Plural Wives, Why Not Plural Lives?

user submitted pictureWe gleaned a bit about the LDS church during our childhood suburban exile, we’ve even skimmed The Book of Mormon out of curiosity and lack of reading material in our orthdontist’s waiting room. Occasionally, a Mormon peer would invite us over for a family dinner and their whole mishpotech would ask us uncomfortable questions about Judaism, at which point we would practically choke on a marshmallow in the Jell-o we were eating, remembering our mother’s admonitions to not let them convert us in one meal. (No one ever really tried. We’re still like to see inside one of those crazy big churches.)
We usually disappointed our Mormon hosts on our dearth of knowledge about our religion’s stance on hell, resurrection and reincarnation. Although these may have been regular conversations Mormon homes and spiritual gathering places, we were too preoccupied in seventh grade with memorizing our haftorah portion and wondering whether the beige Clearasil worked better than the white.
How we wish we could redeem our ignorance and attend one of those dinners to bring this to the table: Joseph Smith was a kabbalist. At least, according to the guy in the article, Robert Beckstead. He asserts that the Mormon founder began to teach his followers about multiple incarnations of the soul after coming in contact with the definitive kabbalistic text, the Zohar, through a friend and teacher. At least one (out of 33) of Smith’s wives claimed he told her he’d known her in a past life, but his esoteric views of the afterlife never caught on for Sunday services: “Generally, early Mormonism’s Kabbalistic ideas are no longer kosher,” writes “faith” reporter Leon D’Souza.
BTW, we are in no way dissing LDS and have always been kind of fascinated by it. (In a totally Jewish way, Mom. Don’t freak out.) We just wish we’d had more to contribute when grilled about the deeper aspects of our religion. We knew the aleph-bet, the Pentateuch and all the Psalms. Why don’t they teach kids in Hebrew school that reincarnation is a fundamental tenet of Judaism?
Painting c/o

One thought on “Plural Wives, Why Not Plural Lives?

  1. Its common of lots of faiths to pick and choose what elements of their Bible they want to inforce and what they want to shun. Like the saying goes, ‘if you want to controll a people you must control their story’. I’ll be sure to let the mormons know about their Kabbalistic roots!

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