I am skeptical of the traditional paranormal interpretations, but I do think there is something profoundly real in this phenomena, but it is that which we cannot ever openly demonstrate.
There is no genuine contemplative practice in Mormonism, an inner meditative gaze deep in consciousness. I offer a possible format for a uniquely Mormon practice.
The "Urim & Thummim" were perhaps Joseph's own eyes, which in a mystical state of consciousness could "see" the visionary "plates." He lost these "gifts" for a time.
I voice this podcast episode for Methods Podcast, which introduces the vipassana method of meditation.
Fr. Laurence Freeman, OSB Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a lecture with Fr. Laurence Freeman, OSB, at the Carmelite Monastery of Baltimore in Towson, Maryland. It was sponsored by the Carmelite Sisters of Baltimore, and the Benedictine Sisters of Emmanuel Monastery, as well as The World Community for Christian Meditation, of [...]
Who was Joseph Smith Jr. (1805-1844)? He's been quite an enigma both within and outside of Mormonism since his death. Many Mormons see him as a deeply gifted prophet of God, in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Ezekiel, and even Moses. He recorded and published new scripture, the Book of Mormon, just like ancient prophets. Many Mormons revere him as someone who restored Christianity in its purity, even the original Christian church and true gospel of Jesus. They believe he received true priesthood authority from God to perform real saving rituals, ordinances, and act as a "high priest" to bring others into the presence of God.
Annie Dillard (b. 1945) is an American author of fiction and non-fiction. She won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction in 1975 for her work Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. This nonfiction book was written in the first-person detailing Dillard's exploration around her home in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and her close observation of nature and life.
Whenever someone has been graced to perceive the Ultimate, the Highest, the One, it is because their consciousness has been transfigured into that of God's consciousness, such that they look out through God's eyes onto God.
I see mysticism in Joseph Smith and his work at nearly every turn. Joseph united his mind and consciousness in God to such a great degree that he spoke with the voice of Christ. One only does that if one is genuinely in mystical union with God, or delusional, or a con man (a fake). I perceive Joseph was the first, and I'll share a few reasons why.
President Joseph Fielding Smith, as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who later became the tenth President and "Prophet, Seer, and Revelator" of the LDS Church, wrote the following that was published in 1954: "IF EVOLUTION IS TRUE, THE CHURCH IS FALSE."