Devices Used to receive revelation:
Throughout the history of the world the Lord has given revelation to individuals through many administrations and means. Some of these means were actual devices held in the individuals hands that provided information/revelation and guidance to them. These tools of revelation were very helpful to individuals and societies to determine the mind and will of the Lord through an actual physical manifestation or change wrought upon the device thus increasing the individuals faith in the information as well as providing evidence of a divine manifestation of power. To date these are the devices that I have seen referenced in the scriptures with their accompanying references. To us in modern times it can sometimes seem very odd concerning the use of devices for revelation. However, we use devices every day to gather information concerning many topics and we shouldn't be surprised that this pattern also appears in the economy of GOD.
Just as a point of note - I myself was taught by my father the use of the rod for the purpose of divining the location of water etc. :) It can be interesting to see how superstitious behavior can occur even in modern times. Even now there are many homeopathic remedies/cures that are firmly believed in by many people as well. To us we consider it homeopathic - to the people in the time of Joseph Smith they would consider it valid cure. The times change as do the beliefs of the individuals who reside in them. We should also understand that the Lord uses the people and beliefs of the people of the time to fulfill his purposes and to lead them to greater knowledge and capacity. We should not look down on them for their belief in things we find - superstitious or unbelievable!
Urim and Thummim
Breastplate of the Priest - Glowing Stones
The Rod of Aaron/Nature
The white stone - used by resurrected celestial beings
The casting of lots is a pseudo random event by which the divine will of God was determined in the past. This was done in a variety of ways in general it was done through the use of an object with a distinctive characteristic on it by which the decision was determined. Such as a series of stones with a letter written on them, sticks of different lengths, etc. These objects were then randomly determined as the selected on through a throw, or blind draw from a container thus determining the selected choice or decision. The use of Lots was the first device I could find in the history of man for the use of divining the will/desire of GOD.
Bible Dictionary - Lost, casting of
Deseret News Oct 2, 2015 William Hamblin and Daniel Peterson
Christian Apologetics Research Ministry
You will notice that the use of lots was never used to divine the future. But rather used to determine a given choice to take or path to follow. This may seem a splitting of hairs but it is an interesting point of note. Back in the day knowledge of the future was often sought of witches and other evil individuals. This however was not the use of Lots or the casting of lots.
The practice of casting lots also occurs with the division of the land under Joshua (Joshua chapters 14-21), a procedure that God instructed the Israelites on several times in the book of Numbers (Num. 26:55; 33:54; 34:13; 36:2). God instructed the Israelites to cast lots in order to determine His will for a given situation (Joshua 18:6-10; 1 Chr. 24:5, 31). Various offices and functions in the temple were also determined by lot (1 Chronicles 24:5, 25:8-9; 26:13-14). The sailors on Jonah's ship (Jonah 1:7) also cast lots to determine who had brought God's wrath upon their ship. The eleven apostles cast lots to determine who would replace Judas (Acts 1:26).
1 Nephi 3:11 - Cast lots to determine who should go unto the house of Laban, Laman chosen Student study guide
1 Sam 14:42 - used to determine Jonathan was the offender
Isn't this just a random roll - a random way of determine information?
No.. in fact the very lives of the individuals were often at stake. This was a valid means of receiving revelation from God and was used as such to determine his will.
See The selection of the first king 1 Sam 10:19 - even though he had already been selected! Showing this was no random event :)
Why don't we use it today? -- In fact we do :)
Used in the Church today: Section 102.12
The LDS Church says the purposes of disciplinary councils are to save the souls of transgressors, protect the innocent, and safeguard the purity, integrity, and good name of the church. In stake councils, lots are cast and six of the 12 high councilors are instructed to ensure that the member's rights are protected and six are assigned to safeguard the church's good name.
Today however in general the use of the Holy Ghost is much more precise in its direction and results so we don't usually roll the die on our choices :)
Breastplate of the Priest - guide to the scriptures
Ephod of divination - breastplate of Judgement
Ensign Oct 1973 - I have a question - Priestly breastplate
The high priest would then look down at a breastplate to see which of the engraved letters would shine out most brightly, and he would then construct the answer out of these letters. For example, when David asked the Urim and Thummim if Saul would continue his pursuit, the high priest Abiathar saw three bright letters: Yod in Judah’s name, Resh in Reuben’s name, and Dalet in Dan’s name. Thus the answer was given: YERED, “He will pursue.”
Ex 28:13-30 Description of the jewels in the breastplate - and the attachment of letters to those jewels - also the Urim and Thummim on the heart of the breastplate
Ex 39:8-21 The actual creation of the breastplates devices
See Liahona Lesson - BOM
Urim and Thummim:
Gospel Topics - Urim and Thummim
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.
Ex. 28:30 – Urim and Thumim upon Aaron’s heart
Lev. 8:8 – Urim and Thumim attached to a breastplate
Num. 27:21 – Use Urim and Thumim for judgment
Deut. 33:8 – Levi to have Urim and Thumim
1 Sam. 28:6 – Saul enquired of the lord through Urim and Thummim for answers
Ezra 2:63 – a priest using Urim and Thummim can declare lineage
Neh. 7:65 – a priest using Urim and Thummim can declare lineage
JS—H 1:35 - description of Joseph's Urim and Thummim
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; 21:26–28; 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 3:21–28; D&C 10:1; 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).
