The Weight of the Plates

89 Primary Sources

Aug 1829 - Jan 1830

The Eight Witnesses's manuscript testimony.

Aug 11, 1829

Hadley describes dimensions of plates.

Feb 20, 1830

Blatchley states that the plates are said to weigh 30 lbs.

Feb 20, 1830

Blatchley relates Harris's description of the 8x6x1 dimensions of the plates.

Mar 26, 1830

8 Witnesses published statement in 1830 claiming that Joseph showed them the plates.

Dec 1830

The Philadelphia Album reports that the plates were 7x6x6 and the sheets were the thickness of tin.

Jan 15, 1831

In a letter, Phelps says "the family of Smiths is poor."

Mar 19, 1831

Dogberry reports the weight of plates to be more than 20 lbs.

Mar 19, 1831

Dogberry reports the dimensions of plates to be 8 inches square.

Mar 19, 1831

Obadiah Dogberry reports that David Whitmer physically held and examined the plates.

Sep 3, 1831

William Owen reports that ten witnesses handled the plates.

Jan 1832

The neighbors of Joseph assert that the Smith family was known for being poor.

Apr 1832

The CT gives dimensions for the stone box.

Jun 1832 - Aug 1832

Joseph describes plates as "plates of gold."

Jun 1832 - Aug 1832

Joseph says he was tempted by the monetary value of the plates.

Nov 7, 1832

Smith gives dimensions of the plates.


Chase says Joseph told him the plates were 40-60 pounds.

May 1, 1834

Hale says he could heft the weight of the plates in a box.

1835 - 1838

Whitmer affirms truth of the testimony of the 3 and 8 witnesses.

Jun 1835

Cowdery reports Whitmer's testimony of handling the plates.

Nov 9, 1835 - Nov 11, 1835

Joseph calls plates "plates of gold."

Mar 31, 1836

Whitmer testifies of having handled the plates.

Dec 31, 1836

Cowdery reports that Whitmer and P Whitmer Jr. maintained their testimonies of the BOM.

Apr 15, 1838

Burnett's letter claims witnesses confessed to not seeing the plates.

Jun 1838

Joseph's 1838 history account of plates and stone box.

Aug 11, 1838

Parrish claims Harris says he only saw plates in vision.

Aug 26, 1838

Sally Bradford Parker recounts Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith bearing testimony of handling the plates.


Corrill recounts Joseph's description of the plates.

Apr 5, 1839

Turley recounts Whitmer saying he handled plates with "supernatural power."

Jun 1839

Joseph describes plates as "gold plates."

Jun 1839 - Jul 1839

Joseph explains why plates were returned to angel: mobs tried to steal them.

Dec 1839

Smith reaffirms his testimony after enduring persecution.


Pratt gives the dimensions of the plates as 7x8x6 inches.

Jun 1840

Pratt gives reports of the plates including the script engraved on them and their dimensions.

Jul 3, 1841

Smith reports dimensions of the plates to Murdock.

Aug 31, 1841

Fielding says sister Mary Fielding says her husband Hyrum handled the plates.


Hyde reprints Pratt's description of the plates.


Henry Caswell reports Lucy Mack describing the dimensions of the plates.

Mar 1, 1842

Joseph gives dimensions of the plates and that they had the "appearance" of gold.


Lucy describes dimensions of the plates.

Dec 19, 1843

Campbell mentions that Stowell handled the plates in letter to Joseph.

Aug 1, 1844

Taylor writes Smith remained a BOM witness until his death.


Appleby reports dimensions of the plates.


Lucy Mack Smith recounts Joseph running with the plates.


Lucy retells experience of the 3 Witnesses.


Lucy recounts experience of the 8 Witnesses.

May 30, 1847

Page reaffirms his testimony; defends BOM.

Oct 21, 1848

Cowdery reaffirms his testimony at council meeting; saw and handled the plates.


