In my paper “The Book of Mormon as Literary Alchemy: Joseph’s Magnum Opus and the Philosopher’s Stone,” I suggested that the “gold plates” that Joseph Smith had in his possession were not actually made of gold, and did not actually contain ancient historical records like Mormons traditionally think. But that doesn’t mean that there were not “gold plates” which were a kind of “hidden treasure” that Joseph really did discover within himself, which was the source of real divine wisdom, “ancient wisdom,” and which he taught could be found within all people as well. Such teachings can be found in other spiritual traditions too, including Buddhism. First I’ll review a few of Joseph’s writings about this “hidden treasure,” and then I’ll turn to the Buddhist concepts that seem to reflect a similar nature. Continue reading “The “Hidden Treasure” of God in Mormonism and Buddhism”
It seems to me that there are at least four types of resurrection, or at least four stages of the process of being resurrected, or events that could be considered resurrection. But first, this is according to the understanding of resurrection that I have outlined in previous posts, so if you aren’t familiar with those please take a look. In short, the resurrection is not something that happens to us after biological death, rejoining our dead physical body back to our ego “spirit,” as most of Christianity has come to believe, but rather it is a falling away of the ego psychological “self” and an awakening to the true Self or true Life within us and all things. Continue reading “Four Types or Stages of Resurrection”
Abstract: Joseph Smith’s activity in bringing forth the Book of Mormon can be viewed as a project of alchemy, which was influenced by his affiliation with treasure digging, the folk magic worldview, the Hermetic tradition,1 as well as his many mystical spiritual experiences. I suggest he initially sought to bring the “gold plates” of his visions into material reality, and in the process discovered the true “gold” was within himself, the elusive Philosopher’s Stone. Continue reading “The Book of Mormon as Literary Alchemy: Joseph’s Magnum Opus and the Philosopher’s Stone”
Religious texts are most often not literal history.
They are allegories, narratives, parables, metaphors, similes, symbols, poetry, stories, visions, and figurative language. They are not relating precise word-for-word conversations of the past, nor are they detailing literal events that took place. Yes, the Bible talks about many people and places that may have really existed in the past, and may even abstractly refer to events that really took place, but it is not a history book. Continue reading “Misreading Scripture as Literal History: Elephants in the Book of Mormon”
Two readers posted comments recently on my article about Joseph Smith as tertön and the Book of Mormon as terma. They were both similar in questioning the idea that the Book of Mormon may not be a historical text. The comments read, in part: Continue reading “The Non-Historical Book of Mormon is More Than A Mere Fairy Tale”
I suggest that the translation of the Book of Mormon was Joseph Smith’s alchemical Magnum Opus, or “Great Work,” a transmutation of his own base desires for materialistic gold and treasure into the highest spiritual realizations of human atonement in God consciousness, and a realization or awakening of eternal life in his Self, even theosis, which he continued to preach for the rest of his life. His revelation of the Book of Mormon is similar to the ancient Buddhist tradition of tertöns who reveal terma texts through inner mystical union. Continue reading “The Book of Mormon as Terma, and Joseph Smith as Tertön”
I see mysticism in Joseph Smith and his work at nearly every turn. Joseph united his mind and consciousness in God to such a great degree that he spoke with the voice of Christ. One only does that if one is genuinely in mystical union with God, or delusional, or a con man (a fake). I perceive Joseph was the first, and I’ll share a few reasons why.
(Credit: The portrait above of Joseph Smith is by Brent Borup.)