Joseph Smith Seer Stones, Explained

Introduction to Joseph Smith Seer Stones

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons, believe that Joseph Smith translated a book of scripture called the Book of Mormon. According to Smith, he found this ancient book buried in a hill, written on gold plates. There are various accounts of how Smith translated the Book of Mormon. In his own account, Smith talks about using two stones that he found buried with the gold plates. Other accounts record that Smith used one or more seer stones, which he already possessed. Not long after the translation was completed, all of these stones began to be referred to generically as the “Urim and Thummim,” a biblical object used by the high priest of Israel.

In recent decades historical research has shed light on Joseph Smith’s seer stone use both before and during the translation of the Book of Mormon. For some, these developments have been surprising and even concerning. Some people are upset to learn that before discovering the Book of Mormon, Smith used seer stones for non-religious purposes like searching for lost treasure. Others view Smith’s use of seer stones as a natural preparation for his translation efforts or a demonstration of his authentic seer abilities. For many Mormons, the most important issue is not which Joseph Smith seer stone he used to translate the Book of Mormon, but whether he translated it by the power of God. This website provides an overview of seer stones and Joseph Smith’s use of seer stones.

Critics View &
Factual Responses

Joseph Smith’s use of seer stones shows that his interests were magical, superstitious, and non-religious.

Ritual practices, magical objects, and people with supernatural abilities are recorded in the Bible. So, the fact that Smith used physical objects as a way to translate...
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Joseph Smith used his seer stones to find treasure and get rich. Smith’s alleged discovery of the gold plates had no religious significance but was directly related to his treasure hunting.

Joseph Smith never denied that he used his (Joseph Smith's) seer stones to try to find lost treasure... 
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The translation of the Book of Mormon was done by Joseph Smith looking into a hat, which held his seer stone. This is contrary to the narrative that the Mormon Church has supported through its publications and artwork.

Part of the confusion around this issue has to do with terminology...
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Objects as Religious or Magical Tools

Objects have always been a part of biblical religious history. Priests, seers, and prophets used these objects to ask about, interpret, and accomplish the commandments of the Lord. For example, the Urim and Thummim were biblical objects...
Read More

Joseph Smith Used Seer Stones

There are various accounts about how Joseph Smith acquired his seer stones. Two of the most common stories are that Smith found a seer stone in a well and the other near Lake Erie. Smith had at least two seer stones, one was dark in color...
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Mormon Church Artwork Often Omits Joseph Smith's Use of Seer Stones

Many Mormons have been unaware of the fact that Joseph Smith found and used seer stones and in particular they did not know that he used seer stones to translate the Book of Mormon...
Read More

Joseph Smith Seer Stones Timeline

Ancient Israel

There are many accounts in the Bible of objects being used by people to accomplish their divinely-appointed tasks. In Genesis, Joseph of Egypt used a silver cup to divine information (Genesis 44:5, 15). Moses was commanded by God to throw Aaron’s staff or rod to the ground in Pharaoh’s court, which became a snake. The magicians of Pharaoh also made snakes out of rods, but Aaron’s snake ate the magician’s snakes (Exodus 7:9-12). When the Israelites were plagued with serpents, Moses was commanded by the Lord to make a brass serpent and set it on a pole. The people only had to look at the brass serpent and they would be healed from the serpents’ bites (Numbers 21:6-9). The high priest of Israel wore a Urim and Thummim, which helped him to interpret the will of God. The Bible records many other instances of physical objects being used to accomplish God’s purposes.

According to Bible scholar Shawna Dolansky, there wasn’t a distinction between magic and religion among the ancient Hebrews. Magic wasn’t illegal, but magic performed in the name of any other God than the God of the Hebrews was prohibited.

    1440-1250 BC

    After the Children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, the Mosaic law was put in place. The role of Aaronic priests was defined. The high priest was told to make special clothing to administer the Aaronic priesthood covenants. One item of special clothing was a breastplate. As part of the breastplate, the high priest wore something called the Urim and Thummim. Urim and Thummim is a Hebrew phrase meaning “lights and perfections” or “lights and truth.” Many biblical scholars agree that the Urim and Thummim were used to receive revelation or interpret events. There are various biblical accounts where the Urim and Thummim were used by prophets to receive revelation. One of these accounts is in Numbers 27, where Moses asks the High Priest Eleazar to confirm to the people that Joshua was chosen by God to be the next leader of the Israelites. It should be noted that in the Mormon canon of scripture, there was also a Urim and Thummim used by Book of Mormon prophets. These prophets used the Urim and Thummim for revelatory purposes, but more specifically for translation purposes.

