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Non-LDS take on Urim and Thummim

Posted: 18 Jun 2017, 16:02
by SamBee ... n-devices/
The Urim and Thummim are mentioned on several occasions in the Bible. These objects have puzzled theologians for a long time.

What are they? Most scholars would say the objects are of great importance, but their nature remains an unexplained Biblical mystery.

The definition of “the Urim and the Thummim,” is “Lights and Perfection. The objects are God’s communication devices that he uses when expressing a certain wish that must be fulfilled. The Urim and Thummim were a means of revelation entrusted to the high priest.

Re: Non-LDS take on Urim and Thummim

Posted: 19 Jun 2017, 06:44
by Heber13
Cool stuff, Sambee.

It almost seems like sometimes we use "peep stones" to make Joseph Smith sound so crazy and side-show magician-like, and yet...when you see these kinds of things that are ancient tools, it isn't so far-fetched in the realm of religion to have a talisman like this or something to channel the divine in revelation. That's what I think don't hear many other religions using these terms...and yet...there is a viewpoint that puts it in perfect harmony with ancient prophetic work...if you want to view it that way.

Am I off base, or do you see that too? Joseph may have done some weird things from our perspective...but when it is in context of restoration seems he was really inside the bounds of possibility.

Re: Non-LDS take on Urim and Thummim

Posted: 19 Jun 2017, 08:50
by Curt Sunshine
I personally see "The Restoration" a little differently than most members. (okay, a lot differently)

I see Joseph Smith as an Old Testament prophet, trying to go back as far as possible and "start over" from the beginning.

He reimagined the creation mythology and relocated it to his own life. He reinstituted the Abrahmaic Covenant (Old Testament) as the foundation of his theology. He instituted adoption into the House of Israel, not traditional Christianity. He began the creation of a new ethnic group that grew "in the wilderness" amid conflict and strife. He translated / transmitted a new ancient record that bridged from the Old Testament time to the New Testament time. Most of the things he did that were the most controversial can be linked to the Old Testament - and the "inspiration" for them came from his effort to retranslate the Old Testament.

I see Brigham Young as continuing and "entrenching" that effort. I see a gradual move from an Old Testament people to a New Testament people, with David O. McKay being the primary, catalyst prophet in that change and Gordon B. Hinckley as the solidifier of it. (Both in his actions as President and in his choice of counselors and that legacy)

In that view, Joseph using a Urim & Thummim makes perfect sense. It was what he read when he read about Old Testament prophets.

Re: Non-LDS take on Urim and Thummim

Posted: 19 Jun 2017, 10:32
by nibbler
I try to attend other churches every so often to both widen my perspective and to try to internalize some of the good I find. Last Sunday I attended a Presbyterian church.

I attended their Sunday School class and the Urim and Thummim came up! My first thought... I thought I had escaped the LDS church for one Sunday. :P Then I thought... is this some sort of message from the universe?

The instructor's pronunciations were interesting, you could tell this wasn't a typical subject matter for the class, but we discussed the Ephod and the Urim and Thummim. The instructor defined it like I've often heard it defined and as brought up in the linked article:
...the priest carried in his breastplate perhaps two sticks or stones, one white and the other black, that would give a yes or no answer to a specific question.
The discussion was mainly focused on Gideon and how the Ephod became an idol.

Anyway, I just found it extremely interesting how the subject coincidentally went to the U&T, even on a Sunday where I was "vacationing" from my home church.

Re: Non-LDS take on Urim and Thummim

Posted: 19 Jun 2017, 14:24
by SamBee
Very curious (workmanship?) - I attended Presby churches for years but only heard of Urim and Thummim through my own Bible reading!