Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gazelem's Seer Stones

I have recently been studying about Joseph Smith’s usage of seer stones in place of the Urim & Thummim for the process of translating the Book of Mormon. Since some of the information I encountered was new to me, I thought a few quotes and commentary may help those who read this better understand at least a portion of how the Book of Mormon was translated.

It should be noted that the expression Urim & Thummim is never used in the Book of Mormon, but was likely adopted by the Prophet after becoming familiar with the Old Testament revelatory device through his translation of the Old Testament. Instead, the Urim & Thummim wielded by the Prophet included the Nephite interpreters comprising “two stones” fastened into the “two rims of a bow” as the “interpreters.” (See Mosiah 28:13; Ether 3:23) In other words, the Urim & Thummim known to the Prophet consisted primarily of a couple of seer stones that could be attached to a device for ease of viewing. It eventually became common for members of the Church to call the Nephite interpreters the Urim & Thummim, which isn’t exactly correct.

When he finally received the Nephite interpreters in September of 1827, Joseph was already quite familiar with seer stones and how they worked. In fact, Joseph had discovered at least 2 seer stones, the first in 1822 while digging a well with Willard Chase:

In the year 1822, I was engaged in digging a well. I employed Alvin and Joseph Smith to assist me.... After digging about twenty feet below the surface of the earth, we discovered a singularly appearing stone, which excited my curiosity. I brought it to the top of the well, and as we were examining it, Joseph put it into his hat, and then his face into the top of his hat.... The next morning he came to me, and wished to obtain the stone, alleging that he could see in it; but I told him I did not wish to part with it on account of its being a curiosity, but I would lend it.” (Eber Dudley Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville, Ohio: Telegraph Press, 1834), 241-242; cited in Richard Van Wagoner and Steven Walker, "Joseph Smith: 'The Gift of Seeing," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 15:2 (Summer 1982): 48–68) (emphasis added).

Of this seer stone, one witness reported that “[i]t was about the size of a small hen's egg, in the shape of a high-instepped shoe. It was composed of layers of different colors passing diagonally through it. It was very hard and smooth, perhaps by being carried in the pocket” (W. D. Purple, The Chenango Union (3 May 1877); cited in Francis Kirkham, A New Witness for Christ in America: The Book of Mormon, 2 vols., (Salt Lake City: Utah Printing, 1959[1942]), 2:365). This seer stone was eventually consecrated on an altar in the Manti Temple in 1888 by Wilford Woodruff.

The source of the second seer stone is uncertain, but in 1841 the Prophet showed it to the Council of the 12 in Nauvoo and told them, Brigham Young reported, “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.” The second seer stone was described as in “the shape of an egg though not quite so large, of a gray cast something like granite but with white stripes running around it. It was transparent but had no holes, neither on the end or in the sides” (Richard Marcellas Robinson, "The History of a Nephite Coin," manuscript, 20 December 1834, LDS Church archives; cited in Mark Ashurst-McGee, "A Pathway to Prophethood: Joseph Smith Junior as Rodsman, Village Seer, and Judeo-Christian Prophet," (Master's Thesis, University of Utah, Logan, Utah, 2000), 264).

During the translation process of the 116 pages, the Prophet used not only the Nephite interpreters but also regularly employed at least one of his seer stones placed in the bottom of a hat. Contrary to frequent Church criticism, our Church leaders have hardly tried to conceal this fact as evidenced by the following recent quote:

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.” (Elder Russell M. Nelson, "A Treasured Testament," Ensign, July 1993, p.61) (emphasis added)

Interestingly enough, using a seer stone in this seemingly odd manner was nothing out of the ordinary for Joseph Smith and practically everyone else at this time. (SeeJoseph the Seer—or Why Did He Translate With a Rock in His Hat?,” Brant A. Gardner) In fact, what seems quite strange to us today was a widely accepted practice, even among the highly religious during the early 19th century. Joseph apparently had a gift to use his seer stones to see things others could not, including discerning property and the location of hidden treasure. Hence, Mr. Josiah Stowell’s interest in Joseph Smith to help him search for hidden Spanish treasure (see JSH 1:56).

Since Joseph openly employed the seer stone in the hat for translation, at one point during the translation of the 116 pages, Martin Harris apparently tested the Prophet’s abilities. After translating for a time each day, the two would often take a break and walk to a nearby river and throw rocks into the river to unwind:

Once Martin found a rock closely resembling the seerstone Joseph sometimes used in place of the interpreters and substituted it without the Prophet’s knowledge. When the translation resumed, Joseph paused for a long time and then exclaimed, ‘Martin, what is the matter, all is as dark as Egypt.’ Martin then confessed that he wished to ‘stop the mouths of fools’ who told him that the Prophet memorized sentences and merely repeated them.” (Told in Millennial Star 44:87; quotation from Kenneth W. Godfrey, "A New Prophet and a New Scripture: The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon," Ensign, January 1988, p.6)

In an apparent reference to at least one of Joseph Smith’s seer stones, the Book of Mormon makes reference to “a stone” as distinct from the Nephite interpreters:

23 And the Lord said: I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, that I may discover unto my people who serve me, that I may discover unto them the works of their brethren, yea, their secret works, their works of darkness, and their wickedness and abominations.
24 And now, my son, these interpreters were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake, saying:
25 I will bring forth out of darkness unto light all their secret works and their abominations; and except they repent I will destroy them from off the face of the earth; and I will bring to light all their secrets and abominations, unto every nation that shall hereafter possess the land. (Alma 37:23-25)

Gazelem is a name given to a servant of God, generally thought to be Joseph Smith. The word appears to have its roots in gaz – a stone, and aleim, a name of God as a revelator, or the interposer in the affairs of men. If this suggestion is correct, its roots admirably agree with its apparent meaning – a seer.

Notice that Alma speaks of a singular “stone” as separate and distinct from the plural Nephite “interpreters,” both of which are to be used for basically the same purpose. The stone, however, was to “shine forth in darkness unto light,” possibly referring to its usage in a hat as was Joseph Smith’s revelatory practice.

While it is not certain how much of the Book of Mormon was eventually translated using the seer stones, it is evident that their usage was typical.

[NOTE: For more information on the Prophet’s seer stones, see Joseph Smith/Seer Stones found in the FAIR Wiki.]

42 comments:

J. Stapley said...

I like Mark Ashurst-McGee's MA Thesis. It clears up a lot of the mistaken historiography surrounding the seer stones.

Evgenii said...

Jer, just a few things. Do you have a citation for the Wilford Woodruff and temple dedication in Manti? It's a well-known story but I am just curious where it came from.

I essentially agree with Bushman's take on JS's use of seer stones and dabblings in the occult in the 1820's which is that it was a preparatory time to use the stones so that when the time to translate came he would have had some experience. It also provides easy fodder for critics because it does look suspicious that a treasure digger claims a book of gold that he is translating that only three close associates can see. I am not saying I agree with the critique, but can certainly understand how it's not difficult to reach that conclusion, especially if one doesn't read the text to obtain a personal testimony.

Lastly, do we know how much leaders have talked about the use of stones prior to 1993? I am assuming it was well known in the 1800's but what about in the 1920's or 1950's? Were leaders slowly responding to critics claims about this, or was there a long history of support behind this theory. I think what gets the average member is when they see the pictures of him reading the plates or when they read standard ciriculum and it's not mentioned. Hence the shock.

Here is an interesting site with a claimed picture of one of JS's seer stones.

http://www.rickgrunder.com/HistoricalArchive/belchersmithdibble.htm

Jeremy said...

