No Unhallowed Hand: Part III, Prelude to Disaster

After several attempts for Joseph to bring home and secure the plates, by late September 1827, he had full possession of them. Because of constant harassment from local thugs, Joseph and Emma knew they had to get away. They would not be able to translate in Palmyra.

Emma’s parents offered them the opportunity to move to their home in Harmony, PA. By December, 1827, the young couple loaded their few belongings including the gold plates onto a wagon and made the 300 mile trip to the Hale home.

Once at Harmony Joseph started to translate.

Emma was his first scribe. He also used Emma’s brother Rueben from time to time. But the work was too slow.

In February, 1828, Martin Harris took the opportunity to meet Joseph and became an instant believer in the gold plates. This was exactly what Joseph needed. Martin was a wealthy, established farmer who was well-respected.

Martin had most of his farmlands hired out so he could devote the time to working with Joseph on the translation. Martin also provide Joseph and Emma much needed cash to survive financially while Joseph was consumed with the translation.

Martin was a godsend.

The two new friends started the translation in earnest by April 12.

They completed translating the first 116 pages by June 14.

This was an amazing feat!

But Martin’s wife and closest friends grew concerned that he was spending so much of his time with a young man they did not know and did not trust. Martin assured his wife that this was God’s work and it was an honor for him to be involved.

Clearly, Martin understood the magnitude of this work. His wife and friends did not.

To allay their fears, Martin felt if he could show his wife and a few trusted friends the original manuscript, he could quell the anger and maybe help them accept what he was doing to be God’s work.

I am sure Joseph did not want to relinquish control of this precious manuscript. It took them months to translate it. Besides he was concerned that even after seeing the manuscript, these people would still not be convinced.  My guess is Joseph feared these people really wanted access to the plates.

Reluctantly, Joseph asked God.

God said no.

Martin did not like that answer so he petitioned Joseph to ask God again.

Now Joseph felt pressure. He knew how much Martin had already sacrificed. He needed Martin.

Joseph asked God again.

God said no.

Still not convinced neither God nor Joseph understood how important this was to him, Martin begged Joseph to ask a third time. He made a “solemn covenant” that only a limited number of people would see the manuscript and he would return with them right away.

Joseph asked God a third time.

God said yes, conditionally.  Martin could only show specific number of people.

With great reluctance, Joseph handed Martin the 116 pages and eagerly awaited his return.

He did not return.

Click here to read: No Unhallowed Hand: Part IV, Disaster.