In the mid 90’s Mormonism came under fire once again. It is a known fact that most Mormons know little about the life of their founder and prophet Joseph Smith. At age 24 it is said that Joseph translated a golden bible and thus began Mormonism.
There is more to this story than meets the eye. When Mormonism first started to take on its popularity, a letter surfaced that was supposedly a testimony of Joseph. The letter said the following
Your letter of yesterday is received & I hasten to answer as fully as I can–Joseph Smith Jr first come to my notice in the year 1824 in the summer of that year I contracted with his father to build a fence on my property in the corse of that work I approach Joseph & ask how it is in a half day you put up what requires your father & 2 brothers a full day working together he says I have not been with out assistance but can not say more only you better find out the next day I take the older Smith by the arm & he says Joseph can see any thing he wishes by looking at a stone Joseph often sees Spirits here with great kettles of coin money it was Spirits who brought up rock because Joseph made no attempt on their money I latter dream I converse with spirits which let me count their money when I awake I have in my hand a dollar coin which I take for a sign Joseph describes what I seen in every particular says he the spirits are grieved so I through back the dollar in the fall of the year 1827 I hear Joseph found a gold bible I take Joseph aside & he says it is true I found it 4 years ago with my stone but only just got it because of the enchantment the old spirit come to me 3 times in the same dream & says dig up the gold but when I take it up the next morning the spirit transfigured himself from a white salamander in the bottom of the hole & struck me 3 times & held the treasure & would not let me have it because I lay it down to cover over the hole when the spirit says do not lay it down Joseph says when can I have it the spirit says one year from to day if you obay me look to the stone after a few days he looks the spirit says bring your brother Alvin Joseph says he is dead shall I bring what remains but the spirit is gone Joseph goes to get the gold bible but the spirit says you did not bring your brother you can not have it look to the stone Joseph looks but can not see who to bring the spirit says I tricked you again look to the stone Joseph looks & sees his wife on the 22d day of Sept 1827 they get the gold bible–I give Joseph $50 to move him down to Pa Joseph says when you visit me I will give you a sign he gives me some hiroglyphics I take then to Utica Albany & New York in the last place Dr Mitchel gives me an introduction to Professor Anthon says he they are short hand Egyption the same what was used in ancent times bring me the old book & I will translate says I it is made of precious gold & is sealed from view says he I can not read a sealed book–Joseph found some giant silver specticles with the plates he puts them in an old hat & in the darkness reads the words & in this way it is all translated & written down–about the middle of June 1829 Joseph takes me together with Oliver Cowdery & David Whitmer to have a view of the plates our names are appended to the book of Mormon which I had printed with my own money–space and time both prevent me from writing more at present if there is any thing further you wish to inquire I shall attend to it.
bq. Martin Harris
This letter set precedent for the rumors of magic involved in the origins of Mormonism. The descriptions in the letter are quite reminiscent of ceremonial magic: more in particular conjuration and evocation. The letter however was proven to be a fake. It was purchased at later date by a private collector and donated to the Mormons.
Even though the letter was a fake it does not disprove Joseph Smith’s involvement with hermeticism. On the night of September 21, 1823 Joeseph Smith was visited by an angel, Moroni. Over the next six years Moroni continued to visit Smith until the golden bible was given to Joseph. A golden book is a curious thing as Gold is the alchemical equivalent to perfection, and it represents the sun in astrology. Joseph then used a Urim and Thummim to translate the golden pages. When he was done the book was returned. The metaphorical significance of the creation of this book is extremely significant.
The Urim Thummim and the methods which Joseph Smith used them also match his seeing stone described in the letter quite well. Perhaps the oddest thing or element in Joesph’s life was not; his start of polygamistic ritual; or his induction into Freemasonry; but his silver jupiter medallion found on him at the time of his death. This silver medallion was Joseph’s masonic jewel.
It is this same talisman that is in Francis Barrett’s The Magus (Plate Fig 1) and symbols in The Three Books of Occult Philosophy (page 322) by Henry Cornelius Agrippa. Joseph’s involvement in the Masons was very obvious with the motives of his spiritual movement. Upon Joseph’s death the Mormons were later run by Brigham Young who declared a ban of silence on the Masonic ties with Mormonism.
A golden book disappears and an entire religion is based upon it; this echoes quite wonderfully with traditional biblical lore as well. Where are the ten commandments? Could it be that part of the creation of Mormonism was a social agenda? Given it was at a later time but L Ron Hubbard himself said “The way to make a million dollars is to start a religion.” Then we can look at Aleister Crowley and his womanizing ways, could Joseph Smith have been the catalyst for these two individuals later in history?