It is currently Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:47 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 506 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 25  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 9:11 am 
abstract
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:26 am
Posts: 3054
In attempting to convert Mormonism into Christianity, one of the roadblocks would require that one discount the magical practices of Joe Smith and other founding members. The way this is attempted is by redefining “magic” into “folk magic” and imply folk magic is not black (or occult) magic. Joe Smith clearly believed in magic, and is evidenced by his Jupiter talisman and being paid to find things with his magical rocks. First we need to define what constitutes magic:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/magic
Quote:
mag•ic (māj'ĭk)
n.
1. The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural.
2.
a. The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature.
b. The charms, spells, and rituals so used.
3. The exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring for entertainment.
4. A mysterious quality of enchantment: "For me the names of those men breathed the magic of the past" (Max Beerbohm).


The important part of the above definition is that magic, from a Christian perspective, is power (or supposed power) that comes from the supernatural, or not from God. To soften the blow of “magic” and its place in Mormonism, the attempt is to place “folk” in front of it and then spin how that supposedly changes the definition… but make no mistake, any power or supposed power by the belief in magic is of the supernatural, or the occult (black magic). Note that doing a search on folk magic will net Wiki definitions that are Mormon spun.
In the case of Mike Reed’s argument, Mike mixes magic and religion under the same definition… I have no idea how he came to this conclusion using Christianity, but magic is clearly defined in Deuteronomy 18:

"There shall not be found among you anyone 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, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

While Mike Reed is not a Mormon, the objective is very clear that his target audience is Mormons who look for ways to force Mormonism into Christianity, and a common tactic is to redefine words. From Mike’s blog on Joseph Smith’s cane:

http://culturalmormoncafeteria.blogspot ... ature.html
Quote:
To begin this post, perhaps a quick note is appropriate: It is my position that no clear cut line between magic and religion exists. The two categories overlap in many ways. A minority group of scholars argue that this overlap, coupled with the fact that the word has been tinged by polemic use, is justification enough to abandon the word magic altogether. I, however, side with the majority of scholars who remain convinced that both terms can be useful in academic discourse. The word magic should not be thrown away any more than the word religion should be. But with that being said, I do share the concern that the word has been tinged by a polemic past. For this reason, I have favored the more nuanced appellation folk-magic when discussing the magical practices of early Mormons.


Note the use of “it is my position” when Mike Reed redefines magic and religion, but fails to define which religion is being mixed with magic. Further references to scholars is an obvious ploy to add weight to Mike’s “position” in the redefinition of what he believes folk magic encompasses. It should be noted that Mike doesn’t place belief in Joseph Smith, so his motive for appeasing his target audience has to be questioned. Again, “magic” is power or supposed power that is not of God, so the above paragraph makes no sense whatsoever from a Christian perspective. A question for Mike Reed:

Mike, do you agree that Joseph Smith was in fact a fraud?

Brant Gardner is a Mormon, so his objective is clearer than Mike Reed’s when it comes the definition of “folk magic” and what it encompasses. Brant uses words like “cunning men and women” to define the people that used/believed in magic, or more specifically scrying. Note the use of “and women” in the quoted sentence. This is an obvious implication that Sally Chase, along with Joe Smith “saw” things through their magical stones… all before the Book of Mormon. In order to soften the blow of magic and its place in the founding of Mormonism, Brant takes it one step further after mixing religion with magic and attempts to lose the label of “magic” by replacing it with “art” and to a lesser extent “belief”. “Folk art” is not in any way shape or form “Folk magic” and no matter what one does to attempt to redefine “magic”, the power or supposed power of magic is of the occult, or not of God from a Christian perspective.

From Brant's website:

Quote:
In antiquity, magic, almost always refers to someone else's religious practice to distance them from the "norm" or one's own practice. Simply put: what I do is religion, what you do is magic.


It should be noted here that if one is talking about Christianity, there is no mixing of occult magic and religion, or more specifically, the use of magic to find things is not done so by the power of God.

http://www.lifeongoldplates.com/2009/08 ... oseph.html
Quote:

Exhibited their cunning in many ways. Joseph belonged to a class of people who did scrying. A long practiced method. [He described some interesting methods] Stones became the most used m ethod to see future, or to see the location of lost items. These traditions were found in Palmyra in 1820s still performing these functions. Young Joseph Smith was the member of a sub-community with ties to these old practices, increasingly marginalized. Others had same abilities. D. Michael Quinn noted that Sally Chase was Palmyra's most known seer, and there were others. Richard Bushman adds a few other names of people who had stones to find lost objects.

The adventurers and farmers, cunning men and wise women embarked in the wilderness in pre-industrial villages. Folk magic has a history. Contemporary medicine drove men and women to village specialists with herbs, etc. who were considered to be taught by God or angels.
Some reminisciences tell us how such things occurred. [Gardner quoted people who recounted their experiences with Sally Chase.] Basically, when things were lost you went to the seer who would tell you where to find things. Finding lost wallet, lost cattle, etc.


Here’s where Brant attempts to fit Urim and Thummim into Mormon doctrine, when he acknowledges that the only devices used to translate all Mormon doctrine (outside the lost 116 pages) was done by using Joe Smith’s seer stones in his stove-pipe hat (same method used when Joe Smith was a money-digger for hire before he wrote the BofM). The white stone, which Joe Smith “saw” by looking through the green stone of Sally Chase, and the brown stone, which was found by digging a well. Both stones were found and used for hire before the Book of Mormon.

Quote:
The Book of Mormon does not mention the Urim and Thummim, it mentions the "interpreters." Joseph Smith completed the translation with a seer stone. The UandT became part of the story when it was intoriduced as a generic label to refer to seer stone, etc. The Utah were biblically acceptable divinatory rocks, thus their presence in the Bible made them more legitimate. The "interpreters" were then labeled with UandT because calling them "rocks" seems to demean them, whereas calling them Utah makes them seem more sacred.

This recasting of history was something they told themselves. I doubt any conscious attempt at deception, it was a natural response to themselves as a religion rather than a folk belief, appropriate to a great tradition religion. Didn;t deny the past but recolored them with new vocab.


In conclusion, the definition of “magic” doesn’t change when redefined as “folk” magic. Any power that is not of God is occult magic from a Christian perspective, and the power that enabled Joe Smith to “see” his white stone miles away through the green magic rock of Sally Chase, makes the green stone of Sally Chase the mother of all Mormon magical rocks, and her stone is in no way shape or form Christian, but clearly of occult magic.

_________________
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth & turn aside to myths


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 9:46 am 
God

Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:44 pm
Posts: 13030
You said it, "from a Christian perspective" magic means XYZ, and you complain because Mike Reed and others, who are not Christians, do not accept XYZ.

So as a non-Christian, why would he define it in those terms? Unless you can explain how magic is in any meaningful way distinct from religion, I don't see what is wrong with doing what scholars have done, and that is abandoning the use of the word altogether. I mean by your own definition, Moses was a magician. But that doesn't really sound right does it? So we don't use that word when we refer to Moses "control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural." Like using a rod to become a snake, or using a rod to invoke God's power to divide the sea. Likewise, Jesus wasn't a magician, even though by definition, he did in fact do many supernatural things and insisted all humans could do the same if they prayed and had faith. Praying earnestly for a miraculous outcome - commonly practiced even today - could easily be described as a "ritual to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature."

And you'd be surprised how many things that could be considered "magic" are still rooted in various Christian traditions. Some of them are quite stupid too. Catholics love their relics and idols and pendants, etc. Down in Brazil I discovered all sorts of superstitious traditions that you would probably consider magic. Most of them from practicing Christians.

Just one example. Shortly after my daughter was born, she had the hiccups. When I first came into the room I saw her aunt attending to her and I noticed a red string curled up, laying on her forehead. As I picked up my daughter I removed the string, thinking it must have fallen from something else. But when I brought my daughter into the kitchen and placed her in her seat, my mother in-law noticed the hiccups as well and quickly looked for another red string, and she then placed it on her forehead.

