I really do believe that Joseph was a prophet who received revelation from God - and I really do believe he was sincere in believing he was a prophet who received revelation from God. However, I also believe he would be diagnosed and medicated if he lived now - that he wouldn't be accepted in our own day and age as a prophet specifically because we categorize what allowed him to see visions and hear voices as disabilities.
I know that view puts me on the precipice of a very
high cliff, since there is a fine line between being able to tap into
something extraordinary and wonderful and being off-one's-rocker,
certifiably nuts. I understand that, but we strive so hard to eliminate
the extremes now that we end up with widespread mediocrity. Yes, we're
eliminating the negative extremes, but we also are eliminating the
positive extremes - often within the same person.
that, I'm not saying we shouldn't be trying to eliminate the negative
extremes. I don't want my mom (and everyone around her) to have to deal
with the negative extremes of her schizophrenia. I don't want her to
have horrible, vicious hallucinations. I
want her to be able to have the benefits of her medication in order to
be the spiritual person I knew growing up, even if those medications
blunt some of the natural spiritual insights that are the flip-side of
I don't see Joseph Smith as schizophrenic -
but I do believe he probably had some condition we would diagnose
clinically and try to eliminate now. In many ways, that's too bad on an
individual basis - but, in other ways, it's good on a group, communal
basis. It creates mich more communal, institutional stability - as it
stifles the type of individual, personal "out-there-ness" that is the
root cause of almost all radical revolution. Make no mistake about it:
Joseph Smith was a radical revolutionary in the truest sense of that
term. Radical revolutionaries simply must be borderline nuts to have
the visions they have, and, given our rejection of radical revolution,
we now have stable, inspired guides instead.
All in all, I'll
take that - since I don't know how I personally would deal with the incredible chaos,
messiness and suffering inherent in radical revolution.
Here in my waiting place
1 hour ago