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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: July 18, 2012 08:30PM

Let's review the sources on Smith's sorcery:

"It is no secret that Smith was infatuated with occultic practices. Durham states, "All available evidence suggests that Joseph Smith the prophet possessed a magical Masonic medallion or talisman, which he worked during his lifetime and which was evidently on his person when he was martyred." Mr. Durham describes this as "perhaps the strangest, the most mysterious, occult-like, esoteric, and yet Masonically oriented practice ever adopted by Joseph Smith"

("No Help for the Widow's Son," 1980, pg. 22, in Bill McKeever, "Masonic Influence in the Endowment Ceremony," at:http://www.mrm.org/masonic-influence).


"In 1974 Dr. Reed Durham, who was director of the LDS Institute of Religion at the University of Utah and president of the Mormon History Association, made a discovery that was so startling that it caused great consternation among Mormon scholars and officials.

"Dr. Durham found that what had previously been identified as the 'Masonic jewel of the Prophet Joseph Smith' was in reality a 'Jupiter talisman.'

"This is a medallion which contains material relating to astrology and magic. Dr. Durham, apparently not realizing the devastating implications of his discovery, announced this important find in his presidential address before the Mormon History Association on April 20, 1974:

"'. . . I should like to initiate all of you into what is perhaps the strangest, the most mysterious, occult-like esoteric, and yet Masonically oriented practice ever adopted by Joseph Smith. . . .

"'All available evidence suggests that Joseph Smith the Prophet possessed a magical Masonic medallion, or talisman, which he worked during his lifetime and which was evidently on his person when he was martyred. His talisman is in the shape of a silver dollar and is probably made of silver or tin.

"'It is exactly one and nine-sixteenths in diameter, . . . the talisman,. . . originally purchased from the Emma Smith Bidamon family, fully notarized by that family to be authentic and to have belonged to Joseph Smith, can now be identified as a Jupiter talisman.

"'It carries the sign and image of Jupiter and should more appropriately be referred to as the Table of Jupiter. And in some very real and quite mysterious sense, this particular Table of Jupiter was the most appropriate talisman for Joseph Smith to possess.

"'Indeed, it seemed meant for him, because on all levels of interpretation: planetary, mythological, numerological, astrological, mystical cabalism, and talismatic magic, the Prophet was, in every case, appropriately described.

"'The characters on the talisman are primarily in Hebrew, but there is one inscription in Latin. Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical equivalent and those numerical equivalents make up a magic square. By adding the numbers in this Jupiter Table in any direction . . . the total will be the same. In this case, on the Jupiter Table, 34. . . .

"'There is the one side of the talisman belonging to the Prophet Joseph Smith. You can see the Hebrew characters . . . you see on the margins, at the bottom is the Jupiter sign. . . . The cross at the top represents the spirit of Jupiter, and you will see the path of Jupiter in the orbit of the heavens, and then again the Jupiter sign.

"'I wasn't able to find what this was, for--as I said--two months; and finally, in a magic book printed in England in 1801, published in America in 1804, and I traced it to Manchester, and to New York.

"'It was a magic book by Francis Barrett and, lo and behold, how thrilled I was when I saw in his list of magic seals the very talisman which Joseph Smith had in his possession at the time of his martyrdom. . . .

"'To the Egyptians, Jupiter was known as Ammon, but to the Greeks he was Zeus: the ancient sky Father, or Father of the Gods. . . .

"'In astrology, Jupiter is always associated with high positions, getting one's own way, and all forms of status. And I quote: "Typically a person born under Jupiter will have the dignity of a natural ruler. . . . He will probably have an impressive manner. . . . In physical appearance, the highly developed Jupiterian is strong, personable, and often handsome. . . . the Jupiterian influence produces a cheerful winning personality, capable of great development." . . .

