The Witnesses and the Gold Plates

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    Adapted from Doctrine and Covenants Stories (PBIC037A)

    Other witnesses

    1 After Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had translated the Book of Mormon from the gold plates, the Lord wanted other people to read the book. The Lord also wanted someone besides Joseph to see the gold plates so that they, too, would know—and testify—that the plates were real. (See D&C 17:1–6.)

    Three witnesses named

    2 For this special privilege the Lord chose three witnesses: Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. One day after they and the Prophet Joseph had prayed fervently in a nearby woods, an angel of God came and showed them the plates with the writing on them. The angel instructed the witnesses to testify to others of what they had seen. (See Book of Mormon: Introduction—Testimony of the Three Witnesses.)

    Eight witnesses

    3 Joseph was next instructed to show the plates to eight other witnesses: Christian Whitmer; Jacob Whitmer; Peter Whitmer, Jr.; John Whitmer; Hiram Page; Joseph Smith, Sr.; Hyrum Smith; and Samuel H. Smith. These men saw the plates and held them in their hands. (See Book of Mormon: Introduction—Testimony of the Eight Witnesses.)

    Joseph returns plates to Moroni

    4 After Joseph Smith had translated the gold plates and they had been seen by the eleven witnesses, he gave the plates back to the angel Moroni. (See Book of Mormon: Introduction—Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith.)

    Martin Harris pays printer

    5 When the translation of the Book of Mormon was completed, Joseph took the manuscript to a printer to have it published. The Lord commanded Martin Harris to pay the printer’s bill. (See D&C 19:26, 35.)

    Wicked try to steal manuscript

    6 Satan inspired wicked men to steal some of the manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon while it was still at the printer’s. (See History of the Church, 1:75–76.)

    Book of Mormon published

    7 However, the work of the Lord could not be stopped. On March 26, 1830, the Book of Mormon was published in Palmyra, New York. Five thousand copies were printed. At last the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ could be shared with many more people. (See History of the Church, 1:71.)