Testimonies of the Witnesses to the Book of Mormon Plates

Joseph F. Smith - 2017

[On Joseph's first visit to Brazil with Bob Moore. This is the first time he saw the plates]
Two of them left and in a few minutes they came back and they had a board about “yea” big, and something on the board covered with a cloth.  My heart was already starting to beat, but when they pulled that cloth off, I was totally welded in my chair.  I could not get up, I could not do nothing.  Tears were running down my cheeks because setting in front of me was the golden plates of the Book of Mormon, and the sealed portion. 

When I could finally get my strength to get up, I asked, “Can I hold them in my hand?”  They picked them up and handed them to me, and I almost went down to the table, for they are very heavy, I know 50 to 60 pounds. The plates that my [great] grandfather had carefully turned and translated, I turned.  I marveled when I thought of what was contained here; of the many generations of the Nephites—each generation had their story, and they handed down these things until they come to Moroni, and he compacted it into one.  And it was in my hands.  I was holding it. 

The plates were very smooth.  When I first looked at them I guessed about 5X8 sheets, but it’s more like 6X6, I think.  I could see the hieroglyphics on them, but you couldn’t feel them.  . . . The sealed portion had two straps across it.  They work something like a belt.  They opened them up.  I took one of the straps, because they were metal and very flexible. . . .

The sealed portion on the outside edges had two pins driven down through them that were so fixed that you could not remove them.

Bob Moore - 2017

We were then given signs that we can share with you that are verifications that our mission is divine.  And those signs were the privilege of seeing, and handling the interpreters, the sword of La-ban, and the Book of Mormon plates.  They were shown to us.  Mauricio is the individual who will be doing the translating.  There are 3 witnesses in Brazil who have all seen Moroni; all been instructed by him; have seen the plates, and have held those objects, like in the first days of the Restoration.

There are to be 8 witnesses, I presume who will not see Moroni, but who will be witnesses to the plates; their authenticity, the sword of Laban, and the interpreters.  Joseph and I were privileged to hold them.  I held in my hand.  Joseph was overcome, sat down in the chair, flipped through the pages [plates], the loose pages, and looked at them (there’s 68 loose pages), and said, “These are the very pages that my great-grandfather read over and over again.”… 

I simply want to confirm that everything that Joseph said this morning, is true.  This is my testimony: I was there, I heard, I saw, and I touched. . . .

So I’m kind-of empirical in my thinking.  When Mauricio said, “What do you think about this?” There’s three possibilities in my mind:
  1. This is the work of the devil
  2. This is a fraud and a hoax
  3. This is of God
To me, that’s the three possibilities.  Well, it’s not of the devil because the Holy Spirit filled my soul.  I think Joseph can say the same, the whole time we were there, never left.  

As far as being a hoax, the skill that it would have taken to produce that, those people don’t have it.  Who did that?  And how did they pay for it?  I think just a rough estimate if somebody were trying to palm that off as a hoax, they had to invest over a hundred thousand dollars in those artifacts.  And that may be a real conservative guess.

OK, so let’s say that they had the money, why would they do it, and what are they asking for?  They are not asking for anything.  They wouldn’t even let us pay for the food that we ate.  They don’t want anything.  All they’ve ask us to do is to come up here, bear testimony, and those who will unite, the promise from the angel [Moroni] is, the Lord will pour out His spirit on them.

Now how is that going to divide a Restoration group of people that are already so divided, that everything is an argument?
So to me, it’s very simple.  It boils down to whether or not the Holy Spirit rested upon me, and whether I saw those things, and I can testify in both cases that’s true. Joseph can also say what he wants about that.
Joseph F. Smith: I agree with Brother Bob, the spirit that was with us was exemplified so many times, especially when we laid our hands upon them to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  That fire that came up inside of them, it was so tremendous that when they bore their testimony in Portuguese, I could not understand a word, but I knew what they were saying, that they were expressing the feelings that they had, the testimony that they had received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  This is not a fake.  This is not a fake in any way shape or form.

