Revealed for the first time: the seer stone that translated the Book of Mormon

In 1827, an angel directed the Prophet Joseph Smith to a spot in New York, where he found ancient golden plates inscribed with "reformed Egyptian" characters." Being unfamiliar with reformed Egyptian, Smith placed a "seer stone" (that he'd found when he was digging a well for his neighbor) into the bottom of hat and covered his face with the hat, which enabled him to view the words.

Now, for the first time, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has published photos of the seer stone. From The Week:

Pictures of the smooth brown stone and leather pouch that it was stored in will appear in a new book, along with photos of the first printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon, The Associated Press reports. The stone has always been in the church's possession, and will go back into the vault where it has been stored. Mormons believe that in 1827, Smith was guided by an angel to a spot in present-day New York, where he found ancient gold plates engraved with "reformed Egyptian" characters. He used the stone and other tools to translate the plates into what became the Book of Mormon.

Image: Seer stone used by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Photo by Weldon C. Andersen and Richard E. Turley Jr.