“Praise to the Man” paints a picture of the deified Joseph Smith “mingling with gods” to “plan for his brethren.” In August of 1877, Wilford Woodruff had two dream/visions in which the Founding Fathers were arguing they should receive their endowments now that a temple was available for proxy ordinances. We do not often think of what all the spirits of the dead may be doing as they wait for their resurrection. Sometimes they seem to visit us. But what else?
In the April 1916 General Conference, Joseph F. Smith taught the following:
“Sometimes the Lord expands our vision from this point of view and this side of the veil, that we feel and seem to realize that we can look beyond the thin veil which separates us from that other sphere. . . . [And we would understand that] those who have passed beyond, can see more clearly through the veil back here to us than it is possible for us to see them from our sphere of action. I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. We begin to realize more and more fully, as we become acquainted with the principles of the Gospel, as they have been revealed anew in this dispensation, that we are closely related to our kindred, to our ancestors, to our friends and associates and co-laborers who have preceded us into the spirit world. We can not forget them; we do not cease to love them; we always hold them in our hearts, in memory, and thus are associated and united to them by ties that we cannot break, that we cannot dissolve or free ourselves from. . . . And therefore, I claim that we live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; they can comprehend better than ever before, the weaknesses that are liable to mislead us into dark and forbidden paths. They see the temptations and evils that beset us in life and the proneness of mortal beings to yield to temptation and wrong doing; hence their solicitude for us and their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.”
This is very surprising material. Also, do not forget the sometimes teaching that righteous parents will save their wayward children, as we see in teachings passed down from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young all the way to the present:
Might this include work beyond the veil done for descendants struggling in mortality? It is difficult to avoid the strong possibility.
Why not, then, the Ghost Committee, working to provide Joseph Smith new scripture? Who better to compose a Christian epic novel in which briefly an ideal Christian community is realized? Why the Renaissance and Early Modern Period were filled with novels, epics, and utopian literature next to which the imaginative Book of Mormon with its esoteric content comfortably resides! Could it be that Joseph Smith’s own ancestors planned with their Early Modern brethren to convey this work (Book of Mormon) to Joseph Smith?
I would wager that John Dee, who conversed with angels and dreamed of a Christian empire in America, is a prime candidate for one of those who inspired the Smith family in their treasure digs and eventually prepared young Joseph to receive the Book of Mormon through the veil. Perhaps it was he who took on the guise of Nephi or Moroni, characters devised by him and other Early Modern Christian esotericists to lay the foundation for a new Christian utopian effort in the New World.
Setting aside my speculation, however, it is clear that the doctrinal foundation of the Ghost Committee is sound. We need no longer take the objections of apologists seriously. As the evidence mounts, what better way to account for it? The Ghost Committee should take its rightful place among other visions and dreams of our forebears operating on our behalf from beyond the veil.