1. Joseph Smith Receives The Gold Plates.
    1. Historical Summary.
      1. Annual visits to the Hill Cumorah 1823-1827.
        1. As instructed by the Angel Moroni, Joseph returned to the hill each year in September to receive additional teaching and instructions.
        2. During this period of preparation, Joseph was instructed by many of the ancients.
          1. In his letter to John Wentworth, Joseph wrote of "...many visits from the angels of God unfolding the majesty and glory of the events that should transpire in the last days." (HC 4:537)
          2. According to John Taylor, the Prophet "not only had the principles developed but was conversant with the parties who officiated as the leading men" in former ages. (JD 20:174-175)
          3. Consider the words of Joseph's mother:
            1. "...we continued to get the children together every evening for the purpose of listening while he gave us a relation of the same. I presume our family presented an aspect as singular as any that ever lived upon the face of the earth--all seated in a circle, father, mother, sons and daughters, and giving the most profound attention to a boy, eighteen years of age, who had never read the Bible through in his life: he seemed much less inclined to the perusal of books than any other the rest of our children, but far more given to meditation and deep study.
            2. "During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them." (HJS, pp82-83)
      2. In 1825, the Smith family made the acquaintance of Josiah (Stoal) Stowell from Chenango County, New York. He came into the Smith neighborhood for the purchase of wheat and flour.
        1. He heard about Joseph Smith and the discover of the gold plates. He sought out the Smith family and made a proposal to Joseph to come down to his home county and search for a buried treasure.
          1. Joseph convinced Stowell that he had no powers to find hidden treasure. Stowell liked Joseph and offered him employment, which Joseph needed and accepted.
        2. While employed by Stowell in the Susquehanna country, Joseph boarded and roomed with Isaac Hale in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Isaac Hale had 9 children, the third of which was Emma.
          1. Against her family opposition, Emma married Joseph in January of 1827 in the village of South Bainbridge, New York.
        3. Joseph prevailed on Stowell to give up the search for buried treasure. He continued to work for Stowell on his farm in Chenango Country and also for Joseph Knight in Broome County.
        4. After marrying Emma, Joseph returned to his father's farm, where he worked for the next season.
    2. Joseph receives the plates.
      1. On the morning of September 22, 1827, Joseph returned to the Hill Cumorah where he received the ancient Nephite record from the angel Moroni.
        1. Moroni gave the following charge to Joseph (see JS-History 1:59): "...the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected."
      2. JS-History 1:60: "I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible."
        1. One Willard Chase, a Methodist Sunday School leader, organized a group of twelve men to obtain the plates from Joseph. The Prophet's father learned of the plans and hurried to Macedon, where Joseph was working, to advise him of the conspiracy.
          1. Joseph left Macedon and hurried to the woods where he had hidden the plates in a hollow log. He removed the plates and concealed them in his coat. On the path to his house, he was attacked by three men. He knocked the men down and barely escaped.
          2. The plates were placed in a wooden box and placed under the stones of the hearth. No sooner had the plates been secured when the house was rushed by an armed mob. The men in the house rushed out in such fury that they hoped to scare the mob off, which they were successful in doing.
      3. Many other attempts were made to get the plates from young Joseph. Said Joseph: "Several times I was shot at, and very narrowly escaped, and every device was made use of to get the plates away from me." (HC 4:538)
        1. The persecution became so great, that Joseph and Emma determined to get out of the area. No work could be done with the plates in this atmosphere.
      4. Martin Harris, a Smith neighbor, took interest in Joseph's story and gave Joseph and Emma $50 to enable them to return to Emma's home in Harmony, Pennsylvania.
        1. During this trip, the plates were hid in the bottom of a cask of beans.
    3. The translation begins.
      1. Joseph and Emma were furnished two rooms in the Hale home in Harmony.
        1. It was here that Joseph began to study the characters on the plates by using the Urim and Thummim.
      2. Joseph refused to show Emma's father, Isaac Hale the plates. Isaac would not allow Joseph to continue in his house. Joseph and Emma purchased 13 1/2 acres of land, with a shanty on it, where they then moved and Joseph began the first stages of translation.
      3. In the month of February, Martin Harris visited Joseph and Emma in Harmony. Martin took a copy of the characters, along with their translation, to New York City.
        3. Neither Anthon or Mitchell could interpret the characters. The ability to translate ancient Egyptian was just beginning through the work of a French scholar by the name of Jean Francois Champollion and his work with the Rosetta stone discovered in 1799.
