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Joseph Smith/Ocultismo e magia/Origem
Question: Were Joseph Smith's spiritual experiences originally products of magic and the occult?
Joseph's family believed in folk magic, and that Joseph himself used several different seer stones in order to locate lost objects
It is a known fact that Joseph's family believed in folk magic, and that Joseph himself used several different seer stones in order to locate lost objects. Brant Gardner notes,
Young Joseph Smith was a member of a specialized sub-community with ties to these very old and very respected practices, though by the early 1800s they were respected only by a marginalized segment of society.
Joseph's family shared folk magic beliefs that were common to the day. Joseph's mother, Lucy, felt it important to note in her history that the family did not let these magical endeavors prevent the family from doing the necessary work to survive:
But let not my reader suppose that, because I shall pursue another topic for a season, that we stopped our labor and went at trying to win the faculty of Abrac, drawing Magic circles or sooth saying to the neglect of all kinds of business. We never during our lives suffered one important interest to swallow up every other obligation. But, whilst we worked with our hands, we endeavored to remember the service of, and the welfare of our souls.
Joseph's involvement with Josiah Stowell's attempt to locate a lost Spanish treasure is well documented in Church history
Stowell requested Joseph's assistance in a mining operation looking for old coins and precious metals. This effort, in fact, resulted in charges being brought against Joseph by Stowell's relatives for being a "glasslooker" in 1826. Joseph was ultimately charged with being a "disorderly person" and released. (For more detailed information, see: Joseph Smith's 1826 glasslooking trial)
Some, however, believe that all of Joseph's early spiritual experiences, particularly the First Vision and the visit of Moroni, were originally magical or occult experiences that were only later couched in spiritual terms. For example, the Hurlbut affidavits relate stories of Moroni's visit that cast the angel in the role of spiritual treasure guardian, with one (Willard Chase) even claiming that the angel appeared in the form of a toad.
D. Michael Quinn has been the most prolific author on the subject of "magic" influences on the origins of Mormonism. According to William Hamblin:
Quinn's overall thesis is that Joseph Smith and other early Latter-day Saint leaders were fundamentally influenced by occult and magical thought, books, and practices in the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is unmitigated nonsense. Yet the fact that Quinn could not discover a single primary source written by Latter-day Saints that makes any positive statement about magic is hardly dissuasive to a historian of Quinn's inventive capacity.
Joseph Smith and his followers undoubtedly believed in supernatural power
Joseph Smith and his followers undoubtedly believed in supernatural power. And, they may have had some ideas about how to access that power that now strike us as inaccurate and even strange. This is not surprising, given the two centuries and massive scientific advances which separate our culture from theirs. However, there is no evidence that Joseph and others considered these things to be "magic," or the "occult," nor did they consider "magic" or the "occult" to be positive things.
Question: What is the distinction between belief in "folk magic" and a religious belief in the supernatural?
The use of the terms "magic" and "occult" are prejudicial, loaded terminology
When critics use the term "magic" or "occult," they are using prejudicial, loaded terminology. Used in a neutral sense, magic might mean only that a person believes in the supernatural, and believes that supernatural can be influenced for the believer's benefit.
However, critics are generally not clear about what definition of magic they are using, and how to distinguish a "magical" belief in the supernatural from a "religious" belief in the supernatural. Scholars of magic and religion have, in fact, come to realize that defining "magic" is probably a hopeless task. John Gee noted:
Defining "magic" as "religious beliefs other than their own"
In 1990, Cambridge University published Stanley Tambiah's Magic, Science, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality, which showed that the definitions of many of the most important writers on "magic" were heavily influenced both by their backgrounds and their personal ideological agendas: they defined "magic" as religious beliefs other than their own. In 1992, the International Interdisciplinary Conference on Magic in the Ancient World failed to come to any agreement on what "magic" was. The plenary speaker, Jonathan Z. Smith, in particular voiced strong opinions:
I see little merit in continuing the use of the substantive term "magic" in second-order, theoretical, academic discourse. We have better and more precise scholarly taxa for each of the phenomena commonly denoted by "magic" which, among other benefits, create more useful categories for comparison. For any culture I am familiar with, we can trade places between the corpus of materials conventionally labeled "magical" and corpora designated by other generic terms (e.g., healing, divining, execrative) with no cognitive loss. Indeed, there would be a gain.