Mauricio Berger - 2017

Many are the opinions. And I say that they are all of great esteem for me.  Yes, even those opinions that claim that this work is a farce, and that I am only in that for financial interest. What [which] is not true!

I've already been offered a lot of money to deny this story, but here I am, going forward without going back, and still working as a seller in a car dealership, so that at the end of the month I can pay the finances of my home with the sweat of my face.

Definitely this group here in Brazil is not behind money!  So we are not behind an adventure that fools anyone.  I suffered a lot with my family because of this story, which for my wife and daughters began ten years ago, and yet we never gave up.

If it were only an adventure to deceive someone, my own family would have abandoned me. But they know it is true, and have endured all sorts of affronts that you are not even capable of imagining.

Indeed, Jesus claimed that many false prophets would arise in the latter part of the days.  Then the attitude of those who stand up to protect their knowledge of the gospel is more than noble, especially when what is happening does not close with what it believes to be true. I always say to those who come to me that they doubt my words and [to] search for themselves to be sure whether this is all true or not.

Sam Gould - 2018

I went to Brazil to view the physical evidence that existed there. That I might know whether these plates were indeed the plates of Mormon. And the Lord gave me 10 things that I should look for and 10 things that I should do. And I didn’t know beforehand why they were of value. But each and every one of them was. And one was a testimony. The very first thing I should have is that testimony, that pure testimony that they are the plates, they are the plates that Joseph brought forth—the Book of Mormon.

I thought about that. We studied those plates. We went over them with a magnifying glass. I was doing my statistical process control. I was looking for patterns. And other people were looking for other things. I had the magnifying glasses out there. I had my jeweler lenses and light.

In the end, could I with the physical things of this earth, know that they were the plates of Mormon? Sadly, I had to say no. There is no amount of examination that will ever get me there. But as I hefted those plates, and I held those (about 50 pounds). My brother Tyler was using my camera, taking pictures of me. I held those precious plates. And I just let God know. I cannot know whether these are the plates of Mormon. It is beyond my means to make that determination. And as I pleaded, the help that is there right present, for God is at hand at all times, is when those plates became weightless for a moment. And presence of God rested upon me. And I knew, I was given to understand that these were the very plates of Mormon. And there was a smile that broke forth on my face.

I happened to show one of those pictures to my son. And I had told him that the plates weighed about 50 pounds. And he’s looking at how I’m standing. And as he sees that picture he says, “Dad that does not weight 50 pounds. You are not holding 50 pounds.” He could tell by my stance that the weight was lifted.

Think about that as a burden. And God is able to carry it. He is able to do that if we let him. And that’s what I was inviting him to do. Come tell me that I might know. O, I spoke in tongues and had the interpretation of tongues, and many glorious things took place. But that would not tell me that those plates were the plates of Mormon. Only God could do that. And they were beautiful things.

Joseph F. Smith - 2018

As Sam Gould has said, he has worked with me for 35 years to try to convince me that the high priesthood was of the Lord. I have fought him and I have fought against believing in the high priesthood. And that belief was still strong when I went down there. I was adamant that no one was going to ordain me to the high priesthood. And that was the directions that was given to Mauricio by the angel. That he ordained Mauricio to the high priesthood and directed him to ordain me to the high priesthood.

So in the service, as I sat in the chair, and they begin to talk about it in Portuguese, and they had a man there that was interpreting into English, but to my poor ears his English was as bad as his Portuguese. But at least he was trying. Then there was Tyler was trying to help and Kelvin. But the thing in my mind was confusion. And God is not the author of confusion. This had me so wound up that in my mind I said, “I’m going to get up and walk out of here.” In fact, I pulled my feet back and got hold of the chair arms and I was ready to catapult myself out of that meeting. And a voice spoke to me, as loud as any amplifier could make it in my mind. And he said, “If you leave this service, you will destroy my work.” I sat back in my chair and I said, “Lord, thy will be done, not mine. Whatever you give me, I will operate with the best of my ability to perform the work that you’ve called me to do.”

