dahlia

Urim and Thummim and a testimony

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Wow. So I'm scrolling through Facebook when I come upon an article from 'I am LDS' about the Urim and Thummim which contains a reference to Leviticus.  As a former Catholic, I don't know the Bible (Catholics read Catholic materials, not the Bible; that's for Protestants). ^_^ I do know there is something called Leviticus, which held more weight for me than references to verses in the BOM. I went to see what the verse said. Right there in plain sight was a reference, in the Bible and not in the BOM, to the Urim and Thummim! "And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim."

I had no idea they were 'real,' as in having a reference outside of the BOM. I am not the best Mormon. I take a lot of what I've been told or read and just turn a blind eye because I find more things to recommend Mormonism than not, so when things come up that just sound 'out there,' I'm like, OK. We just won't think about that one too much.

But every time I do that, I find out that there's a reference to it in the Bible. Let me be clear - just because it's in the Bible doesn't mean I'm taking it as 'gospel.' :) What it does mean to me, is that there is consistency between the Bible and the BOM.  Maybe that still makes me a bad Mormon, but for me, it just shows me, over and over again, that the Church is true. 

One day I'm going to read that Bible - it sounds interesting. :itwasntme:

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If you thought that was fun, try this:

http://archives.yalealumnimagazine.com/issues/01_03/seal.html

Quote

The two Hebrew words (Urim v’Thummim) at the center of the official Yale seal appear eight times in the Hebrew Bible. Jewish sources considered them oracular gems worn by the high priest Aaron. And their presence in Leviticus 8:8—the middle verse of the Pentateuch—suggests that they identify the book on the Yale seal as the Bible itself.

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7 hours ago, dahlia said:

What it does mean to me, is that there is consistency between the Bible and the BOM.

IME, only when we take all the standard works (Bible, BofM, D&C, PofGP), and study them in light of the restored gospel as taught by living prophets and apostles, do their teachings become logical and consistent.  Without the whole, any individual piece might seem irrational or contradictory, but the whole of it together is the most internally consistent thing I know.  And anything that remains internally consistent while spanning so much time and so many cultures has to be true.

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So I understand it, Joseph Smith was told by the angel Moroni that they were "interpreters". And only later equated with the U&T when some church leader put two and two together.  Honestly, as you study the restoration process and Joseph Smith's Revelations and insight, this after-thought connection is very common.

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On 1/20/2019 at 9:11 AM, zil said:

IME, only when we take all the standard works (Bible, BofM, D&C, PofGP), and study them in light of the restored gospel as taught by living prophets and apostles, do their teachings become logical and consistent.  Without the whole, any individual piece might seem irrational or contradictory, but the whole of it together is the most internally consistent thing I know.  And anything that remains internally consistent while spanning so much time and so many cultures has to be true.

I found 3 mentions of the Urim and Thummim in the Doctrine and Covenant.  Who gave Jared the sword
Laban (17:1) and how did it get back into Laban's possession when Nephi killed him and took hold of it?

Thank you,

Gale

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3 minutes ago, GaleG said:

I found 3 mentions of the Urim and Thummim in the Doctrine and Covenant.  Who gave Jared the sword
Laban (17:1) and how did it get back into Laban's possession when Nephi killed him and took hold of it?

Thank you,

Gale

Only the Urim & Thummim were the brother of Jared's.  All the rest came from Nephi down until Moroni buried it all.  It's possible that king Mosiah is the one who received the brother of Jared's Urim & Thummim, which then passed down with all the rest of it until it was buried for Joseph to find.  Someone else who's more up on this stuff will have to comment / clarify.  Meanwhile, these links have what info I know of (and a link to D&C 17 to save others the time).

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/urim-and-thummim?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/tg/urim-and-thummim?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/17?lang=eng

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On 1/20/2019 at 6:30 PM, bytebear said:

So I understand it, Joseph Smith was told by the angel Moroni that they were "interpreters". And only later equated with the U&T when some church leader put two and two together.  Honestly, as you study the restoration process and Joseph Smith's Revelations and insight, this after-thought connection is very common.

Well, JS-History says:

Quote

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;

...

