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  Mormonism and Thelema

General Thelema Posted by <Xnoubis> on November 24, 2000 @ 06:18 PM
from the jack-the-tablets dept.

During a recent conversation at dinner the subject of Thelema came up, and I was asked to provide a brief overview of the subject – a task I always approach with some misgivings. But this time I was glad I made the attempt, because the response gave me much food for thought. It was, “So it's like the Mormons, in a way?”

You can see how a similarity would come to mind at first glance: a new religion, a received text rooted in the biblical prophetic tradition, etc. Certainly, that's not what I usually think of, but I knew where she was coming from.

There's not a lot that I know about the Church of Latter Day Saints, but what I've heard is mixed. I'm not any more fond of seeing the missionaries with the neckties at my door than I am of Jehovah's Witnesses. I don't find the right-wing politics of many Mormons particularly attractive, either.

But I have also heard that Joseph Smith, the principal founder of Mormonism, was into Hermeticism and Ceremonial Magic early in his career. That he later claimed to possess the true word, step, and sign of the Masonic Rite as restored by God Himself, and incorporated into the Mormon church. I've also heard of a sub-culture within Mormonism that is still very attentive to personal revelation and regards Salt Lake City as the Enemy.

So the Mormon church could serve as a mirror for Thelema, or for what Thelema might become in a century or so. Are there essential similarities? Are there lessons (good or bad), that Thelemites might draw from their example?

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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.

**Re: Mormonism and Thelema**
by Mordecai Shapiro on Friday November 24, @10:04PM

There is a link somewhere among the Beast Bay comments (though I can't recall which article it was in response to) to the successor of the Horus Kings website, which is a kind of Mormon Thelema (or is it Thelemic Mormonism? actually he calls it “Esoteric Christianity”). In fact a web search on the phrase Esoteric Christianity will probably bring it up. Also, many early members of the modern O.T.O. were raised as Mormons or influenced by its atmosphere growing up in Utah. Lola D. Wolfe was even a faithful Mormon housewife at one time (her ancestors had been involved in the Church of LDS since before the lynching of Joe Smith, one of them was a survivor of a famous massacre in Missouri in the 1840's).

**Re: Mormonism and Thelema**
by <Xnoubis> on Sunday November 26, @11:08AM

There are a few positive aspects to the Mormon phenomenon. First of all, they've not only kept their teaching alive, but have increased its influence tremendously, and in a sustainable fashion. That's a goal many of us (but by no means all) share for Thelema.

They've also put a lot of work into supporting children, communities, and families, which is something that we within Thelema are only just starting to look at.

For me, thought, the problems far outweigh the benefits. The Mormon culture (and church) is strictly authoritarian. This has led to an extremely conservative political stance and a tendency to maintain a rigid outlook on a constantly changing world. Thelemites might seek to achieve some political consensus in accordance with our tradition, but we would also expect it to evolve over time.

The problem that I see as being most relevant to Thelema is the overwhelming domination of Mormonism by a strict orthodoxy. (There is a splinter group, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but it is much smaller, less influential, and doesn't appear to be all that different.) This, I think, is exactly where Thelema doesn't want to be in a hundred years, and could very well wind up.

Now, having an effective, coordinated organization is probably what got the Mormons on the solid footing they're on today. What I'd like to see for Thelema is the advantage of organization without having to pay the price of orthodoxy. At the moment, Thelema has the advantage of widely diverse views, even within its most coordinated organizations. Let's make sure that we (as individuals and as members of organizations) continue to value this diversity, now and in the future.

  • |Re: Mormonism and Thelema\\
    by <Nexist> on Tuesday December 19, @02:39PM

    The difference between the two groups based upon who should succeed Joeseph Smith. The Reorg'd is the one that adopted Smith's son, whereas the Larger Mormon Church followed after a disciple of Smith (if I recall correctly).\\

**Re: Mormonism and Thelema**
by <Malgwyn> on Monday November 27, @01:29AM

A few comments and oddities:

LDS teachings on “Free Agency”, is similar in some respects to “Do what thou wilt” of Thelema.

