There was a question about Joseph’s stone and hat but you never mentioned either. What is this about a hat? I was taught that the seer stones helped translate the golden plates but I never heard anything about a hat. Can you be a little more specific?
The Church recently released an essay summarizing what we know about the process of translating the Book of Mormon.
As you will see from the article, Joseph Smith apparently alternated between using the Urim and Thummim (which he obtained simultaneously with the plates), and a “seer stone” that he had owned for some time previously. David Whitmer recalled that, when using the seer stone to translate, Joseph Smith would place the stone into a hat and then put his face into the hat in such a manner so as to block out the ambient light in the room.
As the article notes:
“Some people have balked at this claim of physical instruments used in the divine translation process, but such aids to facilitate the communication of God’s power and inspiration are consistent with accounts in scripture. In addition to the Urim and Thummim, the Bible mentions other physical instruments used to access God’s power: the rod of Aaron, a brass serpent, holy anointing oils, the Ark of the Covenant, and even dirt from the ground mixed with saliva to heal the eyes of a blind man.”