The use of the term "magic" is a negative label for modern Christians
The use of the term "magic" imposes, especially for modern Christians, a negative label at the outset, which explains its popularity for critics. As Professor of Egyptology Robert K. Ritner explained:
Modern Western terms for 'magic' function primarily as designations for that which we as a society do not accept, and which has overtones of the supernatural or the demonic (but not of the divine). It is important to stress that this pejorative connotation has not been grafted onto the notion of magic as the result of any recent theoretical fancy but is inherent in Western terminology virtually from its beginning. It constitutes the essential core of the Western concept of magic.
The Book of Mormon condemns "magic"
Moroni's visit was a turning point for Joseph, for it is important to note that the Book of Mormon itself condemns "magic" whenever it is mentioned:
And it came to pass that there were sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics; and the power of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land, even unto the fulfilling of all the words of Abinadi, and also Samuel the Lamanite. Morm. 1:19
Regardless of Joseph's or his family's previous opinions regarding folk magic prior to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, they clearly always believed in and had faith in God. Joseph believed that instruments such as the Urim and Thummim and his seer stone were consecrated by God for their intended use.
Question: What were the attitudes of Joseph Smith and his contemporaries toward "magic"?
The attitudes of Joseph Smith and his contemporaries toward "magic" was always negative
In 1841, Wilford Woodruff recounted an episode of Church disciplinary action:
The President then brought up the case of a Br Moumford, who was holding the office of a Priest, from whome fellowship had been withdrawn by the council of officers in consequence of his practizing fortune Telling, Magic, Black art &c & called upon Elders Woodruff & Cordon to express their feelings upon the subject when Elder Woodruff arose, & spoke Briefly upon the subject, & informed the assembly that we had no such custom or practice in the Church, & that we should not fellowship any individual who Practiced Magic fortune Telling, Black art &c for it was not of God. When It was moved & carried by the whole church that fellowship be withdrawn from Br Moumford.
And, most importantly, the Book of Mormon's treatment of "magic" or "sorcery" is always negative, which seems strange if (as we are asked to believe by the critics) Joseph Smith concocted it while at the same time embracing that same "magic."
Question: Did Joseph Smith and his contemporaries believe in supernatural entities with real power?
Every Christian, Jew, or Muslim who believes in God, angels, and divine power believes in supernatural entities with real power
So, did Joseph Smith and his contemporaries believe in supernatural entities with real power? Yes—and so does every Christian, Jew, or Muslim who believes in God, angels, and divine power to reveal, heal, etc. However, to label these beliefs as "magic" is to beg the question—to argue that Joseph believed in and sought help from powers besides God. Nobody disputes that Joseph and his family believed in the Bible, which condemns divination and witchcraft:
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Deut. 18:10
Joseph and his family viewed folk magic and the use of seer stones as not falling under Biblical condemnation
Therefore, Joseph and his family viewed folk magic and the use of seer stones as not falling under this Biblical condemnation. It is clear that Joseph and his contemporaries believed that one could gain knowledge from such activities as dowsing (using a rod to find water, ore, or buried treasure) and the use of the seer stones. This does not mean, however, that Joseph understood such activities to be a form of magic.
In Joseph's day, the power of (for example) dowsing was seen as a manifestation of "how the world worked." An article published in 1825 described how the downward bob of a divining rode "closely resembles the dip of the magnetic needle, when traversing a bed or ore." A journal of science reported the idea that "the rod is influenced by ores."
An early British dowser denounced the idea that dowsing for ore was based on magic. "it [the rod] guided mee to the Orifice of a lead mine. [The rod is] of kin to the Load-stone [magnet], drawing Iron to it by a secret vertue, inbred by nature, and not by any conjuration as some have fondly imagined."
Using a divining rod was seen in these examples as a manifestation of natural law, and requiring the grace of God to operate
Thus, divining was seen in these examples as a manifestation of natural law. Just as one might use a compass or lode-stone to find true north, without understanding the principles or mathematics of magnetism which underlay it, so one could use dowsing as a tool, without understanding the principles by which it operated.
It is further clear that those who used divinization by rods, for example, believed that the rod's natural ability also required the grace of God to operate. Hence, practitioners would consecrate their rods, and pray to God to bless their efforts. Of such matters, Oliver Cowdery was told in an early revelation, "without faith you can do nothing." Like any natural ability, Joseph believed that the gift and tools of seership (in the broader sense) could be misused. As he told Brigham Young, "most...who do find [a seer stone] make an evil use of it." And, Emma Smith's hostile brother Alvah would later remember that Joseph told him "that his gift in seeing with a [seer] stone and hat, was a gift from God."
Question: What effect did the Hofmann forgeries have upon the study of early Latter-day Saint history?
