Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Witch's Cauldron

In my personal view, the most important tool for transformation (both physical and spiritual) would have to be the Cauldron. Physically, the cauldron is a vessel that holds the ingredients of your potions, stews and other concoctions with a purpose of healing, nourishing or transforming. I've used my cauldron to hold candles, mash up herbs, and divination through scrying. The cauldron represents all the elements to me: metallic earth, heated by fire, cooled by air and tempered by water. But what about a cauldron for personal transformation?

Many times, I've been transformed mentally and spiritually by the events in my life, but what things have I done purposefully to transform myself with an outcome already predetermined? I've gone about life letting things happen and reacting to them, and I wondered what would happen if I actually set out to determine the steps and the method and the desired outcome, magically through visualization, meditation, ritual and writing. So, that is what I have set out to accomplish. I want to be a better me, all throughout my life. I want to live my life purposefully, and to shed the veils I hide behind.

I have had many 'chapters' in my life, all pretty much defined by relationships I have had in the past, my religious beliefs at the time, and the choices I made to survive and get along without causing too much turmoil for others. From a very early age, this was my conditioning. I learned not to discuss things that were personally damaging to me, and to bury it deep and try to forget. I adopted another "me", the one I presented to the world as the functioning, regular person. All the while I was a confused and lost soul, unsure of who to please and what to ask for myself. Being able to leave my former religion behind and start thinking for myself was the pivotal moment in my life. Ever since then, I have evolved into someone who is slowly learning to ask for what I need, not settle for what I can get. This has caused some strife and turmoil for others in my life, but I had to make a choice, live for others or live for me.

Recently, I was labeled a liar, a charlatan, and a phony. I had ended a relationship because I made a choice to do the least harm, even though I knew I would be causing some turmoil and tension by doing so. Ultimately it came down to being honest with myself and my own needs, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I just couldn't continue on, so I stopped. For this reason, I have been vilified by people I once held in high regard, and I have a desperate desire to defend myself to anyone who would listen. The thing is, no one has come to me to ask me any single question about what truly happened. So, I have to put myself through a reality check time and time again. This is my cauldron.

I conjure up all of the worst possibilities, all of the things that could have been said, or supposed, or outright imagined. Then I have to realistically and logically work through them all, determining the "what if's" of each scenario, until I can settle on just a couple of possible outcomes. In the end, it matters not what has been said, or imagined. It does not matter what one believes about my intentions, or my actions. The only thing that is real is that I know what my own thoughts and opinions are, I know what my own reasons were, and I do not have to justify them to anyone who believes I was a liar from the start. Nothing I say will have any effect on a stalwart opinion that draws me in the black ink of deceit. So, it is likely better to not say anything at all.

My problem is that I can't pretend as if everything is fine, it's all been worked out, and there is no reason for tension. I know it will be there, as long as others wish to carry it around with them, and not work through their own "cauldron". So, I have to wait it out and let the real me show through it all, not run and hide, not put on a front. Eventually, truth wins out, and my real nature will be evidence enough.

It's a difficult task. The cauldron bubbles and boils over at times. The process starts over again. But each time, it gets shorter, easier to deal with. And I have more opportunities to see myself as others see me, and more chances to change my perceptions of others as well.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Magic of Charms and Symbols

Magical charms can bring powerful, positive vibrations into your life. Most of us use charms without realizing their power. We "knock on wood" for luck, exchange wedding rings and wear the colors of our favorite team while watching a game. These actions originate from a time when everyone believed that the energy of the universe could be channeled into objects and symbols. This is known as "sympathetic magic"-- the idea that carrying a reminder of something imbues its owner with the powers of the original.

Charms are still effective tools today when used with awareness and clear intent. For example, a horseshoe hung with the points facing upward brings you luck as it symbolizes a new Moon; wearing the same clothes as a celebrity allows you to feel as successful as them.

How your magic charms work

Chose a charm that bestows the protection or powers you require.

Symbols, letters and numbers

These ancient symbols tap into a current of magic that has benefited humanity since antiquity. Harness it with runic pendants, Celtic tattoos and ankh earrings.

Lucky objects

Finding a lucky penny and cherishing it attracts wealth; a letter from a friend carried in your pocket becomes a popularity charm.

Plants and crystals

Carrying or wearing plants and crystals brings us into direct contact with the magical energies of nature.


