22 Comments

  1. Great job Bryce, I’ve been wanting to put together a resource for these findings all in one place and you’ve done it already! Thanks for the great research. I think it’s important to remember that the claim by a 23 year old farm boy that records on metal (brass) plates existed in Jerusalem around 600 B.C. is a modern historical fact.

    We get excited when there are new discoveries that lend support to what we already know is true. I think with each one of these discoveries we understand a little more perhaps what the original plates might have looked like.

  2. Thanks J. Max and Steve. I was amazed by the volume of such finds that have been made in the last century. There are literally hundreds of examples of writing on metal plates, and these are only a few. I had no idea there were so many!

  3. John M. Lundquist

    See also H. Curtis Wright, “Ancient Burials of Metal Documents in Stone Boxes,” in By Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley, edited by John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks. SLC and Provo, Utah: Deseret Book Company and FARMS, 1990, Vol. 2, pp. 273-334.

  4. steve knigge

    The Book of Mormon contains some scripture and old testament stories from the Bible. Since the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth, the keystone of the Mormon religion and one can be closer to God by abiding in it’s precepts than any other book, would the Book of Mormon be considered an addendum to the Bible?

  5. Scott

    I am studying Gold Plates right now and was wondering of all the plates that you list here, is there away to find out how thick they were on average and what the other base metals were?
    Joseph Smith plates if Pure gold would wiegh 212 lbs. I believe they were Tumbaga about 8 karat and he only show the eight witnesses 1/3 of the plates. not all the plates. “showed to us the plates the said Smith had trnaslated”. The plates he carried through the woods were about 37 lbs. All the paltes if tumbaga would be about 117lbs. Thankyou for a reply if possible.

  6. We know the dimensions of the plates but we don’t know how many “pages” there were. We know they were almost as thick as common tin, (“engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold, each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long and not quite so thick as common tin…. The volume was something near six inches in thickness….”(Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, v3:9, March 1, 1842, 707.)) so we should be able to research the thickness of common tin at the time and relate that to the dimension of the plates to determine approximate page number. The plates were slightly thinner than tin and collectively about five to six inches thick.

    Also, take a look at the images of plates in the article. They are not perfectly flat and are somewhat ‘wrinkled’ because of being beaten into flat sheets. I’ve always pictured the plates as being more like the samples above instead of the cardboardish-looking recreations we sometimes see: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_RCLB5VzpoR0/SLiJog5i9oI/AAAAAAAAAOs/kggGzbgqrcg/s400/Gold-Plates-Book-Of-Mormon.gif

    In other words, they were probably not a solid “block” but had air-filled gaps throughout which would make for fewer “plates” than you might first assume. This would lead to an altogether lighter Book of Mormon. I suppose you would have to look at the language as well. The Nephite’s version of Egyptian characters was more concise than Hebrew and was probably more abstract. “Mormon 9:33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.”

    Moroni views the plates as not being “large” and we don’t really have any reference to draw any solid conclusions from. However, he fears that the record may have imperfections because it was recorded in something less accurate than Hebrew. Reformed Egyptian might have been some kind of extreme shorthand that would allow for recording a large amount of information into a small space.

    We know the dimension of the plates, but we don’t know the number of pages. Were there 10 pages? 50? I wonder if anyone has conducted any kind of experiment with this. Then there are the alloy theories…

  7. @steve knigge

    Your assessment of the Book of Mormon as “contains some scripture and old testament stories from the Bible” isn’t very accurate, but in an attempt to address the spirit of your question, it would be incorrect to label the Book of Mormon as an “addendum” in my opinion.

    The Bible is not one record, but a series of records compiled into a collection. The Book of Mormon is an abridgment of a collection of records. In both the Bible and Book of Mormon, prophets and even the Savior quote from prior prophets. In the Book of Mormon, we have several chapters of Isaiah recorded and another account of the Sermon on the Mount. These are quoted for specific reasons that are too detailed to go into here in this short comment.

    The Bible and the Book of Mormon, respectively, claim to contain various accounts of writings, history and witnesses of God’s dealings with mankind in different locations and circumstances. Upon immediate examination we simply see two books and try to understand how they relate to one another. When you research each you find a much more complex scenario described within the text of each that deserves investigation if at least to understand each record more fully.

  8. Scott

    Thanks Steve for the comment, I have found out that common tin was really starting to be used in 1820 in The United States, that is probably why Joseph Smith used the comparison, that tin was .15 of an inch or 15/1000th of an inch. 20% less thickness would be 12/1000th of an inch.(writeable on plates i believe) Mormon would have used as little in thickness as possible its only logical, weight ,durability etc. He may have considered this since his nation was under assult at the time as well.
    If the book were pure Gold there would have been a crush factor over 1,600 yrs.
    Are you familiar with the stroy of Joseph running witht he plates?

  9. Steve, unfortunately this is common mistaken belief about the LDS Church. We believe in a gospel of grace and works, as taught by the early Christian apostles, including James (James 2). We must not only believe in God, but do what He has commanded us to do. Otherwise our faith is dead, and profits us nothing.

  10. @Steve, your misinterpretation of LDS teachings is what contradicts the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Reducing the tenants of a faith down to “a gospel of works” displays little knowledge of what Latter-day Saints believe. Broad-brushed misinterpretations do nothing to help the conversation.