D. Michael Quinn wrote his first edition of Mormonism and the Magic World View while still believing that Hofmann's forged "Salamander letter"
One difficulty of assessing the issue of "magic" versus a religious belief in the supernatural is the fact that D. Michael Quinn wrote his first edition of Mormonism and the Magic World View while still believing that Hofmann's forged "Salamander letter" was genuine. He chose to publish his work essentially unaltered, believing nothing needed to be changed, when the truth of the forgeries became known:
Quinn must have begun his research when he still had the Hofmann letters and the salamander to serve as the rock of his hypotheses. It was those solid, indisputable historical documents that would give credibility to the rest of his data and make his case come together. Quinn's speculative notes would merely hang like decorations on the solid mass provided by the Hofmann documents, and the greater would justify the lesser. However, as Quinn approached publication, the Hofmann materials were pulled out from under him, leaving a huge salamander-shaped hole in the center of his theory. . . .
With the salamander letter and other Hofmann materials, Quinn had a respectable argument; without them he had a handful of fragmented and highly speculative research notes. It appears to me that when he was faced with the choice of seeing months of research go down the drain for lack of a credible context to put it in or of putting the best face on it and publishing anyway, Quinn simply made the wrong choice. This would explain why his remaining arguments are so strained and the scanty evidence so overworked. This would explain why the book is such a methodological nightmare. Having lost the turkey at the last minute, Quinn has served us the gravy and trimmings, hoping we won't notice the difference.
Pergunta: Como Joseph usar suas pedras de vidente quando jovem?
Joseph como o vidente aldeia: o uso da pedra de vidente antes da Restauração
Brant Gardner esclarece o papel que Joseph e sua pedra desempenharam dentro da comunidade de Palmyra,
O jovem Joseph Smith era um membro de uma sub-comunidade especializada com laços com estas práticas muito antigas e muito respeitados, embora no início dos anos 1800 que foram respeitados apenas por um segmento marginalizado da sociedade. Ele exibiu um talento paralelo com outras pessoas nas comunidades similares. Mesmo em Palmyra, ele não foi o único. Nas palavras de D. Michael Quinn: "Até o Livro de Mórmon impulso jovem Smith em destaque, vidente mais notável de Palmyra foi Sally Chase, que usaram uma pedra esverdeada William Stafford também tinha uma pedra de vidência e Joshua Stafford tinha um "peepstone que parecia de mármore branco e tinha um buraco no centro. " Richard Bushman acrescenta Chauncy Hart, e um homem não identificado em Susquehanna County, ambos os quais tinham pedras com as quais eles foram encontrados objetos perdidos.  
Durante seu mandato como uma "aldeia vidente", Joseph adquiriu várias pedras de vidente. Joseph usou pela primeira vez uma pedra vidente vizinho (provavelmente que pertencer a Palmyra vidente Sally Chase, sobre o saldo de evidência histórica, apesar de existirem outras possibilidades) para descobrir a localização de um marrom, pedra do bebê em forma de pé. A visão desta pedra provavelmente ocorreu por volta de 1819-1820, e ele obteve sua primeira pedra de vidente em cerca de 1821-1822. 
A segunda pedra de vidente teria sido encontrado ao escavar um poço na propriedade de perseguição de William em 1822
Joseph, então, usou esta primeira pedra para encontrar uma segunda pedra (uma branca). A segunda pedra de vidente teria sido encontrado na propriedade de perseguição de William em 1822 como perseguição descreveu:
No ano de 1822, eu estava empenhado em cavar um poço. Eu empregados Alvin e Joseph Smith para me ajudar .... Depois de cavar cerca de vinte metros abaixo da superfície da terra, descobrimos um singularmente pedra aparecendo, o que excitou a minha curiosidade. Eu trouxe-a para o topo do poço, e como estávamos examinando-o, Joseph colocá-lo em seu chapéu, e então seu rosto no topo do seu chapéu .... Na manhã seguinte, ele veio a mim, e desejava obter a pedra, alegando que ele poderia ver nele; mas eu disse a ele que não queria participar com ele por conta de ser uma curiosidade, mas eu gostaria de emprestá-lo. 
