I suggest that the physical object that Joseph had in his possession was not literally ancient gold plates, but plates of his own creation which talismanically represented the "gold plates" of his visions, aiding his mystical translation of those visions.
A new translation of Genesis 1, updating many ideas in terms of modern cosmology, but also in mystical terms of God's own Incarnation in and as the cosmos, and in all Life as well.
A quote often attributed to St. Francis doesn't seem to have a credible source, but it's still a good saying, and others appear to have said similarly.
The traditional goal of proselytism is to convert people to an institution and its ways, but there is a deeper conversion that often gets overlooked and overshadowed that has nothing to do with institutions.
I suggest that details in the accounts show that Joseph Smith experienced theosis or divinization in the First Vision, realizing his Oneness in God, or Christ living in him.
We seem to often think that Jesus always knew perfectly that he was One in God, and that this realization never wavered his entire life. But did it?
The communal structure that humans evolved in is fragmenting, from large family groups, to small nuclear families, with damaging effects. We're losing mystical communion and thus community as well.
I have a chat with Glenn Ostlund about my journey from Mormonism to mysticism, and related mystical metaphysics and spirituality.
Religious history often depicts temples as sacred places where God is present and is known. But what kind of temple?
Joseph's experiences seem to parallel those he "translated" in the Book of Mormon, perhaps indicating a deeper spiritual-mystical allegory and myth.