John A. Clark’s Interview With Martin Harris / Joseph Smith’s Bedroom Dream:
“Consequently long before the idea of a Golden Bible entered their minds, in their excursions for money-digging, which I believe usually occurred in the night, that they might conceal from others the knowledge of the place, where they struck their treasures, Jo used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig. It was after one of these night excursions, that Jo, while he lay upon his bed, had a remarkable dream. An angel of God seemed to approach him, clad in celestial splendor.” (Gleanings By the Way, John A Clark, 1842, Ch. 12. p.225 “Martin Harris Interview”)
Interview With The Father Of Joseph Smith, The Mormon Prophet, Forty Years Ago. His Account Of The Finding Of The Sacred Plates. By Fayette Lapham, esqr:
“I think it was in the year 1830, I heard that some ancient records had been discovered that would throw some new light upon the subject of religion; being deeply interested in the matter, I concluded to go to the place and learn for myself the truth of the matter.
… he [Joseph Smith] had a very singular dream; but he did not tell his father of his dream, until about a year afterwards. He then told his father that, in his dream, a very large and tall man appeared to him, dressed in an ancient suit of clothes, and the clothes were bloody. And the man said to him that there was a valuable treasure, buried many years since, and not far from that place; and that he had now arrived for it to be brought to light, for the benefit of the world at large; and, if he would strictly follow his directions, he would direct him to the place where it was deposited, in such a manner that he could obtain it…
He said to him that, when the treasure was deposited there, he was sworn to take charge of and protect that property, until the time should arrive for it to be exhibited to the world of mankind; and, in order to prevent his making an improper disclosure, he was murdered or slain on the spot, and the treasure had been under his charge ever since. He said to him that he had not followed his directions; and, in consequence of laying the article down before putting it in the napkin, he could not have the article now; but that if he would come again, one year from that time, he could then have them. The year passed over before Joseph was aware of it, so time passed by; but he went to the place of deposit, where the same man appeared again, and said he had not been punctual in following his directions, and, in consequence, he could not have the article yet. Joseph asked when he could have them; and the answer was, “Come in one year from this time, and bring your oldest brother with you; then you may have them.” During that year, it so happened that his oldest brother died; but, at the end of the year, Joseph repaired to the place again, and was told by the man who still guarded the treasure, that, inasmuch as he could not bring his oldest brother, he could not have the treasure yet; but there would be another person appointed to come with him in one year from that time, when he could have it. Joseph asked, ‘How shall I know the person?’ and was told that the person would be known to him at sight.”
Joseph Knight’s Recollection of Early Mormon History:
“From thence he went to the hill where he was informed the Record was and found no trouble for it appeard plain as tho he was acquainted with the place it was so plain in the vision that he had of the place. He went and found the place and opened it and found a plane Box. He oncovered it and found the Book and took it out and laid [it] Down By his side and thot he would Cover the place over again thinking there might be something else here. But he was told to take the Book and go right away. And after he had Covered the place he turned round to take the Book and it was not there and he was astonished that the Book was gone. He thot he would look in the place again and see if it had not got Back again. He had heard people tell of such things. And he opened the Box and Behold the Book was there. He took hold of it to take it out again and Behold he Could not stur the Book any more then he Could the mountin. He exclaimed ‘why Cant I stur this Book?’ And he was answered, ‘you cant have it now.’ Joseph says ‘when can I have it?’ The answer was the 22nt Day of September next if you Bring the right person with you. Joseph says,” who is the right Person?’ The answer was ‘youroldest Brother.’
But before September Came his oldest Brother Died. Then he was Disapinted and did not [k]now what to do. But when the 22nt Day of September Came he went to the place and the personage appeard and told him he Could not have it now. But the 22nt Day of September nex he mite have the Book if he Brot with him the right person.
Joseph says, ‘who is the right Person?’ The answer was you will know. Then he looked in his glass and found it was Emma Hale, Daughter of old Mr Hail of Pensylvany, a girl that he had seen Before, for he had Bin Down there Before with me.”
