Mormon Quotes

Magic and superstition

Brigham Young
These treasures that are in the earth are carefully watched, they can be removed from place to place according to the good pleasure of Him who made them and owns them. He has his messengers at his service, and it is just as easy for an angel to remove the minerals from any part of these mountains to another, as it is for you and me to walk up and down this hall. I relate this because it is marvelous to you. But to those who understand these things, it is not marvelous.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 19:37 (JournalOfDiscourses.com)
Brigham Young
The seer stone which Joseph Smith first obtained He got in an Iron kettle 25 feet under ground. He saw it while looking in another seers stone which a person had. He went right to the spot [and] dug [and] found it.
Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 1833‑1898 Typescript, 9 vols., ed. by Scott G. Kenney, v. 5, September 11, 1859, pp. 382‑383
Brigham Young
The president of the priests has a right to the Urim and Thummim, which gives revelation.
Brigham Young, History of the Church, v. 7, p. 285
Brigham Young
[Joseph Smith, Jr. said] 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.
Brigham Young, History of Brigham Young, Latter‑day Saints' Millennial Star, v. 26, February 20, 1864
Brigham Young
[Joseph taught] that the Gentile blood was actually cleansed out of their veins, and the blood of Jacob made to circulate in them; and the revolution and change in the system were so great that it caused the beholder to think they were going into fits.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 2:269 (JournalOfDiscourses.com)
Brigham Young
These treasures that are in the earth are carefully watched, they can be removed from place to place according to the good pleasure of Him who made them and owns them.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 19:36 (JournalOfDiscourses.com)
Joseph Smith
[A]s the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene... while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost. In such a case, there may be more of a powerful effect upon the body, and visible to the eye, than upon an Israelite.
Joseph Smith, History of the Church, v. 3, p. 380
Joseph Smith
Joe claimed he could tell where money was buried, with a witch hazel consisting of a forked stick of hazel. He held it ‑‑ one fork in each hand ‑‑ and claimed the upper end was attracted by the money.
Joseph Smith, March 23, 1885, Naked Truths About Mormonism; April 1, 1888; Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Re‑examined, p. 166; Mormonism Unvailed, by E.D. Howe, p. 12
Joseph Smith
The prophet's [Joseph Smith] staff, which by the direction of its fall had hitherto pointed out the way, now stood still; and he declared that here was commanded to settle and build a church.
Joseph Smith, Wonderful Infatuation: Modern Pilgrims, Wayne Sentinel (Palmyra, N.Y.) May 26, 1826
Joseph Smith
If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven... What many people call sin is not sin; I do many things to break down superstition, and I will break it down.
Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:445-446
Joseph Smith
Was not Joseph Smith a money digger? Yes, but it was never a very profitable job for him, as he only got fourteen dollars a month for it.
Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 120; History of the Church 3:29; Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 271
Wilford Woodruff
The Prophet said he could not go; but, after pausing some time, he said he would send some one to heal them; and he turned to me and said: 'You go with the man and heal his children.' He took a red silk handkerchief out of his pocket and gave it to me, and told me to wipe their faces with the handkerchief when I administered to them, and they should be healed.... I went with the man, and did as the Prophet commanded me, and the children were healed. I have possession of the handkerchief unto this day.
Wilford Woodruff, Leaves From My Journal, Third Book of the Faith‑Promoting Series, 1881, p. 65
Wilford Woodruff
Wilford Woodruff's handkerchief ‑ Prophet Joseph Smith's handkerchief, given to him in 1839, in connection with the miracle healings.
Wilford Woodruff, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, by D. Michael Quinn, p. 313
Wilford Woodruff
I will here say, before closing, that two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, "You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God." There were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I thought it very singular, that notwithstanding so much work had been done, and yet nothing had been done for them. The thought never entered my heart, from the fact, I suppose, that heretofore our minds were reaching after our more immediate friends and relatives. I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others; I then baptized him for every President of the United States, except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them.
Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 19:229 (JournalOfDiscourses.com)
Joseph Fielding Smith
While the statement has been made by some writers that the Propher JS used a seerstone 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 the stone was used for this purpose. ... It hardly seems reasonable to suppose that the prophet would substitute something evidently inferior [to the U&T] 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 seerstone, which he may have used for some other purposes.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation vol.3 pg 225‑226
Russell M. Nelson
The details of this miraculous method of translation are still not fully known. Yet we do have a few precious insights. David Whitmer wrote: "Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man." (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.)
