Thoughts about “From Naïveté to Wisdom,” the Pattern of the Spiritual Journey

I want to say a few thoughts about Richard Rohr’s daily meditation today about “From Naïveté to Wisdom.” Please click the link to read it. It’s a beautiful simplified perspective of the faith journey: from order, to disorder, and then reorder. I’ve seen this in Mormonism, and in my own life. It is the Hero’s Journey. It is the monomyth. It is the pattern of human life, of the human condition, of psychological individuation, and ultimate reconciliation. It is the spiritual journey back to God, to the One, to Reality.

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Reconstructing the narrative surrounding Joseph Smith

(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.)

Who was Joseph Smith Jr. (1805-1844)? He’s been quite an enigma both within and outside of Mormonism since his death. Many Mormons see him as a deeply gifted prophet of God, in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Ezekiel, and even Moses. He recorded and published new scripture, the Book of Mormon, just like ancient prophets. Many Mormons revere him as someone who restored Christianity in its purity, even the original Christian church and true gospel of Jesus. They believe he received true priesthood authority from God to perform real saving rituals, ordinances, and act as a “high priest” to bring others into the presence of God.

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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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A Radical Reconstruction of the Mormon Narrative (and Christianity)

Richard L. Bushman, a leading scholar of Mormonism and foremost biographer of its founder Joseph Smith, said the following during a meeting on June 12, 2016:

I think that for the Church to remain strong it has to reconstruct its narrative. The dominant narrative is not true; it can’t be sustained. The Church has to absorb all this new information or it will be on very shaky grounds and that’s what it is trying to do and it will be a strain for a lot of people, older people especially. But I think it has to change.

I think these words will echo for many decades to come, as Mormonism comes to grips with its history, theology, and scriptures in the light of new modern understandings and shifts in the way people are approaching spirituality. Many things about its traditional narrative just don’t ring “true” to many people anymore. I will begin to offer a radical reconstruction of the Mormon narrative, what I think may be a better interpretation of the revelation in our modern day, which also applies in many ways to Christianity in general. Continue reading “A Radical Reconstruction of the Mormon Narrative (and Christianity)”

Mapping The World’s Religious and Secular Symbols

At times I feel like much religious terminology and symbolism has failed to bring unity to our modern culture and global society, and that we need new terms and symbols to point to these highest realities for which we yearn. New religious movements often emerge under such conditions (and there are tens of thousands of these movements in the world today). But I’m not sure that helps, but just further divides us, each believing they have “the truth.” Continue reading “Mapping The World’s Religious and Secular Symbols”

Ego Sacrifice & Transcendence a Common Theme in World Religions and Science

(This is the conclusion of a series exploring the nature of the human ego in the world’s religions and science, beginning with this post.)

We see this theme repeated over and over again throughout religious history into the present day, from Judaism through Christianity, in Hinduism and Buddhism, in Islam, in Confucianism and Taoism, and even into modern day scientific studies, that the overcoming of “self” or ego is central to our flourishing in an abundance of Life and Love in the world, and in realizing higher Truths that go far beyond our typical everyday minds and consciousness. Continue reading “Ego Sacrifice & Transcendence a Common Theme in World Religions and Science”

Ego Transcendence in Secular Science

(This is the continuation of a series exploring the nature of the human ego in the world’s religions and science, beginning with this post.)

In modern times the nature of the human ego has also been recognized by many in scientific disciplines, in psychology and other fields. I described some of this in an earlier post, in the psychological study of cognitive development in children. But what about losing the sense of “self,” the sense of an “I”? Continue reading “Ego Transcendence in Secular Science”