William Phelps’s 'Paracletes': An Early Witness to Joseph Smith’s Divine Anthropology

International Journal of Mormon Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 62-81, Spring 2009

23 Pages Posted: 14 May 2009

See all articles by Samuel M. Brown

Samuel M. Brown

University of Utah School of Medicine

Date Written: May 11, 2009

Abstract

Mormon founder Joseph Smith proposed a radical response to Protestant ideas about human fate and the nature of God, what I call his "divine anthropology." Various of his close followers have attempted in various ways to interpret that divine anthropology, and perhaps the earliest sustained attempt is a piece of speculative fiction written by William Phelps in 1845. This story, "Paracletes," written by someone very close to Smith and intimately involved in his public writing in the 1840s, contains most of the key elements of later versions of the divine anthropology. This essay introduces "Paracletes" and provides a detailed apparatus for understanding the dense allusive network in a copy of the version published in the church organ.

Keywords: Religion, Mormon, Divine Anthropology, Joseph Smith, William Phelps

Suggested Citation

Brown, Samuel M., William Phelps’s 'Paracletes': An Early Witness to Joseph Smith’s Divine Anthropology (May 11, 2009). International Journal of Mormon Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 62-81, Spring 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1402664

Samuel M. Brown (Contact Author)

University of Utah School of Medicine ( email )

1645 E. Campus Center
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

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