How We Got the Book of Mormon

Adapted from Book of Mormon Stories for Beginning Readers (PBIC0325)

1 There was much religious excitement in the air when Joseph Smith was fourteen years old. Confused about which church to join, he went into the woods to pray. (JS—H 1:5–14.)

2 Joseph had barely knelt down to pray when a thick darkness gathered around him. Exerting all his strength, he pleaded to Heavenly Father for help. (JS—H 1:15, 16.)

3 Suddenly Joseph saw a brilliant pillar of light, and the evil power departed. He saw two personages bathed in light, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Pointing to Jesus, Heavenly Father said, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JS—H 1:16, 17.)

4 When young Joseph asked Them which church he should join, Jesus replied that he should join none of them because they were all wrong. (JS—H 1:18, 19.)

5 One night three years later, Joseph was still concerned about what he should do. He knelt down and prayed fervently. (JS—H 1:28, 29.)

6 Soon a glorious light filled the room. Then an angel appeared, who declared that his name was Moroni and that Heavenly Father had a great work for Joseph to do. (JS—H 1:30, 33.)

7 Moroni told the boy that he (Joseph) was to bring forth a book that was a history of the peoples who lived in the Americas anciently. (JS—H 1:33, 34.)

8 The book contained the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Moroni explained. Buried with the book was the Urim and Thummim—two stones set in silver bows and fastened to a breastplate—for translating the book. (JS—H 1:34, 35.)

9 While the heavenly messenger was talking, Joseph could see in his mind where the book (plates) was hidden. He recognized the place as being under a rock on a hillside not far away. (JS—H 1:42.)

10 The name of the hill is Cumorah. Joseph went to the hill and found the stone covering the plates, just as he had seen in his mind before. (JS—H 1:50, 51.)

11 He found a heavy stick and pried off the cover stone. Underneath he found a box made of stones cemented together. (JS—H 1:52.)

12 Inside the box were the plates of gold and the Urim and Thummim. (JS—H 1:52.)

13 Joseph could not read the plates, for the characters were written in an ancient language. (JS—H 1:52.)

14 When Joseph tried to remove the plates for a closer look, Moroni appeared. He told Joseph it was not time yet for him to take them away to translate. (JS—H 1:53.)

15 After a waiting period of four years, and with the help of the Urim and Thummim, Joseph translated what was written on the golden plates. Joseph Smith’s chosen friends wrote down the translated words. (JS—H 1:67.)

16 When the translation was completed, Joseph took the book to a printer. The book was printed in words we can read. (History of the Church 1:71.)

17 It was called the Book of Mormon, the same as it is today.