The Metaphysical Joseph Smith
This chapter examines the Mormon prophet as a metaphysical figure. Noting that American religious history has too often limited itself to mainstream denominationalism and evangelicalism, the chapter has been able to limn the contours of metaphysical religion. This tradition emphasizes the world and human beings as ontologically parallel to, and deriving a stream of spiritual energy from, a higher reality. The consequent world view, as above, so below, is characteristic of hermeticism and modern mystics like Emanuel Swedenborg. Exploiting Richard Bushman's suggestion that Smith is a protean figure amenable to any number of religious agendas, this chapter finds he fits the bill perfectly as a proto-metaphysician. Extending the arguments of Bloom and Brooke, it argues that in addition to exploring occult antecedents and their influence on Joseph Smith, it is time for American historians to take account of the debt metaphysical religion owes to Joseph Smith.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.