Receiving the Gold Plates
May 2008

“Receiving the Gold Plates,” Friend, May 2008, 40–41

From the Life of the Prophet Joseph Smith

Receiving the Gold Plates

Adapted from Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, ed. Preston Nibley (1979), 108, 112, 121–22; see also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 7, 59, 441.

Receiving the Gold Plates story, left page

Illustrations by Sal Velluto and Eugenio Mattozzi

One night, Joseph prayed to know what Heavenly Father wanted him to do. As he prayed, a light filled the room, and a personage named Moroni appeared. He was an angel sent by Heavenly Father. He told Joseph about an ancient record engraved on gold plates. The vision lasted all night.

The next day, Joseph couldn’t work because he was so tired.

You better go back to the house and rest, Son.

On Joseph’s way back, Moroni appeared to Joseph and repeated what he’d said the night before. Then he told Joseph to tell his father about the visions.

The vision is of God, Joseph. Do as the angel says.

Joseph went to the Hill Cumorah. When he pried up a large rock, he saw the gold plates, the Urim and Thummim, and a breastplate buried in a stone box.

Receiving the Gold Plates story, left page

Moroni told him to come back every year for four years. During that time, Joseph received many revelations.

He told his family about them.

Joseph, you tell us about the people who once lived on this continent. You talk as if you’ve lived your whole life among them!

That’s because the Lord has showed them to me.

The next year, Joseph returned to the hill. He took the plates out of the box and put them on the ground for a moment. When he tried to pick them up again, they were gone!

Why have the plates been taken from me?

Moroni appeared and said that he could not have them yet because he needed to learn to be more obedient.

You were commanded not to let the plates leave your hands until you got home.

You forgot and disobeyed.

Joseph learned to be more obedient and careful. On September 22, 1827, Joseph and his wife, Emma, rode to the Hill Cumorah at midnight. Emma waited in the carriage while Joseph climbed the hill.

When they returned the next morning, Joseph’s mother rejoiced.

I finally have the plates!

Thanks be to God! I have been praying all night.