My dad, a non-member, loves to bring this issue up whenever we get to talking about religion. He said that years ago (that may mean anywhere from 10 to 40 years ago) he’d read an article or had seen a news program that said that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would, on a certain date of some anniversary, bring forth the gold plates to prove that Joseph Smith had actually received them. And when this date came, Church officials “apparently” said, “Well, gee, we don’t have them.” My dad claims to recall a big uproar in the media and the public over this. It is my understanding that Moroni took the plates back after the Book of Mormon was translated, and I’m glad he did. I would hate to see evil people get their hands on those plates to destroy them or alter them.
Is there any evidence at all that the church made a claim to reveal the plates? Was there ever an occasion that the church made a claim to produce something to the public, and then didn’t? I have a hard time believing this, since my dad can’t remember anything in any kind of detail, and also because he so often likes to point out how this church can’t possibly be true. I know it is, and that’s all that matters. Nothing my dad says can ever change the truth! Thanks for looking into this!
Pam, from BC, Canada
It’s true that upon completion of the translation of the plates of the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph Smith returned them to the Angel Moroni, who has them in his custody to this day. There never has been a time after that when the Church has claimed to have the plates in their possession. However, we do understand that in the Lord’s due time the plates will be returned so that the sealed portion may be translated.
I wouldn’t doubt that your father had read something to the effect of what he is reporting. The false information that has been spread, and continues to be spread, against the Church is prolific. But you may reassure your father that such an account as he refers to never did happen.