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date: 13 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the forms that Joseph Smith’s revelations took during the emergence of Mormonism. A number were supposed translations of ancient texts, others were revelations to guide the modern church. Among nineteenth-century prophetic figures, Smith stands out as one who declared a new right way; but as Mormonism developed, it appeared that the new right way was for all the Lord’s people to be prophets. Revelation, charisma, was institutionalized and democratized, the divine gift shared. Ultimately the revelatory principle was extended to all who acted under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The chapter argues that this democratization explains why Smith’s revelations made a deeper mark on American culture than the words of the other prophets of his time.

Keywords: revelations, visions, ancient texts, charisma, democratization, Joseph Smith

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