Russell M. Nelson, Russell M. Nelson, "A Treasured Testament," Ensign, July 1993, 61
Eliza Roxcy Snow
I took the handkerchief and a bottle of perfumery, and on retiring to my closet, I prayed, and then I consecrated the perfumery and sprinkled it on the handkerchief. I then again bowed before the Lord, and in earnest supplication besought Him to remember the promises He made through His servant, the Patriarch [Joseph Smith, Sr.], whom He had now taken to Himself, and let the healing and life‑inspiring virtues of His Holy Spirit be imparted to this handkerchief, and from thence to Brother Smith when it shall be placed upon him, speedily restoring him to life, health, and vigor.
Eliza Roxcy Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints, 1884, pp. 264‑265
Eliza Roxcy Snow
I believe my father ministered to the sick by the sending of blessed tokens, usually handkerchiefs, more than all other similar accounts in recent history.
Eliza Roxcy Snow, Spiritual Gifts Through Signs and Tokens, Deseret News, Church Section, August 8, 1942, p. 5
Heber C. Kimball
Dr. [Willard] Richards used to lay his old black cane on a person's head, and that person has been healed through its instrumentality, by the power of God.... There are persons in this congregation who have been healed by throwing my old cloak on their beds.
Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 4:294 (JournalOfDiscourses.com)
Heber C. Kimball
I have known Joseph, hundreds of times, [to] send his handkerchief to the sick, and they have been healed.
Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 4:294 (JournalOfDiscourses.com)
Heber C. Kimball
How much would you give for even a cane that Father Abraham had used? or a coat or ring that the Saviour had worn?
Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 4:294 (JournalOfDiscourses.com)
Heber C. Kimball
The rough oak boxes in which the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were brought from Carthage, were made into canes and other articles. ... And the day will come when there will be multitudes who will be healed and blessed through the instrumentality of those canes.
Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 4:294 (JournalOfDiscourses.com)
Heber C. Kimball
I have a cane made from the plank of [the prophet's coffin], so has brother Brigham and a great many others, and we prize them highly, and esteem them a great blessing.... And the day will come when there will be multitudes who will be healed and blessed through the instrumentality of those canes.
Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 4:294 (JournalOfDiscourses.com)
Heber C. Kimball
In England, when not in a situation to go, I have blessed my handkerchief, and asked God to sanctify it and fill it with life and power, and [I have] sent it to the sick, and hundreds have been healed by it; in like manner I have sent my cane.
Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 4:294 (JournalOfDiscourses.com)
Heber C. Kimball
Since I was eight years old I have had in my possession the cane.... It has all the virtues and power which have been referred to and it yet will be the means of blessing and healing thousands...
Heber C. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, p. 257n14
Heber C. Kimball
Last nite I clothed my self and offered up the Sines [signs] of the Holy Preasthood and called one [on] the name of the Lord. He hurd me fore my heart was mad[e] comfortable. I inquired by the rod. It was said my family was well, that my wife would come to me in the East, and that Congress would not do anything fore us.
Heber C. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball diary, June 6, 1844, in Kimball, On the Potter's Wheel, p. 65
Alexander Campbell
This prophet Smith, through his stone spectacles, wrote on the plates of Nephi, in his book of Mormon, every error and almost every truth discussed in N. York for the last ten years. He decides all the great controversies ‑ infant baptism, ordination, the trinity, regeneration, repentance, justification, the fall of man, the atonement, transubstantiation, fasting, penance, church government, religious experience, the call to the ministry, the general resurrection, eternal punishment, who may baptize, and even the question of freemasonry, republican government, and the rights of man. All these topics are repeatedly alluded to.
Alexander Campbell, Millennial Harbinger, p. 13, Feb. 7, 1831
Alpheus Cutler
Joseph Smith revealed to Alpheus Cutler, by revelation, that a sign of 'two crescent moons with their backs together,' would be seen by him when the proper time to reorganize the church had arrived.
Alpheus Cutler, Alpheus Cutler and the Church of Jesus Christ, 1974, p. 47
Dallin H. Oaks
Satan will also attempt to cause our spiritual downfall through tempting us to misapply our spiritual gifts. The revelations tell us that "there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God" (D&C 46:11). All of these gifts "come from God, for the benefit of the children of God" (D&C 46:26). Most of us have seen persons whom the adversary has led astray through a corruption of their spiritual gifts. My mother shared one such example, something she had observed while she was a student at BYU many years ago. A man who lived in a community in Utah had a mighty gift of healing. People sought him out for blessings, many coming from outside his ward and stake. In time, he made almost a profession of giving blessings. As part of his travels to various communities, he came to the apartments of BYU students, asking if they wanted blessings. This man had lost sight of the revealed direction on spiritual gifts: "always remembering for what they are given" (D&C 46:8). A spiritual gift is given to benefit the children of God, not to magnify the prominence or gratify the ego of the person who receives it. The professional healer who forgot that lesson gradually lost the companionship of the Spirit and was eventually excommunicated from the Church.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
David Whitmer
Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.
David Whitmer, David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12
Daniel C. Peterson
The plates of the Book of Mormon were translated in a sense by Joseph Smith and in a sense not by Joseph Smith. Joseph didn't have the capacity to translate any modern or ancient language, certainly, at that time. A little bit later on he'll learn some Hebrew and some German ‑‑ not much, but a little bit. But the translation occurred by supernatural means, far beyond his capacity to do it. There were a couple of means that were prepared for this. One was that he used an instrument that was found with the plates that was called the Urim and Thummim. This is kind of a divinatory device that goes back into Old Testament times. Actually, most of the translation was done using something called a seer stone. The seer stone is obviously something like the Urim and Thummim. It seems to be a stone that was found in the vicinity, and I can't say exactly how it would have worked. It may have been a kind of a concentrating device or a device to facilitate concentration. He would put the stone for most of the concentration period in the bottom of a hat, presumably to exclude surrounding light. Then he would put his face into the hat. It's kind of a strange image for us today, but it sort of makes sense if you think of a computer screen, I suppose: You don't want to be looking at [anything] against a bright background; it hurts your eyes. ... He would read off what he saw in the stone, apparently in passages of about 25 to 35 words.
Daniel C. Peterson, PBS, The Mormons
Joseph Smith Sr.
[Joseph Smith, Jr.] claims and believes that there is a [seer] stone of this quality, somewhere, for every one.
Joseph Smith Sr., Fayette Lampham, The Father of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, p. 306, also Kirkham, New Witness for Christ in America, v. 2, p. 384
Joseph Smith Sr.
Thy shadow shall restore the Sick; the diseased shall send to thee their aprons and handkerchiefs and by thy touch their owners may be made whole.
Joseph Smith Sr., Patriarchal Blessing to Lorenzo Snow, December 15, 1836, in Selected Collections, 1:31
Joseph Smith Sr.
He [Joseph Smith] also believed that there was a vast amount of money buried somewhere in the country; that it would some day be found: that he himself had spent both time and money searching for it, with divining rods, but had not succeeded in finding any, though sure that he eventually would.
Joseph Smith Sr., Interview with the Father of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, p. 306, also see Kirkham, A New Witness for Christ in America, v. 2, p. 384
Joseph Smith Sr.
Joseph went to the town of Harmony, in the State of Pennsylvania, at the request of some one who wanted the assistance of his divining rod and stone in finding hidden treasure...
Joseph Smith Sr., Interview with the Father of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, p. 307
D. Michael Quinn
Each cane had a lock of Joseph Smith's hair set under a small piece of glass and then mounted in silver on top... Father always told mother to keep the cane by her bed and if she was sick to put it under her pillow and it would be a protection to her.
D. Michael Quinn, Pioneer Personal History, p. 3, see Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, by D. Michael Quinn, p. 316
B. H. Roberts
Now, most historians, Mormon or not, who work with the sources, accept as fact Joseph Smith's career as village magician. Too many of his closest friends and family admitted as much, and some of Joseph's own revelations support the contention.
B. H. Roberts, Mormon historian, Treasure‑seeking Then and Now, Sunstone, v. 11, September 1987, p. 5
B. H. Roberts
The only thing the Prophet believed in was astrology. This is a fact generally known to old 'Nauvoo Mormons.'
B. H. Roberts, Mormon Portraits, 1886, p. 19
B. H. Roberts
It may be admitted that some of [Smith's ancestors] believed in fortune telling, in warlocks and witches... Indeed it is scarcely conceivable how one could live in New England in those years and not have shared in such beliefs. To be credulous in such things was to be normal people.
B. H. Roberts, Mormon Historian, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 6 vols., 1930, v. 1, pp. 26‑27
Martin Harris
The money‑diggers claimed that they had as much right to the plates as Joseph had, as they were in company together. They claimed that Joseph had been [a] traitor, and had appropriated to himself that which belonged to them.
Martin Harris, Tiffany's Monthly, no. 6, 1859, p. 163‑170
Martin Harris
Consequently long before the idea of a Golden Bible entered their minds, in their excursions for money‑digging, which I believe usually occurred in the night, that they might conceal from others the knowledge of the place, where they struck their treasures, Jo used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig. It was after one of these night excursions, that Jo, while he lay upon his bed, had a remarkable dream. An angel of God seemed to approach him, clad in celestial splendor.
Martin Harris, Testimonies of Book of Mormon Witnesses, by John Clark, 1842, p. 226
Martin Harris
There was a company there in the neighborhood, who were digging for money supposed to have been hidden by the ancients. Of this company were old Mr. Stowell ‑‑ I think his name was Josiah ‑‑ also old Mr. Beman, also Samuel Lawrence, George Proper, Joseph Smith, jr., and his father, and his brother Hiram Smith. They dug for money in Palmyra, Manchester, also in Pennsylvania, and other places... and they took Joseph to look in the stone for them, and he did so for a while, and he then told them the enchantment was so strong that he could not see, and they gave it up.
Martin Harris, Tiffany's Monthly, MORMONISM‑No. II, p. 164; also in New Witness, by Kirkham, v. 2, p. 377
Martin Harris
With the sanction of David Whitmer, and by his authority, I now state that he does not say that Joseph Smith ever translated in his presence by aid of Urim and Thummim, but by means of one dark colored, opaque stone called a 'Seer Stone,' which was placed in the crown of a hat, into which Joseph would put his face, so as to exclude the external light.
Martin Harris, Saint's Herald, Nov. 15, 1962, p. 16
Martin Harris
I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine.
Martin Harris, An Address to All Believers in Christ, p. 12
Martin Harris
The revelations in the Book of Commandments up to June, 1829, were given through the 'stone,' through which the Book of Mormon was translated.
Martin Harris, An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, p. 53
Martin Harris
Joseph Smith, jr., found at Palmyra, N. Y., on the 22d day of September, 1827, the plates of gold upon which was recorded in Arabic, Chaldaic, Syriac, and Egyptian, the Book of Life, or the Book of Mormon. I was not with him at the time, but I had a revelation the summer before, that God had a work for me to do. These plates were found at the north point of a hill two miles north of Manchester village. Joseph had a stone which was dug from the well of Mason Chase, twenty‑four feet from the surface. In this stone he could see many thing to my certain knowledge. It was by means of this stone he first discovered these plates.
Martin Harris, Interview with Martin Harris, Tiffany's Monthly
Marvin S. Hill
Many of the earliest Mormons, including [Oliver] Cowdery, Martin Harris, Orrin P. Rockwell, Joseph Knight and Josiah Stowel, were rodsmen or money diggers but became Mormons for religious reasons.
Marvin S. Hill, Mormon historian, Secular or Sectarian History: A Critique of No Man Knows My History, Church History, v. 43, p. 86, March 1974
Alan Taylor
Early Mormons persisted in practicing magic because they nurtured a magical world view where the material and the spiritual were interwoven in the same universe.
Alan Taylor, Alan Taylor, historian, "Rediscovering the Context of Joseph Smith Jr.'s Treasure‑Seeking," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, v. 19, p. 25, Winter 1986
Ian Barber
In 1987 I also spoke to several Mormon women in Utah who give predictive and healing blessings, some employing mechanisms such as crystals.
Ian Barber, Mormon Women as 'Natural' Seers, p. 179
Isaac Butts
Young Jo[seph Smith] had a forked witch‑hazel rod with which he claimed he could locate buried money or hidden things. Later he had a peep stone which he put into his hate and looked into. I have seen both.
Isaac Butts, Naked Truths About Mormonism, 1, January 1888, p. 2, reprinted in Anderson, Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined, p. 154
History of Middletown
I have been told that Joe Smith's father resided in Poultney at the time of the Wood movement here, and that he was in it, and one of the leading rods‑men. Of this I cannot speak positively, for the want of satisfactory evidence... I have before said that Oliver Cowdery's father was in the 'Wood scrape.'
History of Middletown, History of Middletown, 43 (for number of interviews) 62 (for next section of quotes)
Charles A. Shook
The 'rod' was almost as much of an essential part of paraphernalia of early Mormonism as the seer‑stone.
Charles A. Shook, The True Origin of The Book of Mormon, 1914, 16n1
Benson Whittle
Many of us Mormonites today, whether pious believers or critically objective students of history, are closer in mental outlook to the position of [1834 anti‑Mormon writer Eber D.] Howe than to that of the Prophet Joseph and his early followers... Would we rant and rave, walk penniless to Missouri, witch a trove with a hazel rod, or join a communistic society? Do we really want to know what was in and around that stone‑box/hole on 22 September 1823?
Benson Whittle, Benson Whittle, Mormon scholar, Whittle untitled review, 1987, p. 119, see Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, by D. Michael Quinn, p. 319‑320
© 2011 - 2013