@Craig ClarkHave you read 19th century copyright laws?? I have read
a few, but have not found any obligations regarding publishing the author's
name. The absence of author's name neither disallows copyrighting the
work, nor places the work in the public domain. You may be aware of a New York
law that I have not come across. If so, please provide a link or title of the
law. Otherwise, the only reason to list a person as author, is to give the
author credit for his work. Thank you.
Sank you doctor " Members (and even president Joseph Fielding Smith) have
denied the J.S. had a seer stone that he used to translate the Book Of
Mormon."Joseph Fielding Smith's sermons and writings compiled by
Bruce R. McConkie, vol 111 pp 225-226 Gives a clear view of his opinion
concerning the 'seer stone.' Such a stone was not a secret nor denial
kept by members and the church. Why and how it was used by the prophet Joseph
Smith is another matter.
Personally I see the stones like props to help Joseph Smith along. He believed
in seer stones, so God used them to get the translations going. In my opinion,
the seer stones are just common useless stones. I am absolutely sure God could
project letters on whatever He pleases. If he needed to put words on a donkey,
He would do it. We project words on buildings, or on clouds. If we can do that,
God can do that. So when people say "I'd like to see them work",
I'd say they don't. There is absolutely nothing special about them.
I thought the Urim and Thummim was two stones. I would guess one of the stones
is missing, but perhaps this is not part of the Urim and Thummim. I'm
curious to know if the leather sack featured in the recently released photograph
is large enough to carry two stones or just one. In either case,
I'm glad the photographs have been made public and the issue can be openly
@Ernest T. Bass: "Yes, it was found while digging a well."What, he found the stone in a well... the chocolate colored on in the
picture!? And he used it to translate the BofM? Good heavens! That can't
be true. He had the Urim and Thummim to do the job. Maybe he didn't even
need the plates. In which case the book would come under steep suspicion.
Publius nota bene:re: "We really should not question
people's motives"I couldn't disagree more.
Understanding the motives of a speaker is critical to understanding the
speaker's perspective, and the validity of the argument. Motives drive
actions, testimony, bias, perspectives on observations and fact, and ultimately
help explain why a person might draw a given conclusion from the perceived
facts.re: "People have a lot of reasons for questioning
religious ideas"True. One of the primary reasons in the case of
Mormon theology is someone with an ax to grind. If comments on this thread were
the only posts from ETB, your comment would be well taken. Given ETB's
history of comments, including tone, my hypothesis is not far fetched.re: "there are completely valid reasons to suspect that other texts were
used as foundations for the BoM"Questions are not bad. Mocking
derision in content/tone is, particularly when there is no prima facie evidence
that Joseph Smith "made it up". I simply point out that the text is
better evidence than Joseph's superstitions. God might just overlook the
latter as we overlook unsophisticated beliefs of those who are less
knowledgeable than ourselves.
@nebocreek"and we think nothing of how much info there is on a
little tiny piece of silicon"Because we understand how it stores
all that information; we can mass produce billions of them to store even more
information; and, we can actually take them apart and demonstrate exactly how
they do what they do."but some question whether the Great
Creator could use a seer stone to provide information to his mortal children
through those He has chosen."If I showed up at your doorstep
tomorrow, with what I claimed to be a seer stone and proclaimed I had been
chosen by God to deliver a message to you my money says you'd quickly
dismiss me as a nut case or a shyster."He certainly can and does
give us information and truth in ways He sees best."Which is
always through third-party spokespersons. A more direct approach would surely
eliminate all the confusion.
Hmmm... and we think nothing of how much info there is on a little tiny piece of
silicon, but some question whether the Great Creator could use a seer stone to
provide information to his mortal children through those He has chosen. He
certainly can and does give us information and truth in ways He sees best.
@ carman "Again, you keep showing up on LDS themed threads to express your
cynicism. Why? Again, it seems that you have an ax to grind."We
really should not question people's motives because 1) we can't know
what people's motives are unless they tell us honestly and 2) doing so
prevents us from actually addressing their comments. "People
without an ax to grind typically just ignores stories about religion that they
deem to be fables. I think you have an agenda."That isn't
factual. People have a lot of reasons for questioning religious ideas without
having and ax to grind or a nefarious agenda. Both premises are flawed because
everyone has "motivations" and dismissing them is an unfair debating
tactic."I would think that it is more difficult to believe that
Joseph wrote the BoM in three months with little to no editing, by simple
dictation..."Me, too, however there is no evidence that he did
this. There are only Mormon claims that he did it. Notwithstanding the constant
denials emanating from apologists, there are completely valid reasons to suspect
that other texts were used as foundations for the BoM.
