Interpreters and Combinations

Aug 25, 2010
28 min read

The purpose of this article is to explore the physical description of the Nephite “interpreters” (or Urim and Thummim as they were called by Joseph Smith) and their purpose. This article will demonstrate that these artifacts have been passed down for thousands of years and their primary use is for revealing the history of secret Satanic conspiracies upon the American continent as a warning to future inhabitants of this land.

What were they and what did they look like?

Joseph Smith claimed that he translated ancient records with the assistance of a “Urim and Thummim”. The Urim and Thummim were part of the sacred vestments that the high priest wore during the period of Mosaic Law. Here is what the LDS Bible Dictionary says about the Urim and Thummim:

Heb. term that means Lights and Perfections. An instrument prepared of God to assist man in obtaining revelation from the Lord and in translating languages. See Ex. 28: 30; Lev. 8: 8; Num. 27: 21; Deut. 33: 8; 1 Sam. 28: 6; Ezra 2: 63; Neh. 7: 65; JS-H 1: 35.

Using a Urim and Thummim is the special prerogative of a seer, and it would seem reasonable that such instruments were used from the time of Adam. However, the earliest mention is in connection with the brother of Jared (Ether 3: 21-28). Abraham used a Urim and Thummim (Abr. 3: 1-4), as did Aaron and the priests of Israel, and also the prophets among the Nephites (Omni 1: 20-21; Mosiah 8: 13-19; Mosiah 21: 26-28; Mosiah 28: 11-20; Ether 4: 1-7). There is more than one Urim and Thummim, but we are informed that Joseph Smith had the one used by the brother of Jared (Ether 3: 22-28; D&C 10: 1; D&C 17: 1). (See Seer.) A partial description is given in JS-H 1: 35. Joseph Smith used it in translating the Book of Mormon and in obtaining other revelations.

This earth in its celestial condition will be a Urim and Thummim, and many within that kingdom will have an additional Urim and Thummim (D&C 130: 6-11).

It is very difficult to tell what the purpose of these particular implements were used for from the text of the Old Testament. There are a few passages that indicate that they had something to do with revelation; that they were oracles of some kind, but there is nothing indicating that they were used for translating languages, when in the Book of Mormon, that seems to have been their only purpose. Could it be that the Book of Mormon stones were different than the ones used by the Israelites?

When looking into the “Urim and Thummim” Joseph Smith possessed, I am going to attempt to demonstrate that there is a much more specific purpose to the very set that he was in possession of and that they were unique in a very particular way.

We know a lot about what Joseph’s Urim and Thummim looked like; we have several statements from Joseph and many of his contemporaries about these implements. We know from Joseph Smith’s account in the History of the Church in the Pearl of Great Price, that they were attached to a breastplate that seemed to be specially constructed for these objects.

JS-H 1:35 Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.

Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph Smith’s mother once described the Urim and Thummim that Joseph had as:

“consisting 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.”

Others who saw them, described them as thus:

David Whitmer also compared the Urim and Thummim to a pair of eyeglasses, but noted that “the bow between the stones was more heavy; and longer apart between the stones, then we usually find in spectacles’.”

Lucy reported that the breastplate upon which this was fastened,

“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, two of which ran back to go over the shoulders, and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips. They were just the width of two of my fingers (for I measured them), and they had holes in the end of them, to be convenient in fastening.”

“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.”

Some understood the two triangle stones of celestial material, actually prepared by the Lord (Mosiah 28:13-14); set in glass, one upright, the other on its tip, when superimposed one on the other to form the Star of David, an apt symbol of the Urim and Thummim. Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris, were to testify that he had seen them. (D&C 17:2-5)


One of the most interesting things to me is how Joseph seemed more impressed with the ‘interpreters’ than the gold plates themselves. Joseph Knight recounts the morning after Joseph and Emma went to get the plates. After breakfast Joseph Smith called Mr. Knight into the other room and told him:

“It is ten times better then I expected. Then he went on to tell the length and width and thickness of the plates and, said he, they appear to be gold. But he seamed to think more of the glasses or the urim and thummim than he did of the plates for says he, I can see anything. They are Marvelous.”

Their origins

Let’s trace back the Urim and Thummim Joseph Smith possessed back to their origin. Joseph Smith was the last known possessor of them so who was the first? Jesus Christ himself tells us:

D&C 17: 1
1 Behold, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which if you do with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of the plates, and also of the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, which were given to the brother of Jared upon the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of the Red Sea.

