Those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fullness of times. D. & C. 128:18
Man’s incentive and reward in life is to learn new truths. The archaeologist who uncovers the tombs of the past or the modern scientist who unlocks mysteries in a test tube–both open doors of new understanding in the realm of mortal existence. Columbus and Capernicus, like hosts of others, sought to expand man’s understanding of this habitation and other worlds beyond. Men are meant to increase their knowledge of the earth and of the solar system; but his ultimate achievement is gaining an understanding of God and His kingdom.
As a weak and helpless infant must solely depend upon his parents for existence, so also must mortal man depend upon the guidance and power of God for eternal existence. Man alone cannot comprehend, much less control, the grand mysteries of his destiny. The deeper his understanding, the clearer becomes his need for communication from God. These revelations are among the choicest gifts of God to mortal man.
The spiritual man is not given choice spiritual gifts; by favoritism, through office, or because of honored titles of society. Only as man will invoke and cry, sacrifice and suffer, beseech and pray, will he obtain revelation from his Creator. Those who are righteous will not rest, nor will their soul find solace, until  they have secured divine favor and recognition from God. Men must know for themselves the purpose of their creation–this they can obtain only from their Creator.
God has always manifest a desire to communicate with man. However, He has appointed His own ways and methods by which He can or will speak to man. He has clearly and repeatedly made known how and why He should be approached. God has no grandchildren, only sons, who must learn obedience to their Eternal Father. As a kind and benevolent Parent who constantly watches over His children, God is continually feeling after them, pleading to them; and with dignity and majesty He manifests Himself and His will to them.
God reveals Himself and His will only to those of His children who have proved themselves worthy by obedience to His laws and commandments. How pleasing to the Lord are those choice sons to whom He can speak! How dear to Him are those few sons to whom He can reveal the hidden truths of the eternities! They are called His Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.
 CHAPTER II
THE PROPHETS, SEERS, AND REVELATORS
I give unto you my servant Joseph to be a presiding elder over all my Church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer, and a prophet. D. & C. 100:125
In this age of avowed skepticism and spiritual blindness, it is easy to understand how revelation from God has decreased, while the manifestations of Satan are abounding. With the increase of evil in the world, there comes spiritual darkness also. When the Priesthood of God was restored on the earth, there also came mortal and spiritual opposition. Every conceivable form of manifestation and power became prevalent to deceive men and draw them away from the Gospel of the Son of God. But the Lord revealed keys of knowledge respecting all spiritual influences, and the manner by which men may detect whether or not they are of God.
Besides the peculiar exhibitions of evil which tempt men from the truth, there are the old religious traditions that prevent them from investigating God’s restoration. It requires constant teaching of the principles connected with God’s powers to lead mankind out of their spiritual obscurity. This has been the chief employment of every Prophet, Seer, and Revelator from Adam to the present time. Man must live by revelation, but he must be able to detect the source from which those revelations come.
Revelation should be the most outstanding characteristic of God’s Church. But the power and revelations of  God cannot be any more valid than the quality of the leaders or ministers of a church. If a church, true or false, is without the revelations of God, then their leaders are no longer able or fit to administer spiritually to the people. For if “the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matt. 15:14)
Although men may desire revelation, and may seek after it, they cannot commune with God except it be by obedience to the conditions and laws which He has already revealed. Men and circumstances are of such a vast variety that it is necessary for men to personally receive inspired direction. No man, or church, ever gained favor with God without receiving revelations from Him. So important and necessary are God’s revelations to man and the church, that it is written “where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Prov. 29:18)
Revelation means unveiling–or the discovery of new knowledge. Religiously, revelation is divine communication with man. God has chosen several means, or spiritual gifts, by which He conveys information. They are–
- Inspiration–or “whispering of the spirit” which directs the conscience and enlightens the understanding of all men. (John 1:9)
- Audible voice–which speaks to men that they may hear without misunderstanding or doubt. (John 12:28-31)
- Tongues–or an unknown language, through which power God speaks and conveys His will. (I Cor. 12:10)
- Dreams–which show to the mind pictures or ideas and give clear direction or understanding to the receiver. (Num. 12:6)
 5. Visions–a higher order of illustration than dreams, for they may appear when awake and are visible through the eyes. (Joel 2:28)
- Urim and Thummim, or Seer Stones– instruments which God employs to convey words or visions.
- Visitations of angels–which may occur to give men definite and clear instructions. (Luke 24:25)
- Visitations of the Father or Son–the final and most direct source of all light and knowledge. (Ex. 33:11)
These and other manifestations are all given and directed through the giœt and power of the Holy Ghost. Their purpose is to convey instruction and new knowledge to man, according to their needs and worthiness.
An individual, or a church, must accept or reject all of these gifts together, because they are all wrought by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost. To condemn one gift, or disbelieve in it, would of necessity cast doubt on or reflect against all the rest of the gifts. Is there anyone who does not need one or more of these gifts? Is there a church that does not need them all? There is no individual, or church, so perfect that these gifts and powers are not necessary, for it was Paul who wrote that they would all be necessary “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” (Eph. 4:13)
The Apostle George Q. Cannon also applied the same reasoning by saying:
 We cannot be the people that God designs we should be, unless we seek after and obtain these spiritual gifts. It should be the constant prayer of all the Latter-day Saints for the Lord to give us those gifts that are suited to our condition, and that will make us perfect, because the bestowal of these gifts is for the express purpose of making those who are entitled to them perfect before the Lord. (Mill. Star, 62:354)
Those who prove themselves worthy to become the agents of God
on earth are called Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.
Those to whom God reveals His mysteries are called revelators. When God makes manifest anything to man, whether by inspiration, dream or vision, he has then obtained a revelation from God which has conveyed divine instruction. Paul the Apostle says that he had not received the gospel by the ministry of men but by a particular revelation from God, who had conveyed the knowledge of divine things unto him. (Gal. 1:12) Again, he did not go up to Jerusalem after his conversion by the mere notion of his own mind, but in consequence of a revelation that he had received for that purpose. (Gal. 2:2) Paul, therefore, was converted and afterwards instructed by revelation, in the course that he should pursue. He was a revelator–and every other man should be the same, lest They be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Eph. 4:14)
All the revelations that God gave to Noah, Enoch, or Paul are not adapted to us in our present age. The  revelations to Noah to build an ark, or those to Enoch in building a city, or the revelation to Paul to go to Jerusalem, are of little or no value to us; therefore, we need revelations for our own direction today as much as they needed theirs. Said Joseph Smith:
It is very difficult for us to communicate to the churches all that God has revealed to us, in consequence of tradition; for we are differently situated from any other people that ever existed upon this earth consequently those four revelations cannot be suited to our conditions; they were given to other people. (T.P.J.S., p. 70)
The word prophet comes from the Greek word which signifies “one who foretells future events.” The scriptures refer to prophets as “Men of God,” and “Messengers of the Lord.” To prophesy signifies the foretelling of things that are to come.
However, a prophet may not always prophesy coming events, but still may be a prophet because he is filled with the Holy Ghost and has obtained testimony by revelation that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world. This is the first and foremost function of the Holy Ghost–to bear testimony of Jesus Christ.
Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. (T.P.J.S., p. 160)
 We believe that “no man can know that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost,” and that “holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” and that holy men in these days must speak by the same power. The Holy Ghost must operate in these days as in former days. Those who are filled with this gift have the spirit of prophecy and revelation–they are the prophets.
There is a distinct difference between a prophet and a seer. This difference has been vague and contradictory among the best of Biblical scholars. Most of the misunderstanding results from the word-basis of the original languages.
Seer and Prophet. Our English word `prophet’ is derived from the Greek prophetes, `spokesman.’ To this correspond two sets of terms in Hebrew: ro’eh, `seer,’ with its cognates hozeh, `gazer,’ sopheh, `spyer,’ and shomer, `watchman;’ and the more specific nabi, `prophet,’ literally `spokesman,’with its cognates mal’ach, `messenger,’ and melis, `interpreter’ (of Jehovah). In the interesting note, I Sam. 9:9, the `seer’ is referred to as the spiritual forerunner of the `prophet.’ * * * Both orders were ennobled by their common devotion to Jehovah. (Abingdon Bible Commentary, p. 150)
In the scriptures, seers were mentioned before the prophets, and for this reason most of the scholars have referred to them as “forerunners,” but the seers were greater than the prophets. The seer has an added gift of “seership” which is to see by vision that which God desires to reveal. Those acquainted with the gift of seeing visions are termed seers. A seer may see, by the  power of the Holy Spirit, real objects–past, present, or in the future. These pictures may appear before his eyes in the sky, through an object, or through the Urim and Thummim. In all cases it is a manifestation brought about by the power and gift of the Holy Ghost.
The greatness of seers over the prophets was not known until after the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Mosiah explained this mystery by saying:
. . . that a seer is greater than a prophet. And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can.” (Mosiah 8: 15, 16)
A seer possesses the grandest gifts which God has to offer. Men and nations should honor and respect the seer as their most valuable citizen because it is through the gifts of a seer that men can commune with God.
 CHAPTER III
THE MIRACLE OF SEERSHIP
A seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed.
One of the first messages from God to man in nearly 2000 years came to Joseph Smith in 1820. God said that all the churches were wrong because they had a “form of godliness–but they deny the power thereof.” The power of God can only be administered by His direction–this implies revelation, which false ministers deny.
As man accepts the revelations of God, he will continue to increase in power and scope until he is filled with the power of God and the Holy Ghost. As that man continues in light and truth, he will become a seer for God. A man or a stone can be sanctified and illuminated by the Spirit of God.
This gift is a peculiar manifestation of the Spirit to the natural eyes, as well as to the mind. The Urim and Thummim is a stone or other substance sanctified and illuminated by the Spirit of the living God, and presented to those who are blessed with the gift of seeing. All Saints cannot see by the illuminations of the Urim and Thummim; but, as we have already said, `to some is given one gift, and to some another.’ (Masterful Discourses of Orson Pratt, by N. B. Lundwall, p. 552)
It would perhaps be impossible to comprehend the spiritual forces or to explain the operations of the gift  of seership. We must only conclude that both the seer and his seer stone are quickened or empowered by the Holy Spirit to such a degree that pictures form through his eyes and in his mind. As the composition of stones vary, so also are the characteristics and elements which compose the tabernacles of men. Certain stones can only be used for seership by a few individuals, for one seer stone may be illuminated by spiritual light for one person but it may not be so for another.
Like electricity which travels only through particular types of elements (while others act as insulators), so also is the spirit of God when acting upon different people. We do not see electrical or spiritual powers, but we can feel their effects upon our senses. The spirit which is in man is of a more refined substance than the body, and it is this which gives us our hearing, seeing, and feelings–and which is illuminated by the Holy Ghost. Our eyes and ears and body are composed of the elements of the earth, just as the elements which compose seer stones; and it is through these elements that the Spirit of God is conveyed.
If the elements of the body are used for a means of conveyance for the Spirit of God, then stones may also be used, since both are composed of the elements of the earth, but can be quickened by the Spirit of God.
A seer stone, or Urim and Thummim, would perform as a miniature television set. The difference of the control being directed to the will of the seer who can look into the past, the present, or even into the future.
Thus the miraculous gift of seers reaches far beyond the scope and realm of mortal man.
 CHAPTER IV
A HISTORY OF SEERS AND THEIR GIFTS
And whosoever has these things is called seer, after the manner of old times. Mosiah 28:16
In certain ages of the world seers were commonly known, and occasionally many seers lived at the same time. Egypt was a land famous for men with this rare gift. Joseph was considered the most honored and respected seer because his ability of seership was greater than that of all other seers.
We learn from the Babylonians there was a word ARIK in the Samarian language which signifies `a seer;’ Joseph of Egypt was a seer of seers, and it was in virtue of his seership that Pharaoh had raised him to the dignity next to his own. Egypt was especially the land of the seers. (Joseph of Egypt, p. 112)
Enoch also was a man endowed with great spiritual power and was a famous seer. Although he was a friend of God, he was much less respected by his fellow men.
And all men were offended because of him (Enoch); and they came forth to hear him upon the high places, saying unto the tentkeepers, Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, œor he prophesieth; and there is a strange thing in the land, a wild man hath come among us. (Gen. 6:40, Ins. Version)
 In the meridian of time there was a sect of the Jewish people who were gifted with spiritual endowments. Seership was the ultimate objective in their lives. They were called Essenes, which is interpreted to mean “Seers.”
Essenes, a Jewish sect, who, according to the description of Josephus, combined the ascetic virtues of the Pythagoreans and Stoics with a spiritual knowledge of the divine law. It seems probable that the name signifies Seer, or the silent, the mysterious. As a sect the Essenes were distinguished by an aspiration after ideal purity rather than by any special code of doctrines. There were isolated communities of Essenes, which were regulated by strict rules, analogous to those of the monastic institutions of a later date. All things were held in common, without distinction of property; and special provision was made for the relief of the poor. Self-denial, temperance and labor–especially agriculture–were marks of the outward life of the Essenes; purity and divine communion were objects of their aspiration. Slavery, war and commerce were alike forbidden. Their best-known settlements were on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, p. 181)
The Book of Mormon also records examples of this ability to “see” things past and present. Nephi was a seer, and when he rebuked the judges and the Gadiantons, the “judges were angry with him because he spake plainly unto them concerning their secret works of darkness.” Some of them said, “he knoweth as well all things which shall befall us as he knoweth of our iniquities.” Nephi then told them their own chief judge was dead and lying in his own blood. They thought that Nephi “must have agreed with someone to slay the judge.” But Nephi said, “because I showed you this sign ye are angry with me,  and seek to destroy my life. Behold, I will show unto you another sign.” He then told them to go to the house of Seantum and accuse him of the murder, but they “shall find blood upon the skirts of his cloak” and he shall “tremble, and shall look pale, even as death had come upon him.” And then should they say to him, “Do we not know that it is the blood of your brother, and then shall he tremble, and shall look pale, even as death had come upon him” and the “words which he had said were true.” (See Helaman Chap. 9) Nephi could “see” these things occur although he was far from them as they happened.
