Mormons, Magic and Tarot

General Programming

October 11, 2022 Tuesday, 5:30pm–7:00pm EDT The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University Virtual Event
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Institute for Religion and Public Life
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.

A panel with Cheryl Bruno (independent scholar), Baruch Gazelam Ale (prophet, seer, and revelator), and Nicholas Literski (California Institute of Integral Studies). Moderated by Jon Bialecki (UC San Diego).

Before Joseph Smith was the American prophet who claimed to have translated The Book of Mormon, he was a seer and magician who used occult tools to search for treasure supposedly buried in the hills of upstate New York. While the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tends to underemphasize the folk-magic elements of Joseph Smith's biography, there are some people, both inside and outside of the Church, who not only see magic and esotericism as an important aspect of Smith's religious career but even see magic as a part of their own contemporary practices. Join us as anthropologist Jon Bialecki guides a roundtable discussion on the role of magic in historical and contemporary Mormonism and some of the tarot decks recently crafted.