J. Smith’s visions neurotheologically implausible?

“From Joseph’s descriptions of his experiences, he does not fit the pattern neurotheologians believe they have found for ‘religious experiences.’”

That is the conclusion of Daniel C. Peterson and William J. Hamblin, two Mormon scholars from BYU, looking at Joseph Smith Jr.’s 1820 vision of God and Jesus, in an article entitled Is Spirituality all in your Head? The article also provides a very simplified but serviceable overview of neurotheology. Continuing:

Joseph did not claim to have had a sense of transcending time and space, but claimed to have seen two real beings. Would Joseph’s brain have demonstrated the same patterns scientists found with meditating Buddhists or praying nuns, or would his brain functions have been substantially different? And what, we wonder, would they discover about the brain functions of some of us during our weekly Sunday meetings?

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