I was confused. I asked her what she thought she was doing and she actually looked at me as if I was a moron for not knowing that placing a red string on a forehead can cure someone of the hiccups. My wife and her mother accept this premise without question because that is a tradition that has been passed down in their family, and it is a very common tradition throughout the country too. But only the religious, or it seems, Christians, believe it.

In another example, my Grandmother, who died ten years ago at the age of 97, was a very devout Christian woman, but my mother was damn certain she was a witch simply because she had ESP experiences and expressed numerous superstitious beliefs that in our modern Christian climate, would be considered magic.

But what kind of magic? The kind that pulls a rabbit out of a hat or the kind based on folk lore and myth? Or in other words, folk magic? The modern Christian concept of magic is useful for Christians trying to avoid demonic spirits and such, but it isn't very useful in trying to explain -from a non-Christian perspective - the actions and beliefs of those who lived in a climate where superstitious rituals and experiences weren't all that uncommon. Joseph Smith lived in that climate. Glass looking might sound kooky to us now, or even demonic to a Christian, but in Smith's day, it was rather common. So much so they had to make a law against it. Whether it was "Christian" or not was never an issue. The only issue was whether it was being used to swindle people out of their money. Now you obviously understand the Bible to be rejecting certain forms of magic as demonic, but the fact is Christianity is far more nuanced than this and in the early 19th century, many Christian sects would be considered satanic by today's Christian standards, based on modern interpretations of scripture such as the one you provided.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 10:20 am 
abstract
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:26 am
Posts: 3054
Kevin Graham wrote:
You said it, "from a Christian perspective" magic means XYZ, and you complain because Mike Reed and others, who are not Christians, do not accept XYZ.


C’mon Kevin, what are you really arguing here? Are you defending Mike’s position as an atheist? If so, who cares how an atheist defines magic? In very obvious ploy to appease his target audience, Mike Reed makes case for “religion” to be the same as “magic” and claims there’s scholarly backing for his position. What position? If Mormons claim to be Christian, the impasse to accept occult magic as "folk magic" and therefore Christian is the argument here, which is pure BS. Folk magic is magic… period. The Jupiter talisman is occult magic. Seer stones used by necromancers are occult magic. You may not care, but I do.

Quote:
So as a non-Christian, why would he define it in those terms? Unless you can explain how magic is in any meaningful way distinct from religion, I don't see what is wrong with doing what scholars have done, and that is abandoning the use of the word altogether. I mean by your own definition, Moses was a magician. But that doesn't really sound right does it? So we don't use that word when we refer to Moses "control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural." Like using a rod to become a snake, or using a rod to invoke God's power to divide the sea. Likewise, Jesus wasn't a magician, even though by definition, he did in fact did many supernaatural things and insisted all humans could do the same if they prayed and had faith. Praying earnestly for a miraculous outcome - commonly practiced even today - could easily be described as a "ritual to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature."


As a non-Christian who runs his blog as a “cultural Mormon” the intent is obvious. I fail to understand your point. Are you claiming that a scholarly position is that occult magic is of the Christian God? It has to be to force Mormonism to make sense, and this wordplay is just fuel to feed the cognitive dissonance required to make Joe Smith a prophet of the Christian God, when Joe Smith is a prophet of the Mormon Gods. You believe Joe Smith was a fraud, so what is your argument? Is it that Christians believe in occult magic because the founding members of the Mormon cult believed in magic and used occult magic to invent Mormon doctrine which is NOT Christian doctrine?

Quote:
And you'd be surprised how many things that could be considered "magic" are still rooted in various Christian traditions. Some of them are quite stupid too. Catholics love their relics and idols and pendants, etc. Down in Brazil I discovered all sorts of superstitious traditions that you would probably consider magic. Most of them from practicing Christians.


Ok… sort of. If Catholics place belief in rosary beads to appease the gypsies, does that make rosary beads occult? I would answer that it makes them Catholic, but not of occult magic. My argument is centered on the green stone owned by Sally Chase which Brant and other claim is not an occult object. Sally Chase was not a Mormon or Christian figure, so how can anyone deny her green occult stone powered by occult magic to find things is not of the occult? Would you define the green stone owned by Sally Chase, the mother of all Mormon magical stones, to be an occult object? It’s clearly not a Christian object is it?

Quote:
Just one example. Shortly after my daughter was born, she had the hiccups. When I first came into the room I saw her aaunt attending to her and I noticed a red string curled up, laying on her forehead. As I picked up my daughter I removed the string, thinking it must have fallen from something else. But when I brought my daughter into the kitchen and placed her in her seat, my mother in-law noticed the hiccups as well and quickly looked for another red string, and she then placed it on her forehead.
I was confused. I asked her what she thought she was doing and she actually looked at me as if I was a moron for not knowing that placing a red string on a forehead can curse someone of the hiccups. My wife and her mother accept this premise without question because that is a tradition that has been passed down in their family, and it is a very common tradition throughout the country too. But only the religious, or it seems, Christians, believe it.


If you tip a glass of water and sip it, it will cure the hiccups too, because you place focus on something else. I don’t understand how this ties an occult seer stone owned by necromancer into being Christian. What is your point?

Quote:
In another example, my Grandmother, who died ten years ago at the age of 97, was a very devout Christian woman, but my mother was damn certain she was a witch simply because she had ESP experiences and expressed numerous superstitious beliefs that in our modern Christian climate, would be considered magic.


By what definition does this fall into magic, or the power of the supernatural?

Quote:
But what kind of magic? The kind that pulls a rabbit out of a hat or the kind based on folk lore and myth? Or in other words, folk magic? The modern Christian concept of magic is useful for Christians trying to avoid demonic spirits and such, but it isn't very useful in trying to explain the actions of those who lived in a climate where superstitious rituals and experiences weren't all that uncommon - from a non-Christian perspective. Joseph Smith lived in that climate. Glass looking might sound kooky to us now, or even demonic to a Christian, but in Smith's day, it was rather common. So much so they had to make a law against it. Whether it was "Christian" or not was never an issue. The only issue was whether it was being used to swindle people out of their money. Now you obviously understand the Bible to be rejecting certain forms of magic as demonic, but the fact is Christianity is far more nuanced than this and in the early 19th century, many Christian sects would be considered satanic by today's Christian standards, based on modern interpretations of scripture such as the one you provided.


I’m not getting your objective or point here. Mormonism is false and the way Mormonism is kept alive is to draw parallels and accept those parallels as valid. From a Christian perspective, Joe Smith was a false prophet of God. From a Christian perspective, Sally Chase was a necromancer as was Joe Smith, which is why Joe Smith was denied entrance to the Methodist church in 1828. Regardless of why you’re championing that occult magic is Christian, it’s not. If you can answer one question for me it would help in defining your position...

Question: Was the green rock used by Sally Chase to find lost objects an occult object?

_________________
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth & turn aside to myths


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 10:21 am 
God
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 1:57 pm
Posts: 3059
thews wrote:
In attempting to convert Mormonism into Christianity, one of the roadblocks would require that one discount the magical practices of Joe Smith and other founding members. The way this is attempted is by redefining “magic” into “folk magic” and imply folk magic is not black (or occult) magic. Joe Smith clearly believed in magic, and is evidenced by his Jupiter talisman and being paid to find things with his magical rocks. First we need to define what constitutes magic:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/magic
Quote:
mag•ic (māj'ĭk)
n.
1. The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural.
2.
a. The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature.
b. The charms, spells, and rituals so used.
3. The exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring for entertainment.
4. A mysterious quality of enchantment: "For me the names of those men breathed the magic of the past" (Max Beerbohm).


The important part of the above definition is that magic, from a Christian perspective, is power (or supposed power) that comes from the supernatural, or not from God.