I don't have the Wilford Woodruff citation here at work. I pulled the information from "Rough Stone Rolling," around pgs 50-58.

As for other recent commentary on the seer stones, I was unable to find anything else in the 20th century, but there is likely more cited in Mark Ashurst-McGee's MA Thesis that I cited, and J. Stapely recommended.

I agree about the "shock" value of this. What is even more shocking is that several reports indicate that the plates were often over on a table, covered up, and Joseph simply used the seer stone in a hat to dictate the translation. Most understand that he translated "by the power of God," but most would also assume that he would actually use the plates as a guide, right?

Would you teach this translation process in a GD or EQ class?

I've seen that site before. I would have used a simliar pic if it weren't for that pesky copyright symbol....

Anonymous said...

When you state, "Interestingly enough, using a seer stone in this seemingly odd manner was nothing out of the ordinary for Joseph Smith and practically everyone else at this time," you are claiming it's "normal" to use/believe in seer stones. It is normal for a necromancer to use seer stones, and Joseph Smith's use of his seer stones to find objects, such as the needle in the haystack for Martin Harris, is not of God, but rather occult magic. Instead of accepting occult magic as normal, why not place seer stones in the same bucket as the Jupiter Talisman, which is occult magic, then look up Deuteronomy 18:10 - 12

18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.
18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer
18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee

Was Joseph Smith being guided by God when he was arrest for using his seer stones and stove-pipe hat to find buried treasure? The answer is no, and that's why he was denied entrance into the methodist church in 1828 for being a practicing necromancer.

Jeremy said...

Anon, thanks for your input. I'll try to respond here to your comments. First, Joseph Smith's actions did not constitute necromancy, but scrying. Scrying was a very well-known practice during this time period, even by those considered "religious."

Did Joseph Smith and his contemporaries believe in supernatural entities with real power? Yes—and so does every Christian, Jew, or Muslim who believes in God, angels, and divine power to reveal, heal, etc. However, to label these beliefs as "occult magic" is to beg the question—to argue that Joseph believed in and sought help from powers besides God.

Nobody disputes that Joseph and his family believed in the Bible (e.g., your Deuteronomy reference), which condemns divination and witchcraft. Therefore, Joseph and his family viewed folk magic and the use of seer stones as not falling under this Biblical condemnation.

It is also clear that Joseph and his contemporaries believed that one could gain knowledge from such activities as dowsing (using a rod to find water, ore, or buried treasure) and the use of the seer stones. This does not mean, however, that Joseph understood such activities to be a form of magic.

In fact, these practices were seen as simply a manifestation of natural law. Just as one might use a compass or lode-stone to find true north, without understanding the principles or mathematics of magnetism which underlay it, so one could use dowsing as a tool, without understanding the principles by which it operated.

Most importantly, the Book of Mormon's treatment of "magic," the "occult," or "sorcery" is always negative, which seems strange if (as we are asked to believe by critics such as yourself) Joseph Smith concocted its story while at the same time embracing that same "occult magic."

Anonymous said...

To you claim "scrying" isn't occult, and it is. Joseph Smith, when he re-wrote the bible to add himself into it, used "choice seer" to describe himself. The entire Book of Mormon was translated using seer stones, and the lost 116 pages were translated using the Nephite glasses... at least part of the lost 116 pages, but not a single word in the currrent Book of Mormon was translated with anything but Joseph Smith seer stones.

Joseph Smith, in 1828 was denied entry into the methodist church for being a practicing necromancer," and he learned it from Sally Chase and his father.

When you claim everyone believed in magic, I assure you that is not true. Just like everyone doesn't believe in magic today, there are some people that go to fortune tellers and use Ouja boards, but not everyone does. Back in the early 1800's, people who didn't believe in occult magic were still Christians... Joseph Smith's entire family was into ocult magic and that's a fact. Why would God choose a necromancer?

If you want to know the truth, seek it here: http://www.janishutchinson.com/joeoccult.html

Jeremy said...

Anon, the website you referenced is a common ploy of anti-Mormon or disgruntled members of the Church. Sadly, I don't think it helps your point of view, but is seemingly detrimental.

After only a brief overview of the site I note that several of the accounts detailed therein are based in only a small portion of truth, while the remainder is chok full of conclusory material. In fact, I spotted numerous outright lies, entirely without scholarly support.

Where are the scholarly citations? The Tanners, who the article actually quotes, at least had the moral fortitude to provide scholarly citation (even if it was consistently one-sided and regularly taken out of context).

How can you be certain that what Janice Hutchinson has to say is "the truth," as you assert, if she doesn't provide any citation? If you want me or others to learn "the truth" show me where a credible scholar has debated these issues, and not just reached a conclusion based on bias.

Joseph Smith's history has been documented and re-documented myriad times by hack-historians with an axe to grind. Basing your opinion of Joseph Smith on unfounded history is akin to citing Wikipedia as fact.

While I don't consider myself an expert in religious history, it doesn't take an expert to discount unsupported material as conslusory and self-serving. I can assure you that there are thousands of articles/books out there written by credible scholars that will address each of your concerns. I fear, however, that you have simply formed your adverse opinion and therefore cannot see past your unsupported views.

Nate said...

Anon,

That reference merely has conclusory statements and conjecture. I was particularly amused by the following:

To purposely disguise any Masonic connection to his new religion, Smith used clangs--word-inventions intended to mask words.

For example, according to the Tanners, it is believed he incorporated “the first three letters of Moriah (M-O-Riah) . . . and the last three letters of Solomon (SoloM-O-N)”, to come up with Mor-mon, which is both the name of his sacred book and the name of its main character.

-it is so dumb, it doesn't merit a response, but here you go: If you take that last three letters of my name you get 'ate' which of course means that my parents stole that part from the past tense form of the verb eat. My parents also liked nachos. Therefore, N_ATE must be because they ate nachos.

I'm sure that we can only agree to disagree. But be careful of the standards you require of Joseph Smith because other prophets will also fall short. Moses had a rod in which he performed "magic", he talked with bushes, brought water from a stone, etc.

In fact, using the Moses analogy you could also look at his life just prior to being a prophet and see all sorts of practiced witchcraft and other questionable actions due to his Egyptian upbringing.

Any church has an imperfect mortal man involved. You cannot disprove a church's teachings by saying that its leader is imperfect. More importantly, you will not find happiness in life attempting to do such. I hope you can find a better way to build on your life that doesn't involve tearing at other's.

I don't believe in the BofM because of the life of Joseph Smith; rather I do because I have pondered it and prayed about its teachings. I have noticed how my life is clearer, how I have prayers answered, and how I feel closer to God when I abide by its precepts.

I hope you obtain similar feelings in your life however you worship.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see exact;y what Jeremy claims is outright lies, as
I belive Jremy is wrong.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see exact;y what Jeremy claims is outright lies, as
I belive Jremy is wrong.

Nate said...

Anon,

You can't prove that an unsubstantiated comment is a lie unless you know every detail about everything that has to do with the subject (which is impossible). You can, however, prove that something is true...but your article does very little of that.

It would be easy for me to say: According to John T. Wagner, Joseph Smith stated that he looked into his left boot and saw where indian treasure was buried.

But clearly that doesn't mean anything without some form of evidence of who John T Wagner is and/or how this account was recorded. Without such evidence, the statements are merely bald assertions. Moreover, even if John T. Wagner exists, would you believe the account if it were written in a of his neighbor's daughter who heard it 3rd hand...and happened to hate Mormons?

