Mormonism and Wikipedia/Golden plates/Composition and weight

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A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia: Mormonism and Wikipedia/Golden plates
A work by a collaboration of authors (Link to Wikipedia article here)
The name Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. Wikipedia content is copied and made available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

An analysis of the Wikipedia article "Golden plates"  Updated 9/21/2011

Reviews of previous revisions of this section

Section review

Described composition and weight

From the Wikipedia article:
The plates were first described as "gold", and beginning about 1827, the plates were widely called the "gold bible".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Harris (1859) , p. 167; Smith (1853) , pp. 102, 109, 113, 145; Grandin (1829) .

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Correct, per cited sources


From the Wikipedia article:
When the Book of Mormon was published in 1830, the Eight Witnesses described the plates as having "the appearance of gold".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1830)

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Correct, per cited sources


From the Wikipedia article:
The Book of Mormon describes the plates as being made of "ore".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1830) .

FAIR's analysis:

wherefore I did make plates of ore that I might engraven upon them the record of my people.


From the Wikipedia article:
In 1831, a Palmyra newspaper quoted David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses, as having said that the plates were a "whitish yellow color", with "three small rings of the same metal".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Cole (1831)

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Correct, per cited sources


From the Wikipedia article:
Joseph Smith, Jr.'s first published description of the plates said that the plates "had the appearance of gold"

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1842)

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Correct, per cited sources


From the Wikipedia article:
But Smith said that Moroni had referred to the plates as "gold." Late in life, Martin Harris stated that the rings holding the plates together were made of silver,

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Joseph Smith History 1:34; Harris (1859) , p. 165.

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Correct, per cited sources


From the Wikipedia article:
and he said the plates themselves, based on their heft of "forty or fifty pounds" (18–23 kg),

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Harris (1859) , p. 166

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Correct, per cited sources


From the Wikipedia article:
"were lead or gold".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Harris (1859) , p. 169.

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Violates Wikipedia: Citing sources off-site— There is either no citation to support the statement or the citation given is incorrect.
    Violated by COgden —Diff: off-site

    The wiki editor leads the reader to believe the Martin Harris concluded that the plates were either "lead or gold." Harris goes on, however, to state that he knew that Joseph didn't have the means to purchase lead. This is left out of the wiki article, thus altering the meaning of the source being cited. The plates were covered when Martin lifted them, so he could not comment on their appearance at that time—only their weight.
  • The cited source states:

While at Mr. Smith's I hefted the plates, and I knew from the heft that they were lead or gold, and I knew that Joseph had not credit enough to buy so much lead.


From the Wikipedia article:
Joseph's brother William Smith, who said he felt the plates inside a pillow case in 1827, said in 1884 that he understood the plates to be "a mixture of gold and copper...much heavier than stone, and very much heavier than wood".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1884)

FAIR's analysis:

  • From the cited source:

One could easily tell that they were not a stone, hewn out to deceive, or even a block of wood. Being a mixture of gold and copper, they were much heavier than stone, and very much heavier than wood.


From the Wikipedia article:
Different people estimated the weight of the plates differently. According to Smith's one-time-friend Willard Chase, Smith told him in 1827 that the plates weighed between 40 and 60 pounds (18–27 kg), most likely the latter.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Chase (1833) , p. 246.

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Correct, per cited sources


From the Wikipedia article:
Smith's father Joseph Smith, Sr., who was one of the Eight Witnesses, reportedly weighed them and said in 1830 that they "weighed thirty pounds" (14 kg).

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Lapham (1870) .

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Correct, per cited sources


From the Wikipedia article:
Joseph Smith's brother, William, said that he lifted them in a pillowcase and thought they "weighed about sixty pounds [27 kg] according to the best of my judgment".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1883) .

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Correct, per cited sources


From the Wikipedia article:
Others who lifted the plates while they were wrapped in cloth or enclosed in a box thought that they weighed about 60 pounds [27 kg]. Martin Harris said that he had "hefted the plates many times, and should think they weighed forty or fifty pounds [18–23 kg]".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Harris (1859) , pp. 166, 169.

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Correct, per cited sources


From the Wikipedia article:
Joseph Smith's wife Emma never estimated the weight of the plates but said they were light enough for her to "move them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary in doing my work".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1879)

FAIR's analysis:

  •  Violates Wikipedia: Citing sources off-site— There is either no citation to support the statement or the citation given is incorrect.
    Violated by COgden —Diff: off-site

    The wiki editor states that Emma "said they were light enough" immediately after stating that she never estimated the weight. The cited source supports the first phrase, but not the second. Emma never said that the plates were "light" at all—she simply stated that she moved them.
  • From the cited source:

I moved them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary in doing my work.


From the Wikipedia article:
None of the witnesses specified the exact size of the plates or the number of leaves contained in them, but one scholar speculates that, had the plates been made of 24-karat gold (which Smith never claimed), they would have weighed about 140 pounds (64 kg).

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Vogel (2004) .

FAIR's analysis:
 FAIR WIKI EDITORS: Check sources


References

Wikipedia references for "Golden Plates"

Further reading

Articles on this subject

FairMormon's Wikipedia Article Reviews


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