A Young Folks' History of the Church
As soon as it was known that Joseph had the plates, many evil-minded persons tried to
get them from him, and he had to hide them in different places to keep them safe. Mobs
began to surround his house, men tried to catch him on the roads or in the fields, and he
was even shot at a number of times. Joseph now saw how timely the angel's warning was.
Living thus in constant fear, Joseph could not do anything towards translating the
records; so he moved, with his wife, to her old home in Pennsylvania. While on the way
an officer overtook him and searched his wagon for the plates, but could not find them.
They were there, however, safely hidden in a barrel of beans.
Arriving in Harmony, where his father-in-law lived, Joseph began to translate some of
the writings on the plates. As Joseph was a slow writer he did not make much progress,
and so he asked the Lord to send someone to help him. In answer to this request a man by
the name of Martin Harris came to him from Palmyra, New York. Now the work went
better. Martin wrote while Joseph translated.
They had translated one hundred and sixteen written pages, when Martin asked Joseph to
let him take the writings and show them to some of his friends. Joseph asked the Lord
about it, and the answer was that he must not; but Martin kept on teasing Joseph till at
last the Lord permitted him to show them to certain persons. But Martin showed them to
others, and the writings were lost. The Lord was displeased at this, and told Joseph not to
translate the same over again, but to write from another part of the plates which told
about the same events. However, the Urim and Thummim was taken from Joseph for a
short time, and when he received it again, his wife Emma wrote a little for him.
Now the Lord sent another helper to Joseph. He was a young school teacher, named
Oliver Cowdery, and these two men worked hard at the translation. You will remember
that Joseph was poor, and it seemed they would have to stop translating and find other
work whereby to earn means to live. They were now also again annoyed by evil men and
In the midst of this trouble the Lord sent aid again. A man named Joseph Knight came to
them with provisions, and soon after Joseph was visited by a young man named David
Whitmer, who came to invite them to his father's house in Fayette, Seneca county, New
York. This invitation was gladly accepted, and Joseph and Oliver went back with him.
At the Whitmers' they lived and labored in peace until the work was completed. David,
John, and Peter, sons of Peter Whitmer, Sen., helped all they could, and soon the book
was ready to be printed. Martin Harris also helped Joseph in getting out the work. The
first edition of five thousand copies was printed in Palmyra, in 1830. Since then the book
has been printed in many languages and read by many thousands of people. It is called
THE BOOK OF MORMON. The next chapter will tell you why it is so called, and a little
of what it contains.
Topics.—1. Joseph's visits to Cumorah. 2. Joseph in Pennsylvania. 3. Description of the
plates and Urim and Thummim. 4. The translation.
Questions and Review.—1. Where is the hill Cumorah? 2. What did Joseph find there?
3. Why did not Joseph carry away the plates the first time? 4. How many visits did he
make to Cumorah? 5. Where did Joseph go to work? 6. Whom did he marry? 7. When did
Joseph get the plates? 8. Describe the plates. 9. What was the Urim and Thummim? 10.