The harvest complete, the people of Mount Pleasant, Upper Canada, were enduring the first snowstorms of the season when a charismatic American with a slight limp arrived in town to announce himself as a prophet from God.
Roaming preachers were common in 1833 Canada, but this was different. Where other evangelists had merely shopped around fresh interpretations of the Holy Bible, this one brought an entirely new bible.
Discovered buried in the New York wilderness, this new bible claimed Jesus Christ had once walked in America and that the continent’s Aboriginal people were descended from an ocean-going tribe of ancient Israelites.
“Miserable imposters,” declared one Canadian Methodist priest. In another Canadian village, the prophet and his circle were barred access to a meetinghouse after the proprietor found they hailed from the “Sect of the Mormonites.” At another meeting, they were shouted down by locals.
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