Monday, June 20, 2022

John Dee vs. Joseph Smith


The more I read about John Dee, the more he makes me think -- despite the obvious and substantial differences -- of Joseph Smith. Consider for example, this passage from William Henry Davenport Adams's Dwellers on the Threshold: Or, Magic and Magicians (1865):

[I]n November, 1582, while on his knees and fervently praying, he became aware of a sudden glory which filled the west window of his laboratory, and in whose midst shone the bright angel Uriel. It was impossible for Dee to speak. His tongue was frozen with awe. But Uriel smiled benignly upon him, gave him a convex piece of crystal, and told him that when he wished to communicate with the beings of another world he had but to examine it intently, and they would immediately appear and reveal the mysteries of the future. Then the angel vanished.

And compare it with Joseph Smith's familiar (to Mormons) story of the visitation of the Angel Moroni.

[O]n the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.

While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor. . . . Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.

He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do . . . . He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;

Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.

Elsewhere Smith describes these stones as transparent crystals, fastened together like the lenses of a pair of spectacles.

Like Smith, who sometimes used this crystalline "Urim and Thummim" and sometimes "seer stones" found by non-miraculous means, Dee used various "shew-stones" of terrestrial origin as well as the one given him by Uriel. Like Smith, he used them both for religious purposes (communication with angels) and for treasure-hunting. Both men used their miraculous stones to produce works of staggering complexity under circumstances that make it almost impossible to believe that the revelations could have been faked. Both produced a few specific prophecies that were later borne out by real-world events.

(At one point in my research, I adapted one of Dee's own methods and attempted to contact the spirit Madimi because, well, I'm just sort of reckless like that. I received a three-word message in English: "NOT A TOY." Okay, point taken. Don't try this at home, kids.)

Both men gravitated to the name Enoch. The term Enochian is synonymous with Dee's occult work; Smith, for his part, wrote extensively about the biblical patriarch Enoch and sometimes used Enoch as a code name for himself. Dee's highly complex but pretty obviously fake "Enochian language" finds its counterpart in Joseph Smith's similarly complex-but-bogus Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language

Most disturbingly, both Dee and Smith were eventually commanded by the angels to engage in scandalous marital irregularities. Dee and Kelley were ordered by Madimi to share their wives with each other in a system called "cross-matching"; while Smith for his part took thirty-some secret "plural wives," some of whom were already married to other men, claiming that he had been forced to do so by an angel with a drawn sword. Both men loved their wives and professed deep reluctance to practice polygamy, both were threatened by the angels with horrible consequences if they refused, and both used the rationalization that what God forbade in general terms he might nevertheless command in a particular instance, as when Abraham was commanded to murder Isaac. Neither Dee nor Smith had any children with anyone but his legal wife, leading some interpreters of each man to speculate that the polygamous matches were never actually consummated.

(When I first heard of Dee and Kelley's "cross-matching," my immediate reaction was that it proved that whatever spirits they may have been in communication with were obviously not good ones. Only later did I realize that I was holding them to a much higher moral standard than Joseph Smith.)

Dee is in many ways an easier character to come to terms with than Joseph Smith, because of the former's partnership with Edward Kelley. It is temptingly easy to ascribe all the negative or unsettling aspects of his life and work to the disreputable Kelley (correctly recognized as a kindred spirit by Aleister Crowley) and to see Dee as a good and godly (if somewhat gullible) man whose only real flaw was the company he kept. In Smith, aspects of Dee and Kelley are united in a single individual, removing that easy option from the table.

Dee is also easier to deal with because in the end it just doesn't matter that much whether he was in contact with angels or devils or only his own imagination. He's just some random historical figure. There is no "Dee-ism," no Dee-derived doctrine and way of life which we must choose to engage with or reject. The fact is, for all Dee's great piety and erudition, he was nowhere near the philosopher and theologian that Joseph Smith was. For all his superficial otherworldliness, Dee was fundamentally a secular man with secular interests; even when he believed himself to be in communication with the very angels of God, he remained focused on such mundane questions as what the Spanish were up to and how base metals might be transmuted into gold.

What, then, is to be made of the many parallels between the two men? That Smith -- separated from the world of Dee by two centuries, the Atlantic Ocean, and a near-complete lack of education -- could have been directly influenced by his Elizabethan predecessor seems exceedingly unlikely. Why, then, all the similarities -- the angels, the seer stones, the hokey "revealed" languages, the Enochian affinities, the angel-enforced polygamy? Is it evidence that the two men, despite their vast differences, were in contact with the same objective (if maddeningly ambiguous!) spiritual reality? I don't know, but I think it's an interesting question to ask.

