Modern Mormons are not far divided from the neo-pagan New Age movement, but neither have the historical heritage of the LDS cult. Dennis Michael Quinn, a Mormon historian explained, “The existence of occult allusions in LDS scriptures may explain why religious seekers from folk religions were attracted to Mormonism from 1829 onward. Diaries and autobiographies clearly show that most of these converted seekers felt as ease in a church organization for the first time.”1)D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (revised and enlarged), Signature Books, 1998, p. 236 Ron Carlson commented on Mr. Quinn.

In fact, Michael Quinn, onetime professor of history at Brigham Young University, wrote a book entitled Early Mormonism in the Magic World View.
It clearly documents the fact that Joseph Smith was heavily involved in the occult before he ever began to receive revelations from his messengers of light. Mr. Quinn is no longer with BYU or the LDS church. While the LDS church cannot refute his scholarship, they have nevertheless repudiated him personally.2)Ron Carlson & Ed Decker, Fast Facts Of False Teachings, Harvest House Publishers, 1994, p. 177; also cited by Brannon Howse, Religious Trojan Horse, Worldview Weekend Publishing, 2012, p. 361

Dennis Michael Quinn was a Mormon historian and prolific author, who earned his Ph.D. from Yale University and worked as the Professor of History at Brigham Young University (BYU) from 1976 to 1988, exposed the occult roots of Mormonism. He wrote, “As a historian of the Mormon past, I… decline to conceal uncomfortable evidence directly relevant to topics being discussed…. I go wherever the evidence seems to lead and present it in the best way I can. I’ve tried to be faithful to the evidence and faithful to the faith.”3)D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (revised and enlarged), Signature Books, 1998, p. xi His first edition of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (1987) was not welcomed by the leaders of the Latter Day Saints.

In 1993 LDS officials formally charged me with “apostasy” (heresy) for my historical writings, and I was excommunicated from the LDS church.4)D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (revised and enlarged), Signature Books, 1998, p. xiii

The Church of Latter Day Saints officials opposed his work so intensely that “In an April 2006 article, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Golden wrote that Quinn has become unhireable because almost all the funding for professorships in Mormon studies comes from Mormon donors. In 2003, Brigham Young University threatened to withdraw funding for a conference it was co-sponsoring at Yale if Quinn were allowed to speak.”5)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._Michael_Quinn, accessed 7/19/11
Quinn never condemned the occult of Mormonism’s history. As he perceived it, it was the common superstitious world view of the age Joseph Smith Jr. and his contemporaries lived. “These believers shared a world view which regarded success with such instruments of folk magic as a divine gift.”6)D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (revised and enlarged), Signature Books, 1998, p. 174 And yet even today, churches bask in the same mentality affirming the axiom “If it works, use it.” Quinn again sees no problem with this ideology of today’s LDS or Christian churches. He wrote:

Nevertheless, I admire current Jews, Christians, and Mormons who privately adopt any folk magic practice that speaks to their inner bliss. Some call this a “new age” religion, but I see it as a very old expression of religiosity.7)D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (revised and enlarged), Signature Books, 1998, p. 326

His impression of occultism is clearly not negative, nor was his exposé of the occult origins of Mormonism meant to be vindictive to the faith he continues to profess. “Despite his excommunication and critical writings, Quinn still considers himself to be a Latter-day Saint.”8)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_Six#cite_note-16, accessed 7/19/11

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Heath Henning
Heath's Testimony Heath heads the Set Free addictions ministry on Friday nights at Mukwonago Baptist Church and is involved in evangelism on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus, offering his expertise in apologetics at the weekly Set Free Bible Study every Tuesday evening. He currently lives in East Troy, Wisconsin with his wife and eight children.