|Subject: As a Mormon, did you know about
Joseph Smith using the stone in hat?
Date: Apr 29, 2006
If so, how did you reconcile it with the church presentation of Joseph Smith using the plates in full view?
Subject: I am amazed that so few members know about JS's head in the hat translation of
Date: Apr 19 01:07
Author: a thought
I spoke to a Gospel Doctrine teacher this week about it and she is in disbelief and wanted proof. I gave her Palmer's "Insider's view" book to read. Now I am worried that I may have given her more than she can handle at this time.
Also, she is very angry over the polygamy issue after reading In Sacred Loneliness and can't understand why JS was told he had to live it. She has so many questions about church practices and policies but 'knows' the BoM is true.
Now she will read Chap 1 of Palmer and realize Joseph Smith did not even use gold plates to translate. This, along with her many questions over the years, will probably push her over the edge. She wanted to know the facts so I obliged.
Hope I haven't lost a friend. She is well versed in the gospel and is tired of the 'milk' manuals she has to teach each week. This is the first time I've discussed church issues with anyone else. It seems that polygamy is a hot issue now and one that makes women extremely angry.
I am very uncomfortable discussing lds doctrine with anyone because I don't believe any of it anymore, but nobody knows that. It is so hard to discuss lds beliefs and policies when others 'know' the BoM is true, yet they hate some of the practices of the lds church (polygamy, closed temple marriages, black history).
Once they understand it is all fiction, then it all begins to make sense. It is just getting them to see the fiction.
I guess I'm just worried about the repercussions for her and her family.
Subject: YES!! An apostle admitted it in the Ensign (1993), for gosh sakes!!
Date: Apr 22 00:24
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles quoted David Whitmer's account of Joe's hat trick in the following Ensign article:
http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon266.htm (has links to the Ensign article)
“Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine."
Subject: A little information on Smith's Stone in a Hat..
Date: Apr 22 11:06
Author: Randy J.
When I used to debate this stuff with Mormons on alt.religion.mormon, some of them would come up with lame, faulty explanations to try to defuse the controversy. Woody Brison, who claimed to be an LDS "seminary principal," opined that maybe Joseph Smith buried his face in his hat while (allegedly) translating the golden plates so as to block out light and thus see the writing on the plates better. IOW, Woody tried to make it appear to be a perfectly natural situation, as though there was nothing weird about it at all.
But as Deenie wrote, the fact is that Smith's putting his face into his hat was an (allegedly) magical, occultic act. He would place his "seer stone", or as others called it, "peep-stone," into his hat, place his face in the hat, and then pretend that the (alleged) "Reformed Egyptian" hieroglyphs which were upon the (alleged) golden plates would magically appear in English on the surface of the stone. Then he would dictate the English words to a scribe.
IOW, the "seer stone" (allegedly) worked like a fortune-teller's crystal ball. This information is very important to understanding the origins of Mormonism and the Book of Mormon, because pretty much ever since the founding of the church in 1830, Joseph Smith and his defenders have tried to debunk reports that Smith had been an occultic folk-magician before he founded his church. Those reports, of which there are dozens, show that roughly between 1822 and 1826---when Smith claimed to be receiving visits from God, Jesus, and angels concerning his future mission to "restore the true gospel"---he was actually making side money by charging locals to pretend to "see" buried treasure etc. with his "peep-stone". And his "peep-stone" was not any (alleged) "Urim and Thummim" given to him by an angel, but was an ordinary stone he found while digging a well.
Even Smith's own father-in-law, Isaac Hale, testified that Smith's (alleged) process of translating the golden plates in 1828-29 was the same method he has used to pretend to "see" buried treasure in previous years. The obvious conclusion here is that Smith's claims of miraculously receiving golden plates from an angel which contained writing that he translated "by the power of God" was really just a variation of his earlier "peep-stoning" treasure-hunting scam. And that is why Smith, his defenders, and the church's apologists have worked so hard over the years to debunk the reports of Smith's folk-magic activities.
