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
Date Written: May 11, 2009
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
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