“The events surrounding the translation of the Book of Mormon can be pieced together from the recollections of a dozen or so contemporaries…. The story that emerges from their accounts is perplexing. The Mormon sources constantly refer to the single most troublesome item in Joseph Smith’s history, the gold plates on which the Book of Mormon was said to be written. For most modern readers, the plates are beyond belief, a phantasm, yet the Mormon sources accept them as fact. Interspersed with descriptions of journeys, illnesses, business deals, and lost horses are trips to the Hill Cumorah, boxes holding the plates, and times when the plates are hidden, touched, lifted, and translated. Mundane details mix with an incredible artifact whose very existence is debated.” (“Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling” Richard Lyman Bushman, [Knopf: 2005] p. 58)

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