Date: January 19, 2012 03:28PM
Here is a short summary of some LDS doctrines and teachings that have plausible links to the occult according to D Michael Quinn's work.
-Joseph's visit by Moroni was linked to the art of necromancy. As evidence, Quinn cites the fact that one of Smith's magical parchments was very probably created in the week leading up to his first visit. This magical parchment was empowered by "Raphael," the angel of "good spirit visits." September 22, when Smith was visited, is the autumnal equinox and is clearly linked to necromancy in the occult. To make it harder to dismiss this as coincidence, Smith stated himself that he prayed at 11 PM. This is the hour when Raphael rules the heavens and is seen as the best hour to commune with good spirits. As per necromantic instructions, he was visited 3 times during the night and these visits ended at daybreak.
-According to friendly and unfriendly witnesses, Joseph was not allowed to take the plates the first time, not because of an electric shock, but because some sort of reptile (probably a salamander) slapped him and transformed into the spirit Moroni. Benjamin Saunders testified to this and he was Joseph's boyhood friend and had a very positive view of Joseph throughout his life. Interestingly, Moron meant a poisonous salamander in 1800s New York. Maron was a spirit that was believed to guard treasure. Joseph originally spelled the name "Maroni."
-The spirit told him to bring his spiritually gifted brother, Alvin, in exactly a year to obtain the treasure. (According to faithful member, Joseph Knight). Unfortunately for Joseph, Alvin died two months later. When neighbors foudn this out, they spread rumors that Joseph planned to dig up Alvin's remains and take them to the hill. Joseph Smith Sr. actually took out an ad in the Palmyra newspaper to dispel these rumors. Joseph took his occult mentor to the hill (probably Samuel Lawrence, a known devil worshipper) instead.
-He was told that he could not obtain the treasure until he brought the right person. When he met Emma Hale, he claimed that he recieved revelation that she was the right person. He eloped with her so that he could take her to the hill and recieve the plates.
-The church was organized on April 6. Many Mormons claim that this was Jesus' birthday. According to Quinn, there is ample evidence that Joseph chose this day because it was a day that his strong astrological beliefs indicated would be a good day to set out on a new venture.
-Quinn also chronicles how almost every wedding that Joseph had was on a day that was astrologically significant and "good for romance and love." Brigham Young even claimed that Joseph tried to introduce astrology into church doctrine in his Nauvoo days.
-LDS doctrine has an obsession with seer stones and the Urim and Thummim. Someday, the D&C claims, we will each have our own and the Earth will become a giant seer stone. Joseph Smith believed in magic rocks or seer stones in which you could see anything. He owned several during his life time. Pictures of his magic seer stones are readily available on the web for those interested.
-The Book of Mormon quotes Isaiah 29 where it talks about the BOM "speaking from the dust." Mormon apologists claim that this scripture is a prophecy of the Book of Mormon. Critics note that the context of the scripture makes clear that Isaiah is referring to necromancy. Joseph clearly had no problem with necromancy though, so believers should not be disturbed.
-Mormons believe that 2/3s of the Book of Mormon were "sealed." Most envision literal seals on the plates. However, Smith never says this. He says they are sealed by the power of God. There is a long magical tradition of magically "bound or sealed" works that Smith would have believed.
-In the Book of Mormon, there are several references to a "curse" upon the land that made treasures "slippery." This was common treasure digging language. Most money diggers (like Smith, Martin Harris, and Porter Rockwell) reported finding chests of treasure that "slipped away" through the mud because they were cursed.
-Many Book of Mormon names have magical parallels. Here are a few:
-Mormo means a spirit or spectre in New England. When early anti-Mormons pointed this out, Smith responed that "Mormon" actually meant "More good" in Reformed Egyptian. You can choose which explanation sounds more plausible.
-Alma means soul in spanish and Almazim was a magical spirit that was a giver of treasure.
-Nephi is related to a common Cabbalist term for spirit "Nephes." Cabbalist identify Nephes as spirits that can be called forth through necromancy. Quinn even claims that this is why after 1839 the church changed its story from saying that Moroni gave Smith the plates to saying that Nephi had.
