Learning about the seer stone raises many interesting questions for me. According to sources other than this article, the Prophet first encountered it while digging a well long before he received the First Vision. He used it for a long time to find things people had lost until an angel of the Lord told him to stop. How did he recognized it for what it was? Why did the Lord allow such a specialized and sacred instrument to be used for the mundane purpose of locating lost objects? Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.
I was wondering why Joesph couldn't look in the rock and find the lost 116 pages of the BOM It would seem that finding the 116 pages would be much more important than the other things he used it for.?
There are so many things we have still to learn! And how much can we accomplish using small common things: we just need knowledge and the help and will of God!
This whole thread of discussion is very fascinating and enlightening. We know that faith is required first before miracles or blessings are received. With the existence of the stone and the many strange and interesting accounts of its use by the prophet, and now with its appearance, it may be motivation to sort of double down on efforts to really understand the book and it's deeper meanings for us. When one really knows it to be true with this additional proof it can change and influence lives even more.
Good to see more evidence of the Book of Mormon setting in North America. Needless to say, neither the seer stone nor the Urim and Thummim were found in Mesoamerica.
It appears the seer stone worked similar to the Liahona as described in the Book of Mormon. Of course, if man can make letters and images appear within the glass of a smart phone, God can make them appear on a stone. As St. Thomas Aquinas essentially said, "For those with faith no explanation is necessary; for those without faith no explanation is possible." I was wondering about these things recently, so it is nice to see it, and to read so many specific accounts of its use. But seeing it is still irrelevant to the reality of a testimony.
Our modern smart phones are pieces of silicon with various trace elements, including the computer circuits, the display screen, and the battery. They are able to invisably access infinite information.
I'm in a bit of shock that this happened. I guess the first questions people will want answered is, "Does your current prophet use it? If so, how? Is he willing to show the world how it's used? If not, why?"
Interesting times ahead, perhaps...
That's some stone you got there.
As a person educated in the world's learning, it's a bit jarring to see the actual stone and be confronted by the reality of it. But I'm also a believing person who has faith that Joseph Smith is a prophet, which has been confirmed to me many times by the Holy Spirit.
For me, the physical existence of the stone is a reminder that faith is a necessary part of our belief. And there are many things yet to learn about the ways of God, which our current science does not yet understand.
When it comes down to it, if Joseph was a prophet who got revelations, it doesn't really matter how the revelations came to him. The important thing is that he did get them.
Doctrine and Covenants 28:2 But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.
@Rita I don't believe that passage is in reference to this particular stone. As the stone shown above was Joseph's, not Hiram Page's.
A couple months ago a family member gave me the book "From Darkness Unto Light" by Michael MacKay and Gerritt Dirkmaat. It is the story of the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon based upon the historical documents of both LDS members and non-members who lived during that time and had contact with Joseph Smith. It was a fascinating read and I have been referring many people to read it. It talks about the seer stones, because there is more than one, and all the historical sources that explain where they came from.
I have been a member of the LDS church my whole life and I have never heard this story before. It completely changed my understanding about how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by "the gift and power of God". These authors are part of the same group of people that are working on the Joseph Smith papers project so that is where they are getting their material for the book.
I learned from the book that Joseph really struggled to figure out how to use the Urim and Thumin and seer stones. But once he figured it out he received the Book of Mormon translation and many other revelations many of which are in the Doctrine and Covenants.
It just makes sense that since we sustain our leaders as prophets, seers, and revelators, then they must all have access to a similar kind of tool to help them fulfill their callings. This would have been hard for me to believe a few years ago but with the invention of the iphone it doesn't seen so far fetched anymore.
D&C 28 :11
And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me and that Satan deceiveth him;
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet to Oliver Cowdery, at Fayette, New York, September 1830. Hiram Page, a member of the Church, had a certain stone and professed to be receiving revelations by its aid concerning the upbuilding of Zion and the order of the Church. Several members had been deceived by these claims, and even Oliver Cowdery was wrongly influenced thereby. Just prior to an appointed conference, the Prophet inquired earnestly of the Lord concerning the matter, and this revelation followed.
11 And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me and that Satan deceiveth him;
I always expected the church had the stone, as we sustain all church presidents as "prophet, seer, and revelator," and "...the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times..." (See: Joseph Smith—History 1:35).
Two questions that the article does not cover: the size or approximate size of the stone? About when, as in month and year, did the Prophet Joseph Smith obtain the stone?
This is amazing! I've long heard about the seer stone, but didn't realize the church still had it. I love the photos and your explanations of its use. I'm thrilled we get to see it now.
Thank you, Scot. I wondered about this stone when I saw the pictures on the news last night. Your article gave me insight I needed, particularly the stories of use.
Thanks, Scot for your timely statement of the facts regarding the seer stone. You refer to the book, Opening the Heavens by John Welch. I just finished reading that book last week and it contains 202 accounts of the translation and coming forth of the Book of Mormon, including the accounts given by the six scribes who acted for Joseph Smith in recording the Book of Mormon. I highly recommend reading those accounts to get the full picture.
Fox News in UT just said the Reorganized church claims it is the seer stone. Meridian said nothing about the reorganized church being involved.
I am wondering if it is really the seer stone, why wasn't it buried with all the other important plates and objects. It was just laying around???
When I saw the picture of the stone, I must say I was pretty amazed at the color and shape, to think one so small. I never expected to see the stone, did not need to, I had enough faith to understand the Book of Mormon is the word of God...the accounts of the Prophet Joseph and his scribes are one in working toward the restoration of the Gospel of Christ...God bless all who except the restored Church upon faith.
This feels like finding a photograph of a long-lost ancestor and seeing their face for the first time...... Thank you Scot for bringing this to the forefront in Meridian and for the sources you give; it's truly amazing to think that most of the Book of Mormon came to us by the workings of the Spirit through the instrumentation of this small stone.
And thank you to the Church for letting us see it for the first time. Seeing it brings a new level of reality to the translation story.
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