Thanks again for your insight George. While I disagree with you, I applaud your answers as direct answers to the questions asked. What I find cloudy about reaching a mutually agreed upon conclusion is due to what the words mean, or meant back in the early 1800’s. What does “occult” really
mean? Is magic black or white, and is any magic Christian in any form?
The part I don’t get from a Mormon perspective is how could Joseph Smith be wrong, yet be a prophet of God? In other words, if Joseph Smith claimed he could see things through seer stones and God was supposedly guiding him, then if he was wrong, God was wrong. If Joseph Smith wasn’t wrong, then dead humans guard treasure. What would treasure mean to a dead human? To me, it’s an obvious byproduct of Captain Kidd type lore and the stories all reflect what one would expect of a young Joe Smith’s imagination… not of God. Again, if Joseph Smith was being guided by God, then what he said he saw must be the truth. If he was not being guided by God, then he was not telling the truth. If one sides with his vivid imagination, yet still places belief in Mormonism, I find that conclusion lacking any logicical foundation.
George Miller wrote:
Thews wrote:Now you’re really confusing me George. Barret’s book The Magnus is labeled “occult philosophy” and is not Christian.
Yes it is called occult philosophy. However, here occult is used to mean secret or hidden
and has no connotation of being associated with evil. During about the 15th to the middle of the 19th century the information contained in the these type of books were considered white magic
and compatible with Christianity. In other words one could practice white magic and still be considered a Christian.
We’ll just have to agree to disagree here George, because I believe this is your biased opinion and Barret’s book is black
magic when viewed from a Christian perspective. I have not read The Magnus
and I don’t believe in magic, but to say occult philosophy is “compatible” with Christianity completely ignores Deuteronomy 18:10-12. Brant accused me of not knowing what a necromancer was, but again I believe the definition of the word will fall under the scrutiny of the bias of the person defining it. For the record, here’s some data of what was said in 1828 when Joseph Smith tried to join the Methodist church (note the reference to “necromancer” and bleeding ghosts):http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/jos ... hodist.htm
When Joseph Lewis, who was twenty-one at the time (about a year and a half younger than Smith), learned of this act, he felt that Joseph's manner of life rendered him unfit to be a member and told him either to "publicly ask to have his name stricken from the class book, or stand a disciplinary investigation." Mr. Lewis gave further details about the incident a month after the first article appeared in the Amboy paper, and he wrote:
I, with Joshua McKune, a local preacher at that time, I think in June, 1828, heard on Saturday, that Joe Smith had joined the church on Wednesday afternoon, (as it was customary in those days to have circuit preaching at my father's house on week-day). We thought it was a disgrace to the church to have a practicing necromancer, a dealer in enchantments and bleeding ghosts, in it. So on Sunday we went to father's, the place of meeting that day, and got there in season to see Smith and talked with him some time in father's shop before the meeting. Told him that his occupation, habits, and moral character were at variance with the discipline, that his name would be a disgrace to the church, that there should have been recantation, confession and at least promised reformation-. That he could that day publicly ask that his name be stricken from the class book, or stand an investigation. He chose the former, and did that very day make the request that his name be taken off the class book. (The Amboy Journal, June 11, 1879, p.1).
George Miller wrote:
thews wrote:Mike Reed mentioned “binding” demons… what exactly is this?
In Joseph Smith's day magic was considered to be divided into two forms white magic
and black magic
. The term black magic
in Joseph Smith's day, and in current academic writing, is a technical term and has a specific meaning. Black magic
refers to using spells, charms or rituals that would force a demon or Satan to do ones own will. One part of this process was to learn the name of the demon, and upon learning its name on could command it to do one's wishes. This performance of ritual ect to force a demon to ones will is referred to as binding a demon. In other words black magic
refers to magic that draws on the power of the infernal to do ones bidding.
Looking at Joseph Smith's activities we don't find this type of activity in Joseph Smith's treasure seeking nor normally in the treasure seeking of others within Joseph Smith's day. Instead we have them calling on heaven for aide in their endeavors.
Many of your comments here suggest you seriously misunderstand the mindset of these treasure seers of the early 1800s. You have repeatedly pointed to the treasure guardians as proof of Joseph Smith's dabbling in black magic
. However, if you were to investigate the writing of the treasure seers from this time period you would find that your rendition does not fit their descriptions at all. To bring this home, and to get a glimpse of how Joseph Smith interpreted the nature of the treasures he searched for, lets turn to the Book of Mormon. Joseph records that because the Nephites and Lamanites were prideful that God had caused their treasures to become slippery
and to sink into the earth. Many of the treasure seekers had similar views of such treasures in that they were treasures buried by the natives. Treasure seekers often kept themselves to VERY strict codes of morality in hopes that they would be worthy of revelation from God as to the location of these slippery
treasures. After all God had no use for this lost Gold and would happily help his children out if they showed themselves worthy and they were worthy of such treasures.
