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JULIO - How did Joseph Smith find the Seer Stone that theChurch currently has in its possession? What year didhe find this Seer Stone? Where did he find the SeerStone? Can the general public view the Seer Stone? Hasany of the Prophets of the Church or GeneralAuthorities of the Church had or currently have theopportunity of using the Seer Stone?
JOEL - The seer stone was a small smooth brown stone about the size of an egg which Joseph Smith found in 1822 while digging a well for a man called Willard Chase. When Joseph received the Book of Mormon plates and the Urim & Thummim, evidence suggests that Joseph initially used the Urim and Thummim to translate but later would often use the seer stone because it was more compact and therefore more convenient to use. The Urim and Thummim are of course mentioned in the Bible as instruments that were used in conjunction with communications with God (Ex. 28:30; Lev. 8:8;Num. 27:21; Deut. 33:8; 1 Sam. 28:6; Ezra 2:63; Neh. 7:65).
The seer stone was really no different than the Urim and Thumim Joseph Smith was given, which was constructed of two seer stones bound together in a silver bow. So there was no reason why Joseph could not use the single seer stone in the translation process the same as the Urim and Thummim.
God has in the past either provided such things or instructed man to build or use existing things as tools in manifesting His power and communication with man. There was for example, the rod of Aaron(Ex 7:9-10); the burning bush(Ex 3:2); the pillar of fire(Ex 13:21); the tabernacle of Moses(Ex 33:9); the ark of the covenant(Judg. 20:27); and the Liahona(Alma 37:38).
President Joseph Fielding Smith, with reference to the seer stone and the Urim and Thummim, has written:
"We have been taught since the days of the Prophet that the Urim and Thummim were returned with the plates to the angel. We have no record of the Prophet having the Urim and Thummim after the organization of the Church. The statement has been made that the Urim and Thummim was on the altar in the Manti Temple when that building was dedicated. The Urim and Thummim so spoken of, however, was the seer stone which was in the possession of the Prophet Joseph Smith in early days. This seer stone is now in the possession of the Church." (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, p. 225.)
The seer stone is kept in a safe place and is not available for public viewing as far as I know, but there are photos of it available.
I am not aware of any reports of the General Authorities using it recently. It's primary purpose was to aid Joseph Smith in translation of scripture and a few revelations he received pertainng to the restoration of the Church, so there hasn't really been any reason to use it in our time.
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