You do this everytime. You put up a definition of something and then read into it your Christian perspective. There is nothing in that definition that implies that magic can't be from God (recall that God is supernatural after all). What was it when Jesus turned water to wine?--a freaking magic trick--that's what.
By the way, God IS supernatural according to most Christians.

Why not folk magic--what do you think it should be?---"real" magic?

_________________
when believers want to give their claims more weight, they dress these claims up in scientific terms. When believers want to belittle atheism or secular humanism, they call it a "religion". -Beastie

yesterday's Mormon doctrine is today's Mormon folklore.-Buffalo


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 10:30 am 
abstract
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:26 am
Posts: 3054
Tarski wrote:

You do this everytime. You put up a definition of something and then read into it your Christian perspective. There is nothing in that definition that implies that magic can't be from God (recall that God is supernatural after all). What was it when Jesus turned water to wine?--a freaking magic trick--that's what.
By the way, God IS supernatural according to most Christians.

Why not folk magic--what do you think it should be?---"real" magic?


I don't get you Tarski. Do you champion the Mormon plight to keep them in the dark for a reason? You believe Joe Smith was a fraud don't you? Let's cut to the chase...

Was the green stone used by Sally Chase to find lost objects powered by occult magic, or by the Christian God?

Note your belief in the power or pretended power of the green stone is not what's being questioned and has no relevance.

_________________
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth & turn aside to myths


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 10:51 am 
God
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 1:57 pm
Posts: 3059
thews wrote:


I don't get you Tarski.


It is important that arguments against Mormonisms are good ones.


Quote:
Do you champion the Mormon plight to keep them in the dark for a reason?

If a Mormon said that the earth was not flat and I agreed would I be a champion of the Mormon "plight"?


Quote:
You believe Joe Smith was a fraud don't you?

Yes.

Quote:
Was the green stone used by Sally Chase to find lost objects powered by occult magic, or by the Christian God?

Neither.

However, if I pretend for the sake of argument that God exists and Jesus really turned water to wine, then I would not be able to immediately discount Joseph Smith's magical behavior as being necessarily devilish--at least not without just adopting a whole set of assumptions common in American evangelical Christianity.
But then all it would boil down to in that case would be more or less my just assuming that nothing like Mormonism could be true--which is what you are doing.
You need better, more scientific arguments IMO.

The fact that Mormonism doesn't match your idea of Christianity just doesn't prove anything.

We already know that you think that occult stuff like crystal balls can't be from God and we already agree that most people calling themselves Christians in developed countries would agree with this. But this just begs the question about Mormonism which has an admittedly different perspective on many things (but for all that can rightly be called a form of Christianity for obvious reasons).

_________________
when believers want to give their claims more weight, they dress these claims up in scientific terms. When believers want to belittle atheism or secular humanism, they call it a "religion". -Beastie

yesterday's Mormon doctrine is today's Mormon folklore.-Buffalo


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 11:16 am 
God

Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:20 pm
Posts: 1605
Location: Colorado
Hello Thews, you stated,

Quote:
In attempting to convert Mormonism into Christianity,....


I understand from your tone and online attitude that dialogue very well might not be your goal, but in the spirit of dialogue first attempting to understand should not be preceded by falsely assuming what you imply Mr. Gardner’s motives to be. Whether you or he ends up being more correct your approach is impeding the possibility for fruitful dialogue and understanding.


Quote:
one of the roadblocks would require that one discount the magical practices of Joe Smith and other founding members.


I read your “discussion” with Brant and I can’t find where he is “discounting” it. He simply would not allow you to force your particular, not very nuanced definition into a dialogue concerning the issues with him nor for your definition to be deemed as universal in scope and utility. He objected to your forced and loaded questions that were based on that sleight of definitional hand.

Quote:
The way this is attempted is by redefining “magic” into “folk magic” and imply folk magic is not black (or occult) magic.


Which it obviously isn't. Where other than your own opinion do you propose any academic alternative?

Quote:
Joe Smith clearly believed in magic, and is evidenced by his Jupiter talisman and being paid to find things with his magical rocks.


What exactly does this mean? Your a theist and so you obviously "believe in magic", the issue is are these beliefs Joseph had of a satanic motivation and origin or of a more secular and cultural basis?

Quote:
First we need to define what constitutes magic:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/magic
Quote:
mag•ic (māj'ĭk)
n.
1. The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural.
2.
a. The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature.
b. The charms, spells, and rituals so used.
3. The exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring for entertainment.
4. A mysterious quality of enchantment: "For me the names of those men breathed the magic of the past" (Max Beerbohm).


The important part of the above definition is that magic, from a Christian perspective, is power (or supposed power) that comes from the supernatural, or not from God.


Can you please highlight where in the above definition the portion “from a Christian perspective, is power (or supposed power) that comes from the supernatural, or not from God.” Because I don’t see it. In fact, Christian prayer could quite easily fall into the definition you provided above or supernatural. I am rather certain Mr. Gardner rightly became frustrated with your fast and loose insistence on definitions and then being critical of his thought for the same reasons. You just insisted on something out of whole cloth.

Quote:
To soften the blow of “magic” and its place in Mormonism, the attempt is to place “folk” in front of it and then spin how that supposedly changes the definition… but make no mistake, any power or supposed power by the belief in magic is of the supernatural, or the occult (black magic).


According to your particular brand of Christian belief that may be so, but that is hardly so in any academic or universal sense, or from many Christian perspectives that don’t share your bifurcated definition in the width and scope you adhere to. For example, Mr. Gardner recommended that you read Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer’s Extraordinary Knowing. An example from that book might be illustrative. Ms. Mayer was a clinical psychologist who kept a scientific outlook on life. Once, her daughter’s very expensive harp was stolen and no luck was found through the normal legal channels in recovering it. Ms. Mayer was referred, almost tongue in cheek, to Harold McCoy, of the American Society of Dowsers. Ms. Mayer was in Oakland CA and Mr. McCoy told her where the harp was and it was in fact recovered. Another example might be remote viewing classes that take place across the country in community centers to community colleges, often led by a psychologist. Now I am not advocating remote viewing or dowsing, I really am not informed enough, but to categorize these two examples with an umbrella definition that they belong in the same categories as Alister Crowley’s nefarious rituals and incantantions, well is not very accurate or satisfying. So if you don’t like the narrowing adjectives Mr. Gardner and Mr. Reed utilizes I would think it incumbent upon you to suggest otherwise and not insist on your universal and unduly bifurcated definition of “magic”. Particularly to an audience that by and large doesn't share your rather narrow Christian beliefs.

Quote:
Note that doing a search on folk magic will net Wiki definitions that are Mormon spun.
In the case of Mike Reed’s argument, Mike mixes magic and religion under the same definition… I have no idea how he came to this conclusion using Christianity, but magic is clearly defined in Deuteronomy 18:

"There shall not be found among you anyone 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, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.


It is also confusing how you are foisting thousands of years ago culture, thought, ritual, philosophy and religious meaning onto 19th century America. It is very intellectually and spiritually unenlightening and unsatisfying. Your attempt to demean those who attempt to define clearer and understand better the manners, manifold customs and variegated ideas, rituals and practices won’t succeed by quoting Deuteronomy with no further context or meaning fleshed out by you.

Quote:
While Mike Reed is not a Mormon, the objective is very clear that his target audience is Mormons who look for ways to force Mormonism into Christianity, and a common tactic is to redefine words. From Mike’s blog on Joseph Smith’s cane:

http://culturalmormoncafeteria.blogspot ... ature.html
Quote:
To begin this post, perhaps a quick note is appropriate: It is my position that no clear cut line between magic and religion exists. The two categories overlap in many ways. A minority group of scholars argue that this overlap, coupled with the fact that the word has been tinged by polemic use, is justification enough to abandon the word magic altogether. I, however, side with the majority of scholars who remain convinced that both terms can be useful in academic discourse. The word magic should not be thrown away any more than the word religion should be. But with that being said, I do share the concern that the word has been tinged by a polemic past. For this reason, I have favored the more nuanced appellation folk-magic when discussing the magical practices of early Mormons.


Note the use of “it is my position” when Mike Reed redefines magic and religion, but fails to define which religion is being mixed with magic.


Are you really not familiar with the many Christian believers who practiced many rituals that you consider “magic”?

Quote:
Further references to scholars is an obvious ploy to add weight to Mike’s “position” in the redefinition of what he believes folk magic encompasses.


A practice you might well indulge in when offering an alternative.

Quote:
It should be noted that Mike doesn’t place belief in Joseph Smith, so his motive for appeasing his target audience has to be questioned.


No it doesn't. Why don’t you just come out and say, unless Mike doesn’t subscribe to your narrow Christianity and rather rudimentary understanding of “magic” within that narrowly understood “Christian” parameter and framework you subscribe to – he must be appeasing to the Mormons. With all due respect, that is not only overly paranoid but silly.

Quote:
Again, “magic” is power or supposed power that is not of God,


According to you.

Is faith healing “magic”, is scriptural meditation, or crucifixes? What adjectives do you propose to differentiate between obviously different practices such as a twentieth century “remote viewing” class in a community college and Alister Crowley’s sordid rituals?
You whole approach is loaded from the start. It would be like me asking you are you evil? Then proceeding to define evil as anything that isn’t Mormon. Then asking you if your Mormon or Christian and if you answer Christian your evil. I wouldn’t blame you if your wouldn’t indulge such silliness. And I don’t blame Mike or Brant either.

my regards, mikwut

_________________
All communication relies, to a noticeable extent on evoking knowledge that we cannot tell, all our knowledge of mental processes, like feelings or conscious intellectual activities, is based on a knowledge which we cannot tell.
-Michael Polanyi

"Why are you afraid, have you still no faith?" Mark 4:40


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 11:19 am 
God

Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:44 pm
Posts: 13030
Quote:
C’mon Kevin, what are you really arguing here? Are you defending Mike’s position as an atheist? If so, who cares how an atheist defines magic?

I'm not atheist, and I don't know that Mike is, but the same question could be asked of you. Who cares how a Christian defines the word magic? For me this is a simple matter of perspective. You're never going to agree with Mike's position on magive because to do so would be against your religion. From what I understand, Mike doesn't have a compelling reason to use the word magic as you would insist. It seemed perfectly clear to me that his reasons for using "folk-magic" were explained in the citation you provided.

Where he says he wants to avoid the usage that has been used for polemics, and prefers a more nuanced version, you interpret this as a devious attempt to lure people into thinking Mormonism is Christianity. What the F? I think you're reading way too much into this.
Quote:
Mike Reed makes case for “religion” to be the same as “magic” and claims there’s scholarly backing for his position.

No he doesn't, you need to reread what he said:
Quote:
A minority group of scholars argue that this overlap, coupled with the fact that the word has been tinged by polemic use, is justification enough to abandon the word magic altogether. I, however, side with the majority of scholars who remain convinced that both terms can be useful in academic discourse. The word magic should not be thrown away any more than the word religion should be. But with that being said, I do share the concern that the word has been tinged by a polemic past. For this reason, I have favored the more nuanced appellation folk-magic when discussing the magical practices of early Mormons.

You say he appeals to authority with scholarly majority, but that majority view is the one you would accept too since the minority view would be to discard the word "magic" altogether. Mike doesn't do that. If he viewed religion and magic as synonymous then he might very well refer to 19th century Mormonism as simply "religion." But he insists on using the term "magic" albeit qualified as "folk" magic. You think he is pandering to Mormons who want to be considered Christians, but why would Mormons be happy with their religion designated as "folk magic"? As a former Mormon, I would have found that offensive. It seems the harder Mike tries to be impartial, the more he pisses off both sides. Essentially Mike says he disagrees with the notion that the word religion and magic are not exclusive and useful. You obviously agree with him on this point, but insist on going for his jugular.
Quote:
If Mormons claim to be Christian, the impasse to accept occult magic as "folk magic" and therefore Christian is the argument here, which is pure BS.

It is still MAGIC for crying out loud! The designation of "Christian" doesn't depend on the distinction between "folk" or "occult."
Quote:
Folk magic is magic… period.

Folk lore is still lore and folk music is still music.Who said otherwise?
Quote:
The Jupiter talisman is occult magic. Seer stones used by necromancers are occult magic. You may not care, but I do.

Oh, so now the quibble is over his preference for folk instead of occult? Where does Mike reject the word occult as a valid term? "Folk" is an adjective meaning "having unknown origins and reflecting the traditional forms of a society." This is exactly the kind of magic Joseph Smith engaged in, so why argue with it? I mean what do you want exactly? To say "occult magic" is just silly because it is redundant since the definition of occult is "of or pertaining to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies."

Well duh! That's essentially saying "magic magic."

The word "occult" carries with it many negative connotations within the Christian tradition, usually referring to Satanic of Demonic influence. So Christians attacking Mormonism as satanic prefer to use the word for that reason alone. Mike prefers "folk" because he takes an impartial position claiming the origin is "unknown." And this is what upsets Christians like yourself. His ability to approach the matter evenhandedly without forcing his presuppositions into his jargon. So for you the presupposition is that Mormonism is Satanic, thefore the best word to use is occult. Even if there is nothing in the dictionary that demands this term over "folk."
Quote:
Are you claiming that a scholarly position is that occult magic is of the Christian God? It has to be to force Mormonism to make sense, and this wordplay is just fuel to feed the cognitive dissonance required to make Joe Smith a prophet of the Christian God, when Joe Smith is a prophet of the Mormon Gods. You believe Joe Smith was a fraud, so what is your argument? Is it that Christians believe in occult magic because the founding members of the Mormon cult believed in magic and used occult magic to invent Mormon doctrine which is NOT Christian doctrine?

None of the above. I'm saying that if you want to get down to bare definitions, as you just did by providing the dictionary version of the word, then you will have to explain to us how Moses isn't a magician. And even more troubling, how Moses, by the dictionary definition, didn't get into "occult" magic. So far you've not explained this.
Quote:
Ok… sort of. If Catholics place belief in rosary beads to appease the gypsies, does that make rosary beads occult? I would answer that it makes them Catholic, but not of occult magic.

Then you make qualification where the dictionary does not.
Quote:
My argument is centered on the green stone owned by Sally Chase which Brant and other claim is not an occult object.

Of course it was.
Quote:
Sally Chase was not a Mormon or Christian figure, so how can anyone deny her green occult stone powered by occult magic to find things is not of the occult? Would you define the green stone owned by Sally Chase, the mother of all Mormon magical stones, to be an occult object? It’s clearly not a Christian object is it?

I agree with this. Does Mike deny that it was an occult object?
Quote:
If you tip a glass of water and sip it, it will cure the hiccups too, because you place focus on something else. I don’t understand how this ties an occult seer stone owned by necromancer into being Christian. What is your point?

My point is that a three week old baby doesn't "focus" on the red string to cure her hiccups. According to many Brasilians, the mere presence of a red string provides some kind of supernatural cure, and it is based strictly on "folk" magic. I wouldn't call this "occult", even though by definition it applies. But occult often implies demonic, so why piss off my in-laws by suggesting they're satanic when I don't even believe in Satan?
Quote:
By what definition does this fall into magic, or the power of the supernatural?

You're not familiar with ESP (Extra Sensory Perception)? Predicting with accuracy future events or seeing visions of future events.
Quote:
I’m not getting your objective or point here. Mormonism is false

I highly doubt Mike Reed ever argued otherwise.
Quote:
and the way Mormonism is kept alive is to draw parallels and accept those parallels as valid

You lost me. You can't possibly be suggesting that the Mormon Church lives through the efforst of people like Mike Reed who refer to the early Mormon practices as "folk magic." The Church is gradually dying anyway, nothing can save it except an ever increasing rate of procreation among the life-long faithful.
Quote:
From a Christian perspective, Joe Smith was a false prophet of God. From a Christian perspective, Sally Chase was a necromancer as was Joe Smith, which is why Joe Smith was denied entrance to the Methodist church in 1828.

