Mormon Mysticism, Mythology, and Magic:
Joseph Smith versus the Metaphysics of Nicene Christianity
Published by iMormons at Smashwords
2011 by John Walsh
2519 Branch View Lane
Missouri City, Texas 77459
All Rights Reserved
This study examines Mormon mysticism, mythology, and magic. The ascension theology of the Prophet Joseph Smith (1805-1844), founder of Mormonism, is compared to the metaphysics of Nicene Christianity. Smith espoused a soteriological model in which it is necessary for each man to work out his own salvation by achieving heavenly ascension. As Smith’s followers purified, sanctified, and perfected themselves, they developed the faith necessary to pierce the veil between the natural and unseen worlds and achieve a vision of God. To help his followers achieve ascension, Smith presented an elaborate series of temple rituals simulating the tangible ascent via metaphor and allegory. Smith’s theology represents a radical departure from the normative Nicene tradition that dominated Smith’s contemporary religious landscape. These Nicenes did not generally accept visionary religion and tended to marginalize mantics. Nicenes also objected to Smith’s finite, anthropomorphic, and pluralistic conceptions of God; which were antithetical to their understanding of God as philosophically infinite, transcendent, and united.
John Walsh is an independent scholar who specializes in Mormon Studies. He received his PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Wales, Lampeter; an MS in Jewish Religion from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies; and studied Mormon theology at both the LDS Institute of Religion at Arizona State University and Brigham Young University. He has also studied traditional Christianity at the University of Saint Thomas Graduate School of Theology at Saint Mary's Seminary.