Mormonism and Wikipedia/Golden plates/Composition and weight

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A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia: Mormonism and Wikipedia/Golden plates
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An analysis of the Wikipedia article "Golden plates"  Updated 9/21/2011

Reviews of previous revisions of this section

December 2009

Summary: A review of this section as it appeared in Wikipedia in December 2009.

Section review

Described composition and weight

From the Wikipedia article:
The plates were first described as "gold", and beginning about 1827, the plates were widely called the "gold bible".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Harris (1859) , p. 167; Smith (1853) , pp. 102, 109, 113, 145; Grandin (1829) .

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
When the Book of Mormon was published in 1830, the Eight Witnesses described the plates as having "the appearance of gold".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1830)

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
The Book of Mormon describes the plates as being made of "ore".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1830) .

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
In 1831, a Palmyra newspaper quoted David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses, as having said that the plates were a "whitish yellow color", with "three small rings of the same metal".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Cole (1831)

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Joseph Smith, Jr.'s first published description of the plates said that the plates "had the appearance of gold"

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1842)

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
But Smith said that Moroni had referred to the plates as "gold." Late in life, Martin Harris stated that the rings holding the plates together were made of silver,

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Joseph Smith History 1:34; Harris (1859) , p. 165.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
and he said the plates themselves, based on their heft of "forty or fifty pounds" (18–23 kg),

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Harris (1859) , p. 166

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
"were lead or gold".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Harris (1859) , p. 169.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Joseph's brother William Smith, who said he felt the plates inside a pillow case in 1827, said in 1884 that he understood the plates to be "a mixture of gold and copper...much heavier than stone, and very much heavier than wood".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1884)

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Different people estimated the weight of the plates differently. According to Smith's one-time-friend Willard Chase, Smith told him in 1827 that the plates weighed between 40 and 60 pounds (18–27 kg), most likely the latter.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Chase (1833) , p. 246.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Smith's father Joseph Smith, Sr., who was one of the Eight Witnesses, reportedly weighed them and said in 1830 that they "weighed thirty pounds" (14 kg).

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Lapham (1870) .

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Joseph Smith's brother, William, said that he lifted them in a pillowcase and thought they "weighed about sixty pounds [27 kg] according to the best of my judgment".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1883) .

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Others who lifted the plates while they were wrapped in cloth or enclosed in a box thought that they weighed about 60 pounds [27 kg]. Martin Harris said that he had "hefted the plates many times, and should think they weighed forty or fifty pounds [18–23 kg]".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Harris (1859) , pp. 166, 169.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Joseph Smith's wife Emma never estimated the weight of the plates but said they were light enough for her to "move them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary in doing my work".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1879)

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
None of the witnesses specified the exact size of the plates or the number of leaves contained in them, but one scholar speculates that, had the plates been made of 24-karat gold (which Smith never claimed), they would have weighed about 140 pounds (64 kg).

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Vogel (2004) .

FAIR's analysis:


References

Wikipedia references for "Golden Plates"

Further reading

Articles on this subject

FairMormon's Wikipedia Article Reviews

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A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia article "First Vision"

Summary: Current review is based upon Wikipedia revision dated 9/17/2011. This article has undergone moderate improvements in its use of sources since our last review. The article still contains a substantial amount of original research based upon primary sources, with the intent to disprove the vision and highlight perceived discrepancies between vision accounts. Believing scholars are labeled "apologists" in an attempt to diminish their credibility.

A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia article "Joseph Smith"

Summary: Current review is based upon Wikipedia revision dated 9/3/2011. This article has undergone substantial improvements in its use of sources since our initial review in 2009. Most of the citations are now accurately represented.

A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia article "Golden plates"

Summary: Current review is based upon Wikipedia revision dated 9/21/2011. This article has undergone only minor improvements in its use of sources since our last review. The article contains a large amount of original research on the part of the wiki editors.

A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia article "Three Witnesses"

Summary: Current review is based upon Wikipedia revision dated 9/28/2011. This article has been constructed in such a way as to discredit the witnesses by emphasizing any perceived contradictions in their various statements regarding their encounter with the gold plates.


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