But from an objective perspective, the question of whether Smith was a true prophet is irrelevant to the fact that what he engaged in was justifiably called "folk magic."
Quote:
Regardless of why you’re championing that occult magic is Christian, it’s not.

It doesn't matter to me either way, but just for the sake of argument, can you explain to us how Christian magic in the Bible is not occult?
Quote:
If you can answer one question for me it would help in defining your position...

Already answered it. I have no problem calling a seer stone an occult object or a magic object.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 12:15 pm 
First Presidency
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:26 pm
Posts: 801
Location: Provo, UT
Both Mike and Brant have well thought-out, reasonable understandings of what constitutes eighteenth/nineteenth century "folk magic," a slippery and broad term that will always be difficult to define. As historians, none of us are interested in the polemics or lack thereof you and others see (or want to see) in the term, nor are we interested in condemning anyone for participating in the phenomenon.

In any case, as I argued in a recent paper, many treasure-seekers believed that their supernatural gifts were God-bestowed, particularly among seers (like Joseph Smith) and rodsmen (like Joseph Smith, Sr. and Oliver Cowdery).

_________________
"I'd say Joseph, that your anger levels are off the charts. What you are, Joseph, is a bully." - Gadianton
"Antley's anger is approaching...levels of volcanic hatred." - Scratch

http://twitter.com/jtantley


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 12:52 pm 
midnight rambler

Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 pm
Posts: 1923
Location: St. Eligius
Joseph Antley wrote:
Both Mike and Brant have well thought-out, reasonable understandings of what constitutes eighteenth/nineteenth century "folk magic," a slippery and broad term that will always be difficult to define. As historians, none of us are interested in the polemics or lack thereof you and others see (or want to see) in the term, nor are we interested in condemning anyone for participating in the phenomenon.

In any case, as I argued in a recent paper, many treasure-seekers believed that their supernatural gifts were God-bestowed, particularly among seers (like Joseph Smith) and rodsmen (like Joseph Smith, Sr. and Oliver Cowdery).

Joseph (Antley, that is), do you think Joseph Smith's green, white and brown stones were just stones or do you think that those 3 stones, or any of them, did or were associated with anything not now observed in nature with stones (i.e., supernatural)?

If they were just stones, do you think Joseph Smith was delusional in thinking the stones were supernatural?

_________________
--*--


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 1:13 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 2:47 am
Posts: 4247
Location: The Ivory Tower
I agree with Mike that at least in Joseph Smith's case, folk magic seems to have been mixed with Christianity from the very beginning, such that the two essentially cannot be distinguished in his early thought-world.

_________________
Worlds Without End


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 1:33 pm 
God

Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:44 pm
Posts: 13030
CaliforniaKid wrote:
I agree with Mike that at least in Joseph Smith's case, folk magic seems to have been mixed with Christianity from the very beginning, such that the two essentially cannot be distinguished in his early thought-world.


Huh? He said "folk magic" and "Christianity" could not be distinguished? Even in Joseph Smith's case, he was attacked by Christians who called him a glass looker. That makes no sense if they considered it a Christian ritual.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 1:36 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 2:47 am
Posts: 4247
Location: The Ivory Tower
Kevin Graham wrote:
Huh? He said "folk magic" and "Christianity" could not be distinguished? Even in Joseph Smith's case, he was attacked by Christians who called him a glass looker. That makes no sense if they considered it a Christian ritual.

I guess you missed the modifier "in his early thought-world." What non-practitioners thought about it is another matter.

_________________
Worlds Without End


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 1:52 pm 
abstract
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:26 am
Posts: 3054
Tarski wrote:
It is important that arguments against Mormonisms are good ones.

This is a very good one, because the seer stone of Sally Chase is the window to Joe Smith’s first seer stone… the one he used to translate Mormon doctrine. How can you discount this as a “bad” argument?

Tarski wrote:
If a Mormon said that the earth was not flat and I agreed would I be a champion of the Mormon "plight"?


A crystal ball and a Ouija board are occult objects. Why you fight so hard to place seer stones for hire in a different category has no foundation in logic, and I question what your motives are. At least we agree Joe Smith was a fraud.

[quote=”thews”]Was the green stone used by Sally Chase to find lost objects powered by occult magic, or by the Christian God?[/quote]
Tarski wrote:
Neither.
However, if I pretend for the sake of argument that God exists and Jesus really turned water to wine, then I would not be able to immediately discount Joseph Smith's magical behavior as being necessarily devilish--at least not without just adopting a whole set of assumptions common in American evangelical Christianity.
But then all it would boil down to in that case would be more or less my just assuming that nothing like Mormonism could be true--which is what you are doing.
You need better, more scientific arguments IMO.


You aren’t making sense. Is a Ouija board an occult object? Is a crystal ball used by a mystic an occult object? Why then isn’t a seer stone used for hire to "see" things not an occult object?

Tarski wrote:
The fact that Mormonism doesn't match your idea of Christianity just doesn't prove anything.


Regardless of what you do or don’t believe, magical powers and the objects used for hire to find things are by definition occult objects. If you just want to run around the same circles defending a cause you don’t believe in go ahead, but it doesn’t change what an occult object is when it comes to magic for hire. Tell you what, why don’t you give me a link to support your claim as I have done many times now.

Tarski wrote:
We already know that you think that occult stuff like crystal balls can't be from God and we already agree that most people calling themselves Christians in developed countries would agree with this. But this just begs the question about Mormonism which has an admittedly different perspective on many things (but for all that can rightly be called a form of Christianity for obvious reasons).


It’s not that “I” think crystal balls are occult objects… they are occult objects. The point you continue to miss is that Mormons consider themselves Christian, so the focal point is from a Christian perspective. The study of Wiccan culture could be defined as “religion” but it’s not Christianity and what is or isn’t classified as “occult” would be different.

You can run away from the question to add support to your pals regarding what you don’t believe in, but your foundation for a seer stone used for hire as something that is from God has no foundation in logic. From a Christian perspective, either Sally Chase was being guided by God when she used her magical green rock, or she was not. It’s one or the other, and if it wasn’t God guiding her, then “supernatural” would fall under the category of “occult” from a Christian perspective. From a Wiccan perspective, maybe not, but it’s moot regarding your argument because Mormonism supposedly embraces Christianity.

_________________
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth & turn aside to myths


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 2:41 pm 
abstract
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:26 am
Posts: 3054
mikwut wrote:
Hello Thews, you stated,

“In attempting to convert Mormonism into Christianity”

I understand from your tone and online attitude that dialogue very well might not be your goal, but in the spirit of dialogue first attempting to understand should not be preceded by falsely assuming what you imply Mr. Gardner’s motives to be. Whether you or he ends up being more correct your approach is impeding the possibility for fruitful dialogue and understanding.


Hello mikwut. So you’re saying Brant Gardner isn’t implying Mormon embraces Christianity? My tone by the way is direct and reflects what I consider to be a lack of truth in Brant’s words. Using folk “art” in place “magic” or using “belief” in its place is IMO an intentional diversion. Also, using Urim and Thummim instead of “seer stone” anywhere is a diversion from the truth.

mikwut wrote:
I read your “discussion” with Brant and I can’t find where he is “discounting” it. He simply would not allow you to force your particular, not very nuanced definition into a dialogue concerning the issues with him nor for your definition to be deemed as universal in scope and utility. He objected to your forced and loaded questions that were based on that sleight of definitional hand.