15 comments:

Bruce Charlton said...

Interesting speculation.

One major difference between Dee and Smith was in class and education. Dee was at the lower level of the upper classes, and among the university educated elite of intellectuals. Smith was a hardly-educated farm boy.

This is relevant to the question of "Both men used their miraculous stones to produce works of staggering complexity under circumstances that make it almost impossible to believe that the revelations could have been faked."

I haven't yet done a blog post on the subject, but (triggered by something that Frank wrote) I have been thinking about the 'power corrupts' trope: which (from observation of many instances) I think is usually true.

This seems like an obvious explanation for much that is otherwise puzzling in the life trajectories of great Men - i.e. most of them are progressively corrupted by power, success/ acclaim.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

The question of power is an interesting one.

Smith’s revelations made him much more powerful, transforming him from a nobody into a charismatic “cult leader” (using that term without pejorative intent), with a group of followers that numbered over 20,000 by the end of his life.

Dee, in contrast was already a respected scholar and advisor to the Queen well before his “angelic conversations,” and these certainly did nothing to improve his reputation or social standing. Despite his prodigious talent, Dee never became a leader, never had any followers at all unless you count Kelley himself. Perhaps he clung too tightly to his respectability, and this prevented him from going all in on his spiritual calling.

Ra1119bee said...



William,

Could the answer be; Linear Time is an Illusion?
Time's only significance is in this duality gravity dimension, which may explain why our Opponents are huge proponents of manipulating and controlling Time.

I found it interesting that one of Dee's quests was the reforming of the Calendar and the
search for the 77th Meridian West, 'God's Pole' which is where Plato proposed was The New Atlantis. ( see link )

Sir Francis Bacon took the Helm for the search of The New Atlantis from Dee.
As I'm sure you know, All were Rosys including Steiner.

I believe and have shared many times here on your blog, that our Soul transcends Linear time, and all the information, lessons learned and taught, over many of our incarnations, the Soul carries and stores that information, which we can 'tap' the Past ( including Past Lives, the Present AND THE FUTURE through our Soul in our REM sleep.

Intuition, especially to see the Future is Priceless because it means we can change direction.

I believe that the Soul has incarnated to this dimension in many skins, genders,and cultures, which may explain, at least to me, the similarities you wrote about of Dee and Joseph Smith and perhaps many many other incarnations as well.

I believe that The Universal Language/ Sacred Science is knowledge we've gathered from many lifetimes and is 'stored' in our Soul.

On a personal note my Ear Doctor recently told me that my lifetime of sporadic vertigo may be explain by the dislodging of my ear crystals.
I found that information very interesting and leads me to my perspective regarding your mentioning of the Crystals:

If you recall I shared my premonition dream that I had in March of 1997, two days before the Heavens Gate Suicide and what I believe was a connection to the comet Hale Bopp.
If you recall I wrote that in the dream, I had a telepathic
communication with the 'space man', who ''told'' me that it was 'time to Go'.

When I refused to go, the space man gave me a Styrofoam cup with a Milky Crystal inside, which I knew (telepathically) that I had to ingest the crystal in order to stay human.
I actually woke up from the dream at that point, and I don't recall 'ingesting' the crystal, but I do recall holding the cup up close and looking down into the cup at
the crystal.

I actually wear a Vogel Crystal pendent to this very day.
I don't wear it as a talisman or anything like that.
I do NOT believe in conjuring or voodoo LOL.
However,
I personally believe that all power sources in this dimension, can be used for good or
evil.
Knowledge is a power source and it too can be used for good or evil, as we all well
know.



Through the Soul, I strongly believe, we can transcend Linear Time.

There is nothing new under the Sun.


Here is the very interesting article about John Dee's Calendar and God's Longitude.
https://www.hermetic.ch/cal_stud/gods_longitude.htm

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Debbie, are you suggesting that Dee reincarnated as Smith? Or that one of the two influenced the other directly via higher dimensions of time?

Ra1119bee said...

William,

*** I'm posting this in 2 parts because it appears
that I'm over the word limit on this server'

Part 1

You wrote; Debbie, are you suggesting that Dee reincarnated as Smith? Or that one of the two influenced the other directly via higher dimensions of time?

