Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Response to bugs in baby mouth

For the purpose of content I have decided to post my response to Katie Andersen's earlier post on her 6 dirty, disgusting, top favorites of being a nurse. In particular I am responding to her "not so gross" incident she had with Joshua and the "black bug in mouth" story.

I love every one of those 6 gross stories Katie gave. Talk about taking out the trash. I would rather take a garbage man's job all my life, a sewage specialist, a water treatment technician, and a port o potty inspector over any one of those jobs Katie did and continues to do as a nurse. Now, what gets me is that Katie actually gagged taking a simple bug out of Joshua's mouth, that was far cleaner and more safe than any one of her 6 experiences.

It actually reminds me of the time when I was out in the backyard last summer collecting snails out of the grass and garden for my chickens to eat. They absolutely love a good soft defenceless snail. I had two snails in my hand and Naomi comes out to me interested in what I was doing. I handed her one of the snails to inspect, thinking she would find them interesting. The snail itself was securely crouched in its shell, and so "Mia" didn't really see anything but a hard shell. To my utter surprise she casually popped the whole snail into her mouth and commenced crunching. Michelle was standing by and shouted with an alarm to quickly remove it from her mouth as if it were poison. Although shocked myself I figured she would likely discover the texture and taste to unsatisfactory and spit it out herself, so I waited another 3, 5, 10 seconds... she still did not spit it out. Michelle was panicking and dry heaving in between bursts of “Hurry, [gag] get it out of her mouth! [gag] What are you waiting for?” [gag] I was in awe. I couldn’t believe that Michelle had starved the child to the point of finding genuine delight in the texture and taste of a common garden snail. A large one too! After waiting to see if Naomi was seriously going to eat it, and determining she had no qualms with finishing the snail like a piece of candy, I felt it my duty to try and scoop the rest out of her mouth before she swallowed. Mia vehemently opposed me interfering and taking away her treat. I could only laugh at the spectacle as Michelle scorned me in desperation. Naomi finished the snail entirely. And this is what gets me, she put her hand out for the other one in my hand! I couldn’t contain myself, I couldn’t resist the innocence. I started to give it to her when Michelle angrily protested, so I declined. I decided instead to educate my toddler girl. I waited until the snail in my hand was brave enough to stick its head out and scan its surroundings. When it did I showed it to Naomi and then offered the “snack” to her again. Seeing newly as a living curious looking creature she immediately declined taking the snail and her desire “for another” was abated.

My story pales in comparison to Katie's unearthly disgusting nursing “clean up crew” stories. I have eaten living gold fish, earth worms, candied crickets (Japan), and regularly eat a good fresh raw egg from my backyard hens, but it sounds like Katie is cut from the cloth of a care taker.

Rebirth

I have decided to join the rest of my family- siblings, cousins and aunts (any uncles out there?) and do my own blog for the benefit of blogging about anything and everything, especially my family. I created this blog January of 2006 for the purpose of networking with people that were doing research on topics related to Mormon history, particularly divination and seer stones; but it is now time to rebirth my purposes and use this space for something more neutral- anything I want it to be. Besides, I pretty much got out of that topic all I care to get out for awhile.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Worthless Rant

It has been a year since I created this online-blog. I didn't actually think that I would have any success in attracting people that were interested in more than an intellectual pursuit when it comes to divination. When I created this blog it was more for personal education and a launching pad for me in learning things that I had long yearned to learn. After a year now I realize how many others there are out there that also seek to understand Christ-centered divination and mysticism that early Mormon and ancient "Christians" practiced.

I was so unaware that people would at all contribute to this blog that I failed to even check up on it. Amidst all of the junk mail postings I get to the blog, I entirely missed the honest individuals that came here to share- for that I am sorry I have been negligent. I think it is high time now to come forward with these things and prepare more on a personal/spiritual level the relevance of divination in Christianity and the myriad of tools that have been used in addition to what are known as seer stones. I quote from the Book of Mormon, Moroni:

"Wherefore, all things which are good cometh from God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil... take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil... it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night..."

"...for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Chirst, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God."

"But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil..."

"...seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully..."

"...if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ."

"And behold, there were divers ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good, and all things which are good cometh of Christ..."

"...and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing..."(Moroni 7:12-19, 24, 28)

I have had so many "intellectuals" and in my opinion "pseudo" Mormons come forward stating they readily uphold the law and the prophets, the Book of Mormon, and all scripture considered Mormon "canon" while at the same time condemn so easily and with predjudice things they do not understand simply because it is different and unconventional by their standards of experience. If fact, one of the most common reactionary conversations and dialogues I have had with folks captures their apparent hypocrisy when they claim they sustain and hold true men such as Enoch, Melchizadek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph of Egypt, Moses, and in Mormonism, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and their apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators; but as soon as you reveal to their delicate Americanized and sectarian minds a little history of the character and practices of these "strange" and "wild" men they want to howl and cry blasphemy. Such is the condition of our times in these Last Times of times.

