When I was completing a graduate degree in biblical studies at Yale University, I gave an invited presentation to fellow students on Mormonism. I explained the origins of the Book of Mormon and shared highlights from its timeless message.
At the end of the presentation, one thoughtful student raised his hand with a question.
[. . .]
Yale student: Where is the original Book of Mormon today? Where are the gold plates?
Taylor: They are gone.
Yale student: What do you mean that the original plates are gone?
Taylor: When Joseph Smith completed the translation of the gold plates into the Book of Mormon, he returned the plates to the angel Moroni. So we no longer have access to them. All that remains is Joseph Smith’s translation of the plates.
Yale student: I mean no disrespect, but this sounds both incredible and convenient for the story of the Book of Mormon. (Remember that the word “incredible” means unbelievable.) We have no way of source checking Joseph Smith’s story because the plates he claims to have worked with are no longer available. How can anyone even believe Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon?