Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon in Light of the Tibetan Treasure (gter ma) Tradition
McAlister, Tanner D.
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CitationMcAlister, Tanner D. 2021. "Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon in Light of the Tibetan Treasure (gter ma) Tradition." Harvard Divinity School.
AbstractThis paper explores and extends theories on Joseph Smith’s production of the Book of Mormon by discovering and translating a set of ancient gold plates in light of similar events in the Treasure (gter ma) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Whereas current theorists emphasize how (or if) Smith’s mind worked on a set of (ancient or fabricated) gold plates to produce a text, I argue that in light of similar events in the gter ma tradition, and how scholars of the gter ma tradition have studied those events, the primary sources suggest Smith’s mind to be just one element in a larger system of non (or supra) human agents. In fact, in conjunction with recent studies on what Smith could have meant in using the term “translation,” comparison with the gter ma tradition opens up the possibility that Smith’s gold plates served as a revelatory vehicle that instigated and facilitated his production of the Book of Mormon, rather than the book’s textual source. This possibility, in turn, serves to transcend the traditional bifurcated interpretive options most often applied to this event without bracketing or rejecting important elements of Smith’s account.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368074
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