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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:01 am 
midnight rambler

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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Hello,

What is, exactly, the point of having a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator that gets so many things wrong?

Very Respectfully,

Doctor CamNC4Me

Doc,

That's where NAMIRS comes in so handy. It now keeps the FP/12 schooled up on what is scientifically and scholarly known so that the FP/12 (i.e., God) doesn't keep backing stepping into gooey piles.

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:26 am 
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Gardner wrote:
As for issues in the way secular academics deal with the Book of Mormon, there are many. In most cases, it echoes Thomas O'Dea's famous statement that: "the Book of Mormon has not been universally considered by its critics as one of those books that must be read in order to have an opinion of it." When that is combined with what they do know about the Book of Mormon (Hebrews created the culture of the Americas--not my position, by the way) it is pretty certain that they will not be interested in understanding more.


Thomas O'Dea died in 1974. His book was published in 1957.

Are you suggesting that a statement made over 50 yrs ago is still applicable today? That the advent of the home computer and Internet have done nothing to give the Book of Mormon any greater exposure in 50 years. That LDS scholarship in support of Book of Mormon history and archaeology has remained stagnant for the past 50 years?

Is that really still the best reason that LDS scholarship in this area must hide behind after a half century since his quote??!!!

This is the type of rationale that keeps your efforts and credibility isolated to boards such as this!!

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:34 am 
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thews wrote:
George Miller I'd really like your take on what "occult" magicK is?

I have not read this entire thread (something I would need a week to do) but I thought I might at least add to the conversation a bit by responding to Thews query. Please forgive me if my answer covers ground that has already been covered with asphalt.
thews wrote:
When is magic defined as “occult” magic? What common ground can we start with? How about this:
Occult magic = worshipping the devil

I can understand your desire for defining occult magic as worshipping the devil. However, your definition is problematic. The word occult comes from the Latin occultus and simply means clandestine, secret or hidden. The term occult does not connote whether the source for the information is heavenly or diabolical nor if it is good or evil. The act of worshipping the devil is by definition Satanism. While Joseph Smith may have dabbled in occult magic, I think that accusing him of Satanism is, to say the least, a bit over the top.

You next try to refer to definitions as given by a member of the western mystery tradition (WMT) namely Aleister Crowley. As we have discussed before, the WMT and Aleister Crowley are products of the the 20th century and frankly are not a good representation of thinking in the early 19th century. For the same reason that relying on Bill Schnoebelen's arguments were problematic in our earlier conversation, relying on Crowley for your definitions of magic(k) are equally problematic from a scholastic point of view in understanding Joseph's environment.

thews wrote:
In attempting to define what brand of magic (magicK?) Joseph Smith used, and whether or not it falls under the umbrella of occult magic, I’d like to present as an absolute FACT that the stories Joe Smith told of spirits guarding treasure, was that they would be considered evil spirits.

One thing that I have not seen you differentiate between in your previous discussion Thews is the 17th-19th century distinction between white magic and black magic. The former and later distinctions were based largely on the requesting of assistance from God and Angels (white magic) versus the binding of demons to do ones own bidding (black magic).

On this note it would perhaps be good to look at the Smith families magical lamens as Quinn calls them. The Smith family magical lamens clearly fall into the class of white magic as they contain both various names of God and of the Archangels. When we look at Joseph Smith's Jupiter talisman we have the same white magic motif. For example Barrett's The Magus records that the names answering to the numbers of Jupiter related to the names of deity Ab and El Ab and to the two angels/archangels which are Jophiel and Hismael which are the Intelligence of Jupiter and the Spirit of Jupiter respectively. (NOTE: I would be remiss if I did not point out the connection between this and the Book of Abraham)

