Joseph Smith receives the Gold plates by Kenneth Riley

Joseph Smith—History 1:4759
At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me. Joseph Smith—History 1:59

Seventeen-year-old Joseph Smith went about his usual duties on the farm the morning after Moroni had visited him three times during the night. But he was tired and weak. His father, who was working with him, could see something was wrong with Joseph and told him to go home. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:4748.)

Joseph started for the house. When he tried to cross a fence, he was so weak that he fell to the ground unconscious. As he regained consciousness, he heard a voice calling him by name. He looked up and saw Moroni standing above him surrounded by light. Moroni repeated everything he had told Joseph the night before and then told Joseph to tell his father of his vision. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:4849.)

Joseph went back to the field and told his father. His father said it was of God and told him to do what Moroni had commanded him. Joseph went to the place where Moroni said the plates were buried. He immediately recognized it because he had seen it in the vision. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:50.)

The plates were located in a hill near the village of Manchester, Ontario County, New York. They were in a stone box under a large stone on the west side of the hill, not far from the top. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:51.)

Joseph got a stick to use as a lever and raised up the stone. He looked in and saw the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. Joseph tried to take them out of the box, but Moroni stopped him. Moroni said it would be four years before Joseph could take them. He told Joseph to meet him at the same location exactly one year from that day. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:5253.)

Joseph went to the hill every year for four years. Each time, Moroni met him and told him what the Lord was going to do and how His kingdom would be conducted in the last days. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:54.)

After four years, on 22 September 1827, Moroni gave Joseph the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. Moroni told Joseph to be careful and not let anyone else have them. If he did, Joseph would be “cut off.” Joseph was to be responsible for them until Moroni came to get them. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:59.)

The next day after Moroni’s three visits, the angel visited Joseph Smith a fourth time to repeat his message. This time, Moroni directed Joseph to tell his father about his vision. Joseph obeyed, and his father assured him it was of God and told his son to follow Moroni’s instructions. Joseph went and found the gold plates buried in a nearby hill, just as Moroni had said. Moroni appeared and told Joseph not to touch the plates yet but to return at the same time each year to meet him and receive instructions. After four years, in September 1827, Moroni gave the plates to Joseph. He promised that if Joseph did his best to keep them safe, the gold plates would be protected until Moroni returned for them.

Artist, Kenneth Riley

© 2002 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Used by permission

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