(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.
Continue reading “Reconstructing Joseph Smith’s “First Vision””
The unitive mystical experience can be compared to falling into a black hole. When compared this way, it doesn’t sound like a nice experience. Likewise, for many mystics throughout history, their divine experiences weren’t always a merry venture, sometimes encountering hellish realms along the way (see, for example, St. Teresa of Ávila, or St. John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul).
But the similarities between the mystical encounter and theoretically travelling into a black hole are quite interesting to consider. It makes me wonder if there is more to it than mere analogy. Is there something fundamental to the nature of the universe that mystics are actually experiencing that may also be found in black holes? Continue reading “The Mysticism of Falling into a Black Hole”
A friend recently shared a video clip with me from an event on June 23, 2018, which was a public conversation and debate between psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson and philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris, moderated by biologist Bret Weinstein. It’s an interesting discussion between a theist (Peterson) and an atheist (Harris) on the nature of God, which I think begins to get at the heart of the issue from both sides. Peterson shares his thoughts about what God is, and then there is discussion that follows. I’ll share the clip here, and then comment on it below. Continue reading “Jordan Peterson & Sam Harris Debate the Nature of God”
The word mystical is derived from the Greek mystikos meaning “secret,” and muo meaning “concealed.”
Why all the mystery? Why is it concealed? Why do people keep it a secret? This seems like shady business. But is it? Continue reading “The Meaning of the Word “Mystical””
Many mystical paths in the world’s spiritual traditions claim to lead one to a conscious merging, union, and a direct identification with Deity, the Sacred, Reality, the Universe, the Transcendent, with a first-hand experience of being God. Continue reading “We are Already God, We’ve Just Forgotten”
The Methodist biblical scholar, Margaret Barker, wrote a book published in 1996 titled The Risen Lord in which she proposed that “the original understanding of resurrection may in fact be Jesus’ mystical experience at his baptism, when he was raised up and transformed into the divine Son.” Continue reading Margaret Barker on the Radical Original Understanding of Resurrection