Ford claims 8 witnesses were self-deluded; never saw any plates.

Feb 3, 1858

Young reports that Smith affirms he is one of the BOM witnesses; calls it a revelation and translation.

Aug 1859

Harris says the plates weighed 40-50 pounds.

Aug 1859

Harris says the plates were 7x8 inches.

Aug 1859

Harris says Beaman heard the plates klink.

Aug 1859

Harris tells Tiffany that plates must have been lead or gold.

Aug 20, 1859

Harris affirms his testimony that he handled the plates.

Aug 20, 1859

Harris affirms his testimony that he handled the plates.


Noble's reminiscence of mob trying to steal the plates.


Lapham reports that Smith Sr. gave dimensions of plates at 6x9-10 inches.

Aug 28, 1870

Harris gives the weight of plates as between 40-60 pounds.

Feb 18, 1875

Brand reports that Whitmer reaffirmed published testimony.

Apr 12, 1875

Whitmer reaffirms his testimony to Davis.


Smith records Whitmer reaffirming his testimony and those of the other witnesses.

Mar 5, 1876

Whitmer says he never heard any other witnesses recant their testimonies.

Dec 11, 1876

Whitmer reaffirms his printed testimony.

Apr 12, 1877

BM gives dimensions of plates as that of an "ordinary Bible."

Apr 12, 1877

Non-LDS account of handling plates in a pillowcase.

Feb 15, 1878

Whitmer affirms testimony of BOM plates in public.

Aug 2, 1878

Myron H. Bond recollects that John Whitmer "saw and handled" the plates.

Aug 14, 1878

Poulson reports John Whitmer's final testimony of the BoM.

Aug 14, 1878

Poulson reports John Whitmer's final testimony of the BoM.

Aug 31, 1878

William Sayre notes how Joseph had a reputation for being poor.

Oct 1, 1879

Interview with Emma; says she felt the plates.

Jul 11, 1881

Whitmer gives dimensions of plates as 6x9 inches.


Smith says he lifted the plates; they weighed about 60 pounds.


Taylor recalls Samuel H Smith bearing testimony as a BOM witness.

Jun 8, 1884

Smith says the plates were heavier than wood and stone.

Jun 8, 1884

Smith compared dimensions of plates to a large Bible.

Jun 8, 1884

Smith recounts when JS first brought the plates home.

Feb 4, 1888

Whitmer describes the plates as being 8x7 inches.

Oct 1888

Jenson says Whiter says his father Jacob testified of BOM on deathbed.

Dec 26, 1888

George Mantle summarized that Martin Harris testified that Joseph translated by the power of God.

Jan 13, 1894

Smith remembers hefting the plates and judged them to be about 60 pounds.

Jan 13, 1894

Smith remembers hefting the plates and judged them to be about 60 pounds.

Oct 2, 1899

Salt Lake Herald-Republican claims Jane Manning James handled the gold plates.


George Edward Anderson reports that John Whitmer was firm in his testimony before his death.

Jul 18, 1908

Cummings argues that the plates were no more than 50 pounds.


Roberts responds to criticism that the plates were too heavy.

Jun 30, 1945

Salisbury describes the plates as "very heavy."

Jan 11, 1954

Hancock recalls how Joseph's sisters hid the plates.

Oct 1954

Salisbury describes the plates as "very heavy."

Sep 1966

Putnam makes an argument that the plates were tumbaga and weighed 40-60 pounds.


Smith argues the plates were tumbaga and weighed around 50 pounds.


JBMS argues that the plates were tumbaga and weighed 60 pounds.

Feb 2006

Butler addresses the weight of the plates.

Jul 2007

Church magazine addresses weight of the plates.

Mar 12, 2011

Murphy reports soldiers run with 60-100 pound packs.


The health requirements for the Philmont trek, affiliated with the BSA.


Church History Topics essay discusses gold plates.

Jan 12, 2021

Peterson describes actor running with replica of the plates.