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Home / Articles / Opinion / Deep End /  Pass the Plates
Deep End

Pass the Plates

After decades serving hungry relatives, the original Book of Mormon is returned.

By D.P. Sorensen
Photo by John Kilbourn 
Posted // November 3,2010 - Salt Lake City—Historian Richard L. Bushman wants “to bring the Gold Plates out of hiding.” The record that Joseph Smith said he translated the Book of Mormon from is a token of God entering history, similar to Moses parting the Red Sea or Christ’s resurrection, Bushman said.

Mormon Times, 29 October 2010.

Historian Bushman had barely concluded his talk and descended from the rostrum at the Book of Mormon Lands Conference when the Gold Plates, which have been sealed by the hand of Moroni and hid up unto the Lord for nearly 200 years, were brought out of hiding by 58-year-old C’Mora Nibley, a South Jordan housewife.

“Soon as I saw that story in the Mormon Times, which I read religiously, I hauled myself over to the ward and handed over the Gold Plates to my bishop,” said Mrs. Nibley in an exclusive interview with KSL.

“I felt kinda bad for hanging on to the Gold Plates for all these years, but we have a large family—eight kids, 34 grand-kids, 13 great-grandkids—and the plates come in handy for large gatherings, even though specks of food tend to get caught in the engraved Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics or whatever you call them. It takes a bit of scrubbing and elbow grease, but I like to keep the plates all spick-and-span.”

Sister Nibley was vague on the details, but it seems the Gold Plates have been in her possession for a number of years.

“I picked them up for a song over at garage sale up in Sugar House, back in the ’80s. The gal I bought them off of told me they were moving down to St. George and the plates were just too heavy to keep hefting from place to place.”

Church officials are at this very moment trying to track down the alleged dealer of the Gold Plates. All they have to go on is her name—either “Janice” or “Gudrun.”

“I sure as heck would like to know where else the Gold Plates have been hid up all these years,” said Professor Bushman. “We know that one of Joseph Smith’s scribes, a fruitcake named Martin Harris, borrowed the plates for a family picnic and never returned them to the Prophet. Moroni was plenty steamed about that. The next thing we hear is that the plates are seen at a potluck just outside Pittsburgh. Eventually, the plates turn up in the household of Czar Nicholas, but disappear after he and his family are wiped out. Reports surface just before World War II of individual plates being sold off to settle debts of a Sacramento osteopath who lost his shirt during the Great Depression.

“There follows a lacuna in the provenance until Sister Nibley buys them at a yard sale, at least according to her. I am convinced, however, that she has the original Gold Plates. She has, after all, given us her word, cross her heart and hope to die, that she is telling the truth, and that’s good enough for me. But, I do think there are a few missing plates floating around out there, specifically pages 261 to 283, the very plates upon which we read the famous story of how Samuel the Lamanite slew Marvin the Mulekite with the thigh bone of a jackalope.”

Not everyone has such a burning in the bosom as Bushman the Historian with regard to bringing the Gold Plates out of hiding. One high General Authority on deep background told the Deep End that he wishes Brother Bushman would keep his pie hole shut.

“Better to let sleeping dogs lie,” said the plump and affable apostle with a sigh. “I am sorely vexed that Brother Bushman would resurrect the Gold Plates at this time, even though they might rank up there with the Ten Commandments and the Crucifixion. Some of my colleagues are convinced that Brother Bushman is a double agent working on behalf of stiff-necked skeptics who think the Gold Plates story is just a crock. It’s a bit foolish to frame the matter as a dispute as to whether Joseph Smith was a “fraud or a prophet,” as Brother Bushman does, particularly when objective evidence is all on the side of fraud. That’s why we prefer to appeal to blind faith of the burning in the bosom variety.”

Meanwhile church scientists are not only hefting the plates, but using micro-abrasion to get rid of food particles still stuck in the engravings.

 
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