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Joseph Smith

<< A 1844 sketch of Joseph Smith, holding a Bible.
“…On the evening of the… twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God…I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation…
While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a alight appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.
 He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant.
Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.
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. He also said that the fullness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants; Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.”
“Again, he told me, that when I got those plates of which he had spoken—for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled—I should not show them to any person; neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates,
the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited, and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.  
(Old pictures of the hill called "Cumorah", located in the state of New York.) 






After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so until the room was again left dark, except just around him; when, instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended till he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance....  

I lay overwhelmed in astonishment at what I had both seen and heard.  "...owing to the distinctness of the vision,  which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.  Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario County, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood.On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth.
Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them.
I made an attempt to take them out, but was forbidden by the messenger, and was again informed that the time for bringing them forth had not yet arrived, neither would it, until four years from that time; but he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates.”
  Joseph Smith-History 27-53
<< A wooden box the Prophet hid the plates in. The inside measurement of the box is 14” x 16”. The depth is 6 1/4” sloping to 4”. The wood is 3/4” thick.
The lid and bottom are walnut, and the sides are made from boxwood. The box was used as a lap desk, which explains the sloped top.  The box was in the possession of Patriarch Eldred G. Smith.  (1823–29,  Church History In The Fulness Of Times Student Manual, (2003), 37–51)


Additional Information

  << Joseph Smith began keeping a personal record a month before he turned 27. His first journal was a small volume that documents November of 1832 through December of 1834 in a little over a hundred pages long. Joseph Smith's First Journal 

 <<Joseph Smith records in his Journal about the angel Moroni and the "plates of gold".
 "when I was seventeen years of age I called again upon the Lord and he shewed unto me a heavenly vision  for behold an angel of the Lord came and stood before me  and it was by night and he called me by name and he said  the Lord had forgiven me my sins and he revealed unto me that in the Town of Manchester Ontario County N.Y. there was plates of gold upon which there was engravings which was engraven by Maroni & his fathers the servants of the living God in ancient days and deposited by th[e]  commandments of God and kept by the power thereof and that I should go and get them and he revealed  unto me many things concerning the inhabitents of  of the earth which since have been revealed in com mandments & revelations and it was on the 22d day of  Sept. AD 1822 and thus he appeared unto me three times in one night and once on the next day and then I immediately went to the place and found where the plates was deposited as the angel of the Lord had commanded me and straightway made three attempts to get them..."    (Joseph Smith first Journal, Joseph Smith Papers)
 Protecting the Gold Plates,  Ensign January 2001
A Period Of Preparation, 1823–29,  Church History In The Fulness Of Times Student Manual, (2003), 37–51
Joseph Smith:  The Prophet of the Restoration (1:01:57 min.)
The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith

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