@MontagueGo to mormon.org and there should be a link to contact
missionaries in your area or just show up on sunday to the nearest LDS
chappel.Was any body else surprised by the appearance of the seer
stones? I've seen the reproductions of the Urim & thummin which had
clear stones almost like eye glasses and I assumed his seer stones would be
similar. I wasn't expecting... what is that, polished petrified wood maybe?
Very cool to see. Does the LDS church own all of these? I thought most of Joseph
Smith's personal stuff was owned by the Community of christ due to their
affiliation with Emma and Joseph Smith III.
Let's say I wanted to believe these incredible stories. How would I go
So Joseph had to get the plates, which he didn't use in translation. God
gave him the urim and thummim to use, but then took them away to punish joseph,
but then gave Joseph a stone so that he could still translate the plates. The
witnesses had to go in a field and pray to see the plates by vision, while the
plates laid in Joseph's house. Then the plates were taken up to heaven
without a trace, along with the urim and thummim, yet Joseph was allowed to
retain the seer stone.... It is clear that the only real part of that story
was.. he had a stone.
VanceoneSo Moroni took the Urim and thummim up with him, along with
the plates, but he didn't take the seer stone? That doesn't sound
reasonable. He could have left the plates, or urim and thummim, yet he just left
us the one thing that can't be proven to be authentic - a rock. The story
just doesn't make sense, and when things don't make sense, they
Ernest T. Bass:Again, you keep showing up on LDS themed threads to
express your cynicism. Why? Again, it seems that you have an ax to grind.
People without an ax to grind typically just ignores stories about religion that
they deem to be fables. I think you have an agenda.re: You said,
"Apparently seer stones were quite common in the 1820s in Palmyra. They were
used by a lot of people, not just Joseph Smith. I wonder why they stopped
being used. I would think at least one person could still use this one."You also said: "The answers and evidence point to myth not any type
of truth."I would think that it is more difficult to believe
that Joseph wrote the BoM in three months with little to no editing, by simple
dictation, than his claim that the seer stone was somehow used as part of the
process for a period of time. Yet you focus on his use of the stone, not the
more weighty evidence of the transcript and book itself. Perhaps God allows our
seemingly silly beliefs and somehow allows us to be influenced by his power and
Let us all press on in the work of the Lord!
@ illuminated "The printers manuscript is actually more correct than what we
have today since it still retains much of the Hebraisms that modern editors
mistook for errors...the former language is closer to Hebrew."I'm confused how you could come to this conclusion in light of the
seemingly universal scholarly disagreement by Egyptologists. For example, from
Wikipedia:"John A. Wilson, professor of Egyptology at the
University of Chicago, wrote, 'From time to time there are allegations that
picture writing has been found in America… In no case has a professional
Egyptologist been able to recognize these characters as Egyptian hieroglyphs.
From our standpoint there is no such language as 'reformed
Egyptian'."Do you have any peer-reviewed scholarly articles
that support your claims of Hebrew origins? I am genuinely interested in what
prompted you to make this claim.
@boyd Ricks:Yes, it was found while digging a well.
LDSAZ:"No evidence. No Witnesses. No Manuscript. No logic. How did he
do this (write the text over a three-ear period) without anyone ever walking in
on him?"How did he come to know alot about the early inhabitants
of this continent? One of Vai's Cousins @ 1:07 p.m. has a plausable
answer... '... no one claimed Joseph was a writer. But he was a story
teller. He could speak very well. His mother wrote that the family used to enjoy
hearing the many stories young Joseph told about the native inhabitants of the
Americas. Including their dress, travel, warfare, etc.'And...LDSAZ @ 1:50 p.m. has an interesting rebuttal. 'Don't be
surprised if you learn for the first time, that Joseph related things that the
angel Moroni had told Joseph about the record, including a few details of the
Where did Joseph get the brown seer stone? Is it true, as B. H. Roberts said ,
that it was found while digging a well?
