Joseph Smith and the Plates. Now that I have given a brief summary of how the gold plates were received, it is time to explain what the gold plates actually are.
Making the Plates.
These particular plates were gold plates, meaning they were made of gold. To make them a large amount of gold needed to be collected. This gold was then pounded down into flat sheets, much like a piece of paper. After many of these flat sheets were created this way they would be bound together creating a gold metal book.
When the amount of gold needed to make these plates could not be found the people made plates out of different metals. The Book of Mormon writes that they also had plates made of brass and ore. So long as the plates were metal they served the purpose.
Why not Papyrus?
Not everything ancient people wrote on were metal plates. More commonly used for paper was papyrus, or some similar plant. Metal took much more effort to write upon because it required engraving the words into the plates, as apposed to simply writing on papyrus with ink. Jacob, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, wrote the following considering this:
"I cannot write but little of my words, because of the difficulty of engraving our words upon plates... We labor diligently to engraven these words upon the plates." (Jacob 4:1-3)
And so why did they write on these plates instead of using a simpler option? Again the prophet Jacob has the answer:
"We know that the things which we write upon plates must remain; but whatsoever things we write upon anything save it be plates must perish and vanish away;" (Jacob 4:1-3)
They knew that these records must last thousands of years and papyrus or any other plant or paper would deteriorate after laying the ground for so long. Only metal had the ability to withstand that long in the ground.
Understanding the plates - where they come from and what they are - I will now move on to the language of the plates in the next post.
More about gold plates:
Sacred Writing on Metal Plates
Gold Plates Used Anciently