In the latest video from the Church’s “Now You Know” series, the story and the history behind the witnesses of the gold plates is explained. This simple, illustrated explanation can help you as you share the Gospel with your friends and neighbors.
From the Church’s YouTube channel:
The gold plates contained the teachings of prophets in ancient America. The teachings were etched on gold plates in an ancient reformed Egyptian language and later translated by Joseph Smith into English as the Book of Mormon. In addition to Joseph Smith, 11 others saw the gold plates.
In 1823, the angel Moroni visited Joseph Smith and told him about a sacred record on gold plates that was buried in a hill by Joseph’s home. The gold plates were 8 inches long, about 6 or 7 inches wide, and 4 inches thick. Individual plates were as thin as parchment paper, and the plates weighed about 40–60 pounds. Joseph was directed to protect the plates, and for a long time no one else could see them.
In His time, God gave permission for 11 others to see and handle the gold plates, and their testimonies are recorded in the beginning pages of the Book of Mormon as “The Testimony of Three Witnesses” and “The Testimony of Eight Witnesses.” This process fulfilled the law of witnesses Paul described in the New Testament: “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1). No one has to rely only on Joseph Smith’s testimony to know the gold plates were real.
The last chapter of the Book of Mormon contains a promise that anyone who sincerely seeks to know if the Book of Mormon is true can receive a witness from the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)