The New York Times recently ran an extraordinary piece about a defunct 19th century religious movement having a surprise renaissance. This is one I found out about because a friend IMed me on FB and said “Meanwhile – Oahspe. Remember that strange bible I gave you? Was that Kosmon? Isn’t that something? I found that bible at a yard sale in Santa Monica.” And indeed I had the tome in question, a 1955 printing of OAHSPE: The Words of Jehovih and His Angel Ambassaors. A Sacred History of the Dominions of the Higher and Lower Heavens on the Earth for the past 24,000 Years. This sits in a little collection of visionary/prophetic literature from the Americas in the 19th Century. And it’s not that far away from the founding scriptures of the Theosophists of Church of Latterday Saints. An excerpt from the Times pieces states:
“A dozen congregants sat on chairs arranged in a semicircle one recent morning. Birdsong and a plunking guitar played on a stereo in the corner. The temple’s president, a man in a neat tan suit named Anthony Linton, stood to speak. ‘What is this bible?’ he asked, hoisting up a massive hard-bound book. The small crowd of congregants and visitors cradled copies of their own. “The Oahspe,” Mr. Linton answered himself. ‘This is a most mysterious book.’ Then Mr. Linton pointed to a portrait on a yellowed sheet of paper tucked into the book. ‘And this is the man who received this bible,’ he said, tapping a finger on a photo of a man with thick muttonchops and a furrowed brow. ‘He was like Moses.’
“The Kosmon Temple wasn’t always like this. They once read from the standard King James Bible and called themselves Christians. But over the last two years, in a bid to revitalize dwindling membership, the small group underwent a dramatic makeover, adopting, en masse, a new and uncommon faith. The church’s transformation is a local revival of a nearly forgotten American religion. It’s also a symbolic homecoming for that group’s founder, a Manhattan dentist and would-be prophet who published what he said was a divinely inspired book, titled the Oahspe Bible, to local fascination in 1882.”
Read the entire article: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/07/nyregion/a-forgotten-religion-gets-a-second-chance-in-brooklyn.html.
And here’s a website devoted to this group: http://www.universalfaithistsofkosmon.org/home.html.