As a Mormon did you know this is how the "Nephite Record" and "Urim and Thummin" were recorded in the Mormon Church history books?
To set the scene: this is Palmyra New York, around 1829, Joseph Smith Jr and his wife Emma Hale (newly married-1827) are at the home of his parents Joseph Smith Sr. and his wife Lucy Mack Smith , and their children. Mr. Knightly is visiting. He and hi older brother Hyrum are in their early 20's. There are younger children in the home.
(link to the family pedigreeshttp://www.josephsmithsr.com/home/index.html
see home page for other family lines. )
Some info on B H Roberts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._H._Roberts
This is the book that is the clincher: "Studies of the Book of Mormon"http://www.amazon.com/Studies-Book-Mormon-Brigham-Madsen/dp/1560850272
Now onto the historical account that most of you probably never heard of!
This is info from a standard history book of the Mormon Church:
" "A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." by B.H. Roberts
VOL 1 "How the Book of Mormon was Obtained"
I have been told these books are in the LDS Data base on CD, I know they are in their libraries (Ward/Stake/Institute of Religion)in the REFERENCE section.
I own the whole set in paperback which I purchased in the late 70s before they were discontinued.
A few notes:
B H Roberts says that they were dressed "for riding" by taking the horse and spring wagon of Mr. Knight (some would call this stealing, as they did not ask permission of Mr. Knight who was a guest in his home) and went to the "hill Cumorah, and in he presence of Moroni obtained the Nephite record, the breast-plate and Urim and Thummim.
(I thought taking a wagon without permission was theft!)
pg. 87, "Early the next morning, Mr. Knight discovered both his horse and wagon were gone, suspected some "rogue had stolen them. Lucy Smith volunteered no information as to Joseph having made use of the horse and wagon, but tried to pacify Mr. Knight with the idea that they were but temporarily out of the way."
When Joseph returned home, he took his mother aside and showed her the Urim and Thummim which he had evidently detached from the breast plate and concealed on his own person when depositing the plates...he seemed to have kept the instrument constantly about him after that time as by means of it he could at will be made aware of approaching danger to the record."
The next chapter is entitled: (OTHER PSYCHICS?? SAY WHAT??)
pg. 88 Other Psychics Than the Prophet
"The fact was that Joseph Smith was not the only psychic in the vicinity of Palmyra."
He had previously asked Lucy (his mother) very early in the morning if she had a chest with a lock and key but she could not locate one.
This is the reason Joseph pg. 86 "concealed them temporarily, in the woods some two or three miles distant. He found a fallen birch log that was much decayed .....carefully cutting the bark and removing sufficient of the decayed wood to admit ...the plates, ...they were deposited in the cavity, the bark drawn together again and as far as possible all signs of the log having been disturbed obliterated."
Pg 93 - "The Breastplate of Urim and Thummim
"It has been several times remarked that with the plates on which a brief history of the ancient American peoples was engrave, there was an ancient breast-plate to which, when the Prophet took possession of it, the Urim and Thummim were attached.
This breast-plate it appears the Prophet did not bring home with him when he brought the record. But a few days later, according to a statement by Lucy Smith, he came into the house from the field one afternoon and after remaining a a short time put on his "great coat" and left the house.
On his returning the mother was engaged in an upper room of the house preparing oilcloth for painting - it will be remembered that this was an art she has followed for some years. Joseph called to her and asked her to come down stairs. To this she answered she could not then leave her work, but Joseph insisted and she came downstairs and entered the room where he was whereupon he placed in her hands the Nephite breast plate herein alluded to.
'It was wrapped in a a thin muslin handkerchief,' she explains, 'so thin that I could feel it's proportions without any difficulty'. It was concave on one side, convex on the other and extended from the neck downwards as far as
the center of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material, for the purpose of fastening it to the breast, two of which ran back to go over the shoulders and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips.
They were just the width of two of my fingers (for I measured them). and they had holes in the end of them, to be convenient in fastening. After I had examined it, Joseph placed it in the chest with the Urim and Thummin."
I highly recommend reading the B H Roberts books. They are filled with things you have never heard in church. The set comes with an Index, which in invaluable also.
It is no wonder these stories have been sanitized into faith promoting versions over the years. The real history is just too wild and crazy to believe! :-)
This was the kind of information that finally hit home with me. There was no way Joseph Smith Jr was telling the truth about anything. He made up his stories, visions, religion, and BOM fiction from the get-go and the best that could be said for him is that he created a faith-based American God Myth that Brigham Young could use! These young men were on a path to create an isolated religion and hold their power close to the chest.
Thanks to the Brighamites, Mormonism is still alive and well today!