Here is the Britannica "Introduction" to the article on "Gnosticism:"


philosophical and religious movement prominent in the Greco-Roman world in the 2nd century AD. While Gnosticism drew from and influenced in turn many traditional religions, its effect was most clearly felt on nascent Christianity, in which it led to the formation of the canon, creed, and episcopal organization.

The designation Gnosticism, derived from the Greek gnostikos (one who has gnosis, or secret knowledge), is a term of modern scholarship. Evidence for the Gnostic phenomenon, found in the Church Fathers who opposed Gnostic teachings (Irenaeus, c. 185; Hippolytus, c. 230; Epiphanius, c. 375) and in the Gnostic writings themselves, reveals a diversity in theology, ethics, and ritual that defies strict classification. YET GNOSTIC SECTS APPEAR TO HAVE SHARED AN EMPHASIS ON THE REDEMPTIVE POWER OF ESOTERIC KNOWLEDGE, ACQUIRED NOT BY LEARNING OR EMPIRICAL OBSERVATION BUT BY DIVINE REVELATION.

We know that Christianity became corrupted rapidly after the deaths of the original Twelve, and according to McConkie gnosticism is an evil heresy, but doesn't the LDS faith separate itself from the rest of the Christian world by its insistence that saving truth can only come directly by revelation? And if so, wouldn't that harmonize with the above Britannica definition of gnosticism?

Somewhere I have read a Gentile author refer to Mormonism as American gnosticism. I wonder if this is what he had in mind? I wish I could remember the reference.

Please forgive me for cross posting this to three different email lists. I wanted to learn where I could get up the most interesting discussion.

"There is no place in this work for those who believe only
in the gospel of doom and gloom. The gospel is good
news. It is a message of triumph." --Gordon B. Hinckley
All my opinions are tentative pending further data. --JWR

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