Furthermore your use of the term black magic to describe Joseph Smith's treasure seeking activities is equally problematic. I think that Ronald Higgins article From Captain Kidd's Treasure Ghost to the Angel Moroni is perhaps apropos to this conversation. In this article he describes how Joseph Smith's treasure seer slowly morphed over time into the angel Moroni. At the dividing line of this transition is the testimony of Heil Lewis.
Heil Lewis wrote:
He said that by a dream he was informed that at such a place in a certain hill, in an iron box, were some gold plates with curious engravings, which he must get and translate, and write a book; that the plates were to be kept concealed from every human being for a certain time, some two or three years; that he went to the place and dug till he came to the stone that covered the box, when he was knocked down; that he again attempted to remove the stone, and was again knocked down; this attempt was made the third time, and the third time he was knocked down. Then he exclaimed, "Why can't I get it?" or words to that effect; and then he saw a man standing over the spot, which to him appeared like a Spaniard, having a long beard coming down over his breast to about here, [Smith putting his hand to the pit of his stomach] with his [the ghost's] throat cut from ear to ear, and the blood streaming down, who told him that he could not get it alone; that another person whom he, Smith, would know at first sight, must come with him, and then he could get it.

Thus in Joseph Smith's mind the treasure guardian is conflated with Moroni, who at least according to Joseph Smith's story, is anything but an evil spirit but is instead an angel. Your assertion that the treasure guardian is always an evil spirit is just not sustainable. (NOTE: I would be remiss if I did not point out the Masonic allusion in the above quote.)

That being said I think that some of the accounts of Joseph Smith's treasure digging do involve evil spirits. However, the related descriptions do not describe the treasure seekers as trying to harness these evil spirits to their own wishes but instead they seek to keep them away and/or banish them.

On this note you may wish to recall what the New Testament has to say about such things. When Jesus was sending the devils packing the Pharisees had the following to say and Jesus responded.
Matthew 12:24-26 wrote:
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

thews wrote:
Does anyone want to take a stab at what would be a scholar’s definition of “occult” magic would be, rather than what it is not?

Occult magic is the use of techniques hidden from the general public to either request assistance from heavenly beings or to command infernal beings to do ones bidding. I think the record clearly shows that Joseph Smith was involved in the former form of magic.


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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:43 pm 
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Gardner wrote:
My uses of archaeology and ethnography follow the same lines of evidence and argument that I would (and have) used in a completely secular arena.

Do you make this statement from speaking at or with professional archeologists or professional archaeology settings? If so, could you specify when and where?

Quote:
The place where I differ from accepted scholarly doctrine is that I allow that there may have been a people here that is described by the Book of Mormon.


Why do you find this to be a "qualfying issue"? There are other relgious texts, that virtually all archaeogists either believe or don't believe, yet don't seem to affect thier professional works being associated with in any way.

Quote:
That premise is not currently acceptable in anthropological journals or with many anthropologists/archaeologist (and based on may of the abuses LDS authors have committed in the past, I grant they have reason).


Again, why? The fact that relgious texts have discussed ancient histories has never been seen as a reason for archaeogists not to show interest, engage in exploration of such histories, and render professional conclusions. So I don't think you are articulating the basis of your statement/conclusion!

What "abuses" by LDS scholars, if they are real concerns, are you specifically referring to?

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:11 pm 
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There's a real pattern here. Brandt does not like having to respond to questions calling for reference, reason and accountability.

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:03 pm 
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Joey wrote:
There's a real pattern here. Brandt does not like having to respond to questions calling for reference, reason and accountability.

Actually, Joey, I do. I don't respond to you.

If you had read the sentence where you ask:"Do you make this statement from speaking at or with professional archeologists or professional archaeology settings? If so, could you specify when and where?"-- you would have noticed that I mentioned that I have used that methodology in a secular setting. I have published articles using ethnohistoric methodology that are unrelated to the Book of Mormon. Ergo, I have consulted with professional archaeologist--and professional linguists--and professional ethnohistorians--and professional folklorists--and professional historians. Does that cover it for you?

If you are interested, you can check it out. I am now returning to the more satisfying mode of ignoring your posts.


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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:54 pm 
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Brant Gardner wrote:
Joey wrote:
There's a real pattern here. Brandt does not like having to respond to questions calling for reference, reason and accountability.

Actually, Joey, I do. I don't respond to you.