"So closely is magic bound up with the stars and astrology that the term astrologer and magician were in ancient times almost synonymous. The purpose of the Table of Jupiter in talismanic magic was to be able to call upon the celestial intelligences, assigned to the particular talisman, to assist one in all endeavors. The names of the deities which we gave to you, who could be invoked by the Table were always written on the talisman or represented by various numbers. Three such names were written on Joseph Smith's talisman: Abbah, Father; El Ob, Father is God or God the Father; and Josiphiel, Jehovah speaks for God, the Intelligence of Jupiter.

"'When properly invoked, with Jupiter being very powerful and ruling in the heavens, these intelligences—by the power of ancient magic—guaranteed to the possessor of this talisman the gain of riches, and favor, and power, and love and peace; and to confirm honors, and dignities, and councils.

"'Talismatic magic further declared that any one who worked skillfully with this Jupiter Table would obtain the power of stimulating anyone to offer his love to the possessor of the talisman, whether from a friend, brother, relative, or even any female ("Mormon Miscellaneous," published by David C. Martin, vol. 1, no. 1, October 1975, pp.14-15).'

"Reed Durham was severely criticized by Mormon scholars and officials for giving this speech. He was even called in by Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball, and finally found it necessary to issue a letter in which he reaffirmed his faith in Joseph Smith and said that he was sorry for the 'concerns, and misunderstandings' that the speech had caused.

"We feel that Dr. Durham's identification of Joseph Smith's talisman is one of the most significant discoveries in Mormon history and that he should be commended for his research.

"That Joseph Smith would own such a magic talisman fits very well with the evidence from his 1826 trial. W. D. Purple, who was an eye-witness to the trial, claimed it was reported that Smith said certain talismanic influences were needed to recover a box of treasure:

"'Mr. Thompson, an employee of Mr. Stowell, was the next witness. . . . Smith had told the Deacon that very many years before a band of robbers had buried on his flat a box of treasure, and as it was very valuable they had by a sacrifice placed a charm over it to protect it, so that it could not be obtained except by faith, accompanied by certain talismanic influences. . . . the box of treasure was struck by the shovel, on which they redoubled their energies, but it gradually receded from their grasp. One of the men placed his hand upon the box, but it gradually sunk from his reach. . . . Mr. Stowell went to his flock and selected a fine vigorous lamb, and resolved to sacrifice it to the demon spirit who guarded the coveted treasure ... but the treasure still receded from their grasp, and it was never obtained ("The Chenango Union," Norwich, N.Y., May 3, 1877, as cited in "A New Witness For Christ In America," vol. 2, pp.366-67).'

"Dr. Durham was unable to determine just when Joseph Smith obtained his talisman, but the fact that he was recommending 'certain talismanic influences' around the time of the 1826 trial is certainly interesting.

"The Jupiter talisman is probably the type of talisman a money digger would be interested in because it was supposed to bring its possessor 'the gain of riches, and favor, and power.'

"Regardless of when Joseph Smith obtained his talisman, we do know that he possessed it up to the time of his death.

"He must have felt that it was very important because the Mormon scholar LaMar C. Berrett reveals that 'This piece was in Joseph Smith's pocket when he was martyred at Carthage Jail' ("The Wilford C. Wood Collection," 1972, vol. 1, p.173).

"Wesley P. Walters says that 'Charles E. Bidamon, who sold the talisman to the Wood collection, stated in his accompanying affidavit: "Emma Smith Bidamon the prophet's widow was my foster mother. She prized this piece very highly on account of its being one of the prophet's intimate possessions' (Charles E. Bidamon Affidavit. Wood Coll. #7-J-b-21)."

(Jerald and Sandra Tanner, "Joseph Smith and Money-digging," Chapter 4, in "The Changing World of Mormonism," at:http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/changech4.htm)


"Before the medallion was properly identified, it was known as the 'Masonic Jewel of the Prophet Joseph Smith.' In the shape of a silver dollar, the piece measures exactly 1-9/16 inches in diameter and is probably made of silver or tin (see photo). A copy of the Jupiter talisman can be seen in Francis Barrett's occultic book "The Magus," p. 174. . . .