    There are many descriptions and accounts of the Urim and Thummim. Exodus 28 describes the priestly clothing and the Urim and Thummim. Other accounts describe the uses of the Urim and Thummim in Deuteronomy 33:8 and 1 Samuel 28:6. Some biblical scholars think that the Urim and Thummim might have been stones (white and black) that the priests threw in the air and received yes or no answers to their questions (1 Samuel 14:41). Other scholars think the process was more in-depth, noting that the stones contained “all the letters of the alphabet, so that all conceivable words could be constructed from them.” The priest would ask a question and the stones would be illuminated to create a word. The words would have to be interpreted by the priest, particularly since there weren’t any vowels in the Hebrew language. Many other Jewish traditions offer accounts of the priest receiving revelation through the Urim and Thummim.

      1820s

      How Joseph Smith found his first seer stone is unclear. The two most common accounts relate that Smith found his first seer stone near Lake Erie or that he found it buried deep in the ground, possibly while digging a well. After Joseph Smith found this stone, he used it to search for lost items and treasure.

      One of the more common critiques of Mormonism’s origins is that Joseph Smith was an occultist who used seer stones for money-seeking purposes. Critics assert that Joseph Smith deceived people about his ability to use seer stones, particularly because the historical record shows that Smith never found the treasures he was hired to find. Tied to this critique is the assertion that Smith only claimed to be able to use seer stones to steal money from the people who hired him to find treasure. This accusation particularly applies to Josiah Stowell’s nephew. Josiah Stowell hired Smith to find treasure on his property. Smith never found anything on Stowell’s property and Stowell’s nephew accused Smith of pretending to be able to use seer stones to find treasure.

      • Joseph Smith never denied that he possessed and used seer stones. Using seer stones was not an uncommon practice in the area around Palmyra, where Smith lived. In fact, many of the testimonies from Palmyrians against Smith’s use of seer stones reveal that the testifiers themselves participated with Smith and others in using stones to find treasure. Many people in the area of Palmyra didn’t view the use of seer stones as being incompatible with Christianity.
      • Joseph Smith explained that his treasure-seeking activities were never very profitable and that he only received fourteen dollars a month for his efforts. When Smith was taken to court by the nephew of Joseph Stowell for using seer stones, Stowell testified on behalf of Smith’s defense. Stowell’s nephew was only ever tangentially related to Smith and his seer stones. Stowell, who knew Smith and how Smith used his seer stones, never accused him of criminal behavior, but in fact, defended Smith.

      1823

      September 21

      Joseph Smith reported that while he was praying one evening, an angelic messenger appeared to him in his room. The visitor identified himself as Moroni (the last prophet of the Book of Mormon). Moroni told Smith that he (Smith) was being called by God to receive an ancient record of the inhabitants of the Americas, which contained the complete gospel of Jesus Christ. Moroni also told Smith about an object that was buried with the record, which was prepared for the purpose of translation. It was described as “two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim.”

        1826

        By 1826 Joseph Smith had at least two seer stones. One was a two-toned brown and black stone made from iron-banded jasper. It is often referred to as the chocolate seer stone. The second stone Smith possessed was white, or clear, in color. According to Martin Harris, Smith was commanded by an angel to stop treasure-seeking, or money-digging, with his seer stones. Harris stated that Smith listened to the angel and quit these practices by 1826.

        Related to Joseph Smith’s efforts to find money or treasure with his seer stone, Smith was put on trial for being a “disorderly person.” He was charged under a New York State law that prohibited people from pretending to be able to find lost or stolen goods. The accounts of Smith’s trial contradict each other. There are accounts that state Smith was simultaneously “discharged, found guilty, acquitted, or allowed (and encouraged) to escape and leave the area.” It is unclear what the real conclusion of the trial was.

          1827

          September 22

          Joseph Smith reported that on his first visit to see the record that was called the Book of Mormon, his thoughts were focused on its monetary value. The angel appeared to him and denied him access to the record, which was written on gold plates, because of his greedy thoughts. Smith was told by the angel that he would need to return to the same place every year, on the same date, for four years. In September 1827, after returning every year, Smith received the Book of Mormon and the Nephite interpreters, which were described as two white stones “which were fastened into the two rims of a bow.” (Mosiah 18:23) These items were also referred to as “spectacles” or the “Urim and Thummim” by Smith and his contemporaries.

