Criticism of Mormonism/Websites/MormonThink/The Kinderhook Plates/Source quotes without commentary

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Resources.png    MormonThink web page "The Kinderhook Plates" content without commentary

This page simply displays all of the source quotes and citations used on the critical web page in the order that they appear. There are no "Critic's comment," "Apologetic response," or "Our Thoughts" sections. We make no attempt to explain, summarize or draw conclusions from these quotes. We will provide additional context by including additional text from these quotes when necessary. We also attempt to add sources and links to the full original text, rather than links to other websites which simply quote the text.

Source quotes

Critical website's source quote
I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook... I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and that he received his Kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. History of the Church, 5:372-79, Salt Lake City: Deseret News. off-site off-site

Critical website's source quote
I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike county, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert Wiley and others, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters. I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. History of the Church by Joseph Smith, Vol. 5, pp. 372-79

Critical website's source quote
Of this presentation of the matter it is only necessary to say that it is a little singular that Mr. Fugate alone out of the three said to be in collusion in perpetrating the fraud should disclose it, and that he should wait from 1843 to 1879---a period of thirty-six years-before doing so, when he and those said to be associated with him had such an excellent opportunity to expose the vain pretensions of the Prophet-if Fugate's tale be true---during his life time. .... How easy to have covered Joseph Smith and his followers with ridicule by proclaiming the hoax as soon as they accepted the Kinderhook plates as genuine! Why was it not done? The fact that Fugate's story was not told until thirty-six years after the event, and that he alone of all those who were connected with the event gives that version of it, is rather strong evidence that his story is the hoax, not the discovery of the plates, nor the engravings upon them.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. History of the Church by Joseph Smith, Vol. 5, pp. 372-79 (footnote)

Critical website's source quote
They were sent and the answer was that there were no such Hyeroglyphics known, and if there ever had been, they had long since passed away. Then Smith began his translation.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. November 15, 1843, Robert Wiley letter to J. J. Harding

Critical website's source quote
I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook... I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and that he received his Kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. "Comment of the Prophet on the Kinderhook Plates" in History of the Church 5:372.

Critical website's source quote
Certain bell-shaped plates are said to have been discovered in a mound, in the vicinity of Kinderhook, Pike county, Illinois, by Robert Wiley, in 1843, and taken to Joseph Smith. Now, I wish to ask: 1. Were these plates translated by Joseph Smith? 2. If so, what were their contents? 3. Where are they? 4. Are they considered of any value in confirming the Book of Mormon? 5. Is there anything about them in any of the Church works?

"1 and 2. Near Kinderhook, in Pike county, Illinois-between fifty and sixty miles south and east of Nauvoo-on April 23, 1843, a Mr. Robert Wiley, while excavating a large mound, took from said mound six brass plates of bell shape, fastened by a ring passing through the small end, and fastened with two clasps, and covered with ancient characters. Human bones together with charcoal and ashes were found in the mound, in connection with the plates which evidently had been buried with the person whose bones were discovered. The plates were submitted to the Prophet, and speaking of them in his journal, under date of May 1, 1843, he says: "I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth."

"3. The plates were later placed in a museum in St. Louis, known as McDowell's, which was afterwards destroyed by fire, and the plates were lost.

"4. The event would go very far towards confirming the idea that in very ancient times, there was intercourse between the eastern and western hemispheres; and the statement of the prophet would mean that the remains were Egyptian. The fair implication, also, from the prophet's words is that this descendant of the Pharaohs possessed a kingdom in the new world; and this circumstance may account for the evidence of a dash of Egyptian civilization in our American antiquities.

"5. The whole account of the finding of the plates, together with the testimony of eight witnesses, besides Mr. Wiley, who were acquainted with the finding of the relics, as also the statement from the prophet's history, is found in the Millennial Star, vol. 21: pp. 40-44.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Improvement Era. Vol. VII. March 1904. No. 5.)

