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)”

Is the Truth Really Found “Within”?

Some Mormons, other Christians, and perhaps people generally, are uncomfortable with the idea that the truth is found within us. They might consider this to be incompatible with the gospel, navel-gazing, narcissism, and selfishness. But I think the whole purpose and goal of the Christian gospel, and of spirituality more generally, is to help us discover that Truth is at the core of our being, which is our divine nature in God, in Reality. This is beyond all that is “selfish” in us, reaching the ground of who and what we really are. Continue reading “Is the Truth Really Found “Within”?”

What does it mean to be “a god”?

There are stories, legends, mythologies, folklore, traditions, histories, scriptures, and texts from all around the world which tell us of humans who have reached the stature of the gods. They have, in essence, become “a god.” Some recognizable examples are people such as Jesus, Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), and Muhammad. The process that these went through has been called theosis, deification, divinization, realization, awakening, and enlightenment. What does it mean to become or be “a god”? Continue reading “What does it mean to be “a god”?”

Richard Bucke’s “First Vision” Account

richard_maurice_bucke
Richard Maurice Bucke

Richard Maurice Bucke (1837-1902) was a Canadian psychiatrist. He is best known for his 1901 book Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mindin which he explored higher forms of consciousness as they have been expressed throughout human history.

In 1872 Bucke had a mystical experience of his own, which he later recorded: Continue reading “Richard Bucke’s “First Vision” Account”

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “First Vision” Account

fyodor_mikhailovich_dostoyevsky_1876
Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1876

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was a Russian novelist, writer, and philosopher. He often explored questions of psychology, philosophy, and religion. He wrote many acclaimed novels.

He published a short story in the 1870s in a collection called A Writer’s Diary with the title “The Dream of a Queer Fellow,” also published as The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. As Maria Popova points out, “the story sheds light on Dostoyevsky’s personal spiritual and philosophical bents with extraordinary clarity — perhaps more so than any of his other published works.” As with so much so-called “fiction,” it is perhaps a true reflection of his own deepest intuitions, spiritual experiences, and understandings. Continue reading “Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “First Vision” Account”