Over the years, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking in General Conference, have repeatedly reaffirmed what Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery taught about the translation of the plates by means of the Urim and Thummim that came with the plates.
Here are some highlights. For the complete list, with context and citations, go to
Highlights (easily found in context by searching the MOBOM document):
How can it be otherwise, when our testimony is so different, when the first proclamation we heard was so different, when the restoration of the Book of Mormon, its translation by the use of the Urim and Thummim, the gifts and blessings of the Holy Ghost, the administration of angels, and everything connected with our religion, are so different from that to which the world have been accustomed?
We should naturally suppose that the Lord intended to make this unlearned man read the book; that was indeed the fact, he was commanded of the Lord to read it, and he translated it by the means of a Urim and Thummim,
But you will find the same thing in the Book of Mormon, translated by the Urim and Thummim
Well, he conferred it upon him, because Joseph said he would do as he told him. “I want you to go to work and take the Urim and Thummim, and translate this book, and have it published, that this nation may read it.”
If it has been translated by the gift and power of God, through the means of the Urim and Thummim, and angels have been sent from heaven to bear testimony of its truth, then all the inhabitants of the world are concerned and have an interest in it.
He testifies that he was sent by an angel of God to bring these gold plates to light—that he obtained with them the Urim and Thummim, and translated the book.
it was by an angel that he was commanded to go to the place where the records were deposited; it was by an angel he was told to take them from the place of their long deposit, together with the Urim and Thummim; and it was by the Urim and Thummim, connected with prayer, that he was enabled to translate the plates into the English language:
The Lord had not spoken to the inhabitants of this earth for a long time, until He spoke to Joseph Smith, committed to him the plates on which the Book of Mormon was engraved, and gave him a Urim and Thummim to translate a portion of them, and told him to print the Book of Mormon, which he did
The first act that Joseph Smith was called to do by the angel of God, was, to get the plates from the hill Cumorah, and then translate them, and he got Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery to write for him. He would read the plates, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, and they would write. They had to either raise their bread from the ground, or buy it, and they had to eat and drink, and sleep, and toil, and rest, while they were engaged in bringing forth the great Work of the last days. All these were temporal acts, directed by the spirit of revelation.
He uncovered the spot of ground, took off the crowning stone on the stone box, and there beheld the sacred record of the ancient inhabitants of this continent; by its side lay the Urim and Thummim, an instrument for its translation.
The work of translation was done with the Urim and Thummim, for Mr. Smith was not a learned man,
And having revealed this book, and it having been translated by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost—the same gift and spirit which enabled Joseph Smith to interpret the language of this record by the use of the Urim and Thummim;
In the year 1827, Joseph Smith, then a young man, took these records from their place of concealment, and, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, translated them.
Joseph inquired of the Lord, and the Lord commanded him that he should translate the records, and that he should do it through the medium of the Urim and Thummim.
he was commanded by the Lord Almighty to go and get the plates, according to the vision that was shown to him at the time the angel came and conversed with him, that he obtained the plates, and he says he translated them by the Urim and Thummim.
that the records should be revealed, that the individual who should discover them should, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, be able to translate the records from the language in which they were written into our language,
And if we take the history of any man, from the days Joseph Smith received the plates from the hill Cumorah, and translated the Book of Mormon by the Urim and Thummim, until today, whoever has raised his hand against this work has felt the chastening hand of Almighty God upon him
In order that they might come forth and their contents be translated by the Urim and Thummim, that these contents might be declared to all nations, and kindreds, and tongues, and people
he had no knowledge of this when he brought forth that record to the world, and until he translated it, by the Urim and Thummim, into the English language.
Before he was baptized he translated the greater part of the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, through the aid of the Urim and Thummim.
Joseph Smith declared that when he obtained the plates of the Book of Mormon, it was by an angel flying through the midst of heaven, who directed him by vision to the place where these plates were deposited—the hill Cumorah in the State of New York. He was also commanded of the Almighty to translate the contents of these plates by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, which were found deposited with the plates, and he translated them according to God’s command.
Joseph Smith could not be deceived when the angel told him to go and obtain these plates, and gave him a vision of the very place where they were deposited, and he actually obtained them, and with them the Urim and Thummim, by which he translated them.
when he sent this everlasting Gospel by his angel, he did not forget, when the work was translated by the Urim and Thummim, to again send an angel from heaven to ordain individuals by the laying on of hands to administer the ordinances of the Gospel
Have we faith in Joseph Smith, who, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, translated the Book of Mormon, giving a record of the ancient inhabitants of this country,
With these plates that Joseph Smith, the Prophet, obtained through the instructions of the angel, he also obtained the Urim and Thummim, and by their aid he copied a few characters from the plates, and translated them.
which the Lord gave a special command to Joseph, unlearned as he was, that he should translate the record by the aid of the Urim and Thummim. Mr. Smith commenced the work of translation.
He revealed the record, and Joseph was commanded to translate it by the aid of the Urim and Thummim that was with it,
The time having fully arrived, in this the 19th century, for the prophecies to be fulfilled, in regard to the setting up of the latter-day kingdom, the Lord and his angel, as predicted in the 14th chapter of John’s Revelation, revealed the original plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated by inspiration and the aid of the Urim and Thummim, is found to contain the fullness of the Gospel of the Son of God, as revealed in ancient times to the Israelites of this western hemisphere, the forefathers of our Indian race.
