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"Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country."
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, v. 1, p. 5
“Mormons account for the origin of their movement by quoting from a narrative written by their prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1838. In this account he claims that a revival broke out in the Palmyra, New York area in 1820.... Information which we have recently uncovered conclusively proves that the revival did not occur until the fall of 1824 and that no revival occurred between 1819 and 1823 in the Palmyra vicinity.”
- Wesley P. Walters, 1967, New Light on Mormon Origins from the Palmyra (N.Y.) Revival, Foreword
“What evidence do we have, other than the word of Joseph Smith, that there was ‘an unusual excitement on the subject of religion' in the vicinity of Palmyra in 1820? Up to this point little evidence has been uncovered, and Walters challenged the story in the article referred to above.”
- Lavar Arrington, LDS Church Historian, BYU Studies, Spring 1969, p. 272
“You will recollect that I mentioned the time of a religious excitement, in Palmyra and vicinity to have been in the 15th year of our brother J. Smith Jr.'s age – that was an error in the type – it should have been around the 17th.”
- Oliver Cowdery, Messenger and Advocate, v. 1, pp. 78-79
“Joseph Smith, Jr., began to be concerned about religion ‘at about the age of twelve years.' That would have been in late 1817 and early 1818, when the after-affects of the revival of 1816 and 1817 were still felt in Palmyra. "My mind became seriously imprest with regard to the all important concerns for the welfare of my immortal Soul." he reported later, "which led me to searching the scriptures." A few years later, in July, 1819, the Methodists of the Genesee Conference met for a week in Vienna (later Phelps), a village thirteen miles southeast of the Smith farm on the road to Geneva. About 110 ministers from a region stretching 500 miles from Detroit to the Catskills and from Canada to Pennsylvania met under the direction of Bishop R. R. Robert to receive instruciton and set policy. If we are to judge from the experience at other conferences, the ministers preached between sessions to people who gathered from many miles around. It was a significant year for religion in the entire district. . . . The Geneva Presbytery, which included the churches in Joseph's immediate area, reported in February, 1820, that "during the past year more have been received into the communion of the Churches than perhaps in any former year." Methodists kept no records for individual congregations, but in 1821 they built a new meetinghouse in town.”
- Richard L. Bushman, Review of H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters, Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record, in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, v. 6, no. 2, published by F.A.R.M.S.
“An article in the Religious Advocate gives the pleasing fact that a revival of religion had taken place in the town of Palmyra, Macedon, Manchester, Phelps, Lyons and Ontario, and that more than 200 souls had become hopeful subjects of Divine Grace, &c. It may be added, that in Palmyra and Macedon, including Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist Churches, more than 400 have already testified that the Lord is good. The work is still progressing. In the neighboring towns, the number is great and fast increasing. Glory be to God on high; and on Earth, peace and good will to all men.”
- Wayne Sentinel, March 2, 1825, Palmyra, Wayne County, New York
"If the family lived four years in Palmyra, and the religious agitation took place two years later, it would place the date of the vision in the Sacred Grove in the spring of 1822.... It will readily be seen that our historians have two too many years jammed into the period between the arrival of the Smiths in 1816 and the date of the vision in the spring of 1820."
- Willard Bean, Mormon writer, A.B.C. History of Palmyra and the Beginning of "Mormonism," 1938, p. 35