Monday, December 23, 2019

Joseph Smith's Birthday - the Urim and Thummim

December 23 is an appropriate time to ponder some classics from churchofjesuschrist.org.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-4?lang=eng

In response to the question, “How and where did you obtain the Book of Mormon?” Joseph Smith responded: “Moroni, who deposited the plates in a hill in Manchester, Ontario county, New York, being dead and raised again therefrom, appeared unto me, and told me where they were, and gave me directions how to obtain them. I obtained them, and the Urim and Thummim with them, by the means of which I translated the plates; and thus came the Book of Mormon.”3

History of the Church, 3:28; from an editorial published in Elders’ Journal, July 1838, pp. 42–43

“I was [told by Moroni] where were deposited some plates on which were engraven an abridgment of the records of the ancient Prophets that had existed on this continent. … These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold; each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long, and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters on the unsealed part were small, and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction, and much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found a curious instrument, which the ancients called ‘Urim and Thummim,’ which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim of a bow fastened to a breast plate. Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God.”

History of the Church, 4:537; punctuation modernized; paragraph divisions altered; from a letter from Joseph Smith written at the request of John Wentworth and George Barstow, Nauvoo, Illinois, published in Times and Seasons, Mar. 1, 1842, p. 707.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1.35,42,52?lang=eng#p35


33 He called me by aname, and said unto me that he was a bmessenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for cgood and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.
34 He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;
35 Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted "seers" in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.
...
42 Again, he told me, that when I got those plates of which he had spoken—for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled—I should not show them to any person; neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be adestroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates, the vision was opened to my bmind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited, and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.
59 At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to ame with this charge: that I should be bresponsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any cneglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to dpreserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.
62 By this timely aid was I enabled to reach the place of my destination in Pennsylvania; and immediately after my arrival there I commenced copying the characters off the plates. I copied a considerable number of them, and by means of the aUrim and Thummim I translated some of them, which I did between the time I arrived at the house of my wife’s father, in the month of December, and the February following.
Oliver Cowdery describes these events thus: “These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history or record called ‘The Book of Mormon.’
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1 Now, behold, I say unto you, that because you delivered up those writings which you had power given unto you to translate by the means of the Urim and Thummim, into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them.

(Doctrine and Covenants 10:1)


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