"Apparently, nobody really knew what Joseph Smith's 'Masonic Jewel' was before April 20, 1974. It was on that day that Dr. Reed Durham presented his discovery in his address before the Mormon History Association.

"As President of the Association and Director of the LDS Institute of Religion at the University of Utah, Dr. Durham probably had their full attention when he spoke:

"'. . . I should like to initiate all of you into what is perhaps the strangest, the most mysterious, occult-like esoteric, and yet Masonically oriented practice ever adopted by Joseph Smith. . . . All available evidence suggests that Joseph Smith the Prophet possessed a magical Masonic medallion, or talisman, which he worked during his lifetime and which was evidently on his person when he was martyred.'

"After describing the medallion, Dr. Durham then added, "\'. . . [the talisman] originally purchased from the Emma Smith Bidamon family, fully notarized by that family to be authentic and to have belonged to Joseph Smith, can now be identified as a Jupiter talisman. It carries the sign and image of Jupiter and should more appropriately be referred to as the Table of Jupiter.'

"Dr. Durham was correct. The table, also called the Kamea, can be depicted in either English numbers (as shown in the talisman found in The Magus) or in Hebrew (as used by Smith). According to Barrett, the table '. . . consists of a square drawn into itself; it contains sixteen particular numbers, and in every line and diameter four, making thirty-four; the sum of all is one hundred and thirty-six. There are over it divine names, with an intelligence to that which is good, and a spirit to bad; and out of it is drawn the character of Jupiter and the spirits thereof; if this is engraven on a plate of silver, with Jupiter being powerful and ruling in the heavens, it conduces to gain riches and favor, love, peace and concord, and to appease enemies, and to confirm honors, dignities, and counsels.'

"Mormon History Association President Durham admitted, '. . . in some very real and quite mysterious sense, this particular Table of Jupiter was the most appropriate talisman for Joseph Smith to possess. Indeed, it seemed meant for him, because on all levels of interpretation: planetary, mythological, numerological, astrological, mystical cabalism, and talismatic magic, the Prophet was, in every case, appropriately described. . . . In astrology, Jupiter is always associated with high positions, getting one's own way, and all forms of status . . . Talismatic magic further declared that anyone who worked skillfully with the Jupiter Table would obtain the power of stimulating anyone to offer his love to the possessor of the talisman, whether from a friend, brother, relative, or even any female.'

"Dr. Durham did not determine just when Smith obtained his talisman, but states that its description was discovered ". . . in a magic book printed in England in 1801, published in America in 1804, and I traced it to Manchester, and to New York [where Joseph Smith grew up]. It was a magic book by Francis Barrett and, lo and behold, how thrilled I was when I saw in his list of magic seal the very talisman which Joseph Smith had in his possession at the time of his martyrdom.'

"The fact that the talisman was on Joseph's person at the time of his death has been absolutely established. Mormon scholar LaMar C. Berrett tells us, 'This piece was in Joseph Smith's pocket when he was martyred at Carthage jail.'

"According to the Charles E. Bidamon affidavit (who sold the talisman to the Wood collection), 'Emma Smith Bidamon the prophet's widow was my foster mother. She prized this piece very highly on account of its being one of the prophet's intimate possessions. . . . I certify that I have many times heard her say. when being interviewed. and showing the piece. That it was in the prophet's pocket when he was martyred at Carthage, Ill.'

"Even though Dr. Durham was a very influential Mormon Historian, his honesty regarding the truth behind Joseph Smith's magic talisman must be applauded. It caused him a great deal of difficulty with the Mormon hierarchy, however. . . . "

(Larry Hall, "Joseph Smith's Magick Talisman," at: http://digimob.forumotion.net/t465-joseph-s-magick-talisman)


"Dr. Reed Durham, former president of the Mormon History Association, and Professor of Religion at the University of Utah, in a 1974 lecture revealed that at the time of his death Joseph Smith was wearing what was formerly thought to have been a 'Masonic jewel' was actually a 'Jupiter talisman.'

