Joseph Smith Papers website provides a brief scholarly overview of the Urim & Thummim.

The Joseph Smith Papers

"Urim and Thummim," Glossary, The Joseph Smith Papers. Salt Lake City: Church Historian's Press

The Joseph Smith Papers
The Joseph Smith Papers
Reading Public, Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A device used to translate and receive revelation. In the Old Testament, the high priest of Israel used a device by this name to discern God’s will for Israel. The Book of Mormon gives an account of an ancient prophet, Mosiah, who translated records into his own language using “interpreters,” or “two stones” attached to “the two rims of a bow.” JS later recounted that he found such a device deposited with the gold plates, which he described as “spectacles,” or “two stones in silver bows,” and which he used to translate the plates. JS and other church members began referring to the instrument as the Urim and Thummim by 1832. The term was also applied to seer stones JS said he used to translate and to receive some of his early revelations. In April 1843, JS taught that the earth in its perfected state would become a Urim and Thummim where all things “will be manifest to those who dwell on it” and that those prepared for the celestial kingdom would receive their own Urim and Thummim.

Citations in Mormonr Qnas
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