The brother of Jared “did molten out of rock sixteen small stones; and they were clear, even as transparent glass.” Then he prayed to the Lord, saying:
And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea. (Ether 3:4)
The Lord touched the stones and “caused the stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children that they might not cross the great waters in darkness.” (Ether 6: 3)
Then the Lord either gave the brother of Jared two more stones or endowed two of the sixteen stones to become “interpreters” and to be used as a Urim and Thummim. He said, “. . .these two stones will I give unto thee,” that they would “magnify to the eyes of men” the things which the brother of Jared wrote. The Lord then made a choice seer out of him and that “there never were greater things made manifest than those which were manifest to the brother of Jared.” (Ether 4:4)
 In ancient Israel, seers were consulted for the answers to many problems in both temporal and spiritual affairs. When men desired to know the will of God, they would inquire of God through a seer.
Beforetime in Israel when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake: Come, let us go to the seer; for he that is now called prophet was before time called a seer. (I Sam. 9:9)
These seers were able to “see” or receive visions by the use of seer stones, a “rod” the Urim and Thummim, or by open vision.
Among the instruments used by seers is found mention of a “rod.” The terms of a shepherd’s “rod and staff,” as mentioned in the 23rd Psalm, were synonymous with the great “Shepherd of Israel.”
The rod and staff being the ensigns of power and government, as well as instruments for punishing offenders. (Cruden’s Concordance, p. 497)
The Lord is to “rule with a rod of iron” (Rev. 2:27). Under Moses’ dispensation it was Aaron who used “the rod” to smite the waters of Egypt (Ex. 7:19), and to swallow up the “rods” of the Egyptians which were transformed into snakes (Ex. 7:12). Moses used the “rod” for a blessing to Israel by smiting the rock to obtain the much needed water (Ex. 17:6), and it was also used in determining the tithing of the Israelites (Lev. 27:32). Each tribe of Israel was to have a rod with their name upon it, and one of these rods was to “blossom” on the following morning. Aaron’s rod “brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms,” thus showing his rod to be “for the head of the house of their fathers” (Num. 17:5).
 In the first editions of the Book of Commandments, Oliver Cowdery was given the gift of “working with the rod.”
Now this is not all, for you have another gift, which is the gift of working with the rod: behold it has told you things; behold there is no other power save God, that can cause this rod of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God; and therefore whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you, that you shall know. (Joseph Begins His Work, p. 19. Compare D. & C. 8:6-9)
Jasher speaks about a “sapphire stick” which had the “name of the Lord God of hosts engraved thereon” and was handed down from creation through many generations to the time of Joseph. Possibly this was similar to the “rod.”
And this was the stick with which all the works of our God were performed, after he had created heaven and earth, and all the host of them, seas, rivers and all their fishes. And when God had driven Adam from the garden of Eden, he took the stick in his hand and went and tilled the ground from which he was taken. And the stick came down to Noah and was given to Shem and his descendants, until it came into the hand of Abraham the Hebrew. And when Abraham had given all he had to his son Isaac, he also gave to him this stick. And when Jacob had fled to Padan-aram, he took it into his hand, and when he returned to his father, he had not left it behind him. Also when he went down to Egypt, he took it into his hand and gave it to Joseph, one portion above his brethren, for Jacob had taken it by force from his brother Esau. (Jasher 77:42-47)
 The seer’s “rod” or “stick” may have been a receptacle to which a seer stone was attached. Since Oliver Cowdery was to use this rod and receive communication from the Lord, we can assume that it was an instrument used to convey revelations. The Lord said pertaining to that rod, He could “tell you by that means,” and that “it has told you things.” So whatever may be said of the rod, it was an instrument which was used in knowing and accomplishing the will of God.
URIM AND THUMMIM
Many prophets possessed the Urim and Thummim. It was because of these instruments that they were distinguished as seers. Some of these seers who possessed the Urim and Thummim were;
Abraham. . .
And I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me. . . . (Abraham 3:1)
Abraham sought the Lord diligently, and finally he had given unto him a Urim and Thummim, in which he was enabled to obtain a knowledge of many things that others were ignorant of. I think the meaning of the name of this instrument is Light and Perfection, in other terms, communicating light perfectly, and intelligence perfectly, through a principle that God has ordained for that purpose. (John Taylor, J.D. 24:262)
Brother of Jared. . .
. . . when the brother of Jared was coming to this land the Lord gave him some very remarkable visions, and among other things he gave  him the Urim and Thummim, prepared two crystal stones in two rims of a bow, and sanctified them, and showed to the brother of Jared many marvelous things. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 19:208)
Noah. . .
Noah, after having preached the Gospel and published glad tidings among the nations, was commanded to build an ark. He had a Urim and Thummim by which he was enabled to discern all things pertaining to the ark and its pattern. (J.D. 16:50)
Moses and Aaron. . .
The Urim and Thummim, used by Moses and Aaron, was attached to a breastplate. This was called the “breast plate of judgment,” and for significant reasons.
The reason of this was that Aaron was appointed to be a judge among the children of Israel, occupying a similar place among that people that the President of the Bishopric occupies in the Church. But he was blessed above those who have been ordained to the same calling in this dispensation, for he was in possession of the Urim and Thummim, and by virtue of this instrument he could inquire of the Lord in relation to every case that should be brought before him for adjudication. The judgment of man is naturally very weak and imperfect, and inasmuch as Aaron was required to judge the people of God, it was of the utmost importance that all his decisions should be given in righteousness, that there should be no imperfections connected with them, and for that reason the Lord gave express instructions to Aaron, through his brother Moses, to have a  breastplate. In this breastplate were twelve stones, representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and in the center of these rows of stones the Urim and Thummim was placed, and when he was required to render judgment upon any matter, he inquired of the Lord through it, and was enabled to give decisions according to the word of the Lord. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 19:206)
Joseph Smith. . .
The Prophet Joseph Smith had the Urim and Thummim and a breastplate, not with the same physical description as that of Moses, but was for similar purposes. The breastplate was used to carry the Urim and Thummim. The following description is given of Joseph’s Urim and Thummim.
By pressing the head a little forward, the rod held the Urim and Thummim before the eyes much like a pair of spectacles. A pocket was prepared in the breastplate on the left side, immediately over the heart. When not in use the Urim and Thummim was placed in the pocket the rod being of just the right length to allow it to be deposited. This instrument could, however, be detached from the breastplate when away from home, but Joseph always used it in connection with the breastplate when translating, as it permitted him to have both hands free to touch the plates. The instrument was too large for Joseph’s eyes; they must have been used by larger men. Sometimes Joseph Smith resorted to the plan of covering his eyes with a hat to exclude the light in part to prevent eye strain. (Saints Herald, March 9, 1882, p. 258; Interview with William P. Smith)
* * *
 Other types of instruments of divination with the powers of spiritualism have been known throughout the centuries. These instruments and gifts have been used for good and evil. Prophetical powers have been experienced by some individuals with unusual accuracy.
In England, for example, in 1467 a William Byg was convicted of using a crystal stone to locate stolen property. (Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, by R. Robbins, p. 137)
Among primitive peoples there is a widespread belief in he magical efficacy of quartz crystals–one of the most common of all luminous stones. These mineralogical specimens are frequently the main prop of the magician. They are used for this purpose by the aborigines of Australia, Polynesia and North America, among others. (Strange Superstitions & Magical Practices, by William Fielding, p. 53)
Michael Nostradamus (Michel de Notre Dame) was a French doctor who lived from 1503 to 1566 and was the personal physician to Charles IX of France. He was considered to be half Jew and half Spaniard. His prophecies were always written in verses of four lines. One of his prophecies was written about Henry II, which was:
In tourney strange young lion slays the old
Scratching out eyes behind their cage of gold.
Of both protagonists, ’tis one will die
In pain and agony of his wounded eye.
 Four years later, in a tournament, the king was wounded in the eye by a young nobleman. The nobleman’s lance had pierced the king’s golden visor, and the king lay in agony for a month before he died.
A book of such verses by Nostradamus is quite well known and published in several languages.
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a Swedish inventor, mathematician, geologist, author and religious leader. In 1759 he had the following experience:
Swedenborg was returning from England and had landed in Gothenberg. He was sitting at lunch with several leading citizens. Suddenly he became very disturbed and began telling them he could see Stockholm in flames. He even described certain houses and areas that were burning. Several days later a courier arrived from Stockholm, a distance of 300 kilometers, and brought news of a conflagration that had destroyed part of the town. (Wizards that Peep and Mutter, by Paul Bauer, p. 28)
Swedenborg’s visionary ability was internationally famous. Another strange incident is related about his “seeing” the fate of a Russian Emperor.
Professor Scherer, who was a secretary in an embassy in Stockholm, gives a similar and equally striking example. An acquaintance of his, a man who feared God and loved the truth, had told him how, on July 17th, 1762, the day on which the Russian Emperor, Peter the Third, died, he was at a social gathering in Amsterdam, Swedenborg was also there. In the middle of a conversation his face suddenly changed. He appeared to be far away, as if something extraordinary was happening before his eyes. As  soon as he had recovered himself, they asked him what had happened. He did not want to say at first, but on being pressed he said: `At this very moment the Emperor Peter III has died in prison.’ He then described how it had happened and added: `Gentlemen, you have only to compare this day with the official announcement which will appear in the newspapers.’ That very day the Czar had been overthrown in a revolt led by his wife and murdered. (Wizards that Peep and Mutter, by Paul Bauer, p. 28)
Stones, sticks, quartz crystals, and crystal balls are being used today as a medium through which pictures or visions are transmitted. In Washington, D.C., at the present time, resides the famous Jeane Dixon, who often uses a crystal ball to see things of the past and future. She described the occasion in which she received her crystal ball.
The gypsy was telling a woman’s fortune with cards as Mrs. Pinckert and her eight-year old daughter arrived at the campsite. When Jeane’s turn came she took the child’s hands, turned them over, and gasped. `This little girl is going to be very famous. She will be able to foresee world-wide changes because she is blessed with the gift of prophecy. Never have I seen such palm lines!”
The gypsy disappeared into her covered wagon and returned with a crystal ball. Handing it to Jeane, she said: `It’s for you to keep. You will be able to meditate on this and see wonderful things in it, for the markings on your hands are those of a mystic.' Jeane eagerly peered into the shining new `toy’ and pictures began to form within it. Although television was unknown in those days, it was as if she were watching a TV screen. (A Gift of Prophecy, by Ruth Montgomery, p. 16-17).
Today, however, the power of God’s seers is rare and nearly unknown. The scarcity of divine seers marks the age of darkness and evil foretold by the ancient seers. The depth of apostasy and wickedness has caused a spiritual famine throughout the world, and is driving the spirit of God from the earth.
 CHAPTER V
THE PURPOSE OF SEERSHIP
For I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times. D. & C. 124:41
The purposes and blessings that are to be obtained through the revelations of seers are as diversified as the needs of man.
Through the oblique mists of mortality, man has an ever increasing need for protection; therefore, one of the great blessings of divine revelation is to receive instruction for his self-preservation.
David inquired by means of that kind, concerning his enemies, who pursued him from city to city, asking the Lord certain questions–whether his enemies would come to where he happened to be, and whether he would be delivered up to them by the people of that city; and the Lord gave him all necessary instruction, and by this means he was delivered out of the hands of his enemies from time to time. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 18:156)
* * *
Joseph termed the Urim and Thummim a key; and it was by this that the angel showed him many things which he saw in vision, by which  also he could ascertain at any time, the approach of danger either to himself or the record, and on account of which Joseph always kept the Urim and Thummim about his person. (History of the Prophet Joseph, by Lucy M. Smith, p. 106)
The Lord has used revelations through seership to direct, not only the temporal and spiritual affairs, but in the course they should take when making journeys. For example, the Nephites, the Israelites, and others used this medium for guidance in the form of the Liahona or compass.
Moses taught them to make use of the stones in the High Priest’s Breastplate for their direction. (Antiquities of Jews, p. 146)
The first gift and power given to man in this dispensation was that of translation. The use of the Urim and Thummim and seer stones to was to translate the Book of Mormon; and by the miracle of this power, other ancient and dead languages were made understandable.
The Prophet translated the part of these writings which, as I have said is contained in the Pearl of Great Price, and known as the Book of Abraham. Thus you see one of the first gifts bestowed by the Lord for the benefit of His people, was that of revelation, the gift to translate, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, the gift of bringing to light old and  ancient records. Have any of the other denominations got this gift among them? Go and inquire through all of Christendom and do not miss one denomination. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 20:65)
* * *
But we have every reason to believe that the time is not far distant, and that there are some living among the young now upon the earth, that will live to behold great numbers of revelations given, and will behold other books come forth and other records translated by the Urim and Thummim, that same instrument that Joseph Smith used in the translation of the “Book of Mormon”, which will again come forth and be revealed to the seer and revelator that God will raise up by which these ancient records will be brought to light. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 19:216)
The miraculous gift of translation by the use of a seer stone is described in the following account of the translation of the Book of Mormon:
Mr. Whitmer then described Smith’s story of the vision in which the location of the plates was revealed, with the history of the Nephites, Moroni’s labor, and Smith’s finding of the tablets, with which every one is familiar.
Whitmer and Cowdery were greatly impressed by the recital of this strange story, and were conducted to the hill, where they personally viewed the receptacle in which Moroni, at the beginning of the fifth century, had concealed the history of his fathers. Smith also said that he had been commanded to at once begin  the translation of the work in the presence of three witnesses. In accordance with this command, Smith, Cowdery and Whitmer proceeded to the latter’s home, accompanied by Smith’s wife, and bearing with them the precious plates and spectacles. The house of senior Whitmer was a primitive and poorly designed structure, but it was deemed the most secure for carrying out the sacred trust on account of the threats that had been made against Smith by his mercenary neighbors. In order to give privacy to the proceeding, a blanket, which served as a portiere, was stretched across the family living room to shelter the translators and the plates from the eyes of any who might call at the house while the work was in progress. This, Mr. Whitmer says, was the only use made of the blanket, and it was not for the purpose of concealing the plates or the translator from the eyes of the amanuenses. In fact, Smith was at no time hidden from his collaborators, and the translation was performed in the presence of not only the persons mentioned, but of the entire Whitmer household and several of Smith’s relatives besides.
