Profile: Swedenborgianism

Founded:   By Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) after he claimed to have a visitation from God in 1743.  The church was not formally established, however until a few years after his death in 1787.  

Current Organization:   There are currently only 45 Swedenborg churches (Church of the New Jerusalem) left in the United States, with some 2,600 members.  Internationally, there are some 50,000 members.  The church is run by a central governing board, albeit in a fairly democratic manner.  

Description:  Emmanuel Swedenborg was a philosopher, scientist, and inventor among other skills.  His level of achievement in the sciences was quite unparalleled in his day.  He dedicated the last three decades of his life, however, to religious writing and musings.  With respect to these writings, Swedenborg gravitated towards a symbolic or hyper-spiritualized interpretation of almost everything in the Bible, in a manner not unlike that of Origen in the 3rd century AD. Thus, his writing was largely concerned with finding the "spiritual" meaning behind the "letter of the law", and mystical writings on communing with Christ.

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