URIM AND THUMMIM ONLY
One of the Prophet Joseph’s accounts was recorded in the Elders’ Journal published July 1838, at Far West, Missouri. The Prophet Joseph Smith answered questions pertaining to the translation of The Book of Mormon. The Prophet Joseph Smith stated:
“I am answering these questions by publication for the reason they are asked me thousands of times.
“Moroni, the person who deposited the plates from whence 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.” “Answers to Questions,” Elders’ Journal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 1 (July 1838): 43.
The Prophet Joseph Smith gave at least five other accounts which speak of his translating the Book of Mormon. Probably the most important of these accounts is included in our scriptures, in Joseph Smith–History, and will be given later.
Oliver Cowdery wrote the earliest printed account of translating the Book of Mormon published in a series of eight letters published in the Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, beginning October, 1834.
Oliver Cowdery declared in his introductory letter:
“That our narrative may be correct, and particularly the introduction, it is proper to inform our patrons that our brother Joseph Smith Jr., has offered to assist us.”
Oliver continued explaining that he first met the Prophet Joseph April 5, 1829, and began writing as his scribe, April 7, 1829. Oliver Cowdery wrote:
“These days were never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom. Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history or record called the “Book of Mormon.” (Joseph Smith—History)