52 Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement.

There's more.  But you get the picture.

And Oliver Cowdery said:

Quote

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.’

Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1 (October 1834), pp. 14–16.

If it was "some church leader..." then it must have been Joseph who heard Moroni call them that.

Edited by Guest

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17 hours ago, GaleG said:

I found 3 mentions of the Urim and Thummim in the Doctrine and Covenant.  Who gave Jared the sword
Laban (17:1) and how did it get back into Laban's possession when Nephi killed him and took hold of it?

Thank you,

Gale

It is just a side affect of the way English was used in 1829. We have changed the language since then to make run-on sentences less common.

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Quote

 

Joseph Smith—History 1

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.’

 

 

I believe Moroni, being a Nephite, and the fact that Joseph Smith knew the Nephites called them Interpreters, that they were not called the U&T by Moroni or anyone else in the Book of Mormon.  Maybe Smith was told by God, or maybe he or Cowdry figured it out, but the record implies to me, that Moroni would not have called them the U&T.

Edited by bytebear

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Smith also called his Seer Stone a U&T, so the term as used by him, does not mean a specific type of interpreter, but simply a conduit for revelation. 

Also, the Earth, when it is celestialized, and becomes the Celestial kingdom will become a giant U&T. And each inhabitant will be given their own stone which acts as a U&T.

 

I believe anything that is sanctified to be in the presence of God is a U&T.  And for us mere mortals, since we cannot stand in His presence, a tool is required to act as a conduit.
 

Quote

D&C 130

6
The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth;

7 But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord.

8 The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim.

9 This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s.

10 Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known;

11 And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word.



 

Edited by bytebear

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On 1/24/2019 at 12:15 PM, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

It is just a side affect of the way English was used in 1829. We have changed the language since then to make run-on sentences less common.

That's not a run-on sentence.  It would be clearer if parenthesis were used.  But even that wouldn't completely remove the ambiguity of the way it is written.  It is clear that the "given to the Brother of Jared upon the mount" is specifically referring to the U&T alone.  And when we cross reference that to the event in question (when Mahonri received them on the mount) we realize that is is those objects that he was referring to.

It really makes no sense to interpret those wordw as "Jared received the Sword of Laban upon the mount."  That would take someone purposefully misreading it to interpret it that way.

Edited by Guest

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On 1/24/2019 at 6:31 PM, bytebear said:

I believe Moroni, being a Nephite, and the fact that Joseph Smith knew the Nephites called them Interpreters, that they were not called the U&T by Moroni or anyone else in the Book of Mormon.  Maybe Smith was told by God, or maybe he or Cowdry figured it out, but the record implies to me, that Moroni would not have called them the U&T.

How would we know?  And why is that important?

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On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 5:35 PM, bytebear said:

Smith also called his Seer Stone a U&T, so the term as used by him, does not mean a specific type of interpreter, but simply a conduit for revelation. 

Also, the Earth, when it is celestialized, and becomes the Celestial kingdom will become a giant U&T. And each inhabitant will be given their own stone which acts as a U&T.

 

I believe anything that is sanctified to be in the presence of God is a U&T.  And for us mere mortals, since we cannot stand in His presence, a tool is required to act as a conduit.
 



 

Personal opinion..

I believe this is a MODERN interpretation that for some ridiculous reason, some Church authorities have bought hook, line, and sinker.

The only real reason they resort to this is due to some commentary that was put forth by David Whitmer who claimed a bigger position in scribing the Book of Mormon then he had when he was trying to create his own branch of Mormonism or supporting others in creating branches counter to the Youngites.  The same could be stated that Martin Harris too only really came out with controversial statements as such when trying to show support for another individual to lead the church who also claimed to have a Seer Stone.  Thus, it was beneficial to state that it was in a same manner or similar to the other individual.

IN MY OPINION, this was an attempt to lead people astray and that the way and type that Joseph actually did translation (as the urim and thummim were normally to be concealed rather than something all could see if I understand correctly) was via the Urim and Thummim as was taught originally from the Time of Joseph Smith up until other notions started coming in the mid 90s. 