Parley P. Pratt Testimony, 26 Nov. 1830:
“This new gospel was found in Ontario Co., N.Y. and was discovered by an Angel of Light, appearing in a dream to a man by the name of Smith” (Letter from Amherst, Ohio, 26 Nov. 1830, “BEWARE OF IMPOSTERS,” The Painesville Telegraph, Dec. 14, 1830. Reprinted in The Reflector, Palmyra NY, 14 Feb. 1831. Also see Early Mormonism: Correspondence and a New History by Dale Morgan, Signature Books, 1986)
Comment on Martin Harris’ Testimony:
September 5, 1829, the Rochester Gem reported on the origins of Mormonism and quoted Book of Mormon Special Witness Martin Harris: “he states that after a third visit from the same spirit in a dream he (Smith) proceeded to the spot.” (A GOLDEN BIBLE, Gem, Rochester, NY, 5 Sept. 1829. Source of reference: A New Witness for Christ in America, Zion’s printing and Publishing, 1951)
Another Comment on Martin Harris’ Testimony:
“In the fall of 1827, a person by the name of Joseph Smith, of Manchester, Ontario county, reported that he had been visited in a dream by the spirit of the Almighty, and informed that in a certain hill in that town, was deposited this Golden Bible, containing an ancient record of a divine nature and origin. After having been thrice thus visited, as he states, he proceeded to the spot, and after having penetrating “mother earth” a short distance, the Bible was found, together with a huge pair of spectacles! He had directed, however, not to let any mortal being examine them, “under no less penalty” than instant death!” (THE PALMYRA FREEMAN Palmyra, NY, August 11, 1829)
Family Member Staying With The Smiths:
A cousin of Emma, who stayed with Emma and Joseph Smith during the dictation of the Book of Mormon reported “the statement that the prophet Joseph Smith made in our hearing, at the commencement of his translating his book, in Harmony (in 1828-1829), as to the manner of his finding the plates, was as follows… He said that by a dream he was informed by a ghost.”
(Photocopy of letter, Photocopy in fd 8, box 149, H. Michael Marquardt Papers, Manuscripts Division, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah. Also see Mormon History, A New Chapter, by Joseph Lewis and Hiel Lewis and Early Mormon Documents, Volume 2.)
Ohio Star, Reporting On Preaching By Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer In December 1830:
“In the fall of 1827, a man named Joseph Smith of Manchester, Ontario Co., NY, reported that he had three times been visited in a dream, by the spirit of the Almighty …” (THE GOLDEN BIBLE, Ohio Star, Ravenna, OH, 9 Dec. 1830, Madeline R. McQuown Papers, Marriott Library UofU, in fd 4, box 46. Also see History of the Church, Volume 1, page 118-119.)
Joseph Smith’s Bedroom Dream Account, Willard Chase:
“In the month of June, 1827, Joseph Smith, Sen. related to me the following story: ‘That some years ago, a spirit had appeared to Joseph his son, in a vision, and informed him that in a certain place there was a record on plates of gold, and that he was the person that must obtain them, and this he must do in the following manner: On the 22nd of September, he must repair to the place where was deposited this manuscript, dressed in black clothes, and riding a black horse with a switch tail, and demand the book in a certain name, and after obtaining it, he must go directly away, and neither lay it down nor look behind him…” (Account of Willard Chase, spelled out in his 1833 affidavit, Joseph Smith’s New York Reputation Reexamined, Rodger I. Anderson, Signature Books, 1990, p. 121)
Account of Henry Harris:
“I had a conversation with him, [Joseph Smith] and asked him where he found them and how he come to know where they were. He said he had a revelation from God that told him they were hid in a certain hill and he looked in his stone and saw them in the place of deposit.” (TESTIMONY OF HENRY HARRIS, Mormonism Unvailed — Eber Howe’s 1834 book, p. 251)
Reflector In June and July Of 1830:
“Now the rest of the acts of the magician, how his mantle fell upon the Prophet Jo. Smith Jun. and how Jo. made a league with the spirit, who afterwards turned out to be an angel, and how he obtained the “Gold Bible,” Spectacles, and breast plate, will they not be faithfully recorded in the book of Pukei? …
And the prophet answered and said,—“Behold! hath not the mantle of Walters the Magician fallen upon me, and I am not able to do before you my people great wonders, and shew you, at a more proper season, where the Nephites hid their treasures?—for lo! yesternight stood before me in the wilderness of Manchester, the spirit, who, from the beginning, has had in keeping all the treasures, hidden in the bowels of the earth.
And he said unto me, Joseph, thou son of Joseph, hold up thine head; do the crimes done in thy body fill thee with shame?—hold up thine face and let the light of mine countenance shine upon thee—thou, and all thy father’s household, have served me faithfully, according to the best of their knowledge and abilities—I am the spirit that walketh in darkness, and will shew thee great signs and wonders.”
And I looked, and behold a little old man stood before me, clad, as I supposed, in Egyptian raiment, except his Indian blanket, and moccasins—his beard of silver white, hung far below his knees. On his head was an old fashioned military half cocked hat, such as was worn in the days of the patriarch Moses—his speech was sweeter than molasses, and his words were the reformed Egyptian.
