Talk:Smith Family Farm

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Folk magic[edit]

Why is it so important to include the following on this article (a recent addition by John Foxe (talk · contribs))?

"After arriving in Palmyra the family supported themselves in various ways, including practicing folk magic with a divining rod to find water and buried treasure"

This seems to be a undue weight issue; the Smiths (as a family) spent the majority of their efforts in farming, home crafts like dipping candles, and doing day labor for others in the community, but the wording in the article right now lends one to believe that their major vocation was the relatively minor/few instances of "folk magic" that Quinn likes to emphasize. -- (talk) 15:40, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

I think Quinn adequately demonstrates that the Smiths spent a considerable amount of their time attempting to make money thorough use of the occult. If there's evidence of candle dipping, etc., I have no problem with that being added. But the Smiths' practice of the occult is far more historically important because of the later career of Joseph Smith—and it has been deliberately played down for just that reason.--John Foxe (talk) 16:05, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
It's pretty clear that the Smiths bought the farm in order to actually farm; they used the farm as a farm. Yes, the use of folk magic was (in part) a series of increasingly desperate acts to help pay the mortgage on the farm, and then latter (after they lost title to the farm) to help support the family as they were tenants there, but otherwise these practices had little to do with the farm itself. The farm is the primary topic of this article, not the Smiths. -- (talk) 16:54, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with It is undue, especially for an article this small. -- Adjwilley (talk) 18:03, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
The Smiths were never good farmers. Joseph Smith, Sr. was a drinker, and he and his family squandered lots of time playing with magic circles and such. And they dabbled in the occult before they ever got to Palmyra. I'll be happy to lay all that out if need be.--John Foxe (talk) 19:13, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
I think it's fine to include that they supported themselves and the farm using folk magic at times, but going into details is undue since, like the IP user said, this is about the actual property, not the Smiths' lifestyle.--Mangoman88 (talk) 19:32, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
@John, nobody is arguing about the use of folk magic, etc. My problem is that the sentence doesn't really fit in the article. We've all seen it when an editor finds a little factoid he wants to promote, and then goes around to every loosely-related article he can find and pastes it in somewhere. The sentence in question reminds me of that. Take the sentence out, and the article reads better and makes more sense.
Just for reference, here is the text with the contested sentence removed.
Joseph Smith, Sr., his wife Lucy Mack Smith, and some of their children moved from Norwich, Vermont to Palmyra, New York in 1816 after years of poor business investments, illnesses, and crop failure (including the Year Without a Summer).[1] About two years after their arrival, the Smiths found property two miles south of Palmyra owned by the estate of Nicholas Evertson of New York City.
Note how it stays on topic. -- Adjwilley (talk) 20:25, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
The paragraph above suggests that the Smiths were more victim of their circumstances than of poor judgment and bad lifestyle choices. Besides, what's more historically important, the fact that the Smith property had once been owned by one Nicholas Evertson or that the Smiths earned much of their living through occult practice while living there?--John Foxe (talk) 21:29, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
In an article on the Smith Family, the fact that they earned some of their living through occult practice would be more important. In an article on the Smith Family Farm, the fact that the property had been owned by Nicholas Evertson is more important. -- Adjwilley (talk) 22:51, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
There's a fairly simple solution. The article shouldn't attempt to portray the Smith family sympathetically or unsympathetically. It should tell when the Smiths moved to Palmyra, when they left and give dimensions of the structures, describe the outbuildings, and tell when the LDS Church bought the property and when it decided to reconstruct the complex.--John Foxe (talk) 09:52, 9 August 2011 (UTC)


@John: I appreciate your last edit. The current wording is neither apologetic nor polemic. -- (talk) 17:25, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

  1. ^ Bushman 2005: 27-28