Happy iPhone Launch Day, everyone! Hopefully it’s a day of jubilation and good tidings of great joy from Cupertino. Maybe Apple will add video-recording abilities, and perhaps a compass function, along with the cool iPhone 3.0 software.
Or course, this is not the forum for that kind of speculation—this is the forum for a different kind of speculation: Is the iPhone foretold of in the scriptures?
Before you chortle, think about it. John the Revelator in Revelation 2 writes that “…the Spirit sayeth unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give … a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”
Hmmm. Sounds like a stretch so far, right? But follow me here: iPhones are available in white, and they probably would have looked like a “stone” to someone of John’s time. And my name is written in my phone. Actually, my phone might be the closest thing to a repository of my complete identity: photos, communications with friends, notes to myself, my favorite songs and videos, and of course my phone number, which no man knoweth save myself. In fact, I bet there isn’t a person on earth except my wife and myself who know my phone number (and I don’t even know my wife’s number).
If you want your actual name written on your phone, perhaps the new iPhone will have a metal casing (like the first one did) that can be laser-engraved, like Apple does with iPods.
Of course, we know a bit more about the white stone from modern revelation. Joseph Smith writes in D&C 130:
“…the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known;”
So, this white stone can transmit information and intelligence. That aligns it perfectly with what I use my iPhone for (especially if Wikipedia can be considered a “higher order of kingdom”).
Yes, an iPhone can be full of spiritual stuff. I use it to read the scriptures on the subway and at church. I have a hymnbook on my phone. But there are lots of other uses for it that might have dazzled The Revelator or Joseph Smith. For instance, I can communicate instantaneously with all my friends and family via phone, text message, e-mail, or Facebook. But it goes much deeper than that: my iPhone, paired with the amazing intelligence-gathering power of Google, gives me quick and easy access to all the information the human race has put online.
I can zip around the world zooming in on photos of just about everywhere on Earth that people live. I can learn about the private lives of millions of people by watching their YouTube videos or reading their Twitter feeds. I can look up anything on Wikipedia, which has enough shared knowledge to make the Library of Alexandria weep tears of joy. I’m sure someday soon I’ll be able to look up ancient texts using an e-reader app. And I can look up the names of the entire cast of “Napolean Dynamite,” along with all their stupid quotes.
It is, in a sense, a stone that I can peer into to gather knowledge, as Abraham used the Urim and Thummim to learn about God’s creations (Abraham 3). And, though I may be using the term too lightly, iPhone users are “seers” for their friends. Just as the Nephites went to Mosiah so he could use the Urim and Thummin to translate the records of the Jaredites (Mosiah 8), it’s not uncommon for iPhone users to be asked to find more…um…temporal answers.
“Hey Kyle, look up the showtimes for ‘Up,’ wouldja?” (I use the Flixster Movies app for that.)”Hey Kyle, what’s the best restaurant around here?” (Check and see on the Yelp or Zagat apps.) “What song is this on the radio?” (Shazam will tell me.) “What’s that verse in Revelation about the white stone?” (Took me two seconds to find it using the LDS Scriptures app.)
Two more points and then I’ll end this silly post. I don’t speak Hebrew, so I’ll have to trust the Encyclopedia of Mormonism’s translations of “Urim” and “Thummim” as “light(s)” and “wholeness(es)” or “perfection(s),” respectively. I’ve no doubt that if Steve Jobs were familiar with the terms, he would absolutely use them for names of his light, whole, perfect devices.
My final point comes from a second verse in Section 130, in which Joseph Smith writes:
“And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it.”
Welcome to heaven, here’s your iPhone—only this one has eternal battery life and no network lag. In fact, can’t you just picture heaven looking a bit like an Apple Store? White lights, light boxes everywhere, and shiny toys to play with—and if my celestial iPhone lets me play Peggle, I’ll be happy for eternity.