The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, by John L. Brooke

By John L. Brooke

Mormon non secular trust has lengthy been a secret to outsiders, both pushed aside as anomalous to the yankee non secular culture or extolled because the such a lot actual production of the yankee mind's eye. The Refiner's fireplace offers a brand new and finished realizing of the roots of Mormon faith, whose theology can provide the trustworthy that they are going to turn into "gods" in the course of the recovery of old mysteries and regain the divine powers of Adam misplaced within the fall from Paradise. Professor Brooke contends that the origins of Mormonism lie within the fusion of radical faith with occult principles, and organizes his booklet round the difficulties of demonstrating the survival of those principles into the 19th century and explaining how they have been manifested in Mormon doctrine. within the concluding bankruptcy, the writer offers an summary of the way Mormonism because the 1850s steadily moved towards conventional Protestant Christianity. in addition to faith, the ebook explores magic, witchcraft, alchemy, Freemasonry, counterfeiting, and state-formation. John L. Brooke is professor of background at Tufts collage and the acclaimed writer of the guts of the Commonwealth: Society and Political tradition in Worcester County, Massachusetts, 1713-1861 (CUP, 1989), which has gained, between different prizes, the association of yankee Historians' Merle Curti Award for highbrow heritage and the nationwide old Society ebook Prize for American historical past.

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Lawrence Clarkson, divining for treasure, looks a lot like the young Joseph Smith. Smith also looks a lot like John Reeves and Lodowick Muggleton, the prophets bearing a new text announcing a new dispensation. So too, we can see echoes of George Starkey's announcement of the birth of the prophet Elias in the visions of Elias and Elijah received by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland temple. Smith's church would militantly advance the cause of the Kingdom of God just as had the Fifth Monarchists.

Rather than being continuous, matter and spirit were unalterably opposed. 24 The Mormon cosmology constructed by Joseph Smith was as optimistic as Renaissance hermeticism and shared with it a startling number of common themes. 26 Both hermeticism and Mormonism celebrate the mutuality of spiritual and material worlds, precreated intelligences, free will, a divine Adam, a fortunate, sinless Fall, and the symbolism and religious efficacy of marriage and sexuality. And, as in hermeticism, Adam, "the father of all, prince of all, that ancient of days," 27 would occupy a central position in the Mormon cosmology.

So too, we can see echoes of George Starkey's announcement of the birth of the prophet Elias in the visions of Elias and Elijah received by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland temple. Smith's church would militantly advance the cause of the Kingdom of God just as had the Fifth Monarchists. Something of the antinomian behavior of the Ranters, including their spiritual wifery, and the biblical polygamy of the Miinster Anabaptists (and of John Milton) would be repeated among the Mormons.

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