So it was the Brother of Jared who first possessed them; they were given to him by Jesus Christ:

Ether 3:23,24
23 And behold, these two stones will I give unto thee, and ye shall seal them up also with the things which ye shall write.
24 For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write.

The stones were originally given to the Brother of Jared for the intention of translation. Here we see that there was a very different purpose behind these two stones as opposed to the ones given to the Israelites. These stones were given to the Jaredites long before Moses and the tabernacle and the Israelites never had their language confounded. So when we examine the ‘stones’ that follow their course all the way to Joseph Smith, we are discussing something quite different than the “Urim and Thummim” we read of in the Old Testament.

There are two times in Book of Mormon history when the Jaredite culture overlaps the Nephite culture. The first time is in the Book of Omni where Amaleki records that the last survivor of the Jaredites, Coriantumr, was discovered by the people of Zarahemla:

21 And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons.

But this happened before the people of Zarahemla were discovered by the people of Mosiah I around 323–130 B.C. The people of Zarahemla were not Nephites, Amaleki tells us who they were as well:

15 Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.

Mosiah I then translated a stone with engravings that was brought to him by the people of Zarahemla “by the gift and power of God”.

Omni 1 (279 B.C.)
19 And it came to pass that the people of Zarahemla, and of Mosiah, did unite together; and Mosiah was appointed to be their king.
20 And it came to pass in the days of Mosiah, there was a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it; and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God.
21 And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons.

The second cross-over happens  in 121 B.C. under the reign of the grandson of Mosiah I, Mosiah II. When the people of King Limhi were discovered by Ammon, he tells Ammon that his people made an interesting discovery.

Mosiah 8
7 And the king said unto him: Being grieved for the afflictions of my people, I caused that forty and three of my people should take a journey into the wilderness, that thereby they might find the land of Zarahemla, that we might appeal unto our brethren to deliver us out of bondage.

8 And they were lost in the wilderness for the space of many days, yet they were diligent, and found not the land of Zarahemla but returned to this land, having traveled in a land among many waters, having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel.
9 And for a testimony that the things that they had said are true they have brought twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold.

The 24 plates constituted what we know today as the Book of Ether which the prophet Mormon included in the Book of Mormon. However, when these plates were being discussed between Ammon and King Limhi, Ammon indicates that King Mosiah II is in possession of “interpreters”.

Mosiah 8
13 Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer.
• • •
19 And now, when Ammon had made an end of speaking these words the king rejoiced exceedingly, and gave thanks to God, saying: Doubtless a great mystery is contained within these plates, and these interpreters were doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to the children of men.

After receiving the Jaredite plates, Mosiah II uses 2 stones fastened into the two rims of a bow to translate them:

Mosiah 28
13 And now he translated [the 24 Jaredite plates] by the means of those two stones which were fastened into the two rims of a bow.

It is apparent that the interpreters have gone from Christ, to the Brother of Jared to Mosiah II, but how did that happen? The Book of Mormon records that Mosiah I translated the stone by “the gift and power of God” which is the same phrase Oliver Cowdery used when he said:

“I wrote with my own pen the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages) as it fell from the lips of the Prophet as he translated it by the gift and power of God by means of the Urim and Thummim, or as it is called by that book, holy interpreters.” (source)

Did Mosiah I have the interpreters when he translated the stone and did he pass them on until they ended up with Mosiah II? It is possible that Coriantumr, who was a king and most likely the possessor of ancestral relics, brought them with him and passed them on to the people of Zarahemla. We don’t see anyone in Nephite history translating anything until Mosiah I joins with the people of Zarahemla. I propose that Mosiah I gets the interpreters from the people of Zarahemla who get them directly from Coriantumr.

The translation of the stone that contained an account of “one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people” was expanded on after Mosiah II translates the 24 plates and gets the full story of the Jaredite people; note the reaction from the people of Mosiah:

Mosiah 28
17 Now after Mosiah had finished translating these records, behold, it gave an account of the people who were destroyed, from the time that they were destroyed back to the building of the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people and they were scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth, yea, and even from that time back until the creation of Adam.
18 Now this account did cause the people of Mosiah to mourn exceedingly, yea, they were filled with sorrow; nevertheless it gave them much knowledge, in the which they did rejoice.

It is important to note that this Jaredite record was, in a manner of speaking, a “Book of Mormon” to these people, specifically because of what it contains; and what it contains is a warning, a warning which is delivered to the people by means of the interpreters. Combined with the translation of the stone, this set of plates is a second, more in depth witness to the downfall of the Jaredite nation.