The work of translating the tablets consumed about eight months, Smith acting as the seer, and Oliver Cowdery, Smith’s wife and Christian Whitmer, brother of David, performing the duties of amanuenses, in whose handwriting the original manuscript now is. Each time before resuming the work all present would kneel in prayer and invoke the Divine blessing on the proceeding. After prayer, Smith would sit on one side of a table, and the amanuenses, in turn, as they became tired, on the other. Those present and not actively engaged in the work, seated themselves around  the room, and then the work began. After affixing the magical spectacles’ to his eyes, Smith would take the plates and translate the characters one at a time. The graven characters would appear in succession to the seer, and directly under the character, when viewed through the glasses, would be the translation in English. Sometimes the character would be a single word, and frequently an entire sentence. In translating the characters, Smith, who was illiterate and but little versed in Biblical lore, was ofttimes compelled to spell the words out, not knowing the correct pronunciation, and Mr. Whitmer recalls the fact that at that time Smith did not even know that Jerusalem was a walled city. Cowdery, however, being a school teacher, rendered invaluable aid in pronouncing hard words and giving them their proper definition. (Mill. Star, 48:36)
David Whitmer gave another description of the Prophet’s mode of translating:
. . . I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph 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. (An Address to all Believers in Christ, by David Whitmer, p. 12)
Another blank spot in the work of the Lord is the numerous thousands of honorable people who have no writ-ten genealogy records on earth. The problem arises of how they will have their genealogy completed. The answer is through seership.
The Most High says: `I deign to reveal unto you hidden things, things that have been kept hid from the foundation of the world.’ Among these hidden things that are to be revealed are the books of genealogy, tracing individuals and nations among all people, back to ancient times.
It may be inquired: `How can all this be done?’ We answer, by the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord God has ordained to be used in the midst of his holy house, in his Temple.’
Just as fast as we are able to administer for them, so will the Lord God make manifest, by the manifestation of holy angels in his house, and by the Urim and Thummim, those names that are necessary, of our ancient kindred and friends, that they may be traced back to the time when the Priesthood was on the earth in ancient days. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 16:260)
One of the first uses that man desires of a seer stone is to locate things which are lost. Enemies have continually charged Joseph Smith as a treasure hunter by use of a stone; but if there is anything he failed to do, it was to get rich by use of his seer stone. However, he did help others to locate things that they had lost.
One time Martin Harris explained one of the wide uses for which Joseph could use this stone.
 In the first place, he told me of this stone, and proposed to bind it on his eyes, and run a race with me in the woods. A few days after this, I was at the house of his father in Manchester, two miles south of Palmyra village, and was picking my teeth with a pin while sitting on the bars. The pin caught in my teeth, and dropped from my fingers into the shavings and straw. I jumped from the bars and looked for it. Joseph and Northrop Sweet also did the same. We could not find it. I then took Joseph on surprise, and said to him –I said, `Take your stone;’ I had never seen it, and I did not know that he had it with him. He had it in his pocket. He took it and placed it in his hat–the old white hat–and placed his face in his hat. I watched him closely to see that he did not look to one side; he reached out his hand beyond me on the right, and moved a little stick, and there I saw the pin, which he picked up and gave to me. I know he did not look out of the hat until after he had picked up the pin. (Interview with Martin Harris, Tiffany’s Monthly, 1859, p. 165)
During the 1920’s I became a very close acquaintance of J. Golden Kimball. On one occasion he told me that while he was a young man the family cows wandered away and became lost. They hunted everywhere for them, but to no avail. Someone suggested that they go to a certain person who was known to have a “seer stone;” so they proceeded to that person and inquired if they could locate the cows for them. The person used the stone and told them where the cows could be found. Golden said that they went to the place that was specified and there were the cows! (Statement by Nels B. Lundwall to the author, 4-22-67)
 Saul’s father lost his herd of asses and sent his servant and Saul out to find them. They traveled through Mount Ephraim, the land of Shalisha, Shalim, and the land of the Benjamites, but they could not locate them. They were told about a “man of God” who could locate them. They inquired as to who this man was and found his name to be Samuel; therefore, they proceeded to the gate and met Samuel. “Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer’s house is,” Saul asked.
And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer, . . . and as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. (I Sam. 9)
Others used their stones to locate metals, etc. On one particular occasion a man lost faith in the instrument and therefore lost his gift.
I want to tell a little anecdote which came to my ears. . . . It is said that there is a man in this city, a natural miner, who has a peculiar gift to discover metals of value, though hidden in the earth at any depth. He can point out the very place where they are. He happened in a gentleman’s house in this town one day, and they were discussing his powers to discern any metal in the earth. The lady, doubting his ability, took a piece of lead, and slyly stepped out and buried it, being careful to leave no visible marks by which any other than herself could find it. She returned and told him that in the garden was a piece of lead buried, and wished him to find it if he could. He made the attempt; and after a little rambling, pointed to the very spot where it was; but the lady, thinking to bluff him off and discourage him, made perfect ridicule of him, and asked what had led him to  think it was there. She pretended to regard him as insane, and the poor man came to the conclusion that he might be mistaken, as the lady appeared so sanguine in her ridicule. He gave it up as a mistake, doubting his own gift. Since the time that he was bluffed off from the faith in the natural gift that God had given him–(President H. C. Kimball: And that by a woman!)–yes, and since that, it has been taken away altogether. Before this, he was never mistaken in such matters; but since then has no more powers of discovering than any other. (Orson Hyde, J.D. 5:16-17)
NEW KNOWLEDGE OF PLANETS AND KINGDOMS
The Lord has promised to reveal many new and marvelous things to man, pertaining both to this world and to the world to come.
And I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees, and I saw the stars. . . and the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons, etc. (Abraham 3:1, 4)
* * *
The white stone mentioned in Revelations 2:17 will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known. (D. & C. 130:10)
God gave certain commandments to men to build or construct objects for his work. Perhaps Moses used the  Urim to build the tabernacle in the wilderness. Other seers may have used this means to accomplish those projects such as Lehi and Noah.
Noah, after having preached the Gospel and published glad tidings among the nations, was commanded to build an ark. He had a Urim and Thummim by which he was enabled to discern all things pertaining to the ark, and its pattern. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 16:50)
ALL TEMPORAL AND SPIRITUAL AFFAIRS
Men may learn many things by the use of books, television, and motion pictures, but the Lord can reveal a great many more important things. New information on every subject is necessary for man to grow and progress.
What are the privileges of a bishop? Has he the privilege of the administration of angels? Yes; this belongs to the lesser Priesthood. Has he the privilege of using the Urim and Thummim? Yes. The breastplate of Aaron that you read of in the scriptures was a Urim and Thummim, fixed in bows similar to the one Joseph Smith found. Aaron wore this Urim and Thummim on his breast, and looked into it like looking on a mirror, and the information he needed was there obtained. (Brigham Young, J.D. 9:86)
* * *
Abraham sought the Lord diligently, and finally he had given unto him a Urim and Thummim, in which he was enabled to obtain a knowledge of many things that others were ignorant of. I think the meaning of the name of this instrument is Light and Perfection, in other  terms, communicating light perfectly, and intelligence perfectly, through a principle that God has ordained for that purpose. Did Abraham stop there? No, he did not rest until he could communicate with God Himself. Jesus says: `Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.’ The Lord appeared to Abraham and told him many things. (John Taylor, J.D. 24:262)
Thus, the whole purpose of the gift of seership is to guide and direct man through the haze of mortality. God, being ever mindful of man, has selected seership as a very special means to convey His divine will and lighten the dark path of life.
 CHAPTER VI
JOSEPH, THE SEER
Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
- & C. 20:1
For nearly two thousand years the Lord did not have a seer upon the earth; and then in the midst of this spiritual sparsity, God raised up a choice seer. In this last dispensation God established the fullness of His gospel and commissioned this seer with all the keys and powers of every other dispensation. This seer was Joseph Smith. But like many of the ancient prophets and seers, he was not only unaccepted, he was martyred for the revelations which God had given him.
Attempts were made, since Joseph Smith first received his calling, to cast disrepute upon him and to destroy him. As early as 1826, Joseph Smith was brought into court because he was a “glass looker” and used a “peepstone.” In a reported trial in the state of New York, Joseph Smith was brought in on the complaint that he was an imposter. One of the plaintiffs gave the following report:
Jonathan Thompson says that prisoner (Joseph Smith) was requested to look for chest of money; did look, and pretended to know where it was; and prisoner, Thompson, and Yeomans went in search of it; that Smith arrived at spot first; was at night; that Smith looked in hat while there, and when very dark, and told how the chest was situated. After digging several feet, struck upon something sounding  like a board or plank. Prisoner would not look again, pretending that he was alarmed on account of the circumstances relating to the trunk being buried, [which] came all fresh to his mind. That the last time he looked he discovered distinctly the two Indians who buried the trunk, that a quarrel ensued between them, and that one of said Indians was killed by the other, and thrown into the hole beside the trunk, to guard it, as he supposed. Thompson says that he believes in the prisoner’s professed skill; that the board which he struck his spade upon was probably the chest, but on account of an enchantment the trunk kept settling away from under them when digging; that notwithstanding they continued constantly removing the dirt, yet the trunk kept about the same distance from them. Says prisoner said that it appeared to him that salt might be found at Bainbridge, and that he is certain that prisoner can divine things by means of said stone. That as evidence of the fact prisoner looked into his hat to tell him about some money witness lost sixteen years ago, and that he described the man that witness supposed had taken it, and the disposition of the money. (Fraser’s Magazine, February, 1873, Vol. VII, pp. 229-230).
In another court trial the following account was recorded as a case against the defendant Joseph Smith:
The affidavits of the sons were read, and Mr. Smith was fully examined by the Court….
On the request of the Court, he exhibited the stone. It 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.
Joseph Smith, Sr., was present, and sworn as a witness . . . .
The next witness called was Deacon Isaiah Stowell. He confirmed all that is said above in relation to himself, and delineated many other circumstances not necessary to record. He swore that the prisoner possessed all the power he claimed, and declared he could see things fifty feet below the surface of the earth, as plain as the witness could see what was on the Justice’s table, and described very many circumstances to confirm his words. Justice Neeley soberly looked at the witness and in a solemn, dignified voice, said, `Deacon Stowell, do I understand you as swearing before God, under the solemn oath you have taken, that you believe the prisoner can see by the aid of the stone fifty feet below the surface of the earth, as plainly as you can see what is on my table?’ `Do I believe it?’ says Deacon Stowell, `do I believe it? No, it is not a matter of belief. I positively know it to be true.’
Mr. Thompson, an employee of Mr. Stowell, was the next witness. . . The following scene was described by this witness, and carefully noted: Smith had told the Deacon that very many years before a band of robbers had buried on his flat a box of treasure, and as it was very valuable they had by a sacrifice placed a charm over it to protect it, so that it could not be obtained except by faith, accompanied by certain talismanic influences.  So, after arming themselves with fasting and prayer, they sallied forth to the spot designated by Smith. Digging was commenced with fear and trembling, in the presence of this imaginary charm. In a few feet from the surface the box of treasure was struck by the shovel, on which they redoubled their energies, but it gradually receded from their grasp. One of the men placed his hand upon the box, but it gradually sunk from his reach. . . . Mr. Stowell went to his flock and selected a fine vigorous lamb, and resolved to sacrifice it to the demon spirit who guarded the coveted treasure. Shortly after the venerable Deacon might be seen on his knees at prayer near the pit, while Smith, with a lantern in one hand to dispel the midnight darkness might be seen making a circuit around the spot, sprinkling the flowing blood from the lamb upon the ground, as a propitiation to the spirit that thwarted them. They then descended the excavation, but the treasure still receded from their grasp, and it was never obtained. (A New Witness for Christ in America, Vol. 2, pp. 362367)
The Prophet Joseph Smith was hauled into court over 40 times on some of the most ridiculous charges–many of which were so absurd that the judges threw them out of court. These charges and attacks add proof that the Prophet was actively opposed by the devil and his media.
A humorous incident in the life of Martin Harris proves the capability of certain stones over others for “seership.” This phenomena was one of the tests used by Martin Harris to prove the divine calling and mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
 Martin said that after continued translation they would become weary, and would go down to the river and exercise by throwing stones out on the river, etc. While so doing, on one occasion, Martin Harris found a stone very much resembling the one used for translating, and on resuming their labor of translation, he put in place the stone he had found. He said that the Prophet remained silent, unusually and intently gazing in darkness, no traces of the usual sentences appearing. Much surprised, Joseph exclaimed, `Martin! What is the matter? All is as dark as Egypt!’ Martin’s countenance betrayed him, and the Prophet asked Martin why he had done so. Martin said, to stop the mouths of fools, who had told him that the Prophet had learned those sentences and was merely repeating them, etc. (Historical Record, p. 216)
When Apostle Orson Pratt was sent on his mission to Washington, D.C., in 1852, to publish the doctrines of the Mormons, he entitled his publication “The Seer,” in honor of his associate, the Prophet Joseph Smith. He wrote on the title page:
THE SEER is a title assumed for this periodical in commemoration of Joseph Smith, the great Seer of the last days, who, as an instrument in the hands of the Lord, laid the foundation of the Kingdom of God, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah to reign with universal dominion over all the earth.
And how wonderful are the dealings of God with his people! And how marvelously does He fulfill the words of inspiration! Though the heavens and earth pass away, yet the word of the Lord, spoken through Joseph, the Seer, shall not pass away, but every jot and tittle  that has not already come to pass, shall be fulfilled in its time and season. (The Seer, pp. 1, 6)
John Taylor, as editor and publisher of the Times and Seasons, also paid tribute to Joseph Smith the Seer by writing and publishing this poem:
The seer–the seer–Joseph the seer.
