135 years ago today - Oct 10, 1886

.... He [David Whitmer] did say, however, that the prophet gradually began to receive revelations upon any trivial matters as were brought to his attention. … All of a sudden, Mr. Whitmer says, he beheld a dazzlingly brilliant light that surpassed in brightness even the sun at noonday and which seemed to envelope the woods for a considerable distance around. Simultaneous with the light came a strange entrancing influence which permeated him so powerfully that he felt chained to the spot, while he also experienced a sensation of joy absolutely indescribable. While trying to realize what had come over him, there appeared immediately in front of the little party a personage clothed in white and near him a table containing a number of gold plates, some brass plates, the urim and thummum, the sword of Laban (a distinguished Nephite), and some other articles. Whitmer and Cowdery were requested by the personage to examine these things, and after the inspection they were told that the Lord would demand of them that they bear witness to all the wor[l]d. Mr. Whitmer describes every detail of the "vision" with great precision and much fervency, and insists that he handled and scrutinized the plates, and that the form and appearance of the strangely engraved characters were so impressed upon his memory that he would never forget them. At this particular state of the recital an inspection of a copy of the hieroglyphics made from the first of the gold plates by Joseph Smith and preserved with the same solicitude that is thrown around the original manuscript, becomes of curious interest. The accompanying cut is a perfect fac-simile of the little sheet which took Joseph Smith a whole week to copy so particular was he that the characters should be perfectly reproduced, and that the "reformed Egyptian" language should be shown up in all its native simplicity, for, it must not be forgotten, there was a singular significance in the errand which this scrap of paper was destined to perform. … Much of the translation of the plates was accomplished at the house of Peter Whitmer, the father of David, and the latter witnessed demonstrations, on more occasion than one, of the prophet's manipulation of the stone spectacles. He states that the work of translation occupied fully eight months, and that at times this peculiar instrument would refuse to perform its functions. On such occasions the prophet would resort to prayer, and after a short season he would return to his work to find that the urim and thummum reflected the words of the translation with its wonted power. This rigorous exactment required him to be humble and spotless in his deportment in order that the work might progress. On one occasion the prophet had indulged in a stormy quarrel with his wife. Without pacifying her or making any reparation for his brutal treatment, he returned to the room in the Whitmer residence to resume his work with the plates. The surface of the magic stone remained blank, and all his persistent efforts to bring out the coveted words proved abortive. He went into the woods again to pray, and this time was gone fully an hour. His friends became positively concerned, and were about to institute a search, when Joseph entered the room, pale and haggard, having suffered a vigorous chastisement at the hands of the Lord. He went straight in humiliation to his wife, entreated and received her forgiveness, returned to his work, and, much to the joy of himself and his anxious friends surrounding him, the stone again glared forth its letters of fire. The urim and thummum, in this strange process of translation, would reflect a number of words in pure English, which would remain on its face until the party acting as scribe had got it correctly written, and the occasional disposition of the characters to remain long after they had been so written was always an infallible evidence that there was something wrong in the translation of the record, and a close comparison would invariably reveal this fact. When the necessary corrections has been made the words would instantly disappear from the urim and thummum and new ones take their place. ... By fervent prayer and by otherwise humbling himself, the prophet, however, again found favor, and was presented with a strange oval-shaped, chocolate-colored stone about the size of an egg, only more flat, which, it was promised, should serve the same purpose as the missing urim and thummim (the latter was a pair of transparent stones set in a bow-shaped frame and very much resembled a pair of spectacles). With this stone all of the present Book of Mormon was translated. It is the only one of these relics which is not in the possession of the Whitmers. ...

["Revelations. A Flood of Light Upon a Much Disputed Point of Mormon Faith. Extraordinary Privileges Granted a Herald Correspondent By David Whitmer, Who Was One of the Original `Three Witnesses' to Prophet Smith's Discoveries. ... Interesting Statements Made By Mr. Whitmer Concerning the Manner in Which Revelations Were Made to Order," Omaha (NE) Herald 22 (17 October 1886): 4. Simultaneously released to various dailies, including Des Moines Daily News, 16 October 1886; Chicago Inter-Ocean, 17 October 1886; Salt Lake City Daily Tribune, 17 October 1886; and Philadelphia Press, 17 October 1886; and reprinted in the Saints' Herald 33 (13, 20 November 1886): 705-708, 721-25. , as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: David Whitmer Interview With Omaha (Ne) Herald]

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