@carman:Just curious. Apparently seer stones were quite common in the
1820s in Palmyra. They were used by a lot of people, not just Joseph Smith. I wonder why they stopped being used. I would think at least one person could
still use this one.
It is amazing how true believes will rationalize the merit of common sense
opposition to their preconceived notions. Up to the time when their notions are
exposed as invalid or erroneous they will fight tooth and nail to defend their
false notions, but, once their believes are shown as invalid then the true
believer defends them by claiming to have know it all along. It really is
amazing how wishful thinking can cloud one's mind from seeking and seeing
Vai's CousinI'm sorry you are misunderstanding what she
wrote about. Go back and check your story. Don't be surprised if you
learn for the first time, that Joseph related things that the angel Moroni had
told Joseph about the record, including a few details of the content. If you
find that Joseph related stories in the scripture language of the BofM,
practicing what he would later relate to scribes, please share that with us.
I'm sure you'll stick to your story about people hearing stories for
years and you'll continue to offer him relating information from Moroni as
Your right LDSAZ. Just if there were someone who could verify that Joseph told
stories of the native inhabitants of the Americas to his family for years. Who
could that be? Oh yeah, his own mother! She detailed this in her personal
history. I'm not saying those who heard the stories did not also join the
church. I am simply saying that Joseph told stories very similar to the content
of the Book of Mormon for years prior to the book being written. At least
according to the unreliable source of his own mother.
Vai's CounsinSurely in telling these stories for years there
would be a witness; someone who listened to the Book of Mormon stories for years
prior to publication. My ancestors knew the Smith family since the late
1700's in Vermont and again in New York and never heard these stories you
speak so freely about. Yet everyone of them joined the church after
publication. They remained true and loyal all of their lives. If one had
suspected fabrication, they would have said so and left the church. Do you have
record of anyone who heard these Book of Mormon stories prior to publication?
You may believe your story, but it is far less believable than the truth is.
An interesting aspect of Joseph's use of his stone that has not been
mentioned is that he was brought to court for defrauding people through the use
of his stone in treasure hunting schemes. He admitted in court that he could not
see lost items and promised to no longer use his stone.
@Kaladin"Consider the time Joseph was raised in - the belief in and
use of such things was rampant."Belief in is one thing, but use
of such things by people in those days (let's leave aside Joseph for a
second since if in his case it had divine assistance then that'd be the
exception to this rule) would just be by con artists.
LDSAZ - no one claimed Joseph was a writer. But he was a story teller. He could
speak very well. His mother wrote that the family used to enjoy hearing the many
stories young Joseph told about the native inhabitants of the Americas.
Including their dress, travel, warfare, etc. So it is unlikely that he created
the narrative in writing. But he apparently had many years to think about and
recite tales of the native inhabitants. Ironically, it is the same story that
popped up on the Gold Plates (that were never used). His father joined in and
told stories very similar to the Tree of Life story.
Bountiful Guy wrote: "You won't give any consideration of the hundreds
of evidences that exist supporting the Book of Mormon, but you would believe any
fabricated, unsupported story that comes along against it without any
evidence."Please list just one credible piece of evidence that
supports the BoM.
Mr. Bean"Maybe he was composing the book during the three-year
period."No evidence. No Witnesses. No Manuscript. No logic.
How did he do this without anyone ever walking in on him? How and where did he
hide the manuscripts for 3 years, even from his wife? Thousands of pages ought
to have been noticed. And what about the store owner who sold him many reams of
paper for this writing? How did the scribes notice the metal plates but not the
thousands of pages rattling across the curtain of the table? How did the pages
fit into the hat without rustling? Why are these thousands of pages the only
writings by Joseph that have no evidence of their existence? Why is this story
more believable to some than the witnesses and 3-month manuscript?
@JoeBlowThe Prophet Mohammad to my understanding did not write the Quran.
The Quran was an accumulation of both written and memories of various scribes.
Most of those scribes that wrote down or memorized the revelations of Mohammed
were killed before the Quran was assembled. "Zayd, collected
the verses and produced a hand-written manuscript of the complete book. The
manuscript according to Zayd remained with Abu Bakr until he died. Zayd's
reaction to the task and the difficulties in collecting the Quranic material
from parchments, palm-leaf stalks, thin stones and from men who knew it by heart
is recorded in earlier narratives."