My response; and doesn't the reincarnation of Souls make sense as far as how and why Dee and Smith had many similar experiences?

I read your recurring dreams post and I too have had many recurring symbolic dreams throughout my life the most intriguing dream ( which began when I was ten ) being of me having the power of levitation. I wouldn't call it a recurring dream, rather dreams with the same theme of levitation.

Many times in the levitation dream, the scene was different but the recurring part of the dream was me being chased by a group of people and I escape by levitating.

If you recall I shared a 1974 experience ( which was not a dream, it happened in real life ). In that experience I ''randomly' found and answered an ad in the Dayton Daily News classified section for a Past Life Reading.

The Reader did NOT know me, nor did I know him. I did NOT tell the Reader anything about me, or my life or my dreams. Lo and Behold the Reader told me the exact details of the levitation dreams of me in Atlantis being taken to be sacrificed by a group of men in white robes. He said that I broke free of them and began running with them in pursuit when all of a sudden, I began Levitating.

I was Shocked when he told me that!!.I began crying. How did he know that? I asked myself.

He also said that I had an incarnation in Tibet as a Monk, which I found interesting because( also of a young age ) I've always been attracted to that part of the world.

He also told me that I've always incarnated on Earth in times of Great Upheaval and that my Soul was on Earth at the crucifixion of Christ, and it scares me, he said, that you are here now.

Ra1119bee said...


William,

Part 2

I also shared with you that through a dream I had in 2003, I ' found' ( through research).. Rudolph Steiner after having a dream about a man ( White Man ) dressed in a beautiful blue costume ( which I felt the man was in town ( Dayton ) with a traveling show, much like a magic show or circus )

The man was walking towards me in the parking lot of the apartments where in real life my mother and siblings were living at the time way back in the day in West Dayton.

In the dream me, hubby and his father in real life,( who are White ) walked
up to man. My hubby's father began speaking to the man in German, which I didn't understand why he would do that.
In real life I do not know the German language, nor have I ever heard my hubby's father speak German or even if my hubby's family lineage was from Germany.

Returning back to the dream : I then walked closer to the man and I recall the man had the most intense eyes!! and dark hair.

When I woke up from the dream, I began searching the net ( remember the dream was in 2003, so the internet was in its infancy ) I recall searching ; Mystical Man, German, intense eyes and I randomly came upon a photo of Rudloph Steiner and I was shocked.!!
I thought , Oh my God, that's the man in the dream !!

I also had an intriguing dream in 2011 which I titled Fama Fraternitatis, which I DID NOT
KNOW 'consciously about Fama before the dream.
I think I shared the Fama dream with you before.

Also I shared with you a dream I had in 1990, which tragically came true in 1995.
I've had a gazillion more strange and unexplainable dreams and Esoteric events
that has happen to me throughout my life.

Those dreams and events and especially that particular 1990 esoteric event and the premonition of the event validates (at least to me ) that our Soul transcends Linear Time, because how is it possible to 'see' Five Years into the Future??

I personally believe that my Soul gained the Siddhis Powers after many many incarnations
and that I abused those powers, which is why, I believe I'm paying back a Karmic 19 Debt
this lifetime.


My point is this : I believe through our Soul, we can 'tap' into the Universal Language
and knowledge of the Sacred Sciences. It's a Vast Well of Information that I believe we are given ( by the Divine God ) and it's all connected.

However and unfortunately upon 'waking each morning' Our EGO takes the helm and for many of us, prevents us from recalling the information which that knowledge is priceless and powerful, which is why I believe our Soul is our Opponents Final Frontier via Artificial
Intelligence.

There's nothing new under the Sun.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@Debbie

"doesn't the reincarnation of Souls make sense as far as how and why Dee and Smith had many similar experiences?"

I'm not so sure. If Smith was a reincarnation of Dee, you would expect him to be fundamentally similar to Dee on a deep, soul level, despite superficial differences; and you would expect him to have very different experiences from Dee's, since the whole point of being reincarnated is to experience something different.

Instead, I find the two men to be deeply different but to have had similar experiences -- the opposite of what I would expect in a case of reincarnation. It suggests to me not that Dee and Smith were in any way the same person, but that the external spiritual reality they engaged with (Madimi, Moroni, the other "angels") was fundamentally the same.

Ra1119bee said...