          HISTORICAL CONTEXT: According to the Book of Mormon, the interpreters were stones that the Lord gave to a prophet named “The Brother of Jared.” The Brother of Jared was told to “seal them also with the thing which ye shall write. For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write.” They were used by another Book of Mormon king and prophet named Mosiah who translated the Brother of Jared’s record with them. Mosiah was told to preserve them “from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages.”

            1828

            August

            Joseph Smith wrote a letter that was included as the introduction to the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon. In this introduction, Smith stated, “I translated [the Book of Mormon], by the gift and power of God.” Smith never personally elaborated or recorded anything else about his methodology for translating the record that was printed as the Book of Mormon.

              1829

              According to Joseph Smith’s history, which was written in 1838, the angel Moroni collected the record of the Nephites and the Urim and Thummim sometime after Smith was done translating the record in 1829. Joseph Smith’s account of this is published in the scriptural canon of the LDS Church and is called Joseph Smith–History (Joseph Smith-History 1:60).

                1829

                April 7

                Details about the Book of Mormon’s translation can be found in numerous accounts from various witnesses [cite Opening the Heavens]. The majority of these come from those most closely connected to the translation, including Emma Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer. On one occasion, Emma said that Smith translated while “sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.” David Whitmer gave interviews and wrote many times concerning the translation of the Book of Mormon. In Chicago Inter-Ocean, Whitmer wrote that Smith used both the Urim and Thummim (spectacles) and the chocolate seer stone. Whitmer wrote, like Smith, that “the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man…” Martin Harris said that Smith “possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience, he then used the seer stone.” Oliver Cowdery wrote of the experience “Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history or record called ‘The Book of Mormon.’”

                Some people are critical of the fact that Joseph Smith used physical objects to translate the Book of Mormon, particularly seer stones. They view this as witchcraft or paranormal activity. Others are critical of the Mormon Church and its artwork for not portraying Smith’s translation process accurately. These critics believe the LDS Church has deliberately cut out seer stones from the story of Smith translating the Book of Mormon.

                • Physical objects have been used throughout the biblical record to help people communicate with God and for God.
                • The artwork that portrays Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon, shows him using the Nephite interpreters, often referred to as the “Urim and Thummim.” This could be for various reasons. First, Smith said that he translated the Book of Mormon “by the gift and power of God.” In addition to this, in the LDS scriptural canon, the Urim and Thummim were the only means talked about being used for translation. Another reason the artwork may have depicted Smith without seer stones is that when any artist paints a picture of something, they offer their own interpretation of events through their artwork.

                1830

                Spring

                According to David Whitmer, Joseph addressed a group including Oliver Cowdery, and said that he didn’t need his seer stones for translation or to communicate with God anymore. Smith gave Cowdery his chocolate-colored seer stone.

                  1832

                  According to multiple historical sources, Joseph Smith used the terms Urim and Thummim to refer to all the objects that he used for the translation of the record of the Book of Mormon. These objects included the Urim and Thummim (Nephite translators, spectacles) and Smith’s seer stones.

                    1850

                    Sometime after Oliver Cowdery’s death, Cowdery’s widow gave Joseph Smith’s chocolate seer stone to Phineas Young, the brother of Brigham Young. Phineas gave the seer stone to Brigham Young.

                      1888-1901

                      Zina Diantha Huntington Young was one of Brigham Young’s wives. She inherited the chocolate seer stone from Brigham Young after his death. Zina was called to be the head of the Mormon Church’s women’s organization, the Relief Society from April 8, 1888, to August 28, 1901. Sometime during the years she served as Relief Society General President, she donated the chocolate seer stone to the Church.

                        2015

                        The LDS Church has been in possession of the chocolate seer stone since it was donated to the Church in the late 1800s by Zina Diantha Huntington Young. The first photos of the seer stone were published in a Mormon Church magazine in 2015.