If you had read the sentence where you ask:"Do you make this statement from speaking at or with professional archeologists or professional archaeology settings? If so, could you specify when and where?"-- you would have noticed that I mentioned that I have used that methodology in a secular setting. I have published articles using ethnohistoric methodology that are unrelated to the Book of Mormon. Ergo, I have consulted with professional archaeologist--and professional linguists--and professional ethnohistorians--and professional folklorists--and professional historians. Does that cover it for you?




If you are interested, you can check it out. I am now returning to the more satisfying mode of ignoring your posts.


Brandt,

I am not criticizing you for who you ignore. But I think you lose respect here when you ignore "the question"! Particularly the "obvious question"!

So again;

Why would the Book of Mormon's text claimed history be such an "avoidance", or problem, for secular academic world and its archaeologists when other religious texts such as the Bible and Koran have never been an issue.

What "abuses" of LDS authors are you referring to and why are they "abusive"?

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:32 pm 
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Like I said, there's a real pattern here w Brandt. The applicable and obvious question get a Millett at best.

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:44 am 
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George Miller wrote:
I can understand your desire for defining occult magic as worshipping the devil. However, your definition is problematic. The word occult comes from the Latin occultus and simply means clandestine, secret or hidden. The term occult does not connote whether the source for the information is heavenly or diabolical nor if it is good or evil. The act of worshipping the devil is by definition Satanism. While Joseph Smith may have dabbled in occult magic, I think that accusing him of Satanism is, to say the least, a bit over the top.

Thanks for the response George. Since “occult” doesn’t mean what I suspected it meant, I think a better word would be “black” magic. The point in the argument being that appeasing a treasure guardian who is evil, is “black” magic. I still contend that any magic that attempt to conjure up power that is not of God (again from a Christian perspective) is not Christian, but rather the opposite and it what Deuteronomy 18:10 is warning against. To take that one step further though is rituals done to appease dead humans in the form of treasure guardians is absolutely “black” magic, or magic performed to contact evil spirits.
George Miller wrote:
You next try to refer to definitions as given by a member of the western mystery tradition (WMT) namely Aleister Crowley. As we have discussed before, the WMT and Aleister Crowley are products of the the 20th century and frankly are not a good representation of thinking in the early 19th century. For the same reason that relying on Bill Schnoebelen's arguments were problematic in our earlier conversation, relying on Crowley for your definitions of magic(k) are equally problematic from a scholastic point of view in understanding Joseph's environment.

OK, so what I’m understanding your point to be is that in Joseph’s day, magicK didn’t mean what it does today. Is that correct? If so, what did it mean? I don’t know much about magicK nor its origins, or if it evolved. I’d appreciate any insight you’d have on the differences.
thews wrote:
In attempting to define what brand of magic (magicK?) Joseph Smith used, and whether or not it falls under the umbrella of occult magic, I’d like to present as an absolute FACT that the stories Joe Smith told of spirits guarding treasure, was that they would be considered evil spirits.

George Miller wrote:
One thing that I have not seen you differentiate between in your previous discussion Thews is the 17th-19th century distinction between white magic and black magic. The former and later distinctions were based largely on the requesting of assistance from God and Angels (white magic) versus the binding of demons to do ones own bidding (black magic).

Mike Reed mentioned “binding” demons… what exactly is this?

George Miller wrote:
On this note it would perhaps be good to look at the Smith families magical lamens as Quinn calls them. The Smith family magical lamens clearly fall into the class of white magic as they contain both various names of God and of the Archangels. When we look at Joseph Smith's Jupiter talisman we have the same white magic motif. For example Barrett's The Magus records that the names answering to the numbers of Jupiter related to the names of deity Ab and El Ab and to the two angels/archangels which are Jophiel and Hismael which are the Intelligence of Jupiter and the Spirit of Jupiter respectively. (NOTE: I would be remiss if I did not point out the connection between this and the Book of Abraham)

Now you’re really confusing me George. Barret’s book The Magnus is labeled “occult philosophy” and is not Christian. The argument isn’t what white vs. black magic encompasses and how that fits under the umbrella of “religion”, but rather Christianity. This isn’t a subtle point in that Joseph Smith supposedly brought “restored” doctrine of Jesus Christ. When I ask what Deuteronomy 18:10-12 means from a Christian perspective, I find the argument that connects magic in any way to religion one argument, and to Christianity another argument. What do you believe Deuteronomy 18:10-12 warns against from a Christian perspective?