Church-published depictions of the "translation" usually show Smith sitting at a table, sometimes wearing the "Urim and Thummmim", with the "golden plates" open before him, while he dictated the words to a scribe.
But reports of the eyewitnesses to the "translation," who told the face-in-the-hat version of events, can be read at
Of course, this info not only ties the (alleged) translation of the golden plates into Smith's occultic folk-magic practices, it also tells us that the (alleged) golden plates WEREN'T EVEN NECESSARY FOR SMITH TO POSSESS. If, as Isaac Hale testified, Smith could "see" the writing on the golden plates on his "seer stone" while the plates were hidden in the woods, then Smith's whole story about "Moroni" painstakingly recording his people's history onto the plates, burying them in the ground, and God bringing them forth for Smith to translate is TOTALLY UNNECESSARY. As the 19th-century anti-Mormon writer M.T. Lamb sarcastically wrote:
"Finally, according to the testimony of Martin Harris, Mr. Smith often used the
"seer stone" in place of the Urim and Thummim, even while the later remained in
his possession — using it as a mere matter of convenience.
It seems almost too bad that he should thus inadvertently give the whole
thing away. You must understand that the Urim and Thummim spoken of, and called
throughout the Book of Mormon "the Interpreters," had been provided with great
care over 2500 years ago by God himself, for the express purpose of translating
these plates. They are often mentioned in the Book of Mormon as exceedingly
important. They were preserved with the greatest care, handed down from one
generation to another with the plates, and buried with them in the hill Cumorah
over 1400 years ago; as sacred as the plates themselves. So sacred that only
one man was allowed to handle or use them, the highly favored prophet, Joseph
Smith himself. But now, alas! After all this trouble and pains and care on the
part of God, and on the part of so many holy men of old, this "Urim and
Thummim" is found at last to be altogether superfluous; not needed at all. This
"peep stone" found in a neighbor’s well will do the work just as well — and
is even more convenient, "for convenience he used the seer stone." So we are
left to infer that when he used the Urim and Thummim at all, it was at some
inconvenience. And probably he only did it out of regard to the feelings of his
God, who had spent so much time and anxiety in preparing it so long ago, and
preserving it to the present day for his special use! (The Golden Bible, 1887,
Subject: No. I didn't know.
Date: Apr 29 19:32
and neither did anyone I knew. In Fact if someone had told me the stone in the hat story in 1965, I would have thought they were a mental case. That story would have just been too unbelievable.
That was one of the many areas of cognitive dissonance that accumulated over the last four years and one of the major contributing factors to opening a door out of the church for me.
Mormons don't reconcile, they ignore. or they "defer the question" to a future time when they can do the research and disprove that damned lie.
Subject: I was taught that the Urim and Thummim were like spectacles
Date: Apr 30 01:30
affixed to a breastplate, and that he looked through them to translate.
They never explained how this was even possible, so I speculated that there was a sort of arm extending out from the front of the breastplate so that it would hold the spectacles on his face while he was wearing the breastplate. Then I figured he looked through them directly at the plates.
Crazy, but the few tiny details they normally give about the translation process don't make sense...
Subject: I had NO clue....never even discussed in 10 years of TBMdom..n/t
Subject: Yep but at the time I thought it was just anti mormon lies. n/t
Date: Apr 30 02:09
Author: Mad Viking
The first I had heard of it was on South Park. Both the wife and I laughed really hard, but chalked it up to an over exaggeration of the truth. Little did I know.
Subject: No, it was never explained how, so I got to just imagine it....
Date: Apr 30 02:15
Author: Ministering Angel
I actually imagined it to be more like the little do-hickey used on a Ouija board. I thought JS moved it around over the words and the translation showed through a little window. He would read it to his scribe, who would then write it.
It was never explained how it was used, just that it was used. Mormon-speak.
Subject: I didn't have the remotest idea. . .
