Question: What were the characteristics of the rings which held the gold plates together?

Table of Contents

Question: What were the characteristics of the rings which held the gold plates together?

The plates were fastened together by three D-shaped rings

  • "[T]hey were fastened with rings thus [a sketch shows a ring in the shape of a capital D with six lines drawn through the straight side of the letter to represent the leaves of the record]."[1] —David Whitmer
  • "bound together like the leaves of a book by massive rings passing through the back edges"[2] —David Whitmer
  • "They were bound together in the shape of a book by three gold rings."[3] —David Whitmer
  • "put together on the back by three silver rings, so that they would open like a book"[4] —Martin Harris
  • " bound together in a volume, as the leaves of a book with three rings running through the whole" - Joseph Smith [5]
  • "The plates were . . . connected with rings in the shape of the letter D, which facilitated the opening and shutting of the book."[6] - William E. McLellin quoting Hyrum Smith
  • "I could tell they were plates of some kind and that they were fastened together by rings running through the back."[7] - William Smith
  • "volume of them were bound together like the leaves of a book, and fastened at one edge with three rings running through the whole" - Parley P. Pratt[8]
  • "They are all connected by a ring which passes through a hole at the end of each plate" - Lucy Mack Smith (allegedly) [9]
  • "put together with three rings, running through the whole"[10]
  • "The plates were minutely described as being connected with rings in the shape of the letter D, when facilitated the opening and shutting of the book."[11] - Early skeptical newspaper account
  • "back was secured with three small rings of the same metal, passing through each leaf in succession" - Citing David Whitmer [12]

It should be noted that the "D" shape here described is the most efficient way to pack pages with rings. It is a common design in modern three-ring binders, but was not invented until recently (the two-ring binder did not exist prior to 1854 and were first advertised in 1899. The critics would apparently have us believe that Joseph Smith and/or the witnesses just happened upon the most efficient binding design more than a century before anyone else! Such a pattern also matches a collection of gold plates found in Bavaria dating from 600 B.C.[13]

Notes

  1. David Whitmer interview, Edward Stevenson diary, 22–23 December 1877, Historical Department Archives, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Original capitalization and punctuation have been modernized. In Stevenson's interview, Whitmer recounted his mother's description of the rings.
  2. David Whitmer interview, Kansas City Journal, 5 June 1881, 1.
  3. David Whitmer interview, Chicago Tribune, 24 January 1888, in David Whitmer Interviews, ed. Cook, 221.
  4. Martin Harris interview, Tiffany's Monthly, May 1859, 165.
  5. Joseph Smith, "Church History [Wentworth letter]," Times and Seasons 3 no. 9 (1 Mar 1842), 706–710. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) off-site
  6. Reported in the Huron Reflector (Norwalk, OH), 31 October 1831; cited in Warren P. Ashton, "The Rings That Bound the Gold Plates Together," Insights 26 no. 3 (2006), N/A..
  7. Interview of William Smith with E. C. Briggs and J. W. Peterson, Zion's Ensign, 13 January 1894, 6.
  8. Parley P. Pratt, "Discovery of an Ancient Record in America," Millennial Star 1 no. 2 (June 1840), 30–37. off-site
  9. 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
  10. W. I. Appleby, A Dissertation of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream... (Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking & Guilbert, 1844), 1–24. Full title
  11. “The Mormonites,” Christian Intelligencer and Eastern Chronicle (Gardiner, Maine) (18 November 1831): 184. Reprinted from Illinois Patriot (Jacksonville, Illinois) (16 September 1831). off-site
  12. ED Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 15; attributed to David Whitmer off-site
  13. Warren P. Ashton, "The Rings That Bound the Gold Plates Together," Insights 26 no. 3 (2006), N/A.