I know it seems like a silly scenario, but you'd be surprised how much of that we see.

I've even tried to find credible references for some of the assertions of the article--I've mostly found that the assertions are repeated in numerous places without citations to a real historical reference.

I looked at one journal and its account was published at least 56 years after the discussed event happened (life expectancy back then was around 55 years) and 35 years after Joseph Smith's death (with no explanation of how the original account was obtained. It also contained many 3-4th hand accounts on other subjects (and clearly had an ax to grind).

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if Jeremy has read more than one of these assertions, seen the historical support, and seen the other historical support that disproves that assertions.

My question to you is: Why do you dislike Mormons or Mormonism? Many people have reasons that are unrelated to the actual subjects we are discussing (e.g. many gay people simply are angry with Mormons, many ministries don't like us because we threaten their livelihood).

If it were out of concern for us...clearly there are other groups out there that have more egregious teachings and do more damage to the world, why not focus on them?

I really do sincerely wonder. What is your motivation to hate Joseph Smith? If you didn't already have your mind made up, you would see the logical fallacies of the website you cited and would take most of the information with a grain of salt because of the clear gaps in logic.

I always find it interesting when people wont believe anything they read...unless they want to, and then they don't question the source.

I try not to do this. In fact, I am open to the idea that some of the statements on that site are true (many of the masonic parallels are accurate--but that doesn't mean anything for many reasons but this post is already too long).

Anonymous said...

From FairMormon on Joseph Smith's money digging:

Response
Was not Joseph Smith a money digger?
Yes, but it was never a very profitable job for him, as he only got fourteen dollars a month for it.
—Joseph's tongue-in-cheek response to one of a list of questions that were asked of him during a visit at Elder Cahoon's home. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 120; History of the Church 3:29; Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 271)

In the above, Fair admits Joseph Smith was paid to use his seer stones to find buried treasure. Joseph Smith found his brown stone, using the green stone of a known necromancer named Sally Chase.

Conclusion based on fact: Necromancers use seer stones, and Joseph Smith even calls himself a "choice seer" in the JDT Genesis 50:33. A "seer" is a necromancer, and that's what Jospeh Smith was before the Book of Mormon.

Nate said...

I applaud you for going to a source that will back itself up with evidence. But again, you read only what you want to believe and ignored everything else. That is simply intellectually dishonest.

"a seer is a necromancer"

That is an example of a conclusory statement with no factual basis.

As I said before, be careful what standards you hold JS to, by your standards many parts/people of the bible would be invalid too.

see e.g. KJV: 1st Sam chapter 9 verses 9-18 (Samuel was a seer);

2nd Sam chapter 24 verse 11 (Gad was a seer)

--there are many more.

I'm sure we can go back and forth about this for a long time, but the question is why do it?

Anonymous said...

Typical Mormon two-wrogs-make-a-right response. If Joseph Smith is a necromancer, lst's thrwo the bible under the bus to cover for him. When you say, "As I said before, be careful what standards you hold JS to, by your standards many parts/people of the bible would be invalid too, " you are clearly in denail of the facts.

Fact; JosephSmith found his brown stone using the green stone of Sally Chase.
Fact: Joseph Smith was arrested for chaeting people out of money and was hired for $14 to find buried treasure using the same browm magic rock... all before the Book of Mormon was written.
Fact: Joseph Smith calls himself a "choice seer" in the JST.
Fact: Joseph Smith was a hired necromancer, and to buy into Mormonism, you have to assume God followed Joseph Smith's lead with the magic rock he found using Sally Chase's magic rock.

You are a teacher to itching ears, and have no other route but to draw parallel you believe exist to discount the truth.

Nate said...

"Typical Mormon two-wrogs-make-a-right response."

-No, I'm calling out two rights. The Bible had seers, so do we. I'm not throwing out the Bible...I'm simply saying that by your seer=necromancer standard, logically you must.

"Fact: Joseph Smith found his brown stone using the green stone of Sally Chase."

-I never said that was wrong. I've seen contemporaneous accounts that do not know that is the certain explanation, but rather a possible one. I know he was on the Chase property.

"Fact: Joseph Smith was arrested for chaeting people out of money and was hired for $14 to find buried treasure using the same browm magic rock... all before the Book of Mormon was written."

-JS was arrested for an unspecified charge and was officially acquitted, although skeptics will argue based on what a court reporter said or other rumors.

He was a hired treasure hunter, as were many people in those days. He used the stone (to no avail) in those days. Read the whole article: http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Money_digging

And as you point out, this was before the BoM. Let's assume for a minute that JS was a horrible person who practiced magic. Could this have ever changed? Could he have repented? Could God use someone who was a bad person at one point in life? My point is that even if I were to assume everything you say was true, logically, that does not necessarily prove your point either.

"Fact: Joseph Smith calls himself a "choice seer" in the JST."

True. Does that really prove anything? As shown above, seer does not equal necromancer. If I were a seer, I'd call myself one too (if it were okay with God of course). I imagine that if I was a "choice seer" I'd do the same. You cannot deny that if JS was a seer and I'm right about all of this, the word "choice" is appropriate given the impact JS has had on the world.

"Fact: Joseph Smith was a hired necromancer, and to buy into Mormonism, you have to assume God followed Joseph Smith's lead with the magic rock he found using Sally Chase's magic rock. "

That simply does not logically follow from the above statements.

First, when was he talking to spirits other than heavenly messengers? (and don't give me the dead Spaniard line, there is plenty of evidence against that story). You may disagree that he saw heavenly messengers, but I assume you'd agree that if someone spoke to a heavenly messenger, that is not necromancy.

Second, I'd have to assume God followed his lead? I don't assume that, and one wouldn't have to. But what if He did? Could God use a technique/symbol that is known in the times and would be easily understood/used in order to teach a prophet? Of course he could...and he has before. For example, look at the similarities between the ark of the covenant and the Egyptian goddess Hathor's ark.

I will not respond again until you answer these:

What is your motivation to have this conversation?

I assume the real reason is because you hate at least some Mormons and you've misdirected your emotions to hating Mormonism in general. I also assume you would not admit it if this were the case.

Does it make you happy or bring out any positive feelings whatsoever? If not, it isn't worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

When you say, “JS was arrested for an unspecified charge and was officially acquitted, although skeptics will argue based on what a court reporter said or other rumors,” the point you fail to acknowledge is that Joseph Smith was hired to find buried treasure with his magic rock before the Book of Mormon… that’s what “necromancers” or “village seers” did for a living.

When you say, “-I never said that was wrong. I've seen contemporaneous accounts that do not know that is the certain explanation, but rather a possible one. I know he was on the Chase property,” you are just flat out in denial of the facts. This is from FairMormon:
http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Seer_stones

[quote] During his tenure as a "village seer," Joseph acquired several seer stones. Joseph first used a neighbor's seer stone (probably that belonging to Palmyra seer Sally Chase, on the balance of historical evidence, though there are other possibilities) to discover the location of a brown, baby's foot-shaped stone. The vision of this stone likely occurred in about 1819–1820, and he obtained his first seer stone in about 1821–1822.[2] [/quote]

Again, when you say,” He was a hired treasure hunter, as were many people in those days. He used the stone (to no avail) in those days. Read the whole article: http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Money_digging,” what you do in attempting to rationalize this, is to claim it was normal for people to use magic rocks to find buried treasure. Joseph Smith had a reputation as a village seer, or a necromancer. Just as you can go downtown in any major city and find a fortune teller to gaze into a crystal ball (), it doesn’t make the occult aspect of it disappear just because many people do, or whether or not they were successful.