@RCS:"Remember, you look INTO these stones of revelation, not through
them..."This is confusing. Supposedly, the stones were held in
a mechanism (Urim and Thummim) so that Joseph could peer through them at the
text on the plates as an aid to the translation from Reformed Egyptian to
English. Now we see that he placed a stone in a hat to get the translation...
in which case, why were the plates even needed?@AmkaProblemka:"After translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph handed the stone to Oliver
Cowdery and said he no longer needed it."It was my understanding
that Joseph handed the Urim and Thummim, which included the stone, to Moroni
after completing the translation. Why was he allowed to keep the stone and not
the plates and Urim and Thummim?@Bountiful Guy:"...but you
won't believe evidence that he translated it in 3 months...."Joseph actually had three years and three months (or longer) to develop the
BofM text. He tells us he had to return to the Hill Cumorah once a year for
three years. Maybe he was composing the book during the three-year period. Who
Bountiful Guy,Thanks for the response.But, I am very
confident that those who flew the planes into buildings on 9/11 were also
"among the many who are 100% certain"Wouldn't you
agree?So, were they mistaken? Is it possible that you are
mistaken?I find it common that those who are sure are confident that
others who are sure are mistaken.
@JoeBlowThanks for asking. I'm among the many who are 100%
certain; so much so that, like Joseph, I dare not deny it. I
realize that you have not had the experiences that I've had and I'm no
better than you are because I have. I appreciate your honesty and sincerity.
And I hope that one day you will know in the same way that I know. I will say
this about my experience. I cannot read the book on any occasion without
re-affirmation of its veracity. I'm amazed at all the little subtle
tidbits therein that confirm it for me once again.
@Craig Clark: "In the Book of Mormon story’s development over time,
the Urim and Thummim would come to supplant the seer stones Joseph used in
translation."The Urim and Thummim were found in the stone box on
Cumorah with the plates, to be used in translation. Apparently, all J. Smith
needed was the stone(s). The stones with the U&T were said to be crystal
clear. The stones in the article are chocolate colored, as noted by the
article's author. Further, according to Smith's mother, the plates
were not used. A stone in a hat was the translation methodology.@Vanceone: "As far as I know, however, the Urim and Thummin were taken by
Moroni and we do not have them."The stones were part of the Urim
and Thummim. Why were they not taken with the Unim and Thummim by Moroni?@Troy06: "You don't gain a testimony of truth by seeing plates
or swords."Knowledge of something is superior to faith in
something. Seeing is believing. Had the plates and Urim & Thummim been
retained by Smith, the authenticity of the B of M would be beyond question.
"You missed the point."Perhaps so, perhaps not.I
leave open the possibility that Joseph Smith did exactly as he claimed, and the
BOM is exactly what it claims.I also leave open the possibility that
it is all a fraud. Bottom line is that I do not know, and never claimed that I
did.How about you. Are you open to these possibilities, or are you
100 percent certain?Is it possible that those guys who flew planes
into buildings on 9/11 are currently hanging out with 72 virgins?I
am ok with not knowing. In the end, I think we are all agnostic. Most just
cant admit it.
Why is coverage of the seer stones being suppressed by the DesNews? I've
been reading articles and seeing pictures in other sources, mostly national for
over a day now. The DesNews should be leading the news on this one. It is the
surest way to help ensure that this news is accurately presented. Ignoring a
huge story in your yard is just too odd.
@JoeBlowYou missed the point. You would believe the story that
Joseph made it up over seven years with no evidence, but you won't believe
evidence that he translated it in 3 months with witness testimony and actual
manuscript produced over a 3 month period. Please explain that one point.You would believe that Joseph was skilled at complex Chiasmus with no
evidence that he even knew the word, but you won't believe that Hebrew
tradition contained highly sophisticated Chiasmus writing and that it's
evidence that Joseph translated writing of Hebrew roots.You
won't give any consideration of the hundreds of evidences that exist
supporting the Book of Mormon, but you would believe any fabricated, unsupported
story that comes along against it without any evidence.
