I’ve been almost finished for about a year and a half now with a little paper on Hiram Page’s seer stone and how two artifacts have been misidentified as the Hiram Page Stone. In a nutshell, there are two physical stones that have been identified as the stone Hiram Page used to receive his revelations (See below). I show in the paper that, using known documentary evidence, neither of these stones can be connected to Hiram Page and that there has been considerable confusion and a snowballing story connected with these stones that has occurred largely because of what seems to be carelessness with sources. Admittedly, the issue is small, but it made me wonder if this what happens when people aren’t careful, how often are people not careful? In writing this, I don’t mean to “call out” anyone, but just to illustrate how I think we need to be careful. Here is the discussion about one of these stones. The discussion of the other is just as interesting:
The Jacob Whitmer Stone
…There are two stones in existence, one in private possession and the other in the possession of the Community of Christ, that claim to be Hiram Page’s stone. The first of these, in private possession, comes from the Jacob Whitmer family. It was passed down through Jacob Whitmer’s descendants and was eventually sold by Rick Grunder to a private collector. Apparently the first identification of this stone with Hiram Page comes from Alvin R. Dyer in his popular Refiner’s Fire.
Dyer photographed the stone and the caption he wrote says, “The seer stone presumed to have been used by Hiram Page.” The presumption is Dyer’s alone for he does not cite any sources either from the family or from historical records and tenuously forms his hypothesis solely on the fact that the Whitmers, Oliver Cowdery, and Page were related by marriage. Dyer can only say it is “highly probable” and “presumed” that this stone is Page’s. Finally, the stone in George A. Smith and Emer Harris’s descriptions was described as “black” whereas this rock was described as “light grey” by Dyer and at best “grey-green” by Grunder.
This misidentification has been perpetuated. In 1971, after reading in Dyer’s Refiner’s Fire about the “Page stone,” David C. Martin traveled to Missouri and purchased the stone from a daughter of Mayme Koontz. Martin visited the archives of the Reorganized Church and spoke to a Dr. Howard in an attempt to verify that the stone he had purchased was indeed Hiram Page’s. Martin wrote, “They [the Reorganized Church] have two stones in their possession, also known as ‘Peep’ stones, but neither can be connected with the Page family. Indeed, they have no record of where they came from.” Howard then showed Martin a publication about Indian artifacts and indicated that the stones in question were likely Indian gorgets, a type of Indian amulet worn around the neck. This identification led Martin to speculate that Page “either found the stone in an Indian mound or was given the stone by someone who did.” Finally, Martin expressed disappointment at not finding any copies of the revelations Page received through the stone. By now the stone had successfully made its transition from “presumed to have been used by Hiram Page” to “the [Hiram] Page stone” (emphasis added).
In 1983, Mormon Fundamentalist Ogden Kraut published his Seers and Seer Stones and featured a section about the Hiram Page stone, which included a picture of the Jacob Whitmer stone, of unknown origin, and an excerpt from Refiner’s Fire. Oddly, Kraut also quoted E. Cecil McGavin’s Historical Background of the Doctrine and Covenants in which McGavin claims to have been shown the Hiram Page stone housed in the archives of the RLDS Church (The George Schweich stone, discussed in greater detail below). Additionally, while Kraut follows Dyer’s measurements of the Whitmer stone as being 5 inches long, 3 inches wide, and ½ inch thick, the McGavin quote gives the dimensions of the stone in the RLDS archives as being “about seven inches long, four wide and one quarter inch in thickness.” Kraut describes its color as “light gray” following the Dyer description while the McGavin quote refers to the stone as being “dark gray.” Kraut was apparently unaware that Dyer and McGavin were referring to two completely different stones.
Four years later Bruce G. Stewart wrote his master’s thesis for the BYU history department on Hiram Page. In the appendix, Stewart reproduces the picture given in Seers and Seer Stones as well as the picture in Refiner’s Fire. In the caption for these pictures, Stewart introduces two new elements to the stone’s story. First, that it was by the holes (presumably by looking through them) that the “seeric gift” was exercised. Second, that the stone is “said” to have had a hole drilled for “a chain enabling the user to wear it around the neck.”  These two details are unattributed because neither Seers and Seer Stones nor Refiner’s Fire mention anything about the use of the seeric gift through the holes or a chain or the wearing of the stone around the neck.
