John A. Widtsoe and Franklin S. Harris, Jr., discuss the weight and composition of the gold plates.

John A. Widtsoe

John A. Widtsoe and Franklin S. Harris, Jr., Seven Claims of the Book of Mormon: A Collection of Evidences (Independence, MO: Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 1937), 37-38

Zion's Printing and Publishing Company
Franklin S. Harris, Jr., John A. Widtsoe
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2. Weight of the Plates.

The plates upon which the Book of Mormon was engraved were made of gold and have been described as being about six inches wide by eight inches long by six inches thick. A cube of solid gold of that size, if the gold were pure, would weigh two hundred pounds, which would be a heavy weight for a man to carry, even though he were of the athletic type of Joseph Smith. This has been urged as an evidence against the truth of the Book of Mormon, since it is known that on several occasions the Prophet carried the plates in his arms. It is very unlikely, however, that the plates were made of pure gold. They would have been too soft and in danger of destruction by distortion. For the purpose of record keeping, plates made of gold mixed with a certain amount of copper would be better, for such plates would be firmer, more durable and generally more suitable for the work in hand. If the plates were made of eight karat gold, which is gold frequently used in present-day jewelry, and allowing a 10 percent space between the leaves, the total weight of the plates would not be above one hundred and seventeen pounds--a weight easily carried by a man as strong as was Joseph Smith. Elder J. M. Sjodahl, basing his conclusions on an experiment with gold coins, comes to the conclusion that the plates weighed less than one hundred pounds. The probable weight of the plates also appears as an evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon.

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