Protecting the Gold Plates

Adapted from Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, ed. Preston Nibley (1979), 108, 112, 121–22; see also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 7, 59, 441.


Protecting the Gold Plates

Protecting the Gold Plates, left page(click to view larger)

Illustrations by Sal Velluto and Eugenio Mattozzi

One night, Joseph was told that a mob was coming to try to steal the gold plates. He ran to get them from their hiding place in a hollow log.

Are the plates safe, Joseph?

Yes, I have them right here. I was attacked three times as I ran home! I hit each man who tried to tackle me.

Are you all right?

I think my thumb is dislocated.

Another time, Joseph felt prompted to hide the plates under the hearthstones. Moments later, a mob approached.

Do you remember Grandfather Mack’s story about chasing away the Indians?

Yes. He ran at them screaming and waving his stick. They thought he was leading an army, so they ran away. But he was really alone.

Are you all ready to do the same thing?

Protecting the Gold Plates, right page(click to view larger)

Joseph rushed out of the house screaming, and his family followed. It worked! The mob scattered.

So many people tried to steal the plates that Joseph and Emma moved from New York to Pennsylvania. Even there, some people would not leave them alone.

My husband, Martin, and I have given you money to help you translate. I deserve to see those plates! I won’t leave until I see them.

When Mrs. Harris didn’t find the plates in the house, she decided to look for them in the woods. It was hours before she came back.

Emma, I didn’t think there were snakes in this part of the country in the winter. I’m sure I found the place where Joseph buried the plates. But as soon as I started to clear away the snow, a horrible black snake appeared and hissed at me. I was so frightened I ran all the way back here!

With the Lord’s help, Joseph kept the plates safe until he was finished translating them.

Then he gave them back to the angel Moroni.