“Golden Plates to Book of Mormon,” Friend, February 2017
The angel Moroni showed Joseph Smith where to find the golden plates. They were buried in the Hill Cumorah.
Four years later, Joseph and his wife, Emma, went in a wagon to get the plates.
People tried to steal the plates many times. Once Joseph hid them under the bricks of the fireplace.
Another time he hid them in the barn loft. Once on a trip Joseph and Emma hid the plates in a barrel of beans.
The writing on the plates was in an ancient language. Through inspiration and the power of the Holy Ghost, Heavenly Father helped Joseph Smith translate what the writing said.
Joseph used a special rock called a seer stone to translate the plates. He also used a tool called the Urim and Thummim, two clear rocks bound together with metal that looked like a pair of glasses. This tool had been buried in the Hill Cumorah with the plates.
Joseph didn’t have much schooling, so he wasn’t good at writing or spelling. But Heavenly Father helped him understand what the plates said.
Oliver Cowdery was one ofJoseph’s scribes. He wrote down the words as Joseph read them out loud. Martin Harris and Emma were also scribes for a short time.
Only a few people saw the plates. Eight men, called the Eight Witnesses, saw and touched the plates.
The Three Witnesses saw the plates too. They also saw an angel and heard God’s voice. You can read the testimonies of the witnesses at the beginning of the Book of Mormon.
The pages were thin sheets of metal. Ancient symbols were carved onto the metal.
The plates were written in a language called Reformed Egyptian.
The plates probably weighed 40–60 pounds (18–27 kg). That’s about as much as five bowling balls!
Part of the plates were sealed so they couldn’t be opened. The Book of Mormon comes from the unsealed part. Heavenly Father has promised that someday we will have the translation of the sealed part too (see Ether 3:27, 4:4–7).