Much of the myth surrounding the origin of The Book of Mormon has changed since it was first written in the late 1820s. Each generation has tweaked the myth to fit their own worldview. There is nothing wrong with this; in fact I think you’ll find that it happens in every religion in the world. However, with each generation it means that the myth is further and further disconnected from its original form. In addition to finding modern applications for this book of scripture, I also believe there is value in trying to understand the day and age which produced it.
The day and age that produced this book was quite different than the world that we are familiar with today; it had magic everywhere you looked! There was ancient buried treasure everywhere, and many of them were protected by guardian spirits. This treasure could be located with tools such as divining rods and seer stones and the spirits could be trapped or expelled through elaborate rituals. Joseph Smith Jr. was fond of these tools and rituals in his youth.
This can be difficult for many of us to visualize since we have never heard of these tools and rituals, let alone used or engaged in them. Luckily, graphic novelist Mark Elwood has created a wonderful resource called “The Glass Looker” which lovingly portrays this part of our history. This graphic novel has been critically acclaimed by people like John Hamer, Community of Christ Seventy, historian, and pastor of the Toronto, Canada congregation; Jeremy Runnells, author of the CES Letter; Lindsay Hansen Park, executive director of the Sunstone Symposium; and Brent Metcalfe, historian.
I would also like to extend my recommendation for this work if you are interested in understanding the original myth of the origin of The Book of Mormon. You can learn more about “The Glass Looker” here.