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                          • Ancient Israel

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                          • 1440-1250 BC

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                          • 1820s

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                          • 1823

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                          • 1826

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                          • 1827

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                          • 1828

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                          • 1829

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                          • 1829

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                          • 1830

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                          • 1832

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                          • 1850

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                          • 1888-1901

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                          • 2015

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                          Ancient Israel

                          Objects Are Used to Perform Miracles

                          Historical Context

                          What Critics Are Saying

                          Response to Critics View

                          There are many accounts in the Bible of objects being used by people to accomplish their divinely-appointed tasks. In Genesis, Joseph of Egypt used a silver cup to divine information (Genesis 44:5, 15). Moses was commanded by God to throw Aaron’s staff or rod to the ground in Pharaoh’s court, which became a snake. The magicians of Pharaoh also made snakes out of rods, but Aaron’s snake ate the magician’s snakes (Exodus 7:9-12). When the Israelites were plagued with serpents, Moses was commanded by the Lord to make a brass serpent and set it on a pole. The people only had to look at the brass serpent and they would be healed from the serpents’ bites (Numbers 21:6-9). The high priest of Israel wore a Urim and Thummim, which helped him to interpret the will of God. The Bible records many other instances of physical objects being used to accomplish God’s purposes.

                          According to Bible scholar Shawna Dolansky, there wasn’t a distinction between magic and religion among the ancient Hebrews. Magic wasn’t illegal, but magic performed in the name of any other God than the God of the Hebrews was prohibited.

                            1440-1250 BC

                            Exodus from Egypt

                            Historical Context

                            What Critics Are Saying

                            Response to Critics View

                            After the Children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, the Mosaic law was put in place. The role of Aaronic priests was defined. The high priest was told to make special clothing to administer the Aaronic priesthood covenants. One item of special clothing was a breastplate. As part of the breastplate, the high priest wore something called the Urim and Thummim. Urim and Thummim is a Hebrew phrase meaning “lights and perfections” or “lights and truth.” Many biblical scholars agree that the Urim and Thummim were used to receive revelation or interpret events. There are various biblical accounts where the Urim and Thummim were used by prophets to receive revelation. One of these accounts is in Numbers 27, where Moses asks the High Priest Eleazar to confirm to the people that Joshua was chosen by God to be the next leader of the Israelites. It should be noted that in the Mormon canon of scripture, there was also a Urim and Thummim used by Book of Mormon prophets. These prophets used the Urim and Thummim for revelatory purposes, but more specifically for translation purposes. info Information Sources: cancel https://link-gale-com.byu.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/CX2587520235/GVRL?u=byuprovo&sid=bookmark-GVRL&xid=93fb5485

                            There are many descriptions and accounts of the Urim and Thummim. Exodus 28 describes the priestly clothing and the Urim and Thummim. Other accounts describe the uses of the Urim and Thummim in Deuteronomy 33:8 and 1 Samuel 28:6. Some biblical scholars think that the Urim and Thummim might have been stones (white and black) that the priests threw in the air and received yes or no answers to their questions (1 Samuel 14:41). Other scholars think the process was more in-depth, noting that the stones contained “all the letters of the alphabet, so that all conceivable words could be constructed from them.” The priest would ask a question and the stones would be illuminated to create a word. The words would have to be interpreted by the priest, particularly since there weren’t any vowels in the Hebrew language. Many other Jewish traditions offer accounts of the priest receiving revelation through the Urim and Thummim.

                              1820s

                              Joseph Smith Found His First Seer Stone

                              Historical Context

                              What Critics Are Saying

                              Response to Critics View

                              How Joseph Smith found his first seer stone is unclear. The two most common accounts relate that Smith found his first seer stone near Lake Erie or that he found it buried deep in the ground, possibly while digging a well. After Joseph Smith found this stone, he used it to search for lost items and treasure.

                              One of the more common critiques of Mormonism’s origins is that Joseph Smith was an occultist who used seer stones for money-seeking purposes. Critics assert that Joseph Smith deceived people about his ability to use seer stones, particularly because the historical record shows that Smith never found the treasures he was hired to find. Tied to this critique is the assertion that Smith only claimed to be able to use seer stones to steal money from the people who hired him to find treasure. This accusation particularly applies to Josiah Stowell’s nephew. Josiah Stowell hired Smith to find treasure on his property. Smith never found anything on Stowell’s property and Stowell’s nephew accused Smith of pretending to be able to use seer stones to find treasure.