William,

You wrote; I'm not so sure. If Smith was a reincarnation of Dee, you would expect him to be fundamentally similar to Dee on a deep, soul level, despite superficial differences; and you would expect him to have very different experiences from Dee's, since the whole point of being reincarnated is to experience something different.

My response ; The whole point of reincarnation is to experience something different?
Hmmmm, IMO, yes and No.

Learning something different doesn't mean that we lose what
we've already learned/earned. For example : We are not required to learn the alphabet each time we write something, we are able to create something new with the knowledge we've earned.'

IMO The whole point of learning lessons means we are NOT fundamentally the same each lifetime, which makes sense the reason why we incarnate into many Skins, Genders, Cultures, etc. We can't understand someone else until we walk a while and miles in their shoes.
In other words: our Soul's mission each lifetime is us to 'change shoes'.

However the major challenge in each and every one of our incarnations is our EGO, so perhaps it is our EGO where the evil of man lies and/or can be ( and often is) corrupted.

Interesting the devil/evil is usually depicted in a red suit, which would make sense why our Souls are damn to fall down to this slowwww gravity duality dimension, trapped in a physical red (Blood ) body suit, under the Sun.

The Ego pleasures and protects the physical body ONLY.

Although the Soul ( which I believe the Soul is connected to God ) needs the physical body to transverse from point A to point B in this
duality dimension of manifestation, the Ego and Soul are mostly in conflict with each other which is why the Ego is at the Helm in our waking life, and the Soul is at the helm
in our REM sleep and transcends Time.

The Soul helps us traverse in this dimension by giving us 'advice' ( mostly about the gift of knowing ourselves and what we came to this dimension to do ) which that advice is given symbolically through the Universal Language, which the Soul retains that Sacred Science Knowledge.

I believe that The EGO can be and often is corrupted and controlled courtesy of our Opponents.
Succumbing to our EGO each lifetime is the reason why we are damned back to incarcerated/incarnate in Blood Body.

I believe each lifetime the Soul's mission is to find BALANCE, which is how we learn each lesson as we transverse around the Zodiac Wheel.

I believe that in this dimension, the EGO makes it very tempting to ' Do as Thou Wilt'. and each time we do, we fall back down to "HELL" ( under the Sun )
until we find Balance which then we can proceed to the next lesson ( grade ) of the Zodiac Wheel ( Aires to Pisces )
We DON"T lose the Knowledge we've earned.

We can apply that knowledge in our next incarnation for GOOD ( Soul ) OR EVIL ( EGO )

After we complete our sentence around the wheel, the Soul no longer has to incarcerate/incarnate in
physical blood body, and has earn the worth to be one with the Divine..... and to be one with the Divine, is HEAVEN ;-))


Bruce Charlton said...

I wonder whether Dee's behaviour is explained by his failures to achieve the knowledge and effects he wanted - or perhaps needed, given that he was employed by the Queen etc.

Perhaps he had some success with magic initially (when he was disinterested and therefore more attuned to natural phenomena), but magic proved unreliable at best, or perhaps dwindled to little or nothing after a while (perhaps exactly because he was trying to *use* magic for gain and to manipulate).

Then, from desperation, he turned to Kelley as a potential answer: Dee's only hope of fulfilling his promises and contracts.

*

wrt Joseph Smith, there certainly was an element of corruption, leading to massive over-reach beyond his realm of genuine inspiration (e.g. the business ventures) - and, like Steiner, he over-systematized his genuinely-inspired revelations.

But these ventures seem more like the careless over confidence of an innocent, or simple trial and error - and I am confident that the corruption was superficial, and Smith retained his basic integrity and goodness to the end, and thus his prophetic gifts - as evidenced by the King Follett discourse.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Bruce, what do you make of the polygamy business?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - Since it was in conception indeed polygamy (both men and women with multiple spouses) - and not just polygyny (men with multiple wives) - I think it was originally motivated/ divinely-inspired by the desire to create adoptive family relationships among the LDS.

And I think polygamy was intended to be non-sexual/ non-procreative - as seems likely to have been the case with Joseph Smith. But nonetheless, it almost immediately provided an excuse/ cover for sexual corruption and exploitation - as with John C Bennett and his gang.

