On This Day in Church History (well, 2 days ago…) Golden Plates

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On September 22, 1827–202 years ago (+ 2 days at the time of writing this because I’m a procrastinator)–Joseph Smith Jr. took the golden plates from their hiding place to be translated by the power of God. They would later be published as the Book of Mormon. In celebration, here are some fun facts from that time.

  1. Before he took the plates, neither Joseph nor his parents had a chest with a good lock and key to put the plates in safely. They decided to have one made a cabinet maker who built some of their furniture. Joseph did not have money to pay her though. Emma, Joseph, and the family prayed about it. The following day, a local widow asked Joseph to work on a project in her well. This would provide the money to pay the cabinet maker for the chest.  
  2. Due to the dangerous threats from those who desired to take the plates, however, Joseph had to save the record before the chest was finished. Hyrum lent him a chest with a good lock and key instead. 
  3. When Joseph was getting the plates from the Hill Cumorah, Moroni appeared and warned him that wicked men would try every strategy possible to steal the plates from the Prophet. He cautioned Joseph that if he did not take heed continually, the wicked would succeed in taking them. 
  4. Before Joseph received the plates, the plates were protected in the Hill Cumorah by the Angel Moroni. No man had power to take them away. Once Joseph took them though, it was possible for wicked men to get ahold of them. Joseph listened to Moroni’s warning and kept the plates safe so wicked men never got the plates. 
  5. When Joseph got the plates, he had the impression that it would be safer to walk through the woods back to his house rather than taking the main road. He walked through the forest of trees and was attacked three different times by three different men. Some of the men had guns. They did not try to shoot the Prophet, but they did strike him with them. Joseph was a large, muscular man. Each time his was attacked by these men in the woods, he pushed them off his body and onto the floor without losing any speed. 
  6. When he defended himself against the third attacker, he dislocated his thumb. He did not realize he was even injured until he got home. Once the plates were safe, Joseph Smith Sr. put his son’s thumb back in place. 
  7. Once Joseph got home with the plates, Joseph Smith Sr. and two other men (Mr. Knight and Mr. Stowell) went out to try finding the men who attacked the Prophet. The assaulters were never found. 
  8. In Orson Hyde’s account of the first vision, he stated that Joseph Smith Jr. was once beaten so violently in Palmyra by two men with clubs that he still bore the scars on his body until 1842. He likely bore those scars even when he died in 1844. The instance that Orson Hyde is speaking of is likely when Joseph was attacked multiple times on his way home from getting the plates on the Hill Cumorah. He was attacked so forcefully that he still had the scars for the rest of his life, yet he defended himself without dropping or losing the plates. 
  9. When Joseph came home from the Hill Cumorah with the plates, his twelve-year-old brother, Don Carlos, went to Hyrum’s house next door to request the chest with a good lock and key. Hyrum was sitting at his table with his wife’s two sisters, about to have tea. Just as Hyrum was putting his teacup to his mouth, Don Carlos put his hand on Hyrum’s shoulder. Without Don Carlos saying a word, Hyrum knew immediately what was going on. He jumped up from the table, ran to grab his chest to lend to Joseph, emptied all its contents, and immediately left the house with the chest with the lock and key without saying one word. Hyrum’s wife’s sisters were extremely confused. They went to Hyrum’s wife, Jerusha, and told her that Hyrum must be crazy. Jerusha explained that Hyrum must have instead just realized that he had forgotten something. 
  10. After bringing home the plates, Joseph moved back home to work on his father’s farm and be close to the plates and protect them. 
  11. On the day that Joseph brought home the breastplate, he had his mother hold it while he got the chest ready to put the breastplate in. It was wrapped in a cloth that was thin enough for her to easily feel its proportions. Lucy described it as “concave on one side, and convex on the other, and extended from the neck downwards, as far as the center of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material, for the purpose of fastening it to the breast, two of which ran back to go over the shoulders, and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips…just the width of my two fingers (for I measured them), and they had holes in the end of them, to be convenient in fastening.” (Lucy Mack Smith, The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, pg. 107, © Deseret Book Company. Used by permission.). 
  12. After Joseph put the breastplate away safely, he asked Lucy if there were men walking around the house that day. Lucy said there were not any. He then prophesied that a mob was coming by the house that night to try taking the plates. They needed to hide them quickly. 
  13. The Smith family dug up a portion of the brick floor of the fireplace, put the plates and the breastplate inside the ground, and replaced the bricks to hide them from the mob. As soon as they finished doing so, they looked outside to see a mob approaching the house. 
  14. Before the mob reached the Smith home, Joseph threw open the front door, yelled to get the attention of his family inside the house. Every male member of the Smith family, from Joseph Smith Sr. to the youngest brother Don Carlos, ran out towards the mob. This frightened the mob, even though they were not outnumbered. They retreated and returned to their homes. 
  15. On another occasion when Joseph received revelation of a mob coming to steal the plates, he ran across the farm to hide the plates in the floor of the cooper’s shop. A cooper was somebody who built barrels, utensils, etc., usually made of wood. 

These facts were taken directly from 1,001 Facts about the Prophet Joseph Smith . Get yours here:

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