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This timeline lists just some of the major events affecting the religious history of the American West. For a more detailed timeline of U.S. religious history generally, consult the American Religions Timeline Project, created by graduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University.


August 6, 1801 A large camp meeting in Cane Ridge, Kentucky, marked the beginning of the "Great Religious Revival of the American West."
March 26, 1830 Joseph Smith published The Book of Mormon.
May 26, 1830 Indian Removal Act resulted in in the forced removal of several native groups in the eastern U.S. from their sacred lands to lands west of the Mississippi.
June 27, 1844 Joseph Smith, leader of Mormonism, was lynched by a mob in Carthage, Illinois.
July 1845 New York newspaper editor John O'Sullivan coined the phrase “Manifest Destiny” to describe the European-American drive to move westward, assuming that divine providence had willed them that land.
July 22, 1847 The first group of Mormon immigrants entered the Salt Lake Valley and founded Salt Lake City, Utah.
September 25, 1890 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) publicly renounced the practice of polygamy.
December 29, 1890 U.S. soldiers killed around 200 Sioux in the Massacre at Wounded Knee, in South Dakota.
December 27, 1899 Champion of the temperance movement, Carrie Nation, helped demolish her first saloon in Medicine Lodge, Kansas.
April 13, 1906 William J. Seymour led the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles. This was a key event in the rise of Pentecostalism.
January 1, 1923 Aimee Semple McPherson founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, a Pentecostal denomination centered in Los Angeles.
June 10, 1935 Founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in Akron, Ohio.
May 9, 1939 The Roman Catholic Church beatified the first Native American, Kateri Tekakwitha.
June 8, 1978 LDS Church officially terminated a policy of denying African Americans priesthood ordination and other rituals.
November 30, 1987 In Lyng v. Northwest Indian CPA, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a road to be constructed through American Indian sacred land.
April 19, 1993 Fire at the Branch Davidian complex, begun during a standoff between ATF and Davidians, led to the deaths of 86 believers, including movement leader David Koresh.
March 23, 1997 Thirty-nine members of the small movement Heaven's Gate committed mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe, California, over the course of three days.


© 2009-2010   A project of the Seminar on Religion in the American West at the American Academy of Religion.