It is with the greatest of interest that I have been introduced to you and I immensely enjoy reading questions put to you, and following your fascinating answers.
With regards to the Sword of Laban, my husband and I have been in the Mormon church 50 years and cannot get our minds around the room that you mention that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery went into and subsequently saw the sword twice.
What is this room? Where is it? I thought the plates were in a stone box in the ground. Now I am confused and worried that I have been believing a fabricated account all these years.
You are referring to two different circumstances, both of which are correct. The first instance is the account of where the plates to the Book of Mormon were deposited in the Hill Cumorah, and where the Prophet Joseph Smith was directed by the Angel Moroni to go to recover the plates. His account of this experience is given in the Mormon scripture, The Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith History, 1:15-52, as follows:
Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth.
.Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them.
At a later time Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery returned to the hill Cumorah under the direction of the angel to return the plates. Brigham Young spoke of this occasion as follows:
I lived right in the country where the plates were found from which the Book of Mormon was translated, and I know a great many things pertaining to that country. I believe I will take the liberty to tell you of another circumstance that will be as marvelous as anything can be. This is an incident in the life of Oliver Cowdery, but he did not take the liberty of telling such things in meeting as I take. I tell these things to you, and I have a motive for doing so. I want to carry them to the ears of my brethren and sisters, and to the children also, that they may grow to an understanding of some things that seem to be entirely hidden from the human family. Oliver Cowdery went with the Prophet Joseph when he deposited these plates. Joseph did not translate all of the plates; there was a portion of them sealed, which you can learn from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light; but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words: “This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ” (Journal of Discourses, 19:, p.39).