(115) Tying Adam's language into his own religion-making activity, Smith emphasized that the "first word Adam spoke" was brought to the first father via the Urim and Thummim seer stones, the central relic in Smith's early prophetic activity.
thesis, Utah State University, 2000), 273-276, reviews the primary documents regarding Gazelem, including the likelihood that Smith believed his Urim and Thummim were the Jaredite stones.
What was the function of the Urim and the Thummim? Since the breastplate was designated "of judgment," the implication is that they somehow allowed the High Priest to determine the decision of the Lord regarding certain important communal matters.
This is found in Josephus' description of the Urim and the Thummim (3) and in the literature of the Qumran community.
A proof text for this view may be in the verse, And he placed the breastplate upon him; and in the breastplate he put the Urim and the Thummim (Lev.
In the Septuagint this is expanded to read, "If this iniquity was due to my son Jonathan or to me, O Lord, God of Israel, show Urim, and if You say it was due to Your people Israel, show Thummim." According to Driver, the Urim ve-Tummim were "two sacred lots used for the purpose of ascertaining the Divine will on questions of national importance." (9) It would seem that the decision was based on whichever lot was drawn out of the breastplate.
The Book of Samuel records "inquiring of the Lord" a number of times, but only once does this explicitly involve the Urim and the Thummim. After the Philistines mustered their troops for war, Saul noted the might of the enemy and was struck with fear: But when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets (I Sam.
Because they seem so strange, most descriptions of Mormon beginnings focus on the mystifying accounts of the way Joseph Smith obtained plates of gold covered with engravings that, with the aid of an instrument called the Urim and Thummim
, he miraculously "translated" to produce the Book of Mormon.