The often (but not always) sexual-procreative polygyny followed under Brigham Young was (I think) mostly a matter of expediency, and of an Old Testament (Patriarchal) turn that Mormonism took after a while. Polygyny seems to have worked for a while, and been practiced morally and responsibly; but by the time polygyny was abolished I think it had probably led (perhaps indirectly) to sexual immorality and also misery in the Mormon state, if not among devout LDS or the leadership; as I read here (quoting a blog entry):

"Charles B Spahr wrote an interesting account of America's Working People (1899,1900) in which he visited New England, Chicago, The South and various other places to report on conditions. He was very impressed, on the whole, by what he saw in Salt Lake City:

"The general level of morality is unquestionably high. Inquiry at police headquarters confirmed the Mormon claim that the Mormon population hardly figured at all among those arrested for crime or disorder, or among those who ministered for gain to criminal and vicious tastes.

"But the statistics were the least trustworthy signs of the high morality. The real evidence of it was in the care for the poor, the temperance, the thrift, and the public spirit, that were apparent.

"There was, however, one point upon which the impression revived was distinctly unfavourable, and this was the supremely important matter of sexual morality. (...) But what I heard from frank and conscientious Mormons in deprecation of these charges, even more than what I heard from Gentiles in their support, convinced me that the sin of polygamy in the fathers was bearing its fitting fruit in an epidemic of sexual immorality among the children. (...)

"Nevertheless the impressions I received in the streets and from the testimony of scandal-hating people, without regard to creed, convinced me that sexual morality in Utah was much lower than in any other American community I had visited, and but little higher than in Continental Europe. "

So, by my understanding, Mormon polygamy would be an example of human rationalization, and also corruption, of what was originally divinely revealed. All religions that last long enough have been full of these - but some are doubled-down on, while others (as with the CJCLDS) are reformed (if not, perhaps, fully repented!).

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

"I think it was originally motivated/ divinely-inspired by the desire to create adoptive family relationships among the LDS. And I think polygamy was intended to be non-sexual/ non-procreative"

I find this very hard to believe. The fact that polygamy was kept secret and lied about during Smith's lifetime, and that it was so often compared to a morality-defying "Abrahamic test," strongly suggests that it involved something scandalous or illegal. If adoptive family relationships were the point, why not adopt people as brothers/sister or parents/children. Marriage is just fundamentally sexual/procreative, and the language of marriage should not have been used if that was not the intent.

If it were just a non-sexual metaphor, like Roman Catholic nuns being "married to Jesus," why not just openly explain that that's what it was, rather than lying about it and covering it up?

Like you, I see Smith as fundamentally good right to the end -- not a "fallen prophet" -- but it's really hard to see the polygamy business as anything other than deep corruption.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@Debbie

Many years ago, my uncle and I used to play the game of trying to figure out the past lives of various public figures. The first one I really got excited about was Richard Nixon as the reincarnation of King Richard II -- so many highly specific parallels! As for Joseph Smith, whom I wasn't taking so seriously back then, we figured he had been the reincarnation of Robin Hood and had later returned as sixties counterculture figure Emmett Grogan. (Reincarnation buff Walter Semkiw, who apparently has an even lower opinion of Smith, sees prosperity-gospel huckster Joel Osteen as his modern avatar.)

None of this has much appeal to me now. I increasingly want to see each person as a unique individual and find myself resisting the idea of reincarnation.

Ra1119bee said...



William,

You wrote : None of this has much appeal to me now. I increasingly want to see each person as a unique individual and find myself resisting the idea of reincarnation.


My response ; I understand what you're saying, but I never said that I believe we aren't unique individuals. Absolutely I believe that we are,however I also believe that everything is connected, which at least in my opinion, explains synchronicity.

Reincarnation is not about the Physical Body.
I believe that we are more than our Physical Bodies.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - I'm not really trying to persuade you here! But I don't find the secrecy business to be particularly relevant to the discussion.

I am talking about the initial inspirational impulse, not about the modifications introduced by expediency (eg secrecy plausibly from fear of misunderstanding, publicity or whatever - a second order matter) or corruptions/ exploitations. It is possible that the interval between the divine inspiration and the human modifications was very brief (hours, days, weeks, months...) Or that the inspiration was - to some extent - misinterpreted from the get-go.

But I think we can, and indeed Must, distinguish inferred divine intent of polygamy from the recorded human aspects - which changed considerably through time.

Perhaps especially the change from polygamy to polygyny - which seems-like a response to the sexualization of the original intended adoptive relationship.

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