**If you don't like what I have to say then read elsewhere, this is my blog space.**

How are we to judge things that are foreign to us? Simply by the words of Moroni posted above. It is that simple, there is no other way to judge or consider. Let us suspend our doubt if but for a moment if necessary and explore these things that come to us in unlikely and unconventional ways. Such types of men where the men of Christian faith.

Now, on to matters more important. If there are individuals that have experience with divination or have a collection of stones or rods or otherwise have knowledge of the matters this blog is dedicated to, I invite you to come forward and share. I will be of as much insight and assistance as possible. Thank you for bearing through my rant.

SeerBlogger

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Teraphim and the Urim and Thummim

This is an article found on the BYU/FARMS website as published by Matthew Roper, posted with permission. Please let us know your comments and insight.

Teraphim and the Urim and Thummim

Biblical scholars have long puzzled over the nature and function of objects referred to as “teraphim” in the biblical record. A recent study of divination practices in the ancient Near East notes that the term “is of disputed derivation and uncertain meaning” and that in the biblical text it “does not consistently designate the same type of object.” Yet evidence in Hosea 3:4 (8th century B.C.) suggests that, in the preexilic Israelite religion, the teraphim may once have been considered “a legitimate method” of divination until they were taken away from Israel during a period of discipline.1

In a recent study, Cornelius Van Dam argues that in ancient Israel the teraphim were a substitute for the Urim and Thummim and may have functioned in a similar way. He suggests that teraphim (plural of terep) derived from the root rpp, which corresponds to the Arabic root raffa (“quiver”) but can also mean “shine, glisten.”2 If so, teraphim, like the Urim and Thummim, “may have been made of a precious stone with light-reflecting qualities.”3 Van Dam thinks that teraphim had a revelatory function in early Israel and that they may later have been replaced by the Urim and Thummim, or “perfect light.”4

Similarly, the Book of Mormon prophets associated the Nephite interpreters (two stones consecrated to God for revelatory purposes) or their function with the concept of light. For example, we read about “Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light” and “bring to light” all the secret abominations of the people who possessed the land (Alma 37:23, 25). Moroni used similar language in describing how the Nephite record would be brought forth in the latter days (Mormon 8:15–16).

Other biblical scholars suggest that teraphim is the altered metathesized form of an earlier term, petarim, from the verb ptr, “to interpret.”5 This would mean the teraphim were originally called “interpreters.” Under this theory, while the use of teraphim may have been a legitimate method of divination in early Israelite times, later biblical writers gave these oracular instruments a name with a more negative connotation, teraphim.

In addition to its similarities to Aramaic psr and Arabic fassara, both of which can mean “interpret,” ptr appears to be related to the Egyptian verb ptr, “to see.”6 Both meanings are consistent with Ammon’s explanation in Mosiah 8:13 of the sacred instruments that King Mosiah used to translate ancient records.

In contrast to biblical commentators of the day, who viewed teraphim only as idolatrous images,7 early Mormon writer W. W. Phelps suggested that teraphim may have sometimes fulfilled a positive role and were similar in form and function to the Urim and Thummim possessed by Israel’s high priest. In the light of more recent studies of these objects, Phelps’s suggested connection between the Old Testament teraphim and the Book of Mormon interpreters utilized by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the translation of the Book of Mormon seems entirely plausible.8

Notes

1. Ann Jeffers, Magic and Divination in Ancient Palestine and Syria (1996), 222–27.

2. Cornelius Van Dam, The Urim and Thummim: A Study of an Old Testa-ment Means of Revelation (1997), 228–29.

3. Ibid., 229. See John A. Tvedtnes, “Glowing Stones in Ancient and Medieval Lore,” appendix 2 in The Book of Mormon and Other Hidden Books (2000), 195–225.

4. Van Dam, Urim and Thummin, 229.

5. C. J. Lubuschagne, “Teraphim: A New Proposal for Its Etymology,” Vetus Testamentum 16 (Jan. 1966): 115–17.

6. Adolf Erman and Hermann Grapow, W├Ârterbuch der aegyptischen Sprache (1935–53), 1:564.

7. Thomas C. Upham, Jahn’s Biblical Archaeology (1823), 528–29.

8. W. W. Phelps, “Hosea Chapter III," Evening and Morning Star 1/2 (July 1832): 6; “Despise Not Prophesyings,” Times and Seasons 2/7 (1 Feb. 1841): 298. See Tvedtnes, "Glowing Stones,” 209–10.

By Matthew Roper

Abraham and the Urim and Thummim

This is an artice posted with permission by John A. Tvedtnes (M.A. in Linguistics and M.A. in Middle East Studies (Hebrew), University of Utah) a senior resident scholar with the Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts at Brigham Young University.


