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The Esoteric and Psychedelic Origins of Mormonism

March 16, 2023 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm EDT

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Join host and scholar of Mormonism Alex Criddle in discussing the ins and outs of Mormonism, its fascinating cosmology, and how it serves as a microcosm for the development of religion in America. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormonism) as we know it today differs greatly from its origins in the early 1800s. Its founder, Joseph Smith, utilized psychoactive substances to facilitate visions in himself and others. He was steeped in the occult and Masonic communities at the time, a treasure digger, a Zionist, and a utopian thinker.

As it has grown and developed, contemporary Mormonism has moved past its origins, lacking the frequent communal visionary experiences present in its early days. In the media today, the church is known for its strict dietary code and tithing practices, its “gold bible”, polygamy, and its many temples used for sacred rites. In this salon, we’ll approach each of these practices that the media’s attention has highlighted and look at the origin and development of these practices. 

Mormonism, despite its modern revisions and changes, still depicts a fascinating theology and cosmology of the otherworld as well as an interesting metaphysical monist view of reality, a physical manifestation of the founding dream of American capitalism, and a rich history of strange manifestations of spirits, demons, and otherworldly beings. 

Other topics we’ll discuss:

  • What is the Book of Mormon? (Is it a historical text? Inspired fiction? A Jungian manifestation? A grimoire?)
  • What is the relationship between Mormonism and Orthodox Christianity
  • Just how accurate is the Book of Mormon musical?
  • Any other questions or fascinations you might have regarding the Mormon religion!

Recommended Readings:

Alex is also hosting “Spiritual Journeys in and out of Religion.” 


Cover art by Nat Sharpe


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March 16, 2023
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm EDT
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Debut host ($10)