The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon (The B.O.M Series 6 of 7)

While the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is a topic we cover often in the church, there are a few details that don’t get covered as often or as in depth as they could be. So, today, we’re bringing them up and delving deep. 

Here are 3 Fun Facts/Stories About the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon:

1.) Prophets of old, including Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Lehi testified of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon—it’s even mentioned in the book of Revelation. (Revelation 14:6-7)


Isaiah talked about a sealed book that would be delivered to a learned man whom we now know as Charles Anthon (Anthon was a renowned antiquites professor in New York), and that he would not be able to read the writing. 


Isaiah also said that the book would be delivered in a time when people were “contending” over the word of the Lord. And ultimately, that it would be an unlearned man, (Joseph,) who would say he was unlearned, who would be the one to translate the scripture—with the help of the urim and thummim.


You can read his exact words in Isaiah verses 11-13, and verses 14, 19. 


Ezekiel preached about the stick of Joseph and Stick of Judah, the Bible and Book of Mormon respectively, saying “[...] join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand,” Ezekiel 37:16-17. Learn more here.


And of course Lehi also spoke of the two books of scripture together say that they “shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of the contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bring them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord,” 2 Nephi 3:12. 


2.) Three years after Joseph Smith had the first vision, in 1823, when he was just 17, Moroni visited Joseph and told him that God had a marvelous work for him to do. On September 22 of that year and the September 22 of the following four years, Joseph would meet with Moroni to receive more instruction concerning the plates. 


What many people don’t know is that on that first visit to see the plates, Joseph made three attempts to get them, and couldn’t, and that he was frightened in his effort. After failing, in his memoirs, he said, “[...] I cried unto the Lord in the agony of my soul.” 


He asked the angel why he couldn’t obtain the book and Moroni told him that he could not have the book for wealth, emphasizing covetousness


While Joseph was no more covetous than anyone else, his family did owe a hundred dollars on the mortgage on their farm at the end of every year. And Joseph along with everyone else in his family, was very aware of this pending due date. Here Joseph is a young man working hard to help take care of his family, and also aware of gold in this hill that could help solve his family’s financial problems. 


This was the root of the problem he had obtaining the plates, and the reason why Moroni kept telling him to come back the following year for four years. Joseph ultimately had to reconcile the fact that in no way or means would he be able to use the plates for financial gain in order to help his family. 


Of course from year one to year two, he’d gone from thinking of the monetary value of the actual plates to thinking, “I know that Moroni has told me I can’t use the plates for my personal wealth or fame, but there's other things in there that might be beneficial in those ways,” which of course is what resulted in him not being able to get the plates in 1825 and Moroni reminding him that he must have an eye single to the glory of God. 


When he went home that night, in 1825, the expectation from his family was that he would have the plates, and when he didn’t, he and they were all very disappointed. His father even said that if he’d been there, he’d have gotten the plates. Joseph had to tell his dad that it was the angel that had prevented him from taking them. 


As you can imagine, Joseph was very upset, and he was worried that his family would no longer believe him. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, but it was tough for him. 


We don’t know much about Joseph's visit with Moroni in 1826, mostly we just know it happened. We know that when Joseph went to the hill to get the plates, his older brother had passed away, and that his family had lost their farm. And we also that Moroni gave Joseph an ultimatum, saying that “if he would do right according to the will of God, that he might obtain the plates the following year.”


Well, despite all that had happened, Joseph rose to the challenge. In 1827, he was married to Emma Hale, and she accompanied him to the hill at midnight, a time he’d chosen to avoid his enemies, where he went up and finally received the plates from Moroni. 


He later hid the plates in a log, but brought back the seer stones.


Then my personal favorite part of the story happened. The next morning at breakfast, he sat at the table with his head in his hands, acting all distraught, and actually tells his family that he’s so disappointed. 


Of course, they automatically assume he didn’t get the plates again because it’s been three years of not getting them. And his dad tries to console him, telling him everything will be all right. 


And this is when Joseph excitedly tells his family, speaking of the seer stones, the urim and thummim, “It is 10 times better than I expected. They are marvelous,” he says. “I can see anything.”


He playfully tricked them into thinking he hadn’t succeeded once again, then told them what had really happened. 


This, all of this story really, makes Joseph so relatable to my mind. From the very human response of thinking about how plates of gold could help his family, to being so disappointed in himself when he fails over and over to gain the plates, to being so excited when he actually gets them and teasing his family into thinking he hadn’t. 


To learn more, and get a much more in depth version of this story, check out this video from the church website here


3.) Publishing the Book of Mormon was no easy feat. 


Joseph was eventually able to convince Egbert B. Grandin in Palmyra, New York to print the book, but only after Martin Harris mortgaged his farm for collateral. Talk about a huge leap of faith by Martin Harris. 


There were 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon in its original print in 1830. Martin Harris, after being exhorted by the Lord not to covet his property, sold 151 acres of his farm in order to pay for the remaining publication costs. 


Today, more than 180 million copies have been printed in over 100 hundred languages. Learn more from Elder Ulisses Soares April 2020 General Conference talk here. 


Don’t you just love these stories? We do. Even if they did make us cry. 


Here’s this week’s Book of Mormon quote. 


Why is reading the Book of Mormon so important to us today? It is because the major writers of the Book of Mormon fully understood that their writings were primarily for the people of a future generation rather than for people of their own generation. - L. Tom Perry



Now we’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite story about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon? Hit that reply button and let us know. And stayed tuned for next week’s email—the last one in the Book of Mormon series. We’ll be talking about miracles and the Book of Mormon. You won’t want to miss it! 


The Cedar Fort Family 


P.P.S. Lean more about our Book of Mormon collection here. Want to learn more about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon? We got you covered with “Judah and Joseph Reunited” to “The Most Correct Book” to “Glad Tiding Near Cumorah” to “The Book of Mormon Miracle” and more!