I’ll sing of the Prophet ever dear;
His equal now cannot be found–
By searching the wide world around.
With Gods he soared, in the realms of day;
And men he taught the heavenly way.
The earthly seer! the heavenly seer,
I love to dwell on his mem’ry dear.
The chosen of God, and the friend of men,
He brought the priesthood back again,
He gazed on the past, on the present, too–
And ope’d the heav’nly world to view.
Of noble seed–of heavenly birth,
He cane to bless the sons of earth;
With keys by the Almighty given,
He opened the full rich stores of heaven,
O’er the world that was wrapt in sable night,
Like the sun he spread his golden light.
He strove–O, how he strove to stay,
The stream of crime in its reckless way–
With a mighty mind, and a noble aim
He urg’d the wayward to reclaim;
Mid the foaming billows of angry strife–
He stood at the helm, of the ship of life.
 The Saints–the saints–his only pride,
For them he liv’d, for them he died!
Their joys were his; their sorrows, too;
He lov’d the saints; he lov’d Nauvoo.
Unchanged by death, with a Savior’s love
He pleads their cause, in the courts above.
The seer–seer–Joseph the seer!
O, how I love his memory dear.
The just and wise, the pure and free,
A father he was, and is to me.
Let friends now rage in their dark hour,
No matter, he is beyond their power.
He’s free–he’s free–the prophet’s free!
He is where he will ever be,
Beyond the reach of mobs and strife,
He rests unharm’d in endless life,
His home’s in the sky; he dwells with the Gods,
Far from the furious rage of mobs.
He died–he died–for those he lov’d.
He reigns–he reigns–in realms above;
He waits with the just who have gone before,
To welcome the saints to Zion’s shore!
Shout, shout ye saints–this boon is given,
We’ll meet our martyr’d seer in heaven.
Times and Seasons 5:767
The Lord was the first to call Joseph Smith a seer. In a revelation given on April 6, 1830, at the organization of the Church, the Lord said to Joseph:
Thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the Church. . . being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof. (D. & C. 21:1-2)
 Nearly two years later Joseph is called “Gazelem” in a revelation. This corresponds to the name Gazelem in the Book of Mormon which means a “stone.”
Therefore, verily I say unto you, that it is expedient for my servants Alam and Ahashdah (Newel K. Whitney), Mahalaleel and Pelagoram (Sidney Rigdon) and my servant Gazelem (Joseph Smith) . . . . (D. & C. 82: 11)
I will prepare my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness into light, that I may discover unto them (the Lamanites) the works of their brethren. (Alma 37:23)
The world little understands nor recognizes the divine mission of Joseph Smith, nor any other ancient prophet and seer. They have always been unpopular; yet they possessed wisdom and knowledge which surpassed that of all the world. Joseph Smith said that he felt as if he were couped up in a nutshell because he could not reveal many of the things which the Lord had revealed to him. We cannot fully comprehend the greatness of this man–the Lord’s chosen seer of the last days!
 CHAPTER VII
Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation. Isaiah 28:16
Joseph Smith was not the only “seer” in his day. Contrary to the general consensus, there were many “seer stones” being used to “see” things. Some were used for treasure hunting or for finding lost articles or missing people.
`I would like to know,’ volunteered Elder Hawks, `why so many stories have been told about Joseph Smith being a `gold digger’ and having spent years searching for buried treasure. For more than a hundred miles from here I have been shown holes in the earth where, it is said, Joseph dug for hidden treasure. Do you know how these silly stories originated? It was a popular fancy,’ replied the President, `for people in that day to be seeking buried treasure, hoping to become suddenly wealthy by locating such deposits by means of `peep stone gazers’ that abounded in this region in the days of Joseph Smith. It was a popular fad for people to find strange stones that could be used as `peep stones’ and every person finding such a stone at once set out in search of hidden treasure.’ (Cumorah’s Gold Bible, p. 145)
Another testimony was given which illustrates the numerous stones used for this unusual manifestation of power.
 A Mrs. M.C.R. Smith stated: `There was considerable digging for money in our neighborhood by men, women and children. I never knew of their finding any. I saw a large hole dug on Nathaniel Smith’s farm, which was sandy. I saw Joshua Stafford’s peep-stone which looked like white marble and had a hole through the center. Sallie Chase, a Methodist, had one and people would go for her to find lost and hidden or stolen things. (Naked Truths about Mormonism, p. 1)
The Prophet Joseph’s mother also knew about the “many people” who possessed seer stones.
During the early history of the Latter-day Saints’ Church, many people arose with so-called seer stones, claiming to have power of seeing many things such as seeing the place where lost articles were, also where the Book of Mormon plates were hidden. Some of these clairvoyants were the means of leading many astray from the truth. One of the earliest of these peepstone gazers was a young woman named Miss Chase, sister of Willard Chase, a Methodist classleader. This Miss Chase found a green glass, through which she claimed she could see where Joseph Smith kept the Gold Plates. (Joseph Smith, p. 102, by Lucy Mack Smith)
At this same time there was a man by the name of James J. Strang, who also claimed the appearance of angels, the use of a Urim, and the gift and powers of translation.
The most prominently known seer stones in the history of the L.D.S. Church are discussed in the remainder of this chapter.
 JOSEPH’S STONE
Hoseah Stout infers that the Prophet Joseph had a stone at the time he “discovered” the plates of the Book of Mormon.
Monday, 25 Feb. 1856: President Young exhibited the seer’s stone with which the Prophet Joseph discovered the plates of the Book of Mormon, to the Regents this evening. It is said to be a silecious granite dark color almost black with light colored stripes somewhat resembling petrified poplar or cotton wood bark. It was about the size but not the shape of a hen’s egg. (Hoseah Stout, 2:593)
- H. Roberts also gave this description of the Prophet’s seer stone:
The SEER STONE referred to here was a chocolate-colored, somewhat egg-shaped stone which the Prophet found while digging a well in company with his brother Hyrum, for a Mr. Clark Chase, near Palmyra, N.Y. It possessed the qualities of Urim and Thummim, since by means of it–as described above–as well as by means of the Interpreters found with the Nephite record, Joseph was able to translate the characters engraven on the plates. (Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. 1, p. 129)
* * *
One item mentioned by President Woodruff about the private dedicatory services at Manti is of more than passing interest. `Before leaving,’ he writes, `I consecrated upon the altar the Seer Stone that Joseph Smith found by revelation some thirty feet under the earth, and carried by him through life.’ This is the  very Seer Stone that the Prophet Joseph Smith used part of the time when translating the Book of Mormon; the one he took from the well he was digging with his brother Hyrum, near Palmyra, for Mr. Clark Chase. (C.H.C. 6:230)
* * *
The statement has been made that the Urim and Thumim was on the altar in the Manti Temple when that building was dedicated. The Urim and Thummim so spoken of, however, was the seer stone which was in the possession of the Prophet Joseph Smith in early days. This Seer stone is now in the possession of the Church. (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:225)
THE SAMEAZER STONES
Another unusual set of seer stones was described by Wandle Mace:
Uncle John visited us and during his stay we related to him our experience (with evil spirits) and we learned from him that. . . in Staffordshire a branch of the Church was organized at the Potteries and Elder Alfred Cordon was president; among those who embraced the Gospel at this place were some who had practiced magic, or astrology. They had books which had been handed down for many generations; they also had two stones, about the size of goose eggs; they were rough uncouth looking stones–one end was flattened so they could be placed on a table. When they wished to gain information from this source, they would place these stones upon a table, and kneel down and pray to one who they addressed as Sameazer, which they called “charging the stones,” when  upon looking into them they saw what they sought for. For instance, a young woman, whose sister joined the church and emigrated to Nauvoo, not hearing from her, became very anxious, and to learn something about her, went to one of these astrologers, or magicians to inquire if her sister was well or something about her. The magician after charging the stones as before explained, told her to look into them. The young woman did so and said she saw her sister sitting upon something but could not describe what kind of a seat it was–by the side of a curious looking house, and apparently in good health. This satisfied her that her sister was safe and well, but the house and the seat her sister was on she could not understand what it could be.
This young woman, afterwards, joined the church and came to her sister who was living on a farm a short distance from Nauvoo, a worn fence enclosed the farm and log house, and it was upon this fence near the log house that she had seen her sister sitting when she looked into the magician’s stones in Staffordshire, England.
This is the substance of the narration as I heard it from Uncle John. Sometime after I moved to Nauvoo I became acquainted with Elder Alfred Cordon, who related to me the same; he also said the books with the stones were placed into his hands by these men after they joined the church, and he gave them to Apostle George A. Smith, who destroyed the books, but put the stones in the bottom of his trunk and brought them to Nauvoo. He gave them to Joseph the Prophet who pronounced them to be a Urim and Thumim–as good as ever was upon the earth–but he said, `They have been consecrated to devils.’ (Wandle Mace Diary, p. 66)
 THE HIRAM PAGE STONE
Another such stone was used by a member of the Church, but the revelations that were obtained from it were to the detriment of the Church. It was used from the very commencement of the organization of the Church.
During the last week in September of 1830, a conference was held at Fayette. There were only sixty-two members of the Church at that time. At the conference much was said about Hiram’s peepstone. He acknowledge his error and promised to be loyal to his leader and cease consulting the stone for guidance. Oliver Cowdery had apologized for his course and so Hiram was re-instated in the good graces of his leader. The Page `peepstone’ however, has been preserved as a souvenir in the Archives of the Reorganized Church. The writer was permitted to examine it. It is a flat stone about seven inches long, four wide and one quarter inch in thickness. It is dark gray in color with waves of brown and purple across the surface. A small hole has been drilled through one end of it as if a string had been threaded through it. It is simply impressive enough to make a good paper weight, yet it became a tool through which the adversary attempted to stir up strife and create a schism in the Church. Hiram E. Page had received spurious information about the building up of Zion, which was a popular theme with the little flock. (Historical Background of the Doc. & Cov., by Cecil McGavin, p. 93)
The Prophet Joseph wrote the following statement about the Page stone:
 The Hiram Page Stone
(photo of Hiram Page Stone)
When Apostle Alvin R. Dyer was in Richmond, Missouri, he visited Mrs. Mayme Koontz, who possessed the Hiram Page stone. He described it as a light gray, highly polished stone, about 5″ by 3″ by «” thick with two round holes in it. Mrs. Koontz stated that–
As to how this seer stone came into my possession, it has been handed down through one generation of the Whitmer family to the next generation until it finally was given to me, and I consider it a very great honor to have such a sacred trust in my possession. (Refiner’s Fire, by Alvin R. Dyer, p. 257)
It was the revelations through this peculiar stone that nearly broke up the Church at its very beginning.
 Sept. 26, 1830: To our great grief, however, we soon found that Satan had been lying in wait to deceive, and seeking whom he might devour. Brother Hiram Page had in his possession a certain stone, by which he had obtained certain `revelations’ concerning the upbuilding of Zion, the order of the Church, etc., all of which were entirely at variance with the order of God’s house, as laid down in the New Testament, as well as in our late revelations. As a conference meeting had been appointed for the 26th day of September, I thought it wisdom not to do much more than to converse with the brethren on the subject, until the conference should meet. Finding, however, that many–especially the Whitmer family and Oliver Cowdery–were believing much in the things set forth by this stone, we thought best to inquire of the Lord concerning so important a matter. (D.H.C. 1:110)
The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith the dangers of stone, and the source of its power:
And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me, and that Satan deceiveth him. (D. & C. 28:11)
* * *
The subject of the stone, previously mentioned, was discussed, and after considerable investigation, Brother Page, as well as the whole Church who were present, renounced the said stone, and all things connected therewith, much to our mutual satisfaction and happiness. (Historical Record, p. 384)
 Satan was seeking to use the same means of communication to destroy the Church that God was using to build it up.
THE EDWIN RUSHTON STONE
A friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Edwin Rushton, also had a seer stone in his possession:
Edwin Rushton dug in the ground in the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, as a dream had previously shown and obtained a seer stone about five feet underground, on May 4, 1846. He was a resident of Nauvoo at the time he obtained it. The stone, which still exists, appears to be a little smaller than a quarter of a baseball, and is crystal clear. He never tried to use the stone, as far as we know. (Urim and Thummim, by Arch S. Reynolds, p. 24)
Edwin Rushton recorded his experience in locating this stone in his journal:
In July 1845, while Father was resting in the middle of the day, he received a vision, or quoting from Father’s record, `I was caught away by the spirit and taken on a frequented footpath across lots to a ravine a few blocks south of Nauvoo Temple. As I stood in contemplation, the earth on the right side of me opened to the depth of about five feet, and I beheld a pot of treasure on top of which was a beautiful seer stone, clear as crystal, which I was told belonged to me. At the time I received the vision, I did not know anything about a seer stone and had never sought for a vision. This same vision was repeated to me three times about two weeks apart. With this (cont’d on page 55)
 The Edwin Rushton Stone
(photo of Edwin Rushton Stone)
 vision ever in mind, the following day I proceeded to hunt for the stone, taking three of my relatives with me. After digging for a short time, the stone was thrown out with a shovel of dirt. It is my firm conviction that this stone is one of the stones spoken of by John the Revelator (2:17).’ (See History of the Seer Stone. This stone is clear and beautiful. It is about the size of an egg and shaped somewhat like a kidney. It is treasured by the family and has been shown to hundreds of people) (Edwin Rushton Journal, p. 3)
This seer stone is now in the hands of one of the descendants of Edwin Rushton, now living in Salt City.
ELIAS PULSIPHER STONE
Presumably in the Kirtland area, Elias Pulsipher found a brown colored stone about 2« inches wide and 6 inches long with two holes in it. The Prophet Joseph examined it and declared it to be a seer stone. It is not known if Elias could use it but his daughter could. She located drowned persons, lost cattle and other items for people who sought such information. Her daughter also could use it and after would see whatever she desired. One strange thing happened though: she once asked to see Satan–which she did–but that was the last time that stone ever worked for anyone. (Statement by Elaine Mullins, descendant of Elias Pulsipher.)
