Thursday, January 15, 2009

Prologue III

The Account of Elizabeth Kane

St. George, Utah, 1872

During the year 1872 my husband Thomas and I were visiting Utah regarding some business my husband had with the Mormons. He was very friendly with them and had interceded several times on their behalf with the government. We spent that winter in St. George, a pleasant little village in the south of the territory, where the weather was quite mild.

On one occasion the Mormon leader, Brigham Young, came down from Salt Lake City with a company of his followers. My husband invited the group to our home for dinner and we had a pleasant visit. After dinner we sat around conversing for several hours. I wasn’t familiar with their religion and asked them to explain it to me. Mr. Young willingly took on the task and explained it in much detail. He told me about Joseph Smith and his vision and the discovery of the Book of Mormon which was written on plates of gold.

When he was finished I asked him where these gold plates were now. I saw in a moment from the expressions on their faces that I had blundered. But they answered that they were in a cave in the Hill Cumorah; that Smith and his friend Oliver Cowdery had a vision in which they saw the cave. Mr. Young’s tone was so solemn that I listened bewildered like a child to the evening stories of its nurse. He said that Smith and Cowdery could see the cave’s contents distinctly. The cave was about 15 feet high and around its sides were stacks of treasure. In the center was a large stone table. On the table unsheathed was a sword. He called it the sword of Laban. A Messenger who was the keeper of the room informed them that this sword would never be returned to its scabbard until the Kingdom of God was established upon the earth and until it reigned triumphant over every enemy. Under the stone table was a pile of gold plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more gold plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. He told me that these records would also be reveal to the world if the people would accept the Book of Mormon, observe its precepts, and keep the commandments. He said that the records in the cave were put under the charge of holy angels, until the day should come for them to be transferred to the sacred temple of Zion.

Our evening ended on a cordial note, and I have since been left to ponder upon this most amazing story told to me on a winter night in the far reaches of the west.[1]

[1] Using artistic license I have combined into one the various accounts of Elizabeth Kane, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Orson Pratt found in Packer, Cameron J., Cumorah’s Cave, FARMS 2004 p. 50.

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