This is a total rationailaztion…”And as you point out, this was before the BoM. Let's assume for a minute that JS was a horrible person who practiced magic. Could this have ever changed? Could he have repented? Could God use someone who was a bad person at one point in life? My point is that even if I were to assume everything you say was true, logically, that does not necessarily prove your point either.” Joseph Smith was a necromancer and a bad person. A bad person that would later go on to marry 14 and 15 year old girls and other men’s wives. At what point do you take all of Joseph Smith’s actions into consideration when you conclude that Joseph Smith’s magic rocks actually did have magic in them. Are you a magical thinker? Do you believe in magic rocks and occult objects like the Jupiter talisman like Joseph Smith?

“True. Does that really prove anything? As shown above, seer does not equal necromancer.” Someone who uses magic rocks to find buried treasure is a necromancer. By your logic, God followed Joseph Smith’s lead and chose the magic rock in hat trick to bring new doctrine… does that make sense? Does it then make sense that a papyrus stuffed into a mummy would be the next method God would choose? Are magic rocks and a pagan papyrus from the book of the Dead Christian? Are they Mormon?

Anonymous said...

“What is your motivation to have this conversation?” To discuss the truth. What is yours? Do you care about truth, or your agenda?

“I assume the real reason is because you hate at least some Mormons and you've misdirected your emotions to hating Mormonism in general. I also assume you would not admit it if this were the case.” Don’t play the pity card just yet and attempt to tell me who I do or don’t “hate.” I hate lies and untruth. Anything labeled “anti-Mormon” is done so to keep Mormons away from the truth. I suspect your agenda is to twist the truth into something it’s not, place focus on what could be and not what is. You don’t need to draw parallel lines and claim seers were in the bible. Necromancers worked in the early 1800’s and Joseph Smith was one of them. Joseph Smith also used a pagan papyrus to bring forth new doctrine. If you research it, the Greek Psalter and Kinderhook plates also expose Joseph Smith as a liar and a fraud. That is the truth and I assume it doesn’t bode well for what you are supposed to believe, but arguments from silence are meant to divert. This is about Joseph Smith’s seer stone… the brown one …the one he used to “translate” the book of Mormon, and it is a fact he used the exact same stone as a necromancer before the BofM. Again, do you believe in magical rocks? …magical rocks found using the green stone of Sally Chase?


“Does it make you happy or bring out any positive feelings whatsoever? If not, it isn't worthwhile.”
I suggest you read this. Are you a teacher to itching ears distorting the truth? Only you can answer that internally.
http://biblelight.net/false-prophets.htm
2 Pet 2:1 [NIV] But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2 Pet 2:2 [NIV] Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
2 Pet 2:3 [NIV] In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
2 Tim 4:2 [NIV] Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Jeremy said...

Anon, I debated on whether I should respond or not since we are clearly not going to convince each other of anything. I did, however, want to clear up a few misconceptions.

A seer is not necessarily a necromancer, as you assert. I trust that you believe in the Bible. Therefore, I believe Nate's citation of the KJV scriptures above should suffice. Most Old Testament prophets were also considered seers - and hardly necromancers, which as you aptly pointed out was strictly forbidden by the law of Moses.

Things that appear "occultic" to you today may not have been considered such in Joseph Smith's day. For example, it well documented that in Joseph Smith's day other Christian leaders were involved in practices which today's critics, not unlike yourself, would consider "occultic." However, most people of the 1800's didn't see any differences between what today we would readily label as "magic" and religiously-driven activities recorded in the Bible.

Take for example Joseph's silver cup in which 'he divineth' (see Genesis 44:2,5). Was Joseph of Egypt a hydromancer (someone who divines through a liquid medium)? Clearly not. But this same practice was concurerntly practiced by the surrounding pagans.

And how do you explain the rod of Aaron and its divinely-driven power (Exodus 7:9-12)? Or the Bible story of Jacob using rods to cause Laban's cattle to produce spotted, and speckled offspring (see Genesis 30:37-39). Would you consider those practices "occultic"?

In short, it's important to realize that EVERY statement about "magic" or the "occult" by LDS authors is a negative one. Joseph Smith and his contemporaries would have been shocked to be charged with practicing "magic." Instead, for them, such beliefs were simply how the world worked.

As I explained in a previous comment, someone might make use of a compass without understanding the principles of magnetism. However, this mysterious, but apparently effective, device was useful even if its underlying mechanism was not understood. Likewise, activities of the early 1800s or Biblical times, which later generations would view skeptically, were simply thought of as part of how the world worked.

Anonymous said...

“A seer is not necessarily a necromancer, as you assert. I trust that you believe in the Bible. Therefore, I believe Nate's citation of the KJV scriptures above should suffice. Most Old Testament prophets were also considered seers - and hardly necromancers, which as you aptly pointed out was strictly forbidden by the law of Moses. “
You again interject what you want to be true instead of looking at the facts. You again draw the parallel lines you need to in order to absolve Joseph Smith’s actual occult actions. Joseph Smith wasn’t some innocent farm boy as the Mormon legend has been concocted. Joseph Smith was a practicing necromancer just as Sally Chase (his neighbor) and his father was. Is Sally Chase a necromancer? The answer is yes, just like Joseph Smith was, using the green stone of Sally Chase to find his magical brown occult stone which he was hired to use to find buried treasure.

“Things that appear "occultic" to you today may not have been considered such in Joseph Smith's day.”
And again we have a rationalization attempting to define what was “normal” in Joseph Smith’s day. We have occult believers today and people that make their living using the occult… today, just like in Joseph Smith’s day. We have Christians now, just like there were Christians in the early 1800’s who had nothing to do with occult magic.

This is an obvious diversion away from what we’re talking about, in an attempt to make it what you need it to be, you say, “Take for example Joseph's silver cup in which 'he divineth'.” Why not take for example Joseph Smith Jupiter talisman? You know, the occult object he prized so greatly? Necromancers believe in magic… occult magic.

“And how do you explain the rod of Aaron and its divinely-driven power “ Is this where you attempt to draw further parallel lines to absolve Joseph Smith and his father from using divining rods? Why not just look at Deuteronomy 18:10-12 for an answer …a direct answer that doesn’t require triangulated logic and mass rationalization to understand and accept as “normal”?

“In short, it's important to realize that EVERY statement about "magic" or the "occult" by LDS authors is a negative one. “ I agree with this statement, because it's true. The use of occult objects are only done so by people who believe in occult magic. A lucky rabbit’s foot is occult if the person actually believes it brings magic. Joseph Smith believed in his magic rocks. Joseph Smith tried to sell the Book of Mormon for $3000 and failed (look up Gold bible business). If you can’t see this con playing out I understand why, because you need it to maintain your lifestyle, but attempting to twist the truth into something you need it to be is wrong. Joseph Smith was a necromancer no matter how hard you try and paint a different picture.


When you say, “Likewise, activities of the early 1800s or Biblical times, which later generations would view skeptically, were simply thought of as part of how the world worked. “ You forgot to explain that the world worked this way for people who were into the occult magic… not Christians. Just like today, there are many who believe in occult magic... that doesn't make it "normal" to Christians.

Nate said...

Anon,

Your arguments are intellectually dishonest. In many places you assume your conclusions in your "fact" statements.

You've brought up ten different things, I'll answer a few because I'm short on time.

