On this day September 22, 1827

According to his own record of his early life, Latter Day Saint movement founder Joseph Smith, Jr. obtained the golden plates, a set of engraved plates that he said was his source material for the Book of Mormon.

Some followers and relatives of Smith testified that they saw the plates, but Smith said he returned them to an angel after translating them. Therefore, if they existed, they are not available for researchers to examine. Although most outside of the Latter Day Saint movement dismiss Joseph Smith’s story of the golden plates as beyond belief, to Latter Day Saints their existence is a matter of faith.

Joseph Smith said he was guided to the plates on September 22, 1823 on Cumorah Hill, Manchester, New York, in a buried box. Smith said they had been protected there for centuries by the angel Moroni, once a mortal prophet and the book’s final author, and the one who guided him to the plates. According to Smith, the angel told him he could not take possession of the plates until he obeyed certain commandments, which included making four annual visits to the spot.

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