The Civil War would start not long after, beginning in April, 1861. The Civil War was a dark time for Abraham Lincoln who had served for 12 years in the Illinois legistature but only one term as a US Congressman. Abraham Lincoln's son Willie (11) died of Typhoid fever in Feburary, 1862. Willie's death begun a time of deep reflection and transformation for Lincoln that biographers refer to as Lincoln's "Period of Crystallization".
During this critical period, Abraham Lincoln borrowed a copy of the Book of Mormon from the Library of Congress. He returned the book eight months later, only 7 days after issuing his Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Did the Book of Mormon positively influence Lincoln during his Crystallization Period?
Many believe that during the Period of Crystallization, Lincoln had a paradigm shift concerning this nation, its people, and the Civil War. Lincoln began to see the United States as a promised land and its people as a covenant people and the Civil War as the judgements of God upon the people because of their sins. In his and America's darkest hour, Lincoln turned to God, called the people of this nation to Repentance for the sin of slavery, and turned this nation to God.
Lincoln's turn to God and call for repentance is evident in the stark contrast of tone, language, and substance between his first and second inaugural addresses and in the Emmancipation Proclaimation issued Jan 1, 1863 and continued to Gettysburg which proved to be the turning point in the Civil War in July, 1863. President Lincoln is quoted as saying about Gettysburg:
"In the pinch of the campaign up there, when everybody seemed panic-stricken, and nobody could tell what was going to happen, oppressed by the gravity of our affairs, I went to my room one day, and I locked the door, and got down on my knees before Almighty God, and prayed to Him mightily for victory at Gettysburg. I told Him that this was His war, and our cause His cause, but we couldn't stand another Fredericksburg or Chancellorsville. And I then and there made a solemn vow to Almighty God, that if He would stand by our boys at Gettysburg, I would stand by Him. And He did stand by your boys, and I will stand by Him. And after that (I don't know how it was, and I can't explain it), soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul that God Almighty had taken the whole business into his own hands and that things would go all right at Gettysburg. And that is why I had no fears about you."