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.
Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon might be an esoteric mystical-allegorical account of Joseph Smith's own First Vision.
I suggest that details in the accounts show that Joseph Smith experienced theosis or divinization in the First Vision, realizing his Oneness in God, or Christ living in him.
Can we have one without the other? Possibly not. These may be polar opposites which only find expression when both are possible.
Harding's experience of having no head parallels Joseph Smith's First Vision experience in remarkable ways.
Beliefs are not merely concepts in our mind, they actively shape our perception of reality, and even form that Reality.
What can contemplation tell us about the speed of light or causality? Perhaps a lot, even All.
We often have a literal conception of Jesus' return, but the spiritual-mystical realization infinitely outshines it.
Joseph's experiences seem to parallel those he "translated" in the Book of Mormon, perhaps indicating a deeper spiritual-mystical allegory and myth.
We will be discussing how we may reinterpret the ideas of Mormonism (and Christianity) in the light of classic mysticism, interspirituality, modern science, psychology, and other progressive and constructive approaches.