Early Mormonism and the Magic World View

Early Mormonism and the Magic World View In this ground breaking book D Michael Quinn masterfully reconstructs an earlier age finding ample evidence for folk magic in nineteenth century New England as he does in Mormon founder Joseph Smit

  • Title: Early Mormonism and the Magic World View
  • Author: D. Michael Quinn
  • ISBN: 9781560850892
  • Page: 141
  • Format: Paperback
  • In this ground breaking book, D Michael Quinn masterfully reconstructs an earlier age, finding ample evidence for folk magic in nineteenth century New England, as he does in Mormon founder Joseph Smith s upbringing Quinn discovers that Smith s world was inhabited by supernatural creatures whose existence could be both symbolic and real He explains that the Smith family In this ground breaking book, D Michael Quinn masterfully reconstructs an earlier age, finding ample evidence for folk magic in nineteenth century New England, as he does in Mormon founder Joseph Smith s upbringing Quinn discovers that Smith s world was inhabited by supernatural creatures whose existence could be both symbolic and real He explains that the Smith family s treasure digging was not unusual for the times and is vital to understanding how early Mormons interpreted developments in their history in ways that differ from modern perceptions Quinn s impressive research provides a much needed background for the environment that produced Mormonism.This thoroughly researched examination into occult traditions surrounding Smith, his family, and other founding Mormons cannot be understated Among the practices no longer a part of Mormonism are the use of divining rods for revelation, astrology to determine the best times to conceive children and plant crops, the study of skull contours to understand personality traits, magic formula utilized to discover lost property, and the wearing of protective talismans Ninety four photographs and illustrations accompany the text.

    One thought on “Early Mormonism and the Magic World View”

    1. Every so often some LDS relatives take me to the free lectures by LDS intellectuals out at the Claremont Colleges, and every single time, not only do I hear interesting stuff, but the long drive home is livened by discussion. My reading of this excellent book was inspired by one of these discussions.Quinn's scholarship is superlative. The notes are as interesting as the text. What I hailed with relief was the context, which American scholars frequently overlook in their isolationism, as if histo [...]

    2. The 1998 edition of Michael Quinn's book provides two different narratives: the intentional one (a historical perspective on folk magic in early Mormonism) and the unintentional one (an on-going response to his critics in the text and footnotes). Michael Quinn first published this book back in the late 80s, and several critics attacked his work -- primarily LDS apologists/polemicists. The irony here is that Michael Quinn sees himself as a believer in and an apologist for the LDS faith. He does n [...]

    3. This book was not an easy read, but it was well worth it. It's painstakingly annotated and researched and extremely enlightening. I can see why many church apologists hate this book: It sheds A LOT of new light on LDS church history as it pertains to the 19th century magic world view a lot of which makes early happenings a sticky course to traverse. To be fair, however, Michael Quinn approaches the topic with honesty, open-mindedness, and in a way that treats the church respectfully. NOTHING IN [...]

    4. A wonderfully researched account that is fundamental to understanding early Mormon religious history. The book's main flaw is the almost continuous tangents, but even the tangents have pages of notes and references.

    5. D. Michael Quinn rescues Mormonism's historical origins from his polemical critics with a tale of the magical worldview prevalent in an earlier America which is both trailblazing, and incredibly rich. Nobody rivals DMQ when it comes to meticulous inclusion of sources (his notes number 300 pages). This groundbreaking work provides a foundation capturing the environment in which Mormonism grew--Mormonism's fantastic history has never made more sense from a rational, or even naturalist perspective [...]

    6. No scholar of Mormon History can avoid at least taking this book into consideration. Quinn has established himself as a scholar of Mormon History, and through the years has published a number of intellectually stimulating and controversial works for believers and critics alike. I found the book extremely interesting, though there are moments where I feel Quinn may be overstating the evidence. Culturally speaking, a study into the Smith family's involvement in folk-traditions and magic should not [...]

    7. I didn't actually finish this, because I totally get what he's saying and it's too academic for my current taste. Well researched and documented, this was the first (that I know of) book to address some of the "weirdness" of Joseph Smith's story -- seer stones, treasure hunting, etc. We so often try to apply modern thinking to past times and call it weird, when it's simply the culture of the day. Magical thinking was a big part of this era of American and Mormon history, so I've never had a prob [...]

    8. A fascinating look at the folk magic practiced by the leaders of the early Mormon Church. This is no easy read. I think in order to satisfy the critics Michael Quinn is painstakingly meticulous to avoid any misunderstandings. He has copious notes in the back of the book and I found that I was constantly flipping back and forth - notes - chapter, - notes - chapter.I learned so many things that enabled my understanding of the thinking of early church members. Well worth struggling through the book [...]

    9. I'm not really very interested in church history--I care far less about what Joseph Smith did in 1820 or 1830 than about what's happening now; I'm interested in understanding what has happened to and been done by people I know in the last half-century or so. But this book was just so surprising and different that it really shifted my perspective on all sorts of things. It's overly long and could really use some good editing, but still worth reading.

    10. I loved this book. So so cool. I have a pile of peep stones - that haven't started working. Yet. Now I just need to find a divining rod - my grandpa used to have one. This book was so well researched and super interesting. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in early Mormon and folk magic history.

    11. One of those books I wish I had read years ago. I learned something new on every page. It should be read by anyone interested in the the Mormon Church and its doctrines, both believers and otherwise. Absolutely fascinating and essential.