The Book of Abraham informs us that Abraham “had the Urim and Thummim,” by means of which he “saw the stars.” “And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof” (Abraham 3:1-4).
The Bible associates the urim and thummim with the Israelite high priest, but never suggests that Abraham possessed this instrument of divine revelation. It is significant, however, that some early nonbiblical Jewish writings concur with the Book of Abraham on this issue.
The latter part of Esther 1:6 speaks of several types of stone, two of which are called dar and socheret. These are rendered “white” and “black” in the King James Bible, but the real meaning is unknown, since this is the only place the two Hebrew words are used in the Bible. Jewish tradition holds that they were precious stones (TB Megillah 12a). The Bahir, an early Jewish kabbalistic work, explains,

This is the measure of all merchandise (Sechorah) in the world. It is also the power of the precious stones that are called Socheret and Dar.
And upon what is the attribute of Dar?
This teaches us that God took a thousandth of its radiance, and from it He constructed a beautiful precious stone. In it He included all the commandments.
Abraham came, and He sought a power to give him. He gave him this precious stone, but he did not want it. (Bahir 190)

From Abraham 1:2, 4, we learn that the power that Abraham sought was the priesthood. It seems that the two stones he received were associated with that power. Bahir 192 continues,

[It is written that Abraham kept], “My commandments, My decrees, and My Torahs.” He said, “Since I do not want [the precious stone], I will keep all the commandments that are included in it.”
What is the meaning of “My Torahs”? This teaches us that he knew and kept even the decisions (Horah) and discussions that are taught on high.

Abraham did, indeed, learn of discussions from “on high.” Abraham 3 records his vision of the heavens and of pre-earth life, revealed via the urim and thummim. Abraham 4-5 records his vision of the creation of the earth, including the discussions and decisions of “the Gods.”
The Talmud supports the idea that Abraham possessed a miraculous stone.

R. Eliezer the Modiite said that Abraham possessed a power of reading the stars for which he was much sought after by the potentates of East and West. R. Simeon b. Yohai said: Abraham had a precious stone hung round his neck which brought immediate healing to any sick person who looked on it, and when Abraham our father departed from this world, the Holy One, blessed be He, suspended it from the orb of the sun. (TB Baba Bathra 16b)

Although the stone in question is said to have been used for healing purposes, it is interesting that it immediately follows a statement about Abraham’s astronomical capabilities which, according to Abraham 3:1, he acquired in part through the stones known as the urim and thummim. In this connection, we note that the translator of the Talmud passage indicated “A variant rendering: ‘He possessed an astrological instrument.’”
Jewish tradition holds that Abraham possessed glowing gems and pearls, reminding us that ancient texts also describe the urim and thummim as glowing stones.
The early Jewish texts that discuss Abraham’s possession of miraculous stones had not yet been translated into English in Joseph Smith’s day, and are hence valuable evidences for the authenticity of the Book of Abraham.

[1]Aryeh Kaplan, The Bahir (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1989), 75.
[2] Ibid., 77.
[3] Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, The Babylonian Talmud, 18 vols., (London: Soncino Press, 1961), 83-84.

[4] Ibid., note.

[5] Louis Ginzberg, ed., Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1937), 1:298, 5:265 n. 312.
[6] See the discussion in John A. Tvedtnes, The Book of Mormon and Other Hidden Books: Out of Darkness Unto Light (Provo: FARMS, 2000), 198-208.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Pictures of Seer Stones

Now, I have no way to verify this, but after hunting around for pictures of seer stones the early leaders of the LDS Church used I came across these two pictures. Are they the actual one? I don't know, but I have provided them here for reference only. I actually found other conflicting pictures claiming to be the very same stones, so we may never know which are the real McCoy's...

BELCHER-SMITH-DIBBLE-PIERCE STONE

text and picture used with permission RickGrunder.com

SEER STONE OF JOSEPH SMITH, handed down through private hands to the present day (1991). Apparently acquired by Joseph Smith in the 1820s before translating the Book of Mormon in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.

Greyish-ivory-colored stone of irregular oval shape, approximately 5 cm. in length by 4 cm. thick. Marked with small irregular dark grey indentations and green deposits. With a large hole extending through the stone, terminating in three small apertures created by embedded stone particles. The apertures function like primitive lenses when held close to the eye.

THE FAMOUS BELCHER-SMITH-DIBBLE-PIERCE STONE, said originally to have been found at Salina, New York, taken to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, and there purchased from the owner by Joseph Smith before he translated the Book of Mormon. Near the time of the martyrdom, this stone was acquired by a survivor of the Missouri mobs, Philo Dibble, who also made the death masks of Joseph and Hyrum. Dibble later exhibited the stone, death masks and other historical objects on lecture tours which he conducted in Utah Territory.