George Miller wrote:
Furthermore your use of the term black magic to describe Joseph Smith's treasure seeking activities is equally problematic. I think that Ronald Higgins article From Captain Kidd's Treasure Ghost to the Angel Moroni is perhaps apropos to this conversation. In this article he describes how Joseph Smith's treasure seer slowly morphed over time into the angel Moroni. At the dividing line of this transition is the testimony of Heil Lewis.
Heil Lewis wrote:
He said that by a dream he was informed that at such a place in a certain hill, in an iron box, were some gold plates with curious engravings, which he must get and translate, and write a book; that the plates were to be kept concealed from every human being for a certain time, some two or three years; that he went to the place and dug till he came to the stone that covered the box, when he was knocked down; that he again attempted to remove the stone, and was again knocked down; this attempt was made the third time, and the third time he was knocked down. Then he exclaimed, "Why can't I get it?" or words to that effect; and then he saw a man standing over the spot, which to him appeared like a Spaniard, having a long beard coming down over his breast to about here, [Smith putting his hand to the pit of his stomach] with his [the ghost's] throat cut from ear to ear, and the blood streaming down, who told him that he could not get it alone; that another person whom he, Smith, would know at first sight, must come with him, and then he could get it.

I would use this data to back up my argument that Joseph Smith was into black magic and created stories that morphed over time. How is the term “black” magic inappropriate if the intent is to appease an evil spirit of a dead human? After all, it was Joseph Smith was saw the dead Indian who guarded the treasure through his seer stone, and claimed it was the dead Indian that was moving the treasure away from the money-diggers.
George Miller wrote:
Thus in Joseph Smith's mind the treasure guardian is conflated with Moroni, who at least according to Joseph Smith's story, is anything but an evil spirit but is instead an angel. Your assertion that the treasure guardian is always an evil spirit is just not sustainable. (NOTE: I would be remiss if I did not point out the Masonic allusion in the above quote.)

This would indicate that Joseph Smith made up the story of Moroni, which would fit perfectly with his trade as a Village seer. He told tall tales of the spirits that guarded treasure to convince people that he could see them, thus convincing them to pay him for his services. Are you claiming this evolution of the stories changing a treasure guardian into Maroni are from God using a Mormon perspective?

George Miller wrote:
That being said I think that some of the accounts of Joseph Smith's treasure digging do involve evil spirits. However, the related descriptions do not describe the treasure seekers as trying to harness these evil spirits to their own wishes but instead they seek to keep them away and/or banish them.

But their intent was to contact the evil spirits to banish them from guarding the treasure. They weren’t praying to God to do it for them, but sacrificing black sheep in circles. This is the definition of black magic IMO, as the intentional contact with evil “for any purposes” is “black” magic by definition. If you disagree, how would you define “black” magic?
George Miller wrote:
On this note you may wish to recall what the New Testament has to say about such things. When Jesus was sending the devils packing the Pharisees had the following to say and Jesus responded.
Matthew 12:24-26 wrote:
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

Parallel arguments don’t negate the use of black magic. Again, the story of Joseph Smith as it pertains to Mormonism is that he is the conduit of God’s word.Before he received this supposed doctrine in the form of gold plates, he was attempting to contact evil spirits using his seer stones. Those exact seer stones were used to translate every single word of Mormon doctrine, so I reject the parallel as an attempt to downplay the significance Joseph Smith’s dealing with black magic. Logically, I really can’t see how anyone could place any “Christian” faith in Joseph Smith’s seer stones, as they are clearly objects used in black magic.

thews wrote:
Does anyone want to take a stab at what would be a scholar’s definition of “occult” magic would be, rather than what it is not?