Their purpose

These interpreters have been passed from the Lord, to the Brother of Jared, to King Mosiah and down to Moroni who then revealed them to Joseph Smith. They have been the means of translating 3 records: The Jaredite records (the stone and the plates) for the Nephites and then the Nephite AND Jaredite record again to the people of OUR day and, specifically, to the people of the land of the New Jerusalem, the United States of America.

In Mosiah 28, the prophet Mormon tells us the exact purpose of these interpreters:

14 Now these things were prepared from the beginning, and were handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages;
15 And they have been kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he should discover to every creature who should possess the land the iniquities and abominations of his people;

Around 73 BC, Alma passes all of the sacred relics to his son, Helaman and explains the significance of the Jaredite plates:

21 And now, I will speak unto you concerning those twenty-four plates, that ye keep them, that the mysteries and the works of darkness, and their secret works, or the secret works of those people who have been destroyed, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, all their murders, and robbings, and their plunderings, and all their wickedness and abominations, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, and that ye preserve these interpreters.
22 For behold, the Lord saw that his people began to work in darkness, yea, work secret murders and abominations; therefore the Lord said, if they did not repent they should be destroyed from off the face of the earth.

Then Alma teaches Helaman about the significance of the interpreters:

23 And the Lord said: I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, that I may discover unto my people who serve me, that I may discover unto them the works of their brethren, yea, their secret works, their works of darkness, and their wickedness and abominations.
24 And now, my son, these interpreters were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake, saying:
25 I will bring forth out of darkness unto light all their secret works and their abominations; and except they repent I will destroy them from off the face of the earth; and I will bring to light all their secrets and abominations, unto every nation that shall hereafter possess the land.
26 And now, my son, we see that they did not repent; therefore they have been destroyed, and thus far the word of God has been fulfilled; yea, their secret abominations have been brought out of darkness and made known unto us.

The interpreters were created to work hand-in-hand with sacred records, sacred records that specifically detail the secret works and combinations that have been committed on “this land” or the land of the United States of America, the land of promise, the land of the Garden of Eden, the land of the Nephities and Lamanites and the land of the New Jerusalem.

The significance of this is striking when we consider that the nation who receives these interpreters along with sacred records is being warned. That nation is being warned about what destroyed the prior inhabitants of the land because they will indeed be faced with the same danger. Moroni writes in Ether chapter 8:

23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

When the gold plates and the interpreters were passed to Joseph Smith, the Lord was telling us that there would in fact be these satanic secret combinations among us in our day. The past two civilizations who have been led to this land, the Jaredites and the Nephites were destroyed by secret combinations and we are next if we do not heed the warnings.

Prophets in our day have spoken of these evils time and time again:

“I have seen the end of this nation and it is terrible. I will tell you in the name of the LORD that a secret band will sap the life of this nation.”(Apostle Moses Thatcher, 1882, Journal of Discourses 20:318)

“We are in the midst of the greatest exhibition of propaganda that the world has ever seen. Just do not believe all you read or hear. The elect are being deceived.” (J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report, October 1941)

“Satan…[plans] to destroy liberty and freedom ~ economic, political, and religious, and to set up in place thereof the greatest, most widespread, and most complete tyranny that has ever oppressed men. He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods.” (First Presidency, General Conference, October 1942)

“The Gadianton Robbers from the Book of Mormon are loose among us. The King-men, and women, are running our government. And, worst of all, we are blindly electing them, or appointing them so they can continue to destroy the things we cherish most.” (John Widtsoe, General Conference, April 1944)

“If the conspiracy comes here it will probably come in its full vigor and there will be a lot of vacant places among those who guide and direct, not only this government, but also this Church of ours.” (J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report, April 1944)

“Satan has control now. No matter where you look, he is in control, even in our own land. He is guiding the governments as far as the Lord will permit him. That is why there is so much strife, turmoil, and confusion all over the earth. One master mind is governing the nations. It is not the president of the United States; it is not Hitler; it is not Mussolini; it is not the king or government of England or any other land; it is Satan himself.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, pp. 314-315)

“…we should accept the command of the Lord and treat socialistic communism as the tool of Satan. We should follow the counsel of the President of the Church and resist the influence and policies of the socialist-communist conspiracy wherever they are found–in the schools, in the churches, in governments, in unions, in businesses, in agriculture.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

“Concerning the United States, the Lord revealed to his prophets that its greatest threat would be a vast, worldwide ‘secret combination’ which would not only threaten the United States but also seek to ‘overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations…'(Ether 8:25)” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