Early Mormon seer stones are of the greatest rarity and importance. The lure and lore of "magic stones" have of course fascinated people throughout history. According to Brigham Young, Joseph Smith had three seer stones during the early part of his life. Judging from numerous other accounts, these would have been the white, opaque stone, of which nothing has been heard since 1900, the present "green" stone now offered here, and the brown stone which, according to David Whitmer and other friends of the Prophet, was used to translate much of the Book of Mormon and which is kept in the First Presidency's vault in Salt Lake City. Modern studies based on writings by faithful early members of the Church suggest that Joseph Smith took his seer stones very seriously, and sometimes used them to receive revelations. For documentation and analysis of the above, see Quinn (below, citing statements by Brigham Young and others in the Church Archives), and David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ . . . (Richmond, Missouri, 1887), p.12.

History of Ownership

Anonymous owner, Salina, New York (immediately north of Syracuse).

Purchased by Jack BELCHER, of Gibson, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania (ca. early 1820s).

Purchased by Joseph SMITH, Jr., of Harmony, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania (ca. 1825).

Acquired from Joseph Smith or the Nauvoo Mansion House near the time of Joseph's death by Philo DIBBLE.*

David DIBBLE, son of Philo Dibble.
James Madison PEIRCE (1850-1934; brother-in-law to Loran Dibble, son of Philo Dibble).
Louise Workman PEIRCE (widow of James Madison Pierce).
Norman Clifford PIERCE [surname spelling changed] (1906-76; nephew of James Madison PEIRCE); acquired the seer stone in 1936.
The children of Norman Clifford PIERCE.

* Based on the description by James B. Buck, prominent early Susquehanna County settler, the original Belcher stone is generally viewed by historians as being the same, Dibble-Pierce Stone which is now offered here for sale. The haunting origins of this stone were recorded in Buck's account quoted by Emily C. Blackman . . .

The stone which he afterwards used was then in the possession of Jack Belcher, of Gibson, who obtained it while at Salina, N.Y., engaged in drawing salt. Belcher bought it because it was said to be "a seeing stone." I have often seen it. It was a green stone, with brown, irregular spots on it. It was a little longer than a goose's egg, and about the same thickness. When he brought it home and covered it with a hat, Belcher's little boy was one of the first to look into the hat, and as he did so he said he saw a candle. The second time he looked in he exclaimed, "I've found my hatchet!" — (it had been lost two years) — and immediately ran for it to the spot shown him through the stone, and it was there. The boy was soon beset by neighbors far and near to reveal to them hidden things, and he succeeded marvellously. Even the wanderings of a lost child were traced by him — the distracted parents coming to him three times for directions, and in each case finding signs that the child had been in the places he designated, but at last it was found starved to death. Joe Smith . . . bought the stone of Belcher and then began his operations in directing where hidden treasures could be found. His first diggings were near Capt. Buck's saw-mill, at Red Rock; but, because his followers broke the rule of silence, "the enchantment removed the deposits."

WHITMER FAMILY SEER STONE

Native American gorget of polished grey green slate.text and picture used with permission RickGrunder.com
50 X 81 X 9 mm. Two small holes drilled.

Located in 1955 by Alvin R. Dyer in the possession of Jacob Whitmer's granddaughter in Richmond, Missouri:

"As to how this Seer stone came into my possession, it has been handed down through one generation of the Whitmer family to the next generation until it finally was given to me, and I consider it a very great honor to have such a sacred trust in my possession." —Mayme Janetta Whitmer Koontz (1879-1961), daughter of John Christian Whitmer (1835-94), son of Jacob Whitmer (1800-56; brother to David Whitmer and brother-in-law to both Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery): unpublished letter from Mayme Whitmer Koontz to Alvin R. Dyer, June 12, 1955, partially quoted by Alvin R. Dyer, The Refiner's Fire (2nd ed., SLC, 1968), pp. 257, 259.

Dyer included an illustration of the present stone in his book (the photograph is small but sufficiently clear to identify the stone by the strata lines). See D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (revised and enlarged edition, SLC, 1998), 247-8 and Figure 13; History of the Church I:109-11, 115; Comprehensive History of the Church I:217-19; Ogden Kraut, Seers and Seer Stones [SLC,1983?], pp. 50-53, with reversed illustration. The stone went to Mrs. Koontz's daughter, thence via David C. Martin to the vault of the Marine First National Bank, Janesville, Wisconsin, where it lay forgotten for a decade, and into my hands. It was owned by Steven F. Christensen from February, 1984, until shortly before he was murdered by Mark W. Hofmann; it remains in private hands.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Glowing Stones in Ancient and Medieval Lore

I found this publication, Glowing Stones in Ancient and Medieval Lore, in the wee hours of night on the BYU FARMS website. It is written by John A. Tvedtnes (M.A. in Linguistics and M.A. in Middle East Studies (Hebrew), University of Utah) a senior resident scholar with the Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts at Brigham Young University. It is very intriguing; have a read at this link and tell me what you think.

