I introduce a new translation of Joseph Smith's First Vision, giving some background to this interpretation of his mystical experience, the nature of translation, its pseudepigraphal nature, how it was done, and more.
Continual Reinterpretation of Sacred Texts is Imperative
Is the meaning of scripture fixed, or can it be given new fresh meaning? I think it is much more of the latter than the former.
The Value of the Written Word for Good, for Love in Action?
What good is the written or spoken word for uplifting lives and awakening? Is it a means through which we can actively express Love and help bring others to Love?
Misreading Scripture as Literal History: Elephants in the Book of Mormon
Religious texts are most often not literal history. They are allegory, narrative, parable, metaphor, simile, symbol, poetry, story, visionary, and figurative. They are not relating precise word-for-word conversations of the past, nor are they detailing literal events that took place. Yes, the Bible talks about many people and places that may have really existed, and may even abstractly refer to events that really took place, but it is not a history book.
The Book of Mormon as Terma, and Joseph Smith as Tertön
I suggest that the translation of the Book of Mormon was Joseph Smith's alchemical Magnum Opus, or "Great Work," a transmutation of his own base desires for materialistic gold and treasure into the highest spiritual realizations of human atonement in God consciousness, and a realization or awakening of eternal life in his Self, even theosis, which he continued to preach for the rest of his life.