Note on Seer Stone Images
photographs show a brown stone measuring, at its outermost points,
5.5 by 3.5 by about 4 cm, as well as a pouch that holds the stone
and a small box in which the stone and pouch have been stored for
many years. The stone matches some descriptions of the seer stone
used by Joseph Smith during the translation
of the Book of Mormon. One contemporary observer remembered Smith’s
seer stone as an “oval-shaped, chocolate-colored stone, about the
size of an egg, only more flat.” According to , Joseph
Smith gave the seer stone he used in the translation to after the translation was completed. Shortly after Cowdery died in 1850, his
brother-in-law acquired the stone
from Cowdery’s widow, .
apparently acquired the
stone from his brother Phineas, and it remained in his possession
throughout his life. Young, who apparently
did not have any seer stones other than those that had belonged to
Smith, stated in 1853 that he had “Josephs 1st Seer Stone, which I
[h]ad from O[liver] C[owdery].”
Zina Diantha Huntington Young,
a plural wife of Brigham Young, bought two seer stones from his
estate, and she and her daughter Zina Young Williams
Card then donated them to the president of the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The box bears the handwritten name of Zina Williams Card. The note
on the box links this stone to Card, and through her, to the history
of the stone used by Joseph Smith to translate. In 1882, apostle
stone in church president ’s possession.
Richards recorded in his diary that “the pouch containing it [the
stone] [was] made by Emma,” meaning , the wife of Joseph
Smith. (Church History Library,
Salt Lake City. Photographs by Welden C. Andersen and Richard E.
Turley Jr. These images have been color corrected using
photo-editing software but are otherwise unaltered.)