  • Source text: Improvement Era, March 1904. 386-387 off-site

Critical website's source quote
Of this presentation of the matter it is only necessary to say that it is a little singular that Mr. Fugate alone out of the three said to be in collusion in perpetrating the fraud should disclose it, and that he should wait from 1843 to 1879-a period of thirty-six years-before doing so, when he and those said to be associated with him had such an excellent opportunity to expose the vain pretensions of the Prophet-if Fugate's tale be true? For while the statement in the text of the Prophet's Journal to the effect that the find was genuine, and that he had translated some of the characters and learned certain historical facts concerning the person with whose remains the plates were found, may not have been known at the time to the alleged conspiritors to deceive him, still the editor of the Times and Seasons-John Taylor, the close personal friend of the Prophet-took the find seriously, and expressed at once explicit confidence in an editorial in the Times and Seasons, of May 1st, 1843, that the Prophet could give a translation of the plates. And this attitude the Church, continued to maintain; for in The Prophet, (a Mormon weekly periodical, published in New York) of the 15th of February, 1845, there was published a fac-simile of the Kinderhook plates, together with the Times and Seasons editorial and all the above matter of the text. How easy to have covered Joseph Smith and his followers with ridicule by proclaiming the hoax as soon as they accepted the Kinderhook plates as genuine! Why was it not done? The fact that Fugate's story was not told until thirty-six years after the event, and that he alone of all those who were connected with the event gives that version of it, is rather strong evidence that his story is the hoax, not the discovery of the plates, nor the engravings upon them.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. B.H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, p. 63.

Critical website's source quote
I have seen 6 brass plates which were found in Adams County by some persons who were digging in a mound. They found a skeleton about 6 feet from the surface of the earth which was 9 foot high. The plates were on the breast of the skeleton. This diagram shows the size of the plates being drawn on the edge of one of them. They are covered with ancient characters of language containing from 30 to 40 on each side of the plates. Prest J. has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found and he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharoah king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. B.H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of The Church, 5:374-276.

Critical website's source quote
A recent rediscovery of one of the Kinderhook plates which was examined by Joseph Smith, Jun., reaffirms his prophetic calling and reveals the false statements made by one of the finders.... The plates are now back in their original category of genuine.... Joseph Smith, Jun., stands as a true prophet and translator of ancient records by divine means and all the world is invited to investigate the truth which has sprung out of the earth not only of the Kinderhook plates, but of the Book of Mormon as well.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Welby W. Ricks, 1962

  • Context

A recent rediscovery of one of the Kinderhook plates which was examined by Joseph Smith, Jun., reaffirms his prophetic calling and reveals the false statements made by one of the finders. A few years ago, two non-LDS professional engravers, Stanley B. Hill and and Edward Pwiiski walked into the Chicago Historical Society and asked to view a bell-shaped brass plate known as a Kinderhook plate. Their purpose was to determine whether it had been engraved with a pointed instrument or etched with acid. What they found solved a seventy-four-year-old controversy and put the plates back into the category of "genuine" which Joseph Smith, Jun. had said they were in the first place.

. . . .

The plates are now back in their original category of genuine. What scholars may learn from this ancient record in future years or what may be translated by divine power is an exciting thought to contemplate. This much remains. Joseph Smith, Jun., stands as a true prophet and translator of ancient records by divine means and all the world is invited to investigate the truth which has sprung out of the earth not only of the Kinderhook plates, but of the Book of Mormon as well.

  • Source text: Welby W. Ricks, "The Kinderhook Plates," Improvement Era, September 1962. off-site

Critical website's source quote
The brass plates had characters or hieroglyphics on them which nobody was able to read. The bones found in the mound might have belonged to, "a person, or a family of distinction, in ages long gone by, and that these plates contain the history of the times, or of a people, that existed far - far beyond the memory of the present race." (Times and Seasons, vol. 4, page 187.)

"Why does the circumstance of the plates recently found in a mound in Pike county, III., by Mr. Wiley, together with ethnology and a thousand other things, go to prove the Book of Mormon true? - Answer: Because it is true!" (Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, page 406)

"We learn there was a Mormon present when the plates were found, who it is said, leaped for joy at the discovery, and remarked that it would go to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon--which it undoubtedly will.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Times and Seasons, Vol.4, p.187

Critical website's source quote
A person present when the plates were found remarked that it would go to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, which it undoubtedly will.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.378

Critical website's source quote
Six plates having the appearance of Brass have lately been dug out of a mound by a gentleman in Pike Co. Illinois. They are small and filled with engravings in Egyptian language and contain the genealogy of one of the ancient Jaredites back to Ham the son of Noah. His bones were found in the same vase (made of Cement). Part of the bones were 15 ft. underground. ... A large number of Citizens have seen them and compared the characters with those on the Egyptian papyrus which is now in this city.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Apostle Parley Pratt, May 7, 1843, reprinted in The Ensign, August 1981, page 73.

  • Source text: Stanley B. Kimball, "Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to Be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax," Ensign, August 1981 off-site

Critical website's source quote
The contents of the plates, together with a Fac-simile of the same, will be published in the 'Times and Seasons,' as soon as the translation is completed.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. The Nauvoo Neighbor, June, 1843.