He attempts to piece together oral traditions, cultural myths, as well as religious texts together from Christianity, Judaism, and Islam drawing common parallels on the topics of the Urim and Thummim, Glowing Images, the Teraphim, Sanctuary Stones, and Medieval Glowing Stones.

excerpt (used with permission Farms.BYU.EDU):

Though the idea of stones that can glow in the dark may seem strange to the modern mind, we have seen that such beliefs were widespread in earlier times. The account of the stones used to provide light in the Jaredite barges fits rather well into a larger corpus of ancient and medieval literature, including stories related directly to the biblical account. I have not attempted in this essay to explain what made the stones glow. While some natural explanations might be presented, I can only say that the Book of Mormon account attributes their power to divine influence. This is the same explanation given in many of the early texts we have surveyed. We would do well to read the story in Ether with the eye of faith demonstrated by those who passed on these records.

Other recourses by the Author and others:

The Author, John Alexander Tvedtnes, has also a slightly longer, revised version of the paper which is included as an appendix in his book The Book of Mormon and Other Hidden Books: Out of Darkness unto Light (Provo: FARMS, 2000) available at the BYU online bookstore.

Egyptian Etymologies for Biblical Religious Paraphernalia, paper by John A. Tvedtnes, published in Sarah I. Groll (ed.), Egyptological Studies (Scripta Hierosolymitana, Vol. 28; Jerusalem: Magnes Press of the Hebrew University, 1982). In November 1997

FARMS has previously published an article by Nicholas Read, Jae R. Ballif, John W. Welch, Bill Evenson, Kathleen Reynolds (now Gee), and Matt Roper, entitled New Light on the Shining Stones of the Jaredites, Insights 12/7 (July 1992).

FARMS publication Teraphim and the Urim and Thummim, Insights 20/9 (September 2000), by Matthew Roper.

Additionally, FARMS also published Mr. Tvedtnes' article More on Glowing Stones, FARMS Update No. 128, Insights 19/7 (July 1999), a follow-up to New Light on the Shining Stones of the Jaredites.

All of the last books are available to the public on the FARMS web site, just follow the appropriate links above for their location.

Former LDS Mormon on Seers and Seer Stones

Ogden Kraut, a former member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, authored a book called Seers and Seer Stones. While I may not agree with all of the author's views, the work gives note worthy attention to documented practices and traditions of Prophets, Seers, and Revelators as found in ancient Biblical texts and modern figures and prophets. He documents thoroughly the methods in which God facilitate men to receive directions by the means of tools of divination.

I have taken chapter 7 out of the book that is available on-line at OdgenKraut.com.


(Used with permission OgdenKraut.com)

CHAPTER VII

SEER STONES


Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a
foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure
foundation. Isaiah 28:16

Joseph Smith was not the only "seer" in his day. Contrary to the general consensus, there were many "seer stones" being used to "see" things. Some were used for treasure hunting or for finding lost articles or missing people.

I would like to know,' volunteered Elder Hawks, why so many stories have been told about Joseph Smith being a `gold digger' and having spent years searching for buried treasure. For more than a hundred miles from here I have been shown holes in the earth where, it is said, Joseph dug for hidden treasure. Do you know how these silly stories originated? It was a popular fancy, replied the President, for people in that day to be seeking buried treasure, hoping to become suddenly wealthy by locating such deposits by means of `peep stone gazers' that abounded in this region in the days of Joseph Smith. It was a popular fad for people to find strange stones that could be used as `peep stones' and every person finding such a stone at once set out in search of hidden treasure.' (Cumorah's Gold Bible, p. 145)

Another testimony was given which illustrates the numerous stones used for this unusual manifestation of power. A Mrs. M.C.R. Smith stated: `There was considerable digging for money in our neighborhood by men, women and children. I never knew of their finding any. I saw a large hole dug on Nathaniel Smith's farm, which was sandy. I saw Joshua Stafford's peep-stone which looked like white marble and had a hole through the center. Sallie Chase, a Methodist, had one and people would go for her to find lost and hidden or stolen things. (Naked Truths about Mormonism, p. 1)

The Prophet Joseph's mother also knew about the "many people" who possessed seer stones. During the early history of the Latter-day Saints' Church, many people arose with so-called seer stones, claiming to have power of seeing many things such as seeing the place where lost articles were, also where the Book of Mormon plates were hidden. Some of these clairvoyants were the means of leading many astray from the truth. One of the earliest of these peepstone gazers was a young woman named Miss Chase, sister of Willard Chase, a Methodist classleader. This Miss Chase found a green glass, through which she claimed she could see where Joseph Smith kept the Gold Plates. (Joseph Smith, p. 102, by Lucy Mack Smith)

At this same time there was a man by the name of James J. Strang, who also claimed the appearance of angels, the use of a Urim, and the gift and powers of translation.

