Religious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel


seer stone, Joseph Smith

Document Type

Book Review


In 1961, Hugh Nibley published The Myth Makers, a creative analysis of Joseph Smith’s critics that exhibits what then-Elder Gordon B. Hinckley called a “Puckish delight” in satirizing those among the Prophet’s contemporaries who had unkind things to say about him. In the book, Nibley imagines a deposition, held preparatory to “the case of the World versus Joseph Smith.” The chairman of the deposition questions the critical witnesses in a sardonic critique of the reliability of the sources. In one scene, the chairman asks to “hear about the peepstone,” and he gets an earful. The witnesses clamor for attention, vying to have their own stories about Joseph’s seer stone heard. But the many voices, ultimately irreconcilable with each other, leave the chairman exasperated; Nibley finally has the chairman dismiss the whole lot of critical witnesses as hopelessly contradictory, suggesting that little can be learned from their accounts.