Lucy Mack Smith "explains" papyri to "F. J."

Jun 1848
"F. J."

F. J., "Visit to Nauvoo," Ladies' Magazine and Album 10–11 (June 1848): 134–135

Ladies' Magazine and Album
Joseph Smith, Jr., Lucy Mack Smith, "F. J."
Reading Public

The next object of curiosity was Joe's mother (it seemed to us an intrusion to visit his wife.) We found a pleasant looking old lady, of seventy, or thereabouts, and to our question, “Are you the mother of the Prophet?" the mother of Washington could not have replied with greater dignity, or a prouder air. “Yes! ladies, I am the mother of the Prophet.” Her curiosities consisted of two mummy kings and their queens, who lived long before Pharaoh; also the foot of Pharaoh's daughter, and a number of sheets of hieroglyphics, which she commenced to explain. I, being seated in front of the old lady, her remarks were principally directed to me, and I sat looking into her clear, blue eyes, and wondering whether she really believed what she told us, or was conscious of her imposture. “Many years ago,” she said, “a gentleman brought these hieroglyphics and mummies from Egypt. He carried the hieroglyphics to many learned men; but no one could translate them. At length, some wise professor in New York said, 'Carry them to Joe Smith, who lives at the West. He is a wise man, inspired by God. He can translate them.' And Joe did so, and found that they corresponded in every respect, with the Book of Mormons.'" We asked her how the Prophet received his inspiration. He was an earnest man, she said, and prayed God, night and day, to make known to him what was the true religion. One night, there was a bright light in his chamber, which shone through the curtains of his bed, and there in his room stood the Angel of God. He told him, that the Methodist religion was no religion at all, but that if he would dig under a certain tree, he would find something that would teach him. Joe digged there, and found a number of plates of gold. “Did you see those plates ?” I asked quickly. “No!” she answered, quietly, and severely, “but I've hefted them.” It was sacrilege, it seemed, for any but the Prophet's eyes to look upon them. But Joe was not yet in a fit state to read the hieroglyphics engraved thereon, but after he had prayed for light, a long time, inspiration came. He translated them, and the Book of Mormon was published. “What did your son do then, with the plates ?” I asked. “Oh! he buried them under the tree again, and the angel came, and took them." She went on, explaining the hieroglyphics, until we were quite weary. Reason and good sense rebelled too strongly against such imposture, to make her narrations agreeable. We remunerated her for her trouble, and bade her good morning.

Copyright © B. H. Roberts Foundation
The B. H. Roberts Foundation is not owned by, operated by, or affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.