1541: Visualizing Joseph Smith and Early Folk Magic – Mark and Erin Elwood
February 4, 2022
Join host John Dehlin with Mark Elwood and his partner Erin, for an illustrated historical adventure. Mark is the author and illustrator of a groundbreaking new graphic novel entitled The Glass Looker: Collected Tales of Joseph Smith.
The Glass Looker follows an ordinary American farm boy named Joseph Smith who discovers he possesses the magical ability for seeing in stones. Learn the origin story of the American boy-prophet through illustrated accounts collected from Joseph, his family, neighbors, and enemies. The Glass Looker illustrates the myths and legends surrounding the rise of Joseph from a teenage treasure seer to the man who would become a prophet of God.
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00:00:00 Introduction and opening remarks 00:04:52 The unveiling of the seerstone in 2015 ignited the Elwoods’ interest in Mormon history 00:09:28 How they drew from historical sources to create graphic representations of Joseph’s story 00:15:40 Joseph Smith as the archetypal “Hero’s Journey” 00:22:17 Using art to make history tangible 00:29:39 Whether these events actually occurred has high stakes for both believer and non-believers 00:36:28 Re-envisioning the well-known figures and the lesser-known settings in Smith’s life 00:40:07 Upstate New York is much the same as it was in Joseph’s day; people there still talk about him today 00:44:52 Joseph’s long career of money-digging 00:57:29 The Mystery of Miner’s Hill 01:05:55 Creating representations of those who were involved with and/or affected by Joseph’s treasure-digs 01:13:12 Joseph’s magical influences and “the rock in the hat” 01:25:19 Did Joseph ever really find any buried treasure? 01:34:45 The psychology of belief in magic and buried treasure 01:48:24 Did Emma or her family believe in Joseph’s powers? 01:51:56 The Legend of Captain Kidd, the Spirit of Moroni, and the pursuit of a better life 01:55:58 The Book of Mormon narrative mirrors the treasure-dig narratives 01:58:35 Salamander? Frog? Hobgoblin? Amphibians in Joseph Smith’s story 02:19:24 Shipping Sally Chase with Joseph (or Alvin) 02:21:40 Alvin and the sheet on the roof 02:23:23 The Elwoods’ artistic influences 02:25:24 The Smith family parchment and Joseph’s Jupiter talisman 02:28:10 Audience questions 02:43:49 Closing remarks