Monday, August 14, 2006
Morwics?: Religious Synthesis in Utah
When I heard the term “Morwics” in one of the Yahoo groups on alternative religions that I am part of I first thought of an alien race from a science fiction novel. But apparently the term refers to something very real in Utah, and perhaps beyond this state.
After relocating to Utah for seminary studies last year I learned about the small Pagan community in the state that lives among the dominant Mormon population. It seems that ex-Mormons not only gravitate toward evangelicalism and atheism as their religious choice options, but also toward Paganism. This makes sense in terms of a religious logic in that a rejection of what is considered a strict form of Christianity might lend itself toward identification with a variety of nature-based spiritualities such as Wicca.
What came as a surprise to me was to discover the existence of practicing Mormons who also practice forms of Paganism, resulting in the religious synthesis labeled “Morwics” by a Salt Lake City area practitioner of this spirituality. The claim is made that Morwics are a large and growing group whose interest in esotericism and magick has as its foundation early Mormonism’s interest in these areas as documented by researchers such as D. Michael Quinn in his book Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (Signature Books, 1998). I am working through my contact in a Yahoo group to talk to a leading Morwic in the near future to learn more about these folks.
Image source: http://altreligion.about.com/library/graphics/levi/solarserpent.jpg