George Miller wrote:
Occult magic is the use of techniques hidden from the general public to either request assistance from heavenly beings or to command infernal beings to do ones bidding. I think the record clearly shows that Joseph Smith was involved in the former form of magic.

Thanks. How about “black” magic? Would you accept contact with evil spirits “for any purpose” as “black” magic?
I appreciate your input George… you answer a lot of questions directly.

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:23 pm 
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Thews- Thanks for the respectful reply to my message. Let me see if I can respond in kind :-) I don't have an extensive amount of time to respond but let me share with you some points that you might find interesting.

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.

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.

That being said ... there were no buried treasure to find ... so all their digging and reciting of scripture was in vain :-)
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.


Last edited by George Miller on Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:17 am 
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George Miller wrote:
In Joseph Smith's day magic was considered to be divided into two forms white magic and black magic... 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.

Good points, George Miller. As you likely know, treasure seekers sometimes believed/asserted they were confronting daemons, divinities, and/or the spirits of the deceased. To repel daemons treasure seekers read a passage from the apocrypha, where Raphael exorcised the daemon. Despite what Thews may want to believe, this obviously is not black-magic. The activity was the functional equivalent to an exorcism. The names of Angels and Saints, and several symbols of the cross are found the Smith family parchments... but I am sure all this means little or nothing to Thews.

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:48 am 
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Mike Reed wrote:
Good points, George Miller. As you likely know, treasure seekers sometimes believed/asserted they were confronting daemons, divinities, and/or the spirits of the deceased. To repel daemons treasure seekers read a passage from the apocrypha, where Raphael exorcised the daemon. Despite what Thews may want to believe, this obviously is not black-magic. The activity was the functional equivalent to an exorcism. The names of Angels and Saints, and several symbols of the cross are found the Smith family parchments... but I am sure all this means little or nothing to Thews.

Thanks for the drive-by Mike in yet another post explaining what I think. When you claim what is "obvious" to you, it doesn't mean you're correct, because it's not obvious. While George's knowledge of the subject matter would draw conclusions that may disagree with mine, unlike you, his convictions to belief in Mormonism are genuine.

Wanna answer a question Mike? Where do you draw the line between black magic and Christianity? What is meant by Deuteronomy 18:10-12? In Brant’s arguments, this line doesn’t exist, because it cannot exist. In Joseph Antley’s arguments, key data about Joseph Smith's trial is disregarded in favor of favorable data. Since you’re a scholarly type, clearly this simple question isn’t too hard for you to answer… is it?

Thanks Mike

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:32 am 
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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
Quote:
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
Quote:
Moroni as Angel and as Treasure Guardian
Mark Ashurst-McGee
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
Quote:
Treasure Guardians
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
Quote:
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.

More specifics…
http://www.lds-mormon.com/vogel.shtml
Quote:
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.

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2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth & turn aside to myths


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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:00 pm 
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thews wrote:
What is meant by Deuteronomy 18:10-12?

I see you still haven't bothered to look up Dolansky.

Let's look at the verses most important:
Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

There are two categories of information here. One is action and the second is actor. Notice that most of the prohibitions deal with actors, not actions.

The most telling action is divination. That is problematic because that is precisely what the priest does with the urim and thummim and precisely what David did with his divining cup. Since the authorized people did the action, it isn't the action, it is the people.

Of course, there are actions that the Bible doesn't like (making someone pass through fire), but there are others where the action itself is neither good nor bad, but entirely dependent upon the person doing it. That is why the majority of the list deals with unauthorized people. Your use of the scripture does not fit with the rest of scripture. I suggest that you are misapplying it.

If you disagree, tell me why Dolansky is wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:03 pm 
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thews wrote:
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.
This is a perfect example of the reason that we are not able to communicate. This is a false dichotomy, and none of the clauses represents anything I recognize.

I submit that there is way more you are not understanding about a Mormon perspective that this question if this is your encapsulation.


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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:14 pm 
abstract
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Brant Gardner wrote:
thews wrote:
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.
This is a perfect example of the reason that we are not able to communicate. This is a false dichotomy, and none of the clauses represents anything I recognize.

