LDS Church announces publication of the printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon

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  • Lorry Denver, CO
    Aug. 20, 2016 5:16 p.m.

    @Craig Clark

    Have 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.

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    Aug. 8, 2015 9:27 a.m.

    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.

  • jskains Orem, UT
    Aug. 8, 2015 7:30 a.m.

    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.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Aug. 6, 2015 9:24 p.m.

    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 discussed.

  • Neanderthal Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 6, 2015 1:23 p.m.

    @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.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 6, 2015 12:55 p.m.

    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.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    Aug. 6, 2015 12:37 p.m.

    @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.

  • nebocreek Nephi, UT
    Aug. 6, 2015 9:38 a.m.

    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.

  • Publius nota bene Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 6, 2015 7:25 a.m.

    @ 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.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Aug. 6, 2015 5:39 a.m.

    @Montague
    Go 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.

  • Montague SLC, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 10:37 p.m.

    Let's say I wanted to believe these incredible stories. How would I go about it?

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 5, 2015 9:49 p.m.

    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.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 5, 2015 9:40 p.m.

    Vanceone

    So 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 aren't true.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 7:47 p.m.

    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 goodness anyway.

  • Mr. Investigator South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 7:01 p.m.

    Let us all press on in the work of the Lord!

  • Publius nota bene Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 3:39 p.m.

    @ 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.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 3:06 p.m.

    @boyd Ricks:
    Yes, it was found while digging a well.

  • Alfred Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 5, 2015 2:58 p.m.

    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 content.'

  • boyd Ricks sandy/salt lake, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 2:56 p.m.

    Where did Joseph get the brown seer stone? Is it true, as B. H. Roberts said , that it was found while digging a well?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 2:24 p.m.

    @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.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 5, 2015 2:21 p.m.

    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 truth.

  • LDSAZ Casa Grande, AZ
    Aug. 5, 2015 1:50 p.m.

    Vai's Cousin

    I'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 proof.

  • One of Vai's Cousins DC, Washington
    Aug. 5, 2015 1:07 p.m.

    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.

  • LDSAZ Casa Grande, AZ
    Aug. 5, 2015 12:58 p.m.

    Vai's Counsin

    Surely 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.

  • One of Vai's Cousins DC, Washington
    Aug. 5, 2015 12:56 p.m.

    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.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 12:02 p.m.

    @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.

  • One of Vai's Cousins DC, Washington
    Aug. 5, 2015 11:48 a.m.

    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.

  • IMAN Marlborough, MA
    Aug. 5, 2015 11:43 a.m.

    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.

  • LDSAZ Casa Grande, AZ
    Aug. 5, 2015 10:40 a.m.

    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?

  • jjjdsd CENTERVILLE, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 10:30 a.m.

    @JoeBlow
    The 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."

  • Mr. Bean Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 5, 2015 10:20 a.m.

    @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 knows?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 5, 2015 10:12 a.m.

    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.

  • Bountiful Guy Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 9:55 a.m.

    @JoeBlow

    Thanks 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.

  • Alfred Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 5, 2015 9:37 a.m.

    @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.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 5, 2015 9:34 a.m.

    "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.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 9:23 a.m.

    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.

  • Bountiful Guy Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 9:04 a.m.

    @JoeBlow

    You 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.

  • AmkaProblemka South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 9:04 a.m.

    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.

  • Kaladin Northern, CO
    Aug. 5, 2015 8:58 a.m.

    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.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 5, 2015 8:52 a.m.

    @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.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 5, 2015 8:36 a.m.

    @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 seer stones.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 5, 2015 8:17 a.m.

    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.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 7:50 a.m.

    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.

  • IMAN Marlborough, MA
    Aug. 5, 2015 7:41 a.m.

    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.

  • Bountiful Guy Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 6:53 a.m.

    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.

  • RCS Orem, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 6:51 a.m.

    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.)

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 5, 2015 6:48 a.m.

    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 overlook
    or 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 church leadership.

  • One of Vai's Cousins DC, Washington
    Aug. 5, 2015 2:31 a.m.

    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.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 5, 2015 12:26 a.m.

    I wonder where the hat is. I'd like to see a picture of the hat too.

  • John Brown 1000 Laketown, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 12:11 a.m.

    PART 2

    Then 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.

  • John Brown 1000 Laketown, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 12:11 a.m.

    what JFS actually said.

    PART 1

    While 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.

  • John Brown 1000 Laketown, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 12:06 a.m.

    @Sank You Doctor,

    Can you provide the quote of President Smith denying any use of the stone?

  • John Brown 1000 Laketown, UT
    Aug. 5, 2015 12:05 a.m.

    @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.

  • Troy06 OREM, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 11:54 p.m.

    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.

  • Troy06 OREM, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 11:49 p.m.

    Cmon guys be respectful.

  • crimendelsiglo boise, ID
    Aug. 4, 2015 10:07 p.m.

    i've never had interest in the seer stones/urim thummim related to the BoM
    but, historically what became of them ?

  • Manzanita Las Vegas, NV
    Aug. 4, 2015 10:03 p.m.

    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?

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 9:39 p.m.

    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.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Aug. 4, 2015 8:25 p.m.

    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...

  • Arizona Border Dude NACO, AZ
    Aug. 4, 2015 7:11 p.m.

    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.

  • slcman SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 7:04 p.m.

    "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.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 6:17 p.m.

    @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.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 5:48 p.m.

    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...

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 5:12 p.m.

    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.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 4, 2015 4:51 p.m.

    @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.

  • 2close2call Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 4, 2015 4:49 p.m.

    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?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 4:38 p.m.

    Who is in possession of the seer stone?

  • truth in all its forms henderson, NV
    Aug. 4, 2015 4:21 p.m.

    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 amazing stone.

  • Linus Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 3:59 p.m.

    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.

  • Hockey Fan Miles City, MT
    Aug. 4, 2015 3:55 p.m.

    @ 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.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 3:30 p.m.

    I would love to see a demonstration of the seer stone.
    How does it light up? Surely it would still work, wouldn't it?

  • Sank You, Doctor Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 3:16 p.m.

    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.

  • H. Bob Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 2:57 p.m.

    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).

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 4, 2015 2:36 p.m.

    @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.

  • Hockey Fan Miles City, MT
    Aug. 4, 2015 2:22 p.m.

    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.

  • illuminated St George, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 2:11 p.m.

    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.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Aug. 4, 2015 1:54 p.m.

    @Illuminated
    I 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.

  • illuminated St George, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 1:36 p.m.

    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 studying it.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 1:34 p.m.

    Check out the front of your your Book of Mormon Craig. It has a current copyright notice in it.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 4, 2015 1:12 p.m.

    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 interest.

  • mecr Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 11:56 a.m.

    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.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 11:48 a.m.

    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.

  • Myrtle III Draper, UT
    Aug. 4, 2015 11:24 a.m.

    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.