Stephen Robinson: "In the case of the Jupiter coin, this same extrapolation error is compounded with a very uncritical acceptance of the artifact in the first place"
Of the matter of the Jupiter talisman that is alleged to have been among Joseph Smith's possessions at the time of his death, Stephen Robinson wrote:
In the case of the Jupiter coin, this same extrapolation error is compounded with a very uncritical acceptance of the artifact in the first place. If the coin were Joseph's, that fact alone would tell us nothing about what it meant to him. But in fact there is insufficient evidence to prove that the artifact ever belonged to the Prophet. The coin was completely unknown until 1930 when an aging Charles Bidamon sold it to Wilford Wood. The only evidence that it was Joseph's is an affidavit of Bidamon, who stood to gain financially by so representing it. Quinn [and any other critic who embraces this theory] uncritically accepts Bidamon's affidavit as solid proof that the coin was Joseph's. Yet the coin was not mentioned in the 1844 list of Joseph's possessions returned to Emma. Quinn negotiates this difficulty by suggesting the coin must have been worn around Joseph's neck under his shirt. But in so doing Quinn impeaches his only witness for the coin's authenticity, for Bidamon's affidavit, the only evidence linking the coin to Joseph, specifically and solemnly swears that the coin was in Joseph's pocket at Carthage. The real empirical evidence here is just too weak to prove that the coin was really Joseph's, let alone to extrapolate a conclusion from mere possession of the artifact that Joseph must have believed in and practiced magic. The recent Hofmann affair should have taught us that an affidavit from the seller, especially a 1930 affidavit to third hand information contradicted by the 1844 evidence, just isn't enough 'proof' to hang your hat on.
Revelações em Contexto history.lds.org: "Oliver Cowdery acreditavam em semelhantes Cajados como instrumento de revelação"
Revelações em Contexto history.lds.org:
Oliver Cowdery vivia em uma cultura rica em ideias bíblicas, linguagem e práticas. A referência da revelação a Moisés provável ressoou com ele. O relato do Antigo Testamento de Moisés e seu irmão Aarão contou com vários exemplos da utilização de varas para manifestar a vontade de Deus (Ex. 7:9-12.; Nm 17:8). Muitos cristãos nos dias de Joseph Smith e Oliver Cowdery acreditavam em semelhantes Cajados como instrumento de revelação. Cowdery estava entre aqueles que acreditavam e usou um cajado divino.
Question: Was a "vagabond fortune-teller" named Walters Joseph Smith's "mentor"?
The idea that Walter's "mantle" fell upon Joseph is the creation of an enemy of Joseph Smith, Abner Cole
It is claimed by some that a "vagabond fortune-teller" named Walters became popular in the Palmyra area, and that when Walters left the area, "his mantle fell upon" Joseph Smith. However, the idea that "Walters the Magician" was a mentor to Joseph Smith and that his "mantle" fell upon Joseph once Walters left the area originated with Abner Cole. Cole published a mockery of the Book of Mormon called the "Book of Pukei."
Matthew Brown discusses the "Book of Pukei":,
Cole claims in the "Book of Pukei" that the Book of Mormon really came into existence in the following manner:
- Walters the Magician was involved in witchcraft and money-digging.
- Walters was summoned to Manchester, New York by a group of wicked, idle, and slothful individuals—one of which was Joseph Smith.
- Walters took the slothful individuals of Manchester out into the woods on numerous nighttime money-digging excursions. They drew a magic circle, sacrificed a rooster, and dug into the ground but never actually found anything.
- The slothful group of Manchesterites then decided that Walters was a fraud. Walters himself admitted that he was an imposter and decided to skip town before the strong arm of the law caught up with him.
- At this point, the mantle of Walters the Magician fell upon Joseph Smith and the rest of the Manchester rabble rallied around him.
- The "spirit of the money-diggers" (who is identified implicitly with Satan in the text) appeared to Joseph Smith and revealed the Golden Bible to him.
- Criticisms of Joseph's use of "folk magic" appear in the following publications: “The Book of Mormon and the Mormonites,” Athenaeum, Museum of Foreign Literature, Science and Art 42 (July 1841): 370–74. off-site; Henry Caswall, The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century, or, the Rise, Progress, and Present State of the Mormons, or Latter-Day Saints : To Which Is Appended an Analysis of the Book of Mormon (London: Printed for J. G. F. & J. Rivington, 1843), 28. off-site; John A. Clark, “Gleanings by the Way. No. VII,” Episcopal Recorder (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 18, no. 25 (12 September 1840), ??. off-site; James H. Hunt, Mormonism: Embracing the Origin, Rise and Progress of the Sect (St. Louis: Ustick and Davies, 1844), n.p.. off-site; Predefinição:CriticalWork:MormonThink; La Roy Sunderland, “Mormonism,” Zion’s Watchman (New York) 3, no. 9 (3 March 1838): 34, citing Howe. off-site
- Luck Mack Smith, 1845 manuscript history transcribed without punctuation, in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols.
