It came to pass that Smith’s seer stone was revealed

Seer stones are mentioned in the Book of Mormon. They were commonly used during the time of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion as a means to find treasure. Yes, like a dowsing rod but round, not so “stick-y”. Therefore, it was a means of divination.

Mormon church releases photos of ‘seer stone’ used by founder Joseph Smith

The LDS Church provided a new glimpse of its origins Tuesday by publishing the handwritten “printer’s manuscript” of the Book of Mormon and photos of the “seer stone,” a dark, egg-size polished rock founder Joseph Smith claimed to have used to produce the faith’s sacred scripture.

Smith said he was led to a set of buried gold plates, which recorded the history of ancient American civilizations and a visit to this continent by Jesus Christ. The Mormon prophet said he was able to “translate” the “reformed Egyptian” language, using spiritual tools, including his “seer stone.”

seer stone eggThis particular chocolate-brown banded stone was supposedly found in 1822 in a deep well Smith helped dig for one of his neighbors. There is no additional information about the type of rock it is. While I can’t see great detail on it, it is an odd color, chocolate-brown, and banded, suggesting a sandstone. The roundness is indicative that the rock was knocked about in a river where it would have become rounded and polished; or perhaps it is a glacial erratic transported from a more northern location. I am assuming that Smith found when he was in New York state. It’s a very pretty rock, indeed, but it has no magical powers of finding treasure or translating a religious text.

The Book of Mormon is widely criticized by scholars as having no evidential basis for it’s claims of ancient people who came to North America. You can read the Skeptic’s Annotated Book of Mormon here.

  9 comments for “It came to pass that Smith’s seer stone was revealed

  1. August 5, 2015 at 6:08 PM

    It’s been a while since I studied up on Mormonism but I recall that his early days in Vermont and subsequently western New York state were a comical jumble of make-believe, gold hunting, lost property hunting, lost manuscripts and rewritten manuscripts, such as one might well expect of an imaginative teenager during the so-called Great Awakening.

    But perhaps someone could clarify the distinction, if there is one, between the seer stone recently revealed and the urim & thummim (aka “the Uma Thurman”).

    In the meantime, I can’t help myself from mentioning Joseph Smith’s 1826 trial in New York for “disorderly conduct” for the practice of “glass looking” — i.e., using a seer stone to divine things not seen by the natural eye, which would certainly be viewed as making a “false show of extraordinary powers.” The printed transcript says that Smith was charged with being “a disorderly person and an impostor” and that he had “been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years.” This kind of “crafty science” was sometimes related to the term “juggling,” that is “All who pretend to have skill in physiognomy, palmistry, or like crafty science, or pretend to tell fortunes, or to discover where lost goods may be found.”

  2. Eric
    August 5, 2015 at 9:30 PM

    “”The Book of Mormon is widely criticized by scholars as having no evidential basis for it’s claims of ancient people who came to North America.””

    And name any religious text that had overwhelming “evidential basis”?? If it did it would be a history book and not a religious one.

  3. stuart atton
    August 6, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    i have a stone with similar markings, part of a coprolite, fossilised dinosaur poo and it’s polished!

  4. Richard
    August 6, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    To me it looks more like a piece of carved polished wood — so could it be wood? maybe with a lot of varnish? or fossilized wood?

  5. johnny bocchetti
    August 6, 2015 at 11:16 AM

    I arrived at the fairyland University in Provo in the fall of 1975, a new convert to the cult I met people that made my native San Francisco seem sane. Raving maniacs full of “spiritual energy” and for me it all crumbled like a cheap wall of dirt after several years. But I do recall that my roomate’s father was a Mormon scholar and wrote much about ancient Egypt which it appears Mormons have a special interest and affinity…sneer at the seer stone..

  6. Kevin
    August 6, 2015 at 8:53 PM

    the claim that ancient peoples (lost tribes of Israel, Egyptians, Atlantans, whatever) came to North America before the indigenous population is an especially pernicious one as it has long been used to denigrate the cultures of Native Americans. I think that makes the Book of Mormon worthy of criticism regardless of being a religious text.

  7. Perry
    August 7, 2015 at 12:18 AM

    Very unimpressive. Funny how the gold plates Smith claims he found and translated with that stone are never produced, but which their entire faith is based on. Conveniently, the Mormon myth is that he returned them to an angel.

  8. Tony
    August 8, 2015 at 10:40 AM

    Smith said he gave the plates back to the angel Moroni, who btw was heard to complain that he would have preferred a waffle iron.

  9. johnny bocchetti
    August 18, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    We all share hatred for something or someone, Mormons are rabid in their hatred of Obama since Romney’s lying campaign fell on it’s face, now an enormous vapid hatred has emerged anytime Mormons are challenged about the many farces revealed by their lifted work, Book of Mormon. Now a rock dense with natural stupidity has revealed the depth of the Mormon delusion, this detracts from their claim of being “Christian” and surely stand alone in the category of the world’s faiths. Yet they field thousands of young missionaries, the sole corporation’s continuing to falsely inflate their numbers for what end?

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