Most of the seer stone nonsense got it's start from those (including the Whitmers and Harris...ironically), first from opponents, and then people trying to counter those opponents and show support for another individual who lay claim to being the prophet of the church (opposed to Brigham Young) by use of a....drum roll...

Seer Stone type item.

It is no secret that Joseph probably had a stone of usage that he used to see things other than what the Urim and Thummim were used for (and also shown in a recent church article within the past few years).  However, I am of the opinion that a majority of the translation of the Book of Mormon was via these instruments rather than the Seer Stone.

The Seer Stone has been used for years by those against the church to try to convince others that Joseph was nothing more than a treasure seeker.  It was there account (and many other slanderous things) that they sought in trying to show that this same type of individual was simply a con-man much like other con-men and women of the time who also claimed usage of similar seer stone objects. 

This idea has been HIGHLY contested in prior years by the church and normally it was easily shown why these individuals were not to be trusted. 

Of course, this is ONLY MY OPINION, obviously.

Why the church has changed it's dialogue to agree more in parallel with it's attackers and aggressors I recent years...I do not know.  However, I think there is a direct parallel between how much the church has started agreeing with these types of stories and how many start to think that because the church is in part somewhat agreeing with them, that there is more validity to the anti-Mormon arguments than ever before.  Where it used to be uncommon, it now is common, and where it used to be questioned, it now is unquestioned. 

I have at times found it disheartening, but in the end, we must press forward and have faith that the Lord leads the church and the General Authorities are being led correctly in their course of action on what direction to take it.

On ‎1‎/‎23‎/‎2019 at 5:37 PM, zil said:

Only the Urim & Thummim were the brother of Jared's.  All the rest came from Nephi down until Moroni buried it all.  It's possible that king Mosiah is the one who received the brother of Jared's Urim & Thummim, which then passed down with all the rest of it until it was buried for Joseph to find.  Someone else who's more up on this stuff will have to comment / clarify.  Meanwhile, these links have what info I know of (and a link to D&C 17 to save others the time).

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/urim-and-thummim?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/tg/urim-and-thummim?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/17?lang=eng

That would make sense to me.  Mosiah also had the usage to translate the records of the Jaredites and from that we get the Book of Enoch (I think).  Thus, as we KNOW Mormon and Moroni must have had the Book of Enoch (as we have it in the Book of Mormon) it would make sense that the same means to translate them also made its way with it.

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On 1/24/2019 at 1:15 PM, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

It is just a side affect of the way English was used in 1829. We have changed the language since then to make run-on sentences less common.

I deleted my earlier question as Zil subsequently explained the plural part.

Thank you,

Gale

Edited by GaleG
retracted question

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7 minutes ago, GaleG said:

"...you shall have a view of the plates, and also of the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim,
which were given to the brother of Jared". 

Are you saying that only one of the four things (1. plates, 2. breastplate, 3. sword, 4. Urim and Thummin) were
given to this person and 'which were' should really be translated as 'which was'?

Are there other parts in the Book of Mormon translated incorrectly; where the phrase  'which were' means singular
instead of plural?

Thank you,

Gale

Urim and Thummim.  There's an "and" in there, like "this and that".  Further, in Hebrew, the "im" ending indicates plural:

Quote

Hebrew term that means “Lights and Perfections.”

...(from the Bible Dictionary entry).  Therefore, it's really, "these and those", thus, were.

The Urim and Thummim were given to the brother of Jared.

Edited by zil

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8 minutes ago, GaleG said:

"...you shall have a view of the plates, and also of the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim,
which were given to the brother of Jared". 

Are you saying that only one of the four things (1. plates, 2. breastplate, 3. sword, 4. Urim and Thummin) were
given to this person and 'which were' should really be translated as 'which was'?

Are there other parts in the Book of Mormon translated incorrectly; where the phrase  'which were' means singular
instead of plural?

Thank you,

Gale

The Urum AND Thummim. Plural.  The meaning of this term is "Lights AND Perfections". Plural.

Reading the Book of Ether, we look for mention of anything else.

1) Plates from Jared?  Nope.
2) Breastplate from Jared? Nope.
3) Sword of Laban? Nope.