-The Book of Mormon displays an obsession with "works of darkness" and "secret combinations." Many have claimed that this has to do with anti-Masonic hysteria in the region at the time that the BoM was written. However, there are also many parallels in magical works that use very similar wording when talking about black magic. In fact, LDS teaching about Cain becoming Master Mahan is very clearly taken from beliefs about ancienct magic. The Cabalists taught this very doctrine. Smith affirmed his belief in witches and sorcerers while President of the church.
-Critics often point to the fact that the Book of Mormon prophets seem to know much more about the coming Christ than the Biblical prophets ever did. This is suspicious. However, Quinn points out that numerous occult works also claim that Jewish sacrifice was a type of Jesus and several fake works of Isaiah draw explicit linkages between his prophecies and Jesus long before Mormons ever did. Magicians also believed that Adam knew that the purpose of his sacrifices was as a type of Christ.
-Smith believed that the Earth is a living, breathing soul. Brigham Young even taught that tides are caused by the Earth breathing rather than the Moon's gravity. These believes are also linked to Cabalist teachings. There is a long mystical tradition of animism and the fact that all animals have souls in occult works.
-The "Three Degrees of Glory" Revelations have always been attributed Immanuel Swedenborg. It is clear that Smith knew who he was and had read his books because he reportedly commented on having read his work. Swedenborg claims to have had a mystical vision of a third heaven called the "Celestial Kingdom" where there are married angels and such. However, there are also strong parallels to Cabalist teachings. They taught that there were three heavens: Celestial, Terrestrial and Infernal. It appears that Joseph changed the name of the last. Smith could have found these teachings in Sibly's Occult Sciences which we know he had access to since his family's magical parchments were created by the unique instructions of that book.
-Facsimile 2 from the Book of Abraham contains a translation of the supposed cosmology that God revealed to Abraham. However, it is quite apparent that those principles are much closer to astrology than to any astronomy that we recognize.
-In D&C 107, a very specific organization for the church is set out. It states that there must be a quorum of 12 deacons, 24 teachers, 48 priests, and 96 elders. On the next page, it says that there must be one quorum of 70, 12 apostles, 3 in the first presidency, and a high council. By the time that the Kirtland temple was built, Smith added a patriarch, another quorum of seventy and another high council in Missouri to this higher priesthood organization. There is no apparent Biblical or theological reason that these numbers became revelation. The church obviously does not even try to follow these prescriptions. Why did the Lord reveal them then? Mormons don't seem to have a good answer. Interestingly, both groups of quorums add up to 180. In numberology, 180 is seen as one of the strongest numbers for organization because it is the number of degrees in the strong triangle. And that may be where LDS church organization originally came from.
-Here are the parallels of the mother of all occult connections in Mormonism: the temple.
Quinn suggests that the Endowment ceremony most closely resembles the ancient Eleusinian mysteries. This was a celebrated cult based on the pagan Gods of Demeter and Persephone. People in the occult world in Smith's day were fascinated with these mysteries and obsessed with the divine knowledge that they claimed to posess. Here are 11 interesting aspects of the Eleusinian mystery cults that parallel the LDS temple ceremony almost exactly. (At least, these are what writers in the 1800s claimed about them. Smith would have ripped off these elements rather than the actual ceremonies.)
1. Eleusinian mysteries claim to be revealed by God from the beginning and to have gone through a period of apostasy.
2. Initiates must be worthy and chaste for a long period before admission.
3. Initiates are washed and anointed with oil, fed bread and wine, and clothed with a robe. There are given a silken garmet and a girdle.
4. Vows to not disclose the mystery or the tokens or be subject to the most dreadful penalties.
5. There are lesser and greater planes of ritual.
6. There is a drama that describes the beginnings of the universe.
7. Initiates swear an oath of chastity and purity.
8. The sun, moon, and star symbolism are present everywhere in the rituals.
9. The mortals are told how be exalted to become one of the ficitious Greek entitities.
10. At the end, they are called, "prophets, priests, and kings."
11. Gods were once mortal and passed through the apotheosis rites to obtain their position.
There are many other parallels with the occult world I am sure, but this is a pretty good list for now.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2012 12:45AM by captainmoroni.