To all who wonder about Joseph's use of a seer stone and modern prophets
non-use, Joseph Smith was remarkable, faithful, and clearly called
by God to be the restoring prophet for this dispensation. When he was 14 he saw
God and Jesus - after praying to find out what church he should join so he could
properly access God and gain a remission of his sins. When he received the
vision of Moroni, he had the same motivation: after the First Vision he sorrowed
at his continued imperfection, and once more sought redemption. The
evidence is clear that he had strong faith, but was inexperienced. To be honest,
some of our youth may be more experienced in receiving personal revelation than
he was at the times he received those revelations. But, no one would have been
experienced then. It was time to restore the Gospel, and Joseph was the chosen
one - due his heart's desires, not his experience. The October
Ensign article, Joseph the Seer, that the church has released is very
informative. After translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph handed the stone to
Oliver Cowdery and said he no longer needed it.
The use of seer stones is not weird to me at all. It is quite logical really.
Consider the time Joseph was raised in - the belief in and use of such things
was rampant. When he was told he would be a prophet he was surely floored. How
could he possibly receive revelation directly from God? His faith needed to be
strong, so the Lord gave him seer stones to use. This boosted his faith
necessary to do the work. Eventually his understanding was expanded to the point
he realized seer stones are not necessary. In our day the use of such seems a
strange mythical thing, but not to people in those days. That's why you
won't hear of any modern prophets using them - the understanding of the way
God can work through men is much stronger in them than it was in this young man
who started his prophetic journey at the age of 14.
@Cats"I don't believe the church has ever denied the use of
the seer stone. I have been taught it all my life in seminary and religion
classes at BYU."Your statement above would be credible if you
could point to any CES materials that mention hats and seer stones. While
you're at it, please show us where Joseph's polygamy and polyandry are
discussed. I would like to see whether Emma is constantly portrayed as
Joseph's 'wife' or as 'one of his wives' in the CES
materials you were using. Please enlighten us.
@Steve C. Warren,"Where can we see the photos of the two seer stones
that were published before today's photos of the one stone? I was not aware
that any photos had been published before today."______________________________I just now googled on “photos
of Joseph Smith’s seer stones” and see what you’re talking
about. I wasn’t aware that the Church just yesterday published those
photos, neither of which I had seen before. But I have seen others in books
I’ve read. One of those was Jon Butler’s Awash in a Sea of Faith
which has as an illustration a black and white photo of one of Joseph’s
Bountiful Guy,Could you make a solid case that the Prophet Mohammad
did not get divine guidance in writing the Quran?Was L. Ron Hubbard
inspired?Do you know whether there really is a space ship behind the
Comet Hale-Bopp?It's pretty hard to prove a negative.
I don't believe the church has ever denied the use of the seer stone. I
have been taught it all my life in seminary and religion classes at BYU. I
think possibly President Smith expressed a personal opinion based on what his
knowledge was at that time. However, clearly the seer stone exists. I would be really interested to know what other artifacts the Church has in
it's possession. But, that is the church's business and not mine.
Liberal Ted wrote: "There were also ideas that Mormons grew horns, but,
shaved them down when in public. Not kidding folks. And there were people that
believed the nonsense."I infer from the above that you believe
Mormons growing horns is nonsense because there has never been a credible source
that has verified and documented that Mormons with horns exist. Following that
logic the same can be said of Joe's golden plates with Egyptian
hieroglyphs. Not to mention many other things that are in the BoM.
I always find it interesting that the Church can produce the 3 months of
manuscripts of the translation, but those opposed to the Church cannot produce a
single page of the seven years of manuscript Joseph kept secretly hidden as he
wrote the story according to them. And even though they do not believe in the
plates Moroni took back, the non-believers cannot produce the metal plates
Joseph Smith 'fooled' his followers with. No one has claimed to have
helped Joseph fabricate them, and no one has been able to provide them. Yet non
believers will believe those stores with no evidence and not believe any
evidence that is produced as to the truthfulness of Joseph's story.
Two things make a seer stone work: (1) You have to be a seer, having received
this gift (of revelation) from God; (2) God has to give the revelations through
the stone. Satan has counterfeits. Ever heard of "revelation" through a
crystal ball? Remember, you look INTO these stones of revelation, not through
them (as some assumed when the Urim and Thummim was described as being like a
"large pair of (old-fashioned) spectacles." You never look through these
stones, but into them—like looking into a computer monitor or your smart
phone. You don't look through them. In fact, a seer stone works a lot like
a smart hand-held device, only on a spiritual (rather than electronic) plane. It
appears that there is a spiritual/mental mind-link with the stone and the seer.
