8 Things You Didn't Know About Joseph Smith Obtaining the Gold Plates

by | Aug. 15, 2018

Makes You Think

5. The angel Moroni showed Joseph a vision of the good and evil of the world.

After Joseph was visited by the angel Moroni multiple times during the night and told his father about these visitations, he immediately set out to the Hill Cumorah to find the gold plates. On the way, he kept thinking about the worth of the gold plates and his family’s poverty. After arriving at the place Moroni had described, Joseph tried to reach for the plates, but he felt a shock and his hand jerked back three times. Moroni appeared once more and said, because Joseph did not keep the commandments of God, he could not receive the plates. Joseph understood he had forgotten the true purpose of the plates and began to pray for forgiveness. As he prayed, Moroni showed him a vision of the good and evil of the world. “All this is shown, the good and the evil, the holy and impure, the glory of God and the power of darkness,” the angel declared, “that you may know hereafter the two powers and never be influenced or overcome by that wicked one.”

6. The angel Moroni asked Joseph to bring Alvin with him to retrieve the gold plates.

After Moroni showed the vision of the good and evil of the world to Joseph, he instructed Joseph to purify his heart and come back to the same place a year later. He also told Joseph that he needed to bring the right person to retrieve the plates, and that person was his oldest brother, Alvin (Saints; Dean Jessee, “Joseph Knight’s Recollection of Early Mormon History,” BYU Studies, Autumn 1976, p. 31). However, just two months before their appointed date, Alvin came home with an intense pain in his stomach. After lying in bed for days, he called Joseph in before he died and told him to do anything in his power to obtain the plates and to follow every instruction that was given him.

With the passing of his brother, Joseph wasn’t sure if he could obtain the gold plates, but he thought he could keep all the commandments that were given to him. When the appointed day came, Moroni instructed him to get the plates and go home directly without delay. However, when Joseph set the plates on the ground to close the stone box that had held them, he turned around to find the plates missing. Moroni told him that he had failed to follow his instructions and he needed to come back a year later for the plates.

7. Joseph Smith met Emma while treasure hunting.

Joseph Smith and his father were on a treasure hunt when Joseph first saw his future wife, Emma Hale, in the fall of 1825. Joseph had been hired because of his ability to use seer stones. Emma’s father, Isaac Hale, supported this venture and let the workers stay at his house, where Emma and Joseph met. Although Emma’s parents disapproved of their relationship, because they hoped Emma would marry into one of the prosperous families in their valley, the couple married in January 1827.

8. Joseph and Emma retrieved the gold plates right after midnight.

The third time Joseph returned to the Hill Cumorah to obtain the gold plates, Moroni told him that he needed to quit his treasure hunting ventures and bring the right person with him the following year to obtain the plates. Joseph later learned that the right person was Emma. The appointed day quickly approached, but by this time many people had heard rumors and had been trying to search for the plates. To avoid the treasure seekers, Joseph and Emma planned to leave the morning of September 22, shortly after midnight. Joseph successfully retrieved the plates and the seer stones. He put them in a hollow log and secured them in a lockbox.

Joseph and Emma had to protect the plates from many people who tried to steal them. But after obtaining the plates, the translation of the Book of Mormon began and the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ was able to keep moving forward.

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