“And do not think that these usurpations, intimidations, and impositions are being done to us through inadvertence or mistake; The whole course is deliberately planned and carried out; its purpose is to destroy the Constitution and our constitutional government; then to bring chaos, out of which the new Statism with its slavery is to arise, with a cruel, relentless, selfish, ambitious crew in the saddle, riding hard with whip and spur, a red-shrouded band of night riders for despotism.” (Church News PPNS, 1949, pg. 327)

“Our priceless heritage is threatened today as never before in our lifetime: from without by the forces of Godless Communism, and at home by our complacency and by the insidious forces of the Socialist-Communist conspiracy, with the help of those who would abandon the ancient landmarks set by our fathers and take us down the road to destruction. It was Alexander Hamilton who warned that ‘nothing is more common than for a free people, in times of heat and violence, to gratify momentary passions, by letting into the government, principles and precedents which afterwards prove fatal to themselves.’ (Alexander Hamilton and the Founding of the Nation, p. 462.)” (Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1968)

“This most correct book on earth states that the downfall of two great American civilizations came as a result of secret conspiracies whose desire was to overthrow the freedom of the people. “And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking,” says Moroni, “and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.” (Eth. 8:21.) Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to the destruction of the people, but notice how he singled out the secret combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work, but it has singled out the greatest threat as the great conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon –it is a conspiracy fact. And along this line I would highly recommend to you the book None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen.” (Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1972; book recommendation added by Ezra Taft Benson during talk after he discovered a Russian delegation was in attendance. Not included in the prepared or text archives of the talk).

“It is well to ask, what system [referring to Isaiah 29:15-16] established secret works of darkness to overthrow nations by violent revolution? Who blasphemously proclaimed the atheistic doctrine that God made us not? Satan works through human agents. We need only look to some of the ignoble characters in human history who were contemporary to the restoration of the gospel to discover fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. I refer to the infamous founders of Communism and others who follow in their tradition…” (Ezra Taft Benson, A Witness and a Warning, Conference, October 1979)

“Gadianton robbers fill the judgement seats in many nations. An evil power seeks to overthrow the freedom of all nations and countries.” (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, speaking in the April 1980 General Conference)

“[Wickedness] is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world.” (Ezra Taft Benson, I Testify, Conference, October 1988).

“It is the terrorist organizations that must be ferreted out and brought down. We of this Church know something of such groups. The Book of Mormon speaks of the Gadianton robbers, a vicious, oath-bound, and secret organization bent on evil and destruction. In their day they did all in their power, by whatever means available, to bring down the Church, to woo the people with sophistry, and to take control of the society. We see the same thing in the present situation.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, October, 2001)

“The Book of Mormon narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone. But in its descriptions of the problems of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions of those problems. I know of no other writing which sets forth with such clarity the tragic consequences to societies that follow courses contrary to the commandments of God. Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere. Each began as a small nation, its people walking in the fear of the Lord. But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, First Presidency Message, Ensign, August 2005)

The Eden to flood connection

Secret combinations have been around on the land of the United States long before the Jaredites ever sat foot here. Indeed we must go back to before the flood and back to the beginning during the time of Adam and Eve. According to Wilford Woodruff, Joseph Smith taught that the Garden of Eden was here in the United States.

“Again President Young said Joseph the Prophet told me that the garden of Eden was in Jackson Co Missouri, and when Adam was driven out of the garden of Eden He went about 40 miles to the Place which we Named Adam Ondi Ahman, and there built an Altar of Stone and offered Sacrifice.” – Prophet Wilford Woodruff, Waiting for Word’s End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, ed. by Susan Staker, 1993, p. 305, March 30, 1873

Now Joseph Smith was purported to have used his Urim and Thummim or the interpreters to translate, among other things, portions of the Bible. Now with that understanding, think of the significance of this portion of Joseph’s translation of Genesis in light of what has already been presented:

Moses 5
29 And Satan said unto Cain: Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die; and swear thy brethren by their heads, and by the living God, that they tell it not; for if they tell it, they shall surely die; and this that thy father may not know it; and this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands.
30 And Satan sware unto Cain that he would do according to his commands. And all these things were done in secret.
31 And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness.
32 And Cain went into the field, and Cain talked with Abel, his brother. And it came to pass that while they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and slew him.