        4. The transcript taken by Harris has been preserved. It was attached to the last sheet of the Book of Mormon manuscript, which was retained by David Whitmer. Study of the transcript has been made and nearly every character copied from the plates was found to have been used at some time in Egyptian writing.
        5. In addition to the fulfillment of ancient prophecy, the most significant development from this incident, is that it more fully convinced Martin Harris of the validity of the work that Joseph was involved in.
  2. Section 3.
    1. The loss of the 116 pages.
      1. Martin returned to Harmony to assist Joseph in the translation.
        1. On April 12, 1828, Martin became the Prophet's scribe. By June 14 they had completed 116 pages.
        2. Martin Harris wished to show translation to wife. She evidently badgered Martin about being involved with Joseph. Joseph inquired of the Lord 3 times before Martin was given a positive answer.
          1. Conditions: to be shown to his wife and 4 other specific persons.
      2. Shortly after Martin left with the manuscript, Emma had a child which lived only a short time.
        1. Emma was so distraught over the loss of the child that remained by her side for two weeks.
        2. As Emma began to recover he became increasingly concerned over the manuscript. Three weeks had passed and Joseph had heard nothing from Martin.
        3. Emma had Joseph bring her mother over and then he left for Palmyra to find out about the manuscript.
        4. Joseph was tired from the vigil by his wife's side and deeply worried about the manuscript. A stranger assisted Joseph in getting to the home of his parents.
      3. Mother Smith's account of the lost manuscript:
        1. When Joseph had taken a little nourishment, according to the directions of the stranger, he requested us to send immediately for Mr. Harris. This we did without delay. And when we had given the stranger his breakfast, we commenced preparing breakfast for the family; and we supposed that Mr. Harris would be there, as soon as it was ready, to eat with us, for he generally came in such haste when he was sent for. At eight o'clock we set the victuals on the table, as we were expecting him every moment. We waited till nine, and he came not--till ten, and he was not there--till eleven, still he did not make his appearance. But at half past twelve we saw him walking with a slow and measured tread towards the house, his eyes fixed thoughtfully upon the ground. On coming to the gate, he stopped, instead of passing through, and got upon the fence, and sat there some time with his hat drawn over his eyes. At length he entered the house. Soon after which we sat down to the table, Mr. Harris with the rest. He took up his knife and fork as if he were going to use them, but immediately dropped them. Hyrum, observing this, said "Martin, why do you not eat; are you sick?" Upon which Mr. Harris pressed his hands upon his temples, and cried out in a tone of deep anguish, "Oh, I have lost my soul! I have lost my soul!"
        2. Joseph who had not expressed his fears till now, sprang from the table, exclaiming, "Martin, have you lost that manuscript? Have you broken your oath, and brought down condemnation upon my head as well as your own?"
        3. "Yes; it is gone," replied Martin, "and I know not where."
        4. "Oh, my God!" said Joseph, clinching his hands. "All is lost! all is lost! What shall I do? I have sinned--it is I who tempted the wrath of God. I should have been satisfied with the first answer which I received from the Lord; for he told me that it was not safe to let the writing go out of my possession." He wept and groaned, and walked the floor continually.
        5. At length he told Martin to go back and search again.
        6. "No"; said Martin, "it is all in vain; for I have ripped open beds and pillows; and I know it is not there."
        7. "Then must I," said Joseph, "return with such a tale as this? I dare not do it. And how shall I appear before the Lord? Of what rebuke am I not worthy from the angel of the Most High?"
        8. I besought him not to mourn so, for perhaps the Lord would forgive him, after a short season of humiliation and repentance. But what could I do to comfort him, when he saw all the family in the same situation of mind as himself; for sobs and groans, and the most bitter lamentations filled the house. However, Joseph was more distressed than the rest, as he better understood the consequences of disobedience. And he continued pacing back and forth, meantime weeping and grieving, until about sunset, when, by persuasion, he took a little nourishment.
