Reconstructing the narrative surrounding the origins of the Book of Mormon

(This continues a series of posts about reconstructing the Mormon/Christian narrative. Please read this introductory post first, if you haven’t already, before continuing.)

It’s taken more time to write about this reconstruction, because it is perhaps a more sensitive subject, and more complex, than any I have written before about Mormonism or Christianity, yes, even more so than Jesus or Joseph Smith. The Salt Lake City based Latter-day Saints take the Book of Mormon very seriously as a holy text, as scripture revealed by God, similar to the Bible, and perhaps even more important than the Bible. The Book of Mormon is one thing that makes them unique, their own testament of the divinity of “Jesus Christ,” which they believe is also evidence of the unique prophethood of Joseph Smith and the divinity of the church he organized as God’s “true church.” But I think the truth may be much more nuanced.

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1 Corinthians 15 BHT, Paul’s Earliest Witness of the Resurrection into Christ Consciousness, the “Gospel”

An addition to the BHT, containing the earliest account of the post-resurrection appearances of Christ in the New Testament, where Paul describes his early witness of the resurrection and what it means to be resurrected into Christ consciousness. This seems to be an excellent summary of the Christian Gospel, or “good news,” but it is something which I think we’ve generally misunderstood in Christianity for centuries. I feel that this is one of the most important translations of the BHT that I have been given the Grace to work out yet—yet not I. I was in tears by the end.

(The photo above is of Papyrus 15 (rotated), dated to the 3rd century, an early manuscript copy of the New Testament, showing the Greek text of 1 Corinthians 7:18-8:4.)

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Is God or Christ a Male?

A symbol is a construction, but it does not have meaning to only an individual. A symbol is usually a construction within a society, a culture, a religious system, a group, a people.

It is true that traditionally God and Christ have been predominantly associated with the male gender and masculine principle (a “He”), at least in the West. What we need to decide today is if that traditional interpretation, these symbols of the Divine, are still valid, and accurate, and if they point to truth in the present, or if we need a better interpretation of these symbols as a society, a culture, in Christianity, in our interspirituality, in the world today.

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Paul and the Early Jewish Christians’ Mystical Resurrection “in” Christ

I’ve been reading about the post-resurrection appearances of Christ, and the description of the earliest written records and development of the early Christian resurrection narrative is quite intriguing. It seems to show that there was a significant change of the meaning of resurrection beginning in the very first few decades of Christianity, between the time of Paul and when the gospels were written.

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Reconstructing Joseph Smith’s “First Vision”

(This continues a series of posts about reconstructing the Mormon/Christian narrative. Please read this introductory post first, if you haven’t already, before continuing.)

Mormonism traces back its history in modern times to its founding prophet, Joseph Smith Jr., and his “First Vision.” Joseph was a young farmer boy who lived in western New York, born in the early nineteenth century. This was the time of what’s known as the Second Great Awakening, and where Joseph lived is known as the “burned-over district.” It was a time of much Protestant religious excitement, revivals, reforms, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations (which eventually included Mormonism). A Restoration Movement grew in popularity in the area, which involved ideas of “restoring” a pure, primitive, uncorrupted, and original form of Christian faith.

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Reconstructing Mormonism’s “Holy Ghost”

(This continues a series of posts about reconstructing the Mormon/Christian narrative. Please read this introductory post first, if you haven’t already, before continuing.)

The “Holy Ghost” is perhaps one of the most mysterious figures in Mormon theology (and perhaps more generally in Christianity). Many Mormons likely know this being of the Godhead as a “personage of spirit,” which “has not a body of flesh and bones,” “were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell within us” (D&C 130:22). This already begins to sound quite supernatural, a ghostly person that may come and dwell within me? How are we to make sense of this?

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