A symbol of something can contain the qualities of the orginal. A lion can bestow courage; a bear, protection; and a dog, loyalty.

Divine help

Religious images as jewelry carry protection and healing from the spiritual source.

Placing your Charms

There are many different charms you can choose and many ways you can use them. Use this checklist below to give you some ideas.

Herbs and Flowers

Herbs and flowers are known to have healing qualities,which means they make very useful charms.

*Lavender is great for averting worry, and rosemary is protective.

*Coriander makes a romantic love charm.

Hang bunches of herbs in the home, or make an amulet by sewing a small pouch and filling it with an appropriate mixture of leaves and flowers.

Charms in the Home

Where better to experience the beneficial effects of magical charms than at home? Charms can protect our possessions and family, help us sleep, attract prosperity, boost health and create a calm atmosphere.

*Place a statue of Buddha by the main entrance and touch it daily for luck.

*Hang a dream catcher above your bed to allay nightmares.

*Place a cross of elder twigs on your front door to deter unwelcome guests.

Food Charms

When we eat symbolic or charmed foods we literally ingest their power.

*The Yule Feast affirms the prosperity of the year ahead with the currants in mince pies and yule pudding representing money.

*Sharing oysters with your partner gets you both in the mood for love.


You can also give charms as presents-- passing on luck.

* A silver cup for a baby at Wiccanning is a symbol of health and happiness.

*A horseshoe charm at a wedding increases the fertility of the union.

*The key that adorns 18th and 21st birthday cards unlocks the secrets of adult life.


Worn next to the skin, the power of the charm affects the wearer all day.

*Jewelry enables a combination of magical elements to work together: metals, precious stones and symbols should be carefully selected to suit your purpose.

*Always charge your charm before wearing it.

*Leave silver jewelry outside on the night of a full Moon in order to refresh its energy. Gold charms, in contrast, need sunlight to activate them and should be left out in daylight.

Follow me to my new blog at The Cauldron and Crucible.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Magic of Lavender

Lavender has been an essential ingredient in spells and charms since ancient times. You can still use it today in your love, healing and purification magic.

Lavender Folklore

In ancient times, lavender had magical and healing associations. Known by the ancient Greeks as the "witches' herb," it was associated with the goddess Hecate, queen of enchantment. The Romans burned lavender over coals during childbirth to ease labor pains and purify the air. Meditating on lavender is said to heal depression and ensure a long life.

In medieval cosmology, all things on Earth fell under the governance of a planet. Lavender is governed by Mercury, the fleet-footed messenger of the Gods in Roman mythology. Mercury's character is seen as changeable and potent in the areas of intellect and communication, thus mercurial plants are often known for their stimulating and balancing effects on the mind, indeed, lavender has long been renowned for its uplifting and calming properties on body and spirit. This enchantingly scented herb has many associations and traditions in folklore:

* In traditional methods of gardening, it was thought that planting lavender close to beds of crocus bulbs would repel and scavenging birds.

* In folk medicine, chewing lavender seeds was said to purge worms from the body. It was also used as a cure for "cold diseases" of the head, convulsions, and fainting fits.

* Apothecaries named pure lavender oil "Oil of Spike" because of its potent sting quality. It was used on the limbs to treat palsy.

* In the Mediterranean, lavender sprigs were woven into the rim of hats to prevent headaches caused by the Sun.

Talisman of Love and Protection

Lavender is important in love magic and was traditionally worn by prostitutes to attract customers. Wearing a sprig of lavender is said to offer protection from violence and cruelty, while combining it with rosemary is an ancient remedy to preserve chastity. According to folklore, if you place lavender under your pillow and make a wish, your dreams will reveal whether it will come true. Lavender is also thought tot help you get in touch with the spirit world.

How to use Lavender in Spells

Lavender can be used in magic the following ways:

* Spell Bags
* Charms
* Anointing
* Love Spells
* Purification

Working Lavender Magic

Lavender candles can be powerful ingredients. Follow the step-by-step examples below to see how you can use a lavender candle in castin your own spells.

Casting a Spell to Attract Love

You will need:

* A Lavender Candle
* A Small Mirror
* A Red Makeup Pencil
* A Pink Pen
* A Pink Piece of Paper
* A Sprig of Lavender

1. Sit in a quiet place and imagine your ideal partner, then rub the paper with the lavender flowers.

2. Hold the candle in your right hand and visualize your ideal lover. Imagine what qualities you would like them to possess. Make sure you don't picture a real person; concentrate instead on the aspects that are important to you (for example, "he must share my passion for dancing").