        9. The next morning, he set out for home. We parted with heavy hearts, for it now appeared that all which we had so fondly anticipated, and which had been the source of so much secret gratification, had in a moment fled, and fled forever. (HJS 127-129)
      4. Background: Joseph says that he remained in Manchester for a "short season" and then returned to Pennsylvania.
      5. He said: "Immediately after my return home, I was walking out a little distance, when, behold, the former heavenly messenger appeared and handed to me the Urim and Thummim again--for it had been taken from me in consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting Martin Harris take the writings...and I inquired of the Lord through it, and obtained the following: (Section 3)" (DHC, pp 21-22)
    2. Discussion on Section 3.
      1. Joseph was told in this section of the loss of his gift and why.
      2. There is much vital counsel here for all of us.
        1. Remember what Nephi said: "I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning." (1 Nephi 19:23)
        2. Even though the Lord is addressing Joseph in these verses, it is solemn counsel and a warning for all of us.
      3. The Lord has told us to "pray always" (D&C 19:38).
          1. Jacob 4:10: "Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand."
          1. 3 Nephi 18:20: "And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you."
          2. Did Joseph believe it was right? No. I continued to plead with the Lord because of Martin's pleading.
          3. If we listen to the Spirit, we will know what is right to ask for?
      4.  READ D&C 3:5-9.
        1. V7: "For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God."
      5. D&C 3:10: "But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work;"
        2. We may mess up big time, but the Lord is merciful, and we can repent and take up our calling in life. Joseph did and so have many others.
      6. Additional commentary on the loss of the 116 pages (Ivan J. Barrett in Joseph Smith and the Restoration, p84)
        1. "Grievous as the experience was, it proved to be the lesson Joseph Smith needed in his youth to strengthen him and fortify him against temptations that would later beset his path.
          1. "It taught him to hearken to the inspiration that came to him and not to yield to the persuasions of men.
          2. "It taught him to be cautious in trusting men, for few could be depended upon.
          3. "It also taught him that more than one copy of valuable documents should be made. In the future he made duplicate copies of all important manuscripts."
    3. Disposition of the manuscript.
      1. The testimonies of a Pomeroy Tucker and a Reverend Clark indicate that Martin's wife snatched the manuscript while her husband slept.
      2. Mother Smith said this: "...There is no doubt but Mrs. Harris took it from the drawer, with the view of retaining it until another translation should be given, then to alter the original translation, for the purpose of showing a discrepancy between them, and thus make the whole appear to be a deception."
  3. Section 10.
    1. Background:
      1. Joseph said: "After I had obtained the above revelation (Section 3), both the plates and the Urim and Thummin were taken from me again: but in a few days they were returned to me, when I inquired of the Lord, and the Lord said thus unto me: (Section 10)"
      2. This section was given some time later in the summer of 1828.
    2. The Lord begins by telling Joseph that the gift of translation was restored to him.
    3.  READ D&C 10:4-5. Wise counsel from the Lord.
      1. As a sometimes runner/biker I can appreciate counsel delivered to the Prophet in v4.
        1. Consider my goal to ride to Utah in 1984.
        2. Lived in W. Seattle - In March I bought bike - could hardly make it the 1 1/2 miles home from the bike shop - how could I even consider a near 1000 mile ride.
        3. 1st long distance training ride - W. Seattle to Auburn - wasted me out - it was almost too much and discouraged me - "Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength" (D&C 10:4).
        4. In continued my training on a frequent basis throughout the spring & early summer - rode to work frequently/rode evenings/rode every weekend.
        5. Even at the end of my training I doubted whether I was physically prepared to make the trip - but my preparation was sufficient.
        1. The Lord does not expect us to achieve perfection and celestial glory in a day.
        2. He expects us to keep trying, have failures, grow weary. But he wants us to keep trying. As he says in verse 4, "...be diligent unto the end."
        3. And then, he counsels in v5 to "Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work."
    4.  READ D&C 10:9-12. The wicked have altered the words of the translation.
      1. It is important to note in these verses we have been reading of the battle of Satan to confound the work.
      2. In is vital for us to realize the reality of the battle Satan is waging against us and the work of salvation.
      3. Much of this section discusses the efforts of Satan to destroy the work.
        1. As we continue through Church history, we will see ample evidence of his attempt to stop the work of salvation. In fact, it would be interesting to chronicle these events. We are engaged in a battle without parallel.
    5. In v30 the Lord commands Joseph to not retranslate those plates.
      1. He goes on to say in v31: "For, behold, they shall not accomplish their evil designs in lying against those words."
    6.  READ D&C 10:38-42. Instructions regarding the small plates.
  4. Next Week.
    1. Study Sections 5-9 & Joseph Smith-History 1:66-67.