Today our lesson in primary was on the restoration of the Church and of Joseph Smith translating the golden plates. After the translations had taken place whatever happened to the Urim and the Thummim? My husband said he learned in Seminary, that God has possession of these items with him again, and they are not on this earth. Is this true, or are we uncertain of their whereabouts?
When Joseph Smith had completed the translation of the Book of Mormon, the angel Moroni appeared to him and took the plates into his possession, along with the Urim and Thummim. Joseph Fielding Smith, in his Doctrines of Salvation, 3:, p.225, says:
We have been taught since the days of the Prophet that the Urim and Thummim were returned with the plates to the angel. We have no record of the Prophet having the Urim and Thummim after the organization of the Church.
As you know, part of the plates were sealed so that they could not be opened. When we as a people are prepared to accept the marvelous revelations that are contained in that sealed portion, the Angel Moroni will return with them, and present them to the President of the Church, who has been called by God and sustained by the people as a Prophet, Seer and Revelator. I assume that when the angel presents the plates to God’s prophet, he will have with him the same Urim and Thummim by which Joseph Smith translated the part that we have as the Book of Mormon. Thus, the Prophet will translate the plates by the gift and power of God, using the Urim and Thummim as did Joseph Smith, and they will then be available to increase the understanding, the faith and testimony of those that receive them.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland wrote:
Those sealed plates constitute the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, which Joseph Smith did not translate. Furthermore, they will remain sealed, literally as well as figuratively, until future generations shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations. [Ether 4:7] (Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon, p.25)