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2 years ago  ::  Aug 23, 2015 - 2:02AM #521
Janadele
Posts: 1,441

www.lds.org/ensign/2015/10/joseph-the-se...


"On April 6, 1830, the day Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ (later to be called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), he proclaimed the words of a revelation to those assembled. “Behold,” the voice of God declared in it, “there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou [Joseph Smith] shalt be called a seer” (D&C 21:1).


The most visible sign of Joseph Smith’s role as a seer in the newly formed Church was the Book of Mormon, which he repeatedly explained was translated “by the gift and power of God.” Many of those closest to Joseph in the year before the Church’s organization had witnessed the process by which the Book of Mormon came forth and had some understanding of the meaning of the word seer.


The Meaning of Seer
What did seer mean to the young prophet and his contemporaries? Joseph was raised in a family that read the Bible, which mentions seers repeatedly. In 1 Samuel, for example, the writer explains: “Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer” (1 Samuel 9:9).


The Bible also mentions people receiving spiritual manifestations by means of physical objects such as rods, a brass serpent on a pole (which became a widespread symbol of the medical profession), an ephod (a part of the priestly clothing that included two precious stones), and the Urim and Thummim.


“Seeing” and “seers” were part of the American and family culture in which Joseph Smith grew up. Steeped in the language of the Bible and a mixture of Anglo-European cultures brought over by immigrants to North America, some people in the early 19th century believed it was possible for gifted individuals to “see,” or receive spiritual manifestations, through material objects such as seer stones.


The young Joseph Smith accepted such familiar folk ways of his day, including the idea of using seer stones to view lost or hidden objects. Since the biblical narrative showed God using physical objects to focus people’s faith or communicate spiritually in ancient times, Joseph and others assumed the same for their day. Joseph’s parents, Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith, affirmed the family’s immersion in this culture and their use of physical objects in this way, and the villagers of Palmyra and Manchester, New York, where the Smiths lived, sought out Joseph to find lost objects before he moved to Pennsylvania in late 1827.


For those without an understanding of how 19th-century people in Joseph’s region lived their religion, seer stones can be unfamiliar, and scholars have long debated this period of his life. Partly as a result of the Enlightenment or Age of Reason, a period that emphasized science and the observable world over spiritual matters, many in Joseph’s day came to feel that the use of physical objects such as stones or rods was superstitious or inappropriate for religious purposes.


In later years, as Joseph told his remarkable story, he emphasized his visions and other spiritual experiences. Some of his former associates focused on his early use of seer stones in an effort to destroy his reputation in a world that increasingly rejected such practices. In their proselyting efforts, Joseph and other early members chose not to focus on the influence of folk culture, as many prospective converts were experiencing a transformation in how they understood religion in the Age of Reason. In what became canonized revelations, however, Joseph continued to teach that seer stones and other seeric devices, as well as the ability to work with them, were important and sacred gifts from God.


Instruments Used to Translate the Book of Mormon
Seer stones also appear in historical accounts describing Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon translation. Joseph’s official history, begun in 1838, describes the visit of an angel, identified as Moroni, who told him about golden plates buried in a nearby hill. Joseph recounts that while he was conversing with the angel, a “vision was opened” so clearly in his mind that he “knew the place” when later seeing it in person (Joseph Smith—History 1:42)."

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 12:12AM #522
Janadele
Posts: 1,441

www.lds.org/liahona/2015/10/joseph-the-s...



"Moroni warns him “that Satan would try to tempt me (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father’s family), to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich.” This the angel forbade, Joseph recounts, saying that if he had “any other motive” than building God’s kingdom, he “could not get them” (Joseph Smith—History 1:46). In his earlier 1832 history, Joseph explains, “I … saught the Plates to obtain riches and kept not the commandme[n]t that I should have an eye single to the Glory of God.” As a result, he was required to return to the hill annually for four years until he was prepared to receive the plates (see Joseph Smith—History 1:53–54).


Joseph related that when he finally obtained the plates from Moroni in 1827, he also received two stones to be used in translating them. He and close acquaintances left accounts of these stones, describing them as white or clear in appearance, set in silver bows or rims like modern eyeglasses or spectacles, and connected to a large breastplate. As described, this seeric device would have been bulky. Joseph Smith’s mother said that he detached the stones from the breastplate for convenience while using them.


The text of the Book of Mormon calls these stones “interpreters” and explains that they “were prepared from the beginning, and were handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages,” being “kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord” (Mosiah 28:14‒15, 20)."

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 31, 2015 - 1:18AM #523
Janadele
Posts: 1,441

www.lds.org/church/news?lang=eng


“Faith and moral values must not be separated from knowledge,” said Elder Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “The intersection of faith and knowledge is where both wisdom and mercy reside and where great gifts from heaven are most often bestowed.”


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