    It is true that Latter-day Saints seek to keep the commandments because Jesus Christ taught that if we love him we will keep his commandments. We love Christ so that is one of the things we do to show our love to him. As far as the matter of salvation is concerned, I’ve never been taught, nor do I believe that “works” will “get” me into heaven without Jesus Christ.

    Take, for example, a very small sampling of quotes from the Book of Mormon which contradict your claims:

    “And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved?” – Mosiah 16:13

    “..these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.” – 2 Nephi 25:20

    “remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world.” – Helaman 5:9

    “reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.” – 2 Nephi 10:24

    “I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness.” – Alma 38:9

    “And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” – Mosiah 3:17

    “And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; ths being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.” – Alma 34:15

    “For behold he judgeth, and his judgment is just; and the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy; but men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” – Mosiah 3:18

    “There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.” – Mosiah 5:8

    “Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.” – Alma 26:35

    “And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope.” – Moroni 10:21

    “…for this cause, that men might be saved, hath repentance been declared” – Helaman 12:22

    “…no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.” – Alma 5:21

    “For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name” – Moroni 7:38

    “…the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ” – Mosiah 4:3

    “I say unto you, can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil?” – Alma 5:20

    “Therefore, blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved.” – Helaman 12:23

    “Now, the decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved.” – Alma 41:8

    “And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.” – 3 Nephi 27:6

    “Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved.” – Mormon 7:3

    “…none but the truly penitent are saved.” – Alma 42:24

    “…unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.” – 2 Nephi 31:16

    “If ye will repent ye shall be saved” – Alma 22:6

    “Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.” – 2 Nephi 2:9

    “For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.” – 1 Nephi 6:4

    “Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” – 3 Nephi 12:20

    “Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.” – 3 Nephi 9:22

    “…believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do…and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.” – 2 Nephi 25:23,25

    “…there could not any man be saved except it were through the redemption of God.” – Mosiah 13:32

    “surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.” – Alma 32:13

    “O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell!” – Alma 19:29

    “I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.” – Omni 1:26

    “…come unto him and be saved.” – 1 Nephi 15:14

    “Behold, they will crucify him; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days he shall rise from the dead, with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God.” – 2 Nephi 25:13

    “…this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God.” – 2 Nephi 31:21

    “O God, … I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.” – Alma 22:18

    “And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God.” – Moroni 7:26

    “nothing can save this people save it be repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, who surely shall come into the world, and shall suffer many things and shall be slain for his people.” – Helaman 13:6

    “…the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.” – 1 Nephi 13:40

    “…after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” – 2 Nephi 31:19,20

    “And my soul delighteth in proving unto my people that save Christ should come all men must perish.” – 2 Nephi 11:6

    “Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.” – 3 Nephi 9:21

    “Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.” – Alma 34:18

    “Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.” – Mosiah 18:20

    “And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?” – 2 Nephi 31:10

    “He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.” – 2 Nephi 26:24

    “…there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ, and the atonement of his blood.” – Alma 21:9

    “And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection…” – Mormon 9:13

    “…he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.” – Alma 12:15

    “Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.” – 2 Nephi 2:8

    “And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon” – 2 Nephi 2:26

    “…the word is in Christ unto salvation.” – Alma 34:6

    “For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Mosiah 3:12

    “And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name;” – Mosiah 3:9

    “And moreover, I say unto you, that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish…” – Mosiah 13:28

  11. steve knigge

    Wow, so much to read! “For just as the body without the Spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (James 2:26).
    What is the Spirit? What is faith and where does it come from?
    What is biblical repentance?

  12. Haha, sorry Steve, I tend to be a little long-winded even when I’m typing. I pulled those from an article I wrote on the subject and I probably just should have posted a link.

    If you’ll allow me to explain the verse in James, I think the principles become quite clear. The reason “faith without works is dead” is because faith IS works. Faith is the action of belief. To believe is to simply or strongly acknowledge something affirmatively. Faith requires that you act according to those beliefs. This is the origin of faith.

    Faith in Jesus Christ leads to repentance. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we exercise faith in him by repenting of our sins. This is how we come to know Christ. The process is described quite beautifully in two of the last three verses of the Book of Mormon which I’ll quote in case you might not be familiar with them:

    32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

    33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
    Moroni 10:32–33

    And for what it is worth, Steve, I’m not claiming that I know these things because I believe the words of the Bible or the Book of Mormon, I know them because I know Christ. I sought him through respect and obedience to his commandments and by repenting of my sins and through faith, it happened; I remember the evening. I know the grace of Christ and the pure love of Christ; I found peace, hope, assurance and comfort in his atonement. I know he lives.

    Paul truly taught that we are not saved by works, and in this he was referencing the works and deeds of the law of Moses and perhaps by extension any actions that man takes that makes him suppose that his efforts somehow outweigh the atonement of Christ. Paul said that “For by grace are ye saved THROUGH faith”, and once we understand what faith is, we understand how we are saved by grace through it.

    Faith is not a light or easy thing for many people. It takes trusting in someone that you initially do not know, but if you begin by obeying his commandments, he will reveal his love and wisdom to you in degrees through that obedience. This obedience grows into trust and blossoms into love and then we find ourselves willing to give up anything that keeps us in the least degree from Christ. We repent, he heals us and we are justified in him.

  13. Bryce,

    I’m teaching seminary and was looking for a single location where I could locate these findings so that I could share with my seminary class. Interestingly enough, I stumbled upon your blog and found what I was looking for. Thanks Bryce… It was good to come back to your work :)

    Tell your family hello :)

    Brandon

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