3. Light your candle while saying, "Hecate, queen of enchantment, I ask for my soul mate to join me. Blessed Be".

4. Draw a heart with the makeup pencil around your reflected face in the mirror. Say, "I am in love."

5. Write a letter to your soul mate, explaining what kind of relationship you would like to have with him. Burn it in the candle flame and say, "I send you this letter, my true love. May you come to me swiftly."

6. Carry the lavender sprig in your pocket until you meet your lover- it may well happen soon!

Candle Wish Spell

You will need:

* A Lavender Sprig
* Some Olive Oil
* A Glass Jar
* Some Dried Lavender

1. On a full moon, hold the lavender to the Moon and say, "Lady Moon, I call your magic into this herb."

2. Put the herb and oil in the jar. Seal the jar and store in a dark place.

3. On the New Moon, when the first sliver of crescent is visible in the sky, fetch the jar and the candle.

4. Hold the candle in your right hand and visualize your wish, clearly using all of your senses. Starting at the center, anoint the candle with the oil, working first left and then right. Say your wish out loud.

5. Light the candle and visualize the flame going out into the universe to make your wish come true.

Monday, February 22, 2010

We are NOT a Christian Nation

House Resolution 397, recently introduced to Congress (May 2009), implies that the beliefs of our nation's founders were uniformly Christian, and that Christian beliefs are required for moral governance and societal cohesion.

From the New York Times (Oct 2007): A Nation of Christians is NOT a Christian Nation

An article of faith among many American evangelicals is “the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.”

According to Scripture, however, believers are to be wary of all mortal powers. Their home is the kingdom of God, which transcends all earthly things, not any particular nation-state. The Psalmist advises believers to “put not your trust in princes.” The author of Job says that the Lord “shows no partiality to princes nor regards the rich above the poor, for they are all the work of his hands.” Before Pilate, Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world.” And if, as Paul writes in Galatians, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” then it is difficult to see how there could be a distinction in God’s eyes between, say, an American and an Australian. In fact, there is no distinction if you believe Peter’s words in the Acts of the Apostles: “I most certainly believe now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is welcome to him.”

The kingdom Jesus preached was radical. Not only are nations irrelevant, but families are, too: he instructs those who would be his disciples to give up all they have and all those they know to follow him.

The only acknowledgment of God in the original Constitution is a utilitarian one: the document is dated “in the year of our Lord 1787.” Even the religion clause of the First Amendment is framed dryly and without reference to any particular faith. The Connecticut ratifying convention debated rewriting the preamble to take note of God’s authority, but the effort failed.

A pseudonymous opponent of the Connecticut proposal had some fun with the notion of a deity who would, in a sense, be checking the index for his name: “A low mind may imagine that God, like a foolish old man, will think himself slighted and dishonored if he is not complimented with a seat or a prologue of recognition in the Constitution.” Instead, the framers, the opponent wrote in The American Mercury, “come to us in the plain language of common sense and propose to our understanding a system of government as the invention of mere human wisdom; no deity comes down to dictate it, not a God appears in a dream to propose any part of it.”

While many states maintained established churches and religious tests for office — Massachusetts was the last to disestablish, in 1833 — the federal framers, in their refusal to link civil rights to religious observance or adherence, helped create a culture of religious liberty that ultimately carried the day.

Thomas Jefferson said that his bill for religious liberty in Virginia was “meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan, the Hindu, and infidel of every denomination.” When George Washington was inaugurated in New York in April 1789, Gershom Seixas, the hazan of Shearith Israel, was listed among the city’s clergymen (there were 14 in New York at the time) — a sign of acceptance and respect. The next year, Washington wrote the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I., saying, “happily the government of the United States ... gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance. ... Everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

Andrew Jackson resisted bids in the 1820s to form a “Christian party in politics.” Abraham Lincoln buried a proposed “Christian amendment” to the Constitution to declare the nation’s fealty to Jesus. Theodore Roosevelt defended William Howard Taft, a Unitarian, from religious attacks by supporters of William Jennings Bryan.

The founders were not anti-religion. Many of them were faithful in their personal lives, and in their public language they evoked God. They grounded the founding principle of the nation — that all men are created equal — in the divine. But they wanted faith to be one thread in the country’s tapestry, not the whole tapestry.