The most prominently known seer stones in the history of the L.D.S. Church are discussed in the remainder of this chapter.

JOSEPH'S STONE

Hoseah Stout infers that the Prophet Joseph had a stone at the time he "discovered" the plates of the Book of Mormon.

Monday, 25 Feb. 1856: President Young exhibited the seer's stone with which the Prophet Joseph discovered the plates of the Book of Mormon, to the Regents this evening. It is said to be a silecious granite dark color almost black with light colored stripes somewhat resembling petrified poplar or cotton wood bark. It was about the size but not the shape of a hen's egg. (Hoseah Stout, 2:593)

B. H. Roberts also gave this description of the Prophet's seer stone:

The SEER STONE referred to here was a chocolate-colored, somewhat egg-shaped stone which the Prophet found while digging a well in company with his brother Hyrum, for a Mr. Clark Chase, near Palmyra, N.Y. It possessed the qualities of Urim and Thummim, since by means of it--as described above--as well as by means of the Interpreters found with the Nephite record, Joseph was able to translate the characters engraven on the plates. (Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. 1, p. 129)

* * *

One item mentioned by President Woodruff about the private dedicatory services at Manti is of more than passing interest. `Before leaving,' he writes, `I consecrated upon the altar the Seer Stone that Joseph Smith found by revelation some thirty feet under the earth, and carried by him through life.' This is the very Seer Stone that the Prophet Joseph Smith used part of the time when translating the Book of Mormon; the one he took from the well he was digging with his brother Hyrum, near Palmyra, for Mr. Clark Chase. (C.H.C. 6:230)

* * *

The statement has been made that the Urim and Thumim was on the altar in the Manti Temple when that building was dedicated. The Urim and Thummim so spoken of, however, was the seer stone which was in the possession of the Prophet Joseph Smith in early days. This Seer stone is now in the possession of the Church. (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:225)

THE SAMEAZER STONES

Another unusual set of seer stones was described by Wandle Mace:

Uncle John visited us and during his stay we related to him our experience (with evil spirits) and we learned from him that. . . in Staffordshire a branch of the Church was organized at the Potteries and Elder Alfred Cordon was president; among those who embraced the Gospel at this place were some who had practiced magic, or astrology. They had books which had been handed down for many generations; they also had two stones, about the size of goose eggs; they were rough uncouth looking stones--one end was flattened so they could be placed on a table. When they wished to gain information from this source, they would place these stones upon a table, and kneel down and pray to one who they addressed as Sameazer, which they called "charging the stones," when upon looking into them they saw what they sought for. For instance, a young woman, whose sister joined the church and emigrated to Nauvoo, not hearing from
her, became very anxious, and to learn something about her, went to one of these astrologers, or magicians to inquire if her sister was well or something about her. The magician after charging the stones as before explained, told her to look into them. The young woman did so and said she saw her sister sitting upon something but could not describe what kind of a seat it was--by the side of a curious looking house, and apparently in good health. This satisfied her that her sister was safe and well, but the house and the seat her sister was on she could not understand what it could be.

This young woman, afterwards, joined the church and came to her sister who was living on a farm a short distance from Nauvoo, a worn fence enclosed the farm and log house, and it was upon this fence near the log house that she had seen her sister sitting when she looked into the magician's stones in Staffordshire, England. This is the substance of the narration as I heard it from Uncle John. Sometime after I moved to Nauvoo I became acquainted with Elder Alfred Cordon, who related to me the same; he also said the books with the stones were placed into his hands by these men after they joined the church, and he gave them to Apostle George A. Smith, who destroyed the books, but put the stones in the bottom of his trunk and brought them to Nauvoo. He gave them to Joseph the Prophet who pronounced them to be a Urim and Thumim--as good as ever was upon the earth--but he said, `They have been consecrated to devils.' (Wandle Mace Diary, p. 66)


THE HIRAM PAGE STONE

Another such stone was used by a member of the Church, but the revelations that were obtained from it were to the detriment of the Church. It was used from the very commencement of the organization of the Church.

During the last week in September of 1830, a conference was held at Fayette. There were only sixty-two members of the Church at that time. At the conference much was said about Hiram's peepstone. He acknowledge his error and promised to be loyal to his leader and cease consulting the stone for guidance. Oliver Cowdery had apologized for his course and so Hiram was re-instated in the good graces of his leader. The Page `peepstone' however, has been preserved as a souvenir in the Archives of the Reorganized Church. The writer was permitted to examine it. It is a flat stone about seven inches long, four wide and one quarter inch in thickness. It is dark gray in color with waves of brown and purple across the surface. A small hole has been drilled through one end of it as if a string had been threaded through it. It is simply impressive enough to make a good paper weight, yet it became a tool through which the adversary attempted to stir up strife and create a schism in the Church. Hiram E. Page had received spurious information about the building up of Zion, which was a popular theme with the little flock. (Historical Background of the Doc. & Cov., by Cecil McGavin, p. 93)

