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Skeptics of the claim that the Book of Mormon is literally an historical account of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas note that the book contains elements of Joseph Smith's 19th century milieu.
One such element is the camp meeting, held from time to time in Joseph Smith's community (a place known as the "burned-over district") during his youth (a time called the "Second Great Awakening"). These religious revivals featured local or traveling preachers, standing on a stage, preaching to a festival-style crowd of people, many of whom had come from far away to experience the event. A persuasive preacher could evoke strong emotions from the audience, resulting in very public religious experiences, including public commitments to obey the word of God (e.g., be baptized or stop sinning), physical displays of euphoria or grief, and even fainting spells.
The Book of Mormon includes several scenes which, with a simple change of costume and vernacular, could have occurred in Joseph Smith's region during his youth. Examples include the following: Mosiah Chapters 2-5 (King Benjamin's address to his people); 7:17-8:4 (King Limhi and Ammon's address to the people of Lehi-Nephi); 18:7-30 (Alma at the waters of Mormon); Alma 5-6 (Alma the Younger at the Zarahemla stop of a preaching tour); 7 (Alma the Younger at the Gideon stop of a preaching tour); 8 (Alma touring Melek and baptizing people who came from throughout the region); 19:12-35 (Newly-converted Queen and King Lamoni are overpowered by the Spirit and collapse, and then rise from their unconscious state to preach to their gathered people and endorse Ammon, who also preaches); Helaman 7:11-9:9 (Nephi preaches and prophesies to an assembled crowd from a tower in his garden)
This drawing visually emphasizes parallels between the tent meetings of Joseph Smith's youth and the Book of Mormon scenes, depicting Joseph Smith as the nexus between the two.
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