosheim’s religion was rational in theology, organization, and activity. He wrote the word “ritualistic” with a sneer and praised books like his that “improved to the glory of Christianity by setting its doctrines and precepts in a rational light and bringing them back to their primitive simplicity.”[9] Mosheim blended a fixed devotion to the visible church with a deeply Protestant skepticism of esoteric ritual, mysticism, and religious adornments. His was ultimately a triumphal history of Christianity, a demonstration that though its form might change, and despite periodic affliction from irrational ritualists, God sustained the true church throughout its history. This made the Lutheran historian a popular and ecumenical source.

On the other hand, Joseph Milner was fundamentally skeptical of institutionalism and frankly doubted whether an organized church could foster true Christianity. He stated quite clearly that he would not “enter with any nicety into an account of rites and ceremonies, or forms of church government.” Indeed, he insisted that “it is of no consequence . . . to what external church they belonged.” Milner valued only the invisible church, the global collection of the truly saved in any church, place, or time. For Milner the story of Christianity was the story of first, “men who have been real, not merely nominal Christians,” and second, “God’s providential care for his people.” He attacked Mosheim for writing a “civic history.”[10] For Milner, the story of the true church was the story of a preserved minority, a small, spirit-filled, and true church subsisting on the margins of institutional authority. For him, true religion was a personal, private, mystical experience between the individual and God. As one turn-of-the-century church historian put it, Mosheim was to be praised for his rational impartiality, his aim to “tell events as they really happened,” while Milner could be prized for his attention to the inner life.[11]

The tension between the Christian community and personal religious experience plagued nineteenth-century Protestants as they tried to settle on the nature of true Christianity. Charles Buck, for instance, was a devout and fiery evangelical, and the single longest entry in his famed Theological Dictionary was the one devoted to “persecution.” This entry was often reprinted as a stand-alone pamphlet, which recounted with glee the various depravities that the medieval Catholic Inquisition lavished upon those Buck deemed to be true Christians: those who resisted the Pope’s tyrannical authority. Such persecution “is the natural offspring of . . . establishments in matters of religion,” Buck wrote, elsewhere declaring that “Jesus Christ formed a kingdom purely spiritual; the apostles exercised only a spiritual authority.” [12]

This might appear as though Buck shared Milner’s devotion to the invisible church, but things were not so simple. Buck approved of a personal, spiritual religion only insofar as it adhered to correct doctrine. He was a devoted Calvinist, and devoted much of his Dictionary to a patient and careful refutation of a horde of tiny Christian sects that had multiplied over the two millennia since the death of Jesus. Many of these sects had features Buck admired, including a devotion to piety or commitment to Christian experience. Those features which seemed agreeable to his own sentiments he praised. For example, he evaluated the Waldenses, a group of medieval reformers who rejected the authority of Roman Catholicism and who, according to Buck “neither employed nor designed to introduce new doctrines. . . . All they aimed at was . . . the amiable simplicity and primitive sanctity that characterized the apostolic ages.” But at the same time, when Buck found such a group disagreeable, such as Thomas Muntzer’s Anabaptists, who believed in direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, economic communalism, and polygamy, he applauded when their “fanatical work” was repressed.[13]

In short, though Protestants could agree that Catholic repression was a negative thing, this did not mean that they agreed about what history might reveal about the true intentions of God, nor about how God intended humanity to relate to him, whether it be through a church or otherwise. As the Mormons began to think about how they might bend the grand narrative of Christian history toward themselves, they confronted a similar problem. They surveyed Mosheim, Milner, Buck, and a half-dozen others. They would not entirely reject Catholic sacramentalism and priesthood, but they also could not entirely deny that Protestants had a point about Catholic tyranny. They mirrored the arguments of Milner in some things and those of Mosheim in others. For instance, William Appleby invoked Milner in an 1841 pamphlet on dispensationalism and the end of times, as did the Mormon J. H. Donellon in the Millennial Star. Both argued that when Catholicism became corrupt, some true believers tried to separate themselves from ensuing ecclesiastical degradation. As Donnellon wrote, citing Milner, monasticism arose after the Council of Nicea presumed to resolve by discussion questions of sexual morality and the nature of Christ. Some believers were so distressed by such bureaucracy, such as the “good St. Anthony [who] separated himself from the world, to live in the fields, and tried to make men believe that he lived without food.”[14]

There’s a jab there alongside the praise, and it reflects the mixed opinion Mormons had of Anthony, generally considered the founder of monasticism. Donnellon could praise Anthony for departing the corruptions of Rome, but he and other Mormons followed Mosheim in sharing general contempt for monasticism more generally, and ultimately dismissing Milner’s qualified praise for the early monks, of whom he said, “He preached well by his life and temper and spirit, however he might fail in doctrinal knowledge.”[15] Mosheim, on the other hand, considered the practice to be an outgrowth of irrational zeal that did damage to the church, the body of Christ. Many Mormons agreed with his opinion. Benjamin Winchester, for instance, drew on Mosheim to attack Anthony’s “ridiculous set of fanatics,” whom he derided for their irrationality, self-abnegation, and following Mosheim, their departure from the Christian community established by the apostles.[16]