That’s your opinion. My “forced” question was one he chose not to answer, and the reason he didn’t answer it is because it doesn’t bode well for Joe Smith. Using some far-fetched “How often do you beat your wife” counter as a basis for refusing to answer the question is implying the question I’m asking is intended to verify something false as true. This isn’t the case, as the question deals with facts that we both agree on and I’m not implying Brant did anything, but rather the focus is on the green stone of Sally Chase. The bottom line is where one divides fact from opinion. Consider this from Brant’s words:
1) Brant claimed village seers that charged for the use of their stones were con men.
2) Joe Smith charged $14 a month for his services using his seer stone for hire.
How can you fail to conclude Joe Smith was not a con man with this logic?

Quote:
The way this is attempted is by redefining “magic” into “folk magic” and imply folk magic is not black (or occult) magic.


mikwut wrote:
Which it obviously isn't. Where other than your own opinion do you propose any academic alternative?


I don’t understand this question. Are you claiming Brant’s supposed “scholarly” Mormon support adds weight to his interpretation of what is or isn’t occult? Brant’s own words claimed the village seers “saw” things and found them using their stones. By what logic does a person who uses a seer stone to find things not occult? What are you basing your “academic” definition on? Is it Brant’s opinion?

Quote:
Joe Smith clearly believed in magic, and is evidenced by his Jupiter talisman and being paid to find things with his magical rocks.


mikwut wrote:
What exactly does this mean? Your a theist and so you obviously "believe in magic", the issue is are these beliefs Joseph had of a satanic motivation and origin or of a more secular and cultural basis?


I am a theist and no I don’t believe in magic. I don’t believe in hell, the flood, or stomach rides in whales either. What I am saying is that what does or doesn’t define “occult” doesn’t depend on my belief in anything. Joe Smith believed in the power of the green stone owned by Sally Chase, so that’s what’s relevant… Joe Smith’s belief in her magic. That green stone was used to find his white stone, and it was used (along with the brown one) to translate Mormon doctrine. These are simply facts and placing focus on the green stone of Sally Chase who was neither Christian nor Mormon requires Mormons to ignore the fact she was not being guided by God. What do you think about Joe Smith’s use of his seer stones for $14 a month. Was he being guided by God?

thews wrote:
First we need to define what constitutes magic:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/magic
Quote:
mag•ic (māj'ĭk)
n.
1. The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural.
2.
a. The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature.
b. The charms, spells, and rituals so used.
3. The exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring for entertainment.
4. A mysterious quality of enchantment: "For me the names of those men breathed the magic of the past" (Max Beerbohm).
The important part of the above definition is that magic, from a Christian perspective, is power (or supposed power) that comes from the supernatural, or not from God.


mikwut wrote:
Can you please highlight where in the above definition the portion “from a Christian perspective, is power (or supposed power) that comes from the supernatural, or not from God.” Because I don’t see it. In fact, Christian prayer could quite easily fall into the definition you provided above or supernatural. I am rather certain Mr. Gardner rightly became frustrated with your fast and loose insistence on definitions and then being critical of his thought for the same reasons. You just insisted on something out of whole cloth.


Again with the wordplay of what defines the occult and what is or isn’t supernatural. To your strawman argument, are you claiming that Sally Chase was being guided by God when she used her green seer stone? Was Joe Smith being guided by God when he was paid $14 a month? If it wasn’t God guiding both Joe and Sally, then “supernatural” was occult, or just a con. The main thing to consider is that Joe Smith believed in the power of Sally Chase’s green rock.

Quote:
To soften the blow of “magic” and its place in Mormonism, the attempt is to place “folk” in front of it and then spin how that supposedly changes the definition… but make no mistake, any power or supposed power by the belief in magic is of the supernatural, or the occult (black magic).


mikwut wrote:
According to your particular brand of Christian belief that may be so, but that is hardly so in any academic or universal sense, or from many Christian perspectives that don’t share your bifurcated definition in the width and scope you adhere to. For example, Mr. Gardner recommended that you read Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer’s Extraordinary Knowing. An example from that book might be illustrative. Ms. Mayer was a clinical psychologist who kept a scientific outlook on life. Once, her daughter’s very expensive harp was stolen and no luck was found through the normal legal channels in recovering it. Ms. Mayer was referred, almost tongue in cheek, to Harold McCoy, of the American Society of Dowsers. Ms. Mayer was in Oakland CA and Mr. McCoy told her where the harp was and it was in fact recovered. Another example might be remote viewing classes that take place across the country in community centers to community colleges, often led by a psychologist. Now I am not advocating remote viewing or dowsing, I really am not informed enough, but to categorize these two examples with an umbrella definition that they belong in the same categories as Alister Crowley’s nefarious rituals and incantantions, well is not very accurate or satisfying. So if you don’t like the narrowing adjectives Mr. Gardner and Mr. Reed utilizes I would think it incumbent upon you to suggest otherwise and not insist on your universal and unduly bifurcated definition of “magic”. Particularly to an audience that by and large doesn't share your rather narrow Christian beliefs.


You use so many words to define “magic” as what you want it encompass. If it’s not of God, then it’s occult magic from a Christian perspective. Again, how would you define the “power” of the green stone owned by Sally Chase? Where did its “power” come from?

Quote:
Note that doing a search on folk magic will net Wiki definitions that are Mormon spun.
In the case of Mike Reed’s argument, Mike mixes magic and religion under the same definition… I have no idea how he came to this conclusion using Christianity, but magic is clearly defined in Deuteronomy 18:

"There shall not be found among you anyone 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, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.


mikwut wrote:
It is also confusing how you are foisting thousands of years ago culture, thought, ritual, philosophy and religious meaning onto 19th century America. It is very intellectually and spiritually unenlightening and unsatisfying. Your attempt to demean those who attempt to define clearer and understand better the manners, manifold customs and variegated ideas, rituals and practices won’t succeed by quoting Deuteronomy with no further context or meaning fleshed out by you.


You aren’t making sense. I quote Deuteronomy to define how Christianity defines a necromancer, which is what Sally Chase was. Your Mormon bias is shining brightly as you spin doctor your bias. If you can answer the question I asked, you would, but, like Brant, you can’t accept the real answer. The green stone used by Sally Chase was not of God… or are you claiming it was because her brand of magic has “folk” in front of it?

mikwut wrote:

Are you really not familiar with the many Christian believers who practiced many rituals that you consider “magic”?


And as is typical when Mormons need to pollute the truth, you have to draw parallel lines that you accept and claim others should as well. Focus on what is… what was the green stone of Sally Chase?

Quote:
Further references to scholars is an obvious ploy to add weight to Mike’s “position” in the redefinition of what he believes folk magic encompasses.


mikwut wrote:
A practice you might well indulge in when offering an alternative.


An argument stands or falls on its merits. Just because a bunch of Mormon scholars agrees with a Mormon stance is hardly grounds for strengthening the weight of the argument.

Quote:
It should be noted that Mike doesn’t place belief in Joseph Smith, so his motive for appeasing his target audience has to be questioned.


mikwut wrote:
No it doesn't. Why don’t you just come out and say, unless Mike doesn’t subscribe to your narrow Christianity and rather rudimentary understanding of “magic” within that narrowly understood “Christian” parameter and framework you subscribe to – he must be appeasing to the Mormons. With all due respect, that is not only overly paranoid but silly.


Mike is a poser and his target audience is Mormons. Why he attempts to further the cause of a man he doesn’t believe in is up to him, but you aren’t making sense.

Quote:
Again, “magic” is power or supposed power that is not of God,


mikwut wrote:
According to you.

Give me an alternative.

mikwut wrote:
Is faith healing “magic”, is scriptural meditation, or crucifixes? What adjectives do you propose to differentiate between obviously different practices such as a twentieth century “remote viewing” class in a community college and Alister Crowley’s sordid rituals?