"do you believe in magic rocks" (your statement presumes magic/occult). If God wanted to talk to you, and he used a rock, would that be magic? If so, yes I believe in magic rocks. I believe in magical staffs, magical burning bushes, etc. Would you prefer that He used a Webcam? If he did, would that be magic?

As I said before, your conclusions do not follow from your facts. Even if I assume your basis is true.

When Pharaoh's priests turned rods into snakes, I assume you'd agree that it was occult magic. But when Moses did it, what is that? From a physics perspective the same transformation took place.

The same explanation can be used for how Sally Chase did something and how Joseph did something (fyi-I've never responded to your constant rantings about Sally Chase because it doesn't mean anything).

"If you can’t see this con playing out I understand why, because you need it to maintain your lifestyle"

Classic...because living the Mormon lifestyle is so easy. I'd love for it all to be a con...I could go have a beer tonight, but I know better. The truth has been testified to me by the spirit. The scripture you quoted earlier can equally be applied to you.

I'm waiting to hear about the mountain meadows massacre. It is the only thing you have forgotten to bring into the conversation.

When it comes down to it, any accusation/explanation you give to me regarding magic can have a explanation in response which shows precedent for God using such devices. In other words, even if I assumed your facts (not conclusions) are true, it does not necessarily follow that JS was a fraud.

My first comment said it best:

Any church has an imperfect mortal man involved. You cannot disprove a church's teachings by saying that its leader is imperfect. More importantly, you will not find happiness in life attempting to do such. I hope you can find a better way to build on your life that doesn't involve tearing at other's.

I don't believe in the BofM because of the life of Joseph Smith; rather I do because I have pondered it and prayed about its teachings. I have noticed how my life is clearer, how I have prayers answered, and how I feel closer to God when I abide by its precepts.

I hope you obtain similar feelings in your life however you worship

Anonymous said...

“Your arguments are intellectually dishonest. In many places you assume your conclusions in your "fact" statements. “

Thanks for being so direct in your response. I see why you think I’m being emotionally dishonest… it’s because I don’t agree with your null hypothesis. Your null hypothesis is that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; my null hypothesis is that Joseph Smith was a necromancer. So, in order to weigh which is the real null hypothesis, or carries the highest degree of probability of being correct, the evidence must be weighed. I’m asking for you to set aside the bible for one response; we don’t need to compare anything when we look straight on into the facts. The correct null hypothesis must be derived by what is, and not what isn’t. It doesn’t need to be compared to anything else. I’m talking about seer stones and Sally Chase. So let me ask you one question… just one. Was Sally Chase a necromancer? I don’t need a rewording of the question, it’s either yes or no. Thanks.


"do you believe in magic rocks" (your statement presumes magic/occult). If God wanted to talk to you, and he used a rock, would that be magic? If so, yes I believe in magic rocks. I believe in magical staffs, magical burning bushes, etc. Would you prefer that He used a Webcam? If he did, would that be magic?”

Again with all the parallels. Why go down this path. This is about seer stones… Joseph Smith’s brown seer stone to be exact. Where did it comes from and how was it used? Is it the pivotal instrument in placing belief in the Book of Mormon, because that’s where the Book of Mormon came from… from this exact brown stone the Mormon church has locked up in its vaults:

From FairMormon: http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Seer_stones
[quote]
Has the Church tried to hide Joseph's use of a seer stone?
The Church has been very frank about the seer stone's use, though the product of the translation of the Book of Mormon is usually given much more attention that the process.
Text translated with the Nephite interpreters was lost with the 116 pages given to Martin Harris—see D&C 3:. The Church's Historical Record records Joseph's use of the seer stone to translate all of our current Book of Mormon text: [/quote]
[quote]

Anonymous said...

http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Seer_stones
[quote]
Why did Joseph tend to use the seer stone more than the Nephite interpreters?
The size of the interpreters may have been a significant barrier to their use. William Smith, Joseph's brother, described the Nephite instruments as
too large for Joseph's eyes; they must have been used by larger men.[30]
[/quote]

It’s here where fair admits the book of Mormon was “translated” using Joseph Smith’s seer stones and an “old white hat.”

Regarding where the magic rocks are (From FairMormon)… http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Seer_stones
[quote]
...Joseph Fielding Smith, as an apostle, made clear that "the Seer Stone which was in the possession of the Prophet Joseph Smith in early days . . . is now in the possession of the Church." Elder Joseph Anderson, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve and long-time secretary to the First Presidency, clarified in 1971 that the "Seer Stone that Joseph Smith used in the early days of the Church is in possession of the Church and is kept in a safe in Joseph Fielding Smith's office.... [The stone is] slightly smaller than a chicken egg, oval, chocolate in color."[36] (This would be Joseph's first, "shoe-shaped stone," which was given to Oliver Cowdery, and then to his brother-in-law Phineaus Young, brother of Brigham Young.[37])
Joseph's second (white) stone is also in the possession of the LDS First Presidency.[38]
[/quote]

“As I said before, your conclusions do not follow from your facts. Even if I assume your basis is true.” To make this statement, you must provide counter fact to the ones I presented, or the claim is factually false. Please link some reference and exactly what you deem is not factual, because all I’ve quoted from is FairMormon.com for source material.

Anonymous said...

“When Pharaoh's priests turned rods into snakes, I assume you'd agree that it was occult magic. But when Moses did it, what is that? From a physics perspective the same transformation took place. “ If we were talking about rods into snakes it would be relevant, but we aren’t, we’re talking about seer stones and Joseph Smith’s sue of seer stones… not something else. Let’s just focus on seer stone and Joseph Smith fact to find the correct null hypothesis, as surly one of us is wrong. When it comes to seer stones, all I want to know is one question: Was Sally Chase a necromancer?

“The same explanation can be used for how Sally Chase did something and how Joseph did something (fyi-I've never responded to your constant rantings about Sally Chase because it doesn't mean anything).” It means everything and you can’t admit it. If you answer the question asked, it would mean a lot to me and help me understand your logic… what if you’re right? Can you present me with some reference material I can study… like I’ve done?

“Classic...because living the Mormon lifestyle is so easy. I'd love for it all to be a con...I could go have a beer tonight, but I know better. The truth has been testified to me by the spirit. The scripture you quoted earlier can equally be applied to you.” Then you won’t mind answering one question. The answer doesn’t require prayer to answer… it’s based on the historical record of seer stones.

“I'm waiting to hear about the mountain meadows massacre. It is the only thing you have forgotten to bring into the conversation.”
Did I say anything about the MMM? The answer – no. This would seem a diversionary tactic in order to divert attention away from the subject matter and place it elsewhere. The angst seeping through is really unnecessary… you aren’t a bad person and neither am I. Can we stop the diversion and anger?

Anonymous said...

“When it comes down to it, any accusation/explanation you give to me regarding magic can have a explanation in response which shows precedent for God using such devices. In other words, even if I assumed your facts (not conclusions) are true, it does not necessarily follow that JS was a fraud.” Ok, so you believe in magic rocks… now I understand your position. Thank you.


“My first comment said it best:

Any church has an imperfect mortal man involved. You cannot disprove a church's teachings by saying that its leader is imperfect. More importantly, you will not find happiness in life attempting to do such. I hope you can find a better way to build on your life that doesn't involve tearing at other's.” Well, no one is perfect. Being “perfect” is a diversionary tactic in order to absolve Joseph Smith of sin and downplay it. Joseph Smith married many women, young girls as young as 14 when he was in his 30’s, other men’s wives, etc., and when you add that type of proven behavior, after to come to grips with polygamy being “normal,” you have to then deal with polyandry… Joseph Smith married other men’s wives. Is that of God? The answer, in my opinion is a resounding “NO!” …it’s not right. Don’t judge Joseph Smith or anyone by just how much they sinned or what those sins were… no one is perfect. This opinion regarding Joseph Smith’s character should be shelved for now. Focus on the seer stones. What are the facts when all focus is placed on the seer stones.