Date: Apr 30 02:32
but I would have collapsed in giggles at the image of JS with his face buried in a hat!!
He would have died of "snuffocation!" (spelling intentional!)
Subject: I didn't have the foggiest clue.
Date: Apr 30 04:05
Same goes for most of the stuff on Richard Packham's "what the missionaries won't tell you" list.
After I came here and started reading up on mormonism, I realized that I really didn't know much about it at all, outside the stupid, mindless faith-promoting crap they teach you in sunday school, young womens and at youth firesides.
Marriage...blah...children...blah...chastity...blah...word of wisdom...blah...blah...divine nature...BLAH...little kid who saw a picture of Jesus for the first time and identified him as "the man who held my hand while daddy was beating mommy"...sniffle.gag.barf...Nephi the courageous and obedient...modesty...Obedience...early saints being persocuted and SO brave...celestial kingdom...blah blah blah...did I mention OBEDIENCE? ...you get the picture.
Face in hat? Joseph's wives? Book of Breathings? Quakers on the moon? Adam=God? Not a freaking inkling.
Subject: I heard about it in college...
Date: Apr 30 08:08
Author: Stray Mutt
...from one of "bad" Mormons in the dorm. I thought it was baloney.
Subject: Yeah, I'd heard it fairly early on in my Mutual career...
Date: Apr 30 11:48
Author: Deenie, the dreaded single adult
...and it was SOOOOOO weird & "out there," that I was taken aback! However, none of the other girls (MiaMaids, Laurels) seemed to be worried about it, so I decided it must not be too important, and shoved it into the far-back recesses of my mind.
I should have freaked out and run away...
Subject: no, never heard of that until I came here
Date: Apr 30 12:53
I am still learning new things from this board every day. I have been out of the madness for 20+ years and I STILL learn new things about the cult.
I wonder how many TBM's know all this stuff.
I think as an exMormon, I know more about the Mormon cult that many active Mormons do. Do others feel that way?
Subject: TBM comment re: looking in the hat
Date: Apr 30 14:37
This week my good friend who is TBM told me she saw the South Park episode about the Mormons. I still haven't seen it yet. She said she thought it was well done and rather funny. I asked her if they put anything in there that was not true (according to TSCC) and she said the only thing that wasn't true was this crazy part about JS looking into his hat to translate. Hmmmmm.... I told her that I have heard that it WAS true but I didn't have any references to give her off the top of my head. She's an RM, grad of BYU, former RS Pres, current temple worker, and been active for over 30 years. This was the 1st she'd ever heard of the hat. I never heard of it while I was TBM either.
Subject: I Had No Idea About the Peepstone
Date: Apr 30 14:38
Though I did know that he had been in court for treasure seeking with a peepstone. I believed that the Urim and Thummin consisted of a breastshield and a spectacle.
I had the impression that the breastshield resembled that of the Levite high priest and was decorated with colorful stones.
Subject: never knew until south park
Date: Apr 30 15:03
I watched the mormon episode of south park then searched the internet and found out it is true. I can tell you most TBMs and all the converts don't know about this. My TBM husband says that since he knows with all his heart the church is true nothing he hears (being true or not) will effect his testimony. So I guess not everyone would have their faith shaken by this disturbing fact of knowledge.
Subject: Never a 'peep' from my family
Date: Apr 30 16:05
I was raised in a TBM generational family. NEVER had I heard of the stones until I left. I really don't think any of my family knows or if they do they haven't let on.
The more I learn the more I realize I didn't know....
Was this ever discussed in the higher ups meetings? My dad was pretty far up there and yet I still never heard.
Subject: Apparently, the further Mormonism gets from it's inception, the less likely anyone will read the official records.
Date: Apr 30 16:16
Not only are they rarely read, they are not officially used or accepted anymore.
How often are the official records even quoted? When have we seen references to: The Journal of Discourses, B H Roberts, Comprehensive History, the JS History, Readings in Church History (a church CES manual for BYU required education courses in the 50's.)