In the 1790s, in the waters off Tripoli, pirates were making sport of American shipping near the Barbary Coast. Toward the end of his second term, Washington sent Joel Barlow, the diplomat-poet, to Tripoli to settle matters, and the resulting treaty, finished after Washington left office, bought a few years of peace. Article 11 of this long-ago document says that “as the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,” there should be no cause for conflict over differences of “religious opinion” between countries.

Democracy Requires Minority Rights

Majority rule can not be the only expression of "supreme power" in a democracy. the majority would too easily tyrannize the minority. Thus, while it is clear that democracy must guarantee the expression of the popular will through majority rule, it is equally clear that it must guarantee that the majority will not abuse use its power to violate the basic and inalienable rights of the minority. For one, a defining characteristic of democracy must be the people's right to change the majority through elections. This right is the people's "supreme authority." The minority, therefore, must have the right to seek to become the majority and possess all the rights necessary to compete fairly in elections—speech, assembly, association, petition—since otherwise the majority would make itself permanent and become a dictatorship. For the majority, ensuring the minority's rights becomes a matter of self-interest, since it must utilize the same rights when it is in minority to seek to become a majority again.

The Constant Threat

The American founders—Anti-Federalists and Federalists alike—considered rule by majority a troubling conundrum. In theory, majority rule was necessary for expressing the popular will and the basis for establishing the republic. The alternative—consensus or rule by everyone's agreement—cannot be imposed upon a free people. And minority rule is antithetical to democracy. But the founders worried that the majority could abuse its powers to oppress a minority just as easily as a king. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison both warn in their letters about the dangers of the tyranny of the legislature and of the executive. Madison, alluding to slavery, went further, writing, "It is of great importance in a republic, not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part."

Democracy therefore requires minority rights equally as it does majority rule. Indeed, as democracy is conceived today, the minority's rights must be protected no matter how singular or alienated that minority is from the majority society; otherwise, the majority's rights lose their meaning. In the United States, basic individual liberties are protected through the Bill of Rights, which were drafted by James Madison and adopted in the form of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. These enumerate the rights that may not be violated by the government, safeguarding—in theory, at least—the rights of any minority against majority tyranny. Today, these rights are considered the essential element of any liberal democracy.

One of the most common statements from the "Religious Right" is that they want this country to "return to the Christian principles on which it was founded". However, a little research into American history will show that this statement is a lie. Most of the men responsible for building the foundation of the United States had little use for Christianity, and many were strongly opposed to it. They were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the Bible was true.

When the Founders wrote the nation's Constitution, they specified that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (Article 6, section 3) This provision was radical in its day-- giving equal citizenship to believers and non-believers alike. They wanted to ensure that no single religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention religion, except in exclusionary terms. The words "Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, and God" are never mentioned in the Constitution-- not once.

The Declaration of Independence gives us important insight into the opinions of the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson wrote that the power of the government is derived from the governed. Up until that time, it was claimed that kings ruled nations by the authority of God. The Declaration was a radical departure from the idea of divine authority.

None of the Founding Fathers were atheists. Most of the Founders were Deists, which is to say they thought the universe had a creator, but that he does not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and does not directly communicate with humans, either by revelation or by sacred books. They spoke often of God, (Nature's God or the God of Nature), but this was not the God of the bible. They did not deny that there was a person called Jesus, and praised him for his benevolent teachings, but they flatly denied his divinity. Some people speculate that if Charles Darwin had lived a century earlier, the Founding Fathers would have had a basis for accepting naturalistic origins of life, and they would have been atheists. Most of them were stoutly opposed to the bible, and the teachings of Christianity in particular.

Yes, there were Christian men among the Founders. Just as Congress removed Thomas Jefferson's words that condemned the practice of slavery in the colonies, they also altered his wording regarding equal rights. His original wording is here in blue italics: "All men are created equal and independent. From that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable." Congress changed that phrase, increasing its religious overtones: "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights." But we are not governed by the Declaration of Independence-- it is a historical document, not a constitutional one.

If the Christian Right Extremists wish to return this country to its beginnings, so be it... because it was a climate of Freethought. The Founders were students of the European Enlightenment. Half a century after the establishment of the United States, clergymen complained that no president up to that date had been a Christian. The attitude of the age was one of enlightened reason, tolerance, and free thought. The Founding Fathers would turn in their graves if the Christian Extremists had their way with this country.

