What is the nature of existence beyond our mortal life? Do we have anything to do with it? Yes, very much so.
This short documentary Being 97 by Andrew Hasse is moving and poignant. The ageing philosopher Herbert Fingarette (1921-2018) contemplates the meaning of life and death after having written several books about it during his academic career. He asks, "what is the point of it all?" He feels he failed at solving it.
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.