Vienna Road: Religious Revivals and the Prophet Joseph Smith’s Search for the True Church

Modern Vienna Road
Methodist Camp Meeting
Courtesy of Smithsonian Institute


Vienna Road runs between the village of Palmyra, NY and old Vienna (modern Phelps) and is identified as the area of the religious revivals which the young Joseph Smith attended. Although once challenged by Presbyterian Minister Wesley Walters, the historical context of the First Vision has been confirmed. BYU Religion Professor, Milton V. Backman, Jr., researched revivals in upstate New York during the early 1800’s and established that over 100 ministers held a conference in nearby Vienna in the summer of 1819 and then held camp meetings in that area. William Smith, Joseph Smith’s younger brother, identified that a Methodist minister, George Lane, preached a sermon on James 1:5 when revival participants questioned which church they should join.

Video Transcript


The modern town of Palmyra, New York, is home to a unique occurance of having churches on each corner of its Main Street intersection.