How did King Mosiah Get the Urim and Thumim?
|Mosiah used these to translate records|| Omni 1:20–21; Mosiah 8:13–19;|
|Mosiah had the same as the brother of Jared had||Ether 4:1-2|
|Mormon received records through kings from Mosiah||Ether 4:4-5|
|Joseph smith had same interpreters as the Brother of Jared||D&C 17:1,Alma 37:21,24-25|
(Gazelem - stone hat shines)
|Brother of Jared Seals up interpreters||Ether 3:27-28|
|Abraham had a Urim and Thumim||Abraham 3:1,4 Alma 63:12; Ether 4:1–7|
The Rod of Aaron/Nature
FairMormon.Org - The Rod of Nature
Book of Commandments 1833 - Chapter 7 - corresponding to section 8
Ensign Feb 1985 - Preparing the early revelations for publication
Church History web site - probably divining Rod used for gaining revelation - History.lds.org
Joseph Smith Papers - Book of Commandments - page 19
Oliver has another gift besides the gift of Revelation - this gift is the gift of working with the rod. No other power save God can cause this rod of nature to work in your hands.
This gift is called the gift of Aaron - which has told him many things and through which he may be able to translate.
The Old Testament account of Moses and his brother Aaron recounted several instances of using rods to manifest God’s will (see Ex. 7:9-12; Num. 17:8). Many Christians in Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery's day similarly believed in divining rods as an instrument for revelation. Cowdery was among those who believed in and used a divining rod.
Do we consider it odd that Moses uses a Rod when confronting the magicians of the Pharaoh - Remember the story of the Rod's of Israel where all the rods remained except for Aaron's Rod that Budded. This Rod was kept in rememberance in the Ark of the Covenant as a testimony to the people and the Lord of Aaron being the proper individual to serve in the temple! Thus perhaps the reason why the change of the name to be the gift of Aaron instead of the rod of nature.
During Joseph Smith's time there were many different types of revelation/divination and the use these devices was not uncommon and in fact prevelant. Furthermore, the accuracy of these devices can be shown through the following story:
January 2001 Ensign - Take heed protecting the Gold Plates - Look for Samuel Lawrence and his use of a rod to find the plates in the hearth :)
It was probably shortly after this that Samuel Lawrence made yet another attempt to get the plates. Joseph Knight recorded that Lawrence and one Beeman, “a grate Rodsman,” showed up at the Smith home, wanting to talk with Joseph Smith. Joseph took them into the west room (the room in which the plates were hidden), where they “Proposed to go shares with him and tried every way to Bargain with him But Could not.” Beeman then reportedly “took out his Rods and hild [held] them up and they pointed Dow[n] to the harth whare they ware [were] hid,” at the same time exclaiming that he had found them. Knight did not record what happened next, but it is probably safe to assume that Joseph breathed a sigh of relief once the two men left the house empty-handed.
The Earth and the White Stone
Revelation 2:17 A white stone will be given them - with a new name that only the individual knows written on it
6-7 Individuals who reside in presence of God reside upon a globe like a sea of glass
7 All things are manifest for their glory - past, present, future continually before the Lord
9 The earth itself is a Urim and Thummim to its inhabitants when celestialized - inferior kingdom data manifest to inhabitants
10-11 White Stone given to all who come into the celestial kingdom - things pertatining to higher order of kingdoms will be made known
The new name is the keyword to use this stone
So all who enter the Celestial kingdom will be given a White stone in order to learn "Higher kingdom" things.
September 1977 - By the gift and power of God
D&C Student Manual - sections 122-131
“The ordinances of the temple, the endowment and sealings, pertain to exaltation in the celestial kingdom, where the sons and daughters are. The sons and daughters are not outside in some other kingdom. The sons and daughters go into the house, belong to the household, have access to the home. ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions’ [John 14:2]. Sons and daughters have access to the home where he dwells, and you cannot receive that access until you go to the temple. Why? Because you must receive certain key words as well as make covenants by which you are able to enter. If you try to get into the house, and the door is locked, how are you going to enter, if you haven’t your key? You get your key in the temple, which will admit you.
What is a higher order kingdom than the Celestial kingdom?
I have no idea :) However, it could mean all the celestial kingdoms and glories that have already been created - their inhabitants, and all of their child worlds. This is an unknown at present - perhaps some future date we will know.
Urim and Thummim is a means of gathering data of an inferior or equal kingdom it would seem.
Which makes sense why it would be used as a - Translator, revealer of hidden current things, things of the past, etc.
What is meant by the term - Keyword in relation to the new name.
It would seem that there is a name written on the white stone that is the key word for how the stone is to be used. Perhaps only the person who's name is written on it can use it... we just don't know
Is there a connection to the white stone and Marriage - interestingly there may be:
Spencer W. Kimball Speaches - Marriage/Divorce - Sept 7 1976
Marriage Student Manual - Spencer W. Kimball