Miracles in the details of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon
We have been admonished to read the Book of Mormon daily with great benefits in doing so. I have found this to be true. The Miracles wrought by the Lord to give us this sacred record bring us to our knees in great gratitude for this incredible book designed by the Lord to best help us today.
Recent historical information coming from the Joseph Smith papers, Jonathan Neville, David Hocking, Gordon L. Weight provide significant insights and many documented miracles (see Whatever Happened to the Golden Plates? And Miracle on Palmyra’s Main Street). I have extra copies of the later booklet for $4, if you would like a copy.
September 1823: Moroni appears to Joseph Smith and tells him of a record “written and deposited not far from that place.” Where was that? Mormon writes, “I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord…” (Mormon 6:6) This is the grand repository – a room full of records in the Hill Cumorah.
September 1827: Joseph receives the record (gold plates) to be translated from Moroni out of a stone box on the hill and not from the repository. Moroni had deposited the plates in this box around 421 A.D..
December 1827: Persecution drives Joseph and Emma to Harmony, PA, and they took the gold plates with them.
April-June 1828: Joseph translates the Book of Lehi with Emma and Martin Harris as scribes (116 pages). Martin takes them to show to his wife and they are lost.
July 1828: Emma is near to dying having lost their first child and Joseph learns of the lost manuscript. This is probably the darkest time in Joseph’s life, he is chastened by the Lord and is prevented from translating for a time. Joseph is instructed by the Lord to not re- translate the book of Lehi, as the Lord has other plans. Satan cannot stop the Lord’s work.
April-May 1829: Joseph translates Mosiah through Moroni with Oliver Cowdery and others as scribes. Joseph receives a revelation in April for Oliver, “I would that ye should continue until you have finished this record, which I have entrusted unto him. And then, behold other records have I, that I will give unto you power that you may assist to translate.” (D&C 9:2) We will learn that these “other records” are the plates of Nephi, (1 Nephi through Omni and up to Mormon’s commentary, the “Words of Mormon” known as the “these plates” in the Book of Mormon), which they do not have with them in Harmony, PA. They are still in the grand repository.
After finishing the translation of those plates, they were wondering what they should do about the lost 116 pages, which was the Book of Lehi, Joseph and Oliver ask the Lord, who gives D&C Section 10 with the instruction that they should not go back to the beginning and re-translate the Book of Lehi. Verse 38 “…that an account of those things that you have written, which have gone out of your hands is engraven upon the plates of Nephi. (These small plates of Nephi were not part of Mormon’s abridgement.) Verse 45 Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel;” Verse 43 “…my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.”
However, before leaving Harmony, Joseph and Oliver translate the Title Page, which is the “last leaf” of the record, so that they can obtain the copyright for the book. The title page reads that the completed record they have translated is an “abridgement” of the people of Nephi and of the Jaredites — in other words, Mosiah through Moroni. Since the “small plates of Nephi” are not an “abridgement”, they are not mentioned in the Title Page. In other words, the plates of Nephi were not with the original set of plates that Joseph took from the stone box at Cumorah in 1827.
After completing the title page of the translated abridgement, Joseph gave the plates to a messenger. Therefore, they took no plates with them to Fayette.
From Harmony to Fayette
The Lord instructs Joseph to write a letter to David Whitmer in Fayette (over 100 miles away), whom he does not personally know, but Oliver does. Joseph asks him to come and get them that they might continue the translation there. David’s father, Peter, tells David he cannot go because it is planting season. The next morning they wake up and the work has all been completed. Three men had been seen in the field doing the work during the night. It was a witness to David that Joseph’s request was urgent, so he left immediately.
Anxious to know if David was coming, Joseph monitors the details of David’s trip from Fayette to Harmony through the Urim and Thummim, and Oliver records these details, which greatly impresses Oliver and David after he arrives and learns of Joseph’s gift.
On the way from Harmony to Fayette, Joseph, Oliver and David encounter a gentleman at the side of the road. He has a knapsack over his shoulder. When offered a ride, the messenger declines and states he is on his way to Cumorah. He then disappears into the woods. David had never heard of Cumorah before, so Joseph explains. Joseph identifies the man as the messenger, one of the three Nephites. This messenger is taking back the plates Moroni gave Joseph from the stone box to the repository in the Hill Cumorah.
What About The Plates of Nephi?
June 1829: In Fayette, Joseph receives the “small plates of Nephi” from a messenger who acquired them from within the grand repository at Cumorah. Joseph then translates the additional unabridged new plates which are 1 Nephi through Omni. The “Words of Mormon,” are Mormon’s inspired explanation of the transition between the small plates of Nephi (these plates) and what they had translated in Harmony, PA. With Oliver as the principal scribe, Joseph translates the small plates (1 Nephi through Omni) in Fayette, NY, at the Whitmer’s home.
June 1829: The Three Witnesses are shown “the plates which contain… a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites,… and also of the people of Jared,…” by the Angel Moroni, with a the voice of God commanding them to so testify.
June 1829: A few days later, the Eight Witnesses are able to handle and “have seen and hefted” the small plates Nephi near the Joseph Smith Farm, as shown to them by the Prophet Joseph Smith.
July 1829: Oliver prepares the “Printer’s Manuscript.”
August 1829: Contract signed with Grandin Print Shop for 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon. On the 24th, Hyrum delivers the first 24 pages. Joseph specifies the “type font.” Grandin doesn’t have it; Joseph supplies it. Joseph specifies the kind of paper. Grandin doesn’t have it. It shows up when needed along with the needed ink for the nearly 3 million pages to be printed.
26 March 1830: The first copies of the Book of Mormon were completed and ready in Palmyra in time for the Church to be organized 6 April 1830 in Fayette. It should have taken 17 ½ months to print and bind these 5,000 copies. It was done in less than 7 months.
As I was praying, I was shown that the dimensions of the first printed copies were in the Divine Ratio or Golden Mean (7 ½ by 4 5/8 inches = 1.62, which is in the Giza Pyramid and in the 4 ½ square-mile earth works near Newark, Ohio mapping out the plan of salvation). We have over a thousand books in our library, and I have found no other book that has this Divine ratio.
Does the Grand Repository Still Exist?
Yes! David Whitmer said the plates that were in the repository were moved – probably to the Hill Shim nearby, but no-one knows where that is. It was kept secret. But they are to come forth in “the own due time of the Lord.” “But the words which are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof.” (2 Nephi 27:10)
That which is to come is much greater than anything we have received. It is worth every effort to be part of this new “Marvelous Work and a Wonder,” and the exciting thing is we can. The Lord shall “set His hand again the second time” to gather his elect from the “four corners of the earth,” and Zion will come! (See Jer. 16:14-16, 31:31-34, 2 Pet. 1:4-8; 2 Nephi 25:17; Jacob 5; 6:2; 3 Nephi 21, Ether 13:1-12, D&C 45 and 133; Moses 7:62)
Be Counted Among The Elect
What do we need to do to be among the elect? The Book of Mormon invites us to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness… and love God with all our might, mind and strength.” The “Great I Am” invites, “[I] will gather [My] people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer.”(D&C 29:1-2) “And blessed are they who seek to bring forth my Zion at that day…” (1 Ne. 13:37, the pure in heart with no poor among them and of one heart and one mind and dwell in righteousness, who look to [Me] in every thought and love “God… and all men”. D&C 6:36; 2 Ne. 31:20; Moroni 7:48; 10:32-33)
David W Allan