Seerstones, Scrying, and “Translating” Holy Writ: Can a Government Espionage Program Help Us Understand Joseph Smith’s Translation Methods?

Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon (according to some accounts) by burying his face in a hat with a “seerstone.” Skeptics think such methods undermine Joseph’s claim to legitimacy as a prophet, while apologists try to reconcile the apparent facts in a faith-preserving way. Calling on personal experience in a U.S. government remote viewing program, I discuss Smith’s translating method as an “inspired version” of the ancient practice of scrying and argue that, despite detractors, the prophet was on the right track.

Paul H. Smith, Dan Vogel