                              • Joseph Smith never denied that he possessed and used seer stones. Using seer stones was not an uncommon practice in the area around Palmyra, where Smith lived. In fact, many of the testimonies from Palmyrians against Smith’s use of seer stones reveal that the testifiers themselves participated with Smith and others in using stones to find treasure. Many people in the area of Palmyra didn’t view the use of seer stones as being incompatible with Christianity.
                              • Joseph Smith explained that his treasure-seeking activities were never very profitable and that he only received fourteen dollars a month for his efforts. When Smith was taken to court by the nephew of Joseph Stowell for using seer stones, Stowell testified on behalf of Smith’s defense. Stowell’s nephew was only ever tangentially related to Smith and his seer stones. Stowell, who knew Smith and how Smith used his seer stones, never accused him of criminal behavior, but in fact, defended Smith. info Information Sources: cancel https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/seer-stones-salamanders-and-early-mormon-folk-magic-in-the-light-of-folklore-studies-and-bible-scholarship/#footnote-040

                              1823

                              Joseph Smith was Told About the Book of Mormon and the Urim and Thummim by the Angel Moroni

                              Historical Context

                              What Critics Are Saying

                              Response to Critics View

                              Joseph Smith reported that while he was praying one evening, an angelic messenger appeared to him in his room. The visitor identified himself as Moroni (the last prophet of the Book of Mormon). Moroni told Smith that he (Smith) was being called by God to receive an ancient record of the inhabitants of the Americas, which contained the complete gospel of Jesus Christ. Moroni also told Smith about an object that was buried with the record, which was prepared for the purpose of translation. It was described as “two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim.”

                                1826

                                Joseph Smith Had at Least Two Seer Stones

                                Historical Context

                                What Critics Are Saying

                                Response to Critics View

                                By 1826 Joseph Smith had at least two seer stones. One was a two-toned brown and black stone made from iron-banded jasper. It is often referred to as the chocolate seer stone. The second stone Smith possessed was white, or clear, in color. According to Martin Harris, Smith was commanded by an angel to stop treasure-seeking, or money-digging, with his seer stones. Harris stated that Smith listened to the angel and quit these practices by 1826. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/topic/seer-stone

                                Related to Joseph Smith’s efforts to find money or treasure with his seer stone, Smith was put on trial for being a “disorderly person.” He was charged under a New York State law that prohibited people from pretending to be able to find lost or stolen goods. The accounts of Smith’s trial contradict each other. There are accounts that state Smith was simultaneously “discharged, found guilty, acquitted, or allowed (and encouraged) to escape and leave the area.” It is unclear what the real conclusion of the trial was.

                                  1827

                                  Joseph Smith Received the Book of Mormon and the Urim and Thummim

                                  Historical Context

                                  What Critics Are Saying

                                  Response to Critics View

                                  Joseph Smith reported that on his first visit to see the record that was called the Book of Mormon, his thoughts were focused on its monetary value. The angel appeared to him and denied him access to the record, which was written on gold plates, because of his greedy thoughts. Smith was told by the angel that he would need to return to the same place every year, on the same date, for four years. In September 1827, after returning every year, Smith received the Book of Mormon and the Nephite interpreters, which were described as two white stones “which were fastened into the two rims of a bow.” (Mosiah 18:23) These items were also referred to as “spectacles” or the “Urim and Thummim” by Smith and his contemporaries.

                                  HISTORICAL CONTEXT: According to the Book of Mormon, the interpreters were stones that the Lord gave to a prophet named “The Brother of Jared.” The Brother of Jared was told to “seal them also with the thing which ye shall write. For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write.” They were used by another Book of Mormon king and prophet named Mosiah who translated the Brother of Jared’s record with them. Mosiah was told to preserve them “from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages.”

                                    1828

                                    Joseph Smith Recorded an Account of His Translation Efforts

                                    Historical Context

                                    What Critics Are Saying

                                    Response to Critics View

                                    Joseph Smith wrote a letter that was included as the introduction to the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon. In this introduction, Smith stated, “I translated [the Book of Mormon], by the gift and power of God.” Smith never personally elaborated or recorded anything else about his methodology for translating the record that was printed as the Book of Mormon.

                                      1829

                                      The Angel Moroni Collected the Plates and the Nephite Interpreters

                                      Historical Context

                                      What Critics Are Saying

                                      Response to Critics View

                                      According to Joseph Smith’s history, which was written in 1838, the angel Moroni collected the record of the Nephites and the Urim and Thummim sometime after Smith was done translating the record in 1829. Joseph Smith’s account of this is published in the scriptural canon of the LDS Church and is called Joseph Smith–History (Joseph Smith-History 1:60).