You will perceive, Latter-day Saints, how this Urim and Thummim was formed in the first place. It was not something that existed on the earth in a natural state, it was something made by the Lord. He is a good mechanic, he understands how to make things.
But we have every reason to believe that the time is not far distant, and that there are some living among the young now upon the earth, that will live to behold great numbers of revelations given, and will behold other books come forth and other records translated by the Urim and Thummim, that same instrument that Joseph Smith used in the translation of the “Book of Mormon,” which will again come forth and be revealed to the seer and revelator that God will raise up by which these ancient records will be brought to light.
The angel also told him that with these plates there was an instrument called the Urim and Thummim, which would enable him to translate the records into our language. Joseph accomplished the work of translation between the years 1827 and 1830, through the use of this instrument, which had been hidden up with the plates.
By faith he received the records of Nephi, and translated them through the Urim and Thummim into our own language, and which have since been translated into many different languages.
What a wonderful thing the Book of Mormon is, to be brought forth by an angel sent from heaven to be translated from the ancient languages of this country into our English language, to have the Urim and Thummim given to the translator by which the words were translated.
First (not the authority of the Priesthood) but the authority to bring forth the plates of the Book of Mormon, and to translate them by the Urim and Thummim, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
Joseph Smith, when he translated these records by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, had not yet received any Priesthood, so far as his temporal existence was concerned.
We have here on the ceiling of this building pictured to us, Moroni making known to Joseph Smith the plates, from which the Book of Mormon was translated, which plates had been hidden up in the earth; and in connection with them was the Urim and Thummim, by which sacred instrument Joseph was enabled to translate the ancient characters, now given unto us in the form of the Book of Mormon;
At first Joseph Smith received the gift of seeing visions and the gift of translating dead languages by the Urim and Thummim,
He also by means of the Urim and Thummim translated the Book of Mormon;
; that he did find the plates in the Hill Cumorah or did translate the same by the aid of the Urim and Thummim.
And, as has been stated during this Conference, he brought forth the Book of Mormon-the stick of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim-in fulfillment of the testimony of Isaiah, translating that record through the Urim and Thummim, thereby revealing to us the history of the early inhabitants of this Continent.
The stick of Joseph, in the hands of Ephraim-which is the Book of Mormon-was translated into English from the Reformed Egyptian, by means of the Urim and Thummim, in the hands of Joseph Smith,
This book, that has been so despised by the world, was testified to by the Prophet Joseph when asked: "How and when did you obtain the Book of Mormon? Answer. Moroni, the person who deposited the plates, from which the Book of Mormon was translated, in a hill in Manchester, Ontario County, New York, being dead, and raised again therefrom, appeared unto me, and told me where they were; and gave me directions how to obtain them. I obtained them, and the Urim and Thummim with them, by the means of which I translated the plates, and thus came the Book of Mormon."
He was faithful to this injunction, and on the 22nd of September, 1827, the angel of the Lord delivered these plates into the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who translated them by the use of the Urim and Thummim, as he was led by the spirit of revelation from God.
Now, you who have tried to dictate to a person know how hard it is to dictate, and to continue to do this, without altering or without having the last sentence repeated; but Joseph dictated to these men, and was not under the necessity of asking them where they had left off, because he translated by the power of God. The Urim and Thummim was in his possession, and with this instrument he was able to translate the characters that were engraven upon the plates.
He gave us the book as a truth; it was a truth that God revealed these things to him; it was a truth that Moroni delivered the plates into his hands; it was a truth that this book was translated by the gift and power of God, through the medium of the Urim and Thummim. Now, we spend a good deal of time trying to determine how that was brought about. What does it matter how it was brought about? It was done by the gift and power of God, that is sufficient for me. It was done by means of the Urim and Thummim
He tells us of his receiving the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated, and with those plates the Urim and Thummim, or the holy interpreters, by the use of which and by the help of the Lord, through His Spirit, Joseph was able to interpret the engravings upon the plates;
After four years training, Moroni finally delivered unto Joseph these plates, together with the Urim and Thummim, by the aid of which, and through the gift and power of God, Joseph translated this history into the English language.
He also told him that there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, containing the history of the ancient inhabitants of this continent, and that it also contained the fulness of the everlasting gospel, as it was delivered by the Savior to them, and that there was also deposited the Urim and Thummim, by means of which the characters engraven on the plates could be translated.
The contents of this, record were translated by the prophet Joseph Smith by the power of God and the aid of the Urim and Thummim, and the Book of Mormon is the fruit of this translation.
Through the gift and power of God and the Urim and Thummim, he translated the Book of Mormon and published it on March 26, 1830, thus fulfilling this portion of the marvelous work and a wonder.
Perhaps paramount to his accomplishments was that “through the gift and power of God and the Urim and Thummim” he translated the Book of Mormon into modern English from an ancient unknown language called Reformed Egyptian.
Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated, with the Urim and Thummim … the history, or record, called ‘The book of Mormon’”
The writings on the plates were translated by use of a Urim and Thummim,
What skills did Joseph possess to aid in his translation? Oliver Cowdery, who was the principal scribe for the Book of Mormon, said of Joseph’s source of translating power that “the Prophet Joseph Smith … translated [the Book of Mormon] by the gift and power of God, by the [assistance or] means of the Urim and Thummim”