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”
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.)
I wonder if we might find some insightful parallels and further understanding in the 23 distinct personalities who inhabit the mind of the one main character of the recent 2016 American psychological thriller film Split, starring James McAvoy, and the many personalities manifested through the writings of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Book of Mormon narrative.