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.
Tag: folk magic
Joseph Smith as Nephi: Parallels in retrieving the Gold/Brass Plates
Joseph's experiences seem to parallel those he "translated" in the Book of Mormon, perhaps indicating a deeper spiritual-mystical allegory and myth.
Our Loss of Mystical Consciousness
God wants to speak to us. God yearns for it, and many of us yearn for it too. God wants us to know Him ourselves, in our Selves. This is the very definition of Eternal Life (John 17:3). But we must do our part. We must get out of our own way. We must surrender and submit our egos, our egoic mind, in order to allow God to speak to us. The Prophet Joseph Smith seems to have known how to do this, but we seem to have lost this ability today, even the kinds of practices that lead to it.