BYU Studies, First Vision, experiential religion
[I] wanted to get Religion too,” reminisced the Latter-day Saint prophet Joseph Smith. “[I] wanted to feel & shout like the Rest but could feel nothing.”1 A wide-eyed witness of the nineteenth-century religious revivals that enveloped western New York, Smith made this lament to a close acquaintance shortly before his death in 1844. Reflecting back on the religious excitement of his youth, he detailed how he longed for a spiritual manifestation like many others enjoyed but for whatever reason seemed unable to experience the evangelical enthusiasm he so deeply desired. As a fourteen-year-old adolescent, Smith had been torn among the various religions vying for converts. While the denominations differed on finer points of doctrine, they all proclaimed a similar message: every individual needed his or her own experiential encounter with God to be assured salvation.
"“Effusions of an Enthusiastic Brain”,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 59:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol59/iss1/3