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Dear Gramps,
I am trying to find the churches stance on magicians and card tricks… Can you help me out. I have enjoyed showing card tricks and other magic tricks to others for years now but recently have had some debate on the churches stance on this matter… Please help.

Michael

Dear Michael,

We read in the first chapter of Mormon concerning the conditions that existed just prior to the destruction of the Nephite nation.  Mormon states:  “19 And it came to pass that there were sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics; and the power of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land, even unto the fulfilling of all the words of Abinadi, and also Samuel the Lamanite.”  Further in chapter 2 Mormon states:  “10 And it came to pass that the Nephites began to repent of their iniquity, and began to cry even as had been prophesied by Samuel the prophet; for behold no man could keep that which was his own, for the thieves, and the robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which was in the land.  11 Thus there began to be a mourning and a lamentation in all the land because of these things, and more especially among the people of Nephi.”  Here Mormon categorizes magicians or those that practice the magic art,  with those practicing witchcrafts and sorcery.

Joseph Smith in talking about the magicians in Egypt stated:  “Moses could detect the magician’s powers and show that he, himself, was God’s servant.”  While talking about the limitation of power that exists with evil spirits, he said:  “Having said so much upon the general principles without referring to the peculiar situation, power, and influence of the magicians of Egypt, the wizards and witches of the Jews, the oracles of the heathen, their necromancers, soothsayers, and astrologers, the maniacs or those possessed of devils in the Apostles days, we will notice and try to detect some few instances of the development of false spirits in more modern times and in this our day.”

In the above situations they are talking about magicians using the power of Satan to deceive men and keep them from believing in God and His power.  Though I do not believe performing “tricks” through the use of sleight of hand or deception is the same magic art as spoken of here, it is something you will need to decide for yourself.

Many of the leaders of our Church have advised us against the use of playing cards.  President Kimball speaking in Conference  stated:  “We hope faithful Latter-day Saints will not use the playing cards which are used for gambling, either with or without gambling.”  President Joseph F. Smith was more forceful when he stated:  “A deck of cards in the hands of a faithful servant of God is a satire upon religion…Those who thus indulge are not fit to administer in its sacred ordinances.”  It would not be wise to use “playing cards” at any time.  An alternative would be to use Rook cards or something similar.

Gramps

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