Analysis Paper on Kingdom of Mathias

Johnson, Paul E. and Wilentz, Sean. The Kingdom of Matthias. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 1994.
The Kingdom of Mathias is a novel that discusses both the creation and the downfall of a religious cult that emerged in the 19th century, also known as the era of the Second Great Awakening. This marked a time of reoccurring change and uncertainty, which greatly affected the lives of the two protagonists, Elijah Pierson and Robert Matthews.
The organization of the book allows the reader to achieve a deeper understanding of the events leading up to both the formation of the Kingdom of Matthias, as well as its downfall. In the prologue, the readers are first introduced to Matthias after his release from jail, and when he is heading towards a Morman settlement at Kirkland. This marks the point where the interest of the readers begins to pick up here, as they deliberate why Matthias was sentenced to jail. The first two chapters serve as introductions to the lives of Pierson and Matthews. Chapter one discusses the life of Elijah Pierson, who was brought up according to the beliefs of American Puritanism. Pierson was successful in joining both the Market and Finneyite revolutions that were occurring, and therefore lived both an economically and religiously prosperous life. After marrying Sarah Stanford, Pierson learned to adapt to live an even more spiritual existence. “Their marriage was a spiritualized union between partners: it began in a shared vocation in Christian missions, and it thrived on prayer and feminine influence” (27) Sarah, along with other very influential radicals such as Frances Folger became guides to Pierson in terms of his spiritually. These evangelical ideas were significantly different than those that Pierson grew up with in his patriarchal society. However, following the death of Sarah, Pierson enveloped himself in a cycle of religious insanity, which leads to ideas such as the resurrection of Sarah from her death. The first chapter ends...