The first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church), Joseph Smith, wrote in his personal account that he used the urim and thummim to translate brass plates from reformed Egyptian to what is now The Book of Mormon. He wrote that he received the urim and thummim with the plates after the angel Moroni showed him where they were hidden in the hill Cumorah in upstate New York.

U"rim (?), n. [Heb. rim, pl. of r, fire r light.]

A part or decoration of the breastplate of the high priest among the ancient Jews, by which Jehovah revealed his will on certain occasions. Its nature has been the subject of conflicting conjectures.

Thou shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim. Ex. xxviii. 30.

And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. 1 Sam. xxviii. 6.

⇒ Professor Plumptre supposes the Urim to have been a clear and colorless stone set in the breastplate of the high priest as a symbol of light, answering to the mystic scarab in the pectoral plate of the ancient Egyptian priests, and that the Thummim was an image corresponding to that worn by the priestly judges of Egypt as a symbol of truth and purity of motive. By gazing steadfastly on these, he may have been thrown into a mysterious, half ecstatic state, akin to hypnotism, in which he lost all personal consciousness, and received a spiritual illumination and insight.


© Webster 1913.

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