Smart devices don't yet have that capability, but advancements are getting
closer. Not hard to believe in seer stones in our day with such man-made
devices. God has devices too. Why needed by a Prophet/Seer? Why not?! (Smart
phones would have been considered an absolute miracle in Joseph Smith's
day. We believe in them now.)
The LDS have a saying "Milk before Meat"I believe that this
concept is in play here.Early on, some of these concepts would have
driven many away.But, once considerable personal investment has been made,
it becomes easier to overlookor discount some of what is being revealed
today.Once all the laundry has been aired, the claim of secrecy
could no longer be used by detractors.I believe it is shrewd move by
The seer stone is an extremely interesting issue for the Church. Yes, you can
point to maybe two times comments have been officially published about its use
in translating. But otherwise there has been a clear effort to promote a story
of translation that did not include the stone or hat. The church has literally
been forced to be transparent about this and similar issues due to such
widespread knowledge via the internet. I can't recall how many
times I have asked questions about the issues now acknowledged in the
"essays" and was told I was deceived, they were all untruths and
anti-Mormon lies. Some will give very smooth, logical sounding reasons why these
issues are now being openly acknowledged. But there simply was an effort that
they not be a part of the standard LDS story (outside of church scholars) until
now. I wonder how long until we see the first picture of Joseph with his head in
a hat hanging in a temple or chapel? Look I am not anti. But I am trying to find
my way after learning an entirely different version of Mormonism than I was fed
growing up in the church.
I wonder where the hat is. I'd like to see a picture of the hat too.
PART 2Then again the Prophet was impressed by Moroni with the fact
that these stones were given for that very purpose. It hardly seems reasonable
to suppose that the Prophet would substitute something evidently inferior under
these circumstances. It may have been so, but it is so easy for a story of this
kind to be circulated due to the fact that the Prophet did possess a seer stone,
which he may have used for some other purposes.
what JFS actually said. PART 1While the statement has
been made by some writers that the Prophet Joseph Smith used a seer stone part
of the time in his translating of the record, and information points to the fact
that he did have in his possession such a stone, yet there is no authentic
statement in the history of the Church which states that the use of such a stone
was made in that translation. The information is all hearsay, and personally, I
do not believe that this stone was used for this purpose. The reason I give for
this conclusion is found in the statement of the Lord to the Brother of Jared as
recorded in Ether 3:22–24. These stones, the Urim and Thummim which were
given to the Brother of Jared, were preserved for this very purpose of
translating the record, both of the Jaredites and the Nephites.
@Sank You Doctor,Can you provide the quote of President Smith
denying any use of the stone?
@one vote, The article on the Church website says the Church is in
possession of it. @2Close2Call,The article on the Church
website points out that nobody said the stone was necessary. Joseph Smith
himself said it wasn't. At the same time, the Biblical record
is full of examples of spiritual manifestations being associated with physical
objects--burning bush, Aaron's rod, tablets Moses brought down from
mountain, brass serpent, casting of lots to divine will of Lord, urim and
thummin, ark of covenant, tabernacle and then temple, Jordan river to heal a
case of leprosy, sacrifices, spittle clay to heal eyes, handkerchief given to
heal someone not present, baptism itself, etc. Using a stone seems
par for the course.
Guys, the church has many artifacts. If they told us they had the brass plates
and sword of Laban people would freak and demand to see them. You don't
gain a testimony of truth by seeing plates or swords.
Cmon guys be respectful.
i've never had interest in the seer stones/urim thummim related to the
BoMbut, historically what became of them ?