“I don't believe in the BofM because of the life of Joseph Smith; rather I do because I have pondered it and prayed about its teachings. I have noticed how my life is clearer, how I have prayers answered, and how I feel closer to God when I abide by its precepts.” OK… that sounds nice. If Mormonism is where you find truth, that’s one thing. If it’s where you find happiness, that’s another. If it works for you ok, but it doesn’t detract away from the facts regarding the seer stones specifically.

“I hope you obtain similar feelings in your life however you worship”. OK thanks you too... I hope you find truth. Can you please just answer my one question… Was Sally Chase a necromancer? Yes or No? Was she a holy person being guided by God?

Nate said...

Please don't mistake my sarcasm for angst...sarcasm doesn't come across well in written word.

As far as diversionary, you brought in the gold bible business, now the wives, etc. That is why I went to MMM. It seems like what you are doing.

"Ok, so you believe in magic rocks… now I understand your position. Thank you."

I all but admitted that, is this something you were trying to prove? My statement was clear: If God wanted to talk to you, and he used a rock, would that be magic? If so, yes I believe in magic rocks.

(the intellectual dishonesty comes in because your question presumes the brown stone was "magic" --that is called begging the question-- whereas I simply believe that God can and did choose to manifest His power through a stone)

"Was Sally Chase a necromancer?" This is my answer: It doesn't matter. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn't. I don't know Sally Chase, from what I've read it seems like she wasn't viewed like that contemporaneously, but in hindsight you can paint that picture (and yes that does make a difference--you would regard a person who currently owns slaves as bad, but yet you wouldn't necessarily look at our founding fathers like that).

Furthermore, logically you could have one person that asserted they were seer, used stones, etc., and was practicing necromancy; and have another person doing the exact same thing and not be practicing necromancy. (e.g.priests/Moses)

So I could say that yes she was a necromancer, and it wouldn't change my position. In reality, I'm not sure what she was (I do doubt that she was guided by God).

You ignore the biblical parallels because they harm your position, not because they are untrue. This is what referred to as intellectually dishonest. If you held biblical prophets by the same standards as JS, many would be evil necromancers or some other similar mode of evil. We have given many examples where this is the case. I will not argue based on your double standard.

You say the issue is the brown stone; I say the issue is how God talks to his servants. He most certainly can use a brown stone. Further, it would not surprise me if the brown stone selectively worked based on JS's faithfulness (I will spare you the biblical parallels here, but there are many instances where power is given/taken in this manner).

Also, I don't dispute your citations of FAIR. I'm simply stating, and have shown, that your conclusions do not necessarily follow your assertions. I.e. magic brown stone + proximity to sally chase does not = necromancer

In the end, you can give me volumes of information indicating that JS was a criminal/occultist/sexual predator/etc. I could give you volumes of information which shows he had an outstanding character. This would indicate that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

I think it best to use Christ's logic and judge him based on the fruits of his labor. When I go to church on the whole I see great people who serve faithfully, they are active in their community, try to live correctly, and try to raise good families. And I've already told you what I see in the BoM which is his primary fruit.

I also hope you find the truth. It is unfortunate that we can't both be right (barring some circumstance where JS was what you assert, but then be came what I assert...which is doubtful).

Anonymous said...

“I all but admitted that, is this something you were trying to prove? My statement was clear: If God wanted to talk to you, and he used a rock, would that be magic? If so, yes I believe in magic rocks.”
Ok.

“(the intellectual dishonesty comes in because your question presumes the brown stone was "magic" --that is called begging the question-- whereas I simply believe that God can and did choose to manifest His power through a stone)”
I’m quoting FairMormon specifically on the claim the brown stone is the object Joseph Smith use to translate the Book of Mormon. If you disagree, then please post something to the contrary to back up the claim, because I believe you are wrong, and Joseph Smith used the brown chocolate colored stone to translate the Book of Mormon, and that is a fact.

‘"Was Sally Chase a necromancer?" This is my answer: It doesn't matter.
It does matter. Please answer this one quedtion: Was Sally Chase and her green stone, as she was known as the village seer along with Joseph Smith, a necromancer. Was Sally Chase a good person, or a necromancer? (insert answer here…it matters a lot)

“Maybe she was, maybe she wasn't. I don't know Sally Chase, from what I've read it seems like she wasn't viewed like that contemporaneously, but in hindsight you can paint that picture (and yes that does make a difference--you would regard a person who currently owns slaves as bad, but yet you wouldn't necessarily look at our founding fathers like that).”

This isn’t an answer. It doesn’t require prayer to answer. It’s either true or it is not true. Which one is it?

Anonymous said...

“Furthermore, logically you could have one person that asserted they were seer, used stones, etc., and was practicing necromancy; and have another person doing the exact same thing and not be practicing necromancy. (e.g.priests/Moses)”

This doesn’t make sense. Necromancers use seer stones… magic brown seer stones… like the one Joseph Smith found by using Sally Chase’s green seer stone.

“So I could say that yes she was a necromancer, and it wouldn't change my position. In reality, I'm not sure what she was (I do doubt that she was guided by God).”

That’s your choice. Ok.

“You ignore the biblical parallels because they harm your position, not because they are untrue. This is what referred to as intellectually dishonest. If you held biblical prophets by the same standards as JS, many would be evil necromancers or some other similar mode of evil. We have given many examples where this is the case. I will not argue based on your double standard.”

No I don’t. This site is about seer stones and how they were used. What we know for a fact is that Joseph Smith found a seer stone using the green stone of Sally Chase, and used it to translate the Book of Mormon. Those are the facts, and if you disagree please present some counter data, as all I am quoting from for source material is FairMormon. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

“You say the issue is the brown stone; I say the issue is how God talks to his servants. He most certainly can use a brown stone. Further, it would not surprise me if the brown stone selectively worked based on JS's faithfulness (I will spare you the biblical parallels here, but there are many instances where power is given/taken in this manner).”

Power isn’t given to get paid $14 to find buried treasure. Would you agree? Was Joseph Smith being given “power” from God to find the buried treasure? Was he given “power” from God to find the needle in the haystack?

“Also, I don't dispute your citations of FAIR. I'm simply stating, and have shown, that your conclusions do not necessarily follow your assertions. I.e. magic brown stone + proximity to sally chase does not = necromancer”

I have been very specific. To make this claim, I need to know what it is you’re specifically talking about. Please be specific in what you find fault with and post s ome source data. Thanks.

“In the end, you can give me volumes of information indicating that JS was a criminal/occultist/sexual predator/etc. I could give you volumes of information which shows he had an outstanding character. This would indicate that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. “
If you find truth as Joseph Smith being a prophet of God, it should bolster your faith. It’s all about where you find the truth… not what works for whatever reason …but the truth …the absolute truth.

Anonymous said...

“I think it best to use Christ's logic and judge him based on the fruits of his labor. When I go to church on the whole I see great people who serve faithfully, they are active in their community, try to live correctly, and try to raise good families. And I've already told you what I see in the BoM which is his primary fruit.”

Ok… Mormons do good things… this doesn’t have anything to do with seer stones though ..which is what we’re talking about. Christians don't believe in seer stones... only Mormons believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and this isn't trivial in actually believing Mormonism is the truth.