 The Elias Pulsipher Stone
(photo of Elias Pulsipher Stone)
 THE PHILO DIBBLE STONE
Philo Dibble was a faithful Saint whose history was near to the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was also famous as a veteran of the Haun’s Mill Massacre–healed from the wounds of death by Newell Knight. It was he who made the death masks of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum. At the time of the martyrdom, he rescued a small seer stone, at the Nauvoo Mansion House, from falling into the hands of the apostates. He brought this seer stone across the plains. Later, as a curator of Church history, he showed the death masks, the seer stone, and other items of historical value on his lecture tours throughout the territory of Utah (See Mill. Star 11:11-12)
As time and possessors of this stone have passed on it came into the hands of Norman C. Pierce in 1936. He is now residing in Salt Lake City and still possesses this stone.
This seer stone, which came into the hands of the Prophet Joseph at one time, may be the Belcher stone because of the similarity of description.
Belcher bought it because it was said to be a seeing stone. I have often seen it. It was a green stone, with brown, irregular spots on it. It was a little longer than a goose’s egg and about the same thickness. When he brought it home and covered it with a hat, Belcher’s little boy was one of the first to look into the hat, and as he did so, he said he saw a candle. The second time he looked in he exclaimed, `I’ve found my hatchet.’ He immediately ran for it to the spot shown him through the stone and it was there. The boy was soon beset by neighbors far and near to reveal to them hidden things, and he succeeded marvelously. Even the wanderings of a lost child were (cont’d on page 59)
 Belcher Stone
(photos of Belcher Stone)
 traced by him. The distracted parents came to him three times for directions, and in each case found signs that the child had been in the places he designated, but at last it was found starved to death. (Cumorah’s Gold Bible, p. 147)
THE WILLIAM TITT AND OTHER STONES
About the year 1857, William Titt, some ten or twelve years old, was sent by President Daniel H. Wells from Salt Lake City to me at Parowan for a home as he and his stepmother could not agree. So I took him in and he lived with me until he was quite a man. He was quite a good man; he was born a natural seer. He was the best hand to look in a seer stone that I was ever acquainted with. I believe the Lord overruled his coming to me, I having the knowledge of the science of seer stones and being somewhat gifted in knowing one when I saw it. I used to find many and William could tell by looking in it who that stone was for, and I would give that stone to the one he said it was for, and they would see in them.
I yet remember two men’s names, Isaac Grundy and James Rollands. They both could see in their stones when they got them, and if they were strangers he could describe the persons but could not tell their names. I told him that if he would be faithful he did not know the eminence he would arrive at in consequence of his gift. I kept the seer stones under my immediate control and when needed I would bring them out. He did a great deal of good by finding lost property and by telling people how their kinfolks were getting along,  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)
 CHAPTER VIII
THE POWERS OF SEERSHIP
And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called a seer. Mosiah 8:13
The ability to “see” by means of a stone is a great gift–the greatest; but the use of a stone is not always necessary. The stone is a means or aid in helping or strengthening the gift and ability of the seer. As a man uses this gift, he will develop that power and ability without the use of a stone or any other instrument.
Joseph received several revelations to which I was witness by means of the seer stone, but he could receive also without any instrument. (Orson Pratt, Mill. Star 40:49)
One of the earliest instances of Joseph’s seership was recorded before the organization of the Church:
When I arrived at Harmony, June 1829, Joseph and Oliver were coming towards me and met me some distance from the house. Oliver told me that Joseph had informed him when I started from home, where I stopped the first night, etc., and that I would be there that day before dinner; all of which I was greatly astonished. (David Whitmer to Orson Pratt, Mill. Star 40:49)
Again two years later another instance occurred:
 Brother Whitney had not had his foot moved from the bed for nearly four weeks, when I went into his room, after a walk in the grove, and told him if he would agree to start for home in the morning, we would take a wagon to the river, about four miles, and there would be a ferry-boat in waiting which would take us quickly across, where we would find a hack which would take us directly to the landing, where we should find a boat, in waiting, and we would be going up the river before ten o’clock, and have a prosperous journey home. He took courage and told me he would go. We started next morning, and found everything as I had told him. (J. Smith, D.H.C., 1:272)
Whether Joseph used the seer stone on these occasions is not known, but the examples of his seership ability without using a stone are numerous–one of which was in the last year of his life:
Joseph remarked: `There is no mercy here–no mercy here.’ Hyrum said, `No; just as sure as we fall into their hands we are dead men.’ Joseph replied, `Yes, what shall we do, Brother Hyrum?’ He replied, `I don’t know.’ All at once Joseph’s countenance brightened up and he said, `The way is open; it is clear to my mind what to do. All they want is Hyrum and myself; then tell everybody to go about their business, and not to collect in groups, but to scatter about. There is no doubt they will come here and search for us. Let them search; they will not harm you in person or property, and not even a hair of your head.’ (T.P.J.S., p. 376)
On another occasion, while Joseph and others lay in the Carthage Jail,
 . . .and when all were apparently fast asleep, Joseph whispered to Dan Jones, `Are you afraid to die?’ Dan said, `Has that time come, think you? Engaged in such a cause I do not think that death would have many terrors.’ Joseph replied, `You will yet see Wales, and fulfill the mission appointed to you before you die.’ (D.H.C. 6:601)
This mission was fulfilled just as Joseph declared (See Mill. Star Vol. 11:38-42), showing the great and marvelous gift of seership that the Prophet Joseph Smith possessed to the very day of his death.
As the powers of seership are developed within a man, he becomes illuminated by the Spirit of God and can “see” into the past or future. Jesus was the most perfect example of this gift, as He was in all spiritual things. Examples of His seership ability are indicated in the following passages.
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, `Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!’ Nathanael saith unto him, `Whence knowest thou me?’ Jesus answered and said unto him, `Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. . . . Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.’ (John 1:47-50)
* * *
And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, `Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her; loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you,  ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them, and straightway he will send them.’ (Matt. 21:1-2)
* * *
Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? And he said, `Go into the city to such a man and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples, and the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.’ (Matt. 26:17-19)
* * *
Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest; behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. (Matt. 26:45)
* * *
And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and taken nothing; nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes and their net brake. (Luke 5:5-6)
* * *
Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money; that take, give unto them for me and thee. (Matt. 17:27)
* * *
 However, the devil will often use the same agencies that the Lord uses. At the same time that God’s work is rolling forth, the devil is there to compete against it.
Many of these opposing forces were used against the sacred work assigned to the Prophet Joseph. Satan used the same type of agencies which the Lord was using.
I never heard such oaths fall from the lips of any man as I heard uttered by a man who was called a fortune-teller, and who knew where those plates were hid. He went three times in one summer to get them, . . the same summer in which Joseph did get them. Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist priests and deacons sent for him to tell where those plates were, and to get them out of the hill where they were deposited; and he had not returned to his home from the last trip he made for them more than a week or ten days before Joseph got them. Joseph was what we call an ignorant boy; but this fortune-teller, whose name I do not remember, was a man of profound learning.
He had put himself in possession of all the learning in the States–had been to France, Germany, Italy, and through the world–had been educated for a priest, and turned out to be a devil. . . . He could preach as well as the best of them, and I never heard a man swear as he did. He could tell that those plates were there, and that they were a treasure whose value to the people could not be told; for that I myself heard him say. (Brigham Young, J.D. 5:55)
The powers of God and the powers of Satan are very similar in appearance and function. If people are not wise and filled with the Spirit of the Lord, they can be deceived.
 A person may see the power of the devil displayed, and mistake it for the power of God, for without the light of the Spirit one cannot tell the difference between the power of the Lord and the power of the devil. (Brigham Young, J.D. 3:155)
With whatever agency and means the Lord uses to communicate with man, the devil duplicates and imitates the same methods. Not only does the prince of darkness use similar means to advance his own work, but he also uses them to oppose or duplicate the work of God. One such occurrence happened while the Prophet Joseph was alive:
James Collins Brewster, the person mentioned by the Prophet in the text, was a boy about sixteen years of age, having been born as nearly as may be ascertained, in the year 1827. He claimed several years previous to this time to have had revelations while in Kirtland, by which he translated the so-called “Book of Esdras” which in some way, not altogether clear, was interpreted to be a guide for the Latter-day Saints. (The Prophet Joseph said: John Darby came in and said he was going to California with Brewster. I told him I would say, as the Prophet said to Hezekiah, `Go, and prosper; but ye shall not return in peace.’ Brewster may set out for California, but he will not get there unless somebody shall pick him up by the way, feed him and help him along. Brewster showed me the manuscript he had been writing. I inquired of the Lord, and the Lord told me the book was not true–it was not of Him. If God ever called me, or spake by my mouth, or gave me a revelation, he never gave revelations to that Brewster boy or any of the Brewster race.) He succeeded in con-verting his parents and a small number of people to the genuineness of his prophetic powers and gift of translation; and was now contemplating a removal of those who believed in him to California. After the death of the Prophet, in connection with one Hazen Aldrich, he succeeded in holding together a following for a few years, but in the end the Brewster-Aldrich movement was a flat failure, and the organization ceased to exist. (D.H.C. 5:214)
Once Joseph was warned to go quickly and remove the gold plates from their hiding place which was underneath the floor in his shop. Joseph went to the “cooper’s shop” and transferred them to the house. After completing his mission of re-locating them, he saw a mob scurrying past the house and into his shop. Soon afterwards, they left and Joseph went out to the shop.
. . . we found the floor of the cooper’s shop torn up and the box which was laid under it shivered in pieces. In a few days afterwards, we learned the cause of this last move–why their curiosity led them in the direction of the cooper’s shop. A young woman by the name of Chase, sister to Willard Chase, found a green glass through which she could see many very wonderful things, and among her great discoveries she said that she saw the precise place where `Joe Smith kept his gold Bible hid,’ and obedient to her directions, the mob gathered their forces and laid siege to the cooper’s shop. (History of Joseph Smith, p. 113)
God’s purpose of dispensing knowledge through seer stones is to reveal new light and intelligence to man. John Kelson beautifully explains this effect as it emanates from God.
 . . . No one who receives true revelation can fail to distinguish the genuine from the counterfeit. The light reveals its own source, as a ray from the sun leads up to its fountain. The voice is spirit, and the word is intelligence. There is the certainty of self-knowledge in true revelation. It is a light to the feet, a lamp to the path, and positive assurance to the soul. Its tendency is to elevate and refine. Under its benign influence individuals will become pure and God-like, and peoples will be exalted to the highest plane of grand and enlightened civilization.
It will light up the pathway to a new and glorious civilization. It will drive back into their dark caverns the fiends of discord, tyranny, ignorance and despair. Man will no longer be a bewildering enigma to himself, for the sun of revelation will dispel the gloom which envelops the past and the present. The hidden secrets of nature will be explored, and the realms of the mighty dead will be as light as day. The earth will open her bosom and reveal treasures and riches which have never been profaned by the eye of sordid greed, and man will realize that life is pleasure, and to live is joy. (Mill. Star 48:117)
Every man who bears the Priesthood holds the keys of communication with and for God. It is for this purpose that men are placed on the earth.
Because a man is a seer it does not mean that he must be the president of the Church. A man can be a seer and hold any office in the Church.
Perhaps it may make some of you stumble were I to ask you a question–does a man being  a prophet in this church prove that he shall be president of it? I answer no! A man may be a prophet, seer, and revelator and it may have nothing to do with his being president of the church. (Brigham Young, J.D. 1:133)
Men should earnestly desire the gifts which would be the most advantageous to the Lord. If we know and do the will of the Lord, He has promised to add to the talents and powers He has already bestowed upon us.
 CHAPTER IX
THE URIM AND THUMMIM
The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim.
- & C. 130:8
The Urim and Thummim was a material instrument through which spiritual communication was conducted from God to man. Its powers of vision illuminated the eyes, the mind, and the spirit of the beholder–reflecting the events of the past or foreshadowing those of the future. Through this instrument the mysteries of ancient, dead languages could be interpreted, or the seer could envision the untold sublime wonders of the celestial glories.
The circumstances surrounding the discovery and use of this Urim and Thummim in the latter days are described in the following paragraphs:
In the account which the Prophet Joseph Smith gives of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he says that an angel directed him to a certain hill in the side of which was buried a stone box. In this box he found the plates containing the writings from which the Book of Mormon was translated. With these plates other things were buried, and among them were what he describes as two stones set in silver bows, and fastened to a breastplate. These instruments he calls the Urim and Thummim. They are similarly described in the Book of Mormon, in which they are called interpreters. In translating the ancient record engraven upon the gold plates the Prophet used these interpreters. By the power of the Lord he was enabled to look upon these stones and read the English translation of the ancient writings as it appeared upon them sentence by sentence.
 Many unbelievers, who read the account of this remarkable method of translating, not only refuse to believe it, but ridicule the idea of using such instruments for such a purpose. It certainly would be absurd for an uninspired man to take two ordinary stones from the earth and with their aid attempt to translate a record written in an unknown language. But the stones of the Urim and Thummim were prepared by the Lord for certain sacred purposes, and it was through a gift from Him that the record contained in the Book of Mormon was translated.
Those who scoff at the means employed by the modern Prophet in this work show their ignorance of the Bible, and of the methods the Lord made use of in ancient times to reveal intelligence to His chosen servants. . . .
The “Helps to the Study of the Bible,” contained in the Oxford Teachers’ Bible, under the heading of “A Glossary of Antiquities, Customs, etc.,” furnishes some explanation of the use of the Urim and Thummim. Their meaning is given as “Lights and Perfections;” and they are described as “the sacred symbols (worn upon the breastplate of the high priest `upon his heart’), by which God gave oracular responses for the guidance of His people in temporal matters.” It is further stated that “What they were is unknown; they are introduced in Exodus without explanation, as if familiar to the Israelites of that day. * * * Some scholars suppose that they were the twelve stones of the breastplate; others that they were two additional stones concealed in its fold. Josephus adds to these the two sardonyx buttons worn on the shoulders, which, he says, emitted lumin-ous rays when the response was favorable; but the means by which the oracles were given is lost in obscurity.”