However, Joseph and others interested in treasure seeking also believed in the existence of demons and other such evil spirits. If you were to read the accounts of treasure seekers like Joseph Smith, you would find that they felt that these evil spirits were acting against God's will and they as had the power to spirit
such treasures away. For this reason the treasure seekers would draw a circle around the site. They would then recite specific scriptures around the site to sanctify the site making it into holy ground on which the evil spirits could not tread. If treasure seers thought unholy, hateful or greedy thoughts during the process it was thought that the sanctity of the place would be disrupted and evil spirits could enter the site and remove the treasure.
To keep the evil spirits away, to dispel them, to cast them out, the treasure seekers would perform white magic
to draw down the power of heaven to keep the site holy and the evil spirits away until the treasure could be recovered. This is what the treasure seekers of Joseph Smith's day believed. This is largely why I quoted to you from Matthew 12:24-26.
Again I’m going to disagree with your George, though I do respect your opinion as genuine based on your beliefs and I appreciate the response. What I find interesting about Joseph Smith’s trial, is the testimony of the dead Indian guarding the treasure. How you can rationalize this out as not being evil is where we have a disconnect. There are multiple accounts of the validity of the story Joseph Smith told about what he saw through his seer stone regarding the Indian spirit guarding it, and it all makes sense, in that Indian burial mounds supposedly held treasure and evil spirits guarded it. First let’s clear the air regarding seer stones and Urim and Thummim (note underlined what is known about the fate of the U&T):http://maxwellinstitute.BYU.edu/publica ... m=1&id=600
Moroni as Angel and as Treasure Guardian
FARMS Review: Volume - 18, Issue - 1, Pages: 34-100
Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 2006
Smith's apostles used this same terminology. For example, on 27 December 1841, Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles with Joseph Smith in the Prophet's home. "I had the privilege," Woodruff wrote, "of seeing for the first time in my day the URIM & THUMMIM."19 We know that Joseph had returned the spectacles to the angel Moroni over a decade earlier. Brigham Young's journal account of the same meeting clarifies that Woodruff was writing about one of Joseph's seer stones: "I met with the Twelve at brother Joseph's. He conversed with us in a familiar manner on a variety of subjects . . . [and] he showed us his seer stone."20 The terms key and keys—like the terms urim and Urim and Thummim—could be applied to seer stones and to the spectacles found with the golden plates.21 Since Stowell hired Joseph in 1825, two years before Joseph received the spectacles, the "keys" that Lucy mentioned were Joseph's seer stones.
Ok, so Joseph Smith was using his seer stone to see the dead Indian guarding the treasure, and that exact same seer stone brought every word of Mormon doctrine in the translation process. If this is true, then dead humans can be judged by God, sent to hell, and Satan then commands them to sit underground guarding treasure for all eternity and moving it if treasure seekers came close to it. Either Joseph Smith did see the dead Indian through his seer stone and was telling the truth, or he did not and was mistaken. If he was mistaken, how could one possibly place faith in the exact same seer stone later on? Data on treasure guardians from the same Maxwell Institute source:http://maxwellinstitute.BYU.edu/publica ... m=1&id=600
Although treasure seeking was common during Joseph's youth, by the end of his life the practice had dwindled.27 The accompanying belief system likewise faded away along with its lore of treasure guardians. The preternatural beings that guarded treasure took many forms. Most treasures were guarded by ghosts or spirits—usually deceased humans. This particular class of treasure guardians seems to have grown out of the practice of grave robbing. In many ancient societies, people were buried with their valuables in order to retain them in the next life.28 The dead did not take kindly, therefore, to anyone who tried to plunder their wealth. In fact, dying kings and nobles hoping to protect their sepulchers from ransack may have generated this treasure-guardian lore in an effort to frighten off tomb raiders. Frequently, treasure-guarding ghosts were either the spirit of the person who had hidden the treasure or the spirit of a person who had been killed and deposited with the treasure to watch over it.29 This latter scenario was considered the customary practice of pirates.30 In some treasure tales, the unfortunate conscript lost his head.31
The devil and his minions made up the next major group of treasure guardians.32 These satanic guardians apparently owed their existence to the notion that God dwells in the heavens above the earth and the devil lives beneath the earth. Satan laid claim on the treasure deposited within his subterranean dominion.33 Also, since burying treasure was often associated with greed, robbery, and murder, the devil found his way into many a treasure tale.34 In 1825, a Palmyra newspaper explained the recent failure of one group to recover a buried treasure: "His Satanic Majesty, or some other invisible agent, appears to keep it under marching orders; for no sooner is it dug on to in one place, than it moves off like 'false delusive hope,' to another still more remote."35
Animals formed the third most common class of guardians—dogs being the most prevalent. There were treasures guarded by ghost dogs, headless dogs, yellow dogs with two tails, black dogs, scarlet dogs, and wolves. Other treasures were guarded by horses, bulls, a goat, a black cat, a black panther, a wild boar, and a big black hog with enormous white tusks.36
Note in the above the reference to “black” when the animal color is specified, and Joseph Smith used a black sheep to appease the dead Indian spirit that was sentenced by Satan to guard the treasure. God couldn’t have sentenced the dead Indian to such a horrid fate… could he? This is a person (the dead Indian) just like you and I who lived long ago. Does that mean we can be sentenced to do evil things by Satan? How can you claim this isn’t evil, or more specifically “white” magic? Magic is simply “magic” if the power being tapped into is not of God, or more specifically the Christian God… it’s black magic George… how can you claim it isn’t? If it isn’t, what is black magic?
