The LDS gold plates are something that members and non-members have been fascinated with for years. So, creating a replica of this amazing book of scripture is a great way to visualize the miraculous nature of this ancient artifact. It was easier than I thought. Check it out!
So, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I work with the youth in our congregation. As part of my calling, I was assigned to give a lesson about how the Book of Mormon came about, including the history of the LDS Gold Plates. It was my first time giving a lesson about this priceless historical record. I thought it would be fun to show them what they might have looked like. They loved it!
History of the Gold Plates
The gold plates are literally plates made of gold that the ancient American prophet Mormon abridged as a record of his people. Joseph Smith, son of Lucy Mack Smith and Joseph Smith Sr., translated the writings on the golden plates into what became the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It is an ancient record that the angel Moroni allowed Joseph to uncover in a secret place on a prominent hill in Manchester, New York called the Hill Cumorah in 1827.
This new revelation is the keystone of our religion and crucial to our church history as members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith’s history and the story of the gold plates is important to Latter-day Saints and demonstrates the power of God in our lives. Although originating in upstate New York, our church headquarters now remains in Salt Lake City however Latter Day Saints live all over the world.
Gather your LDS Gold Plates supplies
I was able to find everything I needed to make these gold plates at my local craft store. But you can also purchase everything you need on Amazon as well. Overall, everything cost me less than $30. Depending on what you already have at home, it might not cost you much at all.
- Wooden box 6″ wide and 8″ long
- Gold foil cardstock pages
- Washi tape (gold)
- Bendable aluminum craft wire (gold)
- Gold metallic craft paint or spray paint
- Four 2″x4″ strips of thin wood
- Wood glue
- Hole punch
Step #1: Prep the base of the plates
The base of the plates is what will represent the sealed portion of the gold plates. Start by drilling three holes into the left-hand side of the wooden box and also the bottom of the left side. This will be where the metal rings will be placed at the end. Make sure you drill holes big enough to fit the metal wire. Then, paint your wooden box and the thin wooden strips gold so it looks like gold plates. Finally, cut and place in place the wood strips. There should be four wooden strips placed on the two wide sides of the base. I placed a bunch of heavy books on the strips to hold them in place until they dried.
Step #2: Cut the paper and attach the rings
Cut the gold foil cardstock so it is the same size as the wooden base which is 6×8 inches. These will be place on top of the base. The metal plates or loose pages, such as the plates of Nephi, were like thick paper and were either made of pure gold or a combination of various metals. The foil cardstock gives these pages the appearance of gold. Punch three holes in each piece of cardstock so it matches the holes on the base.
Then, cut three pieces of gold craft wire to about 12-15 inches each. Trim them as needed. Insert each wire through each page of cardstock and then through the wooden base. Bend the wire inside the box so they stay in place. I used wire that wasn’t gold, so I just added gold washi tape to my wire and it turned out pretty good.
Step #3: Add final touches and reformed Egyptian
Your LDS gold plates are almost done. As a final touch, I decided to add four strips of gold Washi tape to the wooden pieces on the sides to make it pop. It made it look even more gold, which I kind of liked. Then, last but not least, I glued one page of reformed Egyptian onto the first loose gold page. It is kind of cool to see what reformed Egyptian actually looked like. The fact that Joseph Smith Jr. actually translated these Egyptian characters is a testament to me that he was indeed a prophet of God.
Click on the link below to down a sample small characters of reformed Egyptian to print and glue to your plates. Then you’re done!
Where are the gold plates now?
If you are interested in seeing the actual Gold Plates, unfortunately that is not possible. Joseph Smith was in possession of the plates for 18 months and then returned the sets of plates to the Angel Moroni after he was done translating the Book of Mormon. However, he was permitted to show the plates to three original witnesses and eventually eight witnesses to testify of them. The three witnesses of the plates were Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and David Whitmer.
According to Joseph Smith history, the translation of the Book of Mormon only took three months. The translation process couldn’t have been completed without the use of a seer stone which was included with the plates. Other items included with the gold plates was the sword of Laban. Joseph’s wife, Emma Hale and Oliver Cowdery are just two examples of people who assisted Joseph in the translation.
If you would like to learn more about the LDS Church and the Book of Mormon you can click here to get your own free copy. To learn more about the translation process, the publication of the Book of Mormon and the history of the church and the prophet Joseph Smith, check out “From Darkness unto Light” by LDS historian, Michael Hubbard MacKay.
Let me know what you thought
I hope you have as much as I did making these LDS gold plates. They are a great way to give an object lesson about the Book of Mormon. Since the weight of the plates was about 40-60 pounds, I also filled a duffle bag full of books that weighed about 40 pounds. Everyone in the class tried picking it up and they were really surprised at how heavy it was.
More from My Silly Squirts: What do Latter-day Saints believe? 10 questions I’ve been asked about the LDS faith