I have taken chapter 7 out of the book that is available on-line at OdgenKraut.com.
(Used with permission OgdenKraut.com)
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 STONEHoseah 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)
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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)
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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 STONESAnother 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 STONEAnother 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)
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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 STONEA 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 STONEPresumably 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 STONEPhilo 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 STONESAbout 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,  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)