Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

New York State Needs A Museum Of Religion.

New York State has many museums, but it has none dedicated to the history of religion in the State. Many people do not realize that New York State was a hotbed of ideas, including religious ones, in the 1800s. New York State was the Southern California of the first half of the 19th century. Central New York, including the Mohawk Valley, has been referred to as the Great Psychic Highway. The Mohawk Valley was the main artery through which not only people flowed from east to west, but through which the latest cultural and religious ideas flowed.

The Shakers, Mormons and Millerites (fore-runners of The Seventh Day Adventists) all got their start here. This area experienced many religious revivals, so many that it became known as "the burnt over district." Charles G. Finney preached from Troy to Buffalo. Even George Whitfield made it to Schenectady. Jonathan Edwards son presided over Union College in Schenectady for a time. Many small sects sprang up and then died off after a time. Jemima Wilkinson, The Universal Public Friend, was one of the more intriguing cult leaders.

The Mohawk Valley has many early churches and has a religious history dating back to the 1600s and would be a good location for a religious museum.

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