The “plates” and “interpreters” being “taken” from Joseph Smith between July-September 1828 I suggest may mean that he no longer had the mystical vision; he lost the contemplation of these mystical objects for a time. They were “taken” from the faculties of his mind. They were not separate literal objects that were taken away from him, I perceive.
I suggest the “Urim & Thummim” might in some instances be an esoteric code name in reference to Joseph Smith’s own bodily eyes, which became mystically gifted under the right contemplative conditions to “see” as a seer. The physical seer stone that Joseph clearly had in his possession (which he perhaps named “Gazelem”) may have acted as a meditation object to focus those “stones” of Joseph’s own bodily eyes, the “interpreters,” concentrating his consciousness into the mystical state of mind, a trance state, a contemplative state, an altered state of consciousness.
The “stones” of his eyes may have been “touched” by God (perhaps through Joseph’s own finger) with the gift of “light and perfection” (the translated meaning of “Urim & Thummim”) when his state of mind was humble, so that he could see the “Light of God” as a seer, and have in-sight into spiritual realities. This may connect Joseph’s eyes to the stones that were touched by the finger of the “Lord” in Ether 3 in the Book of Mormon which then shined light, as also in the First Vision, as I previously noted.
The focusing of consciousness through the seer stone meditation object, and through the “interpreters” of his own bodily eyes which stared at that seer stone, may have led to the “white stone” of Revelation (cf. D&C 130:10-11), perhaps referring to the mystical “third eye” of Eastern religions, the “All-Seeing Eye” which Joseph said he had when looking intensely at the seer stone (at the 1826 Trial). The whiteness of that stone perhaps also refers the whites of the bodily eyes as in some trance states of consciousness, when the pupils of the eyes roll back in the head, showing only the scelera. See, for example, the “Three-Eyed Raven,” Bran Stark, in the HBO series Game of Thrones, when he “wargs,” or enters a trance state of consciousness to “see” as a seer. The “three” in “Three-Eyed Raven” is clearly in reference to the tradition of the “third eye.” The two outward bodily eyes, no longer seeing outwardly become white, and sight is moved to one internally seeing All-Seeing Third Eye in a contemplative-mystical state of consciousness.
The 116 pages were perhaps tightly entangled with the plates of Joseph’s vision. Note in D&C 3:12 (July 1828) it says that Joseph “deliveredst up that which God had given thee sight and power to translate, thou deliveredst up that which was sacred into the hands of a wicked man,” as if Joseph had delivered up the plates themselves to Martin Harris.
Also note in the same verse that he “deliveredst up that which God had given thee sight,” perhaps in reference to his mystical eyes, the “interpreters,” the “Urim & Thummim.” Earlier in verse 11 it notes how Joseph himself was “delivered up,” and had become “as other men.” He had lost himself (his Self), lost the gift of seership, lost being a seer, lost his mystical eyes.
When Joseph gave those 116 pages to Martin Harris, and they were subsequently lost, Joseph lost the vision too with them. He lost the “gift” of seership, of seeing the plates in his vision, that in-sight, and therefore of those visionary plates. Joseph had lost them, because he had lost the 116 pages; he had taken them away from himself, by delivering up “that which was sacred” to another person contrary to what he knew deeply was right (the commandments of Moroni, his “higher Self”?).
It wasn’t about physical plates or a physical instrument being suddenly and supernaturally taken by an angel from his physical possession, but rather the “privilege” of his “gift” being lost (D&C 3:11, 14). He no longer had the eyes to see as a seer the visionary plates. Both his gift of insight, and those “plates” he saw with that insight, were gone from his mind.
When Joseph was humble and repentant (lose his ego, change his mind, metanoia) he would receive again the “gift” of mystical vision, of seership, of the insight granted to him through his mystical eyes, the “interpreters,” to be able to see those visionary “plates” again.
It’s interesting that D&C 3 itself is said to have been received “through the Urim and Thummim.” It wasn’t a physical instrument that he was given back temporarily to receive this revelation, it seems to me, but rather it was the gift of seership through his own mystical eyes, his contemplative insight.
Later in D&C 10:1 (April 1829), similar wording is made more explicit (exoteric?) to refer to the “writings” made by the “Urim & Thummim” being lost, and that his “gift” was also lost at the same time, and his “mind became darkened” (v2). The mystical Light was lost from his mind. It was perhaps not something separate from the “plates” and the “interpreters,” but one and the same. Losing the gift of contemplative seer-insight was losing the “interpreters” and the “plates.” And this gift was “now restored unto you again” (v3); he once again received the gift of mystical seership, of seeing with his contemplative eyes (“interpreters”) the visionary plates. His (higher Self) “Moroni” had “returned” them to him.