Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Early Mormonism and the Magic World View/Chapter 3

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Response to claims made in "Chapter 3: Ritual Magic, Astrology, Amulets, and Talismans"

A FairMormon Analysis of: Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, a work by author: D. Michael Quinn

Response to claims made in Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, "Chapter 3: Ritual Magic, Astrology, Amulets, and Talismans"

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Response to claim: 76-79 - Joseph is claimed to have considered the date April 6th to have "astrological significance" as the "DAY-FATAL-ITY"

The author(s) of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View make(s) the following claim:

Joseph is claimed to have considered the date April 6th to have "astrological significance" as the "DAY-FATAL-ITY."
  • This claim is also cited in Becoming Gods p. 38, 345n100.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

The author provides no evidence for what Joseph believed about April 6. He fails to mention the one bit of evidence that we do have for what Joseph may have thought: D&C 20:1 suggests that April 6 was seen as the date of Christ's birth.[1] The author fails to cite D&C 20.



Response to claim: 84, 424 n145 - The book repeatedly claims, citing Francis King, that Barrett's The Magus "played an important part in the English revival of magic"

The author(s) of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View make(s) the following claim:

The book repeatedly claims, citing Francis King, that Barrett's The Magus "played an important part in the English revival of magic."

(Author's sources: *Francis King, Magic: The Western Tradition (London: Thames and Hudson, 1975), 17.
  • E.M. Butler, Ritual Magic (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1949), 254.
  • Cavendish, Man, Myth & Magic 2:221
  • Nevill Drury, Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985), 25
  • National Union Catalog of Pre-1956 Imprints, 36:563.)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

The author cites a work referring to an occult book that was not republished in England until fifty years after the publication of the Book of Mormon, yet does not inform the reader that this citation can have absolutely nothing to do with "early Mormonism."

"But what "revival of magic" is King discussing? The revival of the late, not the early, nineteenth century. This is clear from the fact that the only specific example of Barrett's influence on a magic revival that King discusses is Frederick Hockley, who reprinted Barrett's book in 1870."



  • William J. Hamblin, "That Old Black Magic (Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn)," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 225–394. [{{{url}}} off-site]

Response to claim: 84, 424 n146 - "Barrett's Magus "created an immediate sensation. . . . Barrett's book and teachings were also widely available to Smith's generation"

The author(s) of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View make(s) the following claim:

From the first edition (D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1987), 67. [i.e. 1st edition]):

"...how extensively Barrett's Magus circulated in the United States during the early nineteenth century is unknown."

  • From the second edition (D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), 84. [i.e. 2nd edition]):

"... Barrett's Magus "created an immediate sensation. . . . Barrett's book and teachings were also widely available to Smith's generation [in America]."

(Author's sources: *W. D. Bellhouse, "A Complete System of Magic," 38-39, manuscript (ca. 1852), Magic Collection, Mnuscript Division, New York Public Library, New York City, New York.)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

The author provides no new citations or data between editions. Yet, he alters his claim—without evidence, and despite his cited sources—to suit his thesis.



  • William J. Hamblin, "That Old Black Magic: Review of D. Michael Quinn. Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 225–394.*


Notes

  1. ↑ John Franklin Hall, "April 6," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 1:61–62.