| up a level
from the jack-the-tablets dept.
During a recent conversation at dinner the subject of Thelema came up, and I was asked to provide a brief overview of the subject -- a task I always approach with some misgivings. But this time I was glad I made the attempt, because the response gave me much food for thought. It was, "So it's like the Mormons, in a way?"
You can see how a similarity would come to mind at first glance: a new religion, a received text rooted in the biblical prophetic tradition, etc. Certainly, that's not what I usually think of, but I knew where she was coming from.
There's not a lot that I know about the Church of Latter Day Saints, but what I've heard is mixed. I'm not any more fond of seeing the missionaries with the neckties at my door than I am of Jehovah's Witnesses. I don't find the right-wing politics of many Mormons particularly attractive, either.
But I have also heard that Joseph Smith, the principal founder of Mormonism, was into Hermeticism and Ceremonial Magic early in his career. That he later claimed to possess the true word, step, and sign of the Masonic Rite as restored by God Himself, and incorporated into the Mormon church. I've also heard of a sub-culture within Mormonism that is still very attentive to personal revelation and regards Salt Lake City as the Enemy.
So the Mormon church could serve as a mirror for Thelema, or for what Thelema might become in a century or so. Are there essential similarities? Are there lessons (good or bad), that Thelemites might draw from their example?
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