You are here

Lesson 54 - Joseph Receives the Records

TitleLesson 54 - Joseph Receives the Records
Publication TypeManual Lesson
Year of Publication1898
Corporate AuthorsDeseret Sunday School Union
Manual TitleDeseret Sunday School Union Leaflets
PublisherGeorge Q. Cannon & Sons Company
Place PublishedSalt Lake City
KeywordsAngel Moroni; Early Church History; Gold Plates; Hill Cumorah (New York); Scripture Study; Smith, Joseph, Jr.

As stated in the last lesson, four years were to pass away from the time Joseph first saw the plates, before they were to be entrusted to him. In other words, Joseph waited until he was nearly twenty-two years old before he received the precious charge. It would perhaps enter the minds of some, that Joseph having received all these manifestations and knowing what his mission was to be, would not have felt inclined to continue the labors of every-day life; but such was not the case. He well knew that the routine of daily toil was all necessary in its place, and he further knew that he must remain humble, or he would fail in fulfilling the purposes of God.

Accordingly, Joseph continued working on his father’s farm for nearly two years after the events related in the last lesson, when he received the offer of employment elsewhere. Accepting this offer, Joseph went to his new place of labor in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where he entered the employ of a man named Josiah Stoal. While laboring there, Joseph boarded at the house of Isaac Hale, who had a daughter named Emma, a very worthy young woman, whom Joseph learned to love sincerely. She returned the affection, and her father was asked to give his consent to their marriage. At first he hesitated, for he knew that Joseph was poor, but finally, in January of the year 1827, his consent was given, and Joseph and Emma were married on the 18th of that month.

They left Pennsylvania and traveled northward to the house of Joseph’s parents. He went to work on the farm, in order to obtain means for the support of his family. Nothing of an extraordinary character occurred during the following summer, and at length the 22nd day of September came—the day when the records were to be delivered into Joseph’s hands.

During the four years that he had been waiting, he had visited the hill on each anniversary of the angel’s appearance, and there met Moroni and received necessary instruction from him, and hence he was well prepared for the charge about to be conferred upon him. On the morning of that day Joseph again visited the hill Cumorah, and was told by the angel to lift the records out of the box. As he did so he was filled with inexpressible joy, for he knew that the plates thus entrusted to him were of a most precious character.

Together with the plates was the Urim and Thummim, which was to be used by Joseph in translating the records, and this instrument was fastened to a large breastplate of pure gold. The plates were of gold, and were fastened with rings along one edge, thus presenting the appearance of a book. (As these records have been described in a former lesson, see No. 42, it is not considered necessary to repeat the description here.)

Joseph was told by the angel that he alone would be held responsible for the plates, and that the only way he could resist the efforts which would be made to take them from him, would be by remaining faithful to his trust and to the commandments of God. But if he was unfaithful, and by his carelessness permitted the plates to be lost, the displeasure of God should come upon him, and he should be destroyed.

Even on the journey toward his home, with the precious records in his charge, Joseph experienced the power of the Evil One, for unknown men under the influence of Satan attacked him three different times, and it was only by the assistance of God that he was enabled to withstand them and keep the records. At length, in a bruised and weary condition he reached his home.

Scripture Reference

Mormon 8:16