What's in store for ThyMindOMan.com? Where have we been, and where are we going? The Gift is being invited into my life and yours, as are some great new offerings.
These are some of my notes and reflections on Fr. Rohr's opening address at the conference a couple weeks ago.
I suggest that Joseph Smith's earliest direct encounters with God happened in mystical experience, or what is also known as altered states of consciousness.
And, what many may not know, there were many "Christs" who came prior to Jesus, and who were not Jesus, nor do I think they were prefiguring or foreshadowing Jesus. They were the "Christs" in their own right, who came in their own time, who developed what it meant to be a "Christ" or "Messiah" in ancient Israel long before the word was ever applied to Jesus. I think it may be helpful to become acquainted with these "Christs/Messiahs" to better understand who Jesus was.
A prominent belief in Jewish tradition is that the coming Messiah will "rebuild the temple." Jesus too said he would "rebuild the temple." But what temple?
I think that Christianity may have conflated Jesus's mystical experience of an ego death, perhaps at the time of his baptism when the "heavens opened," in which his individual psychological self "died" and he was was "reborn" of Spirit, or "raised up" (resurrected) to his identity in Christ consciousness (a consciousness of nondual union in God/Reality), with his biological death on the cross. These two deaths seem to have been conflated at some point, resulting in a supernatural conception of the resurrection.
It's taken more time to write about this reconstruction, because it is perhaps a more sensitive subject, and more complex, than any I have written before about Mormonism or Christianity, yes, even more so than Jesus or Joseph Smith (which might be an indication that something is off-kilter). The Salt Lake City based Latter-day Saints take the Book of Mormon very seriously as a holy text, as scripture revealed by God, similar to the Bible, and perhaps even more important than the Bible. The Book of Mormon is one thing that makes them unique, their own testament of the divinity of "Jesus Christ," which they believe is also evidence of the unique prophethood of Joseph Smith and the divinity of the church he organized as God's "true church." But I think the truth may be much more nuanced.
Thinking of God as a male human(s) out in the universe somewhere seems to be a primitive, magical, supernatural, and archaic conception of the Divine, literalizing the pronouns of "He" and "Him," and in the Christian tradition of "Father" and "Son." I've written about this specifically at least once before, but it's worth discussing more.
It is true that traditionally God and Christ have been predominantly associated with the male gender and masculine principle (a "He"), at least in the West. What we need to decide today is if that traditional interpretation, these symbols of the Divine, are still valid, and accurate, and if they point to truth in the present, or if we need a better interpretation of these symbols as a society, a culture, in our interspirituality, in the world today.
I've been reading about the post-resurrection appearances of Christ, and the description of the earliest written records and development of the early Christian resurrection narrative is quite intriguing. It seems to show that there was a significant change of the meaning of resurrection beginning in the very first few decades of Christianity, between the time of Paul and when the gospels were written.