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Gold Plates

On September 21, 1823, the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and instructed him about a record engraved on thin goldlike sheets. The record, written by Moroni2, his father Mormon, and other ancient inhabitants of the Americas, was buried in a stone box in a hill not far from the Smith residence. Moroni eventually delivered these plates to Joseph, who translated and published them as the Book of Mormon and returned them to Moroni. While the plates were in Joseph’s keeping, others saw them, including eleven witnesses whose testimonies appear in all editions of the book. Various descriptions provided by eyewitnesses suggest that the plates may have been made of a gold alloy, measured about 6 inches by 8 inches (15.2 cm by 20.3 cm), were 6 inches (15.2 cm) thick, and weighed about 50 pounds (22.7 kg).

[See also Plates and Records in the Book of Mormon; Translation of the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith; Witnesses of the Book of Mormon; Plates, Metal.]

Grant R. Hardy