‘I also hope you find the truth. It is unfortunate that we can't both be right (barring some circumstance where JS was what you assert, but then be came what I assert...which is doubtful).”

Well. I have posted data to back up the opinion I am right, because I am. I am being prepared “Season in and season out” and asking questions. When you stand before God, there will be no middle ground.. what you believed was true, or it was not true …that’s my opinion.

Nate said...

Anon, I appreciate your time and have enjoyed our conversation.

I have answered all of the questions you have asked, but yet you ask them again. See my previous answers re Sally Chase, stones, etc.

I don't dispute your facts that happen to be actual facts. I have already told you this. What I have shown is that even if JS used the brown stone how we don't dispute he used it, and he knew some lady that was a necromancer and attempted similar things with stones, that doesn't mean JS is a necromancer.

I think this exchange sums up our conversation:
Logical statment:
“Furthermore, logically you could have one person that asserted they were seer, used stones, etc., and was practicing necromancy; and have another person doing the exact same thing and not be practicing necromancy. (e.g.priests/Moses)”

Statement purporting to be fact that assumes a conclusion:
This doesn’t make sense. Necromancers use seer stones… magic brown seer stones… like the one Joseph Smith found by using Sally Chase’s green seer stone.

I'll follow up with another logical statement:
Let's use your logic: Pharaohs occult priests use wood rods... magic brown wood rods... like the one Moses had and used; Therefore Moses was an occult priest.

You say we are talking about stones only because this is an inconvenient parallel. The "brown magic stone" was a tool that God used to assist JS just like the brown magic stick helped Moses. The analogy is solid. If you think your logic on the stones, alone, conclusively proves JS a fraud...the same logic proves other prophets are frauds.

And last, you now have become an authority on what Christians can and can't believe:

"Christians don't believe in seer stones"

--I hate to point it out, but yet again you made a conclusory statement and pass it as indisputable fact.

Why would it be okay for God to communicate through other various means (bush, silver cup, etc) but not stones?

I think we can agree that God can do whatever he wants. Even if Christians didn't believe in seer stones, they would if God told them to.

I'm going to be out for a while, and will not be able to respond. I have enjoyed our discussion.

Anonymous said...

“Anon, I appreciate your time and have enjoyed our conversation. “
I have enjoyed this conversation too.

“I have answered all of the questions you have asked, but yet you ask them again. See my previous answers re Sally Chase, stones, etc.”
Well… you replied, but regarding the green stone of Sally Chase it has paramount importance, which is why I keep asking for the definition of who Sally Chase was. Sally Chase was a necromancer as she and Joseph Smith were known as “village seers” by their trade. They (both) had reputations based on their skill at using seer stones, and since Joseph Smith found the brown stone using the green stone of Sally Chase, and Joseph Smith then used the brown seer stone to translate the Book of Mormon, the significance of whether or not Sally Chase was a necromancer is crucial in defining Joseph Smith’s role as a seer before the Book of Mormon was written.

“I don't dispute your facts that happen to be actual facts. I have already told you this. What I have shown is that even if JS used the brown stone how we don't dispute he used it, and he knew some lady that was a necromancer and attempted similar things with stones, that doesn't mean JS is a necromancer.”
I disagree. Joseph Smith did use the brown stone he found using Sally Chase’s green stone. How does one get a reputation for finding things with seer stones if they aren’t a necromancer? This isn’t semantics on what constitutes a necromancer by definition:
This from Wikipedia (note finding items):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necromancy
[quote]
Medieval practitioners believed they could accomplish three things with necromancy: will manipulation, illusions, and knowledge. Will manipulation affects the mind and will of another person, animal, or spirit. Demons are summoned to cause various afflictions on others “to drive them mad, to inflame them to love or hatred, to gain their favor, or to constrain them to do or not do some deed.”[12] Illusions involve reanimation of the dead, food and entertainment, or conjuring a mode of transportation. Knowledge is discovered through demons. Demons provide information on various things including identifying a criminal, finding items, or revealing future events. [/quote]

Anonymous said...

“I think this exchange sums up our conversation:
Logical statment:
“Furthermore, logically you could have one person that asserted they were seer, used stones, etc., and was practicing necromancy; and have another person doing the exact same thing and not be practicing necromancy. (e.g.priests/Moses)”
Again I disagree. The use of spirits, more specifically bleeding ghosts and the Mormon belief that dead people can be baptized deals with the dead, but that’s another discussion… sort of. The use of magic rocks to find objects is what a necromancer does, and Sally Chase was a necromancer.

“Statement purporting to be fact that assumes a conclusion:
This doesn’t make sense. Necromancers use seer stones… magic brown seer stones… like the one Joseph Smith found by using Sally Chase’s green seer stone. “
See the definition from Wikipedia about. People who use crystal balls are necromancers. People who find things using magic rocks are dealing in the occult and are also necromancers. The Jupiter talisman owned by Joseph Smith is another indicator of Joseph Smith’s belief in the occult.

“I'll follow up with another logical statement:
Let's use your logic: Pharaohs occult priests use wood rods... magic brown wood rods... like the one Moses had and used; Therefore Moses was an occult priest.”
Not so. What one does as commanded by God is one thing. Stories relayed before Jesus Christ returned written down for us to learn is another. Joseph Smith using seer stones to find buried treasure or a needle in a haystack is not of God and that’s my point. This is what Joseph Smith did before the book of Mormon was written, and it has nothing to do with God… would you agree?

“You say we are talking about stones only because this is an inconvenient parallel. The "brown magic stone" was a tool that God used to assist JS just like the brown magic stick helped Moses. The analogy is solid. If you think your logic on the stones, alone, conclusively proves JS a fraud...the same logic proves other prophets are frauds.”

Again I’ll disagree. If you want to claim that God was guiding Joseph Smith when he found his brown seer stone using the green stone of Sally Chase, then I can see your point. If you then go on to claim that God was guiding Joseph Smith when he used his brown stone to find buried treasure, then I can see your point. If you fail to acknowledge that was being guided by God in both cases, then Joseph Smith was acting without God, and was in fact (by definition) a necromancer by trade.

“And last, you now have become an authority on what Christians can and can't believe: "Christians don't believe in seer stones" “
That is my opinion.

Anonymous said...

“--I hate to point it out, but yet again you made a conclusory statement and pass it as indisputable fact. Why would it be okay for God to communicate through other various means (bush, silver cup, etc) but not stones?”
Well, because seer stones found using the stone of a necromancer is not of God. Seer stones used to find buried treasure (for hire) is not of God. Do you see my point?

“I think we can agree that God can do whatever he wants. Even if Christians didn't believe in seer stones, they would if God told them to.”
I’m gonna call foul here. God didn’t tell any Christians that magical seer stones are OK. This is a Mormon theology only and isn’t relevant to Christianity.

“I'm going to be out for a while, and will not be able to respond. I have enjoyed our discussion.”

I have too. You deal with the facts better than most Mormons in my opinion and seem sincere in your beliefs. For the recdord, facts don't need prayer to answer. It's either fact (true) or it's not a fact (false).

Anonymous said...

interesting stuff here about Joseph Smith's use of seer stones before the Book of Mormon was written.


http://www.lds-mormon.com/seerstn.shtml[quote]
Looking in Sally Chase's glass, he saw the stone a hundred and fifty miles away, buried under a tree. "It soon became luminous, and dazzled his eyes, and after a short time it became as intense as the mid-day sun." Digging up the stone after an arduous journey, Smith related that he "placed it in his hat, and discovered that time, place, and distance were annihilated; that all intervening obstacles were removed, and that he possessed one of the attributes of Deity, an All-Seeing Eye." If the stone that gave Joseph the "second sight," perhaps bordering on the divine powers of the hermetic magus, this sight was put to mundane purposes. Pomeroy Tucker wrote that Joseph used the stone for fortune-telling and divining for stolen property; Martin Harris described Joseph's divining for a lost pin in a pile of wooden shavings, with the stone and his face buried in "an old white hat." William Stafford recounted going with the Smiths to dig for "two or three kegs of gold and silver" near their farmhouse; while Joseph Sr. laid out the ritual circles of hazel sticks and the central steel rod, muttered appropriate incantations, and "enjoined" the crew to silence, Joseph Jr. remained in the house, "looking in his stone and watching the motions of the evil spirit." [152-3] (Quotations from Martin Harris interview, originally published in Tiffany's Monthy V, May 1859, reprinted in Francis W. Kirkham, ed., A New Witness for Christ in America: The Book of Mormon, rev.ed., 2:377; and from William Stafford affidavit, in Anderson, Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined, 144. Also see W.D. Purple's reminiscences, Norwich Chenango Union, May 3, 1877, republished in Walker, ed., Dale Morgan on Early Mormonism, 333-4; Tucker, Mormonism, 20; and Walker, ed., Dale Morgan on Early Mormonism, 233) [/quote]

Anonymous said...

From Pomeroy Tucker on Joseph Smith...
http://solomonspalding.com/docs1/1867TucA.htm


Persisting in this claim to the gift of spiritual discernment, Smith very soon succeeded in his experiment upon the credulity of a selected audience of ignorant and superstitious persons, to an extent which it is presumed he could not himself anticipated at the outset of the trial. he followed up this advantage, and by its means, in the spring of 1820, raised some small contributions from the people in the vicinity, to defray the expense of digging for the buried money, the precise hiding-place of which he had discovered by the aid of the stone in his hat. At an appointed time, being at a dead hour of night, his dupes and employed laborers repaired with lanterns to the revealed locality of the treasure, which was upon the then forest hill, a short distance from his father's house; and after some preparatory mystic ceremonies, the work of digging began at his signal. Silence, as the condition of success, had been enjoined upon the chosen few present, who were to be sharers in the expected prize. The excavating process was continued for some two hours, without a word being spoken -- the magician meanwhile indicating, by some sort of a want in his hand, the exact spot where the spade was to be crowded into the earth -- when, just at the moment the money-box was within the seer's grasp, one of the party, being "tempted by the devil," spoke! The enchantment was broken, and the treasure vanished! Such was Joe's explanation, and, ridiculous as was the idea, it was apparently satisfactory to his dupes

Anonymous said...

This from Wikipedia on Luman Walker who was instrumental in teaching Joseph Smith the trade of money-digging...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luman_Walter
[quote]
Luman Walter returned to the United States by 1818, and began acting the part of a physician and occult expert.[3] In that year, the deputy sherriff of Boscawen, New Hampshire, one James Giddings, offered a reward for the arrest of a "Transient person, calling himself Laman Walter, [who] has for several days past been imposing himself upon the credulity of the people in this vicinity by a pretended knowledge of magic, palmistry and conjuration...."[4] Since Laman is not uncommon as a spelling variation for Luman, this person is likely Luman Walter. Luman was arrested for "juggling" that August in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, but escaped from jail.[5]

In November 1819 he married Harriet Howard in Vermont. By 1822, Walter had apparently taken up residence in Gorham, Ontario County, New York, moving several years later to Sodus Township, New York. In 1822 and 1823, Luman Walter served as a seer for a treasure dig on the property of Abner Cole in Palmyra, Wayne County, New York. Joseph Smith, Sr., Alvin Smith, and Joseph Smith, Jr. reportedly participated in this dig. Walter possessed a magical book and a seerstone, which he used to locate buried treasure.

Abner Cole, a newspaper editor by profession, printed a parody of the Book of Mormon, the Book of Pukei, in his Palmyra paper The Reflector in 1830. This parody described the role of "Walters the Magician" in these treasure digs, who "sacrificed a Cock for the purpose of propitiating the prince of spirits .... And he took his book, and his rusty sword, and his magic stone, and his stuffed Toad, and all his implements of witchcraft and retired to the mountains near Great Sodus Bay".[6] Cole also surmised that Joseph Smith Jr. worked under the inspiration of "Walters the Magician." [7]
[/quote]

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia on Scrying...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrying[quote]
Scrying (also called crystal gazing, crystal seeing, seeing, or peeping) is a magic practice that involves seeing things psychically in a medium, usually for purposes of obtaining spiritual visions and more rarely for purposes of divination or fortune-telling. The media used are most commonly reflective, translucent, or luminescent substances such as crystals, stones, glass, mirrors, water, fire, or smoke. Scrying has been used in many cultures as a means of divining the past, present, or future. Depending on the culture and practice, the visions that come when one stares into the media are thought to come from God, spirits, the psychic mind, the devil, or the subconscious. [/quote]

Anonymous said...

Necromancy;
conjuration of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events.

I had to look it up. Doesn't seem to have anything to do with stones.

I do know that people believe what they choose, regardless of "facts".

I would interpret that last, lengthy exchange as, well, someone wanted to be right.

Peace to all of ya!

Anonymous said...

to the anonymous-
given all the background we know on the Mormon church's origins most can conclude that it was either under the direction and power of god or of the devil. if the Mormon church is a creation of the devil, than i am confused. why would he create an organization that encourages the things that it does. that seems counter productive to me. everyone keeps mentioning how the church never talks about the debatable origins, if this church is of the devil why would it do that? was it originally evil but now its not? look at the big picture here and its obvious. because the Mormon church came into being in a way that is not exactly the same as the "original" church it must be false, god can not do anything new. I'm sure that's a gospel law written somewhere. i don't care if the Mormon church was weird, evil, magical origins. its the best church this world has to offer now!

Rose said...

I know I am a bit late in coming to this conversation...but I am taking a course on LDS Temples at BYU and, long story short, I had some questions, googled, and came across your post.

Here is the original citation for Wilford Woodruff and the temple dedication in Manti: Wilford Wodruff’s Journal, May 13–18, 1888, 8:496–500.

Now, I wonder, do you have more information? You describe the stone, but not where Wilford or Joseph came across it! My curiosity is peaked! I cannot find any credible information on this subject without digging through pages of History of the Church...which...I'd really like to avoid. My course material said nothing on the subject except to mention that a stone was "consecrated on the altar of the temple" with the citation. Where is the stone now? Does anyone know?

Shane said...

So interesting.....loved what anon was trying to say. Love the fact that people can justify away anything...like the believers were obviously portraying. Anon was brilliant in his or hers critical thinking. Origin of belief is very important to lots of us Christians. Just like drinking water out of a vessel that has held poison would not be advised...origin of where...who...what...when is important. JS was into magic before he was a mormon...he hung out with people who used magic....he had a history of being deceitful. What is always interesting is the fact that these modern day prophets always have these things happen to them thru a source of medium that is a proven occult practice....hmmmmm...I wonder if angels of darkness ever use these occult practices to appear as angels of light.

Shauna said...

Admittedly,I read about half of the interchange between anonymous and Nate. The question that comes up for me is if someone is engaging in discussion where they are wanting to be taken seriously, why would they hide behind a veil of anonymity? I applaud Nate for at least being honest about his identity.