Joseph Smith's activity in bringing forth the Book of Mormon can be viewed as a project of alchemy, which was influenced by his affiliation with treasure digging, the folk magic worldview, the Hermetic tradition,1 as well as his many mystical spiritual experiences. I suggest he initially sought to bring the “gold plates” of his visions into material reality, and in the process discovered the true “gold” was within himself, the elusive Philosopher’s Stone.
For it is a property of the Good that it becomes known to him who is able to see it... It shines forth much or little, according as he who gazes on it is able to receive the inflow of the incorporeal radiance... It is full of immortal life.