Then in 1996, Dennis A. Wright delivered a paper which examined the Hiram Page incident as “a lesson in Church government.” Wright began the published version of his paper as follows, “It began with a curious, small, flat stone that Hiram Page wore on a chain around his neck.” Two paragraphs later Wright again refers to the stone being worn around Hiram’s neck. Wright drew this conclusion from the appendix of the Stewart Thesis. Here “said to have had . . . a chain enabling the user to wear it around his neck” becomes “a . . . stone that Hiram Page wore on a chain around his neck” (emphasis added). His comment about the stone’s being flat came from personal observation of the picture of the stone in the Stewart thesis.
In 2000 Joseph Fielding McConkie and Craig J. Ostler published Revelations of the Restoration and cited Wright’s paper saying,
“A ‘peepstone’ appearing to be the one used by Hiram Page to receive his revelations is now in the possession of the RLDS Church. It is a flat stone about seven inches long and four inches wide and one-quarter inch thick. It is dark gray in color with waves of brown and purple. It also has a small hole drilled through one end so that it could be worn on a chain around Hiram’s neck.”
These details of the stone are not found in Wright’s article but instead are similar to the details found in E. Cecil McGavin’s account of the George Schweich Stone in the RLDS archives (discussed below). Compare the previous excerpt to McGavin’s account:
The Page “peepstone”, however, was preserved as a souvenir. It is now in the possession of the Reorganized Church. The writer was permitted to examine it. It is a flat stone about seven inches long, four wide, and one-quarter inch in thickness. It is dark gray in color with waves of brown and purple gracefully interwoven across the surface. A small hole has been drilled through one end of it as if a string had been threaded through it. It is simply impressive enough to make a good paper weight.
McConkie and Ostler here, like Ogden Kraut, apparently confuse accounts of the two different stones since the McGavin account refers to the stone in the RLDS archives (the George Schweich Stone) and the Wright paper refers to the stone in private possession (the Jacob Whitmer Stone).
 Rick Grunder, a Mormonalia dealer, describes the stone’s provenance on his website. Grunder mediated the sale to its present collector (see Rick Grunder, “Whitmer Family Seer Stone”, http://www.rickgrunder.com/HistoricalArchive/whitmerstone.htm [accessed April 6, 2007]).
 See Alvin R. Dyer, Refiner’s Fire: The Significance of Events Transpiring in Missouri, 2nd ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1968), 257-59. This identification is repeated in the third edition of Dyer’s book. Though Rick Grunder cites Dyer’s Refiner’s Fire in the item description on the website, he does not mention anything about the stone being connected with Page.
 Dyer, Refiner’s Fire, 257.
 Dyer, Refiner’s Fire, 257.
 http://www.rickgrunder.com/HistoricalArchive/whitmerstone.htm (accessed April 6, 2007).
 Probably Dr. Richard P. Howard who was serving as the Church Historian of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the time.
 See David C. Martin, “Hiram Page’s ‘Peep’ Stone,” Restoration Reporter 1 (June 1971): 7.
 E. Cecil McGavin, The Historical Background of the Doctrine and Covenants (Salt Lake City: Paragon Printing Company, 1949), 93.
 Ogden Kraut, Seers and Seer Stones (Genola, UT: Pioneer Publishing, 1983), 50-51.
 Stewart, Hiram Page, 181. David C. Martin had mentioned that stones (gorgets) such as these may have been worn around the neck by Indians, but this is the first time that it is suggested that this “Hiram Page” stone was worn around the neck. Even so, it is unclear how Stewart arrives at this conclusion since there is no indication that Stewart was aware of or used David C. Martin’s writings. Furthermore, the only two sources quoted by Stewart were Refiner’s Fire and Seers and Seer Stones, which do not mention anything about wearing the stone at all, much less around the neck.
 Seers and Seer Stones does quote E. Cecil McGavin as saying, “A small hole has been drilled through one end of it as if a string had been threaded through it” in speaking of the stone in the RLDS archives, but there is no mention of a chain or that it was ever worn around Hiram’s neck, or worn at all (Kraut, Seers and Seer Stones, 50).
 Wright, “Hiram Page,” 85.
 “Hiram assumed that his own gift of seership, exercised through the stone he wore around his neck, was of divine origin” (Wright, “Hiram Page”, 86).
 Dennis A. Wright to Jared T., email correspondence, April 10, 2007.
 Wright to Jared T., April 10, 2007.
 Joseph Fielding McConkie and Craig J. Oslter, Revelations of the Restoration: A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants and Other Modern Revelations (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2000), 210-11.
 McGavin, The Historical Background, 93.
[The Jacob Whitmer Family Stone, identified by Alvin R. Dyer as "presumed" to have been used by Hiram Page, currently in private possession, courtesy Rick Grunder.]
[The stone associated with George Schweich, currently in the archives of the Community of Christ, courtesy of LDS Church Archives.]