Question: What was the appearance of the engravings on the gold plates?

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Question: What was the appearance of the engravings on the gold plates?

There were small, fine engravings on both sides of each plate

  • "[The plates] were filled with . . . Egyptian characters. . . . The characters on the unsealed part were small, and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction and much skill in the art of engraving."[1] —Joseph Smith Jr.
  • "There were fine engravings on both sides."[2] —John Whitmer
  • "We also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship."[3] —Eight Witnesses
  • "[T]he characters . . . were cut into the plates with some sharp instrument."[4] —William Smith
  • "On opening that part of the book which was not secured by seals, he discovered inscribed on the aforesaid plates, divers and wonderful characters, some large and some small" - Citing David Whitmer [5]
  • "These were filled with engravings on both sides" - Parley P. Pratt [6]
  • "are covered with letters beautifully engraved" - Lucy Mack Smith (allegedly) [7]
  • "on each side beautifully engraved, and filled with black cement"[8]


  1. Joseph Smith Jr., "Church History" (Wentworth Letter)
  2. John Whitmer to Theodore Turley, "in the presence of his anti-Mormon friends." As reported in Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1981), 131. ISBN 0877478465.
  3. "Testimony of the Eight Witnesses."
  4. William Smith interview, The Saints' Herald, 4 October 1884, 644.
  5. ED Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 15; attributed to David Whitmer off-site
  6. Parley P. Pratt, "Discovery of an Ancient Record in America," Millennial Star 1 no. 2 (June 1840), 30–37. off-site
  7. 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. off-site
  8. W. I. Appleby, A Dissertation of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream... (Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking & Guilbert, 1844), 1–24. Full title