Reconstructing Joseph Smith’s “First Vision”

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.

Reconstructing Mormonism’s and Christianity’s Jesus/Christ

Jesus is, of course, the center of Christianity, including Mormonism. In Mormonism, he is prominently identified in the name of the largest denomination of which I was a member, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Everything revolves around Jesus.

Notes on Christian Mysticism from a Seminar with Bernard McGinn

This weekend I had the fortunate opportunity to go to Fairfax, Virginia, to attend a seminar hosted by the Shalem Institute, an organization that fosters contemplative living and leadership. Their invited guest to present for their annual Gerald May Seminar was Bernard McGinn, who is Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. McGinn is an American Roman Catholic Theologian and is considered one of the world's foremost expert scholars on the history of Christian mysticism. He has written seven volumes outlining the history of Christian mysticism, and may write two more, bringing the history up to the present time. This series is known as The Presence of God.

What is the Second Coming?

One of the most profound realizations I've had in recent years is that the Second Coming is something that we can effect through our "repentance" (metanoia = a change of mind, or conscious perception of the world).

Mary Magdalene (2018) and her Witness of Christ and the Kingdom

A few days ago I had the opportunity to see the film Mary Magdalene (2018), which is a biblical drama of the ministry of Jesus, taking interest in the person of Mary Magdalene, as she may have seen it from her point of view. It depicts how she resists the status quo of her family and traditional society, how she is looking for deeper meaning in her life, and how she comes to be a follower of Jesus.

Four Types or Stages of Resurrection

It seems to me that there are at least four types of resurrection, or at least four stages of the process of being resurrected, or events that could be considered resurrection.

Christians are Made Christs by Anointing

The ritual practice of anointing makes the person that is anointed an "Anointed One," which is what the word Christ literally means, and by derivation is what being a Christian means. Cyril of Jerusalem in the fourth century noted of those who had been baptized and anointed, "You have been made Christs, by receiving the anti-type [symbol] of the Holy Spirit [the oil]" (Catecheses 21.1). Receiving the chrism they are ritualistically made Christs, being clothed in that Name and Identity, taking it upon themselves in actual fact as their own Eternal Identity, their True Name/Self.