Joseph Smith: the making of a prophet

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Signature Books, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 715 pages
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It was not uncommon for early Americans to report and interpret metaphysical experiences as direct communications from God. Joseph Smith's father had dreams that he considered to be divinely inspired. The difference with Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, is that his experiences involved elements from the tangible world: a stone box, gold plates, and silver spectacles. Even his detractors said they felt the metal plates through a cloth and sampled their weight. On the other hand, the plates were not present when Joseph translated them, and the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon saw the plates only in the hands of an angel. The question is: was Joseph transcribing a text that existed in a spiritual rather than a temporal realm or, stated otherwise, were the physical plates simply an aid to faith? These and other significant questions form the basis of this thoughtful, superbly documented biography of Smith's seminal years in New York and Pennsylvania and the impact of his early ministry.

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Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet

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Vogel is nothing if not ambitious. He aims to write "an interpretive biography of an emotional and intellectual life" of Joseph Smith (1805-44), the founder of Mormonism. This volume covers the ... Read full review


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About the author (2004)

Dan Vogel is the editor of the five-volume series Early Mormon Documents, winner of Best Documentary Book Awards from both the Mormon History Association and the John Whitmer Historical Association. He is the editor of The Word of God: Essays on Mormon Scripture: author of Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon and Religious Seekers and the Advent of Mormonism: and co-editor of American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon. He is also a contributor to Differing Visions: Dissenters in Mormon History and The Prophet Puzzle: Interpretive Essays on Joseph Smith. among other works.

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