And again he said unto me, ‘Joseph, thou who hast been surnamed the ignoramus, knowest thou not, that great signs and wonders are to be done by thine hands? knowest thou not, that I have been sent unto thee by Mormon, the great apostle to the Nephites—Mormon who was chief among the last ten tribes of Israel?’” (The Book of Pukei,—Chapter 2, Palmyra Reflector, July 7, 1830)
Testimony of Abigail Harris:
Palmyra, Wayne Co. N. Y. 11th mo. 28th, 1833.
In the early part of the winter in 1828, I made a visit to Martin Harris and was joined in company by Jos. Smith, sen. and his wife. … They told me that the report that Joseph, jun. had found golden plates, was true, and that he was in Harmony, Pa. translating them–that such plates were in existence, and that Joseph, jun. was to obtain them, was revealed to him by the spirit of one or the Saints that was on this continent, previous to its being discovered by Columbus. Old Mrs. Smith observed that she thought he must be a Quaker, as he was dressed very plain. ABIGAIL HARRIS (Mormonism Unvailed, Eber Howe’s 1834 book)
Joseph Smith’s Bedroom Dream, LDS 1832 Account:
“… but after many days I fell into transgressions and sinned in many things which brought a wound upon my soul and there were many things which transpired that cannot be writ[t]en and my Fathers family have suffered many persicutions [persecutions] and afflictions
and it came to pass when I was seventeen years of age I called again upon the Lord and he shewed unto me a heavenly vision for behold an angel of the Lord came and stood before me and it was by night and he called me by name and he said the Lord had forgiven me my sins and he revealed unto me that in the Town of Manchester Ontario County N.Y. there was plates of gold upon which there was engravings which was engraven by Maroni [Moroni] & his fathers the servants of the living God in ancient days and deposited by the commandments of God and kept by the power thereof and that I should go and get them and he revealed unto me many things concerning the inhabitants of the earth which since have been revealed in commandments & revelations
and it was on the 22d day of Sept. AD 1822 and thus he appeared unto me three times in one night and once on the next day and then I immediately went to the place and found where the plates was deposited as the angel of the Lord had commanded me and straightway made three attempts to get them and then being exce[e]dingly frightened I supposed it had been a dreem [dream] of Vision but when I consid[e]red I knew it was not
therefore I cried unto the Lord in the agony of my soul why can I not obtain them behold the angel appeared unto me again and said unto me you have not kept the commandments of the Lord which I gave unto you therefore you cannot now obtain them for the time is not yet fulfilled therefore thou wast left unto temptation that thou mightest be made acquainted with the power of the advisary therefore repent and call on the Lord thou shalt be forgiven and in his own due time thou shalt obtain them
for now I had been tempted of the advisary and saught [sought] the Plates to obtain riches and kept not the commandment that I should have an eye single to the glory of God therefore I was chastened and saught [sought] diligently to obtain the plates and obtained them not untill I was twenty one years of age” (Joseph Smith Letterbook, 1:3-5, LDS archives)
“I will name some of the particular discoveries which through Divine Providence I was favored with in an interview with Joseph Smith, Jr. at the house of Peter Whitmer, in the town of Fayette, Seneca County, state of New York, in October, 1830. I called at P[eter] Whitmer’s house for the purpose of seeing Smith, and searching into the mystery of his system of religion, and had the privilege of conversing with him alone, several hours, and of investigating his writings, church records, &c. I improved near four and twenty hours in close application with Smith and his followers; he could give me no christian experience, but told me that an angel told him he must go to a certain place in the town of Manchester, Ontario County, where was a secret treasure concealed, which he must reveal to the human family. He went, and after the third or fourth time, which was repeated once a year, he obtained a parcel of plate resembling gold, on which were engraved what he did not understand, only by the aid of a glass, which he also obtained with the plate, by which means he was enabled to translate the characters on the plate into English.” (1830 interview with Joseph Smith by Peter Bauder. Recounted by Bauder in his book: The Kingdom and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, printed in 1834, pp. 36-38 /Early Mormon Documents, vol.1, compiled by Dan Vogel, Signature Books, 1996, pp. 16-17)
Joseph Smith’s Bedroom Dream, 1835 Account:
On the evening of the 21st of September, 1823, previous to retiring to rest, our brother’s mind was unusually wrought up on the subject which had so long agitated his mind-his heart was drawn out in fervent prayer, and his whole soul was so lost to every thing of a temporal nature, that earth, to him, had lost its claims, and all he desired was to be prepared in heart to commune with some kind messenger who could communicate to him the desired information of his acceptance with God.
