In both my MHA and Bushman papers given recently, I cited Quinn’s point about JS’s Moroni visitation coming on the equinox.  After my Bushman presentation, an audience member cornered me to let me know that the date was Rosh Hashanah and asked me if I knew that (I did because another guy told me that after my MHA presentation).
My question is, why is Rosh Hashanah good and the equinox somehow bad? Why do we (by we I mean a common perception among church members) only want to have JS be influenced by the ancient world? Why is the ancient world good, but the nineteenth century is bad?
The guy wanted to really let me know of these connection and to assure me that JS could have had no knowledge of any of this stuff. During our question and answer session at the Bushman seminar, Jordan asked me what what was gained or lost by locating JS in his environment (or something like that). My response was that I had found it personally problematic to base my testimony on JS’s perceived ignorance, that the apologetic model often used of JS finding ancient ideas unknown in his time is not a solid foundation on which to build one’s testimony. This is because when you do research on JS’s era you continually find things that you supposed were uniquely Mormon taught by other people. That was my personal experience until I decided to see this all as the process by which God brought Truth to JS.
It has been the tendency for those looking for nineteenth-century parallels to Mormonism to do so to undermine Mormonism’ validity, while those who denied such parallels did so to defend that validity. These assumptions still persist but I don’t think it has to be that way. That is, I look forward to a time when people like Ben and I can have an academic discussion about Thomas Dick’s possible influences on early Mormonism where the validity of JS’s prophethood isn’t at stake at all.
 As part of my larger point about the Moroni visitation fitting the principles of theurgy, as part of my larger point about the Smiths and early Mormonism engaging in theurgy in general. For clarification, read my forthcoming (hopefully!) dissertation.