Visions, Revelations, and Courage in Joseph Smith
This chapter applies the analytical insights of Paul Tillich and William Whyte to the revelatory production of Joseph Smith. These choices are intended to further the project of an interdisciplinary, rather than provincial or academically ghettoized, approach to Mormon Studies. Specifically, the chapter considers the traumas of the young Smith, the psychodrama of his First Vision, and echoes of both in the Gethsemane theology Smith developed. The courage that is revealed in these contexts is embodied by Joseph Smith personally and institutionally in such forms as vicarious baptism, and counter-cultural practices like plural marriage. Finally, the chapter explores the paradox of the LDS emphasis on both courageous individualism in a church that makes corporate belonging and corporate rites salvifically indispensable.
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