# JOSEPH SMITH’S GOLDEN PLATES — A WEIGHTY PROBLEM

### Frank P. Russo

P.O. Box 90, Campbelltown 5074 South Australia

Two Mormons visited me for the first time ever, in 1968, when I was only 14. One of the missionaries was a weightlifter, the other was a science graduate! They quickly baptized me in a special meeting! And soon after, I lost interest in their religion.

I recently rang their Firle Compound, and told them that if it was good enough for Joseph Smith to follow the advice of James 1:5 i.e. to pray for wisdom – why should people bother to join? They could go and ask for wisdom for themselves as well!

I told them that the notion of Joseph Smith digging up Golden Plates for translation and then walking with them is silly to say the least!

Had their dimensions been a cubic foot, the Golden Plates would have weighed about 546.5 kilograms or about 1202 pounds – that is about half a ton!

Gold has an atomic relative mass of 196.97, similar to lead (207.2), hence a specific gravity of about 19.3—which means it’s 19.3 times as heavy as an equal volume of water.

The “Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith” occurs in most copies of The Book of Mormon. The testimony says that in 1823 Moroni—who died in the 5th century and was resurrected—told Joseph Smith where to find engraved “gold plates”. Smith dug up the gold plates. Four years later he translated them into English to produce The Book of Mormon.

The number of the gold plates is unclear, but there were quite a number. Mormon—the guy who engraved and hid the gold plates around 400 AD—distinguished the majority of the plates from, “these few plates which I gave to my son Moroni.” (Mormon, chapter 6, verse 6)

The Book of Mormon is over 500 pages long and that implies a lot of engraving on a lot plates!

Joseph Smith—History says:

At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates… 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… (1:59)

No special means of lifting or carting the plates is mentioned. And one cubic foot, as mentioned, would have weighed half a ton!

The Mormon Official corrected the specifications saying that they would have been about 8 inches by 8 inches by 8 inches. I replied that even such dimensions are ridiculous—they would have weighed about 161.9 kilograms or about 356 pounds!

I think that the Mormons were checkmated!

I have always let the Mormons in my place but recently told them not to waste their time! Their Book of Mormon usually ended up in the garbage!