How Joseph was able to find, translate, and then publish the Book of Mormon is a true miracle.
He was able to perform this great work in spite of Satan’s relentless efforts to thwart him. I feel a review of this familiar story provides us a powerful pattern to see how God’s influence can guide us through our own trials and challenges.
The story starts three years after Joseph’s First Vision. Since that glorious event, the heavens seemed shut. All Joseph knew was that he should not join any of the local churches.
While he was aware of what he shouldn’t do, he had no clarity of what he should do.
This had to be very frustrating.
As time passed, Joseph finally decided to ask God about his next steps. Remembering the dramatic results of his last prayer in the grove, three years ago, Joseph was sure that he would receive another similar answer to this inquiry.
He was right.
Three times that night, and twice the next day, Moroni appeared to Joseph explaining his next task.
And what a task!
He was to go to a nearby hill to locate a partially unearthed stone.
After lifting that rock he would find a stone box containing an ancient record written on plates of gold.
He was to retrieve that record along with two stone interpreters he would use to translate these plates from their original language into English.
How could a 17-year-old farm boy with limited education perform such a task.
Well, a 17-year-old farm boy could not perform this task.
Instead, Joseph had to wait four years.
During that time, God took the necessary steps to patiently prepare Joseph for this Herculean task.
Because God knew this translation process would stretch Joseph beyond his capacity. He also knew that Satan would be constantly harassing his Prophet.
God started by providing Joseph numerous visions and dreams to fully acquaint him with the people and culture of the Book of Mormon.
God also had to make sure Joseph would not use this gold to resolve the poverty suffered by him and his family. The fact that he never tried to cash in on these plates, in spite of his poverty, was a true testament of Joseph’s limitless integrity.
Most important, God needed Joseph to be married to instill in him greater maturity. That any father would allow their daughter to marry a man claiming visions and ancient records is another miracle. Granted, their acceptance took time compelling Joseph and Emma to elope. Still, Emma’s parents eventually accepted and protected Joseph.
Finally, God knew Joseph needed trusted companions to help him translate. Not only did he need help with the process, he also needed financial support during the translation period to afford his upkeep and to pay for the publishing.
So, with His Prophet now better prepared, God was ready to let Joseph face the myriad devices Satan would use to frustrate this marvelous work and a wonder.
To continue this story click: No Unhallowed Hand: Part II, Challenges.