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A review of LDS history convinces me in the reality of the experience of young Joseph and his spiritual giftedness.  Nevertheless, all humans, even prophets, are prone to err from time to time.  In studies of remote viewers, the military concluded that the best, most talented viewer were accurate (gave useful information about a desired target) only 50% of the time.  No one was ever, even the most gifted and talented among them, capable of 100% accuracy. 

Troubling aspects of LDS history reveal that Joseph Smith's human side was capable of many things that unenlightened beings have succumbed to as well (see these aspects on the web at http://www.utlm.org/ ).  Despite some troubling problems the following aspects of Joseph Smith indicate a degree of validity:

  1. In his prescence the heavens were opened for some.
  2. NDE research confirms many of his teachings about the afterlife.
  3. Other mystics, like Swedenborg, confirm some very unusual teachings and ideas.

Other very gifted eastern yogis have had some similar characteristics.  Swami Rama, the very gifted holy man who founded the Himalayan Institute http://www.himalayaninstitute.org/ , has been documented to have had some very serious problems with female associates (Yoga magazine in about 1994).  This is the same man who in studies with the Menninger Institute could stop his heart at will, move distant objects under laboratory control, stop blood flow to an entire leg for 1/2 hour and then walk off on it, and elevate the awareness of those around him to mystical realms, etc. (see the book Yogi).

It is recognized in the East that if something is wrong with the teacher, his teachings will reflect that as well.  How can we verify or corroborate the teachings of men like Joseph Smith, Swedenborg and others?  Perhaps by comparing them to others who claim to have walked their path.  As Mormons do this more and more, I'm hoping that our knowledge will become more accurate, refined and useful.  Thank goodness that Swedenborg and all those like him have lived on earth.