So, on one hand, Anthony is praised for departing from the corruptions of Catholicism; on the other, he is denounced for departing from the corruptions of Catholicism. There’s a strange irony in that he was simultaneously acclaimed and criticized. However, the Mormons found this irony absolutely necessary. They needed an apostasy. Every time they mourned the blunders or condemned the unrighteousness of the early Church, they were elevating their own claims. Just as they were willing to draw on Milner’s appreciation for early monastics to demonstrate the crumbling of the Roman church—only to turn on Milner when it became necessary to point out that Anthony’s alternative of hermit-like monasticism was no solution—they were also reluctant to grant Mosheim the conclusions he drew when they conflicted with the tale the Mormons told. Winchester, for instance, blithely invoked Mosheim, the Lutheran, to denounce the character of the Reformers, including Martin Luther.[17]

For Mosheim, the Church would always blunder; that was to be expected. Nonetheless he sought to show how God’s hand would guide the Church despite its imperfections. For Benjamin Winchester, however, it was an all or nothing proposition. At one point Winchester takes Mosheim’s lines out of context: “‘Let none’ says Dr. Mosheim, alluding to the first and second centuries, ‘confound the bishops of this primitive and golden period of the church with those of whom we read in the following ages. For though they were both designated by the same name, yet they differed extremely in many respects.” In his own Ecclesiastical History Mosheim’s following paragraphs made clear this was intended to be a fairly innocuous introduction to a discussion of the shifting responsibilities of bishops in the first century.[18] But Winchester then immediately approvingly quotes William Jones, a Campbellite minister and virulent anti-Catholic, who glosses Mosheim as arguing that “the scriptures were now no longer the standard of the Christian faith. What was orthodox, and what heterodox, was, from henceforward, to be determined by the decisions of fathers and councils.”[19]

Winchester’s castigation of the failures of Christian history placed him among the most vehement of Mormons. But he also shared another sentiment more widely embraced among Latter-day Saints: the rather melancholy conviction that the early Christians knew that apostasy was not only coming, but imminent. Neither Mosheim nor Milner would have accepted this presupposition. Mosheim certainly accepted that the Church would have better times and worse, successes and failures. But ultimately, like other eighteenth-century historians, Mosheim declared that his aim was to “proclaim, with a solemn and respectful voice, the empire of Providence,” the “immortal victory” of the Church over “the discouraging obstacles, united efforts of kingdoms and empires, and the dreadful calamities which Christianity, in its very infancy, was forced to encounter.”[20] To counter this point though, Milner insisted that the true church had always been on the face of the earth, merely in a different guise.

Both of these men shared a common Protestant view of history, one becoming increasingly prominent in the nineteenth-century United States. They both believed in inevitable progress and the upward journey of Christian civilization.[21] Mosheim believed that his history would help to purify Christianity; Milner believed his would spread the true gospel of spiritual living. On the other hand, when the Mormons looked out over Christian history, they saw not a rising line of progress, but cycles of triumph and disaster. When a Charles Buck or Joseph Milner looked at the Waldenses, for instance, a small group of medieval dissenters, they saw the preservation of the true faith. A Mormon like Sidney Rigdon or Winchester saw in their extinguishing at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church the closing of a dispensation. As Winchester soberly wrote, “William Jones in his history of the Waldenses (who were undoubtedly the remains of the apostolic church) shows by records which are still extant that as long as could be found a vestage of the church of Christ their enemies had to seek after them in the mountains and often in dens and caves of the earth, and they were unceasing in their persecution, burning, butchering.” After a lurid description of the suffering of the Waldenses, the author began a new paragraph describing how “after an apostacy, the Lord began to restore true religion.”[22] Similarly, John Taylor invoked Charles Buck to describe the Nestorian Christians, another sect who “maintained the doctrines and forms of a primitive church” until “offered [the Nestorians] up as a sacrifice to their malice.”[23] The implication is of collapse and renewal, not perseverance.

