Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon might be an esoteric mystical-allegorical account of Joseph Smith's own First Vision.
Beliefs are not merely concepts in our mind, they actively shape our perception of reality, and even form that Reality.
A tradition of a "heavenly book" runs through many traditions, including Mormonism with its "gold plates." What spiritual reality might these traditions be pointing to?
The earliest known account of First Vision may not be the one in 1832, but many esoteric accounts in April-June 1829, in the Book of Mormon text itself.
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.
A new translation of Joseph Smith's First Vision.
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.
If Joseph made the plates he had in his possession, then didn't he lie in saying otherwise? Maybe there is more to it, which ties into the mystical nature of his visions.
I suggest that Joseph Smith's earliest direct encounters with God happened in mystical experience, or what is also known as altered states of consciousness.
There was a fascinating show that my wife and I watched last night on Mind Field with Vsauce (Michael Stevens). It was season 3, episode 7, titled "Behavior and Belief."