Somebody said, “Joseph, was that hard for you to accept that?” No it wasn’t. When God speaks, there’s nothing else to do but what he says. So I was ordained to the high priesthood and president of the high priesthood of the church.

Kelvin Hanson - 2018

So I went down to Brazil in the beginning of the Summer. And we started in on the translation. I can testify to you that I witness Mauricio read from the gold plates with the Interpreter stones. And there were no outside sources that he used to help him. He just read from the plates. And the beautiful thing is that it was terrible because he couldn’t read English. And so it just sounded really bad. I could pick out what he was saying most of the time and some times he would have to spell out the word. He got better as we went. But it was beautiful to be there and experience it. Before each session we knelt in prayer. . . .

One of the most amazing things for me personally, the experience I had seeing lights from angels from afar. I will say now that I didn’t see any angels close up. But I saw their lights from afar. There’s a mountain behind Mauricio’s house and it’s not too far away. But this mountain is just a small mountain and there’s no buildings on it, there’s no towers at the top, there’s no roads. It is just a mountain with trees and that’s all. Mauricio told me when I arrived at the beginning of the summer, Mauricio told me when he had first moved to this new location, the first night that they were there, they saw lights on the mountain. He said it was the same lights that he had seen and others when they had gone to meet Moroni in the past. He said that sometimes when they see lights it doesn’t mean there is a need to go climb the mountain and meet Moroni. Some times they just come for a reassurance, support sort of thing. So this was that sort of situation. Where they didn’t go climb the mountain, but the lights were there just the same. “We’re still here with you, we understand the hardships it is to uproot your family and move away from the city you have lived in for all these years where all of your brothers and sisters are. Which is what they did. . . . So the angels that came to that mountain that first night to reassure them that they’re still with him and that Mauricio is on the right track. . . .

I want to talk about withholding part of the translation again. Because Mauricio was able to read the Book of Mormon plates in both Portuguese and English up until September 11th. And the English had stopped working. He wasn’t sure why at first so he thought, “Well, I’ll finish the Portuguese and then maybe I can see the English again.” That wasn’t the case. He prayed about it and the Lord showed him that he needed to finish the Portuguese and that upon finishing, part of the translation would be withheld. That is what he told me when I returned on September 17th I think. He told me that part of the translation would be withheld and that he just found out. So he continued working on the Portuguese, and he finished up the Portuguese and was very excited that he was finally done with this task that he had been given. It was maybe two days later that he came to me. I was working with the English, I was looking through it. He came into the room that I was in and he asked if he could borrow my wireless mouse from my laptop. He just has a touchpad. He said the touchpad on his computer wasn’t working and he was wondering if he could borrow my wireless mouse. I said, “Yeah.” So we went into his room and I hooked it up for him and he went to move it around and the mouse started working fine. But then none of the icons would click open. Then the whole computer kind of froze and then it went black. Then Mauricio started getting really worried. Because he had just finished the translation and it was all on his computer and he hadn’t saved it anywhere else. He hadn’t put it on a pen drive or anything and so he became very worried. Started crying out to God that everything would be O.K. I kind of felt at peace with this strangely enough. I told him that I was going to leave him to pray. So I went back to the other room and Mauricio shut the door and begin to pray. Maybe 30 seconds later he opened the door and it was completely fine, everything was back to normal. He came to my room and he apologized for the little outburst he had and said that he knelt to pray and the Holy Spirit came to him immediately and said that this was the work of the Lord and you shouldn’t worry. And when he told me that, I immediately knew the Lord was taking his computer and removing the part that he wanted to withhold. I told Mauricio this and he said, “Yes, I believe that is what He’s taken.” And so the computer was shut down for the rest of the day. The next day he turned it on and it turned on fine and he pulled open the translation and the translation pulled up. All the English was there up to where he left off when the stones stopped working. He looked at the Portuguese and the Portuguese, which had been totally finished, had been removed down to where the English was. And so we knew then that the Lord had taken and withheld the part of the translation that he saw fit to withhold at this time.

Additional information on the Brazil Plates.