Consider this: IF indeed the members of the First Continental Congress were all bible-believing, "God-fearing" men, would there ever have been a revolution at all?

The New Testament gives clear instructions to Christians on how to behave when ruled under a monarchy, as were the Founders.

1 Peter 2:13: "For the Lord's sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right."

Paul wrote in Romans 13:1: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resist authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."

The Founders clearly did not heed what was written in the bible. If they were in fact "good" Christians, there would never have been an American Revolution. Compare the above passages with the Declaration of Independence:

"...when a long train of abuses and usurpations... evinces a design to reduce (the people) under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security..."

Anyone who can think for themselves can see that the Founders were not Christians.


Talk about picking and choosing! The House bill selects quotes useful for their argument, and implies that every member of the Continental Congress felt exactly the same way. No one has ever argued that there were Christians among the founders of this country. But implying that each and every one of them had the same beliefs and set about to purposefully create a Christian nation is preposterous to say the least.

Lots of things that have passed through Congress do so much more because of tradition, not out of uniform belief in those things. For example, continuing on with the words "In God We Trust" on the coinage does not imply that every member of Congress is also Christian. The majority may rule, but they do not represent everyone in the nation. We have dissent, we have opposing views, and we are allowed to express those opposing views through the power of voting, speaking out in public, wearing symbols, and writing blogs such as this one.

I'm opposed to labeling this country as a Christian Nation simply for the fact that it implies uniformity of belief of the citizens. That is catagorically untrue. I have to wonder what our Jewish members of Congress have to say about this. I would fear a majority rule, and a silence of the minority. That is what our Constitution is about, allowing everyone equal protection, equal voice, and equal freedom. The implication that we cannot have morals or ethics without being Christian is something I am going to speak loudly against whenever I have the opportunity to do so.

Why is there such a rush, such an emphasis on getting the U.S. declared as a Christian Nation? What does it do but serve to alienate us from the rest of the world, especially Muslims and Jews? I fail to see for the life of me what possible good it would do to declare an allegiance to any one faith, and to insist on conformity of values and beliefs. Some of the founding fathers may have been Christian, but we need not jump to any conclusions about their intent when it comes to the Constitution. Clearly, in a democracy, the rights of the minority must be protected, or the majority rule becomes the oppressors, the tyrants that the pilgrims and immigrants to this country were trying to get away from in the first place.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The New Start

I've been gone for a long time from this blog, I know. Well, 2009 wasn't so kind to me, but I've changed a lot of bad things and moved to a new place, and got away from a negative vibe that was haunting me. So, on with the show.

My focus lately has been on Gnostic teachings of the original Christians, the Nag Hammadi Texts, and a new interest in Astro-Theology. And I recently went back to one Sunday of Mormon Church. One Sunday in 7 years, not counting the two funerals I attended. Wasn't much difference. Except all the hugs and "we miss you's" etc. That was to be expected. The little kids I used to teach in Primary are teenagers now. I don't know how many times I recited that my oldest child was 20 now, and my youngest almost a teen. I was only there because I felt like doing something nice for my mom, who was injured and couldn't drive for the past month. But everyone there looked so hopeful, so sure that I had an epiphany and was returning to their fold. There I was, sitting in the meetings with my pentagram ring and my triquetra-hematite necklace. I didn't feel anything but awkward at all the attention. I also didn't feel shame, guilt or remorse for the decision I made to leave the church. I'm on the right path for me, and I know it.

If I were to continue attending, just to be there with mom and take her to church, there is no doubt in my mind that sooner or later, the bishop would be asking to speak with me. There is a file on me in the office. I am a Resigned former member. There was no "court of love". There was no process of excommunication in the works. I simply wrote a letter and told them to remove me from the membership list. That was November of 2002.

I jumped through all the flaming hoops they laid out for me and still they could not give me what they promised. I will have to wait till the afterlife just like everyone else. And I am not going to spend THIS life sitting in endless meetings, and feeling guilty and ashamed of myself. Does that mean I'm going to do the exact opposite? If you ask a staunch Mormon, the answer would be yes, naturally. If I'm not in church feeling guilty, what would be the exact opposite? Sitting in a bar whoring around? Joining a BDSM club and hitting the Swinger's scene? Would I naturally be smoking and drinking and doing drugs, smacking around my kids, and living with STD's?

