Walter Scott said that Oliver Cowdery described Joseph as translating the plates with transparent stones.

Jun 1, 1841
News (traditional)
Walter Scott
2nd Hand

Josiah Jones, “History of the Mormonites,” Evangelist 9, no. 6 (June 1, 1841): 132–134

The Evangelist
Walter Scott, Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, Jr., Ziba Peterson, Parley P. Pratt
Reading Public

In the last part of October, 1830, four men appeared here by the names of [Oliver] Cowdery, [Parley P.] Pratt, [Peter] Whitmar and [Ziba] Peterson; they stated they were from Palmyra, Ontario county, N.Y. with a book, which they said contained what was engraven on gold plates found in a stone box, in the ground . . . and was found about three years ago by a man named Joseph Smith Jr. who had translated it by looking into a stone or two stones, when put into a dark place, which stones he said were found in the box with the plates. They affirmed while he looked through the stone spectacles another sat by and wrote what he told them, and thus the book was all written. . . .He [Cowdery] stated that Smith looked into or through the transparent stones to translate what was on the plates. I then asked him if he had ever looked through the stones to see what he could see in them; his reply was that he was not permitted to look into them. I asked him who debarred him from looking into them; he remained sometime in silence; then said that he had so much confidence in his friend Smith, who told him that he must not look into them, that he did not presume to do so lest he should tempt God and be struck dead.

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