According to Richard Bushman in his book Rough Stone Rolling, Joseph Smith
taught the brethren that “Every man who lived on the Earth was entitled to
a seer stone and should have one, but they are kept from them in consequence of
their wickedness.” First question: presupposing their
righteousness to have received their individual seer stones, how are the current
prophets and apostles using their own stones, and when might we expect them to
tell us more about these experiences?Second question: should all
members of the Church be praying to receive the seer stone appointed for them?
eastcoastcoug: I've seen pictures of the seer stone before; I think back in
the 60's they released one photograph of the stone. The fact that it
remains with the Church was not a secret; just sort of irrelevant.The Seer stone and the Urim and Thummim appear to have been instruments Joseph
used early on; which he quickly grew out of. Many of the early revelations were
given through the Urim and Thummin, but as time passed its use ceased, as well
as this seer stone. From what I can tell, today the Lord uses a different method
to communicate with His leaders; and the seer stone has been returned to its
original status as a rock. As far as I know, however, the Urim and
Thummin were taken by Moroni and we do not have them. Why
didn't the Church just announce it before? Or why hasn't it been
discussed much until now? Probably the better question is why does it matter?
If the Urim and Thummin could be used, and they were rocks; then why not this
Seer Stone? Certainly the Lord can do things with ordinary rocks; just ask the
Brother of Jared.
OK...my initial reaction seeing this stone is I'm a bit weirded out here.
I'm just being honest, folks. I've heard of the stone but seeing it
for real is a bit strange feeling. And I'm also wondering where this has
been all these years and why whoever had it didn't release it until now.
This means that the Church had it all along and no one has said anything. Why
did JFSmith deny its existence? Why didn't Pres. Hinckley, Pres. Monson or
anyone else not tell us about this? Richard Turley said: “The
picture brings a kind of tangibility to something that has been previously been
talked about just in words,” Turley said. “That helps people connect
with the past. We’ve discovered that artifacts and historical sites are a
way to give a sense of reality to things that are otherwise somewhat
ethereal.”In other words, people appreciate artifacts over
hearsay. We've always been taught to take it on faith, but now we hear that
there actually are some artifacts that have been kept hidden away. This is going to take some time to digest...
Craig Clark, It matter not when the content of the manuscript became public
domain. The publication, as I understand it, will be images of the original
papers. Those are privately owned by another church. No matter how benevolent it
may seem, nobody has the right to take that property from the lawful owner for
any purpose. It took years to negotiate the release of the papers to produce the
images and further allow the release access of those images to the public. The
outcome of this is a monumental event that took decades to accomplish.
"Seer Stones" were very popular among 19th century mystics, particularly
on the American frontier. The belief was that these rocks would help these
people receive divine revelations.
@Craig Clark Where can we see the photos of the two seer stones that
were published before today's photos of the one stone? I was not aware that
any photos had been published before today.
Ernest T. Bass,You readily jump on many of these LDS related topic
threads to express your cynicism about anything and everything related to the
LDS church. We get that you don't believe. Why spend so much time on
these threads? It feels like you have an ax to grind...
Linus:Thanks for answering. The answers and evidence point to myth
not any type of truth. It's not being used at all is the reality.
@one vote,"Who is in possession of the seer stone?"______________________________I don't know who are possession
of them now but Joseph had at least two separate seer stones I've seen
photos of. Other early Latter-day Saints had seer stones as well including one
of the Whitmers and Hiram Page.The seer stone is not strictly
endemic to Mormon beginnings. Its better known cousin the crystal ball is used
in divination going back into medieval times. Belief systems don’t come
from out of nowhere. Similarities can sometimes evidence a common origin in the
distant past.In traditional LDS lore, translation was done using the
Biblical Urim and Thummim which in the Bible are unspecified objects that may
have been affixed to the sacred breastplate of the priest. In the Book of Mormon
story’s development over time, the Urim and Thummim would come to supplant
the seer stones Joseph used in translation.
I am going to sound like my 5 year old child, but, Why was an egg sized stone
necessary to translate or communicate with God? If it really is necessary, why
don't current LDS prophets use a seer stone?
Who is in possession of the seer stone?
these pictures of the seer stone just go to validate my faith. I am so grateful
that god let that young boy have the power to use that precious stone to
translate such an amazing book. I wish i was righteousness enough to use that
Mr. Bass said, "I would love to see a demonstration of the seer stone.How does it light up? Surely it would still work, wouldn't it?"Such a demonstration would require the availability of the following:
1. a seer stone, 2. a willing seer, and 3. a need recognized by deity. Such
"proof" is not likely to be given to lay folks, but we are free to seek
a spiritual confirmation of our faith, if we have some. I do, and I did, and I
know, without a demonstration.
@ H. Bob,Thank you for letting me know that Dr. Skousen is part of
this project. I'm not at all surprised. I stand in awe of my former
professor and colleague.
