Parliament of the World’s Religions: Magic demonstrates the Golden Rule

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Steffan Soule brought magic to the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions to demonstrate the Golden Rule.

Golden Rule Proect
Steffan Soule levitates a student to demonstrate the power of the Golden Rule. (Photo courtesy of the Golden Rule Project)

Soule performed his show for an enraptured audience representing religions from all over the world, who gathered to engage in interfaith dialogue and got a show that had some eyes popping.

The performance centered around helping students realize their connection to self, others and the Golden Rule. Throughout the magic show, Soule used visual magic tricks to demonstrate the Golden Rule in action.

“That’s what I do. I create shows to elucidate a theme,” Soule said. “I want to do this because it really helps people.”

The show illustrates that people need help to stop bullying others, and that the Golden Rule can be expressed in a thousand different ways. As a magician, Soule accomplished this aim by performing tricks such as sawing an assistant in half, connecting and disconnecting rings, levitating humans and sticks and constructing lightning.

“You have this thing called attention and you bring it toward the practice of the Golden Rule and ask, ‘what can I do now that I’ve focused this attention,'” Soule said.

The magic show has reached more than 40,000 students across Utah and the United States in the three years since it was added to the Salt Lake City-based Golden Rule Project, which was founded 12 years ago by Utah native Bonnie Phillips and her mother.

The idea originated with Phillips’ fourth grade teacher, who had her students recite the Pledge of Allegiance and the Golden Rule every Monday.  “I really had a sense as a little girl that the Golden Rule applied to all of us,” Phillips said.

The magic show doesn’t appeal to just students, however. Aza Williams from Trenton, New Jersey, said that the show exceeded her expectations. “Everybody likes magic, including me. I guess it just appealed to the child in me,” Williams said.

At the end of the performance, several members of the audience rushed to find out how to get Soule to perform in their cities and countries in locales ranging from Canada to Slovakia to California.

The Golden Rule Project is a nonprofit organization independent of any political or religious affiliation and is based on human rights. People interested in joining the movement can sign a pledge or arrange for the magic show to be presented at their local schools.

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