According to Latter Day Saint
belief, the golden plates
(also called the gold plates
or in some 19th-century literature, the golden bible
) are the source from which Joseph Smith
claimed to have translated the Book of Mormon
, a sacred text of the faith. Some witnesses described the plates as weighing from 30 to 60 pounds (14 to 27 kg), golden in color, and composed of thin metallic pages engraved on both sides and bound with three D-shaped rings.
Smith said that he found the plates on September 22, 1823 on a hill
, near his home in Manchester, New York
, after the angel Moroni
directed him to a buried stone box. He said that the angel prevented him from taking the plates but instructed him to return to the same location in a year. He returned to that site every year, but it was not until September 1827 that he recovered the plates on his fourth annual attempt to retrieve them. He returned home with a heavy object wrapped in a frock, which he then put in a box. He allowed others to heft the box but said that the angel had forbidden him to show the plates to anyone until they had been translated from their original "reformed Egyptian
" language. Smith dictated the text of the Book of Mormon
over the next several years, claiming that it was a translation of the plates. He did so by using a seer stone
which he placed in the bottom of a hat and then placed the hat over his face to view the words written within the stone. Smith published the translation in 1830 as the Book of Mormon
. Read more...