I'm really shocked at the assumption that morality and religion go hand in hand. Is there no such thing as a moral, ethical person without the Judeo-Christian stamp? Are all non-Christians immoral and unethical people? Have we no moral compass or sense of right and wrong? Really?

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, although I don't know for sure he said it. "When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion."

What sets us apart from animals? Our sense of right and wrong. An INBORN moral compass. A gift from the Creator. The power to use logic and reason in our choices. And what does religion do? It seeks to take credit, to squash down our abilities to think for ourselves, to hand over autonomy in exchange for the promise of eternal life. We are not allowed to question, to doubt, to haggle over details, or even have hurt feelings about the way we are shuffled through like sheep. If the Brethren have decided, have chosen, and have pronounced it, then there is no more debate. The thinking has been done. It is left to those in charge, and doubting them is equal to doubting your god. Wow. No thank you. I prefer to muddle on through with my own thoughts and opinions and reason and logic. What I have discovered is that I flow through life like a river flows to the ocean. My thoughts and opinions change with the ebb and flow of life's experiences. I am not secured in a walled-in shelter. I am taking huge risks in being disappointed, in being shocked or confused. But I'm not living under a threat of eternal doom either.

Has anyone stopped to consider that we are all asleep and need to be awakened to the full knowledge and understanding of our divine nature? This is what the Gnostic Christians taught, generations before Jesus. The "resurrection" we need is not from death back to life in a literal sense. It is a transformation between ignorance and truth. Our 'resurrection' comes from gaining knowledge. The only good in this world is knowledge, and the only sin is ignorance. Yet the Mormon way would keep us all dependent upon others for all our wisdom and knowledge, and slam the door on anything that would cause us to question, to reason for ourselves, or to doubt.

If I were to have a vision, right now in this very room, of Joseph, Jesus and God, all together commanding me to take up a pen and write down their words and then go out in the world and tell everyone I know, no one would believe me. Even if it was true, it wouldn't matter. It would still be up to me to get others to believe and trust in me, in my character, and in my ability to relate the experience. If I was extremely good at charisma and charm, I could gather a small following. If I continued to claim more visions and experiences that only happened to me, and I was able to convince a few people that I had seen and spoken with Deities from heaven, it would still be balance upon the precipice of my word, my character, and my ability to convince others. There would be no magical, mystical quality about it. And it wouldn't even have to be true in order for me to accomplish it. I could do just as well with a lie as the truth. Real miracles are subject to the same fate as a lie, and I question and doubt that the Creator would use such means to convince us of anything. Is it more probable that a miracle might have occurred, or that a lie was told?

To quote Thomas Paine in The Age of Reason :

"In every point of view in which those things called miracles can be placed and considered, the reality of them is improbable, and their existence unnecessary. They would not answer any useful purpose, even if they were true; for it is more difficult to obtain belief to a miracle, than to a principle evidently moral, without any miracle. Moral principle speaks universally for itself. Miracle could be a thing of the moment, and seen but by a few; after this it requires a transfer of faith from God to man to believe a miracle upon man's report. Instead of admitting the recitals of miracles as evidence of any system of religion to be true, it should be considered as symptoms of it being fabulous. It is necessary to the full and upright character of truth that it rejects the crutch; and it is consistent with the character of fable to seek the aid that truth rejects."

So, if we want to put anything to the test, it would be a man's character. His ability to see a vision, relate it to others, and become a prophet rests on his moral character. It would not matter if the vision or miracle was true one whit. Because he was the only witness to it, then we would all have to rely upon his word. Having never met Joseph Smith personally, I would then have to rely upon accounts from others, and put my faith and trust in their character. It still would not matter if it was a lie or not. My belief would rest upon witnesses, not upon whether or not I believed such a miracle could occur at all. It is a thousand times more likely that no such miracle ever occurred. And I get that understanding from studying the character of the man who made the claim. This is why it is so upsetting to read volumes of Mormon history, to read the history of polygamy, of other "vision" claims from the same man. It's upsetting to discover just ONE lie in the story. It casts doubt upon the man. That's why there is such a movement in the church to maintain their beliefs and stand firm against any doubts. How would that be accomplished? Willful ignorance. The desire to NOT know any different. The desire to keep believing because so much time and effort has been invested in the cause and it would be TOO painful to realize it was based on a lie. Some people would rather live this way. And to me, that is the real sin. Turning down the use of the one gift our Creator gave us, the use of REASON.