- William J. Hamblin, "That Old Black Magic (Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn)," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 225–394. off-site PDF link
- See discussions of this issue in: John Gee, "Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 185–224. off-site PDF link; William J. Hamblin, "That Old Black Magic (Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn)," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 225–394. off-site PDF link; William J. Hamblin, "That Old Black Magic (Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn)," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 225–394. off-site PDF link
- John Gee, "Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 185–224. off-site PDF link; citing Stanley J. Tambiah, Magic, Science, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990) and Jonathan Z. Smith, "Trading Places," in Ancient Magic and Ritual Power, ed. Marvin Meyer and Paul Mirecki (Leiden: Brill, 1995), 16.
- Robert K. Ritner, "Egyptian Magic: Questions of Legitimacy, Religious Orthodoxy and Social Deviance," in Studies in Pharaonic Religion and Society in Honour of J. Gwyn Griffiths , ed. Alan B. Lloyd (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1992), 190; cited in John Gee, "Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 185–224. off-site PDF link (emphasis in original).
- Wilford Woodruff, Journal, 28 March 1841; also cited in Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols., ed., Scott G. Kenny (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 2:75. ISBN 0941214133.
- "The Divining Rod," The Worchester Magazine and Historical Journal (October 1825): 29; cited in Mark Ashurst-McGee, "A Pathway to Prophethood: Joseph Smith Junior as Rodsman, Village Seer, and Judeo-Christian Prophet," (Master's Thesis, University of Utah, Logan, Utah, 2000), 66. Buy online
- "The Divining Rod," The American Journal of Science and Arts (October 1826): 204; cited in Mark Ashurst-McGee, "A Pathway to Prophethood: Joseph Smith Junior as Rodsman, Village Seer, and Judeo-Christian Prophet," (Master's Thesis, University of Utah, Logan, Utah, 2000), 65–66. Buy online
- Gabriel Platts, A Discovery of Subterraneal Treasure (London: 1639), 11–13, emphasis added; cited in Mark Ashurst-McGee, "A Pathway to Prophethood: Joseph Smith Junior as Rodsman, Village Seer, and Judeo-Christian Prophet," (Master's Thesis, University of Utah, Logan, Utah, 2000), 66. Buy online
- See discussion in Mark Ashurst-McGee, "A Pathway to Prophethood: Joseph Smith Junior as Rodsman, Village Seer, and Judeo-Christian Prophet," (Master's Thesis, University of Utah, Logan, Utah, 2000), 140, 182–192. Buy online
- A Book of Commandments for the Government of the Church of Christ, Organized according to law, on the 6th of April, 1830 (Zion [Independence, Missouri]: W.W. Phelps and Co., 1833) 7:4.
- Joseph Smith, cited by Brigham Young, "History of Brigham Young," Millennial Star (20 February 1864), 118–119.; cited in Mark Ashurst-McGee, "A Pathway to Prophethood: Joseph Smith Junior as Rodsman, Village Seer, and Judeo-Christian Prophet," (Master's Thesis, University of Utah, Logan, Utah, 2000), 184. Buy online
- "Mormonism," The Susquehanna Register, and Northern Pennsylvanian (Montrose, Pennsylvania) (1 May 1834): 1, column 4; cited in Mark Ashurst-McGee, "A Pathway to Prophethood: Joseph Smith Junior as Rodsman, Village Seer, and Judeo-Christian Prophet," (Master's Thesis, University of Utah, Logan, Utah, 2000), 184. Buy online
- See footnote 29 in John Gee, "Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 185–224. off-site PDF link
- Stephen E. Robinson, "Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, by D. Michael Quinn," Brigham Young University Studies 27 no. 4 (1987), 94–95.
- Brant A. Gardner, Joseph the Seer—or Why Did He Translate With a Rock in His Hat?, 2009 FAIR Conference presentation. Gardner references  D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1987), 38. and  Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1984), 70.
- Mark Ashurst-McGee, "A Pathway to Prophethood: Joseph Smith Junior as Rodsman, Village Seer, and Judeo-Christian Prophet," (Master's Thesis, University of Utah, Logan, Utah, 2000), 200–215. Buy online
- Eber Dudley Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville, Ohio: Telegraph Press, 1834), 241-242; cited in Richard Van Wagoner and Steven Walker, "Joseph Smith: 'The Gift of Seeing," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 15 no. 2 (Summer 1982), 48–68.
- Stephen E. Robinson, "Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, by D. Michael Quinn," Brigham Young University Studies 27 no. 4 (1987), 94–95.
- Jeffrey G. Cannon, "O Dom de Oliver Cowdery," Revelations in Context on history.lds.org
- Matthew Brown, "Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith's Foundational Stories.", 2006 FAIR Conference.