At length the family retired, and he, as usual, bent his way, though in silence, where others might have rested their weary frames “locked fast in sleep’s embrace;” but repose had fled, …
While continuing in prayer for a manifestation in some way that his sins were forgiven; endeavoring to exercise faith in the scriptures, on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a purer and far more glorious appearance and brightness, burst into the room.-Indeed, to use his own description, the first sight was as though the house was filled with consuming and unquenchable fire. This sudden appearance of a light so bright, as must naturally be expected, occasioned a shock or sensation, visible to the extremities of the body. It was, however, followed with a calmness and serenity of mind, and an overwhelming rapture of joy that surpassed nnderstanding [understanding], and in a moment a personage stood before him.
Notwithstanding the room was previously filled with light above the brightness of the sun, as I have before described, yet there seemed to be an additional glory surrounding or accompanying this personage, which shone with an increased degree of briliancy [brilliancy], of which he was in the midst; and though his countenanc [countenance] was as lightening, yet it was of a pleasing, innocent and glorious appearance, so much so, that every fear was banished from the heart, and nothing but calmness pervaded the soul.
It is no easy task to describe the appearance of a messenger from the skies– indeed, I doubt there being an individual clothed with perishable clay, who is capable to do this work….
But it may be well to relate the particulars as far as given-The stature of this personage was a little above the common size of men in this age; his garment was perfectly white, and had the appearance of being without seam.
Though fear was banished form his heart, yet his surprise was no less when he heard him declare himself to be a messenger sent by commandment of the Lord, to deliver a special message, and to witness to him that his sins were forgiven, and that his prayers were heard…
He [the Lord] has therefore chosen you as an instrument in his hand to bring to light that which shall; perform his act, his strange act, and bring to pass a marvelous work and a wonder. Wherever the sound shall go it shall cause the ears of men to tingle, and wherever it shall be proclaimed, the pure in heart shall rejoice, (Messenger and Advocate, 1835, pp. 78-79)
Joseph Smith’s Bedroom Dream, 1835 Account:
An account of what Joseph Smith told Robert Matthews. It was recorded by Warren Parrish, a scribe to Joseph Smith.
When I was about 17 years old I saw another vision of angels in the night season after I had retired to bed I had not been a sleep, but was meditating upon my past life and experience, I was verry concious [conscious] that I had not kept the commandments, and I repented hartily for all my sins and transgression, and humbled myself before Him <whose eyes are over all things>, all at once the room was il[l]uminated above the brightness of the sun an angel appeared before me, his hands and feet were naked pure and white, and he stood between the floors of the room, clothed with purity inexpressible, he said unto me I am a messenger sent from God, be faithful and keep his commandments in all things, he told me of a sacred record which was written on plates of gold, I saw in the vision the place where they were deposited, he said the Indians were the literal descendants of Abraham he explained many of the prophesies to me, one I will mention which is in Malachi 4 chapt[er]. behold the day of the Lord cometh &c. also that the Urim and Thum[m]im, was hid up with the record, and that God would give me power to translate it, with the assistance of this instrument he then gradually vanished out of my sight, or the vision closed, while meditating on what I had seen, the angel appear[e]d to me again and related the same things and much more, also the third time bearing the same tidings, and departed; during the time I was in this vision I did not realize any thing around me except what was shown me in this communication: after the vision had all passed, I found that it was nearly day-light, the family soon arose, I got up also:–on that day while in the field at work with my Father he asked me if I was sick I relyed, I had but little strenght [strength], he told me to go to the house, I started and went part way and was finally deprived of my strength and fell, but how long I remained I do not know; the Angel came to me again and commanded me to go and tell my Father, what I had seen and heard, I did so, he wept and told me that it was a vision from God to attend to it I went and found the place, where the plates were, according to the direction of the Angel, also saw them, and the angel as before; the powers of darkness strove hard against me. I called on God, the Angel told me that the reason why I could not obtain the plates at this time was because I was under transgression, but to come again in one year from that time, I did so, but did not obtain them also the third and the fourth year, at which time I obtained them, and translated them into the english language, by the gift and power of God and have been preaching it ever since. (Joseph Smith 1835-26 Journal, entry of 9 Nov. 1835, 24-26, LDS archives)
“Joseph there is a record for you and you must get it one day… the record is on a side hill on the Hill of Cumorah 3 miles from this place remove the Grass and moss and you will find a large flat stone pry that up and you will find the record under it laying on 4 pillars—<of cement> then the angel left him…” (First draft of Lucy Smith’s History, p. 46, LDS Church Archives/Early Mormon Documents, Vol. 1, p. 290)
Joseph Smith’s Bedroom Dream, Manuscript History of the Church, Book A-1:
Manuscript, written by George W. Robinson in 1838 and copied by James Mulholland in 1839 before it was edited for publication in the Times and Seasons:
“During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year Eighteen hundred and twenty three, (having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends, and to have treated me kindly and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavoured in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me) I was left to all kinds of temptations, and mingling <with> all kinds of society I frequently <fell> into many foolish errors and displayed the weakness of youth and the corruption of human nature which I am sorry to say led me into divers temptations to the gratification of many appetites offensive in the sight of God.
