William Smith (Joseph Smith’s Brother)
When the plates were brought in they were wrapped in a tow frock. My father then put them into a pillow case. Father said, “What, Joseph, can we not see them?”
“No, I was disobedient the first time, but I intend to be faithful this time; for I was forbidden to show them until they are translated, but you can feel them.”
We handled them [the plates] and could tell what they were. They were not quite as large as this Bible. Could tell whether they were round or square. Could raise the leaves this way (raising a few leaves of the Bible before him). One could easily tell that they were not stone, hewn out to deceive, or even a block of wood. Being a mixture of gold and copper, they were much heavier than stone, and very much heavier than wood. 1
I did not see them uncovered, but I handled them and hefted them while wrapped in a tow frock and judged them to have weighed about sixty pounds. I could tell they were plates of some kind and that they were fastened together by rings running through the back. 2
I was permitted to lift them as they laid in a pillow case; but not to see them, as it was contrary to the commands he had received. They [plates] weighed about sixty pounds according to the best of my judgment. 3
- “The Old Soldier’s Testimony. Sermon preached by Bro. William B. Smith, in the Saints’ Chapel, Detroit, Iowa, June 8th, 1884. Reported by C.E. Butterworth,” Saints’ Herald 31 4 October 1884): 643-44. Reproduced in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 1:505. See also: Testimonies of Book of Mormon Witnesses, Deseret Book, 2011, p.644. Randall Wright, The Book of Mormon Miracle: 25 Reasons to Believe, chapter 4.
- Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses, p.24. See also: “Wm. B. Smith’s last Statement,” Zion’s Ensign 5 (13 Jan. 1894): 6; reprinted in the Deseret Evening News 27 (20 Jan. 1894): 11; Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star 56 (26 Feb. 1894): 132. Reproduced in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 1:510-512.
- Jeffrey Marsh, The Eyewitness History of the Church, 2005, p. 143. See also Testimonies of Book of Mormon Witnesses, Deseret Book, 2011, p.12