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Book of Mormon — Origins

“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

— Joseph Smith

Mormonism founder
History of the Church, Vol. 4, p. 461

1823 1827 1828 1830
Joseph claimed to be visited by the angel Moroni who tells him of a buried record engraved on gold plates Joseph begins translating the gold plates The first 116 pages of his translation are lost Joseph publishes his translation as the Book of Mormon

Joseph Smith claimed that three years after he received the First Vision, he had another visitation, this time by an angel named Moroni.

He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do.... He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang.

Joseph Smith

— Joseph Smith

Mormonism founder
Joseph Smith—History 1:33-34

Gold Plates

Each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters and bound together in a volume, as the leaves of a book with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed.

Joseph Smith

— Joseph Smith

Mormonism founder
"Church History"
Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, No. 9, p. 707

Weight Source
30 lbs — Joseph Smith, Sr., Joseph’s Father
Historical Magazine, Vol. 8, p. 307
40 - 50 lbs — Martin Harris, Book of Mormon witness
Tiffany’s Monthly, Vol. 5, p. 166
60 lds — William Smith, Joseph’s brother
On Mormonism, p. 12

Running with Plates

Joseph Smith claims he was assaulted multiple times while carrying the gold plates home. Despite lifelong complications from leg surgery, he managed to outrun his attackers carrying the 30-60 pound plates. Afterwards, a group went out to find the villains but had no success.

Joseph, who was about seven years old, developed a serious infection in his left leg. Dr. Nathan Smith of Dartmouth Medical School at nearby Hanover, New Hampshire, agreed to perform a new surgical procedure to try to save the boy’s leg... Joseph bravely endured as the surgeon bored into and chipped away part of his leg bone. The surgery was successful, although Joseph walked the next several years with crutches and showed signs of a slight limp the rest of his life.

Teachings of Presidents of the Church, Joseph Smith

— Teachings of Presidents of the Church, Joseph Smith, p.2

The plates were secreted about three miles from home... Joseph, on coming to them, took them from their secret place, and, wrapping them in his linen frock, placed them under his arm and started for home.

After proceeding a short distance, he thought it would be more safe to leave the road and go through the woods. Traveling some distance after he left the road, he came to a large windfall, and as he was jumping over a log, a man sprang up from behind it, and gave him a heavy blow with a gun. Joseph turned around and knocked him down, then ran at the top of his speed. About half a mile further he was attacked again in the same manner as before; he knocked this man down in like manner as the former, and ran on again; and before he reached home he was assaulted the third time.

I will here mention that my husband, Mr. Knight, and Mr. Stoal, went in pursuit of those villains who had attempted Joseph's life, but were not able to find them.

Lucy Mack Smith

— Lucy Mack Smith

Joseph Smith’s mother
Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, pp. 104-106

[Joseph] went for his book, found it safe, took off his frock, wrapt it round it, put it under his arm and run all the way home, a distance of about two miles. He said he should think it would weigh sixty pounds, and was sure it would weigh forty. On his return home, he said he was attacked by two men in the woods, and knocked them both down and made his escape, arrived safe and secured his treasure.

Willard Chase

— Willard Chase

Joseph Smith’s former employer
Mormonism Unveiled, p. 246

Authenticating the Plates

Unfortunately, we are unable to examine the gold plates today, as Joseph claimed that Moroni took them back. Instead, Joseph had *witnesses sign a testimony stating that they saw the gold plates.

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Book of Mormon — Translation
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