The Prophet Joseph wrote the following statement about the Page stone:

When Apostle Alvin R. Dyer was in Richmond, Missouri, he visited Mrs. Mayme Koontz, who possessed the Hiram Page stone. He described it as a light gray, highly polished stone, about 5" by 3" by «" thick with two round holes in it. Mrs. Koontz stated that-- As to how this seer stone came into my possession, it has been handed down through one generation of the Whitmer family to the next generation until it finally was given to me, and I consider it a very great honor to have such a sacred trust in my possession. (Refiner's Fire, by Alvin R. Dyer, p. 257)

It was the revelations through this peculiar stone that nearly broke up the Church at its very beginning.

Sept. 26, 1830: To our great grief, however, we soon found that Satan had been lying in wait to deceive, and seeking whom he might devour. Brother Hiram Page had in his possession a certain stone, by which he had obtained certain `revelations' concerning the upbuilding of Zion, the order of the Church, etc., all of which were entirely at
variance with the order of God's house, as laid down in the New Testament, as well as in our late revelations. As a conference meeting had been appointed for the 26th day of September, I thought it wisdom not to do much more than to converse with the brethren on the subject, until the conference should meet. Finding, however, that many--especially 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. (D.H.C. 1:110)

The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith the dangers of stone, and the source of its power:

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. (D. & C. 28:11)

* * *
The subject of the stone, previously mentioned, was discussed, and after considerable investigation, Brother Page, as well as the whole Church who were present, renounced the said stone, and all things connected therewith, much to our mutual satisfaction and happiness. (Historical Record, p. 384)

Satan was seeking to use the same means of communication to destroy the Church that God was using to build it up.

THE EDWIN RUSHTON STONE

A friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Edwin Rushton, also had a seer stone in his possession:

Edwin Rushton dug in the ground in the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, as a dream had previously shown and obtained a seer stone about five feet underground, on May 4, 1846. He was a resident of Nauvoo at the time he obtained it. The stone, which still exists, appears to be a little smaller than a quarter of a baseball, and is crystal clear. He never tried to use the stone, as far as we know. (Urim and Thummim, by Arch S. Reynolds, p. 24)

Edwin Rushton recorded his experience in locating this stone in his journal:

In July 1845, while Father was resting in the middle of the day, he received a vision, or quoting from Father's record, `I was caught away by the spirit and taken on a frequented footpath across lots to a ravine a few blocks south of Nauvoo Temple. As I stood in contemplation, the earth on the right side of me opened to the depth of about five feet, and I beheld a pot of treasure on top of which was a beautiful seer stone, clear as crystal, which I was told belonged to me. At the time I received the vision, I did not know anything about a seer stone and had never sought for a vision. This same vision was repeated to me three times about two weeks apart. With this vision ever in mind, the following day I proceeded to hunt for the stone, taking three of my relatives with me. After digging for a short time, the stone was thrown out with a shovel of dirt. It is my firm conviction that this stone is one of the stones spoken of by John the Revelator (2:17).'(See History of the Seer Stone. This stone is clear and beautiful. It is about the size of an egg and shaped somewhat like a kidney. It is treasured by the family and has been shown to hundreds of people) (Edwin Rushton Journal, p. 3)

This seer stone is now in the hands of one of the descendants of Edwin Rushton, now living in Salt City.

ELIAS PULSIPHER STONE

Presumably in the Kirtland area, Elias Pulsipher found a brown colored stone about 2« inches wide and 6 inches long with two holes in it. The Prophet Joseph examined it and declared it to be a seer stone. It is not known if Elias could use it but his daughter could. She located drowned persons, lost cattle and other items for people who sought such information. Her daughter also could use it and after would see whatever she desired. One strange thing happened though: she once asked to see Satan--which she did--but that was the last time that stone ever worked for anyone. (Statement by Elaine Mullins, descendant of Elias Pulsipher.)

THE PHILO DIBBLE STONE

Philo Dibble was a faithful Saint whose history was near to the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was also famous as a veteran of the Haun's Mill Massacre--healed from the wounds of death by Newell Knight. It was he who made the death masks of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum. At the time of the martyrdom, he rescued a small seer stone, at the Nauvoo Mansion House, from falling into the hands of the apostates. He brought this seer stone across the plains. Later, as a curator of Church history, he showed the death masks, the seer stone, and other items of historical value on his lecture tours throughout the territory of Utah (See Mill. Star 11:11-12)

As time and possessors of this stone have passed on it came into the hands of Norman C. Pierce in 1936. He is now residing in Salt Lake City and still possesses this stone.

This seer stone, which came into the hands of the Prophet Joseph at one time, may be the Belcher stone because of the similarity of description.