I would love to see a demonstration of the seer stone. How does it light
up? Surely it would still work, wouldn't it?
It is the picture of the seer stone that Joseph used that is the most
interesting. Members (and even President Joseph Fielding Smith) for years have
denied that Joseph Smith had a seer stone that he used to translate the B of M.
Now we have pictures of it. Very interesting.
Hockey Fan--you may already know this, but Dr. Skousen is one of the volume
editors of these two volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers (as you might expect
given his expertise).
@Flashback,"Check out the front of your your Book of Mormon Craig. It
has a current copyright notice in it."______________________________That pertains to that edition of the
Book of Mormon. You’ll also find a copyright notice in the current
Community of Christ edition which is not identical to the current LDS edition.
Both churches have made revisions over the years and may do so yet again with
future editions. The title page of subsequent LDS versions credits
Joseph Smith as translator. The original 1830 edition credits Joseph Smith as
author. That accreditation was meant only in the legal sense to protect
proprietary rights under 19th century copyright law.
Over 20 years ago, Royal Skousen, a BYU Professor of Linguistics, undertook a
meticulous study of the printer's manuscript, and what is left of the
original manuscript. Only about 28% of the latter is extant because of water
damage. Dr. Skousen edited a version of The Book of Mormon called "The
Earliest Text." I highly recommend that book, as it represents the pinnacle
of Dr. Skousen's mammoth labor of love and scholarship.
The printers manuscript is actually more correct than what we have today since
it still retains much of the Hebraisms that modern editors mistook for errors.
For example, the "if...and" sentences were replaced with
"if...then" to make it easier for english readers, but the former
language is closer to Hebrew. There are literally dozens of
different structures like this that were removed that actually provide more
evidence of the book's veracity.
@IlluminatedI thought it was technically available but not really
accessible. Scholars have read it and used it in research but I thought you had
to physically go to it. Plus, as you mentioned the Comunity of Christ
wasn't publishing copies of it. It'll be very cool to have
an electronic copy of it.
I don't understand why this is such a big deal. Hasn't the printers
manuscript been available for study for years? I thought it was always a matter
of copyright since the Community of Christ was stingy about letting the LDS
church get a hold of it for reproduction. But that didn't stop anyone from
Check out the front of your your Book of Mormon Craig. It has a current
copyright notice in it.
The Book of Mormon passed into the public domain long before anyone alive today
was even born. Publishing a photocopy now of the printer’s manuscript is
being done in the interest of history, scholarship, and the general public
Talking about rumors: when my great-grandmother visited her non-lds
husband's family, she felt somebody was touching her head while she was
sleeping. Her sisters in-law were trying to find out if she had horns. True
story I heard from her.
Since the church didn't own these papers, it would make it difficult to
come out and publish them. Sounds like it took some time to get the right
people and resources lined up to get these papers to where they are today. Not
to mention just a decade or more ago the church didn't have the resources
it does today. Nor did it have the numbers in the membership.The
church could publish everything, open everything up to spectators; but, it will
never change the fact that people will still create conspiracy theories. For
example, the rumor years ago was the church threw people off of the temple into
the great salt lake. Anyone who has visited temple square and the great salt
lake, know that is pretty much impossible. Even with a medieval catapult, I
doubt you could fling a body that far. There were also ideas that Mormons grew
horns, but, shaved them down when in public. Not kidding folks. And there were
people that believed the nonsense.
Many Question why these are just being released, implying the church has been
hiding things. I think releasing or publishing documents is not as simple as it
seems. You can't just go in the archive with an iPhone, take thousands of
pictures, and post them on the internet. As a charitable institution, we're
talking about a finite number of people digitizing thousands and thousands of
pages, ensuring accuracy to the original, preparing for print, and publishing
each as it is ready. In past decades there likely wasn't
justification to publish all of this material (nor the technology), the focus
instead being on things like "Preach My Gospel", or publishing The Book
of Mormon in "Hiligaynon", among hundreds of other church publications.
There is a great call now, technology, and department to execute it. Sort of a
perfect storm of opportunity and I believe the church is answering in reasonable
time given the constraints as both a charitable and bureaucratic institution.Seems reasonable, I'm glad we'll have the opportunity to see
more of this history.