And yet, in the Waldenses and other small Christian communities, the Mormons found the characteristics of true religion: the wedding of charismatic religious experience with evidence of common sense. They called it “revelation,” one of the spiritual gifts Paul promised, and maintained that apostasy occurred when human beings substituted other forms of authority for revelation. Joseph Smith approved the insertion in its entirety of Charles Buck's definition of “Theology” into his Lectures on Faith, as the answer to the question “What is Theology?”: “It is that revealed science which treats of the being and attributes of God—his relations to us—the dispensations of his providence—his will with respect to our actions—and his purposes with respect to our end.”[24] The Lectures inserted only the word “revealed.” The notion that their authority was drawn not from deduction from Scripture or the authority of an established priestly council was important to the Mormons, enough so that, a few years later, Parley Pratt would define theology as “the science of communication, or of correspondence, between God, angels, spirits, and men, by means of visions, dreams, interpretations, conversations, inspirations, or the spirit of prophecy and revelation.”[25] For Parley Pratt, as well as for Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, the tenets of Common Sense philosophy held true, but the subject of its study shifted: Mormons would come to understand God’s intentions from spiritual experience, not from what they derided as speculation and deduction.

Revelation was a fragile thing: Mormon after Mormon recounted the decline of what they called “spiritual gifts” in the early church. William Appleby invoked Mosheim to argue that they faded “around the year AD 570,” following the institutionalization of bishops and councils.[26] Pratt agreed, blaming “general prevalence of sectarian principles, divisions, precepts, commandments, and doctrines of men.”[27] Winchester argued that spiritual gifts faded out of shame; as he recounted the story, the early church had “the finger of scorn pointed at them: these things which were so mysterious to the Jews and Greeks, were now no longer considered a mystery; dissenters after dissenters arose, heresy after heresy was introduced. . . . just in proportion as these things made their appearance, truth, righteousness, and the spiritual gifts receded.”[28]

Invoking spiritual gifts made Mormons somewhat similar in their thinking to other radical Christians in early America, particularly the Methodists, who declared that they were a sign of the presence of God’s true church. But Mormons particularly emphasized the historical nature of their inheritance, arguing that spiritual gifts brought Mormonism historical legitimacy of the sort Milner and Mosheim sought to invoke. Orson Hyde mourned that “that which was looked upon by the ancient Saints, as among the greatest favors and blessings, viz, Revelation from God and communion with Him by dreams and by visions, is now looked upon by the religious world as the height of presumption and folly.”[29] Donnellon dated this tragedy to a particular event; the life of Justin Martyr, the first-century theologian whom Donnellon blamed for rejecting “immediate revelation, the only true source of heavenly knowledge.”[30] Benjamin Winchester argued that Jesus was referring to revelation when he promised Peter that “upon this rock I will build my church,” subverting one of the Catholics’ greatest prooftexts for a competing sacramental church.[31]

But the most striking way in which Mormons used the claim to revelation to generate historical legitimacy for themselves was to link biblical prophecy and Protestant church histories together to validate Mormons’ own theological claims. As Benjamin Winchester urged his audience, “Reader, I sincerely request you to carefully compare the prophecies that I have inserted and the comment upon them, with the most authentic histories of the church, and when you are thus prepared to judge, I am confident your verdict will coincide with mine.” [32] The Mormons routinely quoted biblical prophecy alluding to corruptions, apostasy, and the like, arguing that these passages referred to other passages—from the works of Mosheim, Milner, and the rest—as “authentic” histories of the Church describing the changes of the medieval church. This interlinking of biblical and formal history showed that the Mormons imagined the world was one great whole. William Appleby argued that “the Apostles likewise have prophecied of the disorganization of the Kingdom set up in their day” and then proceeded to list a number of New Testament passages that might be read as the Apostles warning early Christians that things were about to come crashing down. These seemingly validated prophecies were both markers of the tragic nature of human history, humanity’s inevitable tendency toward wickedness and rejection of God, but also confirmation of their restorationist claims. These prophecies further proved that the Restoration of the true church was a great gift: God had rendered even humanity’s weaknesses a channel of grace. As Appleby wrote, “. . . . Thus we see the last Kingdom will stand forever. As the Kingdom organized in the days of the Apostles, has been overcome, according to the testimony already adduced from the Prophets, we will now refer to Ecclesiastical History, and see if it bears testimony to the same, and in so doing I shall have reference to Dr. Mosheim, Gahan, Milner, and Jones’s Church History.” [33] The Mormons thus successfully marshalled these Protestant writers just as they had marshalled Bible verses: to demonstrate that both text and history could demonstrate the truth of their claims, even history written by a non-believer. Even Mosheim and Milner unwittingly served the truth.


[1] For more information on the rise of national markets, see Paul Nord, Faith in Reading: Religious Publishing and the Birth of Mass Media (New York: Oxford, 2004) 71–88; Rosalind Remer, “Preachers, Peddlers, and Publishers: Philadelphia’s Backcountry Book Trade, 1800–1830,” Journal of the Early Republic 14, no. 4 (Winter 1994), 497–522; Peter J. Wosh, Spreading the Word: The Bible Business in Nineteenth Century America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994).

