Translating the Book of Mormon
Author: Brant A. Gardner
Many members of the Church have mistakenly believed that the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith through the use of the Urim and Thummim, ancient stones used for translation by the Book of Mormon prophet Mosiah and given to Joseph by the angel Moroni. But observers recorded that the Urim and Thummim were awkward to use, and Joseph soon reverted to using a seer stone he had employed during his money digging days. He put this brown stone in a hat, to block light, as he translated at the rate of about twenty words at a time.
Church manuals have often used pictures that depict Joseph translating the plates similar to traditional methods, which we know is incorrect. This chapter explores what we do and do not know about the translation process, and why artists portrayed the translation process the way they did.
Learn more about this topic in A Reason for Faith: Navigating LDS Doctrine and Church History