Gospel Q&A is a series from LDS Daily that strives to answer important gospel questions from readers. Today, we answer the question, “What is the Church’s stance on psychics, mediums, astrology, and tarot cards?”
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I appreciate this question because while I think many of us can guess the Church’s stances on these topics if you’re like me, you’ve never heard it mentioned in General Conference, or heard any official word on it. While some may be unsurprised, I did not expect to look up “tarot” on the Church website and find literally nothing. Zero results. I think that means it is worth looking into this question to discover what is the official word from the Church.
The Church Handbook has very little to say on the matter. In fact, all that comes close is the following definition and warning:
The occult focuses on darkness and leads to deception. It destroys faith in Christ.
The occult includes Satan worship. It also includes mystical activities that are not in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Such activities include (but are not limited to) fortune-telling, curses, and healing practices that are imitations of the priesthood power of God (see Moroni 7:11–17) [emphasis added].
Church members should not engage in any form of Satan worship or participate in any way with the occult. They should not focus on such darkness in conversations or in Church meetings.
“The Occult: (noun) supernatural powers or practices and the things (such as gods, ghosts, and magic) that are connected with them.”
While the Church Handbook is relatively vague and tight-lipped on the subject, the scriptures are much clearer.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 clearly precludes the involvement with psychics, mediums, or forms of sorcery.
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord [emphasis added].
In Acts 13, Paul made clear what he thought of a certain sorcerer, or “false prophet,” keeping another man from hearing the gospel.
O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? (Verse 10)
Isaiah even goes so far as to predict the eternal reward of those who practice the occult arts: “the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators . . . they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame” (Isaiah 47:13-14).
Robert J. Matthews’ Ensign article “What the Scriptures Say about Astrology, Divination, Spirit Mediums, Magic, Wizardry, and Necromancy,” clarifies the opposing nature between the occult arts and the true priesthood power of God in the following way:
“The scriptures show that the enchantments and the spells of the wizard, the medium, and the necromancer are characteristic of the false religions and superstitions of the world, and that those who practice such are actually in competition with the true prophets and apostles. All who are acquainted with the spirit and faith of Jesus Christ will want nothing to do with any form of divination and spiritual wizardry.”
Although we are not inundated with floods of individuals practicing or encouraging our practice of the occult arts, their practice does ebb and flow in popularity over time. It may seem silly or harmless to have a psychic or tarot card reading, but it should be avoided.
Joseph Smith warned, “Lying spirits are going forth in the earth. There will be great manifestations of spirits, both false and true.”
But how do we determine which is which?
The Book of Moroni provides some encouragement that we can know the false from the true and insights into how.
“For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.”
“But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.” (Moroni 7:15, 17)
Bottom line? Seek truth and understanding from the Holy Ghost. Study the scriptures and the words of the prophets. Receive and study your patriarchal blessing. In short, rely on the Lord—not claimed mystical gifts from others. If it’s something we need to know, the Lord will tell us if we seek Him and strive to hear Him.
Disclaimer: While all of my answers will use scriptures and/or words of modern prophets, I do not represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t believe any of my answers are comprehensive. I’m just one person using the gospel I have been blessed with to bring hope, peace, and answers to other seekers of truth.