The secret combinations have been upon this land since the very beginning. After Cain we see the combinations continue in verse 49:

49 For Lamech having entered into a covenant with Satan, after the manner of Cain, wherein he became Master Mahan, master of that great secret which was administered unto Cain by Satan; and Irad, the son of Enoch, having known their secret, began to reveal it unto the sons of Adam;
50 Wherefore Lamech, being angry, slew him, not like unto Cain, his brother Abel, for the sake of getting gain, but he slew him for the oath’s sake.
51 For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother

This pattern seems to have continued upon this land until the days of Noah because Richard D. Draper in the October 1998 Liahona indicated that these combinations were still alive and well during the time of Noah:

The secret combinations and workers of darkness nearly succeeded in Noah’s day. The result was an earth “filled with violence” (Moses 8:28). “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Gen. 6:12). Consequently, the Lord sent the Flood and destroyed the wicked “from off the face of the earth” (Gen. 7:4; see also Moses 8:30).

Again, it seems that the interpreters have given us deeper insight to the flood and that it is entirely possible that the main reason for the flood was to cleanse this land from the secret combinations upon it. It is incredible to realize how many civilizations have been wiped off the face of this land because of these wicked practices!


The purpose of the interpreters is clear, they are tied to this land and they were designed to reveal to its inhabitants all of the secret works of darkness that have been perpetuated upon this land. The interpreters allow every new group of people to have a clear view of God’s laws and a clear warning of their destruction if they break his laws so they are left without excuse.

We live in a day where a “New World Order”, a “Global Order” and a “One World Government” are spoken of out in the open when they were once the topics of so-called conspiracy theorists. The wickedness is all out in the open now and we can clearly see the fruits of the contemporary robbers in our day. Only the LDS church along with the Book of Mormon has presented this clear voice of warning for over 180 years. The Book of Mormon clearly states that this combination seeks to “overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people”, and Ezra Taft Benson has testified that “A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world.”

Understanding the true purpose of the interpreters helps us better understand the purpose of the Book of Mormon, the destiny of this land and the force of evil we are truly facing here in our day. The tragedy is that we are today deeply entrenched in the prophesied “awful situation” prophesied of. In order to keep ourselves and our families safe from these evils, we must do what the ancients did not: hearken to the counsel of the living prophets. If we heed the prophetic counsel, we will have no need to fear and have much hope in what is to come.


  • May 8, 2012 – Corrected references regarding Mosiah I and Mosiah II and added quote from Oliver Cowdery and restructured the section on the translation of Jaredite records. Thanks to John Harrison, for catching the errors in the article!
  • July 4, 2011 – Added introductory paragraph


  1. Perhaps the symbol of the Star of David – means Seer? Also I have heard that the interpreters were taken away from Joseph because he was using them for the wrong reasons which got him in trouble with the Lord and the Law but he was able to use a stone that he had found by the use of the interpreters? I have read in a book that Emma said that he put the stone in a hat and the instructions for interpreting the Book of Mormon were spelled out and the sentence would not go away until he had recorded every word down as instructed. Also one of his scribes replaced the stone with another stone and when Joseph went to look into the hat – Joseph replied, I can not see anything, it’s darker than Egypt in here? I think that it was Martin Harris that replace the stone because he was told by friends that Joseph was memorizing ideas and then writing them down. But this proved to Martin that Joseph was truely translating by the Gift and Power of God.

  2. Clay Pendleton

    Perhaps the symbol of the Star of David – means Seer? Also I have heard that the interpreters were taken away from Joseph because he was using them for the wrong reasons which got him in trouble with the Lord and the Law but he was able to use a stone that he had found by the use of the interpreters? I have read in a book that Emma said that he put the stone in a hat and the instructions for interpreting the Book of Mormon were spelled out and the sentences would not go away until he had recorded every word down as instructed. Also one of his scribes replaced the stone with another stone and when Joseph went to look into the hat – Joseph replied, I can not see anything, it’s darker than Egypt in here? I think that it was Martin Harris that replaced the stone because he was told by friends that Joseph was memorizing ideas and then writing them down. But this proved to Martin that Joseph was truely translating by the Gift and Power of God.

    • It is quite possible and perhaps likely that there is a connection there. The accounts that you mentioned are also quite interesting. I think you’re right about the interpreters being taken away along with the plates. It just goes to show you that we’re all prone to making huge mistakes in our service to the Lord and that there’s a way to still accomplish his purposes.

      • Clay Pendleton

        Yes that’s right. We all have to learn to get our lives in order. Joseph was young and there was no church manual on how to be a Prophet and how to conduct yourself. Joseph received the accelerated advanced course of learning and people expect him to be perfect?

