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Producing Joy and Making Magick with God

by Jessawhy

Although I think of myself as a happy person, learning to find daily joy in my life has always been a struggle. I find myself bogged down with the laundry, the poopy diapers, and the ants on my kitchen floor.
Sometimes getting away makes it worse. We had a feminist girls night on Saturday and Sunday was even harder than it has been for months. So, I’ve been reading this (Sunday) evening hoping to find some organization to the chaos in my head of why I feel so grumpy when I really have a very pleasant, wonderful life.

My sources and logic are a bit scattered, but try to follow me on this little trail through tonight’s reading and my conclusions.

In an older post, the second of his two part series, Clay Whipkey at Mormon Matters explains that his goal is no longer to have the Truth and be right, but to find joy. More than being a consumer of joy, he wants to be a producer. I love what he says here,
“I want to be a source of joy. I think it is the great jewel in the crown of Mormonism that we believe in our potential to be something divine. This idea that we can be a producer of light, not just a consumer.”

This post dovetailed nicely with Natalie’s new piece at BCC about producing good works instead of being wrapped up in the “thou shalt nots” and moderating evil media influences.
“I want to suggest that we cannot fully keep the commandments that count – those to love others and to build Christ’s kingdom – so long as our model of keeping the commandments remains so tied to concerns about our safety and sanctity.”

Making joy requires risk and engagement, she says. We need to engage with others and with God.

Reading these passages, I thought of a unique session at Sunstone by Ayla Serenemoon called, “Heavenly Mothers: Magick, the Divine Feminie, and Homebirth.” Here, Ayla gives accounts of Joseph Smith’s birth that describe him as born with a veil, or in the caul, which at the time was a sign that the child was born with special gifts of psychic abilities. Because of this unique birth, Josph Sr. was reported to have been searching for seer stones soon after his son’s birth because he believed that he would have special abilities. Now, I’m unfamiliar with mysticism or magick, so I was fascinated to hear a description of it. For people in Joseph Smith’s time, apparently, magick was a way of making something powerful with God’s help. As opposed to prayer which was a one-sided plea, magick was working with God to create something that would protect, help, or provide in some way.

All of these things seem to come together for me in a new way of seeing my relationship with God.

Instead of seeking God in the traditional way through avoiding the appearance of evil, kneeling in prayer, or group worship, I want to seek him in a more active, engaging way.
I love this idea of making joy, producing light, and finding magick around me. Religion has been so passive, but I really want to make it more active. I don’t want to be afraid of doing things wrong all of the time. I don’t want to watch my life go by waiting for everything to line up exactly as I had planned until I can be truly happy.
I want to work with God and learn how better to find joy now and help others do the same.


Jessawhy is a wife, mother, community volunteer, activist and student. She is currently working towards a Physician Assistant degree.

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No Responses

  1. G says:

    jessawhy… this is beautiful. an uneasy connection to the pagan, “making magick” (even the way you spelled it) and the unorthodox view of Joseph Smith’s birth…
    and it totally touched my heart!

    I’m struggling to feel any sense of divinity right now, and these words helped.

    I really loved this: “I don’t want to be afraid of doing things wrong all the time.”

    thank you for writing this

    (I really regret missing ayla’s sessions!)

  2. Margy says:

    My sister-in-law once read the Book of Mormon with a specific agenda of noticing and circling every mention of the word “joy.” She was amazed at how often the word appears and how many different contexts it appears in. At the time I thought I’d like to do that too, but had forgotten about it. Thanks for helping me remember!

  3. Caroline says:

    Jess, I love your thoughts here. That part about wanting to be a producer of light rather than a consumer of it resonates with me.

    Beautiful post!

  4. Janey says:

    It makes me sad that so many people seem to have been raised in a way that makes them not understand this from a very young age. Life is to be enjoyed. We don’t live in fear of making mistakes. We just try to avoid them as we go about doing good things. I guess I am going to be forced to finally accept that almost everyone that posts on blogs like this had parents that messed up their concept of what our religion is. Sad

  5. AnaCA says:

    I recognized myself in your description of having a harder day with the family after a wonderful time away. I really struggle with re-entry!

    For all that some people had concerns with Elder Ballard’s talk last General Conference, I thought he did a great job giving very specific practical steps toward enjoying motherhood and womanhood. The first one was recognizing moments of joy. I’ve had it on a sticky note on my computer ever since and have found myself at times – snuggling the baby to sleep, watching an eager answer in FHE – realizing, “this is one of the moments.” It definitely takes a conscious effort, and maybe sometimes a slightly out-of-the-ordinary way of thinking about joy makes that a little easier.

  6. Mel S says:

    What a great reminder – I love Clay’s thoughts that creating joy is a characteristic of the divine.

    Too often we peg our God as one who thrives on deprivation, that it is the key to overcoming the natural woman, and we get sucked into a righteousness competition with how strictly we observe the sabbath, the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, or the WoW.

    Where do you think the line is between the traditional approach and the joyous one?

  7. Jessawhy says:

    Thanks for your comments, everyone!

    G, I’m so glad you enjoyed the piece. I was really caught up in the connections to pagan magick that surrounded Joseph Smith’s time. I actually feel a little sad that we try so hard as a church to “overcome” the magick and mysticism the was a part of early church history. I think we should embrace it. Perhaps that would help us find and embrace the divine within us as well.

    I like the idea of looking for the joy in the Book of Mormon, or anywhere in life. I’ve found that smiling really helps me. There’s some science to support the idea, “Fake it till you make it.”

    It’s hard for me to actually put these ideas into practice, but putting them down on paper, so to speak, is a step in the right direction.

    You may be right that I wasn’t raised to enjoy life. But, I do think that many of us are too focused on not breaking rules and not focused enough on how to help others, or how to bring light and joy to those around us.

    I’ll have to go back and look at Elder Ballard’s talk. I find that looking for the beauty and being grateful for the small moments is a way for me to find greater joy in my life.

    Mel S,
    You ask a great question.
    “Where do you think the line is between the traditional approach and the joyous one?”
    I think it was Natalie at BCC who talked about going about our lives in the joyous path, and repenting for sins along the way. But, I see your point that the line is often fuzzy and unique for everyone.

  8. G says:

    jessawhy, have you ever read “Early Mormonism and the Magic World View” by Michael Quinn?

    I’m about half way through it (I’ve been about half-way through it for several months now) and it is a fascinating review of the ‘folk’ beliefs and magic world view (“pagan”) that informed Joseph Smith’s upbringing.

    (I really need to finish that book.)

  9. Jessawhy says:

    I haven’t read it, but it sounds fascinating. I’ll have to get a copy.
    (My shelf of half-read books is pretty long, including many Mormon titles: Rough Stone Rolling, In Sacred Loneliness, etc)

  10. Kiri Close says:

    this post is so cool, & has come to me right when I need it :o)

  11. amber says:

    Thankyou, I love this!!

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