I suggest that Joseph realized Christ in himself in his First Vision, and I think this can be seen in many details in his accounts.
A tradition of a "heavenly book" runs through many traditions, including Mormonism with its "gold plates." What spiritual reality might these traditions be pointing to?
I created a graphic to better illustrate the evolution (or devolution) from mysticism to religion to politics, and back again, as originally modeled by David Steindl-Rast.
The earliest known account of First Vision may not be the one in 1832, but many esoteric accounts in April-June 1829, in the Book of Mormon text itself.
The "Urim & Thummim" were perhaps Joseph's own eyes, which in a mystical state of consciousness could "see" the visionary "plates." He lost these "gifts" for a time.
Was the vision of Moroni unique, or had Joseph experienced something similar before?
A late thirdhand account of the First Vision from John Alger in 1893 may be corroborated by some early secondhand (esoteric) references in some songs and hymns recorded in 1833, which may also have connections to a recorded revelation in 1830.
What is the relationship between mysticism and religion? It is perhaps a cycle, which begins in mysticism and ends in fundamentalist dogmatic religion, and politics, where it begins again.
If Joseph made the plates he had in his possession, then didn't he lie in saying otherwise? Maybe there is more to it, which ties into the mystical nature of his visions.
Yes, actually, I think there is a Way. But it's perhaps not the Way that most people think, desire, or hope, but I suggest it is Divine.