"This proves that Joseph Smith was engaged in occult practices until the end of his life in 1844.

"A talisman is an object engraved with astrological signs believed to have possessed power to avert evil and bring good luck. Such pieces are clearly identified with occult magic. This lecture, although true, brought the wrath of then President Spencer W. Kimbell down upon Dr. Durham. The talisman is currently kept in the LDS Archives." (Allen Harrod, "Who Was Joseph Smith," at http://www.watchman.org/lds/whoisjose...

"Mormon author D. Michael Quinn writes that Joseph Smith had at the time of his death, '. . . a silver Jupiter medallion constructed according to the instructions for making "Magic Seals, or Talismans," in Barrett's 1801 'The Magus' (Quinn, 'Early Mormonism and the Magic World View,' p.66)."

(James Walker, "Enemies of the Cross," at: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/apl/jw/jw-071.txt)



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 07/18/2012 08:42PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Tara the Pagan ( )
Date: July 18, 2012 09:26PM

Another great post, Steve! This one's of particular interest to me because I'm writing a novel centered around the Jupiter Talisman.

Question: What's your response to the apologists who claim that, despite Barrett and Bidamon, there's no proof he ever owned such a piece and that it wasn't listed in the inventory of possessions that were on his body?

Also, any idea where it's at right now, in 2012? (I'm guessing it's in "the vault," along with anything else they've got that might make JS look bad).

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: July 18, 2012 09:41PM

Mormon apologists have attempted to refute evidence that Smith possessed a magic Jupiter talisman, claiming that the object was not among the inventoried items taken from Smith's pants pocket after he was gunned down in June 1844.

Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn effectively dispenses with that diversion:

"Even if the inventory listed items removed from Smith's trouser pocket after his death, such a search would not necessarily have revealed a chain amulet of the type passed down in the Bidamon family, unless the shirt were removed from the body. The descendants of Hyrum Smith, who was killed with his brother Joseph in Carthage Jail, retain to this day Hyrum's bullet-riddled clothes . . . , indicating that the two brothers' clothing was not removed from their bodies prior to 28 June, when the bodies were returned to Nauvoo and prepared for burial."

Moreover, Quinn writes:

"Independent evidence verifies Joseph Smith's possession of every other item Bidamon claimed was the prophet's. In view of the unquestioned provenance of every other artifact Bidamon sold to Wood, of his own sworn affidavit, of the fact that Bidamon did not know what the 'silver pocket piece' actually was and of the precise astrological connections between the Jupiter talisman's own birth, it seems to strain the evidence to dispute Bidamon's claims that Smith possessed and valued the Jupiter medallion.

"In fact, the managing editor of the LDS Church's 'Ensign' magazine did not hesitate to affirm Joseph Smith's ownership of this 'silver piece' in a Deseret Book publication of 1969.

"There were no efforts to dispute Joseph Smith's possession of this artifact until after April 1974, when Reed C. Durham, then-director of the LDS Institute of Religion in Salt Lake City, publicly identified the medallion as a magic Jupiter talisman rather than a Masonic jewel . . . ."

Quinn also offers corroborating evidence from the artifact collections of the Mormon Church itself “[i]n support of the view that Joseph Smith valued the governing planet [Jupiter] of his astrological birth to own a Jupiter talisman":

"[S]ince 1985, the LDS Museum of Church History and Art has displayed another artifact linking Mormonism's founder with Jupiter . . . . The museum's permanent exhibition on the presidents of the LDS Church has included a serpent-headed cane inscribed with the initials "J.S." under a carved crown . . . .

"By Joseph Smith's time it was a long-established astrological tradition that the serpent was one of the animals which both Saturn and Jupiter governed . . . . Saturn ruled over Smith's zodiacal birth sign of Capricorn, but Jupiter was the ruling planet of his birth year and of his birth in Capricorn's First Decan.

