A Young Folks' History of the Church
The Sacred Plates
About two miles south of Joseph's home, in Manchester, is a large hill, the highest in that
part of the country. To this place Joseph went on the morning after the angel's visit, as
this was the spot he had seen in his vision. On the west side of this hill, not far from the
top, Joseph found a large, rounded stone, nearly covered with earth. Prying this up, he
found it to be the lid of a stone box which was buried in the earth. Raising the lid, he
looked in, and there indeed were the sacred treasures about which the angel had told him.
As he stood looking at them in wonder, the angel Moroni came to his side, and Joseph
was taught many things about the future. He was shown in a vision the glory of the good
and the darkness of the evil.
Joseph was about to take the plates from the box, when the angel forbade him, telling him
the time had not yet arrived, but that he should come to the hill in one year from that date
when the angel would meet him. This he must do for four years, at the end of which time,
if Joseph was faithful, the plates would be given to him to translate and publish to the
True to the angel's instructions, Joseph went to the hill Cumorah on the 22nd day of
September of each year, at which time Moroni appeared to him and gave him many
teachings about the word of God.
During all this time Joseph had to labor hard on the farm, sometimes hiring out to work
for others. In October, 1825, he worked for a man by the name of Josiah Stoal, who took
Joseph to the State of Pennsylvania, and set him with other men, digging for a silver mine
which he thought he could find. After working at it for some time, Joseph persuaded his
employer to give it up. It was from this incident that Joseph's enemies sometimes called
him a "money digger."
While working for Mr. Stoal, Joseph boarded for some time with the family of Isaac
Hale. Here he met Emma Hale who became his wife, they being married in the year
The four years were now passed. On the 22nd of September, 1827, Joseph went on his
fifth visit to the sacred hill, and on that day the angel Moroni delivered to him the plates
and the Urim and Thummim. He was told to take good care of them as evil men would
try to take them from him; but if he, Joseph, would do all he could to preserve them, the
Lord would come to his assistance when it would be needed.
The records which Joseph received consisted of a great many gold plates nearly as thick
as common tin. They were about seven by eight inches in size, and were bound together
by three rings running through holes, in the edges of the plates. This made the plates like
a book, so that they might be turned as the leaves of a book are turned. On each side of
every plate were engraved beautiful letters, in a language which Joseph could not read.
The book was about six inches thick. A part of it was sealed, and Joseph was told not to
open it, as the time had not yet come for that part to be made known to the world.
The Urim and Thummim consisted of two transparent stones, clear as crystal, set in two
rims of a bow. It was used in ancient times by the seers, and through it they received
revelations of things past and future. You may read about this instrument in the Bible, in
Exodus, 28: 30; and Ezra 2: 63.