Joseph Smith’s Seer Stones: Coming to Grips with Troubling Information in Church History

sketch of Joseph Smith showing the golden plates to a group of men

Paradigm shifts can rock our world, but they can also bring greater understanding. Before 1697, Westerners believed the idiom “all swans are white.” But when a Dutch explorer discovered a black swan in Australia, his discovery “instantly demolished an apparent reality while also enabling a new, more informed state of… Continue reading

Graduating Life with Honors

Decisions to take the higher road can make us feel disadvantaged; but when in doubt, consider what the Anti-Nephi-Lehies did.  In the Book of Mormon, Aaron presents his account of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies—a people who, when they had come to a knowledge of their Savior, promised never to lift their swords… Continue reading

Lessons Learned from a Broken Bow

When Nephi breaks his bow in the Book of Mormon, he teaches us by example how to deal with adversity. The first part of the Book of Mormon follows the journey of Lehi and his family out of Jerusalem, through the wilderness, and across the ocean to the promised land.… Continue reading

How Joseph Smith Preserved the Plates

Joseph Smith didn’t write much about how he protected the gold plates, but some people close to him left records of what really happened.  Many people are familiar with the account of the appearance of the angel Moroni in Joseph Smith’s bedroom  on the evening of September 21, 1823. It… Continue reading

Contest Winner: Of Ducks and Destinies

an orange duck standing on grass

Although we might prefer our lives be as neat and cozy as a duck pond in a manicured garden, we must navigate the wilderness of uncertainty guided by the Spirit if we are to discover our personal promised lands. While hurrying home one October day, I was struck by the… Continue reading

Understanding the Book of Mormon’s Translation

Though translating with a seer stone may seem odd, what matters most is that the Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God. Never-before-seen pictures of Joseph Smith’s first seer stone are found in “Joseph the Seer” in the October 2015 Ensign and Liahona. Assistant Church Historian Richard… Continue reading

Martin Harris: An Example of Repentance

Martin Harris home

Although Martin Harris was not a perfect man, his example shows us that when we approach our mistakes with humility, we can partake of God’s gift of repentance. Martin Harris (1783–1875) was a decorated war hero, a civic leader, a successful farmer, and an excellent father. He became a central… Continue reading

The Unprinted Pages in the Original Book of Commandments

pages on a printing press

Scholars at the Joseph Smith Papers propose what might have been included in the Book of Commandments if the printing office had not been destroyed by a mob. In July 1833, vigilantes razed William Phelps’s home where he was printing copies of Joseph Smith’s revelations that were then known as… Continue reading

The Enemy of Your Soul

man staring out the window

The natural man is an enemy to God, but society would tell us otherwise. Only through Jesus Christ can we control the part of ourselves that separates us from God. Society teaches us to indulge and enjoy, to live out the mantra “YOLO” (you only live once). We are encouraged… Continue reading

What Did Reformed Egyptian Characters in the Book of Mormon Look Like?

Want to see copies of original characters from the gold plates up close? Thanks to The Joseph Smith Papers, you can. From the moment Joseph Smith received the gold plates in 1827, he constantly had to protect them. The angel Moroni gave him specific instructions to keep them safe—not only from… Continue reading