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How were the Urim and Thummim fastened to the breastplate?


Joseph Antley

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Everyone describes the Urim and Thummim as two transparent stones set in a "bow", and they looked sort of like a pair of glasses. Joseph later says that this was fastened to the breastplate.

How were the spectacles "fastened" to a breastplate? What did he mean by that?

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Everyone describes the Urim and Thummim as two transparent stones set in a "bow", and they looked sort of like a pair of glasses. Joseph later says that this was fastened to the breastplate.

How were the spectacles "fastened" to a breastplate? What did he mean by that?

The "bow" could be something like the design used in jewelry to hold gems in place while keeping their main facets exposed to the light.

Then that bow could simply be fastened to the breastplate.

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The "bow" could be something like the design used in jewelry to hold gems in place while keeping their main facets exposed to the light.

Then that bow could simply be fastened to the breastplate.

I don't understand. How is it fastened to it? What part of the breastplate is it fastened to?

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I don't understand. How is it fastened to it? What part of the breastplate is it fastened to?

Something metallic roughly like this design...

ring.jpg

..could hold the U&T stones from falling out.

I'm only commenting on a possible meaning for the "bow" / "glasses" descriptor as an explanation for what kept the stones in place.

How that bow was then fastened to the breastplate is of less concern on this end, since that is open to a number of simple options.

(Welded/smelted, bolted, strapped, etc.)

I'm not claiming this is the answer. Just that it seems like a reasonable approach, based on what little I know about gemstone settings.

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Everyone describes the Urim and Thummim as two transparent stones set in a "bow", and they looked sort of like a pair of glasses. Joseph later says that this was fastened to the breastplate.

How were the spectacles "fastened" to a breastplate? What did he mean by that?

I don't know that I've ever heard of how exactly that was done.

Interestingly, the Jewish Encyclopedia has a reference on how the Israelite version of the two were used together.

URIM AND THUMMIM

Objects connected with the breastplate of the high priest, and used as a kind of divine oracle. Since the days of the Alexandrian translators of the Old Testament it has been asserted that mean "revelation and truth" (δήλωσις καὶ ἀλήθεια), or "lights and perfections" (φωτισμοὶ καὶ τελεότητες); the τελειότης καὶ διδαχή of Symmachus (Jerome, "perfectio et doctrina"; Field, "Hexapla" on Deut. xxxiii. :P; and the φωτισμοί καὶ τελειώσεις of Aquila and Theodotion. The Vulgate has "doctrina [after Symmachus; Old Latin, "ostensio" or "demonstratio"] et veritas." There is, however, no foundation for such a view in the Bible itself. Ex. xxviii. 13-30 describes the high-priestly ephod and the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim. It is called a "breastplate of judgment" ("ḥoshen ha-mishpaṭ"); it is four-square and double; and the twelve stones were not put inside the ḥoshen, but on the outside. It is related in Lev. viii. 7-8 that when, in compliance with the command in Ex. xxix. 1-37, Moses consecrated Aaron and his sons as priests, "He [Moses] put upon him [Aaron] the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the cunningly woven band [A. V. "curious girdle"] of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith. And he put the breastplate upon him: and in the breastplate he put the Urim and the Thummim." Deut. xxxiii. 8 (R. V.), in the blessing of Moses, reads: "And of Levi he said: Thy Thummim and thy Urim are with thy godly one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah" (see Steuernagel, "Deuteronomium," p. 125, G

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How that bow was then fastened to the breastplate is of less concern on this end, since that is open to a number of simple options.

(Welded/smelted, bolted, strapped, etc.)

That's what I'm interested in though. Obviously it wasn't welded, as Joseph must have removed it from the breastplate in order to use the stones.

Of course it could have been strapped, but strapped where and how? It seems pretty awkward to just have the spectacles randomly "strapped" somewhere on the a breastplate.

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That's what I'm interested in though. Obviously it wasn't welded, as Joseph must have removed it from the breastplate in order to use the stones.

Of course it could have been strapped, but strapped where and how? It seems pretty awkward to just have the spectacles randomly "strapped" somewhere on the a breastplate.

It had to detach, seeing how his mother described both the U&T and the breastplate separately. She described everything BUT how it attached. Bummer!

