Question: What were the characteristics of the sealed vs. unsealed portion of the gold plates?

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Question: What were the characteristics of the sealed vs. unsealed portion of the gold plates?

A portion of the plates were somehow bound together

  • "A large portion of the leaves were so securely bound together that it was impossible to separate them."[1] —David Whitmer
  • "What there was sealed appeared as solid to my view as wood. About the half of the book was sealed."[2] —David Whitmer
  • "they thus translated about two thirds of what the plates contained, reserving the residue for a future day as the Lord might hereafter direct." - Critical newspaper [3]
  • "the leaves were divided equidistant between the back and the edge, by cutting the plates in two parts, and again united with solder, so that the front might be opened, while the back part remained stationary and immovable, and was consequently a sealed book, which would not be revealed for ages to come, and which Smith himself was not permitted to understand." - Citing David Whitmer<re>ED Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 15; attributed to David Whitmer off-site</ref>
  • "some of them are sealed together and are not to be opened, and some of them are loose" - Lucy Mack Smith (allegedly)[4]
  • "a part of which was sealed. The unsealed part has been translated; and contains the Book of Mormon"[5]


  1. David Whitmer interview, Chicago Tribune, 24 January 1888, in David Whitmer Interviews, ed. Cook, 221.
  2. David Whitmer interview, Deseret Evening News, 16 August 1878, in David Whitmer Interviews, ed. Cook, 20–21.
  3. “The Orators of Mormon,” Catholic Telegraph (Cincinnati, Ohio) 1 (14 April 1832): 204–5. Reprinted from Mercer Press (Pennsylvania), circa April 1832. off-site
  4. 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
  5. W. I. Appleby, A Dissertation of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream... (Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking & Guilbert, 1844), 1–24. Full title