The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844
  • The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844
  • The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844

The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844

by John L. Brooke
     
 

Mormon religious belief has long been a mystery to outsiders, either dismissed as anomalous to the American religious tradition or extolled as the most genuine creation of the American religious imagination. This study presents the first extended analysis of Mormon theology to have been written against the backdrop of religion and popular culture in the early modern… See more details below

Overview

Mormon religious belief has long been a mystery to outsiders, either dismissed as anomalous to the American religious tradition or extolled as the most genuine creation of the American religious imagination. This study presents the first extended analysis of Mormon theology to have been written against the backdrop of religion and popular culture in the early modern North Atlantic world, a context that permits the most coherent analysis of Mormon origins. John Brooke argues that Mormon doctrines of the mutuality of spirit and matter, of celestial marriage (in the nineteenth century, polygamous marriage), and of human deification can be understood only in light of the connections between the occult and the sectarian ideal of restoration forged among early modern religious radicals. Hermeticism, of which alchemy was the experimental practice, posited that humanity could regain the divine powers of Adam lost in the fall from Paradise; so too the prophet Joseph Smith promised the Mormon faithful that they would become "gods" through the restoration of ancient mysteries. Exploring the opposing forces of hermetic purity and danger - manifested in sectarian religion, magic, witchcraft beliefs, alchemy, Freemasonry, counterfeiting, and state formation - in the making of the Mormon church, the book closes with an overview of the transformation of Mormonism from the 1860s to the present.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521345453
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
07/28/2012
Pages:
443
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.98(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Preface
Pt. IA Prepared People
1Dreams of the Primal Adam3
2The True Spiritual Seed30
3Something of Our Ancestors59
Pt. IIHermetic Purity and Hermetic Danger
4A Urim Spiritual91
5Alchymical Experiments105
6I Was Born in Sharon129
Pt. IIIThe Mormon Dispensation
7Secret Combinations and Slippery Treasures in the Land of Zarahemla149
8The Mysteries Defined184
9Temples, Wives, Bogus-Making, and War209
10The Keys to the Kingdom235
11A Tangle of Strings and the Kingdom of God262
12Let Mysteries Alone278
App.: The Sectarian and Hermetic Circumstances of Mormon Origins in Vermont and New York306
Abbreviations Used in Notes311
Notes314
Index405

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