Home > Discovery of the Kinderhook plates in Mormon history...
Click image to enlarge 205641
Show image list »

Discovery of the Kinderhook plates in Mormon history...

Item # 205641

Currently Unavailable. Contact us if you would like to be placed on a want list or to be notified if a similar item is available.

June 01, 1843

EMANCIPATOR & FREE AMERICAN, Boston, June 1, 1843 The back page of this anti-slavery newspaper contains a fascinating--and quite significant--report titled: "Discovery Of Brass Plates", which speaks to the founding of the Mormon Church, and as the report says in its biased way: "...will go far to strengthen the faith of the deluded followers of Joe Smith...". The text goes on to state how they were discovered, and further details (see photo). To provide some history of this event, here is the text as provided by the website "Mormons In Transition":
On April 23, 1843, six bell-shaped brass plates, covered with undecipherable engravings were unearthed near Kinderhook, Illinois, 70 miles south of Nauvoo. These plates have come to be known as the Kinderhook Plates.  A Latter-day Saint was present when the plates were discovered, so news traveled quickly back to the Mormon community in Nauvoo about the discovery of a new set of metal plates with writing on them. Initial LDS reactions were positive and reflected an expectation that these plates would support the ancient origin of the Book of Mormon. Soon after their discovery the Kinderhook Plates were taken to the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith so he could examine them.

On Wednesday, May 1, 1843 in the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, the editor of the Mormon Church publication TIMES AND SEASONS published an article on this discovery.

The article stated:  Circumstances are daily transpiring which give additional testimony to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. 

The article went on to say:

The following letter and certificate, will perhaps have a tendency to convince the skeptical, thateven the obnoxious Book of Mormon, may be true; andthat there may have been such [gold] plates as those from which the Book of Mormon was translated.

Mr. Smith has had those [Kinderhook] plates, what his opinion concerning them is, we have not yet ascertained. The gentleman that owns them has taken them away, or we should have given a fac similie of the plates and characters in this number. We are informed however, that he purposes returning with them for translation; if so, we may be able yet to furnish our readers with it (TIMES AND SEASONS, vol. 4, pp. 185-87).

The bell-shaped plates were later returned to Joseph Smith and according to historical sources, both Mormon and non-Mormon, he began a translation of the engravings and identified the skeletal remains found with the Kinderhook Plates.   

For example, Josephs private secretary William Clayton, recorded the following journal entry for May 1, 1843:

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 (An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, ed. George D. Smith, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1991, p. 100; emphasis added).

For many years, this entry in Claytons journal was attributed to Joseph Smith as a first person statement.  This is because it was cited as such in the official History of the Church, May 1, 1843, which reads:

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 (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 372; emphasis added).

For 130 years this statement was accepted as unquestionably accurate.  Joseph Smith claimed to have seen the Kinderhook Plates, he identified them as ancient artifacts, and translated part of them.  However, since 1980 some LDS scholars and apologists have argued that these statements did not originate with Smith, but rather Clayton himself invented them or merely recorded hearsay."

You get the complete 4 page newspaper which is in very nice condition.

Category: Pre-Civil War