It’s hard not to see Mormon undertones in the description of Gnosticism in Pelikan’s “The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition.” First is the belief in preexistence:
Implicit in many Gnostic statements about the cosmological descent of man was a doctrine of the preexistence of man or of his soul; thus according to the Sethian-Ophites, “Adam and Eve previously had bodies that were light, clear, and, as it were, spiritual, as they were at their creation; but when they came into this world, these changed into bodies more opaque, gross and sluggish.”
Second is the idea of having to use passwords to ascend through the spheres of the cosmos and back to the highest heaven.
As the Ophites ascended, they spoke the appropriate passwords at each stage, including this one: “And thou, Ialdabaoth, first and seventh, born to have power with boldness, being ruling Word of a pure mind, a perfect work for Son and Father, I bear a symbol marked with a picture of life, and, having opened to the world the gate which thou didst close for thine eternity, I pass by thy power free again. May grace be with me. Father, let it be with me.”
These ideas are very old and Smith was repackaging them for a new context. Incidentally, there are many Islamic ideas about Christ on the Cross in Gnosticism.