Sunday, 22 June 2014

Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon - Part 2

For Part 1, please see here

The Church of Christ, as it was originally called, was established on 6 April 1830.  In later years, Smith would claim that the biblical figure John the Baptist had appeared and ordained him to the "Aaronic priesthood" in 1829, but this was another story that he appears to have come up with ex post facto.  In any event, Smith didn't stop to pause for breath.  He quickly started work on a new scripture called the Book of Moses, which became the first part of a new "translation" of the Bible - actually an edited and somewhat expanded version of the King James translation.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon - Part 1

"....[S]he saw that from this man's brain issued phantoms like pigeons.  They were neither Red Indians nor Israelites, yet they had something of each in their bearing.  And these poured like smoke from the head of this little man.  In his hand was a book, and he held it over his head.  And the book itself was guarded by an angelic figure whose face was extraordinarily stern and unbeautiful, but who scattered with wide hands the wealth of life, children, and corn, and gold.  And behind all these things was a great multitude; and about them were the symbolic forms of exile and death and every persecution, and the hideous laughter of triumphant enemies.  All this seemed to weigh heavily upon the little man that had created it; Iliel thought that he was seeking incarnation for the sake of its forgetfulness.  Yet the light in his eyes was so pure and noble and magnetic that it might have been that he saw in a new birth the chance to repair his error."

Such was the legendary occultist Aleister Crowley's fictionalised depiction of Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS or Mormon Church).  Smith is not the only prophet that America has given the world - Mary Baker Eddy, Edgar Cayce and L. Ron Hubbard are other examples.  But he is probably the most influential.