"The traditional magic world view was that those born in the first degree of Capricorn could ‘soothe poisonous serpents . . . .

Indeed, Quinn notes that “[a]bove the carved crown on Smith’s serpent cane is a symbol that closely resembles the magic seal or sigil of Jupiter . . . . “ He notes that although some “could construe that symbol as a representation of St. Andrew’s cross, there is no other religious motif on the cane (unless one chooses to regard the serpent as a satanic motif, which would not fit with the other motifs at all), and it is doubtful that the carvings of Joseph Smith’s cane would spontaneously remind even the most ardent Christian of the crucifixion.”

Quinn further describes Smith’s astrological Jupiter snake cane in its proper magical context:

“Stylistically, the carving of the serpent’s head (traditionally connected with Joseph Smith’s birth sign of Capricorn and his governing planet Jupiter) flows into three descending symbols carved on that Smith cane: the apparent Jupiter sigil, the crown and the initials ‘J.S.’ . . . Those symbols seem to convey the message: ‘Jupiter—reigns over—Joseph Smith.’ This apparent meaning of the three descending carved symbols on Joseph Smith’s cane is consistent with the cane’s dominant motif of the Jupiter-ruled serpent, with Joseph Smith’s own astrological birth under the governing influence of Jupiter, and with the Jupiter talisman, preserved by Charles Bidamon as one of the prophet’s relics maintained by his widow Emma Smith Bidamon.”

Quinn goes on to identify even more evidence “[i]n connection with the Jupiter talisman,” noting that “a second Joseph Smith medallion has been on display for 80 years in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is labeled, ‘MASONIC EMBLEM Owned by PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH. Later belonged to BRIGHAM YOUNG. Donor: Zina Y. Card.” Quinn notes that Card “was the daughter of Zina D. Huntington, a plural wife of both Smith and Brigham Young.”

Quinn further notes that this medallion, “[a]lso silver, . . . is dominated by the image of a dove in flight with an olive branch in its beak. . . .”

Quinn argues that “it is possible to assert that, like the Jupiter medallion, the dove medallion probably had no Masonic significance to Smith,” observing that “[t]he librarian of the Masonic Mother Supreme Council of the World has written that ‘the dove is not one of the ordinary symbols in Freemasonry.’" Moreover, Quinn observes that “[t]he executive secretary of the Masonic Service Association of the United States responded to a drawing of Smith’s dove-and-olive-branch emblem: ‘[I]t was an emblem unfamiliar to me.’” Although briefly conferred in early frontier America as only a “’side degree’ to the Royal Arch,” Quinn writes that “the emblem is so little known in America that a Masonic publication in 1945 began an article on the dove with the question: ‘How many of our readers are aware that the dove occupies a high place among our Masonic symbols?’”

Significantly, in not assigning Smith’s dove medallion to regularly-practiced Masonry, Quinn observes that the prescribed suspension by Masonic deacons of the dove medallion around their necks and outside of their clothing indicated their assigned roles as “messengers of the Masters and Wardens,” and thus “was not part of Smith’s own Masonic experience.”

Quinn thus concludes that “[b]ecause this rare [dove] Masonic pendant of English Freemasonry evidently had no relationship to Smith’s own Masonic experience in America, his possession of it would suggest another purpose. Despite its original Masonic manufacture, . . . [it] could also be viewed as a Jupiter symbol, just as the dove itself was a Venus symbol.”

Based on such evidence, Quinn describes Smith’s experiential tradition (along with that of his family) as being the practice of occultic folk magic. In this regard, the symbol of the dove is, in fact, definitely related to assigned astrological powers:

“For almost two hundred years before Smith’s birth, English books on astrology and the Cabala ascribed the dove to Venus. Moreover, in this tradition of astrological magic, Quinn notes that a medallion engraved on silver (as was Smith’s dove medallion) imbued its magic-believing possessor with, among other things, the power to obtain “fortune,” “procure women” and “dissolve enchantments.” Quinn further notes that “within the magic world-view,” the dove “was the one form that neither devils or witches could assume. . . ."