Belcher bought it because it was said to be a seeing stone. I have often seen it. It was a green stone, with brown, irregular spots on it. It was a little longer than a goose's egg and about the same thickness. When he brought it home and covered it with a hat, Belcher's little boy was one of the first to look into the hat, and as he did so, he said he saw a candle. The second time he looked in he exclaimed, `I've found my hatchet.' He immediately ran for it to the spot shown him through the stone and it was there. The boy was soon beset by neighbors far and near to reveal to them hidden things, and he succeeded marvelously. Even the wanderings of a lost child were traced by him. The distracted parents came to him three times for directions, and in each case found signs that the child had been in the places he designated, but at last it was found starved to death.(Cumorah's Gold Bible, p. 147)

THE WILLIAM TITT AND OTHER STONES

About the year 1857, William Titt, some ten or twelve years old, was sent by President Daniel H. Wells from Salt Lake City to me at Parowan for a home as he and his stepmother could not agree. So I took him in and he lived with me until he was quite a man. He was quite a good man; he was born a natural seer. He was the best hand to look in a seer stone that I was ever acquainted with. I believe the Lord overruled his coming to me, I having the knowledge of the science of seer stones and being somewhat gifted in knowing one when I saw it. I used to find many and William could tell by looking in it who that stone was for, and I would give that stone to the one he said it was for, and they would see in them.

I yet remember two men's names, Isaac Grundy and James Rollands. They both could see in their stones when they got them, and if they were strangers he could describe the persons but could not tell their names. I told him that if he would be faithful he did not know the eminence he would arrive at in consequence of his gift. I kept the seer stones under my immediate control and when needed I would bring them out. He did a great deal of good by finding lost property and by telling people how their kinfolks were getting along, [60] even in England. He would satisfy them that he could see correct by describing things correctly, but when it came to things that the devil did not want the truth to come out the devil had power to make false appearances, and William would miss the truth. William being young and limited in experience he was not able to compete with the devil at all times, and they undertook to destroy him and they told him if it had not been for old Meeks they would have destroyed him. I think it was on account of his gift that made them try to destroy him. (Journal of Priddy Meeks, Utah State Historical Quarterly 10:200)

As mentioned in the above quote, Priddy Meeks claimed to have the ability to know a seer stone when he saw one, but he did not possess one himself.

Seer stones, or peepstones, as they are more commonly called, was very plenty about Parowan, I rather being a gifted person in knowing a peepstone when seeing one altho I had never found one yet I could see in.

A seer's stone appears to me to be the connecting link between the visible and invisible worlds. I am not prepared to say to what extent discoveries may be made in the invisible world through these means, but I am prepared to say that truthful discoveries, (I am fully convinced) have been made by those means on certain conditions. It is not safe to depend on peepstones in any case where evil spirits have the power to put false appearances before them while looking in a peepstone. If evil influences will not interfere, the verdict will be as true as preaching. That is my experience in the matter; also the Patriarch, Hiram Smith, the brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith held the same idea, but stated that our faith was not strong enough to overcome the evil influences that might interfere, but seemed to think that time would come. I have seen peepstones as well polished as a fiddle with a nice hole through one end that belonged to the ancients. I asked Brother Smith the use for that
hole; he said the same as a watch chain to keep from losing it. He said in time of war the Nephites had the advantage of their enemies by looking in the seer stone which would reveal whatever they wished to know. I believe a peepstone is of the same piece with the Urim and Thummim, if we understood it. (Journal of Priddy Meeks, Utah State Historical Quarterly 10:180).

It would be impossible to estimate the number of seer stones that have been used throughout the history of the Church. We do know, however, that every man should have one because seership is not a "special right" conferred upon a few select individuals by the Lord. The Lord would have all men become seers if they could use that means in a righteous manner. The Prophet Joseph said that EVERY MAN is entitled to a seer stone.

Dec. 27, 1841: I met with the Twelve at Brother Joseph's. He conversed with us in a familiar manner on a variety of subjects, and explained to us the Urim and Thummim which he found with the plates, called in the Book of Mormon the Interpreters. He said that 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, and most of
those who do find one make an evil use of it; he showed us his seer stone. (Brigham Young, Mill. Star 26:118)

Seer Stones and Magic in the 1800's

This is a very interesting article I found while searching under "seer stone" through Google's university search for BYU (google.com/univ/byu).

Dr. Priddy Meeks "journal is one of the very few documents available to American history which faithfully reflects the American folklore of the early 19th century. Ideas on witchcraft and devil-possession, engagingly chronicled by Dr. Meeks, were widespread among the American folk of his time, and are by no means dead today."

His experiences with seer stones within the LDS church, and knowledge of magic outside the Church create interesting discussion.

The journal is a little long so I will just post the link found on the Mormon Literature Website: Historical Chips- Priddy Meeks.