[David Whitmer interview] ... "The translation was by Smith and THE MANNER AS FOLLOWS: "He had two small stones of a chocolate color, nearly egg shaped and perfectly smooth, but not transparent, called interpreters, which were given him with the plates. He did not use the plates in the translation, but would hold the interpreters to his eyes and cover his face with a hat, excluding all light, and before his eyes would appear what seemed to be parchment, on which would appear the characters of the plates in a line at the top, and immediately below would appear the translation in English, which Smith would read to his scribe, who wrote it down exactly as it fell from his lips. The scribe would then read the sentence written, and if any mistake had been made the characters would remain visible to Smith until corrected, when they faded from sight to be replaced by another line. The translation at my father's occupied about one month, that is from June 1 to July 1, 1829." ...
"When did you see the plates?"
"It was in the latter part of June, 1829. Joseph, Oliver Cowdery and myself were together, and the angel showed them to us. We not only saw the plates of the book of Mormon, but he also showed us the brass plates of the book of Ether and many others. They were shown to us in this way. Joseph and Oliver and I were
SITTING ON A LOG when we were overshadowed by a light more glorious than that of the sun. In the midst of this light but a few feet from us appeared a table upon which were many golden plates, also the sword of Laban and the directors. I saw them as plain as I see you now, and distinctly heard the voice of the Lord declaiming that the records of the plates of the Book of Mormon were translated by the gift and the power of God."
"Who else saw the plates at this time?"
"No one. Martin Harris, the other witness, saw them the same day and the eight witnesses, Christian Whitmer, Hiram Page, Jacob Whitmer, Joseph Smith, sr., Peter Whitmer, jr., Hyram Smith, Jno. [John] Whitmer and Samuel H. Smith saw them next day."
"Did you see the angel?"
"Yes; he stood before us. Our testimony as recorded in the Book of Mormon is absolutely true, just as it is written there."
"Can you describe the plates?"
"They appeared to be of gold, about six by nine inches in size, about as thick as parchment, a great many in number and bound together like the leaves of a book by massive rings passing through the back edges. The engraving upon them was very plain and of very curious appearance. Smith made facsimiles of some of the plates, and sent them by Martin Harris to Profs. Anson [Charles Anthon] and [Samuel L.] Mitchell, of New York city, for examination. They pronounced the characters reformed Egyptian, but were unable to read them." ...
In 1819, while the Smiths were digging a well near Palmyra, on the farm of Mr. Clark Chase, a stone of peculiar shape was unearthed. It resembled in form a child's foot, and was white, glossy, and opaque in appearance. Joe kept the stone and by its aid he claimed to see wonderful things. In a short time his reputation grew and with the stone to his eyes he claimed to be able to reveal "both things existing and things to come." This stone came to be known as the famous Peek stone and is truly called the "Acorn of the Mormon oak." ...
["Mormonism. Authentic Account of the Origin of This Sect from One of the Patriarchs. Discovery of the Plates, and the Translation of the Book of Mormon--Polygamy an Excres[c]ence," Kansas City Daily Journal, 5 June 1881. Reprinted in Deseret Evening News 14 (11 June 1881); Saints' Herald 28 (1 July 1881): 197-99; Millennial Star 43 (4 July 1881): 421-23, 437-39; and Kingston (Missouri) Times, 27 December 1887., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: David Whitmer Interview With Kansas City Journal]