First of all, the best line out of anything I have read on this subject so far definitely has to go to Steve Evans for his comment yesterday:
Let me chide the JSPP editors: a two-volume Volume 3? C’mon guys, that’s cheating on the volume numbers.
I digress. By now many of us have seen or heard about the photos of the seer stone being passed around. Some people were disappointed when they saw the photo of the stone as they had an image of what it would look like in their minds and when it wasn’t quite what they had expected they seemed disappointed by what they actually saw. Many of the comments that were made last night were to this end and some were disappointed that it “didn’t quite meet their expectation.”
I personally find it extremely fascinating. I can understand why some might be disappointed. A similar experience occurs when a reader creates an imaginary character in their minds while reading a story and often times when the story is turned into a movie, when the actor/actress is different from that character that the reader had created in their minds, they often find themselves a bit disappointed.
The difference of course is that this is a historical fact and not just another recreation or interpretation of what something might have looked like through a director’s eyes. These were the stones used by the Joseph Smith while translating The Book of Mormon.
While clearly my testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not rooted in the fact that I have now seen these stones, it has strengthened my testimony just a little bit (nothing major but a nudge in the positive direction) as I consider the story of Martin Harris and him switching out the stones without Joseph’s knowledge.
The incident is described below:
During a break from translating, the two men would sometimes go to the river and throw stones. Once, Martin found a rock that closely resembled Joseph’s seer stone and, when the prophet wasn’t looking, switched the stone with the one in the hat. When the translation resumed, Joseph paused for a long time and then complained that he was unable to see the translation. Martin confessed to switching the stones because he wanted to “stop the mouths of fools” who said that Joseph merely memorized material and repeated it back to Martin.
Again, it’s not that seeing the stone has changed anyone’s mind as to the validity of the church but for me, it helps me better understand the context of stories such as the one described above and how easily it would have been for Joseph to fall into yet another “trap” that was set for him.
The stone really does look like any other stone and it’s nothing really that extraordinary. Had I been in Joseph’s situation and had I just made everything up about The Book of Mormon, I can imagine how easy it would be for me to fall into this trap.
Yet Joseph didn’t, he simply couldn’t translate because the stone was simply a tool that he was using and now that he didn’t have the authentic one, he just saw a regular stone in front of him.
Some have seen the release of the photos of the seer stone as a negative in that it gives more “fuel” to the detractors. But if it wasn’t this, it would have been something else. Those who oppose the church opposed the church long before the release of these photos and it certainly won’t stop them from continuing to push against the church because of this release.
I’m glad that the church is working with The Community of Christ church in revealing many of the “original source” documents and historical artifacts (even though in this specific case the church had possession of the seer stone the whole time) as it removes many of our own natural filters that are self created when we don’t have access to original source documents. It allows us to better see things as they were and not as they are interpreted by intermediaries along the way.
As I mentioned before, this doesn’t move the needle massively in either direction when it comes to my testimony of this gospel, but the context it brings definitely pushes me in a positive direction.
The acronym for this necklace is taken from 2 Nephi 9:39
(to be spiritually minded is life eternal “SMILE”) and is a perfect reminder of how we can be spiritually minded
A perfect gift for a friend, mother, daughter or youth group.