1. The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural.
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
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:
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
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.
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.