[2] On the literal marketplace of ideas in antebellum America, see Candy Gunther Brown, The Word in the World: Evangelical Reading and Publishing, 1789–1880 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), 167–88.

[3] On Common Sense and its relation to scripture, see the essays in Nathan Hatch and Mark Noll, eds., The Bible in America: Essays in Cultural History (New York: Oxford, 1982), particularly George Marsden, “Everyone One’s Own Interpreter: The Bible, Science and Authority in Nineteenth Century America,” 79–100. See also Mark Noll, America’s God: from Edwards to Lincoln (New York: Oxford, 2002), 97–116.

[4] Jonathan Edwards, A History of the Work of Redemption, ed. John F. Wilson (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).

[5] See, for instance, Matthew Bowman, “B. H. Roberts, James Talmage, and Confessional History in a Secular Age,” in Historical Consciousness and Narratives of Apostasy, ed. John Young and Miranda Wilcox (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 77–93.

[6] Pratt, A Voice of Warning (New York: Harrison, 1842), iv–v.

[7] For this argument, see William J. Bouwsma, John Calvin: a Sixteenth Century Portrait (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 172–85.

[8] Johann von Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, trans., Archibald MacLaine (Baltimore: John Harrod, 1832) 1:1. Mosheim’s background is discussed in James Bradley, Church History (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995), 14–15; Elizabeth Clark, Founding the Fathers: Early Church History and Protestant Professors (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2011), 76–78.

[9] Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, 1:7.

[10] Joseph Milner, The History of the Church of Christ (London: Thomas Tegg, 1840), iii. Milner is discussed in Kenneth Hylson Smith, Evangelicals and the Church of England, 1734–1984 (London: T. T. Clark, 1989), 55; James Bradley, Church History, 13–15.

[11] Willison Walker, History of the Christian Church (New York: Scribner’s, 1918), 526.

[12] The pamphlet “Christian Martyrdom: Being Authentic Accounts of the Persecutions Inflicted by the Church of Rome on the Protestants; also the History of the Inquisition” (London, 1826) reprinted Buck’s entry alongside excerpts from John Foxe’s classic Book of Martyurs. See also the article on “Persecution” also in New England Missionary Magazine 1, no. 1 (1815), 18–22; the Evangelical Magazine (July 24, 1840), 11; the Gospel Advocate 5 (January 1, 1825), 101–103; and Christian Intelligencer (August 1, 1828), 2. On other expressions of American Protestant fear of the Inquisition in this period, see Jason Duncan, Citizens or Papists? The Politics of Anti–Catholicism in New York, 1685–1821 (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005), 85, 172. See also Charles Buck, A Theological Dictionary (Philadelphia: Woodward, 1831), 235 on intolerance.

[13] Buck, Theological Dictionary, 596, 20.

[14] J. H. Donnellon, “Ecclesiastical Corruption and Apostacy,” Millennial Star, June 17, 1865, 373.

[15] Milner, History of the Church of Christ, 228.

[16] Benjamin Winchester, Appendix to Synopsis of the Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia: United States Book and Job Printing Office: 1842), 232.

[17] BenjaminWinchester, History of the Priesthood (Philadelphia: Brown, Bickering, and Guilbert, 1843), 87.

[18] Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, 91–2.

[19] Benjamin Winchester, “The Present Condition of Both Jews and Gentiles with Regard to Religion,” Gospel Reflector 1, no. 1 (January 1841), 11. See also Jones, William E. Tucker, Journey in Faith: A History of the Christian Church (St Louis: Bethany Press, 1975), 35–6.

[20] Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, 1:12.

[21] For the standard historian’s distinction between pre- and post-millennialism, see Alan Heimert, Religion and the American Mind: From the Great Awakening to the Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), 66–68; Ernest Tuveson, Redeemer Nation: The Idea of America’s Millennial Role (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), 33–35 offers a clarification of the notion as applied to American nationalism.

[22]“Faith of the Church of Christ in these Last Days,” Evening and the Morning Star 2, no. 24 (June 1834), 325.

[23][John Taylor], “Massacre of the Nestorian Christians,” Times and Seasons, October 1, 1843, 344–45

[24] Doctrine and Covenants [1835], 9. .

[25] Parley Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology (London: F.D. Richards, 1855) 1.

[26] William Appleby, A Dissertation on Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (Philadelphia: Brown, Bickering, and Guilbert, 1844), 21.

[27] Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, 10.

[28] Winchester, “Jews and Gentiles,” 10.

[29] Orson Hyde, A Voice from Jerusalem (Liverpool: P. P. Pratt, 1842), 10.

[30] Donnellon, “Ecclesiastical Corruption,” 371.

[31] Winchester, History of the Priesthood, 82.

[32] Winchester, History of the Priesthood, 87.

[33] Appleby, A Dissertation on Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream, 13.