Seer Stones, the Temple and the Urim and Thummim – Mormon ScholarThe concept of glasses as a translation mechanism was first introduced in by Samuel Lawrence. While the method of translation was clearly understood by many members of the church including Emma, Oliver, Martin Harris, and others, Joseph stopped talking about his use of the seer stone for creation of the Book of Mormon around Using stones to find treasure was against the law in New York. At the trial, Oliver Cowdrey testified falsely of the use of the Urim and Thummim as the translation means rather than the chocolate colored seer stone. By , the official version of translation including the Urim and Thummim had been published by Oliver Cowdrey. Brigham Young stated that there were many who had the natural gift of being able to use seer stone, but that Joseph was special because he was called as a prophet. Many have the gift of seeing through seer stones without the Priesthood at all.
How a seer stone helped in the Book of Mormon translation -- Fair Mormon Podcast
Seers and Stones: The Translation of the Book of Mormon as Divine Visions of an Old-Time Seer
Why was I never taught that? Critics and ex-members frequently claim that the Church covers up the fact that Joseph used a seer stone in a hat to translate the Book of Mormon. They argue that Church members are taught that Joseph translated the record only by means of the Urim and Thummim. This is an oddly ironic complaint. Are they arguing that translating by means of a rock inside a hat the seer stone is strange, whereas translating by means of a rock outside of a hat the Nephite interpreters is normal? If Joseph Smith was a prophet, and if the translation came by the gift and power of God, does the method of translation matter?
We should be careful about these quotes from Antimormon sources which are full of contradictions and inconsistencies. The seer stone narrative started with an Antimormon named Willard Chase 20 years after the translation of the gold plates. In , Willard Chase published lurid stories of Joseph Smith conning people money in a treasure hunt for gold bars. Provable Lies — There is no record of Joseph Smith saying anything about discovering wonders in a seer stone. Newspaper articles and witness accounts only talk about a Urim and Thummim.
On June 24th the LDS church released a new short video on seer stones, which is a step forward in their attempt to be more honest about the Book of Mormon translation. If you have not seen it, the church published it on YouTube and you can view it here. It's a short video and we're not going to spend a ton of time here rehashing it, but I want to point out some of the ways that it feels like the church is still dodging and skirting difficult issues while inoculating members about troubling historical topics. Just like the Saints book , the church is using fluffy language and imagery to avoid giving any real details of the Book of Mormon translation beyond the most basic concepts. In addition, the video uses a very simple art style which avoids showing the information that they do have about the translation process in order to keep it light and faith promoting. Below I am going to have the text of the video with some comments about why the church is still being misleading about the Book of Mormon translation even in when the information is so readily available.
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What’s up with Joseph Smith and his “seer stones?”
Biblical Truth Bold Compassion. The real story is that the LDS Church also has published color photographs of the seer stone including the photo shown here 1 that Joseph Smith used to dictate his translation of the Book of Mormon. Until the end of , the Church had generally represented Joseph as having translated the Book of Mormon by reading the gold plates through transparent stone spectacles that he had found along with the plates in a stone box buried near his home. At the very end of that year, they quietly published an article on their official website admitting that Joseph had used a seer stone for treasure hunting and later used the same stone for translating at least part of the Book of Mormon. Unless you were an avid Mormon-watcher, however, you could easily miss that article, which the LDS Church posted with no press release and no effort to make even its own rank and file membership aware of it. The Joseph Smith Papers is a years-long undertaking to publish online and in print all of the writings of Joseph Smith, including diaries, letters, and the manuscripts for his histories and revelations. The fact that Joseph Smith used a seer stone in dictating the text of the Book of Mormon is something that has been known by Mormon and non-Mormon researchers and scholars for decades.
According to Latter Day Saint theology, seer stones were believed to have been used by Joseph Smith , as well as ancient prophets, to receive revelations from God. Seer stones are mentioned in the Book of Mormon in the Book of Mosiah , where they are also called "interpreters" and described as being used by seers to translate and receive revelations. The term " Urim and Thummim " is usually used by Latter Day Saints members to refer to the "interpreters" mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Smith owned at least two seer stones, which he had earlier employed for treasure seeking before he founded the church. Some early-nineteenth-century Americans used seer stones in attempts to gain revelations from God or to find buried treasure.
According to witness accounts, he would put the stone s in a hat and pull the hat close around his face to exclude the light, and then he would see the translated text of the Book of Mormon. By what property or principle these stones enabled Joseph Smith to see the translated text has long been a matter of conjecture among Mormons, but the stones have commonly been understood as divinely powered devices analogous to the latest human communications technology. An alternative view, presented here, is that the stones had no technological function but simply served as aids to faith. In this view, the stones did not themselves translate or display text. They simply inspired the faith Joseph Smith needed to see imaginative visions, and in those visions, he saw the text of the Book of Mormon, just as Lehi and other ancient seers saw sacred texts in vision. And now he translated them by the means of those two stones. Mosiah —