In consequence of these things I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when on the evening of the above mentioned twenty first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me that I might know of my state and standing before him. For I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation as I had previously had one.
While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in the room which continued to increase untill the room was lighter than at noonday <when> immediately a personage <appeared> at my bedside standing in the air for his feet did not touch the floor. He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond any<thing> earthly I had ever seen, nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedin[g]ly white and brilliant, His hands were naked and his arms also a little above the wrists. So also were his feet naked as were his legs a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open so that I could see into his bosom. Not only was his robe exceedingly white but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him I was afraid, but the fear soon left me.
He called me by name and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me and that his name was Nephi. That God had a work for me to do, and that my< name> should be had for good and evil among all nations kindreds and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.
He said there was a book deposited written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fullness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it as delivered by the Saviour to the ancient inhabitants. Also that there were two stones in silver bows and these (put into a breast plate) which constituted what is called the Urim& Thummim deposited with the plates, and that was what constituted seers in ancient or former times and that God< had> prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.
After telling me these things he commenced quoting the prophecies of the old testament, he first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as reads in our books he quoted it thus, “For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud <yea> and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble, for <they> that cometh shall burn them saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”
And again he quoted the fifth verse thus, “Behold I will reveal unto you the Priesthood by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” He also quoted the next verse differently. “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers, if it were not so the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” In addition to these he quoted the Eleventh Chapter of Isaiah saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty second and twenty third verses precisely as they stand in our new testament. He said that that prophet was Christ, but the day had not yet come when “they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,” but soon would come.
He also quoted the second chapter of Joel from the twenty eight to the last verse. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled but was soon to be. And he further stated the fullness of the gentiles was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of scripture and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here. Again he told me that when I got those plates of which he had spoken (for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled) I should not show <them> to any person, neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them. If I did I should be destroyed.
While he was conversing with me about the plates the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.
After this communication I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so untill the room was again left dark except just round him, when instantly I saw as it were a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended up till he entirely disappeared and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance.
I lay musing on the singularity of the scene and marvelling greatly at what had been told me by this extraordinary messenger, when in the midst of my meditation I suddenly discovered that my room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant as it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside. He commenced and again related the very same things which he had done at his first visit without the least variation which having done, he informed me of great judgements which were coming upon the earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence, and that these grievous judgements would come on the earth in this generation: Having related these things he again ascended as he had done before.
By this time so deep were the impressions made on my mind that sleep had fled from my eyes and I lay overwhelmed in astonishment at what I had both seen and heard:
But what was my surprise when again I beheld the same messenger at my bed side, and heard him rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before and added a caution to me, telling me that Satan would try to tempt me (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father’s family) to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich, This he forbid me, saying that I must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive but that of building his kingdom, otherwise I could not get them.
After this third visit he again ascended up into heaven as before and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness of what I had just experienced, when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me the third time, the cock crew, and I found that day was approaching so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night. I shortly after arose from my bed, and as usual went to the necessary labors of the day, but in attempting to labor as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as rendered me entirely unable.
My father who was laboring along <with> me discovered something to be wrong with me and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house, but in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me and I fell helpless on the ground and for a time was quite unconscious of any thing. The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me calling me by name. I looked up and beheld the same messenger standing over my head surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all that he had related to me the previous night, and commanded me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received.
I obeyed. I returned back to my father in the field and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replyed to me, that it was of God, and to go and do as commanded by the messenger. I left the field and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited, and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.
Under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all round was covered with earth. Having removed the earth and obtained a lever which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up, I looked in and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim and the Breastplate as stated by he messenger.
The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement, in the bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them. I made an attempt to take them out but was forbidden by the messenger and was again informed that the time <for> bringing them forth had not yet arrived, neither would untill four years from that time, but he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so untill the time should come for obtaining the plates.
Accordingly as I had been commanded I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days. (Manuscript History, Book A-1:4-7, LDS archives)