                                        1829

                                        Joseph Smith Began Translating the Book of Mormon in Earnest with Oliver Cowdery as Scribe

                                        Historical Context

                                        What Critics Are Saying

                                        Response to Critics View

                                        Details about the Book of Mormon’s translation can be found in numerous accounts from various witnesses [cite Opening the Heavens]. The majority of these come from those most closely connected to the translation, including Emma Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer.

                                        On one occasion, Emma said that Smith translated while “sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.”

                                        David Whitmer gave interviews and wrote many times concerning the translation of the Book of Mormon. In Chicago Inter-Ocean, Whitmer wrote that Smith used both the Urim and Thummim (spectacles) and the chocolate seer stone. Whitmer wrote, like Smith, that “the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man…”

                                        Martin Harris said that Smith “possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience, he then used the seer stone.”

                                        Oliver Cowdery wrote of the experience “Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history or record called ‘The Book of Mormon.’”

                                        Some people are critical of the fact that Joseph Smith used physical objects to translate the Book of Mormon, particularly seer stones. They view this as witchcraft or paranormal activity.

                                        Others are critical of the Mormon Church and its artwork for not portraying Smith’s translation process accurately. These critics believe the LDS Church has deliberately cut out seer stones from the story of Smith translating the Book of Mormon.

                                        • Physical objects have been used throughout the biblical record to help people communicate with God and for God.
                                        • The artwork that portrays Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon, shows him using the Nephite interpreters, often referred to as the “Urim and Thummim.” This could be for various reasons. First, Smith said that he translated the Book of Mormon “by the gift and power of God.” In addition to this, in the LDS scriptural canon, the Urim and Thummim were the only means talked about being used for translation. Another reason the artwork may have depicted Smith without seer stones is that when any artist paints a picture of something, they offer their own interpretation of events through their artwork. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/book-of-mormon-translation?lang=eng#org/topics/book

                                        1830

                                        Joseph Smith Gives the “Chocolate-Colored Seer Stone” to Oliver Cowdery

                                        Historical Context

                                        What Critics Are Saying

                                        Response to Critics View

                                        According to David Whitmer, Joseph addressed a group including Oliver Cowdery, and said that he didn’t need his seer stones for translation or to communicate with God anymore. Smith gave Cowdery his chocolate-colored seer stone.

                                          1832

                                          Joseph Smith Refers to Both the Nephite Interpreters and Seer Stones as the “Urim and Thummim”

                                          Historical Context

                                          What Critics Are Saying

                                          Response to Critics View

                                          According to multiple historical sources, Joseph Smith used the terms Urim and Thummim to refer to all the objects that he used for the translation of the record of the Book of Mormon. These objects included the Urim and Thummim (Nephite translators, spectacles) and Smith’s seer stones. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/topic/urim-and-thummim

                                            1850

                                            Oliver Cowdery’s Widow Gives the “Chocolate Seer Stone” to Phineas Young, Who Gives it to Brigham Young

                                            Historical Context

                                            What Critics Are Saying

                                            Response to Critics View

                                            Sometime after Oliver Cowdery’s death, Cowdery’s widow gave Joseph Smith’s chocolate seer stone to Phineas Young, the brother of Brigham Young. Phineas gave the seer stone to Brigham Young. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2015/10/joseph-the-seer?lang=eng#title1

                                              1888-1901

                                              Zina Diantha Huntington Young Gives the Chocolate Seer Stone to the Church

                                              Historical Context

                                              What Critics Are Saying

                                              Response to Critics View

                                              Zina Diantha Huntington Young was one of Brigham Young’s wives. She inherited the chocolate seer stone from Brigham Young after his death. Zina was called to be the head of the Mormon Church’s women’s organization, the Relief Society from April 8, 1888, to August 28, 1901. Sometime during the years she served as Relief Society General President, she donated the chocolate seer stone to the Church. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2015/10/joseph-the-seer?lang=eng#title1 https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/person/zina-diantha-huntington-young

                                                2015

                                                Photos of the Chocolate Seer Stone Were Published by the Church

                                                Historical Context

                                                What Critics Are Saying

                                                Response to Critics View

                                                The LDS Church has been in possession of the chocolate seer stone since it was donated to the Church in the late 1800s by Zina Diantha Huntington Young. The first photos of the seer stone were published in a Mormon Church magazine in 2015. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/book-of-mormon-printers-manuscript-photos-of-seer-stone-featured-in-new-book?lang=eng https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2015/10/joseph-the-seer?lang=eng#lds

                                                  Timeline

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