Lucy Mack Smith -

"On the morning of September 22, after Joseph had returned from the hill, he placed the article [the Nephite interpreters] of which he spoke into my hands, and, upon examination, I found that it consisted of two smooth three-cornered diamonds set in glass, and the glasses were set in silver bows, which were connected with each other in much the same way as old fashioned spectacles. . . . He [Joseph Smith] handed me the breastplate spoken of in his history. It was wrapped in a thin muslin handkerchief, so thin that I could feel its proportions without any difficulty. It was concave on one side and convex on the other, and extended from the neck downwards, as far as the center of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material, for the purpose of fastening it to the breast."

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How were the spectacles "fastened" to a breastplate? What did he mean by that?

Interview with William Smith (the Prophet's brother) in 1891.

"Among other things we inquired minutely about the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate. We asked him what was meant by the expression "two rims of a bow," which held the former. He said a double silver bow was twisted into the shape of the figure eight, and the two stones were placed literally between the two rims of a bow. At one end was attached a rod which was connected with the outer edge of the right shoulder of the breast-plate. By pressing the head a little forward, the rod held the Urim and Thummim before the eyes much like a pair of spectacles. A pocket was prepared in the breastplate on the left side, immediately over the heart. When not in use the Urim and Thummim was placed in this pocket, the rod being of just the right length to allow it to be so deposited. This instrument could, however, be detached from the breastplate and his brother said Joseph often wore it detached when away from home, but always used it in connection with the breastplate when receiving official communications, and usually so when translating as it permitted him to have both hands free to hold the plates."

J. W. Peterson in The Rod of Iron I:3 (February 1924), 6â??7.

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Interview with William Smith (the Prophet's brother) in 1891.

"Among other things we inquired minutely about the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate. We asked him what was meant by the expression "two rims of a bow," which held the former. He said a double silver bow was twisted into the shape of the figure eight, and the two stones were placed literally between the two rims of a bow. At one end was attached a rod which was connected with the outer edge of the right shoulder of the breast-plate. By pressing the head a little forward, the rod held the Urim and Thummim before the eyes much like a pair of spectacles. A pocket was prepared in the breastplate on the left side, immediately over the heart. When not in use the Urim and Thummim was placed in this pocket, the rod being of just the right length to allow it to be so deposited. This instrument could, however, be detached from the breastplate and his brother said Joseph often wore it detached when away from home, but always used it in connection with the breastplate when receiving official communications, and usually so when translating as it permitted him to have both hands free to hold the plates."

J. W. Peterson in The Rod of Iron I:3 (February 1924), 6â??7.

Anyone know if The Rod of Iron is available online anywhere? I haven't been able to find it. Some references seemed to also say that this was reprinted in the Saints Herald in 1932, but Uncle Dale doesn't have it on his site.

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Some years ago I read everything I know exists on the Urim & Thummin well the lds one. One good theory states that the breast plate was a piece of military armor that was adapted to hold the Urim and Thummim stones. I recall that the breast plate was reportedly copper in appearance and it had a single not double Silver arm that extended with some kind of lemniscate design holding the stones in them on the end of the arm (see above conceptual pic). The breast plate also had a fashioned pocket that would hold the detached stones and silver extension arm/lemniscate when not in use. The idea being I think that the arm would detach and could be neatly put in the holding pocket on the inner concave side of the Breast Plate.

Also it is important to remember that the stones themselves could be popped out and clicked back into the silver bows/lemniscate and according to accounts Joseph would do this occasionally and carry one of the stones on his person & by this means he could see the approach of his enemies from far off. It was via this means that he protected the Gold Plates from people who were using inferior crystal balls and seer stones to divine it's location. Many lds do not realize the reason Joseph couldn't just hide the plates in one secure location and forget about them was because crystal gazers and scryers were constantly employed to locate them.

That part of the story is unfortunately never explained, unfortunately and what is left is a story which has Joseph running around performing all kinds of apparent shenanigan in order to hide the plates. That is why Joseph couldn't just dig a hole in the earth cover it up and leave them in there, as without the ability to scry an individual would have to dig up every square foot of the surrounding country side to locate the plates. However scryers were successfully pinpointing the exact locations to the very spot and often he was just a single step ahead of them, as in the upper level of the farm house for example. There is an infinity of locations where he could of hidden them however he had inferior scryers on his tail, but he had the infinitely superior instrument in the Urim and Thummmim.

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