More data for reference to back up the multiple accounts (note the reference to the charm, which by your definition is black magic):http://www.lightplanet.com/response/182 ... _Hill.html
Joseph Smith and the 1826 Trial:
New Evidence and New Difficulties1
by Marvin S. Hill2
BYU Studies Vol 12, Winter '72, p. 223-234
The Fraser's and Purple accounts of Josiah Stowell's testimony do not entirely agree. While both have Stowell testifying that he believed in Joseph's divining powers, Purple has Stowell saying Joseph could see treasures fifty feet underground, a statement which brought a direct challenge from Justice Neely. Stowell stuck to his story, however, and said he not only believed it but knew it. Both accounts give Jonathan Thompson as the last witness but with widely differing and contradictory versions of his testimony. Fraser's has Thompson relating how he, a man named Yeomans, and Joseph Smith went out at night and began digging, after Joseph told them the exact position of a treasure chest. They dug several feet and struck something with their shovel, after which Joseph looked into his glass and became frightened, seeing there an Indian who had buried the treasure and then killed his friend and buried him to guard it. Thompson said he believed that Joseph could divine such things with his stone and recounted how the chest, which was enchanted, kept settling away from them as they dug.
In the Purple version of Thompson, Joseph Smith told Stowell that a band of robbers had buried a treasure and placed a charm over it, which could only be removed by fasting and prayer. They dug for the treasure to a depth of five feet but decided they lacked sufficient faith to secure it. They offered the blood of a lamb as propitiation, but the treasure continued to recede from their reach.
It is when we examine specific examples of Smith's treasure seeing that Mormon explanations run aground. Jonathan Thompson, for instance, testifying in Smith's defense at the trial, reported that on one occasion Smith located a treasure chest with his seer stone. After digging several feet, the men struck something sounding like a board or plank. Excitedly they asked Smith to look into his stone again, probably to verify the source of the sound as there was apparently some doubt. But, as Thompson reported, Smith "would not look again pretending that he was alarmed . . . on account of the circumstances relating to the trunk being buried [which] came all fresh to his mind, that the last time that he looked, he discovered distinctly, the two Indians who buried the trunk, that a quarrel ensued between them and that one of said Indians was killed by the other and thrown into the hole beside of the truck, to guard it as he supposed." The trial record says that Thompson is a believer in Smith's "professed skill" and believes that "on account of an enchantment, the trunk kept settling away from under them while digging."
George Miller wrote:That being said ... there were no buried treasure to find ... so all their digging and reciting of scripture was in vain :-)
This is the part I don’t get George. Joseph Smith claimed what he saw through his seer stone was a dead Indian guarding a treasure. Joseph Smith claimed he translated every word of Mormon doctrine with the exact same seer stones. How can one be true and the other be false? How can one be of God and the other not of God?
George Miller wrote:
Thews wrote:Thanks. How about “black” magic? Would you accept contact with evil spirits “for any purpose” as “black” magic?
No I don't think this definition is good. Contact is too general a term and would mean that anyone attacked by a demon, or anyone that thinks they see a ghost, or anyone that feels a chill down their back is involved in black magic
. Additionally, I don't think that banishing demons, a process that would involve contact, should be defined as black magic
. Academics of today would not classify what Joseph Smith did as black magic
nor would most Americans of the early 1800s classify this as black magic
. While many of the 1800s would classify the Smith families activities as a silly, superstitious, a waste of time and dumb headed they would usually not consider their activities black magic
Don’t you think banishing demons in search of treasure and claiming it isn’t
black magic is a little loose to say the least? I find this opinion far too biased to be based on logic, but rather your beliefs and what you need to be true. How would you suggest we reach a conclusion that comes from an unbiased source?
Thanks again for your insight George…. Your honesty is so refreshing in discussion.
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