        Subject: [oneclimbs] Re: Interpreters and Combinations

        • I think that is kind of the point that those that respect him and those that criticize him miss, that he was imperfect, just like any man and just like any prophet in the past.

          • Clay Pendleton

            The book dealing with Joseph Smith translating with a stone and looking into a hat is recorded in a book called Personal Glimpses of the Prophet Joseph Smith by Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus. Very interesting book! Some of the information I had never heard of before. The Church does not talk about Joseph translating with a stone in a hat? I quess it looks and sounds to weird for many people as if it’s mystical and the Church stays away from things that are too mystical or supernatural. However he did it, it was done by the power of God.

          • The translation process isn’t very well understood from what I have read. The idea that it isn’t taught that Joseph Smith used a hat to block out the light during at least one part of the translation process isn’t accurate. I was familiar with this subject growing up and with little effort you can find talks and articles that mention this fact. However, there isn’t any LDS artwork used by the church that I can think of that depicts Joseph using a hat in translation and I think that the artwork the church uses has a powerful impact on how we visualise many of the events in scripture and church history.

            That said, whether Joseph’s use of a hat sounds odd or not is hardly “out there” compared to some of the things prophets have done in the past.

            Jesus spat in the dirt to make mud and put it on a man’s eyes, then there’s Jacob and the striped sticks, the handkerchief of Peter healing someone, Moses healing everyone with a brass serpent and the walls of Jericho falling from trumpet blasts to name a very few.

            Anything out of context will seem out of place altogether.

          • Clay Pendleton

            Yes I know that it seems easier for people to believe in strange things of a long ago past but bring them around in our day in age – now thats another story. One of the greatest stories we tell to the world is that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his Son! I know that Professor Hyrum L. Andrus taught church history at BYU for many years and has written many books about Joseph Smith and church history. I have read stories about this seer stone translation by using a hat from outsiders first before hearing it from someone within the church. It’s alway nice to hear it from a good source that is not trying to tear down the church. They alway use this to show that he was a gold seeker and peep stone looker to bring a bad light on the church and to downplay Joseph’s integrity by showing that he could be dealing in some sort of black magic.
            Subject: [oneclimbs] Re: Interpreters and Combinations

          • Well, Joseph was a “gold seeker” and a “peep stone looker”, but does that make him bad? From what I understand, in Joseph’s country you had Indian mounds that would often contain precious metals like copper, etc. I think the line between science and magic was a lot fuzzier back then. People did things because they thought they worked, especially when coincidence brought them unexpected success. Joseph Smith was a product of his times, a boy that was superstitious, who believed in magic, who believed in the unbelievable. He was a believer and that child-like aspect of his character probably made him a good candidate for either a charlatan or a prophet of God. Most people believe he was one or the other and the case can be made for both. As for me, I know he was the latter.

          • Clay Pendleton

            No man can tell me that Joseph was not a Prophet of God but it just goes to show you his weakness or inexperence in what he was suppose to know or do? The Lord gave him freeagency but their was always a consequence. Joseph was a man trying to help his friends find this lost treasure of gold and perhaps trying to get money for himself to further the work of the printing of the Book of Mormon? All of which got him in trouble with the Lord and all of the trumped up charges that followed him throughout his life. He would say to his friends when looking through the interpreters that he could see the gold treasure in the ground but when they went to dig for it – the treasure moved! Just like in the Book of Mormon when the people buried their treasures and then went to find them they had moved. The ground became cursed. The people did not believe in Joseph and this got him in hot water with some people and they went to the law to expose him as a charlatan and a fraud. But the Lord still made it possible for him to translate the Book of Mormon by means of a seer stone that he had found when the interpreters were taken from him. Joseph was taught that the interpreters were to sacred to be used for such selfish purposes but the seer stone could only be used for that purpose of translating. Outsiders look at Joseph as a fraud because of some of his choices he made but when I learn more about what Joseph went through I know that he was a true Prophet a man who was inexperenced but ever learning in the work and I do not find fault with that. We all are at that stage in life.
            Subject: [oneclimbs] Re: Interpreters and Combinations

  3. While reading in the Book of Mormon, I wondered where Mosiah got the intrepreters and that question led me to your site tonight and I am excited to read your posts.

    • I haven’t updated this post with some new information I came across recently, but Lehi’s party might have actually been the first to find them! Read this article, it will blow your mind:

      • Thanks for the article. Makes me wonder if they came with the Brass Plates or found it like the Liahona. Interesting.

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