The description of the Urim and Thummim and of their purposes given by the Prophet Joseph is not in the least at variance with what is said of them in the Bible, or with what the world knows of them. (Mill. Star 59:540)
An excellent portrayal of the ancient history of the Urim and Thummim was written by the Apostle Orson Pratt:
. . . Aaron and the firstborn of his sons who were high priests after the Levitical order, were blessed with this choice gift. And the Lord commanded that the Urim and Thummim should be inserted in the breastplate worn by the high priest. Four rows of precious stones, upon which the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were engraved, adorned the breastplate: these stones were set in gold; and the breastplate was attached by gold rings to a richly wrought ornament, called an ephod.
The Urim and Thummim was the most important part of the breastplate: the other portions, it is true, were not only ornamental, but highly significant of the important office of the high priest as judge in Israel. But it was the Urim and Thumim which emphatically constituted the breastplate, a “breastplate of Judgment.” Hence, the Lord, after having described the pattern of the ephod and breastplate, said to Moses, “And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron  shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually. (Exodus xxviii. 30)
How Moses first obtained this Urim and Thummim is not revealed: but it is mentioned in this passage, as an instrument already in his possession. It may have been given to him by the Lord upon Mount Sinai, or it may have descended to him from his ancestors.
It was through the Urim and Thummim that Aaron was prepared to judge the twelve tribes. In all difficult cases, arising between man and man, Aaron asked counsel of the Lord by looking in this sacred instrument. Thus he bore “the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.” The revelations by the Urim were indispensably necessary to the office of a judge over Israel.
After the death of Aaron the ephod and breastplate containing the Urim and Thummim descended by birthright to his son Eleazar; and he became a judge over Israel. Even Joshua, who succeeded Moses, as a great commander and leader of Israel, was commanded to inquire of the Lord through Eleazar the priest, who was to get revelations for him by the Urim. This is plainly taught in the following passages: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honor upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who  shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.” (Num. xxvii. 18-21) Thus it will be seen, that all Israel went out and came in, and were governed by the revelations of the Urim.
Just previous to Moses’ death, he blessed all the tribes of Israel, naming the most important blessings which should characterize each, “And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy Holy One.” (Deut. xxxiii. 8). It is evident that Moses considered this sacred instrument to be one of the most important blessings given to the tribe of Levi; and for this reason, it was placed first on the list of blessings enumerated for that tribe. All the rest of the tribes were to receive revelations by the Urim and Thummim through the Priesthood of Levi. But there was evidently danger, lest the Levites should prostitute the sacred use of this holy instrument to trivial and unholy purposes; and by so doing, the gift which was intended as a great blessing, would become a great curse; to prevent this, Moses uttered the command I have just quoted; namely, “Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy Holy One.” They were to appeal to the Holy One, when, and for what purposes to use this divine instrument; they were not to desecrate its use contrary to the will of the Holy One, by inquiring for things which would be improper or forbidden.
Because of wickedness, it was often the case that the Lord would not answer the inquiries made of Him. We have an instance of  this in the case of Saul; the king of Israel, after his apostasy. “When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.” (I Samuel xxviii. 6.) And even before Saul’s apostasy, when Jonathan, his son, ignorantly transgressed the oath of his father, the latter could not receive any answer from God, until he called his son to an account. On this occasion, the priest said to Saul, “Let us draw near hither unto God. And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? Wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel? But He answered him not that day.” (I Samuel xiv. 36, 37). Because the Lord did not answer, Saul knew that there must be someone who had sinned; when the people were righteous, and they inquired of God about anything which was proper, they always expected to receive an answer.
It has, by some, been supposed that the Urim and Thummim was only to be used in the temple. But we find Abiathar, the priest, fleeing from the city of Nob, and carrying an ephod in his hand; and he came to the city of Keilah, where David was sojourning. And David “said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod. Then said David, O Lord God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah to destroy the city for my sake. Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? Will Saul come down as thy servant hath heard? O Lord God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the Lord said, He will come down. Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the Lord said, They will deliver thee up.” (I Samuel xxiii.  9-12). Now the Ephod was always worn in connection with the breastplate; there is, therefore, every reason to believe that the Urim was used in this instance in inquiry. There were “fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen Ephod” of the priests who lived in the city of Nob. These, most undoubtedly, had the Urim by which they could inquire of God. (See I Samuel xxii. 18). The priest who dwelt in the house of Micah, in Mount Ephraim, had an Ephod and a Teraphim; and could inquire of God. The five spies of the tribe of Dan employed this priest to inquire of the Lord for them. “And they said unto him, ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous. And the priest said unto them, Go in peace; before the Lord is your way wherein ye go.” (Judges xviii. 5, 6)
In the days of Ezra and Nehemiah certain priests, of the children of Barzillai, sought to find their genealogy registered but could not. Therefore, were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood. And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.” (Ezra ii. 61-65; also Nehemiah vii. 63-65). During the captivity of the Jews in Babylon, it appears that they were deprived of this sacred instrument; but immediately after their restoration, they saw the need of the Urim, to ascertain genealogies, where they had been lost.
Hosea the prophet foretold the future calamities of Israel, among which he predicts the loss of the Ephod and Teraphim. He said, “The children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and with-out a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an Ephod, and without Teraphim. Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.” (Hosea iii. 4, 5). Many long centuries have rolled away, since this prophecy commenced its fulfillment. The Ephod, with its breastplate of judgment, containing the Urim and Thummim, has been absent some two thousand years. But as the “latter days” have come, in which great blessings are to be given to Israel, as predicted in the fifth verse, God has again restored the Urim and Thummim to the great Seer of the last dispensation–Joseph Smith. By this sacred instrument, he translated that divine and holy record, the Book of Mormon, or the sacred history of ancient America.
Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, was a descendant of Abraham, and a priest of the Most High God, not after the order of Aaron, but after a higher order. He was a priest of the descendants of Midian, who was the fourth son of Keturah, one of Abraham’s wives. The Midianitish priest came into the camp of Israel and gave Moses the pattern after which to organize the whole nation for the proper administration of their theocratical form of government. And Moses did all things as he was directed by this great priest. After which Moses requested him to go with Israel, but Jethro (or Hobab) said unto him, “I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred. And he said, Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes.” (Num. x. 30-31)  How could Jethro benefit Israel in their wanderings in the wilderness? By being to them as eyes; that is, by being their Seer. There is but little doubt, from what is recorded, that Jethro had the Urim, or the Seer’s divine instrument, through which he could inquire of God; hence, the anxiety of Moses to retain him in the camp, that he might be as eyes to Israel during their long and tedious journey in a solitary and frightful wilderness.
In the revelation to John on Patmus, Jesus says, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it.” (Rev. ii. 17) Now there must be something connected with this stone of more value than the new name written in it. There is undoubtedly a power connected with it, of the same nature as that attending the Urim; or the stone itself will be a Urim and Thummim to the person to whom the new name has been given, and to none others. Each can see in his own white stone, but cannot discern anything in the others. Joseph the Seer, in his interesting history, says, that this white stone will be a Urim and Thummim. He also says, that the “sea of glass,” upon which John saw the Saints standing, will be the earth in its sanctified and immortal state; and that in this glorified state, it will be a Urim and Thummim to all the celestial inhabitants who dwell upon it. If a small stone or other material in Aaron’s breastplate could be made, by the power of God, to shine forth and illuminate the vision of the Seer; then, by the same power, the whole earth could be filled with the Spirit of God, and be made to shine with celestial glory, like  the sun in the firmament of heaven. The glorified inhabitants, of a glorified world, would thus have the means of beholding all kingdoms and worlds of an inferior order.
The “silver cup” which Joseph in Egypt commanded the steward to put in Benjamin’s sack, in order to try his brethren, was, most probably, sanctified as a Urim and Thummim to Joseph. Hence, Joseph commanded the steward to pursue his brethren, and say to them, “Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth?” And when Joseph’s brethren were brought back, he said unto them, “What deed is this that ye have done? Wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?” (See Gen. xliv.) It would be no more difficult for the Lord to sanctify a “Silver Cup,” and cause it to be endowed with all the properties of the Urim, than to sanctify a stone or any other material for such a holy purpose. It was the gift of seeing in these holy divine instruments which, without doubt, constituted the difference between a seer and a prophet. The former being a prophet with the additional gift of the Urim; the latter being a prophet without the aid of that divine instrument.” (Masterful Discourses of Orson Pratt, pp. 552-557, by N. B. Lundwall.)
From all available documentation on the subject, the Urim and Thummim was two seer stones attached to a rod or stick. One of the early Mormon pioneers, W. A. Bailey, who became known as the first photographer in the Salt Lake Valley, had a pictorial description of the Urim and Thummim published. It shows two seer stones set into a bow and attached to a rod or stick, thus depicting much the appearance of a pair of spectacles. (See the following page)
 The Urim and Thummim contained two stones which were apparently seer stones.
With the records was found a curious instrument, called by the ancients the Urim and Thummim, which consisted of two transparent stones, clear as crystal, set in two rims of a bow. This was in use in ancient times by persons called seers. It was an instrument, by the use of which they received revelations of things distant or things past and future. (Remarkable Visions, p. 6, by Orson Pratt)
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 The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box were laid two stones crosswise of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them. (D.H.C. 1:16)
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And behold, these two stones will I give unto thee, and ye shall seal them up also with the things which ye shall write. (Ether 5:25)
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I found that the Urim and Thummim consisted of two smooth three-cornered diamonds, set in glass, and the glasses were set in silver bows which were connected with each other in much the same way as old fashioned spectacles only much larger. (Reminiscences of the Prophet Joseph, by Stevenson, p. 27.)
Another excellent article on the history of this unusual instrument appeared in the 1914 issue of the Millennial Star.
CONCERNING THE URIM AND THUMIM
The Brim and ThUmmim were instruments that were anciently provided as part of the furnishings for the use of the priesthood who ministered in the tabernacle and temple service under the Mosaic dispensation. Their history and use are confined to that period of time, according to the Biblical record. No description of them is therein given, and so nothing can be learned from that source respecting their size, shape, substance and general appearance. It may, however, be inferred from the fact that they were to form part of the ornamentation of the “breastplate of judgment”–an appurtenance belonging to the Aaronic  Priesthood–that they were not large, but must have been of exquisite workmanship. Fastened to this, they were always to be worn by the priest when he went before the Lord in his official capacity, as we learn from the following scripture: “And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim: and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.” (Ex. 28:29, 30)
The Hebrew meaning of the words “Urim” and “Thummim,” is “Lights” and “Perfections,” which, in the Septuagint–an early Greek version of the Hebrew–is rendered by terms that signify “Manifestations” and “Truth.” The names of these instruments then, are suggestive of the use for which they were designed by the Almighty, namely: to make known truth without any admixture of error. But notwithstanding the universal service for which their names imply an adaptation, it appears from the sacred record that their use was restricted to making known the will of God concerning the more difficult matters of a material or temporal nature that demanded the attention of His people. The view that they were to be employed in solving problems of this nature only, is founded upon what is said in Numbers 27:18-21, and in other texts, in none of which is any reference made to things that are essentially spiritual. Thus in the passages just cited, we read: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son  of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation” (Num. 27:18-21).
In what manner the will of the Lord was made known by means of the Urim and Thummim, can be conjectured only. A number of different opinions have been proposed; but as none of them can be considered as, of more value than mere surmises, no time will now be occupied with their consideration. It is worthy of notice, however, that apparently only those whose righteousness made them acceptable to God, were granted manifestations of His will by their means, even in temporal concerns. An instance in point occurred in the life of Saul, as recorded in I Sam. 28:4-6 in these words: “And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.” These quotations contain about all the information, we believe, that the Biblical record gives concerning the history, use, etc., of these sacred instruments, and with the des-truction of Solomon’s temple by the Babylonians all definite trace of them is lost, so far as Israelitish history of tradition is known. The Jews of times after the captivity say that several things, which made that temple so glorious in their sight, were not in the temple of Zerubbabel, nor in that of Herod, with all its grandeur; and among the things lost were the Urim and Thummim–the others being the Shechinah, the tables of the law written by the finger of God Himself, and Aaron’s rod that budded. What became of them is a question, we believe, that none of the ancients attempt to answer.
It is claimed, however, by some of the membership of this Church that the Urim and Thummim spoken of in the Bible are the identical “seer stones” used by Joseph Smith in translating the originals of the Book of Mormon records. This opinion is regarded as absurd by our enemies; but one purpose of these remarks shall be to show that there is quite a degree of probability to sustain it. But before coming directly to this point, some other relative matters shall be considered, and among them is a statement made in the Book of Mormon concerning the time when the Lord first provided the Urim and Thummim, or instruments of their class, for the use of His saints.
It appears from the work just named that a number of Nephites, who formed part of a community which may be known as the people of Limhi, discovered certain gold plates upon which were engraven some Jaredite records in an unknown language. They were delivered to king Mosiah and were finally translated by means of some “seer stones,” or “interpreters,”  which were in his possession. Though these instruments were not by the Nephites called Urim and Thummim, yet the use which they were made to serve on that occasion, harmonizes so nicely with the meaning of these names, as already noted, and with the uses to which the quoted scriptures from the Bible show such instruments were put by the ancient Israelites, that it seems almost certain the “interpreters” of the Book of Mormon history and the Urim and Thummim of the Bible records, were identical in character. Speaking of them, the Book of Mormon says: “And now he translated them (the Jaredite records) by the means of those two stones, which were fastened into the two rims of a bow. Now these things were prepared from the beginning, and were handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages; and they have been kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he should discover to every creature who should possess the land, the iniquities and abominations of his people, and whosoever has these things is called seer after the manner of old times” (Mos. 28:13-16). Here there are mentioned some particular uses for which the seer stones of the Nephites were prepared, but this fact does not restrict their use to them alone, any more than when the Bible states that the Urim should tell the Israelites when the whole congregation should go in or out, limits its service to that single matter. In the quotation from Mosiah we learn that instruments, evidently of the same nature as the Urim and Thummim of ancient Jewish history, were prepared by the Lord “from the beginning.”
Referring now, for another point, to the Pearl of Great Price (Book of Abraham), we find  according to it, that Abraham himself was in possession of the Urim and Thummim, a certain passage reading thus: “And I, Abraham had the Urim and Thummim which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees, and I saw the stars that they were very great,” etc., and a little further on in the same paragraph he says that this knowledge was made known to him through that instrument. Not all the remaining portion of the Book of Abraham was given in the same way, for in the third paragraph succeeding, he says that the Lord talked with him face to face, and put His hand upon his (Abraham’s) eyes and by these means taught and showed him many great things. It is worthy of notice in this connection that matters of a temporal or physical nature only are referred to as uses for which the Urim and Thummim were applied in ancient times. This is a consistency of considerable value. One that an impostor, writing an alleged authentic Book of Abraham, might easily fail to take into account.
But, says an objector, if Abraham had them, how is it that no mention is made of them until the time when the Israelites were in the wilderness? and, hence, many are very sure that their first use among men was during the exodus of those people from Egypt. However, it is not difficult to account for the absence of all allusions to them in the Bible as being known previous to the time spoken of. Only a shall number of references to them are found in that book, though they were in possession of the Israelites from about 1491 B.C., to the time of the Babylonish captivity–a period of 900 years in round numbers–nor are they mentioned at all from the time of Samuel 1056 B.C., and so we have here 520 years of absolute si-lence respecting them. We must also remember that this failure to speak of the Urim and Thummim occurs during the very period when a large part of the Jewish sacred history was being written. That they are not referred to as known during the 500 years just preceding 1491 B.C., is not at all, therefore, surprising. When we consider, further, that there is not a single book of the Bible that was written until the time of the Exodus, the objection we have in hand may be passed as quite insignificant. The only book of a sacred nature which we possess claiming to have been written before that event does mention them.
One additional point remains to be noticed. If we turn to the quotation already given from Exodus, it will be observed that the Urim and Thummim are there spoken of as being already well known to Moses and others of the Israelitish people. A sacred instrument of such great value would not have been put, for the first time, into the hands of any man without some explanation of its purpose, and instructions as to the manner or its use would then be given. It is spoken of as something already familiar to God’s servants. These facts have led learned commentators on the Bible to conclude that the Urim and Thummim were in use among the Israelites before they were made part of the breastplate furnishings. It follows, then, that the statement of the Pearl of Great Price that Abraham had the Urim and Thummim cannot be successfully controverted; and the Book of Mormon claim that they, or similar instruments, were made in the beginning and handed down from generation to generation, while not proven from Biblical history, nevertheless, obtains from that source a good degree of probability in its favor.
 Now, can it be shown that the Urim and Thummim of the Israelites ever got or could get to America, and so be in possession of the Nephites, and finally be lodged in the hands of Joseph Smith for his use? With our present light on this question no conclusive answer in the affirmative can be given; yet there are facts of Israelitish and Book of Mormon history which together show that it could have been done, and no point in the argument need be strained in the least.
When Nephi obtained the brass plates from Laban, no mention whatever is made of his having got with them the Urim and Thummim. This is precisely as the case should stand; for Laban, though a keeper of a copy of the Jewish law and history, was evidently occupying his own house and had a private treasure where he kept the records. A little study of the Book of Mormon narrative relative to the case, will lead one quite surely to the conclusion. The Urim and Thummim were sacred treasures of the Temple, and were securely guarded there. There is not a word of the whole narrative which implies that Nephi went to the temple for any purpose whatever; but in fulfillment of his mission to get the plates he went to the house of Laban, as is stated in substance in I Nephi 4:5. This fact should be kept well in mind. Now, only a few years after Lehi and his company had left Jerusalem, and had, through Nephi’s efforts, come into possession of the brass plates–the land of promise, or America as it is now called, being duly reached–another company of Jewish colonists left that same city, having the same destination in view. Of this second company the king’s son was a member, and this circumstance causes one to think  that it was in all probability made up of Jewish notables who had free access to the temple–a company worthy to be the companions of the king’s son. The king himself was deeply interested in the welfare of those people on account of his son’s happiness and prosperity being associated so closely with them. There is nothing of which the mind of man can conceive that would so perfectly serve the purpose of a guide to a colony going into a distant and unknown land, having first to cross wide stretches of uncharted seas, without a mariner’s compass, as that ancient Urim and Thummim, one of whose specified purposes was to tell the people about their goings “in and out.” Does it not look as if they were bound to get that instrument, or something else equally reliable, before they set sail upon an unknown sea? There was nothing which, on account of its small size, could be carried along so easily, nothing more sacred in the eyes of Israelitish people, and consequently, nothing that they would more jealously guard against falling into the hands of their Babylonian foes, and this second colony left Jerusalem almost simultaneously with the capture of that unfortunate city by Nebuchadnezzar; and now mark the fact again, that the history of the Urim and Thummim comes to an end among the Jews from that very time. The Babylonians, who carried off the rich treasures of Solomon’s Temple, make no mention of them, nor of the other things that were the most holy of its furnishings. Is it not probable that the Almighty interfered to preserve them? What did He do with them? Reader, keeping in mind the fact that with the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jewish history of these instruments ceases, and remember that it is with the descendants  of that second colony which left that city just at that time and went to America, that the purposes of the ancient Jewish Urim and Thummim again begins, as we lean from Mosiah 8:13-19), and what stronger circumstantial evidence can be desired to prove that the “interpreters” of the Nephites were identical with the Urim and Thummim of the Israelites? From the period in Nephite history when that chapter of Mosiah was written, until those sacred things were delivered into the hands of Joseph Smith, the record as to how they were guarded and preserved is without a break. There is a consistency in all these matters that is too striking to have been conceived in the brain of an unschooled youth who wrote the Book of Mormon as an alleged imposture, and we commend them to the consideration of those who mock at our claim that Joseph Smith had “seer stones,” by calling them “wonderful spectacles,” “peep stones,” etc. The probability that he had the Israelitish Urim and Thummim can be denied only by a denial of the whole “Mormon” system.
As a basis for a few closing remarks, we find by turning to the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 17:1, that the breastplate, the sword of Laban and the Urim and Thummim were given to the brother of Jared when the Lord talked to him face to face in the mount. Jared and his brother lived during the days when the tower of Babel was being built. This brother–whose name is not disclosed–was a man of such faith and righteousness that it might be said that he walked with God, and at some period of his life he had the special manifestation of God’s favor of which the cited text makes mention. It does not appear that the Urim and Thummim were made on that occasion, and the  way in which the reference to them is worded, lends color to the Book of Mormon statement that they were prepared “in the beginning.” That they were taken from the ancient Jewish priesthood to be restored in the due time of the Lord, is evident from what is said in Ezra and Nehemiah in the passages already referred to, a portion of them reading that the Jewish priesthood “should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.” It appears, then, that just as certainly as we look for the restoration of the Jews to the full favor of God, when they shall enjoy all their ancient rights and privileges, just so sure is it that the Urim and Thummim shall be again among the furnishings supplied to His priesthood. (T.W.B. Mill. Star 76:552-557)
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Lucy Mack Smith gives a most interesting account of the breastplate, the Urim and Thummim, and the plates:
It was wrapped in a thin muslin handkerchief, so thin that I could feel its proportions without any difficulty. It was concave on one side and convex on the other, and extended from the neck downwards, as far as the center of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material, for the purpose of fastening it to the breast, two of which ran back to go over the shoulders, and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips. They were just the width of two of my fingers (for I measured them), and they had holes in the end of them, to be convenient in fastening. After I had examined it, Joseph placed it in the chest with the Urim and Thummim. (History of Joseph Smith, p. 112)
 Wilford Woodruff had a chance to examine this holy instrument, also.
The Twelve, or part of them, spent the day with Joseph the Seer, and he confided unto them many glorious things of the Kingdom of God. The privileges and blessings of the priesthood, etc. I had the privilege of seeing for the first time in my day, the Urim and Thummim. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, Dec. 27, 1841)
Joseph knew, as well as Moses, that he could not show this instrument to anyone except to whom the Lord should command. The Urim and Thummim is one of the most sacred of all instruments. Abuse of it meant destruction.
I should not show them to any person; neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed. (D.H.C. 1:13)
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. . . and the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. (Mosiah 8:13)
The Prophet Joseph was given the Urim and Thummim mainly for the purpose of translation. It was necessary that this instrument be used because of the manner of writing used by Mormon.
But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; therefore, he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof. (Mormon 9:34)
 From the Jaredites the same purpose for the Urim was mentioned:
Ye shall write them and seal them up, that no one can interpret them; for ye shall write them in a language that they cannot be read. And behold these two stones will I give unto thee, and ye shall seal them up also with the things which ye shall write. For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded, wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write. (Ether 3:22-24)
We are indebted to the Urim and Thummim for more than the translation of the Book of Mormon, because the Pearl of Great Price was also translated by this instrument.
The record Pearl of Great Price is now in course of translation by means of the Urim and Thummim and proves to be a record written partly by the father of the faithful, Abraham, and finished by Joseph when in Egypt. (P.P. Pratt, Mill. Star 3:47)
In the 18th century, John Fox compiled the most exhaustive history of the martyrs of Christianity. He sought to record every soul who died for the cause of Christ from the very death of Jesus and His disciples. This record came into the hands of the Prophet Joseph. Without having the needed time to read this exhaustive book, he applied the Urim and Thummim upon it and said:
I have, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, seen those martyrs and they were honest, devoted followers of Christ according to the light they possessed; they will be saved. (Reminiscences of the Prophet Joseph, by Stevenson, p. 5)
 What joy and understanding must come by use of a Urim and Thummim! How marvelous the mysteries and hidden knowledge contained in ancient records which could rapidly unfold to the eyes of the seer! Such blessings must have thrilled all of those engaged in such a glorious work!
The Lord is blessing with power to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom of God; to translate through the Urim and Thummim ancient records and hieroglyphics old as Abraham or Adam which caused our hearts to burn within us when we behold their glorious truths opened unto us. (Life of Wilford Woodruff, Feb. 19, 1842)
The Prophet Joseph Smith was not the only individual in this dispensation to use the Urim and Thummim and to receive revelations from God. Heber C. Kimball testified that Brigham Young also used these sacred instruments.
Has Brother Brigham Young got the Urim and Thummim? Yes, he has everything that is necessary for him to receive the will and mind of God to this people. Do I know it? Yes, I know all about it. . . . (Heber C. Kimball, J.D. 2:111)
Because the Urim and Thummim with the breastplate was heavy and awkward, the Prophet possessed a seer stone which he used for convenience.
On Sunday, Sept. 4, 1870, Martin Harris addressed a congregation of Saints in Salt Lake City. He related an incident which occurred during the time that he wrote that portion of the translation of the Book of Mormon which he was favored to write direct from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and said that the  Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then used the seer stone. (Historical Record, A. Jenson, p. 216)
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In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, after sitting by the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us. (Emma Smith, p. 310, Saints Herald, May 19, 1888)
The manner in which the translation is done is most interesting:
By the aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say `written;’ and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another appear in its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used. (Origin, Rise and Progress of Mormonism, Chap. 2.)
Worthiness was the only means of operation just as it was the ball and director used by Nephi. (I Nephi) Testimonials show the worthiness of the Prophet and the reasons he had to remain so.
At times when Brother Joseph would attempt to translate he would look into the hat in which the stone was placed, he found he was spiritually blind and could not translate. He  told us that his mind dwelt too much on earthly things, and various causes would make him incapable of proceeding with the translation. When in this condition he would go out and pray, and when he became sufficiently humble before God, he could then proceed with the translation. Now we see how very strict the Lord is, and how he requires the heart of man to be just right in his sight before he can receive revelation from him. (David Whitmer, Address to All Believers in Christ.)
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He was a religious and straightforward man. He had to be; for he was illiterate and he could do nothing himself. He had to trust in God. He could not translate unless he was humble and possessed the right feelings towards everyone. To illustrate so you can see: One morning when he was getting ready to continue the translation, something went wrong about the house and he was put out about it. Something that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I went upstairs and Joseph came up soon after to continue the translation but he could not do anything. He could not translate a single syllable. He went downstairs, out into the orchard, and made supplication to the Lord; was gone about an hour–came back to the house and asked Emma’s forgiveness and then came upstairs where we were and then the translation went all right. He could do nothing save he was humble and faithful. (David Whitmer, Sept. 15, 1882, Braden-Kelly Debate, p. 186)
The Latter-day Saint records also relate a similar story. Joseph lost the Urim and Thummim but was given a seer stone to continue his translation of the Book of Mormon.
 The Urim and Thummim, mentioned in the account of the vision, were a pair of transparent stone spectacles. Smith would put on the spectacles, when a few words of the text of the Book of Mormon would appear on the lenses. When these were correctly transcribed by Cowdery, who acted as his amanuensis, these words would disappear and others take their place. When 116 pages were completed, Smith entrusted them to Martin Harris, to take to his home with a view to convert his family to the new faith. They were placed at night in a bureau drawer and next morning were missing, having been stolen. They were never found and never replaced, so that the Book of Mormon today is short that number of pages of the original matter. As a chastisement for this carelessness, the Urim and Thummim was taken from Smith. But by humbling himself, he again found favor with the Lord and was presented with a strange ovalshaped, chocolate colored stone, about the size of an egg, but more flat, which it was promised should answer the same purpose. With this stone all the present book was translated. The Prophet would place the stone in a hat, then put his face in the hat and read the words that appeared thereon. This stone was confided to Oliver Cowdery and preserved by him until his death in 1850. After that event, Phineas Young succeeded in getting it from Cowdery’s widow, and it is now among the sacred relics preserved at Salt Lake City. (Historical Record, p. 623)
Hyrum Smith gives us reason to believe that Joseph did again, at a later date, receive the Urim and Thummim. When Hyrum told Joseph that he could convince Emma of the truth of plural marriage because “the doctrine is so plain I can convince any reasonable man or woman of its  truth, purity, and heavenly origin,” Joseph replied that he did not know Emma as well as he did.
He (Hyrum) then requested Joseph to write the revelation by means of the Urim and Thummim, but Joseph in reply said he did not need to, for he knew the revelation perfectly from beginning to end. (C.H.C. 2:106)
This circumstance occurred in July of 1843. From this we can assume that the Prophet Joseph Smith was in possession of the Urim and Thummim for a considerable period of time before his death.
Joseph and Oliver had a difference of opinion as to whether John the Revelator had died or was given the chance to live. They settled the problem by means of the Urim and Thummim which resulted in the Seventh Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. At least eight revelations were received by this means–Sections 3, 6, 7, 11, 14, 15, 16 and 17, which indicates Joseph used it for a considerable time.
The Lord has promised many more records in the future. These, too, like the Book of Mormon, will have to be translated with the use of a Urim and Thummim.
But we have every reason to believe that the time is not far distant, and that there are some living among the young now upon the earth, that will live to behold great numbers of revelations given, and will behold other books come forth and other records translated by the Urim and Thummim, that same instrument that Joseph Smith used in the translation of the Book of Mormon,” which will again come forth and be revealed to the seer and revelator that God will raise up by which these ancient records will be brought to light. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 19:216)
 The greater part of the grand mysteries of the past and of the future, still rests in the final mission of the Urim and Thummim.
 CHAPTER X
And this is their condemnation, that light has come into the world, and they choose darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.
Brigham Young, Des. News, June 18, 1873
The power of seership is one of the greatest gifts ever given to man; and the time is not far distant when every man who bears the Priesthood will be a seer. But it can only be when men have proved themselves able to withstand all of the false deceptions of the devil.
Today the powers of crystal ball gazers, astrologers, ouija boards, etc., are abounding because men have forsaken or rejected the true seers of God.
Thousands of people seek unto `wizards who peep and mutter’ etc., but they will not seek unto the living God. I can say to all the inhabitants of the earth that before what is called spiritualism was ever known in America, I told the people that if they would not believe the revelations that God had given, He would suffer the devil to give revelations that they–priests and people would follow after. . . . I told the people that as true as God lived, if they would not have the truth they would have error sent to them, and they would believe it. (Brigham Young, Des. News, June 18, 1871, p. 308)
Even those who accept the revelations of God are susceptible to deception. Perhaps the channels from God can be more easily doubted and rejected when those channels are more vivid and direct.
Some are not fully satisfied, but will doubt the revelation that God has given them. You think you would not. I have known many who have. Oliver Cowdery received revelations and wrote them; so did David Whitmer, and so did Thomas B. Marsh. (H. C. Kimball, J.D. 5:28)
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For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him. (D. & C. 3:4)
Jesus infers that even a man who is appointed as a seer for the Church may also become an offense and transgressor to that body. His instructions imply a severance of any officer, from the foot to the eye, who becomes dark with error and deception. This is necessary rather than suffering the whole church body to be cast into darkness and deception.
Therefore, if thy hand offend thee, cut it off; or if thy brother offend thee and confess not and forsake not, he shall be cut off. It is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands, to go into hell. For it is better for thee to enter into life without thy brother, than for thee and thy brother to be cast into hell; into the fire that never shall be quenched, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And again, if thy foot offend thee, cut it off; for he that is thy standard, by whom thou walkest, if he become a transgressor, he shall be cut off. It is better for thee, to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be  cast into hell; into the fire that never shall be quenched. Therefore, let every man stand or fall, by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another. Seek unto my Father, and it shall be done in that very moment what ye shall ask, if ye ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive. And if thine eye which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out. It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God, with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. For it is better that thyself should be saved, than to be cast into hell with thy brother, where their worm dieth not, and where the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire; and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt; but the salt must be good. For if the salt have lost his saltiness, wherewith will ye season it? (the sacrifice) Therefore it must needs be that ye have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. (Mark 9:40-50, Ins. Version)
This indicates that every person should be a seer to himself and thereby “stand or fall by himself not trusting another.” Each member should be able to “see” for himself. Orson Pratt infers that the Saints will some day become “more fully” seers.
Shall we stop here? No, the time will come when this people will become more fully revelators, and prophets, and seers themselves, and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God, and even out of the mouth of babes and sucklings will the spirit of God reveal things that–have been kept secret from the foundation of the world; they will utter forth the things of God, helping to fill the earth with the  knowledge of God, as the waters cover the great deep. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 19:219)
The ability and powers of seership will also be magnified in the next world. Powers of light and seership shall be absorbed into the whole body of man.
I long for the time that a point of the finger, or motion of the hand will express every idea without utterance. When a man is full of eternity, then the eye is not only the medium through which he sees, his ear is not the only medium by which he hears, nor the brain the only means by which he understands. When the whole body is full of the Holy Ghost, he can see behind him with as much ease, without turning his head, as he can before him. If you have not that experience, you ought to have. It is not the optic nerve alone that gives the knowledge of surrounding objects to the kind, but it is that which God has placed in man–a system of intelligence that attracts knowledge, as light cleaves to light, intelligence to intelligence, and truth to truth. It is this which lays in man a proper foundation for all education. I shall yet see the time that I can converse with this people, and not speak to them, but the expression of my countenance will tell the congregation what I wish to convey, without opening my mouth. (Brigham Young, J.D. 1:70-71)
There is a strange part of the human system which maybe a special type of media through which men obtain some spiritual influence. For thousands of years the pineal gland, located at the base of the brain, has been claimed to be the center point of the body for receiving spiritual guidance. Spiritualists and philosophers alike have pointed to the pineal gland as a receptacle for seership.
 Pineal, The Third Eye?
Pineal Gland is a structure about the size of a pea located just above the base of the brain. This gland has interested scientists and philosophers for many years. For example, according to Rene Discartes, the French philosopher, the pineal is “the seat of the soul.” However, the function of the gland remains as much a mystery in modern times as it was in the past. (World Book Encyclopedia)
 The “mind’s eye” expresses the sixth sense often referred to as “second sight.” This phenomenon is the telepathic flashes of pictures, thoughts, or messages which are received in the mind. The body has its sensory recepticals–eyes, ears, nose, tongue and touch which convey particular kinds of sensations. The mind, too, has its sensor to receive new knowledge or inspiration. Everyone possesses these gifts and powers if they choose to utilize them; however, some individuals are endowed with greater degrees of receptability than other.
Many spiritualists today, and many ancient philosophers, have claimed that the little pineal gland which rests at the center and base of the brain is the receptical which “picks up” second sight. The pineal is a small reddish-gray body about 8 mm in length. Modern science can offer little reason for this strange little body.
From a textbook of medical anatomy it is said that:
The pineal body represents the rudiments of a photosensitive organ, the third eye which is present in certain reptiles, and other lower vertebrates. (Anatomy of the Human Body, by Henry Gray, p. 898)
Another doctor of medical science wrote:
Perhaps the pineal was merely a vestigial remnant of a onetime eye and has no function at all now; perhaps it is on its way out, like the vermiform appendix. (The Human Brain, by Isaac Asimov, p. 86)
This “third eye” power, whether it can be identified with the pineal gland or not, is certainly becoming a remnant of the powers that once existed with men. At least it can be said that “seership” ability, or the power of a “third eye,” certainly is “on its way out.”
 The ultimate purpose of man is to become a genuine seer for God. His promise is to aid us towards that goal by promising every righteous soul a seer stone. W. W. Phelps wrote a poem indicating that we had such a stone before this world.
MY OLD WHITE STONE
By W. W. Phelps
O keep my old “White stone,” Father,
O keep it till I come;
The stone I had of thee at home,
Before this world was known;
For lo! in it is my “new name”–
The name thou gavest me,
When I was wash’d and set apart
For the glory yet to be.
Eternity is thine, Father,
Age after age has gone,
And yet, among thy sons, as one,
My spirit moves divine
With light and life, and sense and love,
Through realms where wisdom’s known,
To find, by faith, my path back home,
To my gem–my old “white stone.”
The sweetest joy that seems, Father,
Is now and then a view,
Of that eternal world and you,
That flashes through my dreams,
In some blest spot that’s still and pure,
Where virtue’s bliss is known,
And where my spirit eyes can see,
For themselves, my old “white stone.”
Vol. 6, p. 416
 Jesus was also called a “stone,” even the “chief” stone:
Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone in whom all the building fully framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. (Eph. 2:20-21)
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This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. (Acts 4:11)
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A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, to them which stumble at the word being disobedient. (I Peter 2:8)
Peter, who as head of the early Christian Church, was also given this same title. The Lord said to him: “Thou art Simon, the son of Jonah, a seer, or a stone.” (John 1:42, Ins. Version) Perhaps this may shed new light on the verse which says “Upon this ROCK I will build my Church.” (Matt. 16:19) Peter took this to heart and considered himself a “stone” and also felt that every other member of the Church should be considered the same. He wrote: “Ye also AS LIVELY STONES are built upon a spiritual house, an holy Priesthood.” (I Peter 2:5) The Church should be built upon the rock of revelation–and this may imply revelations through the seers or their seer stones.
THE EARTH TO BECOME A URIM AND THUMMIM
Not only is man to become a seer, but the very earth is to become a Urim and Thummim for him. (See D. & C. 130)
This earth, when it becomes purified and sanctified, or celestialized, will become like a sea of glass; and a person, by looking into it, can know things past, present, and to come; though none but celestialized beings can look into the earth, and the things they desire to know will be exhibited to them, the same as the face is seen by looking into a minor. (Brigham Young, J.D. 9:86)
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It is written here in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that the planet on which he lives is a great Urim and Thummim, which reveals everything pertaining to this lower world and its inhabitants. And the holy beings who reside there can gaze upon us mortals whenever they please, looking also into the future or the past; hence they know it as it is. (John Taylor, J.D. 18:328)
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. . . the `sea of glass’ upon which John saw the Saints standing, will be the earth in its sanctified and immortal state; and that in this glorified state, it will be a Urim and Thummim to all the celestial inhabitants who dwell upon it. If a small stone or other material in Aaron’s breastplate could be made, by the power of God, to shine forth and illuminate the vision of the seer, then by the same power, the whole earth could be filled with the Spirit of God, and be made to shine with celestial glory, like the sun in the firmament of heaven. (Masterful Discourses of Orson Pratt, p. 557)
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The Savior did not say the Saints should inherit the earth while the curse was upon it, but he said, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” He will not give them something to destroy them, but they have got to stay until the earth has fulfilled the measure of its creation; and then the angel will raise his hand to heaven, and swear that time shall be no longer. What becomes of the earth then? Why, says the prophet, it shall “reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again.” If the earth falls, which way will it go, up or down? Tell me, ye wise men, ye philosophers. Will not the greatest and most powerful planet attract it whether it goes up or down? For the greater bodies attract the lesser. If the earth falls, and is not to rise again, it will be removed out of its present orbit. Where will it go to? God says He will gather all things into one; then He will gather the earth likewise, and all that is in it, in one. The gathering will be upon a larger scale in time to come; for by and by the stars of Heaven will fall. Which way will they go? They will rally to a grand centre, and there will be one grand constellation of worlds. I pray that we may be there, and shine among those millions of worlds that will be stars in the Almighty’s crown.
The earth will have to be removed from its place, and reel to and fro like a drunkard. The fact is, it has got to leave the old track in which it has roamed in time passed, and beat a new track; and saith the Lord, “Come up here.” What is He going to do with it? Why, take it where the sun will shine upon it con-tinually, and there shall be no more night there; and the hand of God will wipe away the tears from all faces. “Come up here, O earth! For I want the Saints who have passed through much tribulation to be glorified with you, and then I will give the earth to the meek. For I will take the curse from it, and rebuke the destroyer for your sakes, and bring all things in subjection to you, and you shall dwell in everlasting light.” Now it is half day and half night, but I tell you it is not going to be half and half, but there will be no night there. We have but one sun to shine upon us, but when the earth is taken out of this orbit, it will come in contact with the rays of other spheres; their rays will dazzle our earth, and make the glory of God rest upon it, so that there will be no more night there. (Orson Hyde, J.D. 1:130)
The devil does not believe in the revelations of God. Both the heathens and many modern Christian churches do not believe in receiving revelations from God either. It is an era in which the sinister powers of Satan are exhibited everywhere and the manifestations of God are seldom seen anywhere.
After six thousand years of man’s existence on the earth, he should be closer to God, have a better understanding of spiritual things, and live a more righteous life than during any other period of time. But after all the revelations, manifestations, and blessings which God has bestowed upon His children, they are further from the truth, more unfaithful, and live in the most atheistic environment that ever existed.
With the abundant knowledge revealed through the lens of the microscope, and the vast realms seen in the lens of the telescope, man has learned the complex, or-derly, and majestic system by which all things are so intricately designed and created. From the halls of educational institutions, which should be the first to acknowledge the hand of their Creator, our children are taught that man is no more than a stepping stone from monkeys, and that the creations of worlds are no more than the product of an accident. From the volumes of revelations which God has given of His infinite mercy, justice, and liberty, man has engulfed most of the globe with the satanical society of a godless Communism which governs with compulsion, greed, and hatred. Despite the fact that the more God has given, man has turned further away from Him.
God’s seers are very rare. They are very unpopular. The principles by which they live and reveal are the most holy and exalting that exist on the earth. But the carnal, base, and temporal minded man cannot comprehend, much less live by, such laws; and they are unable to understand, or desire, to have a benevolent Creator offer them better laws to live by.
Nearly every ancient seer has foreseen our present generation, describing in detail our problems and our destiny. We live in that fateful generation of beatniks, hippies, dope, alcoholism, immorality, deception, crime, the violence of rioting and general wickedness–a time in which the “light of Christ” is rapidly diminishing. It is for these reasons that “darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people” (D. & C. 112:23), and Isaiah said the gifts and powers of the “seers hath he covered because of your iniquities.” (Isa. 29:10 Ins. Version)
Seership and seer stones are almost terms of the past, for it was “the possession and use of these stones . . . [that] constituted `seers’ in ancient or former times” (P.G.P. 51:35). Today the strange power of using seer stones, which is called the “greatest” gift of God, has now become the rarest of His gifts upon the earth.