In the 1820s, the frontier areas of America were swept by a surge of religious revivalism termed the ‘Second Great Awakening’. Joseph Smith, a religious leader who experienced revelatory visions, formed the Church of Christ while living in upstate New York. He moved west, attracting many new followers, and renamed it the Church of the Latter Day Saints, finally establishing a new headquarters at Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1839. Here he built a temple and university and began to expound highly controversial beliefs, including Baptism of the Dead, Second Anointing and Polygamy. This aroused great hostility, and he was killed by a mob in 1844. After Smith’s death, the bulk of the Mormons reformed under a ruling council, the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Under a new leader, Brigham Young, they once more set out west in 1846. After wintering in Nebraska, they established what would become their permanent base on the Great Salt Lake in 1847.
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