DISCLAIMER: "And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men..." * Although I have been an artist for many years; and claim a certain amount of expertise in this field; I do not claim to be an expert on the tarot and early mormon history. If you find any errors or discrepancies on this site or in the cards, I'd love to know about them. Contact me here. Thanks! *Mormon, BOM title page
MOTIVATIONS BEHIND THE MORMON TAROT
1. To tell the epic story of early Mormonism using the archetypes of the tarot.
The 22 major arcana of the tarot tell the story of "The Hero's Journey" a term coined by the late mythology scholar, Joseph Campbell. Cambell's famous book "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" identifies the common events and characters found in hero stories across the world and throughout history. Many films including the Star Wars Trilogies were inspired by this book.
The history of mormonism follows this pattern remarkably well. Though tarot cards are taboo in mormon culture, they have an uncanny ability to tell the story of the religion's founding. From Joseph's prayer in the grove, to the exodus across the central plains, to the building of the Salt Lake Temple; tarot imagery is an elegant means of showcasing the archetypal characters and events of this peculiar, american religion.
2. To peek under the living room rug and scrape off the whitewash.
The LDS church's institutionally sanctioned story primarily focuses on the influence of protestant religions on Joseph's spiritual journey. In the interest of transparency and honesty this project seeks to shed light on how Joseph's upbringing was also heavily influenced by the magic worldview.
In a refreshing act of transparency and candor, the LDS church recently released photos of the peep stone (AKA scrying stone) Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Mormon. This website attempts to follow the intention of that action to its fullest extent. There's no shame in uncovering the whole story, even when it starts to get weird. It's the unconventional realities that make the story all the more remarkable!
3. To test the Mormon claim: "Mormonism embraces all truth wherever found.
Brigham Young, the second president of the LDS church said, "Mormonism embraces everything that comes within the range of the understanding of man." More than simply fitting within the "understanding of man", tarot cards are tools of understanding. When used appropriately, they hold a mirror up to the subconscious. Reflecting on the archetypes of the tarot helps bring our deepest thoughts and emotions into focus so we can better understand ourselves and our life journey.
4. To keep Mormonism peculiar!
Mormonism is a relatively young religion and is experiencing the same kinds of problems facing todays teenagers. It's trying to downplay its weirdness and assimilate with–what is perceived as–traditional christianity. In the early days the religion was incredibly divergent and expansive in its adoption of cosmic ideas. Members of the church wer proud to be "a peculiar people". Obviously ideas like polygamy and blood atonement are better off in the past, but that doesn't mean they should be locked away in the closet of secret history.
I hope the information age continues to force skeletons out of the closet. Mormonism really needs to come to terms with its weirdness. When the church can confidently own its imperfections, awkwardness, laugh at itself, apologize for mistakes, make itself vulnerable in front of other religions it will finally grow up.
ABOUT THE ARTIST . . .
'"All religions are true from a mythological perspective." -Joseph Campbell
I'm not new age, I don't believe in the power of crystals, I don't believe in fortune-telling, magic and divination, I don't believe in a lot of things that are normally associated with tarot cards. But I'm an adventurous learner and I believe in the importance of archetypal imagery and the subconscious.
I am an artist from a Mormon background. Although my roots in mormonism go back 7 generations, I have a lot of complicated thoughts and opinions about my native religion. Many of these issues emanate from a church culture that emphasizes the literal interpretation of its founding events and documents. My hope is that the Mormon Tarot project facilitates a more metaphorical or archetypal view of mormon history. I've found this alternative perspective restores meaning to some of the religion's more questionable events. A story doesn't have to be 100% true to be meaningful. Greek myths and Aesop's fables never happened, but they're still important and meaningful.
The story of Mormonism is of a dedicated people putting their lives on the line for what they believed. They sacrificed nearly everything to live according to their ideals and though they made mistakes, and occasionally lost their way, I think it's important to become familiar with this incredible american story whether you're a believer or not, in tarot or mormonism.
MormonTarot.com Keeping Mormonism Peculiar Since 2012