    12. D. Michael Quinn definitively proves that Joseph Smith Jr. and other early Mormons practiced the occult. However, this is not an anti-Mormon book by any means, as Quinn is still a devout believer in Mormonism. He's simply pointing out that occult beliefs and practices were common at the time and Joseph Smith Jr. was a product of his times. Quinn demonstrates that Joseph Smith Jr. believed in astrology, amulets, talismans, magic parchments, seer stones and divining rods. He was known to have poss [...]

    13. Overall, I am glad that I read this book. It was a very meaty book that was sometimes difficult to get into. It is very academic (about half of the book is references and notes) and often I felt like I was reading a textbook. However, there were many parts that were fascinating, especially that last chapter (which was about 1/3 of the book). This book helped me understand the cultural context from which Mormonism sprung and I would say this is a must read for anyone with an academic interest in [...]

    14. This is the second edition of this book, the first having been published in 1987. Like Hierarcy,Magic World> offers many pages of extensive notes to bolster Quinns facts about which he writes. He is a skillful author and takes advantage of a good story but occasionally sounds like the academic that he is. He portrays a world in the first half of the nineteenth century where the people in New Englsand and New York although literate, had a world view that included folk magic, occultism, astrolo [...]

    15. July 22, 2014 (3 stars): Great ideas, compelling arguments in favor of a relaxed LDS view toward complex parts of its history, and awe-inspiring thoroughness in its research. HOWEVER, extremely dense, tough to read, and tough to follow at times. More of a reference guide than a proper reading experience.May 29, 2017 (4 stars): I've learned more about religious history and the occult (thank you, Catherine L. Albanese), so I got through this book with greater speed. My earlier comments still stand [...]

    16. I have long argued that we Mormons are WOEFULLY (not just slightly) ignorant of our own history. We placate ourselves with correlated, watered-down pseudohistory. Quinn's book is a MUST READ for anyone who has a serious interest in Mormon studies. It will challenge you, it will shock you, but it will also enlighten and strengthen you. We sometimes forget just how important and prevalent folk magic practices were for men like Joseph Smith (which doesn't somehow make him less of a prophet). It's t [...]

    17. It would not be advantageous for me to attempt to write a review. I used the book as part of my research in wanting to get a personal take on who and what Joseph Smith was in the context of his historical period, and the historical religious period of the Reformation as was being understood by the every man (woman) of the 19th century period in the eastern states. In that regard, it would be foolish imo to disregard historical context in coming to get a sense of the man Joseph Smith. Irrespectiv [...]

    18. This was a little bit of a tough read although I found it fascinating. My favorite part was the first chapter that outlined the much overlooked magic world view that thrived in many aspects of European culture from the Reformation well into antebellum America. This book is exhaustive in it's references which sometimes got overwhelming, however, I think that the content of this book is well worth the read for someone interested in a unique perspective on early LDS culture and thought. There were [...]

    19. This book was extremly interesting. I have always been interested in the early years of the church. There was a lot of history from the Smith family from the years before Joseph had the first vision. Part of what I liked is that it dealt with issues head on and actually gave a lot of ideas about why some things that we consider strange now days were actually more mainstream back then.I didn't find anything in the book that really challenged my faith. It actually cemented some areas of my beliefs [...]

    20. Painstakingly rendered, but there is some really interesting information in here, especially for someone like me who has always been told to brush Joseph Smith's treasure seeking under the rug. If anything, it was healthy to get a sense of his whole religious/folk magic background, and I was fascinated by the last chapter of the book that talked about how folk magic fell slowly out of fashion in the church, especially as women continued to practice folk magic.

    21. I really tried to like this book, but got bogged down in his constant citing of sources, which made me have to go back and re-read whole passages. And he had to make some pretty long reaches to get to some of his conclusions. Just because a book had been published locally at the time the Smiths lived there, does not mean they read it. They were poor folk, barely able to keep food on the table. Books were a luxury for them.

    22. This book actually fell outside of my purview and what I was trying to accomplish in my extensive reading unit on the LDS church. This is an academic work and will appeal to the specialist or upper division college student investigating early/mid 19th C folk religion in the United States. I skipped around in here and put it down, so I won't rate it.

    23. Though reading this is akin to slugging one's way through a dissertation, I found it to be fascinating. I prefer looking at history through the eyes of the particular time period being addressed rather than through contemporary mores and opinions. Many thanks to the author for his extensive research and voluminous documentation.

    24. As per usual, Quinn's research is exhaustive. I found this book to be less compelling than the Mormon Hierarchy series, but that's likely due to my familiarity with most of the content of this book prior to reading it. In other words, there are no significant bombshells here for students of Mormonism. That is not to say I was uninterested.

    25. Although quite ridiculous and frustrating at times (particularly his conclusions), this book is a fascinating view into early Mormonism. Definitely the most unique (if not bizarre) book you'll ever read on Mormon origins.

    26. More like "skimmed" than "read." It was due back before I could give it a close reading, and I couldn't renew it. But it was fascinating and seemed revelatory for me. Like whaaaaa?! This happened and this whole time I didn't know?! Wanted to read it more closely.

    27. Quinn opens the world to New Mormon History and exposes the shortcomings of corporate instituted history that still prevails in much of the apologist writing on religion. One of the great academics in the field.

    28. A very interesting and note-worthy addition to the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Quinn has obviously done much research I just wish he hadn't felt the need to defend himself against his detractors. His research alone proves his point.

    29. What a ride! As is always the case with Quinn's books, the information presented is meticulously footnoted and researched.You cannot claim to know Joseph Smith until you are well versed in his magical, mystical background.

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