ENSIGN ARTICLE: “Joseph dictated it [the Book of Mormon] word by word as he looked into instruments the Lord had prepared for him, including the Urim and Thummim and at times a seer stone, using a hat to shield his eyes from extraneous light in order to plainly see the words as they appeared.” –Elder Marcus B. Nash, of the Seventy, in an article entitled “Joseph Smith: Strength Out of Weakness,” Ensign, December 2017. [source]
GOSPEL TOPICS: “Joseph’s wife Emma explained that she ‘frequently wrote day after day’ at a small table in their house in Harmony, Pennsylvania. She described Joseph ‘sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.’ ” –from Book of Mormon Translation, from the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org. [source]
COMMENTARY: I applaud the church’s baby steps with their first published image of Joseph translating the Book of Mormon with a hat near at hand. You could be cynical and say that the LDS church is only making small attempts at showing pictures that portray the events surrounding the church’s founder with historical accuracy because they feel forced to do so by critics of the church who claim the church has presented its members with a whitewashed version of church history. But that would only be true if a) they had spent the past 175+ years never publishing a depiction of Joseph translating the Book of Mormon with his face in a hat and virtually never mentioning the hat in connection with the translation process in the many publications that discuss the translation, and b) when they finally did publish a picture of a hat present in the translation process, they did so in a way where anyone who didn’t already know how the hat was used would never guess it from the picture. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.