The oddities of the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price, seem to draw eccentricity into the otherwise homogenized LDS membership. It isn't difficult to find eccentric, elderly Kabbalists, Gnostic, and Neoplatonic scholars of the first caliber among them, with very independent ideas.

As one progresses into the Priesthoods of Aaron and Melchizedick, it is revealed that G-d was once a man, and by doing certain things we will become as he is, complete with wives and kids. This means that God is physical, has wives, and they live on this planet on the edge of our Solar System called “Euphrates”. A visit to the Salt Lake City Temple square will provide Thelemites with hours of amusement (banish thoroughly).

If you remember “Battlestar Gallactica” back in the late 70's, the introduction was drawn from the Temple lectures (the Garden of Eden). (Narrated by Patrick McNee, who played “Count Iblis”!), It was bizarre for us Mormons to see our religion as a sci-fi tv program. Most of the deeper teachings of the church are to be found in three or four episodes, just watch for that crystal thing.

  • |Re: Mormonism and Thelema\\
    by Nathan W Bjorge on Monday November 27, @10:31AM

    >If you remember “Battlestar Gallactica” back in >the late 70's … It was bizarre for us Mormons >to see our religion as a sci-fi tv program.\\
    My God, you're right. I haven't thought about that show for 15 years, but there is definitely an influence.\\

  • |Re: Mormonism and Thelema\\
    by <Xnoubis> on Monday November 27, @03:48PM

    I'm curious as to whether your experiences growing up within the LDS provide you with any insights as to the relationship between what it is today and what Thelema might someday become.\\

**Re: Mormonism and Thelema**
by Sacrosanctus Serpentis on Monday November 27, @06:58AM

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

There are several facets of L.D.S. that share a commom ground with Magick. Mormons believe that the Trinity constitutes three seperate Beings {plural gods},that man may become a God {Gnostisim} and that God has a Mother {The Feminine Principle}. The have Babtism for the Dead as well as secret Endowment ceremonies for members in good standing {basically initiation.} They wear “magickal” garments that protect them from harm and I have heard from a select few that the names of God employed in the Endowment ceremony are some of the same employed in ceremonial.

Love is the law, love under will

  • |Re: Mormonism and Thelema\\
    by <aquamage> on Monday April 30, @08:29PM

    The rituals of old time are black. Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs. Having undergone the Mormon endowment and having been a veil worker in the Oakland temple before I quit the LDS Church and underwent Gnostic Templar Thelemic Initiation, becoming a Priest in the Gnostic Catholic Church, I can say that there are Gnostic truths in both but Thelema is the active fire-wave, and needs no Hegemon or Hierophant under form of any religion or organization to assist any individual to “Break on through to the Other Side.” Thelema empowers the individuals unique path as well as granting freedom from organization and institution.\\

**Re: Mormonism and Thelema**
by Tim Maroney on Monday November 27, @03:19PM

The best article I've seen on Jospeh Smith's occult influences is available online. It's called Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection by Lance S. Owens.

Tim Maroney [email protected]

**Re: Mormonism and Thelema**
by <OO> on Friday December 29, @11:02AM

I grew up in Utah, as a Mormon, and I can tell you that the differences between Thelema and Mormonism is mostly the idea of reverence and submissiveness. Where Thelema inspires me to “do what thou wilt”, mormonism teaches me to obey my husband, my bishop, my prophet. No thanks.
In any case, my family is still very active in the LDS church, and in her attempts to sway me back into her line of belief, my mother has given me a lot of information concerning Joseph Smith. Apperently, he owned mummies, and was facinated by Egypt. His mother and other family of his were always looking for treasure, and he claims to have foung golden plates upon which the book of mormon was written. It's a complex religion, because what is taught in class and sacrement meeting, is not always in line with the material in their scriptures.


**Re: Mormonism and Thelema**
by <Sidney> on Saturday November 17, @05:30PM

Also, peep:

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