I'm glad you came back to this thread Brant, as I see you as a subject matter expert. We are communicating, but we disagree...normal IMO. The only way I see a common ground being reached is by understanding both the data and the definition of words. When you say, "clauses represents anything I recognize," what does that mean?

Brant Gardner wrote:
I submit that there is way more you are not understanding about a Mormon perspective that this question if this is your encapsulation.

It's why I asked the question. I'll get back to the Deuteronomy post later, but if we can agree on the facts it woul dhelp. What is your take on the testimony regarding the dead Indian guarding the treasure? Was Joseph Smith mistaken, or do you believe he didn't claim to see the dead Indian guarding the treasure? This is really pivotal in my understanding of the events and what to make of them and I really appreciate your input Brant.

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2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth & turn aside to myths


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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:50 pm 
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Brant Gardner wrote:
thews wrote:
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.
This is a perfect example of the reason that we are not able to communicate. This is a false dichotomy, and none of the clauses represents anything I recognize.

I submit that there is way more you are not understanding about a Mormon perspective that this question if this is your encapsulation.


How, Brant, does your Mormon perspective differentiate when what Joseph Smith saw in the seer stone was divine (I'm guessing you'd include, for example, the Book of Mormon) and when it wasn't?

How do you know that your standard for making the differentiation does not end up including statements in the wrong category? If it's 'personal revelation', how do you account for others getting different results? How do you know they haven't been more earnest and diligent and honest in seeking personal revelation than you?

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:31 pm 
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Nimrod wrote:
How, Brant, does your Mormon perspective differentiate when what Joseph Smith saw in the seer stone was divine (I'm guessing you'd include, for example, the Book of Mormon) and when it wasn't?

I don't know of anything that I would classify as divine that preceded the translation of the Book of Mormon. I don't know of anything after that time that was purely secular.

I don't classify scrying as a good/evil dichotomy as thews does. I think there are explanations of scrying that place it in the realm of understandable human behavior using understandable physical mechanisms. When those human mechanisms are inspired by the divine, then the nature of the result is different.

It certainly isn't the same, but many artists show phases where their work shows a basic talent, but not yet the genius to come. While the basic capabilities existed, some transitional inspiration creates something much different from the previous work.

As you mentioned, I include the Book of Mormon in the list of things that were extra-human. I know of no other scryer who produced anything similar (though I have at least one account of a novice scryer seeing a page with writing on it--the underlying structure I mentioned).


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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:36 pm 
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thews wrote:
When you claim what is "obvious" to you, it doesn't mean you're correct, because it's not obvious.

I am not surprised that what George and I see as obvious is not obvious to you..

Quote:
While George's knowledge of the subject matter would draw conclusions that may disagree with mine, unlike you, his convictions to belief in Mormonism are genuine.

Whatever you say, Don Quixote.

Quote:
Wanna answer a question Mike?

Nope.

Quote:
Since you’re a scholarly type, clearly this simple question isn’t too hard for you to answer… is it?

I have no desire to talk sense to the senseless.

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:43 pm 
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thews wrote:
In Joseph Antley’s arguments, key data about Joseph Smith's trial is disregarded in favor of favorable data.


What key data have I disregarded, and what favorable data have I disregarded it for?

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 Post subject: Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:06 pm 
abstract
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Mike Reed wrote:
thews wrote:
When you claim what is "obvious" to you, it doesn't mean you're correct, because it's not obvious.

I am not surprised that what George and I see as obvious is not obvious to you..

Quote:
While George's knowledge of the subject matter would draw conclusions that may disagree with mine, unlike you, his convictions to belief in Mormonism are genuine.

Whatever you say, Don Quixote.

Quote:
Wanna answer a question Mike?

Nope.

Quote:
Since you’re a scholarly type, clearly this simple question isn’t too hard for you to answer… is it?

I have no desire to talk sense to the senseless.

I apoloigize Mike for including you in this thread. I assumed you had an opinion to offer based on your background... I was incorrect. It won't happen again.

_________________
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


Last edited by thews on Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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