287–288: Joseph Smith’s Use of a Seer Stone in Bringing Forth the Book of Mormon

Dan Wotherspoon Joseph Smith 29 Comments

On Tuesday, August 4th, the LDS Church in conjunction with the Community of Christ held a press conference announcing the newest volume in the ongoing …

508–509: The LDS Church’s New Official History Volume, Saints: The Standard of Truth

Dan Wotherspoon History, Joseph Smith, Marriage, Polygamy, Relief Society, Teaching 9 Comments

Just two weeks ago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the first volume of its long-awaited history of the church series, Saints: …

403–406: Revelations of Joseph Smith and Others: A Naturalistic Hypothesis

Dan Wotherspoon Revelations 6 Comments

In her very important new book, Revelatory Events: Three Case Studies of the Emergence of New Spiritual Paths, historian and religion scholar Ann Taves offers a naturalistic framing for …

371: New Perspectives on Joseph Smith and Translation

Dan Wotherspoon Joseph Smith 5 Comments

As Richard Bushman mentions in this podcast episode, one of the very first things Joseph Smith did in announcing himself to the world was to …

Joseph Smith: Treasure-seeker or Prophet

guest Mormon 33 Comments

One of the most controversial aspects of Joseph Smith’s early life—and one not especially well known among most Mormons—is his adventures as a treasure-seeker. His father was likely a treasure-seeker before the family moved to New York from Vermont, where divining rods were the common medium in the search. Sometime in the early 1820s, Joseph was introduced to seer-stones, a common scrying device in western New York. Joseph quickly developed a reputation as a talented seer, and was known to peer into his stone to direct fellow treasure-seekers in their hunts. When Joseph was gaining notoriety as the Book of Mormon was being prepared for publication, local antagonists in Palmyra were quick to ridicule his treasure-seeking activity. A local newspaper editor, Abner Cole, referred to treasure-seers as clear “impostures” in an article on Mormonism and wrote a piece of satire that mocked the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s treasure-seeking.