Seer stones for hire is occult magic. As you attempt to pollute the facts with diversionary paths, your intent is obvious. Just answer the question… what was the green stone of Sally Chase powered by?

mikwut wrote:
You whole approach is loaded from the start. It would be like me asking you are you evil? Then proceeding to define evil as anything that isn’t Mormon. Then asking you if your Mormon or Christian and if you answer Christian your evil. I wouldn’t blame you if your wouldn’t indulge such silliness. And I don’t blame Mike or Brant either.

my regards, mikwut

I understand your angst with seer stones in a hat for hire. I understand your belief in a pagan papyrus. I understand why you need to ignore the green stone of Sally Chase… it isn’t going to go away and you can’t move on from it. There was no Urim and Thummim used to translate the doctrine you believe in… just magic rocks, and they came from the green magic rock of Sally Chase. What power was guidng Joe Smith for $14 a month?

_________________
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth & turn aside to myths


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 3:02 pm 
God

Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:44 pm
Posts: 13030
CaliforniaKid wrote:
Kevin Graham wrote:
Huh? He said "folk magic" and "Christianity" could not be distinguished? Even in Joseph Smith's case, he was attacked by Christians who called him a glass looker. That makes no sense if they considered it a Christian ritual.

I guess you missed the modifier "in his early thought-world." What non-practitioners thought about it is another matter.


I didn't miss it, I just didn't understand what he meant by it. I probably still don't. Is he saying that when Joseph Smith was younger, that he thought there was no difference between Christianity and folk magic?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 3:05 pm 
Deacon

Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:41 am
Posts: 236
CaliforniaKid wrote:
I guess you missed the modifier "in his early thought-world." What non-practitioners thought about it is another matter.

That is an important modifier because it forces the understanding that there was no single homogeneous Christianity. There have been different perspectives on what is included and excluded in Judeo-Christian religion from long before there was ever a "Christian" to add to the concept.

That is the reason that I suggested that Thews might read Shawna Dolansky's Now You See it, Now You Don't: Biblical Perspectives on the Relationship Between Magic and Religion. I submit that if you haven't read that work, or something very like it, you are going to fall prey to the presentist problem that Thews exhibits, where all definitions are filtered through one's idiosyncratic understanding, without the benefit of either history or scholarship.

I do notice that Thews' perspective and argument had not changed at all, and this is simply another thread providing an opportunity to restate what has been previously state ad nauseum. May I restate that I am not providing my definition, but rather the basic scholarly consensus. Thews is arguing with Dolansky here, not me.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 3:13 pm 
Deacon

Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:41 am
Posts: 236
Kevin Graham wrote:
Is he saying that when Joseph Smith was younger, that he thought there was no difference between Christianity and folk magic?

That would be an overly simplistic perspective on what was happening (and what continues in various guises today). Joseph, as well as anyone, would have understood a "church" Christianity. That was what happened in the camp meetings and in the church meetings.

In addition to that, Christianity (without denominationalism) was the basic definition of reality. They wouldn't conceive of how they could be not-Christian. They saw no conflict at all in mixing what they assumed to be a secular communication with the other world to that which was the Sunday communication. The world of an unseen benevolence that could influence life was a basic premise, at times accessed through prayer, at times (and for more secular reasons) accessed through the talents of those who tapped those powers. They simply didn't recognize a difference.

A couple of good resources for this period in history are:

Butler, Jon. Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Godbeer, Richard. The Devil’s Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England. Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
(note fore Thews, you should read the book and not simply fixate on the title--which would lead you in the wrong direction).


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 7:00 am 
abstract
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:26 am
Posts: 3054
Kevin Graham wrote:
I'm not atheist, and I don't know that Mike is, but the same question could be asked of you. Who cares how a Christian defines the word magic? For me this is a simple matter of perspective. You're never going to agree with Mike's position on magic because to do so would be against your religion. From what I understand, Mike doesn't have a compelling reason to use the word magic as you would insist. It seemed perfectly clear to me that his reasons for using "folk-magic" were explained in the citation you provided.


It’s pretty obvious to me as well what Mike’s reasons are for claiming Joe Smith’s cane is Christian, and that’s to appease his target audience. This isn’t a function of “my” religion, but just a definition of what an occult object is and what “occult” encompasses. Mormonism is based on the doctrine of Joe Smith and is not Christian. Just because Joe Smith rewrote the bible to doesn’t make “Mormon” doctrine “Christian” doctrine. In the case of Joe Smith’s cane, Mike argues that the serpent on the cane is a symbol for Christ… why? Why does Mike make this argument in the first place when he believes Joe Smith to be a fraud?

Kevin Graham wrote:
Where he says he wants to avoid the usage that has been used for polemics, and prefers a more nuanced version, you interpret this as a devious attempt to lure people into thinking Mormonism is Christianity. What the F? I think you're reading way too much into this.


My guess is you like Mike and it’s why you’re championing his cause, but since you both believe Joe Smith was a fraud I wonder why? It’s very simple… here’s another clip from Mike’s blog:
http://culturalmormoncafeteria.blogspot ... -thing-of-
nature.html
Mike Reed wrote:
Historian D. Michael Quinn, in his ground breaking book Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, argues that this symbolism on the cane reveals Joseph Smith’s belief and involvement in astrology and talismanic magic. Quinn brings his reader’s attention to an “x” on the crown found directly above the shield, and says that although some may think this is Saint Andrew’s cross, there are no other Christian symbols on the cane—unless you interpret the serpent as a symbol of the devil (which he thinks unlikely)—and so it is more probable that the “x” is instead the magic sigil of Jupiter.[1]

Although I agree with Quinn that Smith’s cane was probably (at least partially) related to his involvement in folk-magic, I respectfully disagree with his interpretation of the symbolism illustrated thereon. Contrary to what he implies, the serpent is not exclusively a motif for Satan in Christianity. The serpent has also been a symbol for Christ, at times alluding to the bronze serpent Moses lifted, which had the power to heal those who had been bitten by the poisonous vipers, if only they would look to it and live.[2] The New Testament comments on this symbolism, saying, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”[3]


In reading the above, why does Mike champion the cause and connect the magical cane and folk magic to Christianity, all the while knowing he believes Joe Smith to be a fraud? What is the point?



Kevin Graham wrote:
No he doesn't, you need to reread what he said:
A minority group of scholars argue that this overlap, coupled with the fact that the word has been tinged by polemic use, is justification enough to abandon the word magic altogether. I, however, side with the majority of scholars who remain convinced that both terms can be useful in academic discourse. The word magic should not be thrown away any more than the word religion should be. But with that being said, I do share the concern that the word has been tinged by a polemic past. For this reason, I have favored the more nuanced appellation folk-magic when discussing the magical practices of early Mormons.


I don’t get the intent Kevin. Mike is attempting to diminish the magical practices of Joe Smith and it’s very obvious to me. Quoting him saying, “The word magic should not be thrown away” is hogwash. The word “occult” should not be thrown away, because that’s what gave power to magical occult objects like Ouija boards, crystal balls and seer stones. One more time though… the one thing you, Mike and myself have in common is we all acknowledge Joe Smith to be a fraud.

Kevin Graham wrote:
You say he appeals to authority with scholarly majority, but that majority view is the one you would accept too since the minority view would be to discard the word "magic" altogether. Mike doesn't do that. If he viewed religion and magic as synonymous then he might very well refer to 19th century Mormonism as simply "religion." But he insists on using the term "magic" albeit qualified as "folk" magic. You think he is pandering to Mormons who want to be considered Christians, but why would Mormons be happy with their religion designated as "folk magic"? As a former Mormon, I would have found that offensive. It seems the harder Mike tries to be impartial, the more he pisses off both sides. Essentially Mike says he disagrees with the notion that the word religion and magic are not exclusive and useful. You obviously agree with him on this point, but insist on going for his jugular.


I disagree with Mike’s assertion that Joe Smith’s cane is Christian… it’s not. Joe Smith’s Jupiter talisman was not Christian. Joe Smith’s magical seer stones were not Christian. Joe Smith’s religion is not Christian. You continue to look for the cracks in how Mike’s argument can be dissected by “scholars” and you know it’s only by Mormon scholars. Who is Mike’s target audience? …it’s Mormons looking for ways to find truth in Joe Smith as a prophet of God… a prophet of the Christian God.

