The golden plates containing the Book of Mormon were buried in the Hill Cumorah, about three miles southeast of the Smith family farm. In the early hours of September 22, 1823, the angel Moroni showed Joseph Smith in vision exactly where the ancient record was hidden. Later that day, Joseph went to the place shown him by the angel.
"On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box,"1 wrote Joseph. He was not permitted to remove the plates on his first visit, but was instructed by the angel to return to this place every year "until the time should come for obtaining the plates."2 Exactly four years later, the angel delivered the plates to the Prophet Joseph for the purpose of translation and publication.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acquired the Hill Cumorah in 1928. A granite monument topped by a nine-foot statue of Moroni was erected at the highest point of the hill in 1935. Today, the Church operates a modern visitors' center at the base of the hill. A dramatic pageant featuring events from the Book of Mormon is held here every summer.
Joseph Smith Quotes
Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. (Joseph Smith—History 1:51.)
The messenger . . . told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates.
Accordingly, as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there, and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days. (Joseph Smith—History 1:53–54.)
At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected. (Joseph Smith—History 1:59.)
Emma Smith, Wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith
The plates lay in a box under our bed for months and on the [table in our home] without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen table cloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt . . . the plates as they thus lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book. ("Last Testimony of Sister Emma," The Saints' Herald, Oct. 1, 1879, 290.)
Thomas S. Monson, Apostle, 1963–present
What a privilege to be here at the Hill Cumorah and to reflect on the momentous events that unfolded on September 22, 1827, when a plowboy prophet took a horse and wagon and, in the dark of night, rode to this hill, where he received an ancient record from the angel Moroni. In a remarkably short time, this untutored young man translated a record detailing 1,000 years of history and then prepared the Book of Mormon for public distribution. . . .
. . . The visitor often comes with an attitude of curiosity. He or she departs with a soul touched by the Spirit of the Lord. . . .
. . . I bear an apostolic witness that Jesus is the Savior of the world and that He and His Father appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith to usher in this dispensation of the fulness of times. ("Special Witnesses of Christ," Ensign, Apr. 2001, 19–20.)
- No revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants were received at this site. —
Online Resources at LDS.org
- D&C 3:19
- D&C 128:19
- 1 Nephi 13:40
- 2 Nephi 27:23
- "A Period of Preparation, 1823–29" – Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual (Church Educational System Manual, 2003), 37–51
- "Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon" – Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1996), 5–11
Online Resources at BYU
- "Katharine Smith Salisbury's Recollections of Joseph's Meetings with Moroni" –
Newspaper report of speech given by Joseph Smith's younger sister.Kyle R. Walker, Brigham Young University Studies 41, no. 3 (2002): 4–17