No mention of any of them.

4) Urim and Thummim?  Yes, they were specifically described as being given to the Brother of Jared.

Edited by Guest

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Just now, Carborendum said:

The Urum AND Thummim. Plural.  The meaning of this term is "Lights AND Perfections". Plural.

Reading the Book of Ether, we look for mention of anything else.

1) Plates from Jared?  Nope.
2) Breastplate from Jared? Nope.
3) Sword of Laban? Nope.

No mention of any of them.

Copycat. ;)

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5 minutes ago, GaleG said:

He's a quick typer 🙂

Which explains the typo.

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Interesting Nibleyesque speculation about "urim and thummim":

There is some evidence that Jupiter's moons might have been known by the ancients, at least as early as the fourth century BC, and possibly by ancient Babylonian astronomers. While Jupiter's moons actually are large and reflective enough (a few of them, anyway) to see with the naked eye, they are obscured by Jupiter's glare, and would be unlikely to have been observed without a telescope.

So here's Nibley's speculation, for which he didn't even charge you:

A traditional telescope consists of two lenses, which we call an "objective" and an "ocular" (or "eyepiece"). The objective is the big lens in front; its job is to gather light. The smaller eyepiece is in back, the one you look through; its job is to focus (i.e. perfect) the light from the objective. Two crystal "stones" that you hold to your eye to allow you to see things otherwise invisible, and to reveal remote truths...

How and why would an ancient telescope have been hidden from the world and eventually lost until modern times (Galileo)? Easy. The telescope is an important military weapon. If discovered in ancient times, it might well have been a closely guarded military secret, known only to the king, his "top brass", and of course the engineer who figured it out. Disposing of the engineer would be an easy, perhaps common, practice. And both kings and their generals have a nasty habit of getting themselves killed in wars.

Excuse me while I get fitted for my tinfoil hat.

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13 minutes ago, Vort said:

Interesting Nibleyesque speculation about "urim and thummim":

There is some evidence that Jupiter's moons might have been known by the ancients, at least as early as the fourth century BC, and possibly by ancient Babylonian astronomers. While Jupiter's moons actually are large and reflective enough (a few of them, anyway) to see with the naked eye, they are obscured by Jupiter's glare, and would be unlikely to have been observed without a telescope.

So here's Nibley's speculation, for which he didn't even charge you:

A traditional telescope consists of two lenses, which we call an "objective" and an "ocular" (or "eyepiece"). The objective is the big lens in front; its job is to gather light. The smaller eyepiece is in back, the one you look through; its job is to focus (i.e. perfect) the light from the objective. Two crystal "stones" that you hold to your eye to allow you to see things otherwise invisible, and to reveal remote truths...

How and why would an ancient telescope have been hidden from the world and eventually lost until modern times (Galileo)? Easy. The telescope is an important military weapon. If discovered in ancient times, it might well have been a closely guarded military secret, known only to the king, his "top brass", and of course the engineer who figured it out. Disposing of the engineer would be an easy, perhaps common, practice. And both kings and their generals have a nasty habit of getting themselves killed in wars.

Excuse me while I get fitted for my tinfoil hat.

Regardless of truth or lack of it, that does actually explain a lot.

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To clarify: Nibley suggested the U/T-telescope connection. The "lost" part was my own speculation. (And "speculation" is indeed the perfect word when wondering about telescopes and the Urim and Thummim.)

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39 minutes ago, Vort said:

How and why would an ancient telescope have been hidden from the world and eventually lost until modern times (Galileo)?

I once went to interview a blacksmith (friend of a friend) to ask some questions for a story idea I had.  One of the things he mentioned (he liked to tell stories, and this had nothing to do with my question) was that for a very long time, blacksmithing was very secretive.  Only apprentices were given any knowledge at all.  Also, because the forge was dark (to see the color of the heated metal), others often associated magic with the work (secrets  + dark = suspicion of magic).

Point being, I suspect there are lots of things that were fairly closely held secrets and certainly never recorded in a way that would survive for archaeologists.  Modern man likes to think he's so very much smarter than the ignorant souls of millennia past, but I expect they knew more than we realize.

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