Kevin Graham wrote:
It is still MAGIC for crying out loud! The designation of "Christian" doesn't depend on the distinction between "folk" or "occult."


This is where we disagree. If your argument is that occult magic is part of Christianity then I’ll disagree. Occult magic is black magic, and regardless of whether one believes it in or not, a Ouija board is black magic, and so is a seer stone used to find buried treasure. I really don’t understand your zeal in defending the religious cult of Joe Smith.

Kevin Graham wrote:
Folk lore is still lore and folk music is still music.Who said otherwise?

And yet another attempt to mike lore with music and how about folk dancing? Folk “magic” is black “magic” whether or not you believe in occult magic.

Kevin Graham wrote:
Oh, so now the quibble is over his preference for folk instead of occult? Where does Mike reject the word occult as a valid term? "Folk" is an adjective meaning "having unknown origins and reflecting the traditional forms of a society." This is exactly the kind of magic Joseph Smith engaged in, so why argue with it? I mean what do you want exactly? To say "occult magic" is just silly because it is redundant since the definition of occult is "of or pertaining to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies."
Well duh! That's essentially saying "magic magic."


Mike doesn’t use the word “occult” and this is no quibble over semantics. Are you turning back to belief in Joe Smith’s doctrine Kevin? What is so damn difficult about calling a spade a spade. “Magic” that is not powered by God is occult magic, unless the religion (Wiccan etc.) accepts black magic as part of the religion. Christianity doesn’t accept occult magic as something God approves of, which I’ve already pointed out in Deuteronomy 18.

Kevin Graham wrote:
The word "occult" carries with it many negative connotations within the Christian tradition, usually referring to Satanic of Demonic influence.


Ding ding ding… winner winner chicken dinner!

Kevin Graham wrote:
So Christians attacking Mormonism as satanic prefer to use the word for that reason alone. Mike prefers "folk" because he takes an impartial position claiming the origin is "unknown." And this is what upsets Christians like yourself. His ability to approach the matter evenhandedly without forcing his presuppositions into his jargon. So for you the presupposition is that Mormonism is Satanic, thefore the best word to use is occult. Even if there is nothing in the dictionary that demands this term over "folk."


One more time Kevin… “YOU” believe Joe Smith was a fraud right? What is your motivation to defend the religion of a man you believe to be a fraud. This game of tap dancing semantics doesn’t make sense.

Kevin Graham wrote:
None of the above. I'm saying that if you want to get down to bare definitions, as you just did by providing the dictionary version of the word, then you will have to explain to us how Moses isn't a magician. And even more troubling, how Moses, by the dictionary definition, didn't get into "occult" magic. So far you've not explained this.


Yes I have and many, many times. I hope Mike appreciates how much effort you’ve put into making a case for Joe Smith’s magical cane to be a Christian object.

Kevin Graham wrote:
I agree with this. Does Mike deny that it was an occult object?


I’d love to hear how Mike would define the green stone owned by Sally Chase and whether or not he would classify it as an occult object.

Kevin Graham wrote:
My point is that a three week old baby doesn't "focus" on the red string to cure her hiccups. According to many Brasilians, the mere presence of a red string provides some kind of supernatural cure, and it is based strictly on "folk" magic. I wouldn't call this "occult", even though by definition it applies. But occult often implies demonic, so why piss off my in-laws by suggesting they're satanic when I don't even believe in Satan?


What the hell are you talking about? If you put a string on a baby’s head the baby will feel it. The “trick” in this cure for hiccups is to do something that forces the person to focus on something else. It’s not the power of Satan Kevin… it’s just a shift in focus.

Kevin Graham wrote:
You're not familiar with ESP (Extra Sensory Perception)? Predicting with accuracy future events or seeing visions of future events.


Ok. I don’t know how this is relevant to a magical cane owned by a man who placed belief in occult magic and started a religion, but people believe what they want to believe sometimes.

Kevin Graham wrote:
I highly doubt Mike Reed ever argued otherwise.


This is the part where Mike is exposed for his intent, and that’s to feed the cognitive dissonance of TBM’s. Why does Mike’s blog exist? Who is the target audience? If Mormons like Mike Reed, there’s a reason they do.
Kevin Graham wrote:
You lost me. You can't possibly be suggesting that the Mormon Church lives through the efforst of people like Mike Reed who refer to the early Mormon practices as "folk magic." The Church is gradually dying anyway, nothing can save it except an ever increasing rate of procreation among the life-long faithful.


What I am saying is that’s Mike’s intent… to give Mormons what they want. Folk magic is occult magic and is just another example of how words are twisted in ways to dupe the TBM who wants to place faith in a false prophet of God.
Kevin Graham wrote:
But from an objective perspective, the question of whether Smith was a true prophet is irrelevant to the fact that what he engaged in was justifiably called "folk magic."


You’re really hard to understand as you sound like a TBM now. If seer stones used to find buried treasure are of the occult, who gives a rat’s ass what “folk” magic is anyway? It’s just wordplay, and Brant is the one who inserts folk “belief” instead of “magic” to lessen it further. Magic = occult. I don’t see why you aren’t getting this and championing what is or isn’t occult. Where in Mike’s blog do you find the use of the word “occult” to define magic?

Kevin Graham wrote:
It doesn't matter to me either way, but just for the sake of argument, can you explain to us how Christian magic in the Bible is not occult?


Stories in the bible reflect the Christian belief. For you to question the stories in the bible as occult doesn’t make sense. Just because Abraham had more than one wife doesn’t make polygamy “Christian,” and because there are stories in the bible referencing magic it doesn’t make occult magic of God. Occult magic used by Joe Smith was done to find treasure… that was the goal of Joe Smith when he was hired for $14 to use his magical rocks. The bible is clear on how to spot a false prophet and Joe Smith was clearly a false prophet. The use of biblical stories doesn’t provide an out for belief in occult magic as Christian. These are polar opposites and your arguments don’t make sense to me.

Kevin Graham wrote:
Already answered it. I have no problem calling a seer stone an occult object or a magic object.


Alrighty then… we agree on something. I wonder how Mike Reed would define the green rock owned by Sally Chase?

_________________
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth & turn aside to myths


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 7:06 am 
abstract
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:26 am
Posts: 3054
Joseph Antley wrote:
Both Mike and Brant have well thought-out, reasonable understandings of what constitutes eighteenth/nineteenth century "folk magic," a slippery and broad term that will always be difficult to define. As historians, none of us are interested in the polemics or lack thereof you and others see (or want to see) in the term, nor are we interested in condemning anyone for participating in the phenomenon.

I don’t understand your point Joseph. As a historian, you and I agree that Joseph Smith did in fact own the Jupiter talisman. Do you consider this “folk magic” as well?

Joseph Antley wrote:
In any case, as I argued in a recent paper, many treasure-seekers believed that their supernatural gifts were God-bestowed, particularly among seers (like Joseph Smith) and rodsmen (like Joseph Smith, Sr. and Oliver Cowdery).

Joseph, do you believe that Sally Chase thought her powers when using her green stone were God bestowed? Do you believe God was guiding Joseph Smith when he was paid $14 a month to look for treasure?

_________________
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth & turn aside to myths


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 7:09 am 
abstract
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:26 am
Posts: 3054
CaliforniaKid wrote:
I agree with Mike that at least in Joseph Smith's case, folk magic seems to have been mixed with Christianity from the very beginning, such that the two essentially cannot be distinguished in his early thought-world.


I don't understand your point. When you say "cannot be distinguished" are you claiming they were one and the same from a Christian persective?

_________________
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth & turn aside to myths


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 506 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 25  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dr. Shades, Google [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot] and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Revival Theme By Brandon Designs By B.Design-Studio © 2007-2008 Brandon
Revival Theme Based off SubLite By Echo © 2007-2008 Echo
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group