Critical website's source quote
By whom these plates were deposited there, must ever remain a secret, unless some one skilled in deciphering hieroglyphics, may be found to unravel the mystery. Some pretend to say, that Smith the Mormon leader, has the ability to read them. If he has, he will confer a great favor on the public by removing the mystery which hangs over them. We learn there was a Mormon present when the plates were found, who it is said, leaped for joy at the discovery, and remarked that it would go to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon ... There were but few bones found in the mound; and it is believed, that it was but the burial place of a small number, perhaps of a person, or family of distinction, in ages long gone by ..." The plates above alluded to, were exhibited in this city [Quincy] last week, and are now, we understand, in Nauvoo, subject to the inspection of the Mormon Prophet. The public curiosity is greatly excited, and if Smith can decipher the hieroglyphics on the plates, he will do more towards throwing light on the early history of this continent, than any man now living.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. The Quincy Whig 6, May 3, 1843. Also printed in the Times and Seasons 4, May 1,1843 pp. 186-87, Nauvoo, Illinois.

Critical website's source quote
Charlotte Haven said that when Joshua Moore ".showed them to Joseph, the latter said that the figures or writing on them was similar to that in which the Book of Mormon was written, and if Mr. Moore could leave them, he thought that by the help of revelation he would be able to translate them.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Overland Monthly, Dec. 1890, page 630

Critical website's source quote
If Joseph Smith had not been murdered in June, 1844, it is very possible he might have published a complete "translation" of these bogus plates. Just a month before his death, it was reported that he was "busy in translating them. The new work which Jo. is about to issue as a translation of these plates will be nothing more nor less than a sequel to the Book of Mormon...

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Warsaw Signal, May 22, 1844

Critical website's source quote
But, on the other hand, we have the fact before us, that the skeleton of the Pharaoh, found in Kinderhook, Illinois, referred to previously, was dug out of a large mound. After penetrating about eleven feet the workers came to a bed of limestone that had been subjected to the action of fire. They removed the stones, which were small and easy to handle, to the depth of two feet more, when they found the skeleton. This was evidently a burial chamber, as with the bones, which appeared to have been burned, was found plenty of charcoal and ashes. From this fact it is evident that some of the mounds are of very ancient date, as it is not supposable that this man would be the only one of his race and nation to be buried in this manner. We also suggest that this colony of Egyptians may have originated the style of architecture in this country in which so many find resemblances to the Egyptian, and which is specially characterized by the erection of vast truncated pyramids.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, edited and arranged by Philip C. Reynolds, 6:232. (1961.)

Critical website's source quote
There are the Kinderhook plates, too, found in America and now in the possession of the Chicago Historical Society. Controversy has surrounded these plates and their engravings, but most experts agree they are of ancient vintage.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Mark E. Peterson, Those Gold Plates, 3.

Critical website's source quote
[John] Taylor said he had not ascertained Joseph's opinion [about his ability to translate], but the Prophet had his chance when "several gentlemen" showed him the plates. [Willard] Richards said Joseph sent William Smith for a Hebrew Bible and lexicon, as if he was going to translate conventionally. [William] Clayton, in a conflicting account, wrote that "Joseph has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found and he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and the he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth." Joseph seemed to be stepping into the trap, but then he pulled back. Pressure from Taylor and the Quincy Whig did not push him any further. After the first meeting, no further mention was made of translation, and the Kinderhook plates dropped out of sight. Joseph may not have detected the fraud, but he did not swing into a full-fledged translation as he had with the Egyptian scrolls. The trap did not quite spring shut, which foiled the conspirators' original plan. Instead of exposing the plot immediately, as they probably intended to do, they said nothing until 1879 when one of them signed an affidavit describing the fabrication. Church historians continued to insist on the authenticity of the Kinderhook plates until 1980 when an examination conducted by the Chicago Historical Society, possessor of one plate, proved it was a nineteenth-century creation.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Richard Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling,

Critical website's source quote
Church historians continued to insist on the authenticity of the Kinderhook plates until 1980 when an examination conducted by the Chicago Historical Society, possessor of one plate, proved it was a nineteenth-century creation.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Richard Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 490.

Critical website's source quote
Mound Station, Ill., June 30, 1879.

Mr. Cobb: --

I received your letter in regard to those plates, and will say in answer that they are a HUMBUG, gotten up by Robert Wiley, Bridge Whitton and myself. Whitton is dead. I do not know whether Wiley is or not. None of the nine persons who signed the certificate knew the secret, except, Wiley and I. We read in Pratt's prophecy that "Truth is yet to spring up out of the earth." We concluded to prove the prophecy by way of a joke. We soon made our plans and executed them, Bridge Whitton cut them (the plates) out of some pieces of copper; Wiley and I made the hieroglyphics ** by making impressions on beeswax and filling them with acid and putting it on the plates. When they were finished we put them together with rust made of nitric acid, old iron and lead, and bound them with a piece of hoop iron, covering them completely with the rust. Our plans worked admirably. A certain Sunday was appointed for digging. The night before, Wiley went to the Mound where he had previously dug to the depth of about eight feet, there being a flat rock that sounded hollow beneath, and put them under it. On the following morning quite a number of citizens were there to assist in the search, there being two Mormon elders present (Marsh and Sharp). The rock was soon removed, but some time elapsed before the plates were discovered. I finally picked them up and exclaimed, "A piece of pot metal!" Fayette Grubb snatched them from me and struck them against the rock and they fell to pieces. Dr. Harris examined them and said they hadhieroglyphics on them. He took acid and removed the rust and they were soon out on exhibition. Under this rock [it] was dome-like in appearance, about three feet in diameter, there were a few bones in the last stage of decomposition, also a few pieces of pottery and charcoal. There was NO SKELETON found. Sharp, the Mormon Elder, leaped and shouted for joy and said, Satan had appeared to him and told him not to go (to the diggings), it was a hoax of Fugate and Wiley's, -- but at a later hour the Lord appeared and told him to go, the treasure was there.

The Mormons wanted to take the plates to Joe Smith, but we refused to let them go. Some time afterward a man assuming the name of Savage, of Quincy, borrowed the plates of Wiley to show to his literary friends there, and took them to Joe Smith. The same identical plates were returned to Wiley, who gave them to Professor McDowell, of St. Louis, for his Museum. W. FUGATE. STATE OF ILLINOIS, BROWN COUNTY. ss

W. Fugate, being first duly sworn, deposes and says that the above, letter, containing an account of the plates found near Kinderhook, is true and correct, to the best of his recollection. W. FUGATE. Subscribed and sworn to before me this 30th day of June, 1879.

Jay Brown, J. P.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Letter from Mr. Wilbur Fugate to Mr. James T. Cobb, in Salt Lake City

Critical website's source quote
As a result of these tests, we concluded that the plate owned by the Chicago Historical Society is not of ancient origin. We concluded that the plate was etched with acid; and as Paul Cheesman and other 'scholars have pointed out, ancient inhabitants would probably have engraved the plates rather than etched them with acid. Secondly, we concluded that the plate was made from a true brass alloy (copper and zinc) typical of the mid-nineteenth century; whereas the "brass" of ancient times was actually bronze, an alloy of copper and tin. Furthermore, one would expect an ancient alloy to contain larger amounts of impurities and inclusions than did the alloy tested.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Stanley B. Kimball, Ensign, August 1981.

  • Source text: Stanley B. Kimball, "Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to Be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax," Ensign, August 1981 off-site

Critical website's source quote
In the course of examining the plate, an interesting anomaly was discovered. One of the characters on the plate (side B, column 3) has an angular dent near one end. [See Figure 2.] That this is a dent can be verified by noticing that a similar dent exists nearby, close to the edge of the plate. A larger magnification of the latter dent reveals a feature toward the right which would have been produced by a nick in the edge of the instrument that produced the dent. [See Figure 3,.] This same nick shows up in the left-hand dent, partially obliterated by the intersection of the dent with one of the vertical strokes of the character. [See Figure 4.] This dent was interpreted in the 1843 published facsimiles of the Kinderhook plate as part of the character. The significance of this is that the facsimile must therefore have been made from this plate, rather than this plate being a copy based on the facsimile. if the present plate were a copy from the facsimile, this stroke would have been etched in with the other strokes, rather than being added as a dent." The conclusion, therefore, is that the Chicago plate is indeed one of the original Kinderhook plates, which now fairly well evidences them to be faked antiquities

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Ensign, August 1981.

  • Source text: Stanley B. Kimball, "Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to Be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax," Ensign, August 1981 off-site

Critical website's source quote
Long after his death, Clayton was remembered as "the soul of punctuality"; his daughter remembering his "love for order, which he believed was the first law of heaven . he would not carry a watch that was not accurate

Critical website's source(s)


  1. George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, xvii.

  • Source text: George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, xvii.

Critical website's source quote
He was a friend and companion of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and it is to his pen to a very great extent that we are indebted for the history of the Church. during his acquaintance with him and the time he acted for him as his private secretary, in the days of Nauvoo

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Joseph F. Smith, quoted in Smith, ix.

Critical website's source quote
Beginning early in 1842, William Clayton found himself involved in nearly every important activity of Nauvoo, but especially the private concerns of the prophet. For two and a half years, until Joseph's death in 1844, they were in each other's company almost daily. [James B.] Allen [who wrote a biography of Clayton], explains that Clayton was not only Smith's trusted employee and associate but also his personal friend and confidante. He wrote letters for the prophet, recorded his revelations, ran his errands, and helped prepare the official history of the church

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Smith, xxii-xxiii.

Critical website's source quote
I have seen 6 brass plates which were found in Adams County... President Joseph has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found & he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven & earth

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Smith, 100.

  • Source text: George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, 100.

Critical website's source quote
I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike County, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert Wiley and other, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters. I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth

Critical website's source(s)


  1. History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 372

Critical website's source quote
Over the decades, through the pages of the Times and Seasons, the Nauvoo Neighbor, The Prophet, missionary pamphlets, the Millennial Star, the Desert News, the University Archaeological Newsletter, the Improvement Era, [in] BYU Symposia [and in Visitors' Centers, and] in books and unpublished reports, LDS scholars and laymen (and at least two RLDS writers) have affirmed and striven to prove the story of the Kinderhook plate incident and tried to make them vouch for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and to defend Joseph's alleged translation of them

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Stanley B. Kimball, "New Light on the Old Kinderhook Plates Problem," 3.

Critical website's source quote
I have seen 6 brass plates... covered with ancient characters of language containing from 30 to 40 on each side of the plates. Prest J. has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found and he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. William Clayton's Journal, May 1, 1843, as cited in Trials of Discipleship - The Story of William Clayton, a Mormon, p. 117

Critical website's source quote
William Clayton did not acquire his information about Joseph and the Kinderhook plates from the rumor mill. Clayton was Joseph's personal secretary, and a man as much in his confidence as any at the time. He dined with Joseph at the Mansion House, examined the plates while there, and traced one of them on the reverse of the page where he recorded his journal entry for the day, including this regarding the plates, 'Brother Joseph has translated a portion of them, and says they contain...

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Don Bradley

Critical website's source quote
Church historians continued to insist on the authenticity of the Kinderhook plates until 1980 when an examination conducted by the Chicago Historical Society, possessor of one plate, proved it was a nineteenth-century creation.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Richard Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 490.

  • Context

Joseph may not have detected the fraud, but he did not swing into a full-fledged translation as he had with the Egyptian scrolls. The trap did not quite spring shut, which foiled the conspirators' original plan. Instead of exposing the plot immediately, as they had probably intended to do, they said nothing until 1879, when one of them signed an affidavit describing the fabrication. Church historians continued to insist on the authenticity of the Kinderhook plates until 1980 when an examination conducted by the Chicago Historical Society, possessor of one plate, proved it was a nineteenth-century creation.

  • Source text: Richard L. Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 490.

Critical website's source quote
Where the ideas written by William Clayton originated is unknown.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Ensign, August 1981.

  • Source text: Stanley B. Kimball, "Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to Be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax," Ensign, August 1981 off-site

Critical website's source quote
The translation for which hope had been expressed in the "Times and Seasons" did not appear. In a letter dated April 8, 1878, Wilbur Fugate recalled: "We understood Jo Smith said [the plates] would make a book of 1200 pages, but he would not agree to translate them until they were sent to the Antiquarian society at Philadelphia, France, and England." Furthermore, a review of other entries in Joseph Smith's history indicate that he was occupied during the following weeks with mayoral duties, Church business, the Nauvoo Legion and four trips to neighboring cities; there is no indication of translating activities. Then on June 23, just one day before the publication of the broadside that repeated the Saints' hopeful expectation of an eventual translation, the Prophet was abducted by Missourians who tried to get him to Missouri for prosecution on charges of "treason."

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Ensign, August 1981.

  • Source text: Stanley B. Kimball, "Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to Be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax," Ensign, August 1981 off-site

Critical website's source quote
The statement taken from William Clayton's journal didn't appear until September 1856 in Salt Lake City's "Deseret News". At that point, time itself had eroded away the opportunity for a hearty joke, if that were the hoaxers' intent; and the absence of an actual translation in spite of the Clayton entry in the "History of Joseph Smith" could only have added to frustrations - assuming that the hoaxers even knew of the "Deseret News" account which appeared thirteen years later and a thousand miles away.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Ensign, August 1981.

  • Source text: Stanley B. Kimball, "Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to Be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax," Ensign, August 1981 off-site