Even the official study manuals for the general membership for Sunday School deletes any reference to the multiple wives of the presidents of the church.
The answer: practically never!
Even though I thought I was pretty well read about church history as a Mormon, and knew policies pretty well, I realized after I started to research it, I only knew about 10% of the truth that is recorded in their own officially documented primary sources materials!
I either knew nothing or only heard the brief sanitized account about peep stones and hats, Mt. Meadows, Hauns Mill, multiple "first" vision accounts reported years later, Kinderhook Plates, Hofmann forgeries, shoot out at Carthage, never saw an original BOM, BYoung's blood thirsty Adam God Theory, Joseph Smiths wives,and on and on.
What amazes me is that I actually thought the Mormon Church was credible and the "faith promoting" versions were accurate! What a shocker to find out they are not!!!!
But, who would think, even in their wildest dreams that a whole church would be lying their sorry arses off (from the get-go) and getting away with it?
Who would think that Joe Smith could get away with his hoax and people would still be believing it.
I actually thought the Mormon Church has evidence of ancient records (golden plates) and the really funny thing is that we made a visual aid of them one time!! Gosh, I wish I still had those! What a hoot!
I find it rather humorous now!
Mention the facts, the actual history and most TBM's will say it is a lie and anti Mormon propaganda! Pretty strange, isn't it that they don't know their own religion!
Subject: I knew about it.
Date: Apr 30 18:39
I just never really tried to reconcile the contradictions, I guess. I had a seminary teacher who taught us that JS looked into the Urim and Thummim (namely the rock in his hat) and saw something like a parchment with the 'charactors' and the translation appearing simultaneously.
This was the same seminary teacher who taught us that before the Fall, all the continents of the world fit together in the Western Hemisphere, that the twelve tribes live somewhere up north under the earth, and that Jesus was most probably married to Mary Magdalene and Martha.
He is now director of the Institute of Religion in Thatcher, AZ.
Subject: I learned about it from my son!
Date: Apr 30 18:54
Never heard a thing about it in church. Big surprise....
Subject: I am sure she will be fine.
Date: Apr 20 09:23
The church covers the real history so well that few people truly know what actually happened. It seems like 95%+ of what the church teaches is extreme fiction.
Subject: Smith's head in the hat....I actually heard about this in
Date: Apr 21 19:30
Author: wine country girl
seminary back in the early 70's....but I quickly pushed it out of my head, since it bothered me so much when I heard it. I didn't even remember when i saw it on South Park.
Members hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe.
Subject: If she ever wants more info on the rock-in-the-hat trick...
Date: Apr 21 20:15
Author: Peep Stoner
you could also provide her this article, which contains descriptions of the process by Emma, David Whitmer, etc.
Subject: My wife
Date: Apr 21 23:49
Author: Southern Redneck
I was listening to an un-named podcast and when my wife came in she listened half heartedly. I then put on another podcast that mentioned several items. she did not say much as she was reprogramming a linksys router to make it into a signal booster for our in house DSL network. When I heard them talk of the hat I laughed out loud and and rewound it for her to hear. She simply gave me the standard "where do you get this strange stuff" look and went back to her computer.
Sadly I don't think she realized how weird it sounds and how true it is.
Subject: True, but let's also remember that.....
Date: Apr 22 11:23
Author: Randy J.
.....before Nelson's admission, church leaders and apologists steadfastly denied or tried to debunk the reports of the "face-in-the-hat" method of "translation."
For example, read my quote of Joseph Fielding Smith in the archived thread you linked to. Another example is from apologist Francis W. Kirkham's book "A New Witness for Christ in America", Vol.1, pp.469-70:
"The use of a seer stone by Joseph Smith buried in a hat to exclude the light, seemed to have had its origin and emphasis in Mormonism Unveiled, 1834."
