List of descriptions of the golden plates.


  • Joseph Smith, Jr.: "These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold..." [1]
  • The Eight Witnesses: "...Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold..." [2]
  • Orson Pratt: "the appearance of gold" [3]
  • David Whitmer: "golden plates" [4]
  • William Smith: "a mixture of gold and copper" [5]
  • Catholic Telegraph: "pure gold" [6]
  • Eber Dudley Howe: "whitish yellow" [7]
  • Parley P. Pratt: "engraven on plates of gold" [8]
  • A.S.: "this pretended Revelation was written on golden plates, or something resembling golden plates" [9]


  • Martin Harris: "weighing altogether from forty to sixty lbs." [10]
  • William Smith: "I was permitted to lift them. . . . They weighed about sixty pounds according to the best of my judgement." [11]
  • William Smith: "I . . . judged them to have weighed about sixty pounds." [12]
  • William Smith: "They were much heavier than a stone, and very much heavier than wood. . . . As near as I could tell, about sixty pounds." [13]
  • Martin Harris: "My daughter said, they were about as much as she could lift. They were now in the glass-box, and my wife said they were very heavy. They both lifted them...I hefted the plates, and I knew from the heft that they were lead or gold." [14]
  • Emma Smith: "I moved them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary in doing my work." [15]
  • Catherine Smith Salisbury, while she was dusting in the room where he had been translating, "hefted those plates [which were covered with a cloth] and found them very heavy." [16]

Size of each plateEdit

  • A.S.: "7 inches in length, 6 inches in breadth" [9]
  • Joseph Smith, Jr.: "six inches wide by eight inches long" [1]
  • Martin Harris: "seven inches wide by eight inches in length" [17]
  • Martin Harris: "seven by eight inches" [10]
  • David Whitmer: "about eight inches long, seven inches wide" [18]
  • Eber Dudley Howe: "about eight inches square" [7]
  • Fredonia Censor: "six or eight inches square" [19]
  • Parley P. Pratt: "The plates were each about 7 by 8 inches in width and length." [8]
  • Attributed to Lucy Mack Smith: "about eight inches long, and six wide" [20]
  • W. I. Appleby: "Each plate was about six by eight inches" [21]


  1. Joseph Smith Jr., "Church History [also known as the Wentworth Letter]," Times and Seasons (1 March 1842), 707. Online text.
  2. "The Testimony of Eight Witnesses," Book of Mormon. Online text.
  3. Orson Pratt, in a pamphlet titled An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, and of the Late Discovery of Ancient American Records (Edinburgh, Scotland: Ballantyne and Hughes, May 1840), 12—13.
  4. David Whitmer interview, Kansas City Journal, 5 June 1881, in David Whitmer Interviews: A Restoration Witness, ed. Lyndon W. Cook (Orem, Utah: Grandin, 1993), 60.
  5. William Smith (Joseph's younger brother) interview, The Saints' Herald, 4 October 1884, 644.
  6. “The Orators of Mormon,” Catholic Telegraph (Cincinnati, Ohio) 1 (14 April 1832): 204–5. Reprinted from Mercer Press (Pennsylvania), circa April 1832. Online facsimile and text
  7. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 15; attributed to David Whitmer. Online text. (anti-Mormon website)
  8. Parley P. Pratt, "Discovery of an Ancient Record in America," Millennial Star 1 no. 2 (June 1840), 30–37. Online facsmile and text.
  9. A.S., “The Golden Bible, or, Campbellism Improved,” Observer and Telegraph. Religious, Political, and Literary, Hudson, Ohio (18 November 1830): 3, quoting Cowdery. Online facsimile and text.
  10. Martin Harris interview, Iowa State Register, August 1870, as quoted in Milton V. Backman Jr., Eyewitness Accounts of the Restoration (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1986), 226.
  11. William Smith, William Smith on Mormonism (Lamoni, Iowa: Herald Steam, 1883), 12.
  12. William Smith interview with E. C. Briggs. Originally written by J. W. Peterson for Zions Ensign (Independence, Mo.); reprinted in Deseret Evening News, 20 January 1894, 11.
  13. William Smith interview, The Saints' Herald, 4 October 1884, 644.
  14. "Interview with Martin Harris," Tiffany's Monthly, May 1859, 168 and 169.
  15. Emma Smith interview, published as "Last Testimony of Sister Emma," The Saints' Herald, 1 October 1879.
  16. I. B. Bell interview with H. S. Salisbury (grandson of Catherine Smith Salisbury), Historical Department Archives, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  17. Martin Harris interview, Tiffany's Monthly, May 1859, 165.
  18. David Whitmer interview, Chicago Tribune, 24 January 1888, in David Whitmer Interviews, ed. Cook, 221.
  19. “Mormonism,” Fredonia Censor (New York) (7 March 1832). Reprinted from the Franklin Democrat (Pennsylvania) circa March 1832.Online facsimile and text.
  20. Lucy Mack Smith (allegedly) in Henry Caswall, The City of the Mormons; or, Three Days at Nauvoo, in 1842, 2nd ed. revised and enlarged, (London: J. G. F. & J. Rivington, 1843), 26. Online facsimile.
  21. W. I. Appleby, A Dissertation of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream... (Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking & Guilbert, 1844), 1–24. Online facsimile and text.