BYU Studies, Book of Mormon, translation, Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith did not offer many details about the translation process for the Book of Mormon, other than affirming that it was done through “the gift and power of God.”1In 1831, at a Church conference where he was invited to share more information, he declined, saying that “it was not expedient for him to relate these things.”2 Along with the golden plates, he had been given a set of Nephite “interpreters” (Mosiah 8:13; Ether 4:5), which he described as “two stones in silver bows” (JS–H 1:35), apparently looking something like a pair of glasses or spectacles. According to eyewitnesses, however, after the loss of the 116 pages, he primarily used a seer stone that had been in his possession for several years, which he would place in the crown of his hat, and then, putting his face in the hat, he would dictate the text of the Book of Mormon to scribes.3 (Somewhat confusingly, after 1833 he referred to both devices by the biblical term “Urim and Thummim.”) The open question in this case is what happened when Joseph looked at the seer stone.
"The Book of Mormon Translation Process,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 60:
3, Article 17.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol60/iss3/17