Subject: Fascinating source of Smith's "Celestial Kingdom" afterlife teachings

Subject: Fascinating source of Smith's "Celestial Kingdom" afterlife teachings Date: Oct 23 2001 01:41 Author: Deconstructor

In D. Michael Quinn's excellent book "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View," he gives a very fascinating source of Smith's "revelations." Quinn offers an exhaustive examination of the sources for the 1832 D&C Section 76 "Vision" of the "three degrees of glory."

In fact, Smith's description of the "Celestial Kingdom" was not only a copy from earlier written works, but also VERY controversial to the Latter-Day Saints.

The diaries of Orson Pratt and John Murdock from the 1830's record their efforts to reassure members who questioned the 1832 vision of heaven. The two men described countless excommunications of Mormons, including branch presidents, who denounced "the degrees of glory" as a "satanic revelation." Even Brigham Young had a hard time with it at first and described it as "a trial to many."

Why were Mormons choking on this idea of three heavens?

Quinn explains that it's because members correctly recognized it as coming from the occult. The only other sources of separate degrees in heaven came from occult writers of Smith's time.

For example, in 1784 a man by the name of Emanuel Swedenborg wrote a book about his visions of the afterlife. Swedenborg insisted: "There are three heavens," described as "entirely distinct from each other." He called the highest heaven "the Celestial Kingdom," and stated that the inhabitants of the three heavens corresponded to the "sun, moon and stars."

By Joseph Smith's own statements, he was familiar with Swedenborg's writings. Smith told a convert by the name of Edward Hunter that "Emanuel Swedenborg had a view of the world to come, but for daily food he perished."

I was so fascinated by the connection that Quinn documented, that I bought a copy of Swedenborg's book myself from It's called "Heaven and Hell and Its Wonders and was written way before Joseph Smith. Yet it describes the three Mormon degrees of glory to the tee.

Not only does Quinn make a strong case that Smith knew all about Swedenborg's ideas, but he also shows that his book "Heaven and Hell and Its Wonders" was a book in Smith's hometown library since 1817. Quinn also writes that "Nine miles from Smith's farm, in 1826 the Canandaigua newspaper also advertised Swedenborg's book for sale. The bookstore offered Swedenborg's publications for as little as 37 cents."

If you ever want to know details about the Mormon afterlife, read Swedenborg's book. Smith liberally plagarized from it to come up with his D&C "visions" of the celestial, telestial and terrestrial kingdoms. But Swedenborg's works are definitely the originals.

Subject: Amazing!: Swedenborg
Date: Oct 08 01:22
Author: estebanito
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OK, so my big question why hasn't the Swedenborg Foundation sued the church? Maybe they have. In an age where intellectual property reigns as the most sacred of possesions, you'd think JS's blatant rip off of the Three Degrees of Glory from Emanuel Swendenborg's book called Heaven and Hell written in 1784 would have drawn a huge lawsuit.

Although I haven't read the chapter called "There are Three Heavens", I am told it is the exact same concept. But AMAZINGLY Joe Smith has a "revelation" some 40 years later during the mummy debaucle phase of his deception when he actually plagerizes Swedenborg's work entirely as given him from God.

What creeped me out even more was Swedenborg's Bio, get this,

"From 1743 to 1745 he (Swedenborg) entered a transitional phase that resulted in a shift of his main focus from science and philosophy to theology. Throughout the rest of his life he maintained that this shift was brought about by Jesus Christ, who appeared to him, called him to a new mission, and opened his perception to a permanent dual consciousness of this life and the life after death.

HELLO! Too bizarre, no?! Here's the site:


Subject: Extended Bio
Date: Oct 08 08:48
Author: estebanito
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Just read the extended Bio. The similarities to this guy and Joseph Smith are too close. It's like JS wanted to emulate and his experience exactly. JS's 1st version of his 1st vision (1832)was almost exactly like this guy's: Only Christ appeared (not God and Christ), gave him a special mission, etc. Swedenborg said he also received daily visits from spirits and angels, etc.


Subject: Here's a link to the Swedenborgian texts on Heaven
Date: Oct 08 10:34
Author: Tyson (delurking)
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It's a bit arcane, if you ask me.


Subject: I like this's almost like reading the Pearl of Great Price...
Date: Oct 08 12:51
Author: thor
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178. The garments with which angels are clothed, like all other things with them, correspond; and because they correspond they have real existence (see above n. 175). Their garments correspond to their intelligence, and therefore all in the heavens appear clothed in accordance with their intelligence; and as one is more intelligent than another so the garments of one surpass those of another.

The most intelligent have garments that blaze as if with flame, others have garments that glisten as if with light; the less intelligent have garments that are glistening white or white without the effulgence; and the still less intelligent have garments of various colors. But the angels of the inmost heaven are not clothed.

Subject: Can't resist throwing in this one too...
Date: Oct 08 13:10
Author: thor
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329. LITTLE CHILDREN IN HEAVEN. It is a belief of some that only such children as are born within the church go to heaven, and that those born out of the church do not, and for the reason that the children within the church are baptized and by baptism are initiated into faith of the church. Such are not aware that no one receives heaven or faith through baptism; for baptism is merely for a sign and memorial that man should be regenerated, and that those born within the church can be regenerated because the Word is there, and in the Word are the Divine truths by means of which regeneration is effected, and there the Lord who regenerates is known.# Let them know therefore that every child, wherever he is born, whether within the church or outside of it, whether of pious parents or impious, is received when he dies by the Lord and trained up in heaven, and taught in accordance with Divine order, and imbued with affections for what is good, and through these with knowledges of what is true; and afterwards as he is perfected in intelligence and wisdom is introduced into heaven and becomes an angel. Everyone who thinks from reason can be sure that all are born for heaven and no one for hell, and if man comes into hell he himself is culpable; but little children cannot be held culpable.

Subject: if you are in the Philly area sometime...
Date: Oct 09 20:57
Author: I was THERE...
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you must visit the Cathedral in Bryn Athyn. Beautiful architecture and grounds, and very informative tour guides talking about the church and Swedenborg.