Indeed, Quinn notes that “[i]n medieval Europe, the dove and olive branch served as ‘a talisman to ensure pilgrims hospitality wherever they traveled,’ and the dove was a ‘sexual emblem sacred to love and mother goddesses.’ In fact, the latter meaning was the central reason a 19th-century Masonic encyclopedia rejected the dove as ‘a proper emblem,’ it ‘being also of an ultra-amative [i.e., sexual love] nature’ . . . .”

Hence, Quinn writes:

“Such uses of a silver Venus talisman complimented Joseph Smith’s Jupiter talisman . . . . Smith’s possession of talismans was consistent with early America’s heritage and contemporary practice [of Christian] . . . ceremonial magic.”

Mormon apologists, even if conceding that Smith possessed a Jupiter talisman, attempt to deny that it had any occultic significance to him.

An anonymous defender of Smith writes:

" . . . [E]ven if this item did belong to Joseph Smith, what meaning can we infer? There is no mention of this item among any writings of Joseph Smith's, nor among any accounts written by any of his contemporaries. Even if we assume that he possessed this item, there is no evidence as to what meaning it may or may not have had to him. To suppose that Joseph Smith attributed supernatural or occult powers to such an item as this is less than speculation, and solidly in the realm of wild-guessing."

(posted by "Anonymous" in response to the question, "What Is a Jupiter Talisman and Why Did Joseph Smith Carry One?, " 29 April 2007, at: http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/270184)

Quinn dispenses with this desperate diversion as well, noting, for instance, that Joseph Smith’s family was not historically accused by its Palmyra neighbors of practicing Masonry but, rather, “of practicing certain treasure-digging ceremonies, and it was [Joseph Smith’s mother] Lucy Smith who used the phrase [‘faculty of Abrac,’ i.e., ‘magic’] linking these accusations to ritual magic.”

(D. Michael Quinn, “Early Mormonism and the Magic World View,” Chapter 3, “Ritual Magic, Astrology and Talismans” (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1987], pp. 56, 65-67, 70-76, original emphasis)
_____


(for further on this and other related Smith, et al, occult practices and possessions, see: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,568994)



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/18/2012 10:15PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: ambivalent exmo ( )
Date: July 18, 2012 09:53PM

Someone needs to tell FAIR,
I had never even heard
of any of the occult stuff and
Joe smiths polygamy and polyandry
until I stumbled upon the FAIR board.
I'd be curious to know how many
members left the chrch after
reading the BS spewed forth on that crackmonkie site.

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Posted by: I believed this once, years ago.. ( )
Date: July 18, 2012 10:25PM

This is somewhat off-topic, but Ron L. Hubbard was fascinated by the occult as well, before he came up with his Scientology scam. Both men were glib braggarts, and natural con men.

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Posted by: ambivalent exmo ( )
Date: July 18, 2012 10:59PM

I checked out the coverage of the
scientology flap in the village voice.
A highly placed insider posted a bunch of
Lrons confessions or admissions
that Hubbard would say into a tape recorder,
and play it to himself while sleeping.
Sort of a self hypnosis thing.
Anyway, all I could think of while reading the transcripts was

:: Joseph smith::

Talk about a window into the mind of a megalomaniac con man,
occult freak, bogus religion inventor.
Just like Joe Smith.
Very, very disturbing and revealing.
I recommend thorough reading of this stuff.
CRAZY.
edit to add: here is the link to the " affirmations" of L Ron Hubbard. Scroll down a bit to find the beginning.
Wow.

http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/writings/ars/ars-2000-03-11.html



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/18/2012 11:07PM by ambivalent exmo.

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Posted by: up ( )
Date: July 19, 2012 12:17PM


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