In order to maintain that fantastic assertion, a cyber-apologist once opined to me that perhaps the eyewitnesses to the translation (David Whitmer, Joseph Knight, Emma Smith, etc.) might have read false stories about the process written by "anti-Mormons" years later, and that they were somehow deceived into repeating those false reports, rather than recounting their own personal experiences during the BOM's production. Read more at
This illustrates the depths of illogic and inconsistent thinking that Mopologists have to engage in to maintain their belief in the BOM.
Subject: Re: I am amazed that so few members know about JS's head in the hat translation of BoM.
Date: Apr 22 00:11
I've stopped using the word "translation" and have adopted "imagining" instead
Subject: I figured most people knew
Date: Apr 22 00:18
My dad told me about Joe putting his face in the hat to translate while I was still pretty young. I guess I just assumed that most people in the church knew how it was done.
Subject: Nope, most of us didn't know, because.....
Date: Apr 22 11:30
Author: Randy J.
.....the reports of the "face-in-the-hat" version were never included in church-published lessons, GA conference sermons, etc. As I've detailed in my other posts in this thread, nearly all of the church-published material on the subject repeat the "two stones in silver bows, fastened to a breastplate" version.
That's because that is the version of events Joseph Smith related in his 1838 "official history"---which is now part of the church's "canon of scriptures."
If your father knew of the "face-in-the-hat" version, he would have had to learn of it from non-church-published, or "anti-Mormon" sources. That is, before apostle Nelson admitted to it in his article a few years ago. Of course, Nelson probably doesn't realize that his admission "opens the door" for Mormons to take seriously all the reports of Smith's 1820s "peep-stoning" and treasure-digging, which the apologists have tried to debunk since the early 1830s.
Subject: I know that *I* was stunned when I heard it...
Date: Apr 22 00:25
Author: Deenie, the dreaded single adult
...I thought, "How weird! How undignified!"
Then, I was surprised that none of the other girls (we were mutual-age; either MiaMaids or Laurels) seemed surprised, or amused at the total weirdness of it all...
...and THEN, because I was friends with those girls, and wanted to be a part of that group, I promptly pushed the 'undesirable' information to the farthest back corner of my mind!!
Boy, I wish I'd listened to my instincts, when they whispered, "Face in a hat!! Are you kidding? That guy must've been a jerk!"
Subject: So he didn't need the plates. They were only part of the 'con'.
Date: Apr 22 01:35
Author: a thought
I just purchased the book 'Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon: The Spalding Enigma'. Seems as plausible as the other ideas. JS sure used everything in his world to produce his book and attain his fame and fortune.
I must admit that learning about JS's face in the hat looking at a stone to produce the BofM was the prelude to my exit. The golden plates weren't even used so the nice little pictures in the Ensign are misleading, or are facilitating the con.
I also used the Ensign as a back up reference to 'Insider's View'. If it is in the Ensign, the members can't say much to refute it. So it seems that members don't read the Ensign carefully, or they gloss over mentally anything that doesn't fit the party lie..oops, line.
Believe me, most members I've talked with DON'T know about his peep stone/hat procedure. I have to bring out the Ensign and Palmer's book. When I do, I can see the mental wheels grinding to find a way to explain it.
Subject: wouldn't it be funny if...
Date: Apr 22 03:22
Joseph had a slit in the bottom of the hat, to let in enough light to read some prepared pages secreted there? Might be a good way to convince an onlooker that he was "channeling" from God, eh?
Subject: I had NO idea...
Date: Apr 22 13:14
Author: JW the Inquizzinator
I NEVER knew about the ol' face in the hat fact for 10 yrs as a TBM...it is def one of the facts that sent me over the edge.
I always had a problem with the two stones hung from a silver bow....I always imagines that it would look like those huge goofy sunglasses you buy at Disneyland or one of those road side shops. I can just see Moroni wearing those and sucking on a pecan log...HA!
Subject: How were we supposed to know?
Date: Apr 22 18:33
Author: Princess Latte
All church approved pix of Joe show him sitting upright and looking very stately.
I never saw the "head in hat" image till I left.
Subject: Joe didn't think that through.
Date: Apr 22 23:11
I'm sure he could have come up with some wild story about why the Nephites conveniently included magic glasses, or magic translator rocks, in the stone box but apparently nobody ever thought to ask him and he never felt the need to explain it. Neither did BY, or any other morg prophet.
Subject: The U and T story came later.....
Date: Apr 22 23:48
Author: Adso of Melk
....as Joe and company attempted to "Christianize" their story. The first use of the term U and T to refer to the seer stone did not appear until 1833, three years after the publication of the BofM. It then became the standard nomenclature as Mormons tried to distance themselves from their folk magic and occult origins. It is an example of the Mormons "backreading" their history, using the Bible only as a proof text.
I first learned about the hat trick in France in the late 70's, when as a missionary I read European accounts of early Mormonism. I thought at first that "mis sa figure dans son chapeau" (put his face in his hat) was some kind of French idiomatic expression for "get down to work" or something similar. After consulting dictionaries and native speakers, I learned that this was not the case. Further study showed the source to be David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses, and Joe's wife, Emma.
Note also that the Biblical U and T were a pair of sacred stones that were tossed like dice to divine answers to holy questions. This method of divination was used by the very early Hebrews, and then faded away as tribal practices developed into a national religion . At no time were the Biblical U and T stones into which the user peered for messages.
Subject: SEE: Official historical records : "A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints"
Date: Apr 29 21:00
This is from a prior post...
How Joseph obtained the Nephite Records according to official documented church history.....
This is info from a standard history book of the Mormon Church:
" "A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." by B.H. Roberts (six volumes)
VOL 1 "How the Book of Mormon was Obtained"
These books are in the LDS Data base on CD, also in their libraries (Ward/Stake/Institute of Religion)in the REFERENCE section.
I own the whole set in paperback which I purchased in the late 70s before they were discontinued.
A few notes:
B H Roberts says that they were dressed "for riding" by taking the horse and spring wagon of Mr. Knight (some would call this stealing, as they did not ask permission of Mr. Knight who was a guest in his home) and went to the "hill Cumorah, and in he presence of Moroni obtained the Nephite record, the breast-plate and Urim and Thummim.
pg. 87, "Early the next morning, Mr. Knight discovered both his horse and wagon were gone, suspected some "rogue had stolen them. Lucy Smith volunteered no information as to Joseph having made use of the horse and wagon, but tried to pacify Mr. Knight with the idea that they were but temporarily out of the way."
When Joseph returned home, he took his mother aside and showed her the Urim and Thummim which he had evidently detached from the breast plate and concealed on his own person when depositing the plates...he seemed to have kept the instrument constantly about him after that time as by means of it he could at will be made aware of approaching danger to the record."
The next chapter is entitled:
pg. 88 Other Psychics Than the Prophet
"The fact was that Joseph Smith was not the only psychic in the vicinity of Palmyra."
He had previously asked Lucy (his mother) very early in the morning if she had a chest with a lock and key but she could not locate one.
This is the reason Joseph pg. 86 "concealed them temporarily, in the woods some two or three miles distant. He found a fallen birch log that was much decayed .....carefully cutting the bark and removing sufficient of the decayed wood to admit ...the plates, ...they were deposited in the cavity, the bark drawn together again and as far as possible all signs of the log having been disturbed obliterated."
Pg 93 - "The Breastplate of Urim and Thummim
"It has been several times remarked that with the plates on which a brief history of the ancient American peoples was engrave, there was an ancient breast-plate to which, when the Prophet took possession of it, the Urim and Thummim were attached.
This breast-plate it appears the Prophet did not bring home with him when he brought the record. But a few days later, according to a statement by Lucy Smith, he came into the house from the field one afternoon and after remaining a a short time put on his "great coat" and left the house.
On his returning the mother was engaged in an upper room of the house preparing oilcloth for painting - it will be remembered that this was an art she has followed for some years. Joseph called to her and asked her to come down stairs.
To this she answered she could not then leave her work, but Joseph insisted and she came downstairs and entered the room where he was whereupon he placed in her hands the Nephite breast plate herein alluded to.
'It was wrapped in a a thin muslin handkerchief,' she explains, 'so thin that I could feel it's proportions without any difficulty'.
It was concave on one side, 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 Thummin."
Interesting, Roberts remarks in the footnotes about the weight of the plates regarding the "misrepresentations of John Hyde, who from the measurement of the old plates reaches the conclusion that their weight would be something like two hundred pounds then adds:
[John Hyde in Mormonism It's Leaders and Designs pp 243-4] "Besides these plates, he Joseph Smith had, according to his third story, a breast plate of brass, Laban's sword, the crystal interpreters, the brass ball with spindles, director of Lehi.
Yet he packs this horse load, keeps these large and awkward shaped things completely concealed and at the same time, beats off and out runs two empty handed men at a distance of two miles."
pg 90 reads:
"Was the Nephite Record in Danger?
These refelections indulged, we may now return to the statement with which they began-viz., Joseph Smith was not the only psychic in the vicinity of Palmyra.
A Miss Chase, sister of Willard Chase, the Methodist class leader, already mentioned, had for some time been accredited with psychic powers of mind and practiced "crystal-gazing:" and besides this, remarkable as it may seem, parties in the neighborhood of the Smith home, numbering some ten or twelve men sent a distance of sixty or seventy miles for a psychic-"conjuror" they called him-to come to Palmyra and to discover the whereabouts of "Joe' Smith's gold bible."
The elder Smith learned of the arrival of this person at the home of Willard Chase and heard him boast of the presence of his employers that he would "have them plates in spite of Joe Smith or all the devils in hell."
"Mormon Doctrine" by Bruce R. McConkie
Urim and Thummim
"From time to time, as his purposes require, the Lord personally, or through the ministry of appointed angels, delivers to chosen prophets a Urim and Thummim to be used in receiving revelations and in translating ancient records from unknown tongues.
With the approval of the Lord these prophets are permitted to pass these instruments on to their mortal successors"
A Urim and Thummim consists of two special stones, called seer stones or interpreters. The Hebrew words urim and Thummim, both plural mean lights and perfections. Presumably one of the stones is called Urim and the other Thummim. Ordinarily they are carried in a breastplate over the heart. (Ex. 28:30 Lev 8:8)
President Joseph Fielding Smith, with references to the seer stone and the Urim and Thummim, has written: 'We have been taught since the days of the Prophet that the Urim and Thummim were returned with the plates to the angel.
We have no record of the Prophet having the Urim and Thummim after the organization of the Church. Statements of translations by the Urim and Thummim after that date are evidently errors.
The statement has been made that the Urim and Thummim was on the alter 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 not in the possession of the church. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3 p 225.)
I highly recommend reading the B H Roberts books. They are filled with things you have never heard in church. The set comes with an Index, which in invaluable also.
It is no wonder these stories have been sanitized into faith promoting versions over the years. The real history is just too wild and crazy to believe! :-)
This was the kind of information that finally hit home. There was no way Joseph Smith Jr was telling the truth about anything.
He made up his stories, visions, religion, and BOM fiction from the get-go and the best that could be said for him is that he created a faith-based hoax/scam that Brigham Young could use! These young men were on a path to create an isolated religion and hold their power close to the chest.
Thanks to the Brighamites, Mormonism is still alive and well today!
Subject: Why on earth would Lucy have to feel up the breastplate through a handkerchief???
Date: Apr 29 21:11
Author: Snaxxy Pants
Why on earth would it be more dangerous to look at the golden plates and the breastplate than to touch them through a cloth???
A question to lurking TBMs, how obvious does a scam have to be??? "Uh, you can't look at them, but you can feel them after I cover them with a cloth." Yeah, right, if you say so Joe.
Subject: Apparently noone was allowed to see anything with their physical eyes. Emma dusted
Date: Apr 29 21:16
around the box that was in a cloth, as I recall that held the so called golden plates--records.
I was never quite sure if she knew that Joseph was making it all up or not.
Or, was she just young and naive and believed in magic.
If anyone saw anything that was real, the gig would have been up.
The records of the people who claimed to have "seen" the golden plates vary in size, weight, etc. It seems that it would have been easy to weigh and measure them. But, nope! Can't weigh and measure imaginary stuff!
Subject: Official record of the "witnesses - no physical eye witness counts.
Date: Apr 29 21:21
From a prior post:
Golden Plates shown by a "supernatural power" --their own records make it absolutely clear that no one ever saw any golden plates! It was all recounted as a visionary experience through a supernatural power!
The best evidence of their experience is their own words!
Another significant historical point regarding the eight witnesses comes from a letter dated April 15, 1838. It was written by a former Mormon leader named Stephen Burnett. In that letter, Burnett states,
"I have reflected long and deliberately upon the history of this church & weighed the evidence for & against it loth (sic) to give it up - but when I came to hear Martin Harris state in public that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision or imagination, neither Oliver [Cowdery] nor David [Whitmer] & that the eight witnesses never saw them & hesitated to sign that instrument for that reason, but were persuaded to do it, the last pedestal gave way, in my view our foundation was sapped & the entire superstructure fell in heap of ruins. "
(Stephen Burnett letter to Lyman E. Johnson dated April 15, 1838. Typed transcript from Joseph Smith Papers, Letter book, April 20, 1837 - February 9, 1843, microfilm reel 2, pp. 64-66, LDS archives.)
John Whitmer's statements were the most detailed — both the 1878 statement mentioned earlier and his 1839 statement to Theodore Turley where he said, "I now say, I handled those plates; there were fine engravings on both sides. ... they were shown to me by a supernatural power" (History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 307).
[Note that a poem published in an early Mormon newspaper contained a line about JS: "Or Book of Mormon not his word because denied, by Oliver!" Times and Seasons, Vol II, pg 482].
>The three witnesses were finally excommunicated from the church. Martin Harris accused Joseph Smith of "lying and licentiousness." The Mormon leaders in turn published an attack on the character of Martin Harris. The Elders' Journal--Mormon publication edited by Joseph Smith--said that Harris and others were guilty of "swearing, lying, cheating, swindling, drinking, with every species of debauchery . . ." (Elders' Journal, August, 1838, p.59).
Here is the most compelling TESTIMONY against Harris, by two witnesses that knew him best.
Mrs. Abigail Harris:
>". . . . Martin Harris and Lucy Harris, his wife, were at my house [early part of winter, 1828]. In conversation with the Mormonites, she [Lucy Harris] observed that she wished her husband would quit them, as she believed it all false and a delusion. To which I heard Mr. Harris reply: ‘What if it is a lie; if you will let me alone I will make money out of it!' I was both an eye- and ear-witness of what has been above stated, which is now fresh in my memory, and I speak the truth and lie not, God being my witness."
>"Whether the Mormon religion be true or false, I leave the world to judge; for its effects on Martin Harris have been to make him more cross, turbulent and abusive to me. His whole object was to make money out of it. I will give a proof of this.
One day at Peter Harris' house (Abigail Harris' husband) I told him he had better leave the company of the Smiths, as their religion was false. To this he replied, "If you would let me alone, I could make money out of it.' It is in vain for the Mormons to deny these facts, as they are well known to most of his former neighbors."
 Cake, Lu B., Peepstone Joe and the Peck Manuscript, p. 34.  Ibid. p. 35. (Affidavit Palmyra, N.Y., November 29, 1833)
Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church www.exmormon.org