Mormon Quotes

Seer stones

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
Ten years ago, it was called heresy for Joseph Smith to be a money digger, and receive revelations; it actually became treason; and the people killed him for it: and now I see hundreds of reverend gentlemen going to dig money. I despise a man who won't dig for gold, he is a lazy man, and intends to spunge on others. Do not think that I blame you; all I have to say is, that you have to follow in the wake of 'Old Joe Smith,' and paddle away to dig gold.
Brigham Young, June 23, 1850, Deseret News, June 29, 1850, p. 20
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
Joseph Smith
To our great grief, however, we soon found that Satan had been lying in wait to deceive,... Brother Hiram Page had in his possession a certain stone, by which he obtained certain "revelations" ... all of which were entirely at variance with the order of God's house, ... the Whitmer family and Oliver Cowdery, were believing much in the things set forth by this stone, we thought best to inquire of the Lord concerning so important a matter ...
Joseph Smith, History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, vol. 1, pp.109‑10
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 things to my certain knowledge. It was by means of this stone he first discovered these plates.
Martin Harris, Tiffany's Monthly, Aug. 1859 (v. 5, no. 4), p. 163
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
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
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
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