Tag: Mormon History

297–298: The State of Public History in Today’s Mormonism

In this two-part episode, Lindsay Hansen Park, Brian Whitney, and Jon Grimes join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon for a discussion of how Mormon history is understood and engaged with among typical Latter-day Saints. How do non-historians understand the nature…

Joseph Smith: Treasure-seeker or Prophet

One of the most controversial aspects of Joseph Smith’s early life—and one not especially well known among most Mormons—is his adventures as a treasure-seeker. His father was likely a treasure-seeker before the family moved to New York from Vermont, where divining rods were the common medium in the search. Sometime in the early 1820s, Joseph was introduced to seer-stones, a common scrying device in western New York. Joseph quickly developed a reputation as a talented seer, and was known to peer into his stone to direct fellow treasure-seekers in their hunts. When Joseph was gaining notoriety as the Book of Mormon was being prepared for publication, local antagonists in Palmyra were quick to ridicule his treasure-seeking activity. A local newspaper editor, Abner Cole, referred to treasure-seers as clear “impostures” in an article on Mormonism and wrote a piece of satire that mocked the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s treasure-seeking.