Plates of the Book of Mormon: Explained

Large plates, small plates, 24 plates, yikes! There are a lot of things in Mormon Doctrine that are fairly easy to understand. However, the plates discussed in the scriptures are not one of those things. With all the plates talked about, it’s easy to get confused. I know I do. I’ve briefly listed all the various plates talked about in the scriptures, and given a small explanation. Hopefully that can be used as a reference tool for you. It’s always good to review!

Explanation of the Plates

  • Large plates – the historical record of the Nephites; Mormon abridged these and it’s from that abridgment that we get Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, 3 Nephi, and 4 Nephi.
  • Small plates – Nephi’s personal/spiritual record, made after he got to the Americas. This includes 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, and Omni. Mormon came across these when he was already working on his abridgment of the large plates, and he liked them so much that he just stuck them in word-for-word at the end of his abridgment (see Words of Mormon 1:3-6).
  • Brass plates – the plates Lehi’s sons went back to Jerusalem to get; something like our Old Testament; had the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah and others on them
  • Gold plates – the plates on which Mormon wrote his abridgment, and which Joseph Smith dug up in the hill Cumorah. Part of that record was sealed, so Joseph couldn’t translate it, but the rest of it he could, and that’s where the Book of Mormon comes from.
  • 24 plates – the plates that Limhi’s scouts found when they were searching the land northward (Mosiah 8:7-9). They made it into the stash of plates Mormon had, and